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first_imgThe winter 2019 Lettuce Vibe Up Tour is now underway, and will see the funk favorites traverse the country with help from rising acts like Ghost-Note and The Greyhounds throughout the first two months of this year. In addition to the aforementioned musical support, Lettuce will be accompanied on their tour by their friends at HeadCount‘s Cannabis Voter Project.The Cannabis Voter Project will be on hand at 12 different Lettuce shows this month. At each tour stop, and information table will be set up where attendees can peruse CannabisVoter.Info and learn about the state of marijuana legislation at the local, state, and federal level.Related: Lettuce Kicks Off Vibe Up Tour With Unreleased Music, MonoNeon Sit-InFans who sign up for the Cannabis Voter Project’s email listserv at any of the upcoming Lettuce tour stops will receive a custom “Lettuce Vote” stress ball shaped like a head of lettuce courtesy of California-based cannabis brand CannaCraft [picured above]. Fans can also register to vote through CannbisVoter.Info in addition to taking other actions to get involved in the political process surrounding marijuana law reform.As Lettuce guitarist Adam “Schmeeans” Smirnoff tells Live For Live Music, “This is a topic that we care about; and all cannabis laws are not good laws, but all educated voters are good voters.”In addition, Lettuce will donate $1 from the sale of each ticket during the month of January toward supporting and helping to grow the reach of the Cannabis Voter Project. For every tour stop, the organization will also release information about what’s happening in cannabis policy in the given area via their social media channels. You can follow along on Facebook, Twitter (@Cannabis_Voter), or Instagram (@Cannabis_Voter)The Cannabis Voter Project was launched by HeadCount in 2018 as a way of informing Americans about how their vote can impact cannabis policy. HeadCount aims to use the Cannabis Voter Project as a way to engage Americans that otherwise may not have registered to vote in the political process.According to The Cannabis Voter Project, recent research has revealed that, for the first time, the majority of the House of Representatives (224 out of 435 members) believes that states should be able to set their own policies with regard to the legality of recreational marijuana. They also note that the House majority that supports medical marijuana has increased from 244 to 267—a direct result of the 2018 midterm elections, which saw the highest voter turnout in a century.last_img read more


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first_img In awe of the clam Olivia Lee (pictured) from Cambridge’s Martin Luther King Jr. School admires the giant clam on display in “Mollusks: Shelled Masters of the Marine Realm.” Beautiful hulls A variety of coned shells on display. Recognize any from past vacations? Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer Shelling out Mollusk man In a lecture at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Professor Gonzalo Giribet discussed how scientists are decoding the Mollusca genetic family tree to learn how they’ve adapted, survived, and thrived since the pre-Cambrian era. ‘Bearing foreigners’ Carrier snails, or Xenophoridae (which means “bearing foreigners” in Greek), on display in the Harvard Museum of Natural History.center_img Tentacled The wonder of the octopus. Behold! Mighty world of mollusks Curatorial Associate and Collection Manager Adam Baldinger speaks about the new exhibit “Mollusks” at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Wondrous Carlos Alvarado (pictured) from the Kelly School in Chelsea admires some of the exhibit’s great wonders. Escargot, anyone?The Harvard Museum of Natural History is offering a molluskan feast — for the eyes, anyway — in the new exhibit “Mollusks: Shelled Masters of the Marine Realm,” which recently opened in the museum’s temporary exhibit hall.The exhibit, which will be on display for the next two years, presents a colorful depiction of the diversity of the mollusk branch of the tree of life, spanning everything from the giant clam — a 30-inch shell on display weighs 200 pounds — to the octopus.In between are the flat, orange, lion’s paw scallop; the tall, cylindrical, watering pot clam; an arthritic spider conch whose six splayed points extend from its shell; and a Venus comb murex, whose shell displays rows of long, comb-like, narrow spikes. The exhibit also includes a case holding specimens from the museum’s glass sea creatures collection, which was created in the 1800s by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, the same artists who made Harvard’s famed glass flowers.Beyond the specimens themselves, colorful exhibit panels explain the different types of mollusks, which also include snails and squids, provide a look at their commercial importance, and highlight ongoing Harvard research on them, which entails both genetic analysis and advanced imaging.Gonzalo Giribet, professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and curator of invertebrates in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, has collected mollusks and their shells around the world and is working to construct a mollusk family tree. Giribet, who curated the exhibit, said mollusks are easier to study than soft-bodied invertebrates because even after a mollusk dies, it leaves a shell behind for examination.When asked his favorite specimen, Giribet points not to one of the flashy shells, but to a nondescript, limpet-like mollusk that grows just a millimeter across. These monoplacophorans, Giribet said, were thought to have become extinct millions of years ago until one was discovered alive in the 1950s. It has been one of Giribet’s goals to obtain one, which he did four years ago during a research dredging in 1,200 feet of water off San Diego.“I didn’t want to die without collecting one,” Giribet said.Curatorial associate Adam Baldinger, who helped select specimens for display, made a flashier choice. His favorite is a carrier snail whose shell is several inches high, and onto which it sticks other shells, providing camouflage as well as an unusual display.If there’s one message Giribet hopes visitors take from the exhibit, it’s that mollusks are extremely diverse, with snails, the most populous branch, having an estimated 70,000 to 120,000 species, followed by clams and other bivalves, at 20,000. Mollusks range from the deep ocean to fresh water to land. And, should some visitors become inspired to find out more about this broad-ranging part of earth’s biosphere, there’s still lots of research to be done.“We know there are many species undiscovered,” Giribet said.last_img read more


