Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Glasgow Council Election 2012 - Fuel Poverty

Households in fuel poverty have been defined as those which spend more than 10% of the household income on fuel for heating, lighting, cooking, etc. The particularly cold winters of 2010 and 2011 combined with record high gas and electricity prices have pushed a greater number of households in to fuel poverty. Increased unemployment and pay freezes have also caused an increase in the number of households affected.  Local authorities can not decree the weather, nor can they influence energy prices but they can provide favourable conditions for employment to help move people out of fuel poverty, although this doesn't really get to the heart of the matter.

The vast majority of homes affected by fuel poverty are older, poorly insulated homes and this is where the council can have a much greater impact. Insulating these properties would lift people from fuel poverty and reduce the carbon footprint of the city now and in the future. Insulating older homes is one of the most cost effective ways of reducing energy use and hence carbon emissions.

Some of the worst houses are former council houses that were sold to their tenants at knock down prices for ideological reasons. Many of the owner/occupiers are elderly and struggle to pay their utility bills, therefore can not afford to invest in double glazing, loft insulation, wall insulation or efficient central heating systems. Their neighbours that were not persuaded to buy their council houses have had all this supplied by their housing association.

So where do the parties stand on this issue?

Read more »

Rider Reports Truly Bizarre Incident at Rockville

From Michael:
While walking up to the Rockville station, there was a girl in a skirt simply lying on the sidewalk outside the steps to the Metro—right near where the buses pull up.

It was confusing to see this person just on the ground, limbs akimbo. I actually wondered if she needed help or was OK, since she was kind of squirming about flashing everyone.

My wondering stopped once she leaned up onto her hands and knees and did some sort of weird rhythmic bouncing.

I have never been more enthused that I could absorb myself into playing Words With Friends and try to ignore what was going on in front of me.

Unfortunately, to get into the station one had to pass by whatever the hell was going on before me. While I walked by, the girl stood up and then used one of the Metro sign poles as a makeshift … well, pole.

It was then that you could actually make out the attire of the girl: somewhat short plaid skirt, black top with crests and seals and the like. Clearly, she was wearing the outfit of some sort of Catholic/private school. Oh, and she looked very young. Awesome. There was an underage girl doing some sort of bizarre striptease outside the Metro.

Once in the station, waiting for the Glenmont train, one can see down to where the buses pull up. The girl was still out there doing some weird booty dancing, her skirt around her waist, twirling about like this was some 2 Live Crew video gone wrong. Again, just gazing at this was such so bizarre and awkward, I again glued myself to Words With Friends and hoped the five minutes until the next train would come quickly.

Minutes passed, still no train. I looked up to see the time for the train to arrive and take me away from whatever the hell was going on below. Of course, the girl was still out there “dancing.” Only now she had her shirt lifted up and tied around her neck. She also was pounding on buses, flipping them off, and running about. So clearly, what originally possibly could’ve been done as some dare or bet now has turned into “this girl probably has something mentally wrong at the moment and needs help.”

To make matters worse, there were Metro employees outside of the station. None of them did anything to stop the surreal scene. By any means, I’m not some moral guardian who thinks any indecent act leads us on a slippery slope to anarchy, but is a Metro stop really the place for this? Really, considering this girl looked 16 and was dressed in the garb of a high school student, is there any place for this?

Finally, what looked like a Metro employee from my vantage point (blue outfit, patches, etc.) approached the girl. In a rational world where the Metro works like it should work, you would expect him to get her to stop. Nope. Instead the man walked about ten feet behind the girl, took out his camera phone and started recording/taking photos of what was unfolding before him. Obviously, filming a half naked teenager took precedence over doing his job.

The Red Line train arrived, and he was still just recording, the girl still bouncing all over in a state of undress. I expect some issues on the DC Metro, but seriously, this is the first time I’ve rode the Metro where I had to go home and make some herbal tea, listen to Tori Amos, and cry about the state of the world.

Thanks Metro!
Other items:
Study says Silver Line with $386 million in taxes (Examiner)
A story about a bus driver driving with one hand (Examiner)