By Bill Webb
CNNMoney just reported that there are nearly 1.5 million homes currently in foreclosure in the United States. That's one for every 84 households: 1.2 percent of all Americans are in danger of losing there homes. And that's not counting the ones who are struggling to make payments. It appears that Michael Jackson's estate isn't the only one with issues.
Where is it the worst? Well according to CNN, the foreclosure leader is California with one foreclosure for every 34 households. Nevada had an astounding one for every 16 houses. So how did Illinois fare? We come in at number eight on CNN's hit list with one foreclosed home out of every 76 households: a 1.3 percent clip.
So how is Frankfort holding up? I found a list of 20 foreclosed homes with a Frankfort address. With the roughly 3,577 households here, that's only .6 percent of our homes in trouble — small comfort to those 20 homeowners, but still not bad.
A more telling statistic is the number of homes up for sale here, sort of a measure of overall angst. According to Coldwell Banker's online index, there are 694 homes up for sale in Frankfort. I didn't have the time to see if any of these were duplicate listings, but for the sake of argument let's assume there aren't any. So 19 percent of all Frankfort homes are on the market or one in every five.
And let's not even go into the commercial market.
What does all this tell us? It says that we are not immune to the financial meltdown, that many of the 17,981 residents are feeling the pinch, that even our median income level of $95,260 isn't nearly enough, and that NIMBY doesn't stand for we think it stands for: Not In My Back Yard now means Now Inside My Back Yard.
And they say this is going to get worse?
What we need are some positive signs, some feel good stories, or some way to stop the rabbits from eating my potted plants. I mean the whole of Frankfort is green as a fresh twenty dollar bill and they have to eat the potted flowers? What's the matter with the mustard weed in the field they live in? Eat what's in your back yard, not mine. I'll have to research that field to see if it's on the list. Maybe even the rabbits are looking to relocate.
Where was I again? Oh yeah, looking for positive signs. It's positive that the corner of Route 30 and Wolf is under destruction — I mean construction. It's going to be really, really wide. It's positive that our school system is well rated in the state. And it's positive that this will not last forever.
Oh, and the village finally fixed the Leaning Tower of Webb, our skewed mailbox that sank when the water main sprang a leak. That's a real positive. Of course, such feelings of level mail delivery and wide intersections don't often last — even though I am happy that the letters in the box aren't asking for the house keys. So to keep positive, I often try to sleep a lot since this keeps me from bothering the family — trust me they appreciate it. While I am awake, and in order to keep from talking too much, I try to find different ways to word acronyms
...continued on http://www.frankfortstation.com/Articles-c-2009-07-24-197976.112113_NIMBY_Financially_Speaking.html
A new way to think about the transportation of nuclear waste.
By Timothy Noah
Critics of the environmental movement rightfully point out that "not in my backyard," or NIMBY, is a poor argument against waste dumps. If the waste isn't dumped in my backyard, it will get dumped in someone else's backyard, and that "someone else" will almost certainly have less money and less political clout than me. Environmentally, NIMBY is a zero-sum game—what doesn't get dumped here gets dumped there—and inegalitarian to boot. No principled liberal wants to play the NIMBY game.
The NIMBY taboo has made it awkward for environmentalists to align themselves with the state of Nevada in opposing the shipment of spent nuclear fuel to Nevada's Yucca Mountain
, an issue on which the Senate is expected to vote this month. (The House already voted to allow the shipment.) Nevadans don't want nuclear waste in their collective backyard, but if the alternative is to keep nuclear waste scattered at 38 sites around the country, isn't it better to ignore Nevada's parochial concern? That seems to be the consensus, endorsed even by liberal publications like the Christian Science Monitor
. But the nonprofit Environmental Working Group has come up with a creative way to reframe the Yucca Mountain controversy. Rather than cry NIMBY, it has devised a Web search engine
to demonstrate that the real issue is what Chatterbox will call NIEBY—not in everybody's backyard.
and enter your street address and ZIP code. Then click "Get Map." A map will appear with a green star denoting your home. Thick black lines on that map indicate rail or highway routes by which nuclear waste will likely travel to Yucca Mountain. (The source is Appendix J
of the Energy Department's Environmental Impact Statement
on Yucca Mountain.) The proximity of these lines to your house or apartment is the degree to which the waste will likely travel through your backyard. (The Energy Department projects
175 rail and truck shipments a year, starting in 2010.) Just above the map, inside a rectangular box, it says how far your home is from an existing nuclear waste route, and how far you live from the nearest waste source.
