Challenges But Also Window of Opportunity Awaits Us!
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
May 8, 2008

I often think about the greatest generation…raised in the depression, winning World War II and then coming back from the war to raise all of us baby boomers! As a proud member of the many sons and daughters of the "Greatest Generation", I believe we as a group are incredibly blessed. We are in many cases, well-educated, healthy, reasonably financially secure and because of the advances in medicine and dentistry, diet, exercise and not generally having to perform daily harsh work and will tend to live very old and fall apart very slowly, many of us living to 100 years old and beyond!

That's exactly why challenges involving pain at the pump and the recent rationing of rice seem so contrary to all of our experience as consumers. Prices seem to be driven by a weak dollar and high fuel prices. As I understand it, the trade deficit we carry is borne of more of us wanting more of other countries' goods and services than they want of ours.

The opportunity in all of this is that we can use our incredible American ingenuity to invent our way out of this.

Mark Clayton, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor in the April 16, 2008 edition reported that a person by the name of "Ian Clifford wants to start a global revolution by building a practical, everyday car with no gasoline engine, no batteries, and no emissions. While big Detroit automakers ponder a future plug-in car that goes 40 miles on a battery charge before its gas engine kicks in, Mr. Clifford's tiny ZENN Motor, a Toronto maker of low-speed electric cars, announced in March that it will build a new highway-speed (80 m.p.h.) model that goes 250 miles on a charge – and can recharge in just five minutes. Having no batteries, the new "cityZENN" model will use a breakthrough version of a common electrical storage device called an ultracapacitor to store power from a wall socket, the company says. Fuel costs to operate it would be about one-tenth of today's gas-powered vehicle. If that astounding claim is real (and there are many skeptics), it could revolutionize automotive travel by making all-electric cars competitive with gas-powered vehicles and easing the world's dependence on oil."

Here at the County we are leaving no stone unturned to save energy costs. That's why we are one of two counties in Texas to hire and energy manager to analyze and implement new energy-saving techniques into our new and old buildings. Of equal importance, we are shifting to hybrids where feasible to save gas. Also on the transportation front, we have initiated the Transit Initiative and provided 4,000 ID cards allowing employees to ride VIA and its downtown trolleys free. We then challenged the top 100 employers to do the same!

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