Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Last night was my final Steering Committee Meeting with the Committee for Fair Elections. I didn't really want to go, seeing as I'm moving to Japan in 10 days (gulp), but Shirin made me go so that I could update the blog and collect any incoming petitions.
She totally tricked me. She only made me come so that they could give me a cake and wish me well. Thanks, Everybody. It was a great six months.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Sunday, October 30, 2005
I promise I'll come back in 2008 to help get Hilary elected to the White House.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Re: Bush defends gulf drilling compromise, Oct. 7.
I'm truly sorry that Gov. Jeb Bush, who recently said, "I don't know who the League of Conservation Voters are," has missed the great work that we have been doing for the past 35 years on behalf of candidates all over America - candidates who consistently support our environment. In Florida, we have 16,000 supporters and an Orlando office with a full-time staff working every day to inform the public about environmental issues and the voting records of their elected officials.
While we understand 2004 was a busy year for the governor, allow me to give a glimpse of what the league was able to accomplish in the Sunshine State:
284,383 doors knocked on.
110,459 contacts made.
Bolstered by a multimillion-dollar TV ad campaign the last two weeks of the campaign, the largest single state ad buy in the history of the environmental movement, 800 league volunteers knocked on 83,000 doors the final weekend of the campaign. Who noticed?
". . . the League of Conservation Voters . . . launched . . . a $3-million TV ad buy in Florida, attacking oil drilling off the state's coast." - Wall Street Journal, Oct. 21, 2004.
"But the Democrats are bolstered by tens of thousands of paid staffers and volunteers working with a coalition of organizations formed to unseat (President) Bush . . . The League of Conservation Voters is one of the better known." - Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 25, 2004.
We're truly sorry that Gov. Bush did not have the opportunity to observe our work on behalf of pro-environment candidates.
-- Deb Callahan, president, League of Conservation Voters, Washington, D.C.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Gov. Bush Joins Rep. Katherine Harris On Florida Varsity Flip-Flop Team
The Flip-Flops On Offshore Oil Drilling Keep Coming
WASHINGTON - The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) today announced that Gov. Jeb Bush has joined Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) on the Florida Varsity Flip-Flop Team with his sudden reversal on coastal drilling. Now a supporter of drilling rigs off Florida beaches, Gov. Bush had in the past said "there will be no drilling in the Lease Sale 181 Area off the coast of Florida under my watch." ("Gov. Bush reverses stance, now supports oil drilling rigs in eastern Gulf of Mexico," Orlando Sentinel, 10/5/05).
With a possible vote in the House on new energy legislation in the coming weeks, LCV also calls on Rep. Harris to clarify her own inconsistent position on drilling for oil off the Sunshine State coast.
This past April, Rep. Harris voted for an energy bill that could have paved the way for drilling off Florida's coast by weakening an important safeguard against new drilling projects, the Coastal Zone Management Act. Then, in a political makeover after deciding to seek higher office, she introduced a largely symbolic bill to ban drilling off Florida's coasts and voted against the final energy bill.
Most recently Rep. Harris contradicted herself when her spokesperson said that "the congresswoman's position is firm [against drilling]." In the next paragraph of the same news story, Rep. Harris left open the door to allowing oil drilling just over 100 miles from Florida's coastlines, when she said she was "willing to listen" to arguments by drilling proponents ("Florida could bow to drilling," Orlando Sentinel, 9/19/05).
"With yesterday's comments, Gov. Bush joins Rep. Katherine Harris on the Florida varsity flip-flop team," said LCV Florida Campaign Manager Shirin Bidel-Niyat. "As the debate about a new energy bill moves forward in Congress in the coming weeks, the question for Rep. Harris is: will you side with Florida families who want to protect the state's coasts or with the oil industry and Gov. Bush who would rather erect drilling rigs?"
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
The tent kept us mostly dry, but my beautiful LCV display got ruined. It was too windy to stand it on the table, so I had hung it from the tent. The rain and wind split it into three pieces.
Like I said, the rain eventually stopped and we started drawing people into our tent in no time. As is usual when LCV has a table, our tent wasn't big enough to fit all of the people trying to get in. We couldn't hand out the sign up sheets fast enough.
We also had several people sign redistricting petitions. It was great. I would pass out a clipboard to three or four people at once and then they would all sign as I told them about the petition.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
We held the event at Albert Park in the College Park neighborhood of Orlando. We expected about 30 solar enthusiants to show up all day. We were pleasantly surprised to have over 150 people attend!
