Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sustainable Community: November 9th Meeting (6 pm), Siempre Sustainable Network, Mosaic Community Church-1201 W. Court St., Seguin, TX 78155

Ecological Literacy and Sustainable Livelihoods from Public Schools?

(Position Paper Written to Facilitate the Development of a Panel Discussion
for the November 9th Meeting of the Siempre Sustainable Network)

paul b. martin

“All education is environmental education.” David Orr, Ecologist, Oberlin College

Background. The real crisis in the world is not in the financial economy and its current state, … but rather, the crises in Nature’s economy [severe human poverty and malnutrition (and other physical and mental/spiritual stresses on humans), watershed disruption, top soil loss, dead zones, desertification, loss of diversity and resilience, serious pollution, global climate change, etc., etc.] . Moreover, we are not providing our children (or most of the “adults” around them) with the educational foundation for developing critical thinking and ethical decision-making skills, particularly with regard to the serious long-term ecological challenges.

(Of course in the U.S.A. most of the problems with Nature's economy are out of sight and mind because we have so much power and we suck tremendous resources from all over the world to a relatively small population here in North America--a process which masks and hides the really serious problems our kids and grandkids ... will have to confront with insurmountable difficulties. Moreover, most of us live in such a virtual and unreal reality that whole lives of relative ignorance and procrastination are prevalent--versus what could be fulfilling and spiritually rich and active lives of wisely dealing with real problems.)

The bottom line is that, for the most part sustainable livelihoods do not exist in our very artificial conventional economic systems. Our current (and past) economies, and most of our livelihoods that come from these socio-political/economic systems, are destroying soils, water, the air we breathe, and the climate which sustains life--and these unsustainable livelihoods are doing away with the organisms and their ecological communities with which we as humans must associate for quality life. … They are destroying our humaneness, … our humanity!

Some of us believe we should earnestly begin to attempt to change this unpleasant situation we humans are creating as a result of our development and continued propping up/bandaiding of non-conserving and unsustainable, and non-resilient ecological communities. In particular, we are certain that this major shift in behavior and action must include a comprehensive and intensive long-range plan which would involve (“optimally”) small (less that a 500 student population ) neighborhood and rural schools—with separate elementary, middle school and high school campuses placed side by side, but in concert with the Land and Nature.

“To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of creation. …
when we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament;
when we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration.”
Wendell Berry, Essayist, Poet, Farmer

Sustainable Livelihoods. We are positive that such an ecologically-sound school system mentioned in the previous section, can definitely help to realize sustainable livelihoods for local communities and the world, … livelihoods which involve some of the following:

0 Educated holistic and ethical decision-makers
0 Folk who dedicate their lives to targeting the poor with education, knowledge, franchisement, empowerment, power, and resources
0 Organic farmers who are “truly organic” in a holistic sense
0 Urban farmers and rural farmer-ranchers who produce grass-fed and browse-fed meat animals on a small and large scale
0 Holistic low-input community gardeners
0 Health care professionals who holistically and comprehensively practice preventative care on a local level … first and foremost!—and curative care when needed (and who develop health care systems that particularly target the poor)
0 Lawyers who mostly help the poor
(including other species)
0 Bankers supporting microloan/microenterprise systems which are conserving and sustainable
0 Blue collar workers who make enough for a good quality life
0 White collar workers who make enough for a good quality life. But no more!
0 Architects who design conserving and sustainable built-systems
0 Builders of small ecological-friendly homes
0 Constructors and maintainers of transport systems primarily involving bicycles, trains, buses, and modern clipper ships http//
Seekers of low input/throughput/output systems involving ethical use of what is truly “renewable energy”
0 Effective and efficient communicators who work in inexpensive low input systems
0 Systems analyzers and researchers who can effectively communicate the state of the state/the world in terms of material flow and energy flux—inputs, throughputs, and outputs; ... also, teams producing life cycle assessments for products/systems
0 Scientists who truly seek knowledge vs. technicians and technologists who attempt to bring the Land/Nature “to its knees” in service to humans
0 Guardians of diverse native living communities of organisms (including in bays and estuaries); ample amounts of good clean water and air; rich, deep, living top soils; and ethical use of energy
0 Ethical naturalists
0 Readers who seek socio-political/economic (ecological) knowledge about how to live well in a place
0 Human cultures who respect other human cultures, traditions and rituals
0 A human culture that respects the Nature, the Land
0 Ecological historians
0 Local, homegrown entertainers who are relatively “low input”/”low maintenance”
0 Everyone actively participating in local low maintenance sports and entertainment
0 Politicians and bureaucrats/policy-makers at all levels who work intelligently and prudently to facilitate change toward “conservation and development of sustainable community”
0 Teachers of reading, writing and arithmetic who are striving to meet our local and global challenges within a holistic, participatory/hands-on, site-based curriculum of applied ecology
0 True Peacemakers
0 Folk in all disciplines and roles in life who are Positively Ethical Applied Community Ecologists and who live light on the Land

