Friday, April 27, 2018

Changing Modes: & Master Plans?



Can we agree that dominant modes of transportation have had over history and prehistory a profound impact on land-use and the the form of our "villages"? 

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How do we update our cities' master plans when battling for our hearts and souls are: electric cars, and bicycles, and scooters and wheel chairs, self-driving automobiles; 'conventional' cars, ordinary bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, skateboards; light-rail, heavy rail, buses, taxis; and the old-one, walking; and how about gawking and writing, and smart phone talking? Each of these (if dominant) will have a profound affect on urban and rural form. Each can provide profound opportunities (if made prominent) to sculpt our landscapes and cityscapes. The battle is on, but nobody knows who nor who-all will win--should win. .
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Again, how do we update our master plans? Should we? Should we wait and, thus, ignore the opportunities?

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Berlin

As somebody who has wanted for decades to visit Berlin and has not, I found a report in “Economist” (2/Dec/17) on the city's dysfunction surprising. Berlin makes wealthy Germany more poor. Quote: “Astonishingly for a capital city, Berlin makes Germany poorer. Without it, Germany’s GDP per person would be 0.2% higher. By comparison, if Britain lost London, its GDP per person would be 11.1% lower; France without Paris would be 14.8% poorer. “Berlin’s economic weakness is unique among European capitals”, says Matthias Diermeier of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research.” https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21731837-unlike-other-capitals-germanys-drain-rest-country-why-berlin-so

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

MVC 1975

This first week of June, 2016 
I have the unpleasant task of cleaning out my office-studio so I can convert it into our new bedroom. I came across a 1975 copy of Petroleum Today. Puzzled, why would I save such a magazine? Clue, the cover displays a photo of a whale boat in front of a gallery: Martha's Vineyard! I opened it to the related article and this picture:


Thursday, February 07, 2013

One-o-Cat

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Please help me (and ask your friends to help as well).
If you played baseball or softball as a youth, help me figure out where and how long the name survived from a game that pre-dated "baseball." Leave a comment at this blog.
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

a not-so-old Old Saw

Since I found this  proverb of competence-and-consciousness on a web-forum discussing construction nails, I think it best to call it by the synonym, Old Saw. Because I wish to remember it, I post it here:
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1) Unconsciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows not that he knows not. He is a fool. Shun him.
2) Consciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows that he knows not. He is simple. Teach him.
3) Unconsciously Competent: He knows, and knows not that he knows. He is asleep. Wake him.
4) Consciously Competent: He knows, and knows that he knows. He is wise. Follow him.
................................................................
Note, however, I have no reason to doubt Wikipedia that this old saw is far younger than I:
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Initially described as “Four Stages for Learning Any New Skill”, the theory was developed at the Gordon Training International by its employee Noel Burch in the 1970s.[1] It has since been frequently attributed to Abraham Maslow, although the model does not appear in his major works.[2]
The Four Stages of Learning provides a model for learning. It suggests that individuals are initially unaware of how little they know, or unconscious of their incompetence. As they recognise their incompetence, they consciously acquire a skill, then consciously use that skill. Eventually, the skill can be done without consciously being thought through, and the individual is said to have unconscious competence. [3]
Several elements, including helping someone 'know what they don't know' or recognize a blind spot, can be compared to some elements of a Johari window, although Johari deals with self-awareness, while the four stages of competence deals with learning stages.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bilingualism is, indeed, good for us.

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If you doubted whether bilingualism is good for us beyond its obvious practical benefits, read a piece by:

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee for the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/the-benefits-of-bilingualism.html
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... The key difference between bilinguals and monolinguals may be more basic: a heightened ability to monitor the environment. “Bilinguals have to switch languages quite often ...
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Energy One Two Too

March 6, 2012, Weld County Colorado
near Grover and Pawnee Buttes
.                                                                                         .

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

a new family of F-WORDS

Midst the discussion of problems and potentials for “fracking” oil and gas out of deep oil shale deposits there is an opportunity.  
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We are going to fight about this process and care about the fight. On a lighter-higher note, however, we can use the notoriety of this drilling technique to market a linguistic methadone.
“ Frack! Did you hear that fracking Belgium finally has a fracking government ?! ” 
One can be either for or against (or who-gives-a-frack about)  the fracking fracking process and still enjoy the new f-words.
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If you know anything about this new-tech, you will see that the image and metaphorical substitutions are every bit as strong as the phonetic.
 _________________________________________________________________
Note: Lacking such robustness, poor “Jiminy Cricket”  failed in his/its linguistic cleansing effort.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

New Humanism, The Second Age of Enlightenment

 I wrote this to friends recently:
I wonder, if we were to manage to reduce measurably the negative outcomes of our age, if the age of turnaround might come to be called, "The Second Age of Enlightenment." That would give more credit to the way we learned to think than to the consequent way we  learned to live. I'm an it-is-a-lifestyle-problem guy myself, but I am uncomfortable with how much anti-intellectualism seems to have permeated all sides of the debate (if debate is possible between anti-intellectuals).
March 7 2011: David Brooks delves more deeply.
I encourage you to read it: [Click}   
What I had started to conceive of as "the Second Age of Enlightenment." Brooks' would call "The New Humanism"--better I believe.  He certainly describes it well, though I would add that a level-headed respect for science over pseudoscience will be part of it. After all, it is science (as Brooks explains) that is opening the pathways to the new humanism. No matter what we call the age envisioned, we should hasten out from our redoubts to welcome its arrival.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Bubbly Water Towers In A Pond

If you click on the topic "phenomena" in the right column, most of the posts and comments you will see are about tilting icicles--from a few winters ago. Now, from odd habits of ice hanging down I share a report of the odd world of ice that bubbles up. Friends Marge and Dick have a small pond in their back yard. Marge just sent photos and their thoughts on the how-and-why of bubbly ice towers that have formed on the pond this winter.

First her photos, then her words, then a couple more photos.



March 5. from Marge Boehner
During the winter, a "bubbler" sits on the bottom of our pond and helps to aerate it when it freezes over.  Since we began using the bubbler, fish in the pond have not died over the winter.  This year, for the first time, formations have been forming above the bubbler.  They seem to consist of foamy water that bubbles up and continually freezes during the night, building odd shapes that then melt away during the day.  The first two pictures are fairly typical, but we often see multiple and taller formations.  The third picture shows the tallest formation that we have seen. We don't know the cause, but suspect that the foamy nature of the water may be due to decaying matter in the pond.  Though it is cleaned out each fall, this year we think more leaves than usual fell into the pond after it had been cleaned.

[] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []
March 6. from Marge Boehner
Here are pictures of today's creation; I just saw it "spit" a bit of foam into the water about a foot away.


Thoughts and Theories?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

We Enter an Acey-deucey

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Let us stop arguing about global warming,
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look around us,
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look to science,
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watch the weather,
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and agree that we enter an
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Age of Climate Instability and Deep Seas
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You may choose to call it an Acey-deucey.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Zoli

My father's cousin, Zoli Marton, has died in Budapest. The circumstances of our meeting were impactful  and memorable. In honor of Zoli and the gift of those circumstances, I post this long-long narrative poem.
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Instructions To A Stranger


November 1

At the train station, leaving the city,
buy two long-stem roses.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Tony Jackson
of the
Financial Times
wants a
New Model
of Economics.
.Published: March 29 2010.
.worth the trouble if FT makes you register (for free) to see it.
and
(you guessed it)

I call (long since) for a new model as well.





Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Waking, Ignorant Speculation on Health Care's final 2010 Vote

Pre-Script (March 26):
Since I wrote of my speculation (below), revisions to the new health-care-reform law await the president's signature to become part of this new law-of-the-land. The question I raise in my speculation can now be amplified by two more questions:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dialogue in a bar.


Agnes and Petrus
A One-Beer Story
for readers’ theater

August 2008 :: by Bob Komives :: draft August 3 :: Fort Collins © 2008

Cast of  Readers

NARRATOR  :: Bartender

AHGNESH :: A woman whose true name is Sally and whose false name should be  written "Agnes" but is pronounced AHGnesh. She has no real accent, but her too-mannerly speech does sound a bit foreign in this environment.

PETRUS :: A guy who is really Steve


:: :: :: :: :: ::
NARRATOR
OK, one more beer coming up. New to the neighborhood? That is my name on the door. This is indeed my bar. Yes, I do most of the bartending, and the sweeping up, the plumbing and most everything else. No, I don’t know that odd couple over in the corner, but I do get my share of entertainment from the folks who come in. Since you just ordered another beer, and I haven’t yet inflicted one of my stories on you, let me tell you a one-beer story. A love story, no less.
I believe it was 2005, about this time of year. It was a slow night. In fact, the place was empty. I was thinking of closing early. Then, in come a couple of young women—late 20s early 30s. They sat down here at the bar. You’d think one of them just got a raise ’cause she was in a good mood and doing all the talking. She takes the stool right in front of me. Her friend sits two stools away—the one you’re on. There’s nothing so odd about that. I guess some folks want to save me the work of having to wait tables when the bar is near empty. But they want to turn and talk privately as if I’m not here. So they leave a vacant stool between them to talk across.

AHGNESH
(barely audible small talk)--

NARRATOR/bartender
--Good evening, ladies.

AHGNESH
Hello, two’s a good number today. Please, draft us a couple of pints from whatever you got there coming from below the blue handle second from the left. Yes, that one.

NARRATOR
I serve them their beers, and in come two guys about the same age as the ladies. They’ve been in before, and I know I’ve got only one beer they like. One of the guys looks like he had a bad day. I don’t say a thing, but I’ve got their pints waiting on the bar for them. I swear I wasn’t trying to play cupid or nothing, but when they sit down at their beers, there they are: the dejected guy facing his buddy, and he is almost back to back with this talkative, attractive young lady.

PETRUS
(Loud laugh)
NARRATOR
Well it didn’t take but two sips of beer for the guys to be in just as good a mood as the ladies. But, as far as I could see, they were oblivious to the fact that a couple of possible eligibles were sitting at the bar with them. That is until the guy appears a little embarrassed by his loud laugh and leans toward his buddy to say something. Then the fun starts. As he leans forward—you try it. What happens? Your right elbow goes backward, right? Well, he gave that lady behind him a pretty good poke in the back. But, he’s the one who grimaces. I think he was embarrassed, because he smiles and then finishes whatever point he was making with his friend. The young lady, however, turns around. You know the way you might do if you think somebody you know snuck up and tapped you on the back. Of course, all she sees is the guy’s back, so she gives me a puzzled look and turns back to her conversation with her friend. Of course, I knew what was going to happen next. It finally dawned on the guy with the elbow that the person behind him might be more interesting than his friend. So, now he turns and taps her on the back --right where he had hit her. He starts to apologize before she’s half turned around.

PETRUS
Did I just hit you with my elbow?

AHGNESH
Yes. But that’s OK, the bruise will be gone in six months?

PETRUS
Perhaps we should call an ambulance.

AHGNESH
Or the police.

PETRUS
Or I can report it to my insurance agent.

AHGNESH
Good idea, less hassle.

PETRUS
Who should I say I injured.

AHGNESH
Whom should you say you injured? Me.


PETRUS
I’ll have to give him a name—I have to tell him whom suffered.

AHGNESH
When you tell him who suffered, tell him it was Ahgnesh.

PETRUS
Ah! My grandmother’s name. But you are much sweeter than my grandmother.

AHGNESH
Truly? Your grandmother? She said her name as I say my name? Hungarian?

PETRUS
Not exactly. She never said her name. At least I don’t think I ever heard her say it. I didn’t understand a thing she said—in English or Hungarian. But, my dad said her name was like yours, “AGnesh,” I mean “AHGnesh.” And, she was, in fact, Hungarian. It’s also a fact that you are much sweeter than she was.

AHGNESH
That is not a pretty thing to say about your sweet father’s sweet mother—even if you say it to be nice to me.

PETRUS
No, I mean it. I mean I mean that you do seem sweet. I am sure my mom would agree. She hated my grandmother. Excuse me, my “sweet mother” would agree. You always say that in Hungarian; don’t you? That’s how my dad—my sweet father— always says it—in English. He drives my mom crazy. He says, “My sweet mother … something … ,” and mom jumps in: “Sweet mother, hell! At best she’s a sourpuss and a pain in the you-know-what!” [laughs] She has nothing good to say about her mother-in-law. … Wait. Let’s start over. My name is Steve. I hate the name “Agnes,” but I love the name “AHGnesh.” Aunt AHGnesh is my favorite Aunt.

AHGNESH
Hello, Steve. … Istvan [pronounced EESHtvahn]. I hate the name Istvan. He was my first boyfriend.