The event was hosted by the Central Florida Renewable Energy Society. The League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, and All Solar co-sponsored the event. Sierra and LCV discussed issues relating to alternative energy and the environment while All Solar had several solar panels on display.
Here are just a few shots from throughout the day:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can we get electricity from the sun?
A: When certain semiconducting materials, such as certain kinds of silicon, are exposed to sunlight they release small amounts of electricity. This process is known as the photoelectric effect. The photoelectric effect refers to the emission, or ejection, of electrons from the surface of a metal in response to light. It is the basic physical process in which a solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) cell converts sunlight to electricity.
Q: What are the components of a photovoltaic (PV) system?
A: A PV system is made up of different components. These include PV modules (groups of PV cells), which are commonly called PV panels; an inverter to change direct current (DC) into alternating currect (AC) for a utility-grid-connected system; batteries and charge regulator or controller for a stand-alone system; wiring; and mounting hardware or a framework.
Q: How long do photovoltaic (PV) systems last?
A: A PV system that is designed, installed, and maintained well will operate for more than 20 years. The basic PV module (interconnected, enclosed panel of PV cells) has no moving parts and can last more than 30 years. The best way to ensure and extend the life and effectiveness of your PV system is by having it installed and maintained properly.
Q: What is the difference between PV and other solar energy technologies?
A: There are four main types of solar energy technologies:
- Photovoltaic (PV) Systems, which convert sunlight directly to electricity by means of PV cells made of semiconductor materials.
- Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Systems, which concentrate the sun's energy using reflective devices such as troughs or mirror panels to produce heat that is then used to generate electricity.
- Solar Thermal Water Heating Systems, which contain a solar collector that faces the sun and either heats water directly or heats a "working fluid" that, in turn, is used to heat water.
- Transpired Solar Collectors, or "solar walls," which use solar energy to preheat ventilation air for a building.
For more visit the Department of Energy website at www.energy.gov
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Article published on September 12, 2005
Building more refineries not the answer to gas shortages
I can not believe that some people are trying to use the disruption of the oil industry in the Gulf region as a reason to build more oil refineries and to drill off the coast of Florida.
This will only increase our dependence on non-renewable, polluting energy sources. That is how we got into this mess in the first place.
I know that nobody likes paying $3 for a gallon of gas, but it is folly to assume that increasing our dependence on fossil fuels will solve our energy problems. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity.
We need to focus on conservation to get us through this crisis in the short run and on renewable, non-polluting alternative energy sources to solve our energy needs in the long run.
- Angelo Villagomez
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Monday, September 26, 2005
Article published September 22, 2005
Only Nelson got it right on mercury rule
We applaud Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Melbourne, for voting last week to protect the health of women and children from toxic mercury pollution.
By rejecting the Bush administration's harmful mercury pollution rule, he put the health of 35 million Americans, including more than 3 million children who live near mercury-emitting power plants, ahead of corporate polluters.
Unfortunately, Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Orlando, sided with utility industry special interests and voted for the administration's mercury plan.
Floridians and all Americans deserve strong clean air standards for dangerous mercury pollution.
We commend Nelson for standing up for his constituents.
Florida League of
Article published September 25, 2005
Homeowners step into spotlight to extol virtues of sunlight
A tour of 3 homes and a school on Saturday
joins a nationwide drive to spread the word.
Peggy Musial Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted September 25, 2005
Looks can be deceiving, as New York transplant Andrew Brown discovered when buying his first home last September.
That's not necessarily a bad thing.
He loved the architectural design and open floor plan. The 1,922-square-foot, two-story home was bigger than nearby properties, but it didn't stick out as being unusual.
Digging deeper, he discovered this property was the "Orlando House," built in 2002 by the city as a demonstration home to meet strict energy-efficiency standards and green-building guidelines. Another plus, he thought.
He bought the house mostly because of the downtown location and aesthetics. Yet, a year later, the benefits of choosing this particular home keep adding up.
"Living in this home, I'm absolutely aware of what I'm doing," he says, and not just because he's paying the electric bills -- which average what he paid for an 800-square-foot apartment.
"I really try to conserve water, recycle what I can -- for everybody's sake. This is a home for Florida's future."
On Saturday, he's opening his doors to spread the word about energy conservation and eco-minded living as Orlando for the first time partners with communities in more than 40 states for the 10th annual National Solar Tour. Across the nation, communities, schools and residents are staging events simultaneously to bring home the idea that solar energy is a viable, nonpolluting and cost-saving alternative to fossil fuels.
