Monday, May 23, 2011

Blow, wind, blow

Medford has been trumpeting the amount of power that their wind turbine has generated on massive electronic billboards along Route 93. (Oh, the irony.) We are supposed to be impressed by the large numbers: 196,000 kWh since January 2009! But the turbine was supposed to generate 150,000 kWh per year, and it’s generating less than half of that. It cost $650,000 to generate 7000 kWh per month.

The solar panels on my parents’ house on Long Island went operational the same month, and generate 1250 kWh per month for an initial cost of $75,000. That’s 50% more efficient, less maintenance required, and costs are still dropping fast on solar.

Neither party directly paid full price, of course: Medford had grants for most of the wind turbine cost, and my parents received rebates and tax incentives for 2/3 of the solar cost. But you can’t justify large-scale decisions on energy production by hiding the costs.

I’m glad we’re experimenting with wind, and I think negative results should be published. Just not as if they’re positive results.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Photo by Michael


Photo by Michael

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Photo by Michael

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Red #1

Photo by Michael

Public art follow-up

After sending my letter to the Community Development Office and following up, the city has actually decided to include public art in a survey about what our open space priorities should be. That’s a good start, and every positive response helps! So before May 20, please fill out the online Medford Open Space and Recreation Public Survey. You don’t have to answer every question.

Your answers on this survey will affect the city’s priorities for the next 7 years! The survey is at:

In question 22, select “Public programming” and “Public and community art” as items that you think need the most improvement in Medford’s parks.

In question 23, say that you do feel that public art should be a priority. Here are just a couple of reasons: public art enhances the quality of life in Medford by encouraging a sense of place and by introducing people to works of art that can reach out to them. Public art energizes our public spaces. And public art can engage and involve the community in its creation, creating pride and a welcome sense of public ownership of our public spaces.