Analysis: Shifting Priorities on Wood Smoke Burning

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woodburning

It was our initial understanding that the concern for wood smoke burning had to do with the large amount of particulate matter put into the air, particularly on days with little wind movement to blow the smoke particles out of the valley.  The result was that air quality management would issue certain no-burn days and the city has, without a huge amount of success, attempted both voluntary and mandatory regulations during those days.

Somewhere in this process the focus has shifted from a global impact of particulate matter in Davis’ air to the impact on neighbors – dubbed the nearest neighbor effect.

In October 2012, the city council adopted the Wood Burning Ordinance as a one-year pilot.  It would set criteria for no-burn days, provide the city with the ability to enforce those days, and collect data.

The council specifically made the ordinance complaint-driven, meaning once again that it became a matter of policing neighbors who were causing a nuisance.  The ordinance, recognizing enforcement limitations, also focused on public education and creating metrics to assess the issue.

The results were not overwhelmingly encouraging: there were 16 no-burn days, 23 complaints were logged by 11 individuals, 8 letters were sent to property owners, two addresses were forwarded to code compliance with one notice of violation, and eight smoke detection logs were sent to the NRC.

The city argued that the number of days were lower than expected, but that simply might have been a function of last year’s weather patterns.  They also indicated that the $5000 budget was fully utilized and would not be adequate to address more days or code enforcement actions.  Staff writes, “Complaints were received for eight individual properties, indicating that wood smoke impacts are considered a negative issue in a few localized parts of town and not a Citywide problem.”

But that analysis might be lacking.  After all, if we are arguing that wood smoke is a component of air pollution, people normally do not complain about smog, but it may well impact people’s health, and at times in ways that are not immediately evident.

As we know from previous articles by both Alan Pryor and Matt Williams of the NRC, the NRC has re-worked the ordinance, arguing that it was “cumbersome and ineffective” and concluding that it “should not be continued in its current form.”

However, the NRC moves even further in the direction of “nuisance complaints” to be made by affected residents, arguing “the problem is not a Citywide concern.”

The NRC would “eliminate the application of the ordinance only on declared ‘no burn’ days to acknowledge that complaints from residents also occurred on days when there were no restrictions on wood burning,”

They would continue to “provide incentives for residents to convert to EPA compliant wood burning devices to improve long-term emissions from residential property.”  And they would eliminate the exemption based on economic hardship.

Staff argues that by not limiting the days when restrictions apply, the cost would increase greatly to enforce the nuisance ordinance.

Staff concurs with the conclusions reached by the NRC, but believes that a nuisance ordinance would present a number of challenges legally and from an enforceability standpoint.

They argue that visible smoke might be difficult or impossible to determine at night.  They additionally argue, “The ordinance requires the complaining party live within 300 feet of the offending ‘wood burning source.’ Clarity on how the measurement is taken would be required (e.g. the property line, the limits of the structure(s), or the location of the stove/fireplace/chimney). The distance would be difficult to verify in the field absent surveying instruments and proper training on those instruments. This presents a time consuming, and potentially cost prohibitive effort for enforcement staff.”

The twenty minute requirement is a problem as well, as it “will require enforcement staff to spend a minimum 20 minutes on the scene, in constant surveillance of the offending, visible smoke for that 20-minute period. That is a labor intensive undertaking and would be impractical to provide staff to survey multiple properties at any given time.”

“Without entering the home, the enforcement staff would have no knowledge of the facts of these matters. Without first-hand verification of the fuel and wood burning device, enforcement action could not be taken,” staff argues.

In short, staff believes that many of the enforcement difficulties that were identified a year ago but avoided in the previous ordinance would come into play.

Staff therefore reaches a different recommendation.  Staff states, “The best approach would be to amend the existing Nuisance Abatement Ordinance to incorporate offensive smoke and odors as a specifically identified public nuisance.”

Staff also argues, “The pilot Ordinance last year demonstrated there is not a wide spread concern about wood smoke, that it is a nearest neighbor impact in a small number of neighborhoods, that the language presents enforcement challenges, and that enforcement costs could go up significantly.”

While we recognize that, we are concerned that staff and the NRC are missing the bigger picture.

A 2009 study of the impact of wood smoke in the San Joaquin Valley, for example, expressed “concern over the health effects from residential wood burning,” arguing that in some communities “wood smoke can comprise 20 to 80 percent of ambient particulate pollution. Wood smoke consists of several pollutants, including: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter (or PM), and other irritating and toxic components.”

The study adds, “Residential wood burning affects ambient and indoor air quality locally, throughout neighborhoods and regionally. In addition to the smoke that can be released inside the home, studies show that up to 70 percent of smoke from chimneys can actually reenter the home and other neighborhood dwellings (1). In the winter, we often have weather conditions that cause stagnant air. As a result, wood smoke is trapped close to the ground.”

The key question from these studies is whether the impact of wood smoke particulate matter would require the individual to be cognizant of the impact.  While there are clearly sensitive people who are impacted immediately by wood smoke, this ordinance would appear only targeted to those groups and not the wider impacts.

As the staff report notes, “The NRC recommendation acknowledges that this issue is a nuisance-type issue and that they didn’t believe the pilot ordinance was effective. Recognizing that the City already has a well-defined nuisance abatement ordinance and procedures, which include escalating penalties for non-compliance, staff believes it would be more effective to amend the existing ordinance to allow residents to address the nearest neighbor problem.”

They continue, “Staff believes that the proposed revision would institute a means by which neighbors that are adversely affected by gross offenders of wood burning smoke could seek remedy with the support of the City.”

They add, “The provision would apply to smoke, irrespective of the fuel source, and irrespective of whether it was being generated inside or outside. As with any nuisance complaints, the offense must be verified by City staff, which would likely be a combined effort of code enforcement and Police acting in cooperation.”

Furthermore, staff writes, “The violation must be confirmed to be detrimental to the ‘typical person,’ and readily substantiated as being offensive enough to cause enforcement action by the City (a test of reasonableness). While those who may be hyper-sensitive to certain amounts of wood smoke may not find full satisfaction with a nuisance based provision, staff believes that this approach would provide adequate remedy for most circumstances, where the violation is clearly causing a nuisance.”

Staff also recommends including provisions for foul odor (often associated with burning or other nuisance violations such as improper disposal of waste) and light/glare (such as flood lights shining into residential windows).

In short, staff seems to be going in the direction of turning this into a nuisance issue similar to the noise ordinance.

We recognize that this may well resolve the issue for individuals with complaints, but we are left uncertain as to whether this is really addressing the wider concern of wood smoke as a source for air pollution in the region and in our community.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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73 thoughts on “Analysis: Shifting Priorities on Wood Smoke Burning”

  1. SouthofDavis

    David quotes a study that says:

    > studies show that up to 70 percent of smoke from
    > chimneys can actually reenter the home and other
    > neighborhood dwellings

    I don’t want to make a joke about this since a few years back an entire family I know died at a rental home when a gap in a heater exhaust vent allowed carbon monoxide in to the home.

    I don’t know the exact number but I’m betting that if we get a canary and pump even 25% of the smoke from a chimney back in to a home the canary will not last long…

  2. SouthofDavis

    Davis writes:

    > Furthermore, staff writes, “the violation must be
    > confirmed to be detrimental to the “typical person”,
    > and readily substantiated as being offensive enough
    > to cause enforcement action by the City (a test of
    > reasonableness).

    With 11 people out of 66,000 (.00017%) complaining about smoke it looks like the “typical person” does not have a problems with the neighbors having a fire on X-Mas Eve…

  3. David M. Greenwald

    “I don’t know the exact number but I’m betting that if we get a canary and pump even 25% of the smoke from a chimney back in to a home the canary will not last long… “

    It’s a compound sentence that you’re evaluating. As I read it, it’s not that 70 percent of smoke reenters the home, it’s that it reenters the home and other neighborhood dwellings. That’s still a little high, but it does change the scenario a little.

  4. David M. Greenwald

    “With 11 people out of 66,000 (.00017%) complaining about smoke it looks like the “typical person” does not have a problems with the neighbors having a fire on X-Mas Eve… “

    But how many people are complaining about smog either, and yet we really don’t know its long term impact on a person’s health.

  5. Mr.Toad

    “They would continue to ‘provide incentives for residents to convert to EPA compliant wood burning devices to improve long-term emissions from residential property.’ And they would eliminate the exemption based on economic hardship.”

    What are the incentives? All I read is punitive and nothing to help people who are having economic difficulty.

  6. medwoman

    Perhaps Alan, Matt, or someone else with access to the actual information could provide the dates on which the complaints were made along with atmospheric conditions on those dates. This would help to clarify whether what is being complained about is an actual health hazard or as SouthofDavis seems to be implying, one neighbor attempting to prevent another from enjoying their Christmas celebration.

    Written only partially tongue in cheek.

  7. Mr.Toad

    “A 2009 study of the impact of wood smoke in the San Joaquin Valley…”

    The San Joaquin Valley has the worst air pollution problems with the highest rates of respiratory problems in the nation. We are do not have the same conditions here and not necessarily be using them as a guide.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    “What are the incentives? All I read is punitive and nothing to help people who are having economic difficulty.”

    And how does wood burning help people with economic difficulty anyway? Unless people are literally burning garbage, it’s more expensive to heat one’s home by burning wood than by gas heating.

  9. David M. Greenwald

    “The San Joaquin Valley has the worst air pollution problems with the highest rates of respiratory problems in the nation. We are do not have the same conditions here and not necessarily be using them as a guide. “

    What facts presented from that report change based on particularities in SJV versus here?

  10. Mr.Toad

    “the NRC recommendation acknowledges that this issue is a nuisance-type issue and that they didn’t believe the pilot ordinance was effective.”

    The NRC is wrong. We had far fewer fires in the fireplace last winter than I would have liked. When we did I checked to make sure it wasn’t a no burn day, there was wind and the wood was dry. I also later talked to my nearest neighbor to see if he had any concerns. If not for the NRC I or last years ordinance I would not have done any of these things.

  11. David M. Greenwald

    With all due respect Mr. Toad, you of all people should know better than to use your behavior as an indication of anything. Not getting person here, just pointing out that there are a group of people in this community paying attention to the city council and what is going on, and my guess it is a low number. My guess therefore is almost no one did as you here.

  12. Growth Izzue

    [quote]just pointing out that there are a group of people in this community paying attention to the city council and what is going on, and my guess it is a low number.[/quote]

    People may not follow the council that closely but they do read the newspaper. Heck, you write about it a lot and didn’t you recently post that you had over a million views? People got the word.

  13. Mr.Toad

    “And how does wood burning help people with economic difficulty anyway? “

    One may be able to get firewood cheaply. I often see wood from cut down trees left for those willing to take it away. The cost of upgrading to a new system are substantially higher than the cost of wood. Wood burning is carbon neutral. Natural gas while less carbon dense than coal still increases our carbon footprint. Stagnant air flow in the SJV is a huge problem we don’t have on most days and the days it is an issue are the no burn days.

  14. Mr.Toad

    A 300 foot radius is almost 6.5 acres about 1/1000 the area of Davis. If Matt’s calculation is correct and there are 4000 randomly distributed sensitive people this ordinance will in effect ban wood burning in Davis for anyone who does not have an EPA approved stove. I’m sure this is the intent of the NRC, to force people to upgrade. So why the pretense and all the enforcement mumbo jumbo? Why not just put it out there as intended?

  15. Mr.Toad

    “Not getting person here, just pointing out that there are a group of people in this community paying attention to the city council and what is going on, and my guess it is a low number. My guess therefore is almost no one did as you here.”

    You underestimate the people of Davis. My old neighbor before we moved told me to let him know if he ever had a fire that bothered me. Just because people aren’t vocal publicly doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention.

  16. medwoman

    Mr. Toad

    [quote]The NRC is wrong. We had far fewer fires in the fireplace last winter than I would have liked[/quote]

    Do you really believe that the actions of one family, yours, proves the NRC wrong ?

  17. Mr.Toad

    Yes I do and the staff agrees this is a localized issue with a few people who have problems that can’t work it out with their neighbors. What we really need is mediation and a program to help people upgrade in these situations not some ham handed enforcement protocol that criminalizes a million years of human behavior surreptitiously through zoning regulations.

  18. medwoman

    Mr. Toad

    [quote]Yes I do [/quote]

    Using this rationale, the fact that my partner and I drive hybrids must mean that we have no further to go in controlling automobile emissions in Davis. Would you agree ?

  19. David M. Greenwald

    “One may be able to get firewood cheaply.”

    Define cheap? I think my per day cost for heating my home is cheaper than buying a couple dollar pile of wood that has to be replenished regularly.

  20. JustSaying

    “the city has without a huge amount of success….”

    What is the basis for this statement?

    It appears that there only were four complaints beyond those filed an average of every four days by the seven “volunteers” whose job it obviously was to jack up numbers.

    It also appears that Alan Pryor’s description of the proposal and today’s combination of the staff report and David’s opinion today are describing two different ordinance.

    The justifications offered for this ordinance are dubious, weak and/or not applicable to the Davis situation. The question of who is “affected” and, therefore, qualified to file a complaint, is not resolved.

    The data used to justify smell, and that makes the proposal a problem, to borrow Alan’s words.

  21. Mr.Toad

    Gas for heating in winter isn’t cheap although because of a supply glut the last few winters have been below average for natural gas. Firewood gathering for a young poor college kid in a house with an old fireplace would cost a little gas, some sweat and keeping your eyes open for cut down trees. If I was young I could heat the house for practically nothing collecting firewood in Davis.

  22. Mr.Toad

    “Using this rationale, the fact that my partner and I drive hybrids must mean that we have no further to go in controlling automobile emissions in Davis. Would you agree ?”

    Relevance?

  23. Mr.Toad

    “The data used to justify smell, and that makes the proposal a problem, to borrow Alan’s words.”

    An ordinance that doesn’t pass the smell test is what the NRC proposes.

  24. Matt Williams

    Mr.Toad said . . .

    [i]”A 300 foot radius is almost 6.5 acres about 1/1000 the area of Davis. If Matt’s calculation is correct and there are 4000 randomly distributed sensitive people this ordinance will in effect ban wood burning in Davis for anyone who does not have an EPA approved stove. I’m sure this is the intent of the NRC, to force people to upgrade. So why the pretense and all the enforcement mumbo jumbo? Why not just put it out there as intended?”[/i]

    Toad, as one voting member of the NRC I know that my vote was not cast with the intent of forcing people to upgrade.

    Mr.Toad

    [i]”You underestimate the people of Davis. My old neighbor before we moved told me to let him know if he ever had a fire that bothered me. Just because people aren’t vocal publicly doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention.”[/i]

    This statement by you is precisely why I voted for the ordinance that NRC recommended, because it encouraged neighbors all over Davis to do exactly what you and your old neighbor did . . . communicate and collaborate.

    Further, I think that this statement also puts your [i]”4000 randomly distributed sensitive people this ordinance will in effect ban wood burning in Davis for anyone who does not have an EPA approved stove”[/i] into perspective. Only a portion of the 4,000 COPD sufferers will reach out to their wood burning neighbors because their health is suffering from the neighbor’s smoke. More than likely the wood burner who doesn’t have an EPA approved stove will do what your old neighbor and you did, check the weather conditions before you burned a fire.

  25. Matt Williams

    JustSaying said . . .

    [i]”It also appears that Alan Pryor’s description of the proposal and today’s combination of the staff report and David’s opinion today are describing two different ordinance. “[/i]

    Your statement is 100% JS. In preparing their Staff Report, the combination of city counsel, the police department and staff completely changed the NRC’s recommended ordinance to focus solely on the [u]odor[/u] of wood smoke rather than the public health impact of wood smoke. In addition, they removed the nearest neighbors provisions, so the door is wide open for any person regardless of whether they live in Davis or not to file a complaint about any parcel anywhere in Davis. That wide open door is an invitation for the zealous activist abuses that you and others raised concerns about. I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to think that the odor of someone’s backyard barbeque would appear to be covered by staff’s ordinance.

    For those reasons, and many others, I said on the record last night at the NRC meeting that the staff revised ordinance is worse than no ordinance at all, and that Council should scrap staff’s recommendation and either remove the item from the agenda or come up with an ordinance that focuses on public health without setting up opportunities for abuse.

    BTW, no one in the NRC was consulted with by staff as they contemplated and made their changes, and if it weren’t for one NRC member’s having read the Council packet on this item, not a single NRC member would have known that staff had made the change.

  26. Mr.Toad

    “This statement by you is precisely why I voted for the ordinance that NRC recommended, because it encouraged neighbors all over Davis to do exactly what you and your old neighbor did . . . communicate and collaborate.”

    We did this without any ordinance in place. i think the educational aspect of this debate has been positive. Its the negative enforcement over reach that I find problematic.

  27. JustSaying

    This offers an interesting standard for evaluating need.

    If we get a significant number of complainers and complaints, it means we need to start citing and fining because of its significant impact. If we get almost no complainers, we shouldn’t think it means anything so we need go start cities and fining.

    If we have no significant data on wood burning impact on Davis air quality, we can use up to “80 percent of ambient particulate pollution” from someplace else, “if you can smell it, it’s a problem” generalizations and rigged complaint studies.

    We can incomprehensibly claim a more modest, compromise approach has evolved when the earlier version covered only no-burn days and the current one expands to everyday.

    We can establish a 600-foot diameter circle of impact for complaints with no effort to justify the decision and in the face of dissenting opinion from NRC members.

    Ah, the scientific approach at work in quaint Davis….

    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

  28. JustSaying

    “Your statement is 100% JS.”

    Geez, Matt, I thought you were going to say my statement is “100% BS.”

    Now, we’re going to have to actually read the staff report. Glad it was issued in plenty of time for council and public review and consideration.

    I appreciate your desire that the ordinance focus on public health concerns. I agree. There are only two ways that I can see to make that work,

    One method would be to require a doctor’s note (like the approach for a handicapped placard) to assure the complainant’s health truly is affected.

    The second would be to make a case with the public that Davis needs an ordinance and that a proposed ordinance is reasonable, health-effective and enforceable. The case is far from made for either the NRC or staff versions.

    The first imposes little on COPD suffers (a phone call to the treating physician’s office). The second just means the council needs to evaluate public opinion be some means.

    Did the NRC accept your logical recommendation? What is the commission’s position?

    I expect that at least one of your colleagues would love an ordinance that relies only on smell (“a problem”) and that invites the abuse of allowing anyone to file a complaint (or hundreds of complaints) about anyone at anytime with no proof required.

  29. Frankly

    [i] studies show that up to 70 percent of smoke from chimneys can actually reenter the home and other neighborhood dwellings [/i]
    [i]wood smoke accounts for 30-50% of particulate matter[/i]

    Let’s just make up fake facts to get our way.

    Here is a study done in Fresno 2009-2010 [b]Toxicity of Source-Oriented Ambient Submicron Particulate Matter[/b]

    Anthony S. Wexler and Kent Pinkerton, Co-Principal Investigators, University of California Davis, CA 95616

    Prepared for the California Air Resources Board, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the Electric Power Research Institute

    [url]http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/apr/past/06-331.pdf[/url]

    From this study:
    [quote][b]Abstract[/b]
    Current National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter regulate the mass concentration of particles in the atmosphere. There is growing evidence that different sources of these particles have different levels of toxicity. In this work, a system was developed for collecting source oriented particles from the atmosphere suitable for toxicity testing, as described in Chapter 2 of this report. Briefly a single particle mass spectrometer identified particle sources in real time; the mass spectrometer selected a ChemVol associated with each source category to collect size-selected PM while those particles were being observed. This system was operated in Fresno, CA during the summer of 2008 and winter of 2009. The toxicity of the collected samples was assessed in a mouse model. Samples were chemically analyzed to associate them with sources prevalent in Fresno, CA. Most of the toxicity was associated with automobile and cooking sources in both seasons while in the winter toxicity was also associated with secondary compounds.[/quote]
    [quote]w-K/EC/OC (Potassium/Elemental Carbon/Organic Carbon) – Comprised of carbonaceous particles with small metal seeds, again almost exclusively K salts and/or oxides, this particle class represents 18.7% of the detected particles and is the wintertime analog to the s-K/EC/OC class observed during the S08 experiment. The descriptions and discussion given above for those particles also directly apply to particles in this class. Similar to the w-K/CAN class, the high organic carbon content of these particles, in conjunction with the presence of K seeds, indicates biomass combustion from sources sustaining mixed phase combustion, most notably woodstoves and fireplaces. However, there is a general absence of any secondary components suggesting these particles largely originate from the collective effects of local residential heating.[/quote]
    [quote]Understanding which PM components represent the most significant health hazard presents several challenges to manufacturers, regulatory decision makers, toxicologists, and risk assessors who must identify PM components with the most risk and then estimate the potential for improved protection of human health that may result from significant changes in the emission profile (McDonald et al. 2004). Therefore, studies investigating source-specific contributions are needed to target emissions associated with the greatest risk.[/quote]
    A couple of points related to this study and other related work:

    1. There is conflicting evidence that fireplace wood smoke makes up a significant-enough amount of particulate matter to justify additional regulations to ban wood burning days… especially as the number of non-EPA certified wood burning fireplaces is already on decline.

    2. Those pushing for additional bans have been given complete license to claim wood smoke-casued health issues without having the science to back up their claims.

    Just because wood smoke can be detected by the average person, it is unfairly targeted as a respiratory irritant. However, as this study proves, actual particulate matter is a very small fraction of the total PM, and there is no actual correlation between wood smoke PM and chemical reactions that cause respiratory problems.

    When a small group of activists decide to take away private freedoms, it should be a requirement that they come to the table with absolute proof instead of hype and inflated facts.

  30. SouthofDavis

    David wrote:

    > And how does wood burning help people
    > with economic difficulty anyway?

    Then Toad wrote:

    > One may be able to get firewood cheaply.
    > I often see wood from cut down trees left
    > for those willing to take it away.

    David then writes:

    > Define cheap? I think my per day cost for
    > heating my home is cheaper than buying a
    > couple dollar pile of wood

    I think Toad was defining “Cheap” as ‘FREE”. Poor people don’t pay $5 for a bundle of wood at ACE Hardware (or $20 for a box of Duraflames). If David drove by the dump taking the (extra long) “shortcut” from South Davis to Woodland as often as he said he did he would see a lot more trucks full of wood construction debris than plastic trash bags. Most poor guys that work construction can get PAID to haul away wood from a job site (just one roof of shingles or the wood from an old fence around a backyard can heat a home for an entire winter). When I was in college (paying $125/month for my room) we turned off the pilot light (to save about $0.20/month) and heated our place in the winter with wood we got from the place nearby that always had a “FREE PALLETS” sign (We cut up the pallets with my worm drive and put the pine in the funky orange free standing metal fireplace in our living room that really pumped out the heat)…

  31. SouthofDavis

    David quoted a study that said:

    > studies show that up to 70 percent of smoke from
    > chimneys can actually reenter the home and other
    > neighborhood dwellings

    Then Frankly wrote:

    > Let’s just make up fake facts to get our way.

    They are not “fake” facts they are “intentionally misleading” facts.

    The key word is “CAN”, in that 70% of smoke from a chimney “CAN” enter a home (say if you connect a pipe from the top of the chimney and have the pipe making a turn and go in an attic window so all the smoke comes out in the attic).

    The “fact” is the same as the “fact” that 100% of plastic shopping bags given out by grocery stores “CAN” cover the head of a sleeping baby causing it to suffocate (say a depressed Davis teenager cuts a screen and comes in and covers the baby’s head with the bag)

  32. Growth Izzue

    Justsaying
    [quote]I expect that at least one of your colleagues would love an ordinance that relies only on smell (“a problem”) and that invites the abuse of allowing anyone to file a complaint (or hundreds of complaints) about anyone at anytime with no proof required. [/quote]

    I ditto that.

  33. Growth Izzue

    [quote]The provision would apply to smoke, irrespective of the fuel source, and irrespective of whether it was being generated inside or outside.[/quote]

    Frankly, there’s your BBQ that you said they would come after next. Sooner then you thought I’ll bet. If my neighbor comes over to tell me that my bbq is bothering him and consequently turns me into the police he’d better be ready to fight.

  34. Davis Progressive

    ” If my neighbor comes over to tell me that my bbq is bothering him and consequently turns me into the police he’d better be ready to fight.”

    and for your efforts you’d not only get a felony assault charge but a dissuading a witness compliments of your da.

  35. Growth Izzue

    D P
    [quote]and for your efforts you’d not only get a felony assault charge but a dissuading a witness compliments of your da. [/quote]

    I knew you would bite.

  36. JustSaying

    “Define cheap? I think my per day cost for heating my home is cheaper than buying a couple dollar pile of wood that has to be replenished regularly.”

    Define “a pile.” This is typical of the science involved in attempts to rationalize this ordinance.

    We can justify excluding the poor from a bag fee that saves them pennies, but not save them from hundreds of dollars once they’ve been targeted and turned in by a “nearest neighbor” from Fresno or Denver.

    People who heat their homes with wood don’t buy a $2, small amount. If they don’t get it free, they buy it in large amounts that come in cord measurements. The poorer folks can spent $20 for a permit that allows them up two cords at a time, more than it typically would take for a Davis season.

    How much is a gas furnace costing us each season?

  37. JustSaying

    Isn’t it a little fascinating how those interested in criminalizing the acts of others take so little stock in the views of the others and those who oppose such approaches demand more than the banners can offer in order to agree with them?

  38. Frankly

    The initial settlers and founders of this once great country came to get away from oppression of individual freedoms. Today that same malady is manifest in the behavior of Davis liberals.

    My sense is that this Davis liberal desire to control others is a hard-wired psychological need – the negative converse being too much anxiety over the perceived lack of control of others – and this mindset is superior to the transactional details that are presented to justify that next controlling step.

    So, it is not really the environmental impact of plastic bags, nor the health impacts of wood smoke, that are driving the motivations of Davis liberal activists… it is simply that these things provide them another opportunity to push additional levels of control over others.

    Their combined face and impact is no different than any tyrannical dictator less the level of violence. They are one in the same; but camouflaged by the trappings of a once fabulously-designed form of representative governance since corrupted and exploited to circumvent those inconvenient impediments of relying on individual responsibility and protection of individual freedoms.

    So, your backyard BBQ is next.

    Forget smoking a pipe of cigar in your own back yard.

    Then natural gas appliances need to go because they too emit fumes and particles.

    Sound bogus?

    Well, so did banning wood-burning fireplaces 15-20 years ago.

    What has changed? People have lived with the smoke generated by these wood burning fireplaces for centuries before. But now claims of respiratory problems make it a sudden critical need?

    Nope.

    It is just another opportunity to leverage more dictatorial control over your lives.

    But it won’t stop. It will never stop. Because a Davis liberal is never satisfied with the control he has enacted, and he is always made anxious over that which he does not control.

    And these same Davis liberals hate it when you buy enough land to keep them away so you get to protect your own freedoms. They demand densification. They want everyone living on top of one another… dependent and subject to their rules.

    Make no mistake… the plastic bag ban and the fireplace bans are dictatorial constructs. Neither serves the greater good. They only serve to calm the nerves of liberals chronically anxious over their lack of power to control their neighbor.

  39. Eric Gelber

    [quote]People have lived with the smoke generated by these wood burning fireplaces for centuries before. But now claims of respiratory problems make it a sudden critical need?[/quote] ~ Frankly

    Another gratuitous attack on liberalism. Did you make the same arguments when lead-based paint was banned for domestic use? It, too, had been used for millennia. Was this also a liberal plot to “push additional levels of control over others” or was it genuine concern for the health and welfare of adults and, particularly, children who suffered from nervous system damage, stunted growth, kidney damage, and delayed development?

    We can argue about the merits of this particular proposal, but I don’t think conservatives want to go down the path of questioning the sincerity of people’s motives. One might start asking about the political motives behind cutting off food benefits to hungry people and health care coverage to sick people.

  40. Mr.Toad

    As much as I hate to admit it Frankly’s anti-liberalism echo chamber is starting to get traction in Davis; no wood burning in your old fireplace, containerized green waste, raising trash collection for marginal increases in recycling, zero greenhouse emissions from new housing, densification, and on and on it goes. I would add loss of a business park and measure R but I’m not sure those are liberal ideas.

    I do disagree with Frankly on his history the pilgrims didn’t leave Europe for religious freedom they were kicked out by both the English and the Dutch for their zealotry. They weren’t called Puritans for nothing.

  41. Growth Izzue

    [quote]cutting off food benefits to hungry [/quote]

    Do you really believe we have 50,000,000 people going hungry in this country that need food stamps? The truth is we have very few going hungry and many millions gaming the system. Damn that GOP for trying to reign in the waste.

  42. Frankly

    Lead-based paint was/is a manufactured product.

    Wood burning is a natural occurrence. In fact, historically, the Sacramento valley was often bathed in a perpetual cloud of smoke from all the surrounding naturally-occurring forest fires.

    Unless you are an extreme creationist, I think you would agree that wood-burning has been the primary source of heat for humans. It still is used by some.

    [i]I do disagree with Frankly on his history the pilgrims didn’t leave Europe for religious freedom they were kicked out by both the English and the Dutch for their zealotry.[/i]

    Mr. Toad – my public school and college education happened before liberal anti-white revisionism took effect on our history books. I’ll stick with the actual story of immigrants coming to the US to escape tyranny and then fighting to win their independence from tyranny as defined as “cruel and unfair treatment by people with power over others.”

  43. Frankly

    [i]One might start asking about the political motives behind cutting off food benefits to hungry people and health care coverage to sick people. [/i]

    Glad to see that leftist political campaign rhetoric is still percolating.

    Don’t know what I would do without those good ol’ leftist canards of GOPers killing old people and letting children starve.

    Let’s forget for the moment how the GOP principles of capitalism and enterprise have significantly lifted the standards of living for more than half of the global population… all the while having to workaround the destructive tendencies of the liberals and other leftists in our midst.

    Back to your point… the GOP is right to challenge the gross and fantastic spending increases during the Obama presidency. These include the extraordinary growth of federal disability insurance, which now costs $260 billion per year. There are now roughly 8.8 million Americans receiving disability benefits, a number that has doubled since 1995. And, the growth in food stamps (changed to SNAP with beneficiaries given credit cards to eliminate the stigma of getting free stuff from the government).
    [quote]The food stamp bill passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives earlier this month, widely criticized for supposedly cutting the nutrition assistance program to the poor, would actually raise spending over the next decade by 57 percent, to $725 billion from the $461.7 billion that was spent on the program in the last decade.

    No sooner had the House voted, 217 to 2010, on September 19 to pass the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act than the usual suspects were rushing to portray the measure as stingy and coldhearted. “House Republicans Pass Deep Cuts in Food Stamps,” was the headline in The New York Times national news section. The Republican “war on food stamps” shows that the congressmen are “meanspirited class warriors,” wrote Nobel laureate Paul Krugman.

    That line of attack seems to be getting traction. “I agree with Krugman here,” a prominent New York rabbi wrote on Facebook. A news reporter at the Wall Street Journal posted on Facebook, “It’s stark to have this wonderful Pope preaching charity at the same time House Republicans are defunding food stamps.”[/quote]
    Back to wood smoke.

    You liberals are really cold-hearted denying poor families the ability to heat their homes with inexpensive wood.

  44. Eric Gelber

    [quote]Lead-based paint was/is a manufactured product. Wood burning is a natural occurrence. In fact, historically, the Sacramento valley was often bathed in a perpetual cloud of smoke from all the surrounding naturally-occurring forest fires.[/quote]

    If I follow your logic, if it occurs in nature, we shouldn’t regulate it; if it’s manufactured, regulation is OK. I’m pretty sure lead does occur in nature; though, you are correct, lead paint is a manufactured product. Kind of like wood stoves.

  45. Frankly

    [i]If I follow your logic, if it occurs in nature, we shouldn’t regulate it; if it’s manufactured, regulation is OK. I’m pretty sure lead does occur in nature; though, you are correct, lead paint is a manufactured product. Kind of like wood stoves.[/i]

    If we are talking about rights of one person over the claims of damage by another person, then certainly we should rely on some historical and natural context. One can easily make the case that wood burning for heat is historical and natural. And complaints about material health impacts is only recent and is unnatural (unnatural considering the amount of time that humans have been burning wood without others making this claims of material health impacts).

    You don’t need a wood stove to burn wood. I can build a fire pit in my back yard using natural stones. And fireplaces can be built using natural stones.

    My wife has asthma. We have two adjacent neighbors that life their fireplaces and burn wood in the winter for heat and ambiance. We replaced our own wood burning fireplace with a gas insert years ago. But my wife never complains about the neighbor’s smoke causing her any problems. Sometimes we can smell a trace of that smoke while inside the house, but generally not when the windows are all closed.

    In any case, if my wife was bothered by the smoke, we would have installed a larger air purifier. Both my wife and I are much more troubled by tree and grass pollen than we are by wood smoke from neighbor’s fireplaces. For me, this move to ban fireplaces is as asinine as would be eradicating and banning grass and trees known to be allergy irritants.

  46. Growth Izzue

    Frankly,
    Future headline: NRC mandates only smokeless BBQ briquettes can be used, to be enforced by low flying drones.

    Local stores can only sell smokeless charcoal.

    [url]http://www.alibaba.com/showroom/smokeless-charcoal.html[/url]

  47. JustSaying

    After relying on Alan’s write-up and David’s article today, I’ve now been able read the staff report and the NRC report.

    The biggest surprise is that the NRC proposal is judged to be labor-intensive, impractical, time-consuming, cost-prohibitive, unconstitutional without issuance of search warrants, and otherwise legally unworkable without extensive training.

    The second biggest surprise is that the city staff evaluation of the NRC “evidence” is 180 degrees from the NRC conclusions in very significant ways.

    Last year’s pilot “demonstrated there is not wide-spread concern about wood smoke” and that the nearest-neighbor impact is “in a small number of neighborhoods,” according to the staff report.

    It also noted that “enforcement costs could go up significantly” in addition to commenting on the specific “enforcement challenges” already listed.

    The staff report includes a draft of staff recommended changes to the existing “well-defined” nuisance ordinance that would incorporate “foul order,” “light/glare” and “smoke irrespective of fuel source.”

    Since the city staff feels that the proven ordinance approach will equip them to deal effectively with almost all level of these problems, it seems like a good approach. But, there should some vehicle for public input before it gets adopted.

    Given the concerns listed by police, legal and other staff people, it seems highly unlikely that the city council even can consider acting on the NRC proposal–except if it decides to turn it down.

  48. JustSaying

    The staff report also includes the July 22 “Wood Smoke Subcommittee Report” that notes the current ordinance is “based on [u]mandatory[/u] prohibition of use of non-EPA compliant wood-burning devices” during [u]voluntary[/u] “Don’t Light” alerts.

    Curiously, the subcommittee reports an independent subcommittee recruitment of “a small number of volunteer Davis citizens” to keep daily logs. Curious because this small group actually turns out to be the same people who have been complaining and keeping “exposure logs over the past several years.”

    Furthermore, it appears the small group also was instructed to file complaints–an average of one every four days for the 120 days (Nov. 1-Feb. 28)—in order to influence the city evaluation.

    Based on the skewed data, the subcommittee (and apparently accepted by the full NRC) arrived at the questionable conclusions that:

    –the trial has been “generally ineffective in substantially reducing citizens’ complaints.”

    –“there is not widespread compliance with ‘No-Burn’ day alerts,

    –the scientifically established wind speed/particulate matter have “limited usefulness” in predicting problem days, and

    –“predicted wind speed and PM2.5 (concentrations) cannot be used to predict when neighbors might be adversely affected by wood smoke.”

    Every single one of the conclusions relies completely on the data developed by the “small number” of demonstratively biased observers.

    The fact that the conclusions fly in the face of legitimate research and findings seem not to embarrass either the subcommittee or the voting majority of the NRC.

    It’s become obvious why Alan Pryor refused to answer questions about the design of the NRC alleged study. We know now, however, because the staff revealed that the tiny number of heavy solicited complaints came from “eight properties…in a few localized parts of town” and resulted in a grand total of one notice of violation.

    The NRC claims the pilot ordinance “was thought to be cumbersome” as well as ineffective, the voluntary no-burn days still aren’t enough and economic hardship exemptions need to be eliminated. Again, recommendations principally are based on the data from “volunteer” logs kept by biased observers in unknown parts of town.

    This is another example of Davis’ reliance on well-intentioned, single-minded commissioners. In this case, we have the stove-piped (pardon…), illegitimate analysis from a subcommittee and compliant commission who’ve spent all this time to bring forth a citation/fine proposal with no input from those who will have to enforce the ordinance.

    I predict that Alan will again berate the staff and demand that the council hastily approve the faulty NRC proposal. When you call you neighbors’ actions “immoral,” it’s not a long leap to demand the comply or pay.

  49. Frankly

    [i]Local stores can only sell smokeless charcoal[/i]

    Hmm… well I have never made smokeless ribs before. I doubt they would taste as good.

    But you know that most of the smoke from a BBQ is from dripping on the hot surfaces and flames.

    And I am worried about what they will do when they discover my backyard pet cow pellet smoker…

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscfrank/cowsmoker.jpg[/img]

  50. JustSaying

    [quote]” In addition, they removed the nearest neighbors provisions, so the door is wide open for any person regardless of whether they live in Davis or not to file a complaint about any parcel anywhere in Davis. That wide open door is an invitation for the zealous activist abuses that you and others raised concerns about.

    For those reasons, and many others, I said on the record last night at the NRC meeting that the staff revised ordinance is worse than no ordinance at all, and that Council should scrap staff’s recommendation and either remove the item from the agenda or come up with an ordinance that focuses on public health without setting up opportunities for abuse.”[/quote]Matt, I understand the distress of finding lots of work dumped. Please explain how you see the opportunity for abuse any less with the staff insistence on folding this nuisance into the existing nuisance. In fact, as I remember, Alan argued that the NRC proposal was essential the same as the noise ordinance enforcement (although I didn’t buy it).

    The nuisance ordinance essentially incorporates a “reasonable person” which certainly was absent in the NRC scheme.

    While it’s always possible that zealots will find a way to (mis)use any law, we already know the existing nuisance ordinance’s history.

    The NRC proposal simply requires that something (smoke) [u]exists[/u] in order to be subject to city citation, while the staff proposal requires that that smoke and smell be sufficient to be a true nuisance. This seems like an major improvement to me.

    While you may fear someone from out of town might abuse by turning in a Davis BBQ-er, I think it’s far more likely that local zealots would start recruiting volunteers every 600 feet to help file unquestioned complaints everyday against every household it can identify with “neighborhood watch” teams patrolling every neighborhood.

    I can’t guarantee the odds, but after watching this debate, I’d put them at least at 50-1 without hesitation[quote]“BTW, no one in the NRC was consulted with by staff as they contemplated and made their changes, and if it weren’t for one NRC member’s having read the Council packet on this item, not a single NRC member would have known that staff had made the change.”[/quote]This raises two questions. Why wouldn’t the NRC include discussions with those they would demand enforce the NRC ordinance as it’s investigated and developed. It makes it look as though legal and enforcement concerns weren’t judged to be worthy of consideration or the decision was made to try to drive through an unconstitutional ordinance.

    It’s interesting that several of the [i]Vanguard[/i] posters (opinionated and ignorant as they are) quickly picked up the enforcement issues involved, but were met with silence or argument from Alan and David.

    It seems that all NRC members would reading the city staff report about their proposal the minute it was released. Why would only one NRC member–I bet I know which one–be curious and engaged enough to keep track.

    How did the NRC decide to respond?

  51. Frankly

    JS: [i]Let me know when you find a pink-painted version, Frankly. I prefer to support worthy causes.[/i]

    My brother his this one…

    [img]http://www.cscdc.org/miscfrank/pigsmoker.jpg[/img]

    It wasn’t manly enough for me.

  52. Adam Smith

    [i]Furthermore, it appears the small group also was instructed to file complaints–an average of one every four days for the 120 days (Nov. 1-Feb. 28)—in order to influence the city evaluation. [/i]

    JS – how were you able to discern information that led you to this conclusion. I take it as a fairly serious allegation.

  53. Frankly

    B. Nice – I can handle the pink dress shirt, and pink ties, but a pink smoker? Come on now. No bias against pigs over cows, just not progressive enough to work with pink BBQ tools.

    Unless the ordnance provides exceptions for pink smokers I will stick to my dark and manly cow.

  54. JustSaying

    Adam, I deduced this from Alan’s report. It isn’t a serious allegation, just a logical realization that there was a group of volunteers who kept logs, who have championed the NRC initiatives and who accounted for a significant number of complaints, as Alan reported.

    In spite of several questions about where these folks made observations, about the numbers of complaints each one made, what guidance they followed, etc., Alan refused to clarify or to respond except to indicate the averages I cited.

    The volunteers’ role in the study is fairly transparent although the details aren’t reported.

    My comment wasn’t intended to be an allegation–and you should not take it as one, let alone as a serious one. Instead it is part of a simple recounting of information already published here. Sorry if it came across as more dramatic than the information justified. Hope this clarifies.

  55. Growth Izzue

    Hey Frankly, let me know when you crank up that smoking cow so I can call in a smoke alert from the other side of town because I smell an odor and feel that my sensitivities are being infringed on.

  56. Growth Izzue

    You know what’s so hypocritical about these liberal environmentalists?
    They’ll turn you in for having a Xmas eve fire in your fireplace or smoking a cigarette or cigar in public but are okay with some derelict blowing maryjuana smoke in their face.

  57. B. Nice

    “Come on now. No bias against pigs over cows, just not progressive enough to work with pink BBQ tools.”

    Oh I bet you could pull it off. Just make sure you add a pink apron.

  58. Adam Smith

    Thank you JS. I understand your conclusion now, although I am still disturbed by the notion that the NRC (or at least some members) conjured up this whole issue,then rallied the faithful to try to prove it to be a bigger issue than it really is. We have enough real problems in Davis that the City Council needs focus on. We don’t need them spending hours and hours on issues like this one or the plastic bag ban.

  59. Frankly

    [i]Hey Frankly, let me know when you crank up that smoking cow so I can call in a smoke alert from the other side of town because I smell an odor and feel that my sensitivities are being infringed on.[/i]

    LOL. Hey GI… I actually smoked a chicken for dinner tonight… and I kept looking over my front fence expecting the jackboots to be advancing with M16s ready to take me out. Maybe next time I will smoke multiple chickens so I can disarm the armed officials with the undeniable greatness of my family-famous and friend-famous smoked chicken.

  60. David M. Greenwald

    “They’ll turn you in for having a Xmas eve fire in your fireplace or smoking a cigarette or cigar in public but are okay with some derelict blowing maryjuana smoke in their face.”

    You’re guilty of conflating people who share a common ideology believing that the people who are complaining about the wood smoke issue have no problem with people blowing marijuana smoke in your face.

  61. B. Nice

    “I actually smoked a chicken for dinner tonight… and I kept looking over my front fence expecting the jackboots to be advancing with M16s ready to take me out.”

    I thought it was Nazi’s on bikes with cameras you were supposed to be looking out for…..

  62. B. Nice

    “And these same Davis liberals hate it when you buy enough land to keep them away so you get to protect your own freedoms. They demand densification. They want everyone living on top of one another… dependent and subject to their rules. “

    Frankly, what are you burning in that smoker? Or maybe some of those environmentalist liberals been blowing marijuana in your face cause you are sounding a little paranoid.

  63. B. Nice

    “Most poor guys that work construction can get PAID to haul away wood from a job site (just one roof of shingles or the wood from an old fence around a backyard can heat a home for an entire winter).”

    I’d be weary of burning wood from construction sites, especially roof shingles, unless you were sure they weren’t chemically treated.

  64. Frankly

    This council is becoming the biggest disappointment of all previous. What have they accomplished besides passing useless ordinances to appease liberal do-gooders obsessed with telling everyone else how to live their lives.

    The shine is gone. Can’t wait until the coming election so we can clear out the actors and get some real leadership installed.

  65. David M. Greenwald

    “What have they accomplished besides passing useless ordinances to appease liberal do-gooders obsessed with telling everyone else how to live their lives.”

    water, wastewater, employee compensation cuts, decreases to fire staffing, boundary drop, should I go on?

  66. Jeremy D'herville

    Particulate matter is a measured, mixed portion of an air quality recording combining safe and maybe not so safe toxins. All it’s work is very basic epidemiological comparisons – links, exaggerations. The 1990s clean air act made it as regulatable as a toxicologically conclusive toxin such as Lead. The USA and Russia have fracked and fracked and fracked to supply the world with reticulated ‘clean air’, green branded natural gas. I’d rather not believe the societal abusive social marketing campaigns for electric and natural gas, buy a cowl that works against wintertime atmospheric pressure, continue to use dry, clean burning – low resin hard woods, heat my water, my kettle and my family with it. So all those years indoctrinating yourselves with clandestine ‘buzz science’ energy policy can go to blazes, and continue keep me and my family warm , thank you. Suggestive comparative epidemiology is as corruptible as the sponsorship and futures projections driving it. Here’s all your EPA air quality work in those 1990 Clean Air Act years up for question: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/12/26/sound-science-and-the-u-s-economy-victimized-by-the-epas-cia-fake-john-beale/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMdBXg1LUY0 Science settled? I don’t think so! Physics is what stops smoke. Good ventilation equipment also stops smoke and atmospheric back pressure.

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