The Solar Tour Orlando venue, presented by the Central Florida Renewable Energy Society, begins at 9 a.m. at Albert Park on Edgewater Drive in College Park, followed by a self-paced driving tour to three local solar-savvy homes and to Edgewater High School, which uses solar electric panels.
At the fair, visitors can learn about the science and politics of solar technology in general. More specifically, visitors can walk away from the tour knowing the difference and benefits of solar electric power -- or photovoltaics -- and solar thermal power, which is used to heat water, says event organizer Craig Williams. The potential to generate solar power in Florida is tremendous, he says.
"What better way to promote living in the Sunshine State?" Williams asks.
Raising public awareness -- about solar energy, political advocacy and alternative energy sources -- is what the fair and tour are all about, says Williams.
"Sunshine is Florida's most abundant natural resource. It's there for all of us."
Presenters from the energy society will talk about solar electric rooftop systems. Visitors also will learn how to take advantage of the new federal 30 percent solar tax credit of up to $2,000 for using solar thermal and solar electric systems, Williams says.
David Bessette of Allsolar Service Co. Inc. in Orlando will have a miniature solar hot water system and solar electric system on display to show the components and demonstrate how these systems connect to a home. Consultants also will talk about how a solar hot water system can save upwards of 25 percent on each electric bill and pay for itself in less than five years.
Members of the Central Florida Sierra Club will be on hand to emphasize the importance of renewable energy for the environment, the economy and national security.
Also, energy advocates from the League of Conservation Voters will talk about public policy.
"With the right kind of public policy for rebates and incentives, this [solar] technology has been proven to thrive in other states, and it most certainly should be a major part of any energy plan for Florida," Williams says.
Then, at 10 a.m. the road tour begins.
Setting an example
If the sun's out, tour-goers can watch electric meters spin backward at two of the downtown residences -- an energy-efficiency option that puts money back in the homeowner's pockets. Excess solar-generated electricity collected from these systems flows into the Orlando Utility Commission's grid, adding to the utility's reserve.
One homeowner on the tour, Dr. Robert Stonerock, built his Lancaster Park home in 1996 using two solar thermal systems to heat water and one solar photovoltaic system to run ceiling fans and lights on one side of the house.
In 2001, he installed a second solar electric system, taking advantage of the Florida Solar Energy Center Rebate program, which connected this system to the OUC grid and nets him a $50 credit each month on his electric bill.
Stonerock expects people will ask him if the $60,000 solar system is worth the investment. Absolutely, he'll say. He uses 25 percent less grid electricity with solar equipment, he says, although the reason he chose solar power isn't based entirely on economics. In fact, he says, the economic return for using solar electricity today isn't competitive with using fossil fuels, although it is getting better.
Solar hot water savings, on the other hand, are competitive in today's market, he says.
"I could have bought a Lexus for enjoyment, but instead I bought a solar system because it's the right thing to do. I wanted to set an example for others," he says.
Another benefit presented itself during last year's barrage of three hurricanes: Stonerock was able to run most appliances in his home and take hot showers while his neighbors waited out the power outages.
At Brown's home, Joe Sandley, project manager for the Orlando House, will explain how the home was designed to meet strict energy-saving standards, including sustainability, energy efficiency, use of recycled materials, affordability and environmental friendliness.
Brown's home is equipped with a solar water-heating unit. Visitors also can glimpse other energy-efficient aspects of the home, such as the metal roof, termite-resistant bamboo flooring and the Energy Star appliances and windows.
The home, which was constructed on an infill site, also was intentionally built to show that traditional design and environmentally-minded construction materials can blend seamlessly in a residential neighborhood. The home received Energy Star and Florida Green Building Coalition certifications as well as the Gold Ring Rating set by OUC for energy efficiency.
The downtown road tour should take from two to three hours, Williams estimates, depending on how long visitors stay at each home.
Carpooling, which just about goes without saying, is encouraged.
Copyright 2005, Orlando Sentinel Get home delivery - up to 50% off
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Article published September 21, 2005
We applaud Sen. Bill Nelson for voting this week to protect the health of women and children across the country from toxic-mercury pollution. By rejecting the Bush administration's harmful mercury-pollution rule, he put the health of 35 million people, including more than 3 million children who live near a mercury-emitting power plant, ahead of corporate polluters. Mercury can cause brain damage and pose health risks to pregnant women and children. Additionally, fish and other wildlife in the Everglades are contaminated every year.