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first_imgArchitecture should be more than an intersection of art and commerce.“I see architecture as almost a political work,” said Remment “Rem” Koolhaas, the superstar Dutch architect, touching on his signature ethos, his condemnation of architecture’s passivity and its inability and unwillingness to confront or resolve the socio-political complexities of urban life, problems often stoked by globalization. A bold, trailblazing architectural theorist, writer, and a professor of architecture and urban design at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), Koolhaas spoke about a changing Europe and the ideas behind four recent projects in Taiwan, Russia, Qatar, and Milan, his “current preoccupations,” before a capacity crowd at GSD Tuesday evening.Sometimes compared with Le Corbusier for his work’s global reach, its rejection of nostalgia, and its enduring focus on the urban metropolis, the Pritzker Prize-winner is one of architecture’s most prolific and influential figures of the last 50 years.While there are many talents working in the field today, “There are very few people who you can name around the world who manage to combine extraordinary inventiveness and innovation” in their design work and who are also “at the very center of contemporary thought, engaged with contemporary issues,” said Dean Mohsen Mostafavi in his introduction.Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren of OMA were the architects in charge of China’s Central TV Headquarters, while Cecil Balmond at Arup provided the complex engineering design.Credit: poeloq / Creative Commons“We are in a radically divided world” in which “architecture is not dealing with those political issues in a really sophisticated way,” said Koolhaas, whose global design firm in Rotterdam, the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), includes a related research and design think tank focused on pushing architecture into broader cultural and organizational realms and producing exhibitions like the Venice Biennale (an event he calls “self-congratulatory”), corporate branding and strategic planning, media and publishing, and advancing energy technology.“I think that both the art world and the architecture world … are clearly dedicated to political correctness and therefore [are] pretty intolerant in terms of engaging” with political worlds beyond Western democracies.Known for his deadpan wit and blunt provocations when talking about his work and the profession, Koolhaas referred to himself as “a militant European” and sharply criticized what he sees as the “very dangerous” generational crisis between the old and young in Europe today.“People over 50 have a tendency to worry, and people under 50 have a tendency not to care,” he said, attributing the disastrous Brexit vote, which threatens to damage both Great Britain and the European continent, as well as the re-emergence of far right-wing political powers in Europe, to the casual negligence of young voter apathy. It’s a dynamic, he says, that’s compelled him to become even more vocal in his criticism of what he called the forces of pessimism and intimidation.Discussing his latest projects, Koolhaas said the outlandish design for a performing arts center in downtown Taipei was informed by the vibrancy and authenticity of street life that surrounds the site. The center, situated directly over a busy open-air night market, was inspired by a three-sectioned cooking pot used by the market’s street food vendors. Just as the three-sectioned pot allows the cook to prepare and serve three dishes at the same time, the center offers three theater spaces under one roof that can be connected when necessary.At the Fondazione Prada, an ambitious museum, theater, and display space for the Italian luxury brand in Milan that’s still under construction eight years after it began, Koolhaas described the alternation between open and closed spaces, the juxtaposition of elements preserved from an old distillery that used to occupy the site, and the modernity of the reflecting, mirrored structures as a way of conceiving and thinking about today’s Europe, a political body that’s both old and young.“People over 50 have a tendency to worry, and people under 50 have a tendency not to care,” said Rem Koolhaas, attributing the disastrous Brexit vote, which he believes threatens to damage both Great Britain and the European continent. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerAsked about the merits of a universal, collective approach to design versus an individual approach, Koolhaas said, “One of our rarely questioned, self-mythologizing pretensions has been that our work is less ego-driven and less author-driven, and therefore we [convince] ourselves all our buildings are completely different and don’t look like each other,” something he called merely “reminiscent of collectivity.” He scoffed at the idea that a generic architectural style offers an “escape from the extravagance of individual architectural statement.”“I’m not saying that that is all untrue, but you can read the exact opposite in what we do. You can say it’s an extreme or better-disguised form of artistic drive, or maybe the elements we use are better camouflaged or more abstract. So I don’t think it’s fundamentally different, but I think that we are simply more reluctant to impose our own individual stamp or better able to hide that,” he said.“Let me put it this way: It’s not between ‘universal thinking’ and ‘individual thinking.’ It’s between thinking and not thinking.”SaveSaveSavelast_img read more


