Archive for the ‘Landowners’ Category



Once there was The People – Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People, and it made a hell of earth!
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, oh, ye slain!
Once there was The People – it shall never be again!
Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936), As Easy as A.B.C. (1917)

I own a hybrid gas/electric vehicle–a Toyota Prius.

In fairness, my initial intention when I set out to purchase a Prius a year and a half ago had nothing to do with rescuing the spotted owl, repairing the ozone, putting a stop to clear-cutting of our forests, helping the environment in general, or saving the planet as a whole. I simply wanted to save gas. I’m not a left-wing liberal or a right-wing conservative (though reading this blog regularly might lead you to believe I was the latter.) I’m a moderate who lives in Los Angeles with a lengthy daily commute to work. In the summer of 2005, at a time when the nation was seeing some of the highest gas prices this side of the 70’s (relatively speaking), I coincidentally fell into the market for a new car. The Prius seemed a sure bet. After nearly two years of ownership, I wouldn’t go back to anything else. I love my car, and more importantly, I love the money saved at the pump.

That being said, the environment and global warming can kiss my ass.

After the preliminary report released last week by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), any credence I maintained in environmentalists’ notions that “doing our part” can help change the course of global warming (which, over the past year, had been severely truncated due to personal investigative research) has been wholly and merrily tossed out of the figurative window.

Hell, if a consortium of top scientists from around the globe all agree on predictions concerning global meteorological phenomenon a century and more into the future, it must be true. Right?

Of course, I wouldn’t even begin to postulate how often my local weather forecast has been divined incorrectly, and I live in sunny Los Angeles for crying out loud. This was most recently evidenced in the prediction of clear skies a few days previous to a good day or two of drenching rain.

Additionally, a consensus of NASA meteorologists and scientists postulated boldly (well, ‘boldly’ might be too strong a word) the previous summer that this current winter season, under the diabolical latino cloak of El Nino, would be a record-breaking season of warm weather and frequent, heavy rains with fewer but far mightier hurricanes that would rival even Katrina in their ferocity. Actually, quite the opposite has taken place. It has been an unusually cold and dry winter during the 2006 and 2007 season, and any hurricane that did make landfall managed to constitute little danger with no serious catastrophe.

While I would not dare consider myself anything approximate to an expert on global warming or weather auguring, could one suppose the conclusions drawn in the 20-page summary on global warming by the IPCC as anything other than simply a weather prediction? Considering how often the experts end up predicting incorrectly, I would say yes, and I (and just about anyone) will maintain that the earth, as has been its tendency for billions of years, goes through cycles of change constantly–some minor, some major, some short, some long–most of that time without modern industrialized human society.

What is most revealing to me concerning this preliminary report is how the IPCC arrived at their percentage–a 90% certainty that global warming is due to human activity. From the LA Times article below…

The phrase “very likely” indicates a 90% certainty. The last IPCC report, issued five years ago, said it was “likely” that human activity was at fault, indicating a certainty of 66%.

Many scientists had argued during the editing process that the report should say it is “virtually certain” that human activities are causing global warming. That would indicate a 99% certainty.

But the change was strongly resisted by China, among other nations, because of its reliance on fossil fuels to help build its economy.

China is the leading consumer of coal produced energy. So despite all of the time devoted to this endeavour, despite all of the money spent through years of research and resources used in order to conduct this program, and despite the idea that these scientists are supposedly the par excellence in their respective fields, politics still managed to barge in and fudge the numbers “as easy as A.B.C.”

How is a layman supposed to trust what the IPCC claims in their report when something as inane as politics can simply waltz in, beat its chest, and ultimately influence a supposedly unbiased report? How? Because it is a biased report.

Honestly though, as a result of their proclamation I have ceased caring about this particular subject. If global warming is a “runaway train” as the IPCC states, then what’s the point of doing anything to attempt regression? “Oh, but we must save the planet for our future children, and their children’s children. We must protect nature. etc. etc. blah. blah,” so preach the environmentalists.

I will say with certainty, and there’s none on this planet who will dispute this fact–human beings are a part of nature. We are the most advanced form of life the world has ever hosted, and we’re intelligent enough to manipulate our environment and work with other of nature’s creations to make our lives more comfortable, which is what we should be doing. I for one do not desire to live in a cave in the wilderness in order to protect the planet, nor do I suspect many environmentalists, especially the wealthy ones (well, perhaps Daryl Hannah, but she’s not wealthy.) Very few would wish to live a life-style reminiscent of pre-industrial era history in order to alter the effects of global warming. Those who would are probably already doing so, deranged to a greater or lesser extent anyway.

So the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shown us the way. Global warming is unstoppable at this point, so here’s what I recommend. Since the temperate climates will eventually become intemperate, start looking into and purchasing land in currently remote and inhospitably cold areas of the planet. While it may not benefit the buyer at this point, future progeny will thank you for your prescience.

Alaska and the Yukon Territories of Canada are looking pretty good right now.

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U.N. says there’s no stopping global warming

Report also says climate change is ‘very likely’ the result of human activities.

