Thursday, July 19, 2007

Take the Thirty Days of Action Challenge

It's been some time since I've blogged. I've felt unfocused and a little impulsive lately. Sometimes just lethargic. I've just come back from vacation and now feel rejuvenated. I've been reading everything I can about our political-environmental-cultural situation. It's easy to get quickly overwhelmed. That said, I've decided not to let the issues pile up, but handle them as they come in, just like the dishes in the sink-and I ain't got a dishwasher. I decided that everyday this week, I would educate myself about something and take action on it. I've got four days in a row of success and --riding high I've decided to extend the plan to thirty days. I encourage anyone who would like to to join me to post their actions on this blog. My personal rule is: research counts--but only if it results in action. Personable responsibility counts, but only half as much as organizing, communicating, demonstrating etc. I tend to overload on information and doing nothing about it week after week adds to feelings of wretchedness.

Just to catch up, I'll post what I've done so far:

Sunday, 15 July 2007
Read in Salt Lake Tribune (old newspaper) that a new development is being proposed on the site of the Cottonwood Mall in Holladay that incorporates values of New Urbanism be carried out by the much admired architecture firm of Duany Plater-Zyberk It will build residences above stores and make parks of the parking lots. See article: The url is long so go to Salt Lake Tribune and use search term Duany.

"Architects want the new Cottonwood Mall to be a community with internal streets featuring retail at the ground level and oriented to afford pedestrians spectacular views of Mount Olympus and Twin Peaks. "

"The Chicago-based owner of Cottonwood Mall plans to rebuild the aging mall as a combination of retail space, offices, restaurants and residential units."

I love (for the most part) the philosophy and aesthetics of DPZ. They are pioneers of reclaiming city planning for architects, designers, and communities and aim to move built culture away from sprawl, gray zones, suburban monoculture/mono-use pods such as shopping pods highways away from residence pods which are another highway overpass away from office park pods. DPZ favors mixed use, pedestrian friendly plans with enough detail and quality materials to create charm and character. They have done some of the best affordable housing forms, but, they generally make what they are paid to do and sadly, they are not paid to do affordable forms often enough. I can welcome this quality update to neighborhood, but I know I'm unlikely to share in it directly. The "pod" critique is detailed in a book authored by Andreas Duany called Suburban Nation.
  • This counts as research--no action yet.
Discovered there was a grant available for almost anything an individual woman wanted to in the community which included arts.
  • Decided to apply for it--see Monday 16 June 2007

Monday, 16 July 2007

  • Applied for "Smart Woman Grant" from Zion's Bank
    • I know, I know but I don't come up with the names for these things and if I'm lucky I could get funded to finish my book.
  • Sent a letter to Orrin Hatch
    • Reinstate "Habeas Corpus" and ensure it extends to persons under U.S. authority including non-citizens and is acknowledged as a human right.

July 17, 2007

  • Watched "Maxed-Out"
    • "More Americans will go bankrupt this year than get divorced, graduate from college, or get cancer."
    • Consumer Groups against predatory lending:
      • ACORN
      • Public Citizen
Wednesday, 18 July 2007
  • Watched C-SPAN and learned that Andrew Biggs was a "recess appointee" over the Social Security Administration who has in the past advocated privatization and dismantling it. The matter was an amendment not to pay him until he could be properly reviewed and confirmed. Good idea. No action yet. I'm tracking this.
  • Learned S.936 Fair Elections Financing Senate Election Campaigns Act sp. by D.Durban D-Illinois would enable candidates who take no special interest money to access a public fund for their campaigns
Thursday, 19 July 2007

  • Wrote to Orrin Hatch urging him to support S.936 Fair Elections....Act
  • Got approval on wind power campaign participation by my department which funds the University of Utah to convert from coal-fired energy to wind power.

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