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first_imgSaint Mary’s religious studies professor Jessica Wrobleski spoke Wednesday night about the way contemporary views of sex can be understood in the context of Catholic teaching. The lecture, “The Meaning of Sex,” was one of a series of lectures called “Theology on Fire.” It was the first of several sponsored by Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry and the Center for Spirituality. The ideas for the lectures are developed from controversial issues concerning college students and the Catholic Church, senior Emma Hoffman, who organized the event, said. “We want to explore topics that come up in our peers’ conversation, or more importantly, what doesn’t,” Hoffman said. Wrobleski focused on students’ personal understanding of sex and sexuality in modern society. She said personal awareness of sex is necessary in contemporary culture. “Sex is an inevitable, unavoidable aspect of life. Whether you encounter it in a magazine, a television show or a relationship, it is something as young, single people, we can’t help but think about,” Wrobleski said. She spoke about the various definitions of sex and how students can discern significance from different settings, such as premarital sex, casual sex and sex between two people of the same gender, while observing Catholic understanding. “I want students to understand that sexuality is not primarily a list of arbitrary rules, but rather something that allows us to deeply connect with God as humans,” Wrobleski said. Junior Emily Kieffer said the lecture connected the different ways students view sex. “It went beyond what the Church tells you or what you read in Cosmo. I thought the lecture really brought sex in to a perspective that is valuable for me as a college student and as a human,” Kieffer said. Junior Teresa Cristarella agreed. “It was nice to discuss sexuality and in the Church in a non-condemning way, rather than the consequential way that it is normally viewed,” Cristarella said. Wrobleski encouraged students who have questions about their sexuality or sex’s role in their life to talk to peers, married couples and religious figures. “Sex, at its base, is a relationship, and it is best understood by discussing it with others that are in your shoes or have experience with your situation,” Wrobleski said. Wrobleski will also be offering a Religious Studies course this spring called “Theologies of Love.” The curriculum focuses on relationships and broader questions of love.last_img read more


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first_imgYou’re not getting the best flavor from your vegetable garden if you’re not growing your own herbs, too. On “The Georgia Gardener” May 13 and 15, host Walter Reeves and guest Wayne McLaurin will talk about herbs as they plant the 10 leading herbs for gardens in the Southeast.Walter will show how and when it’s best to spray roses for black spot, too. He’ll also examine different kinds of hose-end sprayers and help you pick out the best for you. Finally, he’ll show how to divide the seedlings you buy from your garden shop and get more plants for your money.”The Georgia Gardener” is designed especially for Georgia gardeners. It airs Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. on GPTV. The show is a production of the University of Georgia  College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and PFC Holding Company.last_img read more


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first_imgDear EarthTalk: With all the talk of desalinization of ocean water for drinking, what do we know about the impacts this might have on climate, ocean salinity and other natural processes?                                                                                                                         — Fred Kuepper, via e-mail Due to its high cost, energy intensiveness and overall ecological footprint, most environmental advocates view desalinization (or desalination)—the conversion of salty ocean water into fresh water—as a last resort for providing fresh water to needy populations. Sourcing fresh water from streams, rivers, lakes and underground aquifers and adhering to strict water conservation measures are much more viable for both economic and environmental reasons in most situations, although some desert regions with thirsty and growing populations may not have many such options. The relationship between desalinization and climate change is complex. Global warming has increased droughts around the world and turned formerly verdant landscapes into near deserts. Some long held fresh water sources are simply no longer reliably available to hundreds of millions of people around the world. Meanwhile, expanding populations in desert areas are putting intense pressure on existing fresh water supplies, forcing communities to turn to desalinization as the most expedient way to satisfy their collective thirst. But the process of desalinization burns up many more fossil fuels than sourcing the equivalent amount of fresh water from fresh water bodies. As such, the very proliferation of desalinization plants around the world—some 13,000 already supply fresh water in 120 nations, primarily in the Middle East, North Africa and Caribbean—is both a reaction to and one of many contributors to global warming. Beyond the links to climate problems, marine biologists warn that widespread desalinization could take a heavy toll on ocean biodiversity; as such facilities’ intake pipes essentially vacuum up and inadvertently kill millions of plankton, fish eggs, fish larvae and other microbial organisms that constitute the base layer of the marine food chain. And, according to Jeffrey Graham of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography’s Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, the salty sludge leftover after desalinization—for every gallon of freshwater produced, another gallon of doubly concentrated salt water must be disposed of—can wreak havoc on marine ecosystems if dumped willy-nilly offshore. “For some desalinization operations,” says Graham, “it is thought that the disappearance of some organisms from discharge areas may be related to…the salty outflow.” Of course, as supplies of fresh water dwindle, the economic cost of desalinization—especially in coastal areas with easy access to ocean water—begins to look competitive with traditional water sourcing. To date there are about 300 desalinization plants in the United States, with 120 in Florida and less than 40 each in Texas and California. Some 20 additional plants are planned for the coast of California in the coming years, unless environmentalists extolling the virtues of conservation and wielding low-flow shower heads and toilets prevail. CONTACT: Scripps’ Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, www.cmbb.ucsd.edu. GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: [email protected] Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.phplast_img read more


