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Montebello E-News

 

March 29, 2007

 

Better be wise by the misfortunes of others than by your own.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified.

Aesop, to whom is attributed, perhaps incorrectly,

Aesop’s Fables, sixth century B.C.

 

 

In This Issue

 

1.     Global Warming Warning

2.     How Little We Know, Part 2

3.     Announcements—Ancora in Abbondanza!

4.     Fun Facts about Texas

5.     The Flashback Quarterback

6.     About Montebello E-News and “My Montebello”

 

 

Online Community Lesson

 

  Global Warming Warning

 

          Does a national leader, rather, does anybody, have the right to misstate the facts in order to move us to do what we should do?

 

          There are scientists who have said that former Vice-President Al Gore has misstated some facts in “An Inconvenient Truth”, the award-winning documentary (docudrama?) which I watched recently.  There are other scientists who say that, regardless of the misstatements, Gore is right in trying to move us to do what we should do.

 

          What conclusions might be drawn?

 

·        The science is complex because Earth is a complex system.  For those who would argue that taking chemistry, biology, and physics in high school and college would help a student understand the debate, I raise a Vulcan brow and exhale an “Oh?”  The science is too complex and the facts received by us the public are unreliable, for reasons stated in the essays “Is Everybody ‘LOCO’?” and “How Little We Know”, at www.mymontebello.com.

·        Should we not be concerned that the same companies which controlled fossil fuels in the twentieth century are poised to control alternative fuels in the twenty-first century?  Has anyone not heard about British Petroleum signing a half billion dollar research contract with the University of California, Berkeley, earlier this year?  If that is not enough, see which business behemoths are involved with UC Davis and UC Irvine.  Google the university name and “alternative fuels”.

·        If we take the chance that global warming be misstated, inadvertently or intentionally, and that millions of people would not be displaced and other millions would not starve because of climate changes, we still would not have rid ourselves of the nagging notion that we must conserve and pursue alternative fuels without hesitation or delay.  Why?  China is growing industrially and is becoming a competitor for fossil fuels.  We do not need to confront the Chinese over resources as we did the Japanese in the Thirties and Forties.  We do have an alternative in alternative fuels.

·        There is a question over how long fossil fuels will last.  A different question comes to mind:  should not fossil fuels be seen as a prudent reserve, a rainy day reserve, in case a volcanic eruption or a nuclear explosion so cloud the atmosphere as to cause major climate changes and prevent us from harnessing solar energy to grow crops and run our offices and factories?  If “yes”, we should stop consuming, and start storing, fossil fuels immediately.

·        If you have seen “An Inconvenient Truth”, you know that, global warming notwithstanding, Gore points to a truth when he says that we humans are like frogs in that we endure slow pain instead of trying to rid ourselves of the pain.  Thus, while asthma and other pulmonary illnesses strike children and adults, we, like frogs, do not demand an immediate switch from fossil fuels to alternative fuels.

 

Might it be more patriotic to lead a domestic crusade for alternative fuels than a foreign crusade for fossil fuels?

 

If you answer the multiple-choice questions below and e-mail to lessonanswers@mymontebello.com with “Lesson answers” in the subject field, you will be credited toward a “certificate of recognition in community affairs” to be awarded in 2007 by a local nonprofit organization.

 

1. With regard to global warming,

(a) we could and should investigate and judge the science supporting and denying the phenomenon.

(b) the complexity of the science is such that we are left to ask, “Whom do we trust to tell the truth?”

 

2. If global warming were, as some claim, a big scam,

(a) we still should prioritize alternative fuels because there are compelling reasons to do so.

(b) we should stay the course in securing as many sources of fossil fuels as possible in order to keep our economy robust.

 

 

How Little We Know, Part 2

 

The main focus in my life now is to open people's minds so no one will be so conceited that they think they have the total truth.  They should be eager to learn, to listen, to research and not to confine, to hurt, to kill, those who disagree with them.

Sir John Templeton, American-born businessman and philanthropist

 

          In part 1, we saw that we could not have precise or complete knowledge.  We asked, in light of this, whether we should consider carefully the intended and unintended consequences of our individual and collective decision-making, in order to do the least harm possible.

 

          We already take into account imprecise or incomplete knowledge.  Judges and juries are instructed to determine guilt by certain standards:  a preponderance of the evidence for civil matters, beyond a reasonable doubt for criminal matters.  Then there are separate rules by which to determine punishment in criminal matters.  In California, we have “special circumstances” which increase the severity of the punishment.  Also, we acknowledge that we make mistakes when we compensate those who were falsely or erroneously imprisoned.  (Note that, even if our judicial system made a good-faith mistake, we still would compensate a person erroneously imprisoned.)

 

          A question might arise:  if we take such care to determine facts in a judicial process, should we not take such care when determining other matters which affect us significantly?  Which other matters?

 

·        hiring, promotions, salary increases, firing?

·        the veracity of statements by candidates and elected and appointed officials whose decisions affect us significantly?

·        health care?

 

          With regard to health care, we may seek more than one professional opinion.  With regard to the workplace, there is often a process involving a change in an employee’s status and, failing the process, there are laws to give her redress.  The veracity of statements by candidates and officials is challenged by opponents and examined by the news media.

