Climate Change USA

The Brookings Institution nicely summarizes the main conclusions of the recently published National Climate Assessment (NCA).

1. Warming has been driven by human activity.

Human activities are the primary cause of warming over the past 50 years. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by more than 40 percent since the industrial revolution, through the burning of fossil fuels and continued deforestation…

2. Climate change impacts are happening now.

Temperatures in the United States have already increased 1.3 to 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895 (most of it since 1970) and in most areas of the United States temperatures are projected to rise by another 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit over the next few decades…

3. Climate change impacts will continue into the future.

Temperatures across the United States as well as in oceans and freshwater lakes are projected to rise. This will be accompanied by more heavy downpours, severe droughts, and wildfires. Sea levels are projected to rise by another 1 to 4 feet this century.

4. Climate change will adversely affect the economy and quality of life.

These impacts will have negative repercussions for human health, water supply, agriculture, transportation, energy, and coastal areas where nearly 5 million Americans and billions of dollars worth of property are located…

5. Vulnerable regions and sectors will be disproportionately affected.

City of Coral Gables: Salerno’s Achievements

The recently resigned city manager of the city of Coral Gables, Pat Salerno, published a list of achievements of his period of administration.

I think that these are his main achievements:

  • Strong and decisive management.
  • Minimization of the involvement of city commissioners in the day-to-day life of the municipal government.
  • Weakening of the culture of fiefdoms in the city offices.
  • Implementing sound financial management, including reducing taxes and growing reserves.
  • Ameliorating exaggerated salaries, benefits, and pensions of police and fire services.
  • Planned, organized and financed improvements in the city’s infrastructure and beautification.

Hopefully, the city commissioners will direct the new city manager to sustain the above culture, and not fall pry to the Slesnick/Brown culture of city commission intromission and micro-management.

Is Coral Gables the New Doral?

The city of Doral became the laughing stock of Florida, manifested by bruising public battles, insults and threats among commissioners, city manager, mayor, and public security staff.  Coral Gables has started to look a little like Doral as three commission surreptitiously forced out its city manager.  Obviously, the concepts of transparency, openness and participation, so well displayed during their election campaigns, are singularly foreign to the three commission who have created this crisis.

The city of Coral Gables is being tested to its core by the decision of three commissioners (called the “Gang of Three” by some) who have pushed out its highly respected and successful city manager, Pat Salerno.  The three commissioners don’t comprehend their role in a strong city manager form of government, in which a prudent distance is kept between the administration of the city led by  the city manager and the city commission, whose job is set and guide overall policy, approve financial resources and broadly represent the interests of all citizens.

The city of Coral Gables urgently needed a strong administrator during recent years and it still needs a strong city manager in the years ahead–not a Slesnick/Brown-like compliant city manager responding to the interests of a small cabal of local developers and self-aggrandizing politicians.

The fiscal soundness of the city is now uncertain, with months ahead of searching for a new city manager (perhaps no self-respecting, experienced city manager would take the job under these circumstances.)  During this time the Gang of Three will have a free hand to mismanage the city, its budget and staff.