“My own preference is for an environmentalism that talks about ethics and aesthetics rather than about resources and economics, that places priority on the survival of the living world of plants and animals regardless of their productive value, that cherishes what nature’s priceless beauty can add to our deeper-than-economic well-being.”
Don Worster, Environmental Historian, University of Kansas

Questions for the Panel of Experts in the Field of Education. I am certain each and every one of the panel members feels strongly that there is much room for improvement in our public schools. However, differences arise when we begin to discuss what?, where?, when? and how? we need to go about realizing improvement. The questions listed below will hopefully provide some initial insight into how this community and others might move forward toward providing sustainable livelihoods and quality life for all—locally and globally:

Briefly tell the audience what the term “quality life in community” means to you?

What is education for?

What is the most important change we can make in our public schools in order to realize quality life locally and worldwide … for as many folk as possible, and for as long as possible?

What are your thoughts concerning ecological literacy and the importance of such?

Discuss the importance of keeping schools small, “neighborly” and rural—and in concert with the environment.

Discuss the role of schools in community and the need for schools to be “truly Green” holistically, and in concert with the local ecological community of diverse organisms?

Do you believe a “charter school”-initiative targeting low-income families and involving a small middle-school student population--and an ecologically-sound, socially just and humane mindset--might be effective in improving our public school system? Could you actively support a charter school in your current situation, i.e., primarily in an advisory capacity and through possible collaboration with institutions/entities you represent?

What are some other suggestions for moving us toward:
· ecological literacy?
· sustainable livelihoods?
· and communities which are ecologically-sound, socially just and humane?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

San Antonio political history - 2003

Opinion: How the Hell Did We Get in This Mess?
March 13, 2003
Published in the San Antonio Current