PETRUS
Actually, only people who know me call me Steve. With women from Hungary I usually go by “Petrus.” It’s the name I almost took for confirmation.

AHGNESH
“Petrus,” that is a very nice name, Steve—especially if you are an ancient Roman. I am very pleased to meet you, Petrus. My name is AHGnesh. The name “Agnes,” neither do I like it. [she laughs and tries to improve her phrasing] I do not like the name either … neither? I do not like it even if it is the name nice people want to call me and the sweet mother of your sweet father. And Petrus, thank you for the nice compliment.

PETRUS
Compliment?

AHGNESH
You do not remember? You said I was sweet.

PETRUS
Yes, Yuh, I did, and you are sweet. Nobody has ever been so nice to me while she says, “Go to hell!”

AHGNESH
Petrus, I could not tell you to go to hell—at least  not until I know you better.

PETRUS
See what I mean! That’s so sweet of you. How long?

AHGNESH
How long?

PETRUS
How long before you know me well enough to tell me to go to hell?

AHGNESH
Not long, Steve. Perhaps five minutes.

PETRUS
AHGnesh! Give me a chance here. I’ve hardly said anything.

AHGNESH
You are correct, Petrus. You have talked now… How many minutes have we talked? You seem interested in my breasts, but show to me no interest in my Harvard degree, my swimming medals, my escape from the Nazis, nor my work as an attorney.

PETRUS
OK, OK. I think I understand. Wait here while I go around the block.

NARRATOR
(muffled cough) By this time I was laughing so hard to myself I had to cough to cover it up. So, this Steve-Petrus guy revolves clockwise slowly on his stool, gives this “what do I do now?” look to his friend who just smiles. The friend is enjoying it as much as I am. What they don’t see is that sweet Ahgnesh’s friend has this huge grin and elbows Ahgnesh almost right off her stool. But, by the time Petrus completes his 180 degree turn on his stool, she’s ready for him. So, they start this pantomime in which Petrus starts counting on his fingers, while she smiles and shakes her head, “no.” When he gets to number five, however, his eyes light up with confidence.

PETRUS
Yes, I understand. You are pefectly correct. For the second time in our brief life together, I apologize. ... Is that a good start?

AHGNESH
Yes.

PETRUS
Now, please tell me. How did you escape the Nazis?

AHGNESH
It was quite simple, Petrus. I hid in my sweet mother’s womb until the Nazi’s had been gone for thirty years.

NARRATOR
Now our poor Petrus is rolling his eyes in utter humiliation, that is until:

AGHNESH
By the way, Steve. I like you.

NARRATOR
Now, should Petrus be pleased, humiliated, or just confused? Well, he takes two more spins on his stool while he tries to figure it out. When he’s done he manages to get a sympathetic smile from sweet Ahgnesh.

PETRUS
Let’s just see what we know here for sure, Ahgnesh. What we know for certain here, Ahgnesh, is that: you did not go to Harvard, I am stupid, you might be sweet, and you like me. Correct?

AHGNESH
Yes, correct ...  Except I am sweet.

PETRUS
Now you admit it.

AHGNESH
Steve, I just do not want you to take back such a pretty compliment—even if it does not reflect well on your grandmother. I am afraid you are in a fix. Fix? You are in a difficult situation, Petrus. Either you decide in your heart that I am absolutely, positively sweet, or I must cancel our wedding.

PETRUS
[pause] Yes, Yes! I’ll drink to that, sweet AHGnesh.

NARRATOR
Did I forget to tell you that while all this was going on, the two silent friends made eye contact, toasted each other, downed their beers and finished by downing the pints of Ahgnesh and Petrus? Well, anyway, when our couple turns to toast their wedding their glasses are empty. Of course, I join their friends in feigning ignorance when they look to us for an explanation. Ahgnesh, now, hands me her empty glass, takes her drink coaster and writes something on it.

PETRUS
Well, would you drink to that: to my proclamation of your sweetness, and to our wedding, if we had something to drink?

AHGNESH
Yes.

PETRUS
You have lived in this country a long time, haven’t you.

AHGNESH
Yes.

PETRUS
Do you have a last name?

AHGNESH
Yes.

PETRUS
That’s very good. Do you have an email address?

AHGNESH
Yes.

NARRATOR
Now, you can guess what Ahgnesh wrote on the coaster; she hands it to Petrus.

PETRUS
That’s very very good! Now, would you like to know more about me and my career as a sponge diver?

AHGNESH
Yes.

PETRUS
Good. I’ll send you my resume. Don’t you think we should exchange resumes before we get married?

AHGNESH
Yes.

PETRUS
That’s it, then. A resume exchange. Then, next Tuesday we do coffee
at Java Java?
5pm?
to work out the details.

AHGNESH
Yes.

PETRUS
You are sweet. Did I already say that?

AHGNESH
Yes.

PETRUS
Can we seal this contract with a kiss?

NARRATOR
Ahgnesh sees that I am eager to hear her answer, so she looks to me for an opinion. I play dumb, of course, and shrug my shoulders. Then she turns to her friend who smiles and shakes her head with a definite, “no.”

PETRUS
On the cheek!                                                                                              

AHGNESH
Yes ... that would be sweet.

NARRATOR
Well, by this time the friends of our love birds are antsy to leave. They’ve already paid for the drinks. So, as Petrus gives his dear Ahgnesh a peck on the cheek he is being pulled to the door by his buddy. He salutes Ahgnesh with the coaster on the way out the door.

PETRUS
Goodbye, sweet Ahgnesh.

NARRATOR
Now here’s the good part. Ahgnesh’s friend goes to the door, stands with her hands on her hips, shaking her head and smiling as Ahgnesh gropes in her pocket for her portable phone.

AHGNESH
Yes. Yes. [her voice takes on a more contemporary quality as she continues]
Yah! Yeh! Definitely! We’ll leave. But first, I gotta call my mom. I gotta apologize to my sweet, sweet mom. I gotta admit I finally believe her. When I wanted to go to Paris for a year during college? You know. Well, she refused. I told her she was thinking about her pocketbook instead of me. She forced me to take a cheaper alternative. “Sally,” she said. She must have said it twenty-five times. “Sally, you’ll get much more out of a semester in Budapest than a year in Paris.”

NARRATOR
A semester in Budapest. Better than Paris. Ahgnesh, Petrus, Petrus, Ahgnesh, Steve, Sally, an elbow in the back. I swear on my sweet grandmother’s grave, it’s a true story. And it gets better. But that’s for another night. Have a safe walk home. I hope to see you again.