Chatterbox lives 48.5 miles from the nearest spent-fuel depot, at Baltimore Gas and Electric's Calvert Cliffs power plant
on the Chesapeake Bay. That's not Chatterbox's backyard. But—uh-oh—the nearest likely rail route for nuclear waste to travel on its way to Yucca Mountain is 0.2 miles (three city blocks) away. That is
Chatterbox's backyard. To be sure, Chatterbox's welfare isn't a major societal concern. (We can always get more columnists.) But what about President Bush? The White House is 1.1 miles away from the nearest likely waste route. Chatterbox ran his thumb down his Christmas mailing list. Martha and Peter, who live in Claremont, Calif., live 2.9 miles away from the nearest likely waste route. Joao and Elsa, who live in Rye, N.Y., live 1.5 miles away. Phil and Pam, in Portland, Ore., are 0.1 miles away. Mike in Pittsburgh is 1.8 miles away. Wistar and Tom in rural Vermont live 92.8 miles away. OK, listen up. If terrorists start blowing up trains carrying nuclear waste, let's all meet at Wistar and Tom's place.
The point is not that Chatterbox has an unusually large number of friends who live near likely nuclear waste routes. It's that our nation's hub and spoke transportation system, combined with most people's tendency to want to live near an urban center, puts almost everyone near a likely nuclear waste route. Indeed, Environmental Working Group says
one in seven Americans live within one mile of such a route. E Pluribus Unum
: Out of many NIMBYs, one NIEBY.
The Energy Department and the nuclear industry answer that we already live in a NIEBY world. Each year, there are 300 million shipments of hazardous waste along these same routes. Some of this is flammable, which spent fuel is not. None of it, though, is so radioactive that Congress plans to store it in a cave for 20,000 years. All right then, continue the utility companies, if the stuff takes that long to degrade, why leave it scattered at nuclear plant sites around the country? Isn't it vulnerable to terrorist attack there, too? Wouldn't it be better to stash it in the hard-to-reach caverns of Yucca Mountain? The trouble with this argument is that Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has admitted that nuclear plants are projected to generate spent fuel almost as fast (2,000 tons annually) as Yucca Mountain will be able to store it (3,000 tons annually)—and that's not counting the 45,000-ton backlog. Even after Yucca Mountain opens for business, a heavy volume of nuclear waste will remain stored at plant sites.
Chatterbox's only beef with the Environmental Working Group's new NIEBY paradigm is that it's coy about the ultimate solution to this problem. "We don't have a position on whether or not a single repository is a good idea or a bad idea," says Mike Casey, vice president of public affairs. Chatterbox can't speak for Casey or the Environmental Working Group, but in general it's Chatterbox's sense that over the long term, environmentalists know that closing off options to store nuclear waste is an effective way to shut down nuclear power plants. Chatterbox thinks this is a smart strategy. If the problem is what to do with waste that remains a threat to human health for 20,000 years, why not limit the scope of the problem by restricting the quantity of this waste? "We want to shut down nuclear power" sounds crazy and radical, and so Greens avoid saying it. In fact, though, it's the sensible conservationist position.
In the 21st Century NIMBY Marketing has become a common technique that political parties (the ones with no executive power) use to weaken the government. Their goal is to generate the conflict needed to damage the incumbent's reputation when an important poll is being held and that is why the party focus all its efforts on prompting hostile neighbors and enrage them against their representatives.
Nowadays the easiest way to do so is by introducing fear in a local scale and facilitating the emergence of NIMBY groups and, in consequence, today is very usual to see politicians facing hostile audiences in their daily work.
