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Saturday, January 19, 2013

City filling up with thousands of supporters

Homeland Security equipment placed everywhere in city.
In line for free concert at Kennedy Center

Up close look at Presidential review stand that will be used during parade on Monday.

Catering truck parked in front of White House. Guess you have to pull strings to get this one.

Bike share in DC. Across from Washington Monument bikes are lined up for rental. Even with traffic and crowds of people walking, people were lining up to rent bikes.

What a difference a day makes. The city is starting to fill up. As we walk around the National Mall and over to the White House thousands of people are walking around. Impossible to take a cab anywhere because traffic is bumper to bumper. It's a festive mood. People are inspecting all the preparations in place for the parade after the swearing in.

The weather improved today but it is still very cold.

Because I know the city so well having lived here twice in my life, we were able to get around easily but nonetheless slowly because of the crowds. Was amazed how quickly the vendors had photos and tshirts showing the First Lady's new hair cut out on the street.

Thousands of young people here because of the 65 High School ands going to play in the parade. Many of them were at the Kennedy Center tonite as Flo and I attended a free quartet concert by the National Symphony.

Then back to Georgetown for dinner with a long time friends who is a political consultant. Fun to catch up.
Took lots of photos some of which I am posting to show the preparations in front of the White House.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

On the road to the inauguration

Despite not being able to fly on my favorate airline -- JetBlue -- I made it to Dulles airport last night without a hitch.

I am not a fan of flying. I know. I know. I write about aviation history but I still wonder at how such a large machine can getup in the air, stay there and then land.

It is so cold back here. Wait. It was so cold back there. Now snow is predicted. And colder weather.
I love DC. Lived here two separate times -- once working for the CIA and once working for a public relations company and the US House of Representatives.

I know my way around so even though I am really under the weather with a cold or the flu or whatever, my partner Flo and I managed to get around today up to Capitol Hill for a visit with Congressman Alan Lowenthal and to pick up our tickets for the swearing in ceremony this coming Monday.

Congressman Lowenthal looks right at home in his office on the 5th Floor of the Cannon Building. That is the building that has the tunnel to the Capitol which is really handy in this cold.

All around us preparations are being made for Monday's events. Was surprised to see Capitol Police holding submachine guns. So sad that much of the access to the people's building has been cut off since 911.

Tomorrow I get to play tour guide and go to a couple of museums. Bus drivers and taxi drivers told us today that big crowds are expected starting tomorrow.

Taking lots of Vitamin C and fluids and actually getting rest.
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Sunday, January 13, 2013

US Dept of Energy Showcases SERRF Plant in Long Beach

Having just gone behind the scenes with Long Beach residents at the Southeast Resource Recovery Facility (SERRF), a recycling and solid waste-to-energy plant, I was pleased to see that when one “googles” SERRF that you find a case study on the US Dept of Energy’s website about the project.

SERRF took ten years to come on line in 1988 and is similar to plants in Germany and Japan that take waste (garbage) and burn it, clean up the gases produced and recycle the ash produced and convert the steam generated into electricity which is sold to Southern California Edison.

Our tour was amazing. It began with a detailed briefing of how the plant works, its funding, its future. SERRF processes approximately 1,290 tons of municipal solid waste each day, generating up to 38 MW of electricity. It also serves as the site where law enforcement can dispose of narcotics.

SERRF is owned by a Joint Powers Authority formed by the City of Long Beach and the Los Angeles County Sanitation District No. 2.

SERRF allows a reduction in garbage being placed in landfills (Puente Hills and in Orange County) which in turn keeps charges to consumers lower than if landfills were used.
Garbage trucks dump their loads and then e-waste or what is called white goods – refrigerators and washing machines are sorted out and the scrap is sold. The remaining waste is incinerated and the toxic gases and residue are scrubbed. (I saw the furnace and it probably is the closest thing on earth to what hell might look like.) The resulting ash is hauled to the landfills and used as pavement for the roads that go into the landfill. In other countries, the ash is used to pave all streets.

The steam generates electricity which is sold to Southern California Edison. Unfortunately, SERRF does not yet qualify for a non polluting source of electricity which would then qualify the plant to receive carbon credits.

SERRF processes garbage. Recycled goods are picked up at the curbside by a private contractor in Long Beach – Waste Management—and taken to another site where they are sorted and sold to recycling companies.

It was a very interesting tour and briefing. I appreciate the residents who took time to learn the behind the scenes of this important City program. More to come in the months ahead with Open Up Long Beach. (see )

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