Unfortunately, Sen. Mel Martínez sided with utility-industry special interests and voted for the administration's mercury plan, which would allow more toxic pollution to be emitted into the air and, eventually, bodies of water for years to come.
Florida campaign coordinator
League of Conservation Voters
Saturday, September 17, 2005
FieldWorks developed the League of Conservation Voters first-ever national grassroots program-the Environmental Victory Project. From September of 2003, FieldWorks guided LCV through every step of the process of setting up a large field operation in Wisconsin, Oregon, Florida, and New Mexico, that mobilized over 5000 volunteers, knocked on 1.2 million doors, and spoke directly with half a million voters at their homes in the summer and fall of 2004 as part of the America Votes coalition. LCV's was widely regarded as one of the most productive and effective field operations on the 527 side in 2004. It was so successful and impressive, in fact, that the WI staff was tapped by ACT and America Votes to run the statewide Election Day volunteer operation.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Article published September 6, 2005
Harris reverses on drilling issue
Re: "Nelson, Harris all over issue of drilling," Aug. 29:
Although Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Longboat Key) says she has "consistently opposed drilling off our shores," a close examination of her voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives shows some clear inconsistencies with respect to this critical issue for Florida.
Both in June 2003 and April 2004, Rep. Harris voted for an energy bill that could have paved the way for drilling off Florida's coast by weakening an important safeguard against new drilling projects, the Coastal Zone Management Act. In the early 1990s, then-Gov. Lawton Chiles invoked the management act twice to stop drilling projects, including one less than 15 miles off the coast of Pensacola, arguing that "the potential environmental and economic hazards of a spill outweighed the benefits."
Only after going through her recent Senate campaign makeover has Rep. Harris changed her tune, first introducing a largely symbolic bill to ban drilling off Florida's coasts and then voting against the final energy bill. Rep. Harris' blatant flip-flop on this issue raises serious questions about her commitment to protecting Florida's beaches and coastal communities from the potentially devastating impact of an oil spill. Does Rep. Harris side with Florida families or with the oil and gas industry?
Florida campaign manager
League of Conservation Voters
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Article published August 14, 2005
U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris claimed that she will never waver when it comes to protecting Florida's coastline from offshore oil drilling. Yet, in April she voted for an energy bill that would have paved the way for drilling off Florida's coast by weakening the safeguards against new drilling projects.
Later, she voted against the final energy bill, which included an inventory of offshore oil and gas along our nation's coastlines. This stinks of a political makeover for her Senate campaign.
I don't trust Harris to protect our coastlines. Will she side with Floridians or with oil and gas companies?
CHARLES CHAMBERLAIN, Miami
Thursday, August 04, 2005
This picture is on the E-fest website. If you look very closely, you can see my distinctively large head. I am on the right wide of the picture, talking to a girl in a pink skirt.
Kind of scary, huh? Makes you wonder where else your image might be published...
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Article published July 17, 2005
Harris' vote protects polluters
Rep. Katherine Harris has voted again to bail out the makers of the gasoline additive, MTBE. This dangerous chemical has contaminated drinking water in her district, and recently the Environmental Protection Agency declared MTBE a likely human carcinogen.
The energy bill in the House protects the makers and refiners of MTBE from any product liability, which means affected communities and taxpayers will have to pick up the bill for billions of dollars in cleanup expenses.
Katherine Harris, who has received campaign contributions from MTBE interests -- including Tom DeLay's PAC and oil and gas companies -- that support the MTBE liability waiver, has failed to shield the taxpayers and public health from ground-water pollution.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Monday, June 27, 2005
It all started in the first week of March 2004. I heard that Kerry was going to be in Orlando, so I found out where, got my name on the guest list, and showed up to hear him speak.
The number of people at this townhall meeting style rally was unbelievable. There must have been over 2000 people standing in line. I was one of the lucky few that got into the rally.
I saw Kerry about a week later in Ybor.
I went to a Bush Rally towards the end of March. I had intended to raise a ruckus inside the rally, but the 20 people that I had recruited all bailed on me at the last minute.
Then I got involved with LCV.
The rest is history.
It was also National I'm Embarrassed by my President Day. We handed out brown armbands to any one that was sick and tired of all the bullshit coming out of the White House.
It was a great day.
I've been hooked on direct action ever since.