Being ready to deal with these circumstances is not a trivial thing and that is why the work of some NIMBY experts like Debra Stein is so outstanding. A good example of it are the 12 points that Debra shows us to know How to Maximize Community Support at Public Hearings. Read it and try to find all the mistakes Tim Bishop did in the meeting.
READ THE WHOLE ARTICLEGLbonafont
- Find Out the Rules. First of all, you need to know how the commission, council or board conducts its public hearings.Is it a “cattle call” where speakers line up in the aisles for their turn at the microphone? Are witnesses called up in the order in which they signed up? Does the chairperson alternate between advocates and adversaries or are witnesses called in some other particular order?You can’t take advantage of the rules if you don’t know them, so talk with the appropriate staff person or the chairperson well before the hearing so you know what to expect.
- Get the Good Seats. The early bird may get the worm, but early-arriving witnesses get front row seats. Stake out good seats so decision makers can see your allies and know that the audience supports you.
- Space Out Your Speakers. If you can submit speaker cards or sign up your supporters before the public hearing begins, do it. But, don’t register all your supporters to speak consecutively.You’ll want to reserve some allies for later in the hearing to allow an opportunity for rebuttal and to ensure that hostile messages are interspersed with positive messages about your project.
- Put Your Best Speakers First. You want your most compelling, golden-tongued speakers to testify early in the hearing so that later witnesses can be inspired and guided by their presentations.You also want persuasive witnesses to testify early so that reporters who must leave the hearing early to meet their deadlines can pick up quotable quotes from supporters — not opponents.
- Provide Talking Points. Citizen advocates need to know what to say before they stand up to testify. Provide a one-page fact sheet or list of bulleted talking points so speakers can emphasize the messages you want decision makers to hear.If you have a lot of speakers, you can produce a variety of message sheets addressing different issues. Union leaders might be provided a fact sheet that focuses on new jobs, for example, while PTA members might be given talking points about new tax revenues that will help boost local schools.
- Encourage Supporters to Look Supportive. Project allies and team members can express their enthusiasm even when they are sitting still. Encourage pro-project attendees to smile and nod at appropriate moments.If there is an impressive crowd of supporters in the room, you can ask them to raise their hands or wear buttons to identify themselves as project advocates.
- Maintain Contact With Supporters. Hearings often last longer than expected, and supporters may try to slip out of the hearing room without testifying if they think they won’t be noticed.So, be sure to greet your supporters when they show up and remind them that you are counting on them to remain for the entire hearing and to provide testimony.Maintain eye contact with waiting witnesses during the hearing and talk to them during breaks. If necessary, be prepared to intercept bolting witnesses at the door and press them to stay for just a few minutes longer.
- Give ’em a Break. Public hearings often start late or drag on for hours, so make it easier for supporters to stick around the hearing room for a long time, if necessary.Have an assistant on hand to feed quarters into parking meters to prevent supporters’ cars from getting tickets. Have extension cords available for allies itching to get back to work or, at least, back online.Provide bottled water or snacks for waiting witnesses. Bring crayons or soft soccer balls for parents who brought their kids with them.You want to make it as easy and as pleasant as possible for supporters to stick around as long as needed throughout the entire public hearing.
- Read Testimony Into the Record. Do you have a couple of important supporters who cannot attend the hearing? If so, their brief testimony can be read into the public record during the hearing.Ask the absentee to recruit his or her own spokesperson, or ask an audience member who hasn’t approached the microphone to read out the missing speaker’s comments.If necessary, a team member of the development team can read the prepared statement on behalf of the absentee.
- Remember the Press. You can increase the chance of getting pro-project messages into print by urging supporters to talk with the reporters who are covering the public hearing.Identify one or two community spokespersons ahead of time and provide reporters with their names and phone numbers. Encourage your allies to approach the press, introduce themselves and explain why they support your project.If your supporters have submitted written comments or prepared written testimony for the hearing, they also should provide copies to reporters.Remember that more quotes from supporters leave less room in an article for opponents’ quotes.