END

Monday, January 11, 2010

No Photo :: But so far no tilt.

I missed my chance to get a photo, but so far this year my front-stoop icicles have shown no tendency to tilt inward. The disappeared today in the 50-degree weather before I got around to taking the camera outside. I'm sure I'll have more opportunities. To review the past conversation on this click "icicles".
Bob Komives

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Oppoöbfu...

Word of the Year: 1885, 2009
<<>>
oppoöbfusitionscation
<<>>
\AH\poh\AHB\fuh\ZI\shun\SKAY\shun\, noun:
<<>>
1. Political tactic in which beneficial public policy is opposed with high-sounding misinformation and illogic.
<<>>
2. Any bluff or bluster that presents nonsense disguised as reasoned argument.
<<>>
origin: Coined in 1885 by anonymous reporter for the New York Herald to describe the campaign of those who opposed erection of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor by claiming scientific certainty that government approval of women who raise an arm in public would both attract malarial mosquitoes and destroy the then-flourishing modesty-publishing industry. The term regained popularity in 2009 to describe the campaign in opposition to establishment of universal health care in the United States.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

3 Useful and Free Photo-file-show Utilities

I wish I knew of all three of these fine-and-free programs before I started to process several hundred snapshots from two cameras after our recent vacation in Spain. In the end, however, each has proven useful and will be in my kit bag for the foreseeable future. . . . .
Bulk Rename Utility:
http://www.bulkrenameutility.co.uk/Download.php
It is a versatile renaming utility that let's you rename and number files in large numbers, in many ways, and over several steps--handy for photos. Read the info file that comes with it so as not to be intimidated by all the options. It will also insert itself in Windows so that when you right click on a folder the utility comes up as an option. (This is actually a bug in the current version. It should work as well at the file level as it did in earlier versions and presumably will in future versions.)
. . . .
NameEXIF:
http://www.digicamsoft.com/softnamexif.html
Since Bulk Rename Utility as of now loads only limited EXIF data from the files that came from your camera, this little gem is a great first step. It will convert the date/hour/minute data in those files into file names--before you go to work on them with Bulk Rename Utility.
. . . .
ArtSee:
http://www.xworks.ca/artsee/
This is just another photo and slide show viewer, but it does not have to be installed in order to run. You can put it right in a folder with photos to tailor the slide show for those photos. More importantly, if you wish to share the photos with others on a CD, DVD, thumb drive, ..., you can conveniently include a standard means to view them.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

9pm, March 5

We have snow here. It is cold and windy. But no better place for this weather can there be. Albarracin Spain: a medieval wonder. Out the window, along the narrow streets, in the 12th century. - Unlike Teruel & Cuenca, our last two stops, there is no modern town surrounding. We've seen much beauty this trip (Alhambra, Mesquita, ..., ...,) but 3 jaw-drop wonders: Sagrada Familia in Barcelona by Gaudi, Ciudad de Artes y Sciencias in Valencia by Calatrava, & this, Albarracin. - Yesterday we had lunch next to hot-wood stove, behind a split heavy-wood door, along what seemed an abandoned street, in another medieval village (population 36) higher in the mountains. . We were on a necessary detour. We planned to get here by that as return route from Cuenca today, but turned back as snow which was melting below deepend & continued to fall as we approached the passes. . As we sip from the wine bottle we didn't empty last night we wonder whether we will brave the cold winds out of the dark ages to return to the tavern where we had lunch for a snack and drink before snuggling in.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Paradox of Thrift :: Where's Our Story?

Among the topics at our Tuesday Night Symposium (“symposium” means “drinking together”) of January 27 th was the “paradox of thrift.” How is it that in this time of down-spiraling economy we are bad citizens of the world and country if we be prudently thrifty with our personal resources? I’ll link you to Wikipedia and Paul Krugman to explain why-indeed-it-is and why-we-are. Yes, we are victims of this spiral, victims of those whose avarice, incompetence, and malpractice started the downward spin. Yet, when we respond rationally, protect ourselves, shorten our reach, practice thrift, we accelerate the spin. Our refusal to be as profligate as we were a few months and a few years ago is, collectively, a bad thing. This is true despite our apparent wisdom and virtue. That truth is hard for most of us to believe, no matter our political bent.
Perhaps our fundamental problem is that these negative economic spirals may depend on historic finance; they were of minor importance or non-existent in pre-history. That would explain why we don’t seem to have a countervailing instinct nor myth nor ethic to prepare us to be spenders when self-preservation and traditional virtue would prescribe thrift. We are rich in stories of the ills of profligacy and the virtue of thrift. Surely we must have many stories that urge us to fight the paradox of thrift, but I can only think of one—told as a parable by Jesus of Nazareth. He sided with the father who browbeats the son who puts his money safely under a rock rather than spend it (OK, invest) as did his brother. (In truth, I remember another story. It's the scene from the movie, Animal House, when Delta house has sunk beyond apparent potential for redemption; the beleaguered brothers look at each other and say in unison, "road trip!" Because I believe that only a mere handful of us find this story a call to virtuous action, it remains off the list.)
Are there human and other species examples which tell us how a defense against the paradox of thrift might look or feel? I think so. I’ll cite one example and hope for contributions from others.
I believe scientists call it “reciprocal altruism”. We might often describe it as the “hero instinct.” People knowingly-but-instinctively risk their own well-being in order to help others. It’s not hard to find examples. There’s the guy who jumped under a moving subway train to save a stranger . We call them heroes. We hold them in high esteem. While we generally disdain suicide, we are reverent toward heroic suicide. Also, we love stories of people who irrationally spend their riches or their meager resources to help others.
Beyond my stretch to include the parable uttered two thousand years ago, I don't recall stories that might cause us to revere people who spend profligately on themselves in order to help the larger economy in crisis. Apparently we need such stories. Outlandish? Well, why is it more outlandish to spend most of my savings to go private-goody-shopping in pursuit of common welfare than it is to spend the last breath of my life flinging myself over a grenade to save the lives of a few buddies? Clearly the goody-shopping sounds, to my ear, more outlandish. The reason, however, may be more temporal than eternal. The need for the grenade morality goes back perhaps a million years before there were grenades, whereas the need for my shopping spree has been rare, off-again more than on-again for only a few thousand years—too little time and consistency to embed an outland-ish ethic into instincts and inland-ish stories that drive our culture.
Thanks, NPR, for bringing us (Jan 30, 2009) the story of how Finland is trying to write a new morality tale urging spending over saving: Government officials signed on, and now the evil piggy bank is on posters. Finns see pro-spending commercials on TV.
=============
However, can this pitch top grandma's traditional lecture on the piggy bank--save, save, save? It can be found in the breeze everywhere, but NPR refers us especially to feedthepig.org.
=============

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Egyesült Hangok : USA Komives in Hungary, 1998

This picture is taken from the nametags we used in 1998 when the five children of Pete and Leona Komives went with several of their loved ones to Hungary to meet our Lörincz and Kőmìves relatives in Fertőszentmiklós. We also visited Sopron, Fertőd, Pannonhalma, and Győr as a group. .......... Look below the picture. There you can click to start a video which has images from the visit.
... for a music video of the background song, Egyesült Hangok, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1LUJu-P5IE You will hear the same beautiful music and also see the ensemble of popular Hungarian artists who gathered to sing it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hammer

Are you familiar with hammers of this type? What I know is that they were used by inspectors on the Northern Pacific Railway at Northtown Yards in Minneapolis into the 1960s. It was made by the blacksmith at Northtown. This hammer was my father's. I should somewhere have a smaller version that my father had the blacksmith make for me when I was a little kid. The genius of the hammer: the inspector could use the claw to remove the tack from a card on the side of a boxcar, place a new card, then, (using the hammer upside down with the tack secure in the claw) replace the tack without ever touching it. I saw this done the summer of 1961 when I worked on the section crew at Northtown. Was this tool a standard around the railroad world or restricted to one or a few places and railroads?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Inward Tilting Icicles :: Part V :: French Curl

The following photo came through as the last photo in a French PowerPoint presentation of prize photography: Sur_le_vif.pps or Sur_le_vif.ppt. (If anybody finds it on a web site let me know) Not only is it beautiful, but it challenges our wisdom of last winter. Is this merely the result of gradual slipping? Is it differential freeze and melt? Postscript: Peter the spelunker notes: Stalactites can do this also in caves. Since they grow from the inside out, a blockage of the water channel or wind directions change can lead to those formations.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Optimist Notes on Fort Collins






Economic Strengths Lead Fiscal Strengths and Quality Lifestyles Trump Lifestyle Centers



  by Bob Komives, 


    originally posted in May of 2008 
    (with response by Dan Gould, June 2008)



  

    .

    Economic Strengths Lead Fiscal Strengths Quality Lifestyles Trump Lifestyle Centers

    .

    History and pre-history show that no community can rest on its laurels. I say this to myself as I write a few thoughts behind my optimism for Fort Collins. I hear and read that the city has been out-flanked by commercial and residential development elsewhere in the region, that the city is in fiscal distress. My general responses to these comments are that spillover into other communities was inevitable, and Fort Collins is better set for the 21st Century than its neighbors. Fort Collins is best placed for quality of life and economy in the region for the decades ahead. I do not say continued success is guaranteed, but I do say that, despite doubts which come to my ears and eyes from both the pro-commerce and pro-quality factions of the community, I am optimistic -- very optimistic. My purpose in writing these notes is to get sporadic thoughts onto paper where they will less disrupt my gardening. My notes are provincial, local, so I supply a map in case a reader from outside the province needs a glimpse of provincial geography. Readers will find that some small items get too many words, some large items get too little thought, some important issues and places get nothing. I supply no data nor summary that could turn these notes into cogent argument. These limitations are compatible with my purpose; I hope they are tolerable to yours.

    .

    I. Fort Collins Has a Solid Tax Base.

    .

    Fort Collins has a core and several centers which support the breadth of the community: solid university and good schools, thriving downtown, developed high tech space and human capacity, growing county functions, and also commercial space that -- if struggling -- has infrastructure and locations to serve city-wide demand for quality of life.

    .

    I see Fort Collins and our neighbor Loveland as mutually supportive rivals. Loveland has a fringe phenomenon, Centerra at the "corner" of Interstate 25 and Highway 34-a large, tax-bountiful commercial and mixed-use development. Loveland deserves to capture more of the region's sales that have been siphoning to Fort Collins. Its challenge now is to convert the money entering its coffers toward investment (private and public) in the rest of the city, especially its historic core. In that sense it is behind Fort Collins. As Loveland catches up and the cities argue as to which is better, life will be better in both cities. A healthy Loveland is good for Fort Collins.

    .

    When we skim the fad and jargon off sustainable development and quality of life there remains a significant shift, just beginning, in how people wish to live and work.

    .

    The center of gravity along the spectrum of lifestyle choices shifts toward what we are generally calling quality of life -- a good term. Along the northern Front Range Fort Collins is the community best set up for this shift.

    .

    Some argue that the city, with its emphasis on building the cost of infrastructure and urban design into growth, has made development more costly than elsewhere in the region. If that is true, while results have not been perfect by anybody's standards, Fort Collins has less catching up to do than its neighbors and may claim to be on target or ahead with regard to many 21st century community needs. That is a great place to be today; it will be a great place to be when the struggling national economy takes off again and simultaneously the quality-of-life trend emerges as an every-day, parallel, dynamic phenomenon.

    .

    The nation of late has found several ways to recognize Fort Collins as a great place to live and work. Who can say if we deserve less or more accolade? Certainly it is not all fad and myth.

    .

    By some measures it must be true that people find here a quality of life that is better than what is readily available in many of the nation's cities.

    .

    If, as a consequence, families and businesses pay a quality-of-life premium here (a point to be argued) this is strength, not weakness. The quality reputation is somewhat self-reinforcing. People and businesses who believe they are in a special place are likely to expect more of themselves in the time, thoughtfulness, effort and money they must contribute to their neighbors and repay to their community. Such quality-of-life premium is also the place margin in local sales, and place margin is taxable.

    .

    Shops deliver supportive goods and services. In a closed economy their sales track well a community's wealth fluctuations. Thus, a general sales tax is a fairly good way to generate public income; it proportions taxes across the wealth spectrum of the citizens. In a web-global economy -- open to the region and the world with travel, delivery, and communication -- general sales work poorly as primary medium for taxation.

    .

    If Fort Collins has fiscal problems because of our dependence on sales tax during a time when shops are blooming to the southeast of the city this situation may prove beneficial. This mild kick-in-the-butt can again induce Fort Collins to show leadership among cities. Fort Collins can lead in finding the local fiscal answer to the web-global marketplace.