By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
February 2, 2007

In the strongest language it has ever used, a United Nations panel says global warming is “very likely” caused by human activities and has become a runaway train that cannot be stopped.

The warming of Earth and increases in sea levels “would continue for centuries … even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized,” according to a 20-page summary of the report that was leaked to wire services.

The summary of the fourth report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, was scheduled for release this morning in Paris. But scientists involved in the final editing process have been leaking bits and pieces from it all week, culminating in the leaking of the full report eight hours before its release.

The phrase “very likely” indicates a 90% certainty. The last IPCC report, issued five years ago, said it was “likely” that human activity was at fault, indicating a certainty of 66%.

Many scientists had argued during the editing process that the report should say it is “virtually certain” that human activities are causing global warming. That would indicate a 99% certainty.

But the change was strongly resisted by China, among other nations, because of its reliance on fossil fuels to help build its economy.

The report also says scientists’ “best estimate” is that temperatures will rise 3.2 to 7.8 degrees by 2100. In contrast, the increase from 1901 to 2005 was 1.2 degrees.

The report also projects that sea levels could rise by 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century, and perhaps an additional 4 to 8 inches if the recent melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the Larsen B ice shelf in western Antarctica continues at current rates.

That is a decrease from the maximum of 35 inches predicted in the earlier study.

Nonetheless, such an increase would inundate many low-lying areas around the world, including islands such as Kiribati in the western Pacific Ocean and marsh areas near New Orleans. Such flooding would affect more than 10 million people.

The report also predicts a melting of Arctic ice during summers and a slowing of the Gulf Stream.

In addition, the report says, for the first time, that it is “more likely than not” that the strong hurricanes and cyclones observed since 1970 have been produced by global warming. The 2002 report said scientists did not yet have enough evidence to make such a link.

The summary is a purely scientific document and does not offer any recommendations on ways to control the problem. Those are expected in a chapter to be released this year.

The obvious solution would be to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, by reducing the use of fossil fuels in automobiles, factories and power plants.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was designed to reduce such emissions, but some major countries, including the United States, China and India, have no defined targets. President Bush withdrew the U.S. from the protocol in 2001, arguing that it was an “economic straitjacket” and that it failed to set standards for developing nations.

The earlier IPCC report was heavily criticized by conservative critics and a variety of online bloggers who said it exaggerated the effects of global warming. But a new study reported Thursday in the online version of the journal Science said that the IPCC report actually significantly underestimated both the extent of warming and the extent of the rise in sea levels.

An international team of climate experts said in the Science report that data showed global temperatures had increased by 0.6 degree, at the upper limit of the U.N.’s predictions, and that sea levels had risen 0.13 inch per year, compared with the U.N. report’s estimate of less than 0.08 inch per year.

The data show that “IPCC is presenting a consensus view that has been OKd by a very large number of interests, so it tends to err on the side of making cautious statements and not exaggerating,” said geochemist Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, one of the authors of the Science study.

The Science study “looks quite solid to me, indicating … that the climate is changing in a very significant way — and model projections are not overestimates, as some charge,” said atmospheric scientist Michael MacCracken of the Climate Institute, an independent think tank in Washington.

The unexpectedly large rise in sea levels may be at least partially due to the recently observed melting of the ice sheets, the authors of the Science study said.

The increase also may be due in part to a natural variability in sea levels superimposed onto rises produced by global warming, they said. It would be “premature,” they concluded, to assume that sea levels will continue to increase at the current rate.

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Once when I was a kid, probably around five or six, I went to Wal-Mart with my mom. I was loitering in the toy department (where else was a kid my age supposed to go in Wal-Mart?) There I saw a super cool Fisher Price mega toy. It was the city one, with the bi-level parking and an elevator that could fit an entire toy car. You could turn a crank on the side and the elevator would rise to the top, the doors would open and the car would be pushed out and sent down a winding ramp to the bottom so you could do it all over again.

I wanted it so bad, but my mom was adamant. She tried to usher me out of the store, but I wouldn’t go unless I got that damn toy. She threatened to leave me. I still wouldn’t budge. She left. I became nervous. I was concerned she’d actually leave me at Wal-Mart (for a kid, that wasn’t really a horrible proposition.) Finally, I grabbed the huge toy and began walking to the front of the store. This sucker was big, and I was small, so it was a difficult task to lug the large box up to the front. Greatly encumbered, I walked past the cashiers and headed for the exit where I was stopped by a store employee.

“Excuse me,” she said. “Do you need help?”

I looked at her, frightened and hopeful at the same time.

“Can I have this?” I asked.

The employee looked at another workmate and smiled, but she turned back to me and explained that I had to pay for it. I couldn’t just take it.

“Okay,” I said.

I handed the box over to her and ran through the exit where my mom was waiting for me, slightly irritated, but amused nonetheless.

On that day I learned that nothing was free. I learned that money was necessary to get the cool things you wanted, and you had to work to get money. In essence I gained a marginal grasp on the concept of a market economy.


