Sunday, December 25, 2011

How the "Grinch" stole the holidays in the San Francisco Bay Area

Chestnut roasting in the open fire, the most comforting aspect of the holidays is one can take the chance to relax after hectic schedule of work and shopping. A Yule log brings blessing to holiday enjoyment.

However the "Grinch" otherwise known as the bay area air quality management district disagrees with this practice and eventually there powers had grown so much these years they have succeeded to becoming the air nazi of the nine county Bay Area to declare Spare the air days in order to be able to fine households who done what they had always done.

Since the advent of the mandatory of the once voluntary program(The one which brought the now ended free transit program) there had been one on Thanksgiving and two on Christmas. The burn ban tends to be on the days fires are needed the most this includes the coldest days of the year as well as holidays.

In California counties ordinances generally cannot apply rules to incorporated municipalities however this air district claims they can control everything even within cities this is a rarity in the state.

The ordinance is quite flawed in many ways actually. They rely on using electronic means of communication or newspapers which not everyone subscribes to. Those who don't watch the news closely nor have access to the internet will not get any information of spare the air days. If they do things property they should communicate via the US mail as throughout the ages the US mail should be used for any official documents or it would be declared null and void.

In practice an ordinance like this would be like many other less known ordinances piled in the books such as bicycle licensing, cat licensing, etc which make little to no difference to change the general population's habits just as with unapproved fireworks on Fourth of July as well as skateboarding bans as revelers would still celebrate using whatever they like and skateboarder would play no matter what the signs say though it would cause people to feel guilty just as with many other bans that make people feel like criminals for everything they do as it is pretty much unavoidable to violate some obscene legislation. The banning of legal fireworks actually increases use of dangerous explosive fireworks with no safety regulation. I wonder what is next? Ban fry cooking on such days as it had been studied kitchen smoke is actually more toxic than even tobacco smoke. Why not ban cars or impose a odd and even license plate restriction on those days? Why not ban BBQs or gas two stroke motor gardening tools in the summer Spare the air days as those create heavy pollution as well?

In conclusion if they are smarter and want to make a difference they should instead encourage credits on clean burning stoves and fireplaces. Many fireplaces are not efficient in producing heat for the house though that can be corrected with more heat energy and much less emissions with today's technologies. It is best to let the people decide by public hearings which great publicity is given to people via all forms of communication including the US mail. The best solution to the issue is to first educate the public of the dangers of sooty smoke to health then try to give rebate incentives to upgrade the equipment to minimize or eliminate emissions then after a number of years than start talking about cracking down on units that produce excessive smoke and encouraging the pubic to speak up. This is a much smarter and effective solution than a one size fit all ban which is like a Ostrich head in sand situation that only seem to benefit the natural gas company and not reward those who make an effort to install catalyic converters or other air cleaning technologies other than natural gas on stoves and fireplaces.

1 comment:

  1. The Bay Area is at it again. New Years Day becomes a Spare the Air Day with wood burn ban. It seems like the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has secretly drafted rules that all holidays that the fireplace would most likely to be used would be declared a "Spare the Air" Day a perfect way to generate revenue by handing out fines. In addition to holidays "Spare the Air Days" are declared on coldest days of the year when fireplaces are needed the most. Spare the Air is in conclusion a really abused ordinance not conforming to due process so it should be challenged in a class action lawsuit.