- Try to Speak Last. You want to be the last voice the decision-makers hear before they cast their votes.By speaking last, you can rebut attacks made by earlier speakers and ensure that your own key messages are fresh in the officials’ minds when it comes time to make a decision.Ask for a brief rebuttal period. If necessary, reserve some of your originally allocated speaking time to provide a summary of your views after all citizens have testified.If you cannot secure rebuttal time for yourself, try to hold at least one persuasive supporter in reserve to speak at the end of the hearing to summarize your key messages.
- Do Not Delay the Vote. If you see that the decision-makers are ready to vote your way and are getting impatient with too much boring, repetitive testimony, then do not irritate them with unnecessary additional testimony.Even if opponents continue to drone on with unpersuasive complaints, encourage supporters to waive their testimony in the interest of time so you can get to the vote as soon as possible.
Do not communicate, involve!
A historic blue-green union of interests between Democrats and clean energy “is already emerging, albeit in miniature form,” writes
Ronald Brownstein in the National Journal. In the 2008 campaign, three-fourths of the alternative-energy industry’s contributions went to Democrats. True, that was just $1.9 million — chump change in Exxon terms — but Brownstein sees a long-term dynamic gathering momentum: “employment in the industry is trending toward blue (Democratic) states, partly because they are more likely to adopt the policies (renewable power requirements for utilities, for example) that nurture the industry.” Yet there is a potential fly in the non-petroleum-based ointment, writes
Robert Gammon in the East Bay Express: liberal opposition to “smart growth” in cities. There’s a growing recognition that opposition to growth — in Berkeley and Oakland, for example — contributed to environmentally unfriendly suburban and exurban sprawl, and that “infill development” — dense urban housing near mass transit — is now the way to go.By The New York Times. Read more
Dismissing people who oppose renewable schemes such as wind farms in their area as "Nimbies" is counterproductive and could damage public support for clean energy, researchers warned. A study found only two per cent of more than 3,000 people questioned about nearby renewable schemes fell into the Not In My Backyard (Nimby) category of strongly supporting low-carbon power in general but opposing their local project. There was substantial support for renewable energy, plus in the local area, but it could be "fragile" – particularly in the case of onshore wind farms and biomass – said lead researcher Dr Patrick Devine-Wright from the University of Manchester.
Researchers urged the Government and developers to address the legitimate concerns people had about the impacts of renewable schemes, to ensure targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions from energy are met.
The Government's renewable energy strategy plans thousands of onshore and offshore wind turbines by 2020.Read more
The ‘Nimby’ stereotype of an older person who supports renewable energy schemes like wind farms but ‘Not In My Back Yard’ does not exist, a new study has found.
The idea of the Nimby first emerged in the 1990s when protest groups in small villages around England began to stand up against wind farms.
With the Government set to build thousands more onshore wind turbines in Britain over the next decade the stereotype is often referred to when protest groups emerge.
Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, was recently reported as saying opposing a wind farm should be as unacceptable as refusing to wear a seat belt.
However a survey of 3,000 people living near renewable energy projects like wind farms, energy from waste generators and wave or tidal projects found just two per cent fitted the “Not In My Back Yard” or Nimby stereotype of someone in favour of green power but not in their area.
Dr Patrick Devine-Wright from The University of Manchester, one of six universities taking part in the study, said the public is largely supportive of renewable energy. Where there are protests he said people have legitimate concerns about visual impact, the planning application or environment.
“Our results show that people generally support renewable energy, but that this support can be fragile, particularly for biomass and onshore wind energy.
“Offshore marine energy projects are so far being largely welcomed by nearby coastal communities, but large offshore wind farms can still sometimes be controversial.
“We have identified what the key issues are that shape public concerns about new proposals. Developers and government should be acting to address these key issues, not labelling protesters as Nimbies.
“They need to pay more attention to how the benefits or drawbacks of a proposal are perceived by local people.”
Professor Gordon Walker of Lancaster University also said criticising people for opposing wind farms was counter productive.
“Just calling protesters ‘Nimbies’ and suggesting, as Ed Miliband recently did, that it should be socially unacceptable to oppose wind turbines, is just counterproductive,” he said.