    .

    What a locality has most of is its locus. Fort Collins has neither less nor more locus, neither more nor less place than its regional neighbors, but many believe it has better place.

    .

    A version of the prisoners' dilemma points out that my investment in a deteriorating house, neighborhood, or city becomes irrational when there is doubt that others will invest. Their neglect causes general property devaluation that more than offsets the value of my improvements. Alternately, when others are investing and values are holding I don't have to be brilliant to make money with my investment. A better place tends to move upward of its own inertia, a bad place tends to spiral downward absent outside intervention.

    .

    In a web-global world, localities will best pay the cost of excellent maintenance and improvements if they tax the specific advantages of place rather than the generalities of sales.

    .

    The better a community the more advantage-of-place (place margin) there is to tax. I don't pretend to know how it will sort out, but increased dependence on property tax would seem to be an obvious revision in local fiscal planning. The old reasons for this dependence have returned in a new form. Some sales, however, are also place specific. These sales do not readily transfer out into the web-global market nor to another community: an excellent meal in popular local setting, live entertainment, arts, exercise, sport, well-located lodging, status activity, convenience activity, aesthetic activity, nostalgia activity. The art in taxing these is to keep the tax level to a point where provider and consumer continue to feel the product is not readily transferable and that quality is enhanced by resultant public investment. This is the place margin in local sales; Fort Collins will find it has an excellent place-margin tax base.

    . .

    II. Our Region Has Two Main Streets and One Alley.

    .

    This is indeed a time for regional cooperation among the northern Front Range towns and counties. Recently we failed in an attempt to form a regional transportation authority. Arguments have flown back and forth as to what the authority would do and why it failed. As to who caused the failure, Fort Collins, of course -- if you want only to bring the most popular shoe out of closet and make it fit. But, what is our region and how does it tie together?

    .

    What I haven't heard or seen mentioned in my admittedly cursory monitoring of this process is what I see as the fundamental flaw that will make us glad for the failure. The proposed region makes no sense. How can Fort Collins pretend to be fully invested in regional transportation planning unless neighbors Ault and Wellington, as well as little Pierce and Nunn are at the table and into the coffers? If I may anthropomorphize present and future opportunities and problems, they do not give a damn for whatever excuses explain why Ault, Wellington, Pierce and Nunn are not members. Until these communities are invited in or hauled in, Fort Collins is a handicapped participant and Regional Transportation Authority is a misnomer. There may be similar issues in defining other fringes of the region; I don't know.

    .

    A side note: I believe the failed regional transportation authority was also flawed because it tried to combine highway and transit in one organization. I see that as bad civics. Authorities can be efficient organizations to handle specific functions, however, the debate over how to split resources between transit and highway should be kept out in the open rather than behind the remote doors of an authority. We would be better served by a Transit Authority and a Highway Authority that are mandated in their charters to cooperate on joint projects. This arrangement will be more understandable and more accessible to the voting public.

    .

    I-25 is such a massive piece of infrastructure in the region and it attracts so much development attention that one may think of it as the spine of the region. I did until recently. However, the northern Front Range region makes more sense, in history and future, when we see I-25 is the alley backing up two main streets. The main streets are: Union-Pacific-Highway-85 on the east, and Colorado-Southern (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Highway-287 serving the west. The east-west connections to and across the alley between UP85 and CS287 are important, but they do not define the region. While they sound too much like isotopes, I am going to nickname our main streets UP85 and CS287.

    ...

    ......

    ...

    .

    It is Greeley and main street UP85 that make this point most clearly to me. The once-vital communities along that UP85 corridor are, by Colorado standards, depressed. These communities are neighbors in geography and history. Greeley is the northern hub. Its University of Northern Colorado is growing in importance and is becoming a nice parallel to Colorado State University of Fort Collins. When main street UP85 catches the wealth engine of the northern Front Range, Greeley will benefit far more than the distant Centerra node along the alley at the corners of I-25 and Highway 34. Greeley will out compete Centerra for the regional benefits from a rising UP85. It is too well placed not to. A healthy Greeley is good for Fort Collins.

    .

    Rebirth of main street UP85 may happen slowly of its own inertia, but current depression along the corridor is a matter of statewide concern. The communities along UP85 will demand, deserve and receive helpful attention from the state. Federal interest will rise also as the battle between parties to represent the 4th congressional district gets more even with each election. Our delegation in Washington will increase pressure on federal agencies to help Greeley and the northern reach of main street UP85.

    .

    To dip again into current jargon, it is through Greeley along main street UP85 that a sustainable-quality-of-life revival can happen. Centerra has had to start with bare earth at the interchange between Interstate 25 and Highway 34. Centerra is making a valiant attempt, but its planners and promoters cannot create 21st century quality of life at a loading zone along a mid-20th century alley.

    .

    The early 20th century main streets will do so quite nicely--Fort Collins in the lead. Centerra serves main street CS287 better than UP85. Yet, as main street CS287 blossoms from Fort Collins, through Loveland, Campion, Berthoud and Longmont, Centerra will be outflanked on the west as well. Traditional and developing commercial areas (some off main street) in Fort Collins are proximate to housing. That is the key relationship in quality-of-life development and evolution. Why drive by these shopping opportunities to shop along the I-25 alley? For most people on most occasions it will not make sense to do so. It makes even less sense for people who prefer transit. For those who walk and bicycle on errands it becomes ridiculous. I believe Centerra and its I-25-Highway-34 alley node are well-enough designed to survive inevitable downturns. The I-25 alley should evolve and remain vital to the region. However, our main streets will be more vital and more important.

    .

    .

    III. Add It Up; Fort Collins Has More and Better Space for 21st Century Development.

    .

    Over the past couple of decades residential and commercial development jumped out of Fort Collins as our best bare-ground developable space filled up. Alas, we have sprawled and used up much of our logical room for expansive development. We have also put in place some inefficient tracts with too few amenities and tracts of too-large houses. Some of these will age well, others will suffer, decline, and eventually require suburban renewal. However, again, Fort Collins will likely face fewer such problems than its neighbors and perhaps be more able to focus attention on finding solutions. I am concerned about this legacy of sprawl, however in these notes I am more interested in the mixtures of land use that will define quality-of-life development in the decades ahead.

    .

    As counter point to sprawl we have managed to reinforce and to put in place some intimate neighborhoods that include higher densities with better access to shopping, school and work than were typical in the late 20th century. These neighborhoods should evolve well in the decades ahead. When it comes to our potential to mix housing, schools, commerce, recreation and jobs into neighborhoods that efficiently enhance city life style and city budget Fort Collins is rich in opportunity. The result can be called growth; we are not going to eliminate the growth debate. Yet, I believe Fort Collins is primed for the kinds of change that can soften the debate between pro-commerce and pro-quality-of-life factions.

    .

    Our quality priming can be ascribed to many actions, but there are two that stand out to me -- two decisions this community has made that will be beyond debate for their prescience and which will return dividends for generations to come. One is the rerouting of the Dry Creek flood way on the north of the City. The other is the Mason Street transit, recreational, and commercial corridor.

    .

    The Dry Creek project recently came on line. Only hints of the Mason Street Corridor are visible today. Together these projects make several square miles of prime pre-developed land and infrastructure ripe for redevelopment. The size and quality of these prime areas will be difficult for other towns in the region to match-either with bare ground or redevelopment potential. Redevelopment is, of course, development. It can be less expensive than bare ground development, and, most importantly, it can be easier to fashion into the type of sustainable quality-of-life that will prosper in coming decades.

    .

    Downtown Fort Collins is a good model. I believe downtown will remain our gem because the areas primed for redevelopment converge on downtown, enhancing it as focus of the city.

    .

    While nobody I have talked to seems to remember Dry Creek being wet, let alone having a flood, it drains a huge basin from the north and has tremendous flash flood potential. The city has diverted this potential into the Cache la Poudre River west of the center of town. In this part of the country floods in one drainage often, if not usually, leave neighboring drainages with little more water than normal. This capriciousness in our weather and the fact that the Cache la Poudre River has a far greater capacity than Dry Creek mean that this diversion is not a matter of flooding-Poudre-to-keep-Paul-dry. The result of the diversion is to free North College, the old airport, the heart of East Mulberry Street, and areas between from the practical problems and disincentives for investment that burden a flood zone.

    .

    The city and active business owners have been preparing under-utilized North College for redevelopment. This is the head of our CS287 main street. Now, out of the flood plain, it is set to mature and prosper. The "North Bank" will be an exciting place to live, shop, and work-a great complement to Old Town on the South Bank. I suspect the change will be more evolution than revolution, improving chances that the North Bank retain some its socio-economic and use diversity. If so, it will be a special place indeed.

    .

    As the once-floodplain moves eastward it frees the historic residential neighborhood of Alta Vista from the threat of floods. Then it passes through the once-airport and the existing light industrial area. Here is a large piece of land ripe for intensive mixed-use development. The once-floodplain then crosses East Mulberry Street before joining the river near Timberline road. Current underdevelopment along East Mulberry is obvious as it runs three miles from the city's historic core to Interstate 25; it begs for change.

    .

    Annexation by the city, removal of flood plain designation, and pending redevelopment of the once-airport make the East Mulberry corridor attractive for investment and rich in urban design opportunity. I tend to forget that the Cache la Poudre River is part of the corridor for a long stretch. The recreational, and open-space investments made by the city along this eastern reach of the river will become integral to mixed-use quality-of-life redevelopment of East Mulberry. The river will be rediscovered again and again, and we will marvel at the city's foresight.

    .

    Somewhat magically, as the river becomes prominent the Mulberry corridor will change in image and function from an old, isolated commercial strip to become an obvious entry and annex to downtown.

    .

    The Mason Street Corridor Project may prove to be the poster child for northern Front Range main-street renaissance. The corridor was born in the creative thinking of my friend Dan Gould. While the concept was temporarily shot down by opponents who portrayed it as a good-for-nothing transit project, the community has come to see Dan's original vision of a multi-use economic rebirth along the historic north-south spine of Fort Collins. The results will include housing, shopping, business and recreation. All will be served by an efficient transit system, a bicycle corridor, and pedestrian amenities. Existing 20th century developments along its way will benefit, as will recent private investment that did not wait for corridor improvements. Incentives to renew and diversify land uses on a 21st century model will increase rapidly when public improvements to the corridor are in place. Impacts will broaden to College Avenue and into the neighborhood of the Foothills Mall (not just the mall itself). The success of this corridor from downtown to Harmony Avenue will push the corridor's extension into Loveland--a benefit to both cities. This north-south success will lead to transit enhancement and increased diversity and amenity along perpendicular (east-west) corridors.

    .

    Of course, we could blow the opportunities opened by the Dry Creek and Mason Corridor improvements. We could do mundane, isolated, unsustainable, politically divisive developments that detract from the old city core and from the river. But why expect such? Rather, let's expect and insist that public investment and private investment will be brilliant and sensitive as the areas merit?

    .

    ========================================= ========================================= ========================================= =========================================

    .

    OPTIMIZING OPTIMISM - THE NEXT STEPS -

    Response: Dan Gould

    RE: Optimistic Notes on Fort Collins.

    . .

    The "2 Main Streets and an Alley"

    .

    This concept provides a strong basis for laying out a vision for a North Front Range Colorado Regional Plan. The notion of Main Street has been kidnapped, held hostage and defiled by the I-25 development marketers. Main Street needs to be liberated and restored to its original status as the organizing force for land use and transportation development. This natural process need to continue and be updated for 21st century needs. The Main streets (and Mainstreet Corridors) can accommodate mass transit, bicyclists, pedestrians and automobiles and still remain in compact, efficient development forms at a human scale. Compact development patterns can promote both high quality of life characteristics and efficient use of energy and natural resources.

    .

    Interstate Highway System development has been an organizing force with many negative land-use outcomes. Such patterns lack human-scale qualities and are hostile to many basic human activities like strolling, conversation and congregating in community places. Bicycling and walking are precluded. Sprawling, wasteful land-use patterns result. Future energy and natural resource conservation needs will not be met with the Interstate Highway style development pattern.

    .

    .

    How to Brand Main Street - A Hard Job.

    .

    The terms CS287 and UP85 capture the essence of the 2 organizing spines of the North Front Range Region. These terms, encompassing the names of each highway-railroad couplet, are accurate - but they lack soul. I'm not sure how to better capture the spirit and significance of our regional Main Streets, but here's a list of them by their present names. Each of these Main Streets are in close proximity to the corresponding CS or UP rail line and are either part of, or close to, the corresponding state highway.

    .