Federal indictments, an eroded trust in City government, lifeless politicians, apathetic voters: With a Council election two months away, these are not the best of times for San Antonio politics.
Heading into the May 3, 2003 municipal election, City Hall reeks of scandal. District 5 Councilman David Garcia resigned over charges that he misappropriated campaign finance funds; District 2's John Sanders and District 4's Enrique "Kike" Martin face bribery charges stemming from law enforcement sting operations aimed at curbing corruption in Alamotown.
By appointing former Mayor Lila Cockrell to head his commission on trust and integrity, Mayor Ed Garza has made overtures to prompt City Council to clean up its act. Yet in its analysis, the panel acknowledged that previous "findings and recommendations of citizen commissions have been ignored or forgotten, adding to a sense of futility on the part of the public." So far, Council has shown no signs of changing the status quo at City Hall.
It is time to ask the questions: How did San Antonio politics fall into such a sorry state? And should local citizens trust any remedies proposed by City leaders?
Part of the answer can be found in the rise of the pro-business Good Government League in the 1950s, its decline in the early 1970s, and its current revival in the form of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
Henry Cisneros rose like a Phoenix from the GGL's ashes and evolved into a pro-business Supermayor in the 1980s, setting the tone for today's City Hall. In the 1990s, self-appointed tax watchdog and Cisneros critic, C.A. Stubbs and his conservative Homeowner Taxpayers' Association, convinced the community that term limits would solve problems at City Hall - and subsequently, term limits were imposed and remain in effect today.
Add to the political complexity the increasing demand from Chicanos and African Americans to participate in the political process; yet, some elected officials such as David Garcia have failed to represent their constituents, further disenfranchising them.
History has repeated itself: The Greater Chamber and others who seek financial gain stand at the helm of city government and perpetuate the illusion that ordinary citizens, including Chicanos and African-Americans, have a modicum of power.
The agenda at weekly City Council meetings reflects and responds to the interests of big
business. This is how the ruling class has conducted itself for decades - even a millennium.
Begin with the conquistadores who invaded México and the New World with the publicly stated intent of spreading the word of God to the pagans. In reality, their purpose was to murder and enslave the indigents, mine the riches, and ship the spoils home to the king of Spain. The defenders of the Alamo cried "liberty and justice for all," but their underlying agenda was economic: to take the land and its wealth for themselves and their kin who poured into Texas, seeking their fortunes.
In the 20th century, "San Antonio's urban political history followed a pattern similar to other Sunbelt cities," wrote Kemper Diehl and Jan Jarboe in Cisneros: Portrait of a New American, published in 1984. "The 1940s saw the rise and fall of flamboyant municipal reformers; the 1950s and early 1960s were decades of sleepy efficiency when city government was in the hands of a few businessmen; and the late 1960s and early 1970s saw previously dormant interest groups demand power."
Fast forward to 1951, when the City Charter was changed in response to, (you guessed it) political corruption at City Hall and the rise of the Good Government League was imminent. The charter change demoted the mayor to a ceremonial leader, with an equal vote among other council members, and placed the real power in the hands of a city manager, the system that is in operation today. Simply put, the city manager and staff follow policy set by the City Council, but the daily operation of the community- managing growth, providing public works, public safety, and trash pickup - is coordinated through the City Manager's office. However, fulfilling that responsibility is a huge undertaking for a City this size.
Elected city council members who have a single vote face a daunting task of learning how City Hall works and how to meet the perceived needs of their constituents.
Tucker Gibson, professor and chairman of the political science department of Trinity University, explained that the strength of business' influence over City Hall was due to the Good Government League's grip on the amateur political scene from about 1955 to 1975. That influence - even without the Good Government League - lingers today. "They [the GGL] were not Democratic or Republican, but they called themselves an association," he explained. "They recruited candidates for City Council, but did it secretly. They raised funds, ran slates of candidates and they dominated city politics for a 20-year period."
According to Rodolfo Rosales' book, The Illusion of Inclusion: The Untold Political Story of San Antonio, "The new political arrangements brought about by the business community in 1951 were certainly not intended to create independent representation for the Chicano community, and they did not.
However, a consequence of this more open political environment was that it set in motion a more competitive political environment that eventually brought about in the 1970s independent political representation for the Chicano community, a situation without precedent in San Antonio in this century."
Rosales, a political science professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, credits the Chicano movement for changing the city's political face. "Mexican- Americans don't get credit for shit, except making tamales," Rosales said recently. "I started out with giving credit to Mexican-Americans who changed politics in San Antonio. We changed the town."
Rosales pointed out that the Good Government League was focused on the goals of the Greater San
Antonio Chamber of Commerce: growth, expansion, and economic development. Yet, Chicanos, many of whom opposed the Good Government League, fought for representation through organizations such as the Bexar County Democratic Coalition, which included liberal North Side Anglos and East Side African- American leaders. As minorities were elected to office, they made inroads at county and state levels, but the city's political climate remained static until 1973, when independent candidate Charlie Becker ousted Good Government League-backed candidate Roy Barrera in an at-large election for City Council.
Meanwhile, in 1974, Henry G. Cisneros gave up an offer to teach at MIT, packed up his family and returned home to take a teaching slot at UTSA. "When Henry Cisneros returned to San Antonio, the city was in chaos," Diehl and Jarboe wrote in their profile of his political career. "The GGL, the conservative political organization which had run the city for 20 years was in shambles.