“People have a democratic right to express their views, to scrutinise development proposals and to argue their case.”
Mr Miliband said planning rules are being changed to take more account of local concerns while pushing through more projects.
“The planning rules are being changed by the government from April next year. As we all know, the rules matter, but so does public opposition or support. We are unlikely to be a centre for onshore wind production, if up and down the country, onshore wind applications are consistently turned down. So we have to win a political argument that environmentally and industrially, onshore wind is part of the solution.”
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent Read the whole article here
The familiar pattern of wind farm objections, Nimby protests, planning difficulties, and investment set backs have returned to the UK this week. By James Murray, from BusinessGreen.com
, part of the Guardian Environment Network
Anyone familiar with the two steps forward, one and three quarter steps back world of the UK's renewable energy
industry is unlikely to have been surprised by the past week, but that does not stop it being teeth gnashingly frustrating.
Just a fortnight on from the release of the government's much vaunted Low Carbon Industrial Plan and the familiar pattern of wind farm objections, Nimby protests, planning difficulties, and investment set backs has returned.
The most high profile slap in the face for the sector comes in the form of Vestas' plans to close its wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight, despite the brave efforts of staff to oppose the decision by staging a sit in at the plant, jeopardising any chance of redundancy payments in the process.
There have been plenty of suggestions that Vestas' decision to close the plant is short sighted and that the government should step in to nationalise the facility. But while the issuing of dismissal letters inside a food parcel sent to the protestors was crass in the extreme, it is much harder to fault the commercial logic behind the decision to close the plant.
The factory was building blades that were then being exported to the US. At the same time, the company has a plant in the US capable of delivering the same blades at lower cost. It makes sense from both a commercial, and indeed an environmental perspective for turbines for the US market to be built in the US.
Vestas did look at converting the Isle of Wight factory to produce blades for the UK market, but decided that the risk that demand for the new turbines would not be forthcoming was too high. Was this an unreasonable decision?
Well, The British Wind Energy Association is right to point out that up to 2,700 new wind turbines are expected to be erected by 2012 with over 700 under construction and nearly 2,000 having secured planning permission. Meanwhile, the additional £1bn of financing announced by the government this week should ensure that those projects that have planning permission are indeed built.
And yet Vestas would be forgiven for arguing that it has seen such predictions in the past, only for the pipeline of new projects to be blocked time and again by local objections to planning applications, followed by long winding appeals that in many cases ended in disappointment.
It could point to Greenpeace's recent report showing that between December 2005 and November 2008 Tory councils blocked 158.2MW of wind energy projects, approving just 44.7MW, while Labour councils fared only a bit better rejecting 62.6MW, while approving just 68.3MW.
If it wanted more timely examples, it could highlight the news today that the RSPB is to formally oppose plans for the UK's largest onshore wind farm on the Shetland Islands, after previously indicating it would support the proposal. Or the decision by RES to cut the number of turbines at its planned Minnygap wind farm in Scotland from 15 to 10 in an attempt to win planning approval. Or Ecotricity's recent appeal against a decision that saw plans for a 12MW wind farm in North Dorset rejected despite planning authorities recommending to councillors that the proposals should be approved. The list goes on and on.
It is horrible for the workers involved, but you can understand why Vestas has decided that it has had enough operating in an environment where the market it serves is at the whim of a small minority of locally-fixated Nimby protestors and popularity courting councillors. If staff, trade unions and green groups want to protest against Vestas' decision, it is the government, and in particular wind farm blocking councils, that should be the target.
The fact is Nimbyism is at the root of most of the clean tech industry's problems, and what's more it is only going to get worse. The conservationist campaign against the proposed Severn Barrage is already gathering momentum, the anti-wind lobby is if anything getting more vocal and has substantial support on the back benches of a Conservative party that looks destined to form the next government, objections to biomass and waste-to-energy plants are increasingly common, and if the recent opposition to planned carbon capture and storage plants in Germany and the Netherlands is anything to go by, even this technology could be hamstrung by people worried about living above carbon sinks....
By James Murray. Read more
Anti-nuclear activism and national identity in Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine