Ah... What a beautiful morning. I'm sitting on my front patio with a hot cup of coffee, just enjoying the nice breeze and sunshine. I can hear some birds chirping, my flag flapping in the wind, and leaves crisply tumbling down the street.
It's been a busy and stressful week, as usual, but we'll get through it.
It was a better week at work this time. I mostly just powered through it and tried to remember that they don't expect me to be 100% productive at this point. My mind-reading skills are still not up to par. I did get to do some cool stuff this week though, mostly using the object-oriented features of the new Openedge ABL, and my own home-grown xPath library to create Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. You would be absolutely amazed at how America's biggest corporations use Excel to do so many things that are mission critical. I wish I could name some of these clients.
Anyhow, I've started trying to work at least a couple of days a week from my Lewisville office. It's a bit of a connectivity challenge, but to me, the increase in productivity and morale more than makes up for it.
I still have a couple of clients from my old consulting job that need some occasional work, and I'm falling a bit behind on that - even though it's more lucrative than my day job. I should probably take my butt over to my office this afternoon and work on some of that.
Lewisville's English-Only thing...
I found out on Thursday that my city council will be considering (and will probably vote down) an ordinance to make English the official language. I think that it is the worst thing to do right now for our city, which has way more important things to deal with than to pass this type of ordinance which will further polarize our community.
I wrote more here. I plan to show up to Monday night's council meeting and speak against the proposal, and I hope you will join me and stand up for preserving Lewisville's unique laid-back progressive community feel. We have no place for bigotry and divisiveness here. And this is not the place for a proxy-war on the immigration issue.
Gas drilling ordinance
As my regular readers know, Lewisville was sort of thrust into the issue of urban drilling a couple of months ago. Some neighbors and I have banded together to form C.P.A.N.A. to represent the neighborhoods and protect our financial and quality-of-life interests.
This Monday night, also at the council meeting, there will be another discussion of the city's gas drilling ordinance...
(ooh, a robin just landed in the tree above me... pretty!)
Anyhow, one of the glaring problems with the ordinance relates to the noise provisions. The basic problem is that the maximum noise level by ordinance is measured 300 feet from the piece of equipment generating the noise. But the equipment may be as close as 100 feet to a house. Can you see the problem there with enforcement? My proposal is to change the ordinance as follows:
The sound-level from any drilling operations, as measured from ANY habitation regardless of the distance, shall not exceed ____ decibels at night (9 pm - 7 am) and _____ decibels during the day, as measured by any city staff member using an ANSI-approved meter.
A violation of this ordinance will result in the following penalties:
- First violation: Warning citation and follow-up visit by the city's oil and gas inspector to discuss noise abatement.
- Second violation: $2500 fine and order the driller to stop until 7 am.
- Third violation: $2500 fine and temporary suspension of drilling permit until operator can prove a reduction in sound emissions.
- Fracturing operations during daylight hours are subject to a higher sound limit of ____ decibels as measured from any habitation.
- Safety alarms meant to announce the presence of poisonous gas, fire, explosion, or other situations affecting the safety of workers and the public are not subject to decibel limits.
- The operator may at its discretion, enter into paid contracts with residents to exceed the sound levels.
The other thing I'm really concerned about is the pipeline aspect of all of this. The city of Grand Prarie is being sued over its ordinance requiring a permit for pipelines, and banning the on-site compression. Chesapeake claims a constitutional right to put a pipeline anywhere it wants with no city regulation. They further claim that a compressor is part of a pipeline and that the city can't regulate it.
Mark my words: If we are not proactive, this will be an issue in Lewisville too.
Debate: Palin v. Biden
Thursday night, Jen and I and some neighbors went down to the Studio Movie grill to join the South Denton County Democrats in watching the debate on the big screen. It's always fun to watch TV with like-minded people. I had to miss my Citizens Police Academy meeting to make it, but I have no regrets.
Honestly, I'd have to say that Palin and Biden both did pretty well, although I think Palin probably connected with her target audience just fine. It saddens me a bit to have to face the fact that Americans often favor style over substance though. The folks that she appeals to will suffer economic harm from the policies that the Republican party favors.
I am amazed that the McCain campaign continues to try to use the line that Obama/Biden will somehow raise taxes on people of middle-class income. But I guess that's the strange thing about politics. No matter how big the lie, if you tell it enough times, it becomes "a matter of opinion" where there is no right or wrong.
Cub Scouts and Popcorn
My kids have to sell this gourmet popcorn stuff in order to raise money for their cub scout pack. Basically it is tins of popcorn - caramel, cheese, chocolate, and so forth. There are things anywhere from $12 to $50, and the proceeds pay for a lot of the pack's activities and awards. Scouting is a great thing for boys, teaching them responsibility to God, country, and community. If you live in the neighborhood and wouldn't mind getting a sales pitch, shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send one of them over to show you the goods. I much appreciate it.