The Anglo business establishment was divided into two warring factions. City government was paralyzed. Ethnic tensions ran high as Mexican-Americans made a long overdue, but painful drive for power."
Cisneros broke with the liberal Chicano ranks and ran on the West Side Good Government League ticket, winning the Place 3 spot on City Council in 1975. "This is not a time for complacency," read one of his campaign ads in a local newspaper. "It is time to thrust for our full potential as individuals and as a people. This being done, there shall be no excuses for the generations that follow." Cisneros linked economic development, not social welfare programs, to lifting San Antonio out of the wage doldrums - at a time when the average annual per capita income was $5,672.
Cisneros cast a crucial City Council vote concerning the U.S. Department of Justice's edict that the city change its charter to allow single-member voting districts to ensure that minorities were represented. The Justice Department put the hammer down after the city annexed huge properties on the North Side, adding many Anglo voters to the mix.
As a result of Cisneros' vote, the City conducted a referendum on the single-member districts rather than fight the order in court; with more than 52 percent of the vote, the proposal won to change the city charter. As a result, in 1977, five Chicanos and one African-American won council seats, giving minorities the majority at City Hall.
Cisneros served as a bridge between Anglos and Hispanics, and was a political shining star in the eyes of the nation; Walter Mondale considered him as a running mate during the 1984 presidential election. Cisneros had the backing of influential men such as B.J. "Red" McCombs, Jim Dement, Jim Uptmore, Ray Ellison and the newly organized North Side Chamber of Commerce, which took offense at the Government League's financial pact with the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce to promote economic development in San Antonio. When Cisneros ran for mayor in 1981 against
Good Government Leaguer John Steen, one investor quipped, "What this election is really about is the Oak Hills Country Club (in the Medical Center) versus the San Antonio Country Club, and us Oak Hills boys are going to beat the hell out of the old guys."
In 1988, Cisneros' reputation was slightly tarnished after the San Antonio Current published an interview in which he admitted having an Anglo girlfriend, whom he refused to name. A few days later, a daily newspaper columnist revealed the shocking news that the media had known about the affair for more than a year, but had remained mum at the behest of wealthy powermongers: Henry had a girlfriend and her name was Linda Medlar. He stepped down as mayor in 1989, citing other reasons.
Personal relationships aside, Cisneros served three terms as city councilman and three terms as mayor, and gave the public the much-ridiculed Alamodome - what the Current dubbed the "Dillodome," then the "Tacodome," and what other pundits (Michael Cary) called the "Bubbadome."
C.A. Stubbs referred to the domed stadium as Henry's Folly. What really rankled opponents of the dome is that Cisneros billed it as a venue suitable to host a National Football League team when he pitched the project to the public. Then he later retracted, stating he never really said the Alamodome was specifically for an NFL team. The stadium stands as a monument of the legacy of Cisneros, Supermayor with highly developed persuasive powers.
Cisneros had political opponents, and his greatest detractor was self-appointed tax watchdog C.A. Stubbs. A retired computer systems employee of Civil Service at Kelly AFB and founder of the Homeowner Taxypayer Association, Stubbs is partly responsible for the term limits enacted today.
Stubbs, who turned 80 in January, and who bills himself as "the No. 1 tax watchdog in Texas," turned over leadership of the Homeowner Taxpayer Association in 1990 to run a statewide, fiscally conservative group. "I was a staunch opponent of Henry Cisneros. I still am," he said recently. "I helped to set up term limits (at City Hall) because of Henry."
Term limits are the legacy of the HTA, and the center of a 1991 referendum battle. Since that public vote, a council member can serve only two, 2-year terms and
is banned from serving in that office again; the same restrictions
apply to the mayor. The effects of term limits have contributed to the Council's current woes, explained Tucker Gibson of Trinity University. "From my perspective, you get a number of things. One, it potentially expands power of the bureaucracy. Members of the City Council know little about parliamentary procedure. There is no institutional memory and no knowledge of policy. People come to the table with less experience."
Gibson added that people who now get elected to a council seat have an agenda to pursue, but by the time two terms have lapsed, it is hard to pursue it. "By the time you are on your agenda, you're finished unless you run for mayor."
Rodolfo Rosales' contended - accurately - that the inclusion of minorities in city government is merely an illusion. Big business still has its way at City Hall, and with term limits in place, it's nigh impossible to fight the system. A lack of partisan politics - Democrats versus Republicans - results in an absence of political party slates. Following the charter change in 1977, Rosales said, "The city council came up with a 10-1 plan, the mayor-council government. But, they missed the boat. The GGL was a party, but the non-partisan rule excluded political parties. That is the crux of the issue. You don't have an agenda by which to keep candidates accountable."
Ordinary citizens who are gnashing their molars and plugging in the plancha to iron out the kinks in their voter registration cards might believe that by electing new faces to City Hall, things will change - but the prospect is dim. Historically, big business interests dominate the language of the agenda, and Council members and the mayor have individual goals to work into the city government. The system works in perpetuity, as new faces are elected and placed on the Council dais, and new rounds of negotiations begin.
First, big business gets a huge slice of the pie, with the leftovers to be fought over by the citizens who have to pay the baker.
San Antonio is not going to fall into a giant sinkhole if we experiment with the City Charter in an effort to put ordinary citizens on equal terms with power-hungry business interests.
The ethics panel has recommended term limits and lifetime bans for those who have served be terminated and that the mayor and council members get paid living-wage salaries. The
City has survived numerous forms of government, and its citizens have proven resilient enough to accept - or resist - a changing of the guard. •

A brief history of eminent domain

"Texas has a higher level of concern because roots to the land are deeper... You're entering the land of the unhappy people."
A King's Divine Right

A brief history of eminent domain


By Michael Cary
San Antonio Current
Copyright 2004

Domingo Castelo had served five years in the Presidio of San Luis de Las Amarillas by June 21, 1762. He sent a letter to the governor and captain general of the Province of Texas and the New Philippines, continuing to plead for a "single lot on which to earn my living," in the City of San Fernando.

Governor Angel De Martos y Navarrete granted a lot 80 varas square in the vicinity of San Pedro Creek, near his mother in law's property. "He must plant trees and vegetables and occupy the land within the fixed period, with the understanding that if he does not comply," the governor wrote, "the land will be declared unoccupied and uncultivated and may be granted to any other deserving person who may present a petition for it."

This was colonial Spain's version of eminent domain. The school of thought was that God gave the right of eminent domain to the king, and the king gave it to the viceroy, who gave it to the Spanish governor, who parceled it out to settlers. Yet, the king always had the right to reclaim his land for the public good.

Castelo was dead by 1770, and the property was reallocated to a succession of settlers. But Castelo's wife, María Ejeciaca Rodriguez petitioned to reclaim the land, and in 1778, Alcalde Phelix Menchaca restored her title after determining that she had made improvements with a fence and a water conduit for irrigation on the property.

María won her case in a time when rebellious British colonists had yet to pen the U.S. Constitution, and include the last line in the Fifth Amendment which reads: "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Note two key words, "public use" and "just compensation."

"Eminent domain is the exclusive right of the state, county and the city to exercise discretion in taking private property," says Suzette Berry, a senior analyst in the Bexar County Clerk's office, which oversees the collection and storage of public records. "But it has to be for a HemisFair or to build expressways, with a purpose to serve all of the citizens."

The first eminent domain case on record in the courthouse (from the Republic of Texas era) was dated June 11, 1885, and pitted the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railway Co. against property owner George Witte. The railroad had its heart set on a 600-foot wide swath of land between the San Antonio River and Probandt Street for a railroad right of way. The railroad won the first of a series of cases, and Witte was paid $125 for his property.

"Eminent domain removes your right to property, and the rights to water and minerals under that property - you can kiss that oil well goodbye, too," says Berry.

Jump ahead to November 1964, when the Texas Attorney General conducted a seminar for attorneys who had worked, or were about to work, on eminent domain cases. "While the concept of eminent domain stretches back in time to almost the beginning of law ... the development of this area of law, as we know it today, has taken place almost entirely within the past 15 years," explained Assistant Attorney General Hawthorne Phillips.

The Texas Highway Department had only three attorneys working condemnation cases in 1958, but by 1964, there were 30 attorneys involved with condemnations for interstate highway rights of way.

San Antonio residents were getting a taste of it from the north, south, and downtown. Families were displaced in the 1960s to make way for HemisFair and the convention center, as urban renewal programs opted to demolish neighborhoods instead of rebuilding them.

And the highways were indeed coming. City Council in August 1963 approved a "schematic" for the North Expressway, known today as Highway 281 and Interstate 37. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word didn't have to consult an oracle to see what would happen to them. The highway plan published in local newspapers showed the project's first route would cut through the Incarnate Word High School Campus.

The sisters hired attorney Pat Maloney and filed suit. The state attorney general's office was prepared to use taxpayer money to condemn the property. Other lawsuits followed, and the newspapers reported that City Hall had hinted at following a strategy to get a court to "stop legal bushwhacking of the freeway program." Maloney promised "a decade of court action."