    For CS287 we have: Cleveland Avenue (Wellington), College Avenue (Fort Collins), Cleveland Avenue (Loveland), Mountain Avenue (Berthoud), Main Street (Longmont).

    .

    For UP85 we have: First Street (Pierce), First Avenue (Ault), Oak Avenue (Eaton), Elm Street (Lucerne), Eighth Avenue (Greeley), State Street (Evans), First Street (LaSalle), Ash and Railroad St. (Gilcrest), Grand Avenue (Platteville), North Denver Avenue (Fort Lupton), Main Street (Brighton).

    .

    These names conjure up a vision of a good place - a place where people can stroll or chat or shop.

    .

    I'm not sure how to capture the city/town nature of these corridors in a name.

    .

    The Interstate Service Alley - An Essential 21st Century Facility for Freight Transportation

    .

    Rail will be the preferred interstate and regional freight transportation mode of the future. Intermodal capability and fuel efficiency will be the key advantages. Trains can move a ton of freight 423 miles on a single gallon of fuel (CSX webpage). Rail can eventually be adapted to electric power supplied from non-fossil fuel sources. Short-haul trucks could run on biofuels and will be used to move freight from to and from rail facilities.

    .

    Redeveloping I-25 into a modern freight alley corridor will achieve many advantages. One of the most important is the relocation of thru-freight train operations from the CS287 and UP85 urban zones to the Alley Zone. This will allow the development of passenger commuter rail in the urban zones and foster appropriate transit-oriented development. Major efficiencies of freight and passenger rail operations and maintenance can be gained from this switch.

    .

    I-25 interchange and roadway capacity needs for trucking can be optimized. These will likely to involve serving intermodal short hauls between the Main Street urban zones and the Service Alley.

    .

    Aviation Intermodal freight opportunities exist with present Interstate Highway connections to Denver International Airport and Fort Collins Loveland Municipal Airport.

    .

    Land-use of the I-25 Alleyway should emphasize distribution logistics infrastructure, including associated activities like vehicle dealers and maintenance facilities. The Ports to Plains Corridor, under the auspices of departments of transportation of 4 states (Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Colorado), is intended to provide a transportation corridor between Mexico, the USA and Canada (see summary in the following Appendix). Extension of the Ports to Plains Corridor north from Denver along the North Front Range I-25 Alley would be advantageous.

    . .

    A Regional Planning Process - Beyond RTA Gridlock -

    .

    I agree that transit and highway planning and funding should be considered separately. It would make more sense to settle on a 21st Century Vision of the Region in terms of land-use and transportation together. Then invent the tools needed to meet the various needs.

    .

    It's notable that there seems to be a move to start a Regional Planning Process. See accompanying article in the appendix from the Reporter Herald describing a visioning process call "Embrace Colorado".

    .

    The regional planning process should focus on the end-point of economic viability/sustainability. Even though land-use and transportation policy decisions underpin the planning outcomes, more citizen interest groups are likely to support the process if it is framed in economic viability/sustainability terms. An important part of the public process will be agreement on likely future scenarios for energy sources, carbon dioxide regulation, and agricultural trade patterns that will affect our economic viability/sustainability future.

    . .

    Appendix

    .

    compiled by Dan Gould.

    1. http://www.portstoplainscorridor.com/

    .

    The Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21) designated the Ports to Plains Corridor as one of 43 "High Priority Corridors" in the United States. The corridor begins at the Texas/Mexico border in Laredo and stretches through the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado to Denver. As with other "High Priority Corridors," the Ports to Plains Corridor is important because of its direct connection with the Mexico border and potential to attract and serve existing and future travel demands associated with NAFTA/international trade.

    . .

    2. Regional planning - "Embrace Colorado"http://www.reporterherald.com/news_story.asp?id=16888 Publish Date: 5/20/2008

    .

    Nonprofit Embrace Colorado seeks public input to mold future by Cara O'Brien, The Reporter-Herald

    .

    It's time for the region's residents to take the future into their own hands, according to one Northern Colorado organization. And the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization is kicking off a new nonprofit to mold the future of the area.

    .

        "It's getting everybody to work together,"

    said John Daggett, planning manager for the organization.

        "It's to maintain and protect, but also to create, a really, really special place." 

    .

    The organization is launching Embrace Colorado, a nonprofit that, over the next 18 to 24 months, will work with the residents of Northern Colorado to craft a vision and then figure out how to make the vision real. The North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization is holding local meetings around the area to showcase results from the recent regional summit, as well as discuss Embrace Colorado.

    .

    Daggett said the idea for Embrace Colorado came from the failed Regional Transportation Authority efforts, as well as the regional summit discussions from Gov. Bill Ritter and Sen. Ken Salazar.

    .

        "We have lots of things in common, and yet it's often our differences that keep us from succeeding,"

    Daggett said.

        "Embrace Colorado is designed to help facilitate cooperation and collaboration between citizens in Northern Colorado on a variety of issues." 

    .

    Over the next 18 to 24 months the organization, which does not yet have any funding, will hold around 250 public meetings.

    .

    The public will be surveyed on its values, and people will be asked to map out the future of the region as they would like to see it.

    .

    At the end of the process, the public will be asked to vote on a short list of scenarios for the future, choosing one to focus on.

    .

    That scenario could include everything from the desire to make Northern Colorado a leader in the clean energy industry, to the desire for more trails or better roads.

    .

        "What it is about is learning to cooperate with one another and having a common vision about what we're headed towards and what we're trying to accomplish,"

    Daggett said.

    .

    He said Embrace Colorado will also compile data on trends in the region, projecting out to 2050.

    .

    Then the organization will analyze what the data mean. For example, what will it mean for the housing supply in the region if current trends in homebuilding continue?

    .

    And what will the aging workforce mean for the future of employment in the region?

    .

        "You can go to the future and you can understand what it will be like based on some decisions that are being made today," 

    Daggett said. And despite the daunting nature of this task, Daggett said he believes it can be done. He said it has been done. Similar organizations in Sacramento, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Austin, Texas, have had success.

    .

        "The real payoff is being able to have a future that most of us want. And figuring out ways to get there,"

    Daggett said.

        "That may mean funding things or it may mean thinking about stuff ... or it may mean influencing the development community or our elected officials to help us realize that vision." 

    .

    And while whatever decisions are made will need governmental buy-in, Daggett wants Embrace Colorado to be about as many people as possible, and not just elected officials.

        "The goal at the end is that you can get a lot of things done,"

    he said,

        "because you've involved a lot of people." 




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