Monday, June 30, 2008

Of hawks and priuses

I've been commuting to Sacramento at least a couple of days a week for 20 years, but will kick that bad habit soon. As my commuting days wind down, I've been thinking about the Amador-Sacramento drive.

I've recently noticed a decided increase in the number of Toyota Priuses (Prii?) on the road. There are many more in Amador than just a few months ago. Blue, dark red, white, gray, green, silver, black -- I think I've seen them all now. It's an interesting trend, considering that just a year ago they were still relatively rare.

I've also been thinking about the things I will miss about commuting. I will not miss much about driving to and from work in the dark.

But I will miss watching the spring bloom move from the valley to the foothills. I'll miss the wildlife, too -- not the crazy drivers who've run me off the road several times, but the herons, egrets and occasional belted kingfisher. And I'll miss the hawks that perch on Highway 16's power poles in the early morning hours.

Two weeks ago, I started intermittent commute counts of Priuses and hawks. On the first day, the Priuses scored 4, the hawks 6. Monday saw an 8-8 roundtrip tie, including Priuses spotted in a lunchtime outing in town.

Seeing eight Priuses in a single day is a sign of the times. Seeing eight hawks on any day is a gift.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New "business council" forming

Word is there's a new organization forming in the county, the "Amador Business Council." There's not much publicly available on the group yet, but from what I've seen so far, the organizing personnel seem to have a great deal of overlap with the executive council of the Amador Citizens for Responsible Government, those fine folks who call smart growth advocates Fascists on their website and offended the General Plan Advisory Committee by using the term enviro-Nazi at the final GPAC meeting.

Maybe the businessmen associated with that group are trying to develop a more moderate, civil public face. After all, smart-growth people do spend money locally.

Rumor has it that the group is being "facilitated" by a consultant, Jim Conklin, who has done similar work in other counties. Here's what I found about him on the Internet:
I truly wonder whether we really need another "business" organization in this county. I do think we could use a comprehensive, broad-based group like Valley Vision. That group's board of directors represents a community cross-section with an in-depth understanding of what the Sacramento region needs to thrive in the future. It even includes (gasp) environmentalists.

One thing I find interesting about groups that purport to organize "leaders" in our community is how they tend to exclude people who don't agree with them because they don't consider those people to be leaders. We'll see if this group follows that pattern or can reach beyond it.

Here's the only thing about the group posted on the Internet so far, in Rosalee Pryor-Escamilla's response to the campaign questions posed by the Ledger Dispatch.

Stay tuned for more.