But Incarnate Word was not only concerned about the taking of property. There was the integrity of Olmos Dam, the San Antonio Zoo, the Japanese/Chinese Sunken Gardens and the theater. The Conservation Society, led by Wanda Ford, sued to protect Brackenridge Park. Ford faced the prospect of losing her home to the project.

It was the first time the nation would build a highway through a school campus. Another irksome fact was that an alternate route would have followed Devine Road through the "walled city" of Olmos Park, but political pressure convinced the state to avoid building a highway through a municipality that did not want a highway. "A nun and a college administrator have to stand up here today to defend themselves against bricks, mortar and asphalt taking precedence over an educational institution which has given outstanding service to the city for some 100 years," said Sister Thomas Greenberg, president of Incarnate Word.

The nuns settled with the City for $972,000, and a walkway over the highway that twists and turns wildly on its route from Corpus Christi to Wichita Falls. Legal strategy and political clout delayed its opening until 1978. Ultimately, the City has benefited from the highway project, says former mayor Howard Peak IV, whose father had joined a lawsuit as an individual in the 1960s against building the expressway. "The net result was a roadway realigned to minimize the taking of the park, and so while it was long and involved, and expensive, some good did come out of it," says Peak. "In the end, the City would be in a bit of a mess if we didn't have the freeway."

Although eminent domain is used throughout the U.S., in Texas the stakes are higher, says County Clerk Gerry Rickhoff. "Texas has a higher level of concern because roots to the land are deeper. Land is 98 percent privately owned. You're entering the land of the unhappy people."

Just ask Elizabeth Small, whose grandfather was Edward Patrick Walsh. The Walsh Ranch along the Medina River had been in the family since the Spanish granted the land to them in 1794. Then in the late 1980s, the City decided it wanted a large piece of Walsh property to build a giant mosquito bog, the Applewhite Reservoir. Edward Walsh encountered then-mayor Henry Cisneros in an elevator in a local hospital and was told, "We're gonna get your ranch."

Small contends that the Walsh Ranch was chosen for political reasons. She says the City left the nearby Strauss Ranch alone, since that family carries more political clout. And today, the Walsh Ranch is under construction as Toyota Acres.

"In 1991, the condemnation was very rough on the family," says Small, who grew up on the ranch. "We were told the only thing the land was good for was for tire recycling or trailer parks. Then suddenly it was too valuable to sell back to us, and they were using taxes to condemn our property." "They weren't too sensitive to the family," says Rickhoff, referring to the City's tactic in the Applewhite episode.

The Small family has located another ranch farther south, near Pleasanton, and Elizabeth has graduated from UTSA with a degree in marketing and is moving on with her life, although it still hurts to think about losing 5,000 acres and a family homestead. "It's hard to drive by there, very hard. It was a unique place."

There were 67 condemnation cases before two probate courts in Bexar County in 2002. There were 35 in 2003, and 39 so far in 2004. Various public entities, including the City, the State, school districts, and even Canyon Regional Water Authority, have filed the cases, and the public rarely gets a glimpse of them. On the City side, condemnation proceedings are listed under the "Consent" portion of the City Council Agenda, and rarely get a mention in public.

But the results can be seen everywhere, in drainage or utility easements, or property taken for a road project. There is one substantial example on the City's North Side, along Babcock Road, between De Zavala and Hausman roads. The City condemned property owned by the Bertetti Family Trust, paid more than $600,000 for the property, and built a new bridge over Leon Creek.

Owning a piece of property and a home has for decades been the American Dream, but if the Kingdom of Government wants its property back, there's nothing to do but jump out of the way of the legal bulldozer known as eminent domain.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Toll roads dead?

There was a room full of angry cattle ranchers in the room when the Texas highway department rolled out its Trans Texas Corridor, which showed routes across their property lines in Wilson County. I know because I squeezed among them to look at the highway plans.
Texas already has lots of great farm to market roads that are well paved and can get the motorist to just about anywhere in the state, so I really didn't agree with the need to widen every rural highway to 16 lanes in each direction.
Of course there are plenty of other reasons I will not be voting in the "red" column in the November 2010 election.

Life in Coastal Bend

My ancestors did not observe property lines. Maps and other man made delineations of the planet for the purposes of marking territory have resulted in senseless wars, starvation, human slavery, etcetera. Will the rising ocean waters create a new world order, where there are not any more "no trespassing signs?