A week ago, Monday, March 2, your author attended the Mayor's Town Hall meeting at the Manhattan Beach Joslyn Community Center organized by outgoing Mayor Nancy Hersman entitled "The Challenge of Climate Change."
There were the usual computer graphics displaying a global map of rising temperatures worldwide, followed by other slides of rising sea levels and beaches that will have receded by the year 2100 (see graphic below).
And there were some useful tips on reducing your carbon footprint, although one of the suggestions - reducing your meat intake, which the meeting handouts claimed could save 3.5 tons of carbon dioxide annually - might have had more impact had the meeting's organizers coordinated with the caterer, who was serving ham and cheese and roast beef sandwiches (not complaining, they were delish).
And there was at least one obvious (to us) misstatement in the handouts where it stated that US households are responsible for 20% of global CO2 emissions.
Uh, not exactly, given that the US is responsible for about 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions (of which the major element is CO2) and it's 20% of that total which is directly attributable to US household consumption.
So, by our math, that comes to about 3% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions that is due to US households, not 20%.
C'mon, Nancy, who did the math on your handouts, Brian Williams?
In the end, I came away from the event thinking that, while this is all well and good when you're talking about voluntary action by individual residents, the impact of any steps I might take to reduce my personal carbon footprint is infinitesimal and inconsequential in the face of a global man-made output of 53.5 billion metric tons annually (as of 2017).
Even if everyone starts driving electric vehicles and installs solar panels on their homes, as ex-Mayor Hersman has done (and which she was quick to virtue-signal at the last Council meeting), all that's needed is for China to commission one of their 245 new coal-fired power plants currently under construction and the impact would dwarf 10,000 Manhattan Beaches. FYI, China's output is 29% (and rising) of global green house gas emissions (roughly double the total US output).
But what struck us was the townhall gathering had the feel of a tent revival as the environmentally woke whooped and cheered when oceanographer Juliette Hart and the City Environmental Sustainability Manager, Dana Murray, were introduced. Apparently, almost everyone in the room was endowed with the faith of true believers that hands' down the most serious problem facing Manhattan Beach and our quality of life right now is climate change.
Hallelujah, can I get an Amen... and a Tesla!
The following evening, in two separate instances right around the time City Council was wrapping up their meeting (which included the installation of Richard Montgomery as new Mayor, replacing Hersman in the rotation), three thugs from out of the area robbed at gunpoint and pistol-whipped two of our neighbors on the streets of Manhattan Beach!
Funny, but I don't recall the ex-Mayor - or anyone on City Council, for that matter - marshaling city resources to hold a townhall on public safety and crime. In fact, when was the last time these issues even came up in Council chambers? Apparently, the rising local crime rate will only hit their radar if someone is shot or killed (and even then it's questionable).
Not to worry, however. It's our understanding the muggers were driving a stolen electric vehicle which not only allowed them to reduce their carbon footprint but also allowed them use of the all access lane for their freeway getaway.
And by not firing their weapon, they proved themselves to be responsible environmental stewards by not releasing toxic discharge gases into the air and by not contaminating nearby soil (or their victims) with the residual lead from bullets.
In fact, if it turns out the assailants are also vegetarians who wear sustainable and locally-made hoodies, we fully expect Hersman and Alexandria Ocasio Stern to invite them to speak at a follow-up townhall meeting, tentatively titled "The Challenge of Environmentally Sensitive Mugging a/k/a The Green New Steal."
In all seriousness, there is a clear misplacement of priorities down at City Hall. Yes, climate change is a thing. But so are the very immediate risks of a rising homeless population and a rising crime rate with community concerns heightened by brutal robberies and brazen burglaries like the one last year when two thugs invaded a Hill section home at noon on a Saturday and ransacked it while the owners were away but their children were in the house in the very next room (read more here at The Long Slow Slide to San Francisco).
We think public safety should be Council's Priority #1. If that entails devoting more city revenues to hiring more patrol officers at MBPD or upgrading city-wide lighting, video camera and license-plate reader resources, well, Council might start by canceling all those expensive 100% green electric rate contracts for city facilities (where the city pays more $$ for the same amount of electric power - see You Go, Girl, for more on this subject) and diverting those funds to public safety initiatives.
But perhaps the voters are to blame. You get the kind of Council with their screwed up priorities that you voted for. However, if this isn't what you voted for, it's worth remembering there are three seats that will be open in November.
Never one to mince words, the author of one of our favorite twitter accounts (and a newsletter subscriber), Carol @LAVagrants, reacted to the Nixle notification of the pistol-whipping muggers in her trademark acerbic style -
Watch out Santa Monica!Manhattan Beach, the Beverly Hills of the beach, is trying to catch up in the crime game! Clueless residents just shrug their shoulders & say “Well, crime is everywhere”. This is NOT normal suburban life, you morons.
True dat, Carol.