Sunday, November 13, 2016

California and Cupertino, I'm proud of you!

The result of this Presidential election in the US has been an amazing shock for everybody on this planet: an unbelievable positive outcome for the Trump supporters and, ironically, even for the conservative Republicans who agreed with others that wasn't a suitable candidate to lead such a super power. And an unbearable news for those who couldn't accept the hate in this candidate's speeches, denigration of numerous minorities and lack of consistent program. Well, with all the power on one side, and a potential far right one, many Americans are trembling about the thought of going backward in the coming 2 years, so far that it will take decades to recover. Not just on the environment side but social progress too.

I know we are blessed in California with so much diversity and entrepreneurial spirit. But, really, the Mid West sending a message this way? Like if protectionism was the solution... Take automotive for instance: should Toyota close their 6 plants in the US, all of them in so called red states? Nissan its plants in Tennessee and Mississippi? Hyundai its plant in Alabama? Honda its plants in Ohio and Indiana? The irony is to see all the Republican establishment now super excited to take full control, see the big Oil magnates ready to break more ground, devastate more of our American Federal soil. What about big Pharma companies whose stocks surged on the news that they will be under less regulation and able to apply the prices they want? And Wall Street which should see the post-2008 crisis controls waived. Really, that's what the blue collar class of the Mid West voted for, thinking this will improve their lives? I doubt they benefited much from this week's Dow Jones record high... How ironic, and sad, it's going to see them become the first victims of such policies... Maybe they weren't so attentive to the facts and news, for instance that many things had improved in our country these past years.

With that very bitter intro, I want to highlights a few things which I found remarkable closer to home because they show how much more responsible and altruist people are here. Ok, not a perfect picture, there has been quite a few protest votes (Clinton only clinched 73% in our 875,000-voter strong Santa Clara County, versus 93% in DC), and we still didn't managed to repeal the death penalty in California, but I was blown away, positively, by the passing of Measure B, which consists in an additional 0.5% sales tax in order to fund infrastructure projects (roads and public transportation). You see, here, we are not waiting for the Federal Government to fund our infrastructure, we stand up and everybody is going to chip in because this is just the right thing to do. Additionally, we also overwhelmingly agreed to get our property taxes increased in order to fund housing for low income families. Again, not because we are all socialists or communists (!), but because this is the right thing to do.

Locally, our Cupertino city population had a big debate about sensible growth and, here as well, we stood up to the developers who had come up with a gigantic project which would have put way too much pressure on our local road infrastructure and schools. See for yourself: they had proposed to replace 600,000 sqft of retail space with 2,000,000 sqft of offices PLUS 800 apartments PLUS 188 hotel rooms. And all the required parking space of course, all that, a block away from the new Apple Campus which will welcome more than 11,000 employees in a year! A great example of unsustainable growth.

The irony is that, blocking the views of our nearby hills with 95-ft high buildings, they came up with the ingenuous idea of topping the project with a 24-ft green cover to give our hill views back, how convenient... Needless to say, the cover was green on the project brochures, although we aren't supposed to water our yards with the recurring drought.

To celebrate this local victory, I ran yesterday in these nearby hills and below are a few pictures to show you that we definitely don't need artificial hills at Vallco! All this nature right accessible less than 2 miles from downtown, this is paradise on earth, no need to alter it! Here is my route on Strava:

I'm so glad to be Californian this week. There is a strong feeling that we might have come to a point we should quit the Union on such a cleavage of opinions... I would never thought of this before but I'm sure many have looked at the's CalExit website this week. On one hand, I'd feel sorry that the answer to an isolationist propaganda triggers more egocentrism, like I'm afraid this will be the case in Europe with such British then American examples. On the other, how much more positive progress we could accomplish by taking for instance the whole West Coast with us (we need some water and I'm sure the NorthWest wouldn't mind sharing some of the rain they get... ;-). This way, we can keep our borders open with Mexico and Canada, and the rest of the World through the Pacific. This may not save the planet from global warming and other insanities but, you have to admit, this could be a way to remain free and preserve our rich diversity and positive spirit from the many chains trying to slow us down, no?

In the meantime, my fellow Cupertino residents, we must enjoy our natural hills while they last...

Garrod Farms vineyards and horse stables:
 View of the South Bay from Parker Ranch Trail (Saratoga)
 Fremont Older Open Space Preserve (pdf map), overseeing Cupertino
 The entrance at the end of Prospect Road


Brett said...

If the West secedes, it will doom Progressivism to the desert in the rest of the United States for many decades. Without the west coast, Trump would have won ~305 to ~150 in the electoral college and would have won the popular vote by 2 million.

The reactions to this election are so overboard its almost comical. It was just a few months ago that everybody was predicting the end of the Republican Party. It was just a few years ago that everybody was predicting the end of the Democrat Party. And it was just a few years before that everybody was predicting the end of the Republican Party. Democrats still have the filibuster, and in 2 short years they'll have the opportunity to take over the entire Congress if things don't go well. Americans have a history of violent swings between parties when they lose their patience.

Jean Pommier said...

Thanks for leaving a comment and opinion, Brett! As I said, I would have never thought about secession before, and, like you, pointed out that this would bring more ammo to the global isolationist trend, worldwide (of course, without the West Coast, many maths would change, not just the numbers you highlight). That being said, giving the benefit of the doubt to someone who has been so erratic so far, and continues to provoke with extremist positions, like the people he started selecting for the inner circle, or the outpouring support from leaders around the world who share his unacceptable views about exclusion and other fundamental rights, this looks way to naive when you have studied any history book. Looks to me and many like it's going to be quite a messy situation and I'm glad that you remind us we have a system in place to limit it to 2 years if that happens. But either way, there is really nothing comical in the current situation, including all the bullying happening from those who proudly claim to be the 'winners'. Time will quickly tell if they really knew what they voted for, what grandeur or greatness we can gain in the Mid West in particular indeed (hopefully other than the greatest environmental casualties we can create with non sustainable exploitation of fossil energy). Would rather keep writing just about running but that's too important of a situation to remain silent.