Hazy Central Valley skies with a slight chance of clearing

I miss the sight of the Sierra Nevada off to the east. Since March, there has maybe been one, count ‘em, one breathtaking view of this mighty and majestic range afforded the Central Valley inhabitant, though that would be the extent of it. It has not been a pretty picture.

Closer to home, weather’s been warm. November daytime temperature highs, have mostly not dipped below the 60 degree mark. And even though it is late autumn, Old Man Winter seems content with remaining out of sight. On top of that, tree leaves hang on to the little life left in them that remains. A virtual climate carbon copy of last year, the area is in want of much needed rains. We’re talking dry. How dry? In this regard, too, the picture has not been pretty.

And in the Golden State, in the center of it all – Fresno, has push actually come to shove? From at least one indication the area looks to be in the throes of a protracted debate regarding County growth.

In a recent ClimatePlan blogpost, blogger Carey Knecht writes: “Despite a letter from the American Lung Association of California and 16 other groups that focused on Scenario D’s health benefits, and a Rapidfire analysis detailing the plan’s many advantages, it had already become clear that stakeholders would not outright adopt that scenario.” What this all has to do with is how Fresno County communities will grow over time. Will they grow up (a compact development style of growth) or out (continuation of the unhealthful and unsustainable business-as-usual model) going forward? Scenario D is a plan that, if followed, encourages a smarter and more sustainable pattern of growth. At any rate, a pretty picture this is not, at least at this moment in time, anyway.

Regarding California high-speed rail which would be good for the state is looking at several bumps in the road ahead.

In Sacramento County Superior Court on Monday, Nov. 25th, Judge Michael P. Kenny in one case ruled to rescind approval “of the 2011 funding plan,” expressed The Sacramento Bee editorial board in the op-ed: “High-speed rail proceeds in fits and starts.”

“The judge ruled in a second case that the [California High-Speed Rail Authority] Finance Committee has to do a better job of documenting why it is ‘necessary and desirable’ to issue bonds for specified amounts. He’s right. The CHSRA Finance Committee does need to do a better job of explaining, in detail, its reasoning to the public.”

The good news is that the project can move forward but maybe at a slower speed which is tantamount to operating under a yellow-light condition which in a railroad context would signify a medium-speed approach, more or less.

The first segment to be constructed purportedly will be 29 miles of line from the northeast of Madera to the south of Fresno in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

When all is said and done, two-out-of-three strikes ain’t all bad. That’s better than being struck out suggesting there is a glimmer of hope that a bright Central Valley sun will one day come shining through.

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