After listening and reading and watching more information about the plight of the families at the South Central Farm, I feel I have to come out on the side of Ralph Horowitz. The man legally owns the land. He can do whatever he desires with it.

The 14-acres that make up the urban garden has been in contention for well over a decade, with Horowitz and some other partners having initially owned the plot. Through imminent domain, the city of Los Angeles claimed the land in the 80’s planning to use it as a trash incinerator. That never came to fruition however, and the land was eventually leased to the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank after the 1992 Rodney King riots; the 14-acres were then shaped into the South Central Farm by various families who came in, most of them squatting on the land, and made the area into what it is today (or before yesterday I suppose.)

Finally, the land was sold back to Ralph Horowitz in 2003, at which time he alerted the people living on and using the farm that they had three years in which to either raise enough money to buy the plot from him, or leave the farm so he could do with it as he pleased. In my opinion, three years is more than ample warning for a group of people who were paying no rent to Horowitz.

In fact, during the time that Horowitz bought the urban garden back from the city, he’s still had to pay over $25,000 each and every month for mortgage and other land costs over those three years.

Here’s a bit from a news story and land owner Ralph Horowitz

“We’ve made, in the last three years, enough of a donation to those farmers,” he said. “I just want my land back.”

I think that’s fair, especially considering its legally his land.

“The gardeners don’t make the rules. They don’t violate court orders at their will, promise to get off the land and not get off, demand that they be given the land for free. There’s an end to this type of thing,” he said.

And here’s where my above story ties in. At one point, the squatters living on that land demanded, demanded that Horowitz give the land to them. Not give them at a fair price, not give them at a ridiculously low price, not rent to them, but give them the land. Just hand it over for free. Wha huh? What?! They wanted a man who had paid $5 million for the land (now estimated at over $20 million) to simply give it to them? What a bunch of fucking idiots! Sure, they worked the land. They nurtured it from the ashes of the 1992 riots like a newborn phoenix, despite the fact that the 350 families who were living illegally on the land were of Hispanic descent and the Rodney King riots were squarely dealing with African-American angst and dissatisfaction.

But is it really so noble to grow fruits and vegetables? Farmers around the country and around the world do it every day. Perhaps it’s noble because theyre doing it in the middle of a large metropolis. Well, my fiance is growing watermelons, cantaloupe, and grapes in our backyard, and we live in Los Angeles as well. Is she nobler for her farming endeavors? Not really, and neither are the farmers of South Central farm. In my opinion, they are less noble since they’ve been breaking the law for three years by squatting on Horowitz’s private property.

Horowitz accused the farmers of ingratitude, saying they had sued him and their supporters had picketed his home and office.

“I feel that the gardeners have been on the land for 14 years, almost 15 years for free. After 15 years, you say thank you,” he said.

I agree. That doesnt seem very gracious at all. Why would I want to sell, let alone give, something to someone who had been taking advantage of me? Apparently there had also been quite a few racial epithets leveled at Horowitz–anti-Semitic remarks mostly–and death threats. Yup. I can see how tactics like that will win someone over to their cause.

Horowitz also said the city had provided alternate locations for the gardeners and most had left. In a statement, City Councilwoman Jan Perry also said many gardeners had moved to new garden sites.

Many of the protestors who are still at the urban garden are professional protestors–students from USC mostly, many of them wearing MEChA t-shirts–people who only do this for the inane reason to marshal a cause.

Most of the people who had been squatting on Horowitz’s land have moved on to another location provided by the LADWP specifically for the farmers to continue growing crops. It’s only 8-acres, but it’s better than not having anything for people who wanted something for nothing.

[At one point] Horowitz offered to sell 10 acres of the land for $16.3 million to a trust set up on behalf of the farmers.

The farmers were not able to raise those funds, despite a $10 million offer from the Annenberg Foundation which never came to fruition. Horowitz got the eviction order on May 22. The farmers still wouldn’t leave. He gave them three more weeks, and they continued to squat on the land. How can they be so shocked that they were forcibly removed from his property?

Horowitz said he intends to find tenants for the land and will not sell it to any gardeners or their supporters.

“This one they’re not getting,” he said.

Clearly, Horowitz was the model of patience. But the farmers at South Central Farm treated him with great disrespect. At one point Horowitz claimed he would have given them even more time if only they’d offered him a simple ‘thank you’ for having lived on his property rent-free for three years. Now he says he wont even sell it to them for $50 million, and I don’t blame him one bit.

I also applaud his determination even in the face of our Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa who yesterday tried to bully him into giving the land to the farmers. Villaraigosa is an idiot, and he should stay out of it. This is a private ownership matter, and city government should have nothing do with it unless it involves zoning issues of some kind.

In a way, I sort of hope that Horowitz doesnt build a warehouse, or other industrial complex on the 14-acres. If anything, I think it would be appropriate if he opened a nursery or built a park there. Regardless, it’s his. He can dig a hole to China if he wants to. Now that would be interesting.

Daryl Hannah has been forced to stop communing with nature.Daryl Hannah has been forced to stop communing with nature.
Daryl Hannah with famous tree sitter John Quigly being removed from the farm.

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