Spare the air is a fraud. Here are the facts!

Napa's airs censor is on top of a Mexican bakery. A violation of where they put these sensors. Here's the others in the Bay Area  

•Los Gatoso306 University Ave, Los Gatos, CA 95030o“Top of fire station's hose drying tower”--obvious location for diesel fumes
•Palo Alto Airporto1925 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303o“The end of the runway in the aircraft run-up zone”--obvious and excessive exhaust from airplanes; not a neighborhood
•Reid-Hillview Airporto2500 Cunningham Ave., San Jose, CA 95148o“The end of the runway in the aircraft run-up zone”--obvious and excessive exhaust from airplanes; not a neighborhood
•San Joseo158 E. Jackson Street, San Jose, CA 95112o“Top floor of two-story commercial building”--this is a strip mall with restaurants and beauty salons that exude pollutants straight into the monitoring sensor. 
•San Martino13030 Murphy Ave., San Martin, CA 95046o“Air monitoring shelter next to maintenance shed”--this is actually an airport where pollution comes from airplanes; not a neighborhood

We request that you file an objection with the EPA against the BAAQMD and require that they either move these sensors to appropriate locations or then cease using the data from these stations in the Spare-the-Air program.

Jonbie January 03, 2014 at 10:04 PM
Here is the guy you need to address your questions to: Matthew Lakin, Ph.D. Manager, Air Quality Analysis Office United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX 75 Hawthorne Street San Francisco, CA 94105-3901
Buzz Avery January 04, 2014 at 04:09 AM
Your heart is in the right place but you are off the mark. The Napa sensor is one of the many sensors throughout 9 bay area counties. We get these alerts because it is the job of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to control the buildup of particulate air pollution, typically from wood fires. Fires that burn wood, which is usually done in the winter, create air pollution unless winds and/or rain removes it. Since we are in a drought with little wind, smoke from wood fires doesn't dissipate. The BAAQMD believes the program reduces asthma attacks. But since they can't regulate auto or aircraft emissions, there is little else they can do about air pollution. They also regulate outdoor fire burning. But, the BAAQMD is guilty of misrepresenting their mission. This government division has become its own bloated bureaucracy. It spends well over $1 million per year on monitoring, warnings, and enforcement. Since they have little to no enforcement, they mainly ensure that newspapers and radios make announcements about their alerts. There is no measure of the effectiveness of their alert program. Complaints are facilitated by the BAAQMD website but they don't act on complaints. The form is probably there to give the complainants a place to vent or think something will be done to stop their neighbor from burning leaves in their backyard. Complaints are ignored according to BAAQMD officials. The enforcement by BAAQMD usually occurs in the form of a warning letter. The scenario is this. One of their few officers drives by a home with smoke coming from the chimney. The officer writes down the address and a letter is sent. Sometimes, when they return to verify the person receiving the warning has complied, the smoke may be seen a second time. The officer again makes a report. At this point, a bureaucratic button pusher decides to send a citation, or not. The recipient can also make a denial or an excuse, and get the citation or warning removed. Its all so very polite. The BAAQMD admits the main point of their program is to keep the public mindful of the potential damage of air pollution, and that we are all responsible for minimizing air pollution. I'm afraid too few listen, but about this problem, they are completely correct.
Jonbie January 04, 2014 at 11:02 AM
Buzz, all good facts but I always wonder about commenters who post at 4 a.m. Who have no history of posting, follows only government patch feeds, knows way too much about the workings of the BAAQM. this sounds like a fluff piece. Do you work for them or are legal? I think your comments are meant to soften people's reaction to a violation of there basic rights and freedoms.
Winghunter January 04, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Buzz.... The BAAQM is a bloated group who manipulates their data to stay relevant and in turn retain funding and employment. They are like the rest of our bureaucratic systems, a joke!!!!
Buzz Avery January 04, 2014 at 12:37 PM
Jonbie, I don't have any connection with BAAQMD. Most of the stuff I reported comes off Wikipedia and news reports available through search engines. Actually, I would like to know what the monitors actually monitor but can't find that. They say "air quality" which I think is intentionally vague. I don't even think they need monitors since the idea of wood-burning when there's no wind or rain to remove it means everyday will be a Spare the Air day until the weather changes. It was 1 AM when my comments were posted and I only joined NV Patch last week. I agree the BAAQMD operation is a fraud, as the headline states, but their reporting of conditions conducive to particulate accumulation are correct. Issuing alerts is one main reason this bureaucracy exists in the first place. In the larger sense, they are not making a significant dent in overall air pollution. Finally, I guess you'll have to show me in law where wood burning is a "basic right and freedom".
Jonbie January 04, 2014 at 12:42 PM
Well buzz then you need to be commended on your research. apologies are in order in thinking you are a narc for the commission. As for burning I will do it as I see fit. You seem to be an educated person. This is no longer about rights or freedoms. It's about the little guy getting the shaft because business is what matters.
Buzz Avery January 04, 2014 at 12:51 PM
Winghunter. I agree. Government accounts for 40% of all jobs in the U.S. which requires taxing at over 40% of income to sustain them. (I'm including businesses.) They hide indirect costs, mainly retirement payments, inside the budgets of other departments. Although we're taxed on a hybrid sliding scale, the middle class pays out about 50% of its income in union states, through all the various taxes and fees. In a democracy, I don't think there's any worse form of government administration than a state bureaucracy controlled by unions, since the ineffective cannot be easily terminated. Mix lawmakers (lawyers), bureaucrats, and union members…voila...bloated and inefficient government.
Robert Morey January 04, 2014 at 01:26 PM
I drove by 2552 Jefferson Street and, sure enough, there is a BAAQMD sticker on the door and what appears to be a sensor above the one-story building. It's literally sandwiched between two bakeries and two beauty salons. I bet you can feel the particulate matter entering your nose right now. It's a joke that they would put the sensor there and then accuse Napa of having bad air quality. I think that the Napa Grand Jury needs to look into this...!
Robert Morey January 04, 2014 at 01:29 PM
@Buzz Avery: they allow wood-burning on Spare-the-Air days if you pay them permit fees. Drive by the barrel makers in the Napa Valley, the wood-burning pizza joint in Bel Aire Plaza, or just about any hotel lobby. It's a pay-to-pollute scheme. So, they can do more than attack our fireplaces... but they seem to want money more than clean air...


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