 

          But we still make major mistakes, individually and collectively.  To reduce the incidence of these mistakes and the ensuing unwanted consequences, there would be at least three choices as to how to go.  First, we could spend more time and money determining the facts, given that anyone may say almost anything publicly and we are left to sort out fact from fiction.  (As mentioned in the essay “The Eleventh Commandment”, we could meet with friends for coffee and conversation.)  Second, we could change the consequences of decisions which affect us adversely, based on the possibility that we would never have precise or complete facts;  this would necessitate new rules for punishment.  (A possibility was explored in the essay “Is Everyone ‘LOCO’?”)  Third, we could set up a process, as in our judicial system, for the consideration of facts:  admissibility, relevance, accuracy;  this is like the first choice, except more structured.

 

          In the next part, we will look at how setting up a “judicial” process might be applied to candidates and officials, in light of all the negative consequences of election campaigning and official decision-making in our democracy.  

 

 

Announcements—Ancora in Abbondanza!

 

FOR EVERYONE.  On Thursday, April 5, 2007, the Montebello Lions are hosting an inclusive Community Prayer Breakfast at the Quiet Cannon beginning at 7:30am.  “Montebello has seen some turbulent times recently, and the Lions thought it would a fabulous idea to bring the community together as whole, regardless of religious or political affiliation with a tone of unity and inspiration for a few hours,” commented event Co-Chair David Manuel.   The cost to attend is $25.  For tickets or more information contact Lion David Manuel at 323-727-5145 or at davebwing@aol.com.

 

FOR FAMILIES.  YMCA Healthy Kids Day is Saturday, April 14, from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  The Montebello-Commerce YMCA, 2000 West Beverly Boulevard, invites you and the whole family to come out and “put play in your day” with free family fun. Ask for Desiree Ocampo for more information, (323) 887-9622.

 

FOR YOUTH.  For every “AP” test which you pass in May, you might qualify for $250.  More information is at http://www.mmep.net/printview/Cash_Incentives_for_Advanced_Placement_Test.html .  Be sure to read the requirements carefully and find a corroborating source.

 

FOR ADULTS.  CASA of Los Angeles is currently recruiting Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers.  Trained volunteers investigate the circumstances of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and placed in protective custody.  CASA volunteers advocate for the best interest of foster children both in court and in the community. Volunteers must be minimally 21 years old, be able to make at least one-year commitment to the program, undergo a background check, and successfully complete a 36-hour CASA training.  An average of 5 hours per week is spent on case activities.  Spanish-English and African-American volunteers are especially needed.  Application process for the CASA training is underway.  We offer four trainings annually only.  Ensure your spot!  Volunteers must attend an orientation session before taking the training.  CASA of Los Angeles has also a satellite office in Lancaster.  For specific orientation dates and to RSVP to an orientation, call (323) 526-6666 or visit www.casala.org

 

FOR RETIREES.  April 9 and 23, free blood pressure reading at the Montebello Senior Center, 10:00 a.m.  115 South Taylor Avenue, 323.887.4575.

 

FOR FAMILIES.  April 10 through 13, spring-break camp at Fremont Elementary,  recreation programs and trips to local parks.  Montebello City Department of Parks and Recreation, 323.887.4540.

 

 

Fun Facts about Texas

 

Although six flags have flown over Texas, there have been eight changes of government: Spanish 1519-1685, French 1685-1690, Spanish 1690-1821, Mexican 1821-1836, Republic of Texas 1836-1845, United States 1845-1861, Confederate States 1861-1865, United States 1865-present.

 

The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

 

More wool comes from the state of Texas than any other state in the United States.

 

Texas is home to Dell and Compaq computers and central Texas is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the South.

 

Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. The Dublin Dr Pepper, 85 miles west of Waco, still uses pure imperial cane sugar in its product. There is no period after the “Dr” in “Dr Pepper”.

 

The first suspension bridge in the United States was the Waco Bridge. Built in 1870 and still in use today as a pedestrian crossing of the Brazos River. 

 

Texas comes from the Hasinai Indian word “tejas” meaning “friends” or “allies”.

 

El Paso is closer to Needles, California, than it is to Dallas.

 

The Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America’s only remaining flock of whooping cranes.

 

The state’s cattle population is estimated to be near 16 million.

 

 

The Flashback Quarterback

 

In the March 8, 2007, Montebello E-News, the “open suggestion box” was presented.  Through the open suggestion box, we might stop problems from happening.  Three examples were given:  traffic blocked by work done on railroad tracks in Montebello, poor health care for Iraq veterans, and exploitative credit-card policies.

 

Here are a couple of other examples to add to the list.

 

Had we had a national open suggestion box for pets, might not the crisis over tainted food have been discovered sooner, resulting in fewer deaths?  According to ABC News this last Tuesday, the Federal government had put the number of pet deaths at fifteen, while a veterinarian had put the number of deaths at one hundred four and had suspected that there were even more.

 

Also on Tuesday, we had strong winds and rain.  The winds knocked out power in parts of Montebello.  The power returned twenty-two hours later to a part of the business district along Whittier Boulevard.  A resident of the City of Whittier who owned a business in Montebello speculated that power outages happened more often in Montebello than where she lived.  It would be good to know what the loss in productivity and transactions was from the outage, as well as the environmental impact, so that we determine whether we should make an effort to avoid such loss, other than asking Edison to do more.

 

 

About Montebello E-News and “My Montebello”

 

To learn about this newsletter, Montebello E-News, and the accompanying, growing Web site, “My Montebello”, visit www.mymontebello.com.  Also, you will find instructions and contact information for submitting announcements for publication in this newsletter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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