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first_imgNCUA named members of its examination flexibility working group Tuesday, and thevast majority are CUNA members. Last week, NCUA Chair Rick Metsger announced the formation of the group, which will provide a recommendation on extending the examination cycle.“We’re pleased to see that the vast majority of this important working group are CUNA member credit unions,” said Elizabeth Eurgubian, CUNA’s deputy chief advocacy officer. “Our member credit unions, as well as CUNA, look forward to working with NCUA to hopefully provide meaningful relief to credit unions.”The working group, chaired by NCUA Region 4 director Keith Morton, will consist of six separate groups working by region. The group will report to the board within 120 days of the agency’s May 19 meeting.Metsger’s announcement on the working group came in conjunction with his announcement that NCUA would take a look at modernizing examination and supervision processes. This includes the agency’s Enterprise Modernization Initiative, a request for information about call reports and more. continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more


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first_imgIn that hour we spent w/him, David Carr showed all the traits that made him beloved: idiosyncratic, hilarious, so authentic & deeply human.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 13, 2015 “I think working in journalism beats having a real job” — David Carr #RIPDavidCarr @nytimes— Sarah Walters (@SWaltersTV) February 13, 2015 In an email to the Times staff, executive editor Dean Baquet called Carr “the finest media reporter in his generation.” Very few will argue that point.Carr, an incredibly talented writer, had a knack for measured—and sometimes searing—critiques of the industry in his weekly column, “Media Equation.” He was also one of journalism’s fiercest defenders. In a world filled with instant outrage, Carr was a calming influence. Carr’s column was considered required reading for everyone from media moguls and Hollywood executives to little-known journalists, politicians and regular readers drawn to his intellect and beautiful prose.Upon learning of his death, journalists took to Twitter to espouse widespread praise about Carr’s work and his life.Brian Stelter, who worked with Carr at the Times before becoming CNN’s senior media correspondent and host of the Sunday morning media show “Reliable Sources,” said he viewed Carr as a father figure.My heart is broken.— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 13, 2015 There was no one whose criticism of my work I trusted more than @carr2n, and no one whose praise meant more to me.— a. o. scott (@aoscott) February 13, 2015 I loved David so much. He’s been the closest thing I had to a dad. About girls, bosses, life — he always knew what to say, what to do.— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 13, 2015 We all looked to @carr2n to make sense of the media revolution & to contemplate the future. A future without him is terrible to contemplate.— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 13, 2015 Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York For journalist David Carr’s legion of fans (Press reporters among them), Mondays will never be the same.Carr, the revered media columnist for The New York Times whose must-read weekly column in the paper’s business section each Monday served as a critique of the industry he loved, died unexpectedly Thursday. He was 58.Carr reportedly collapsed in the Times newsroom, according to the Times. He was pronounced dead at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, the paper reported. Carr had hosted a much-anticipated “Times Talk” earlier in the evening with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, journalist Glenn Greenwald and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.David Carr was a great journalist & a great person. He introduced us to his daughter after the event, who he was always praising. So sad-RIP— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 13, 2015 There’s so much to say about the life and career of David Carr. Here’s a start: http://t.co/uVobSZjUaq pic.twitter.com/hYByyHUbcT— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 13, 2015 A world without David Carr is a worse world.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 13, 2015 If only more journalists were as honest about their craft, and themselves, as David Carr…RIP, maestro.— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) February 13, 2015 David Carr vs Vice: The video that shows why Carr was such a force in journalism http://t.co/HMgTVaedjD via @Max_Fisher— Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) February 13, 2015 David Carr was the journalist every reporter wants to be when they grow up. And rightfully so. RIP— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) February 13, 2015 Carr was born in Minnesota. Before rising to prominence at the Times, Carr worked at two alternative weeklies, Twin Cities Reader and Washington City Paper.When it came to his reporting, nobody was off limits, including Carr himself. In his brutally honest memoir “The Night of the Gun,” Carr wrote about his battle with drug addiction. He was also a cancer survivor.Carr’s career at the Times began in 2002. His star grew brighter in 2011 when the Times documentary “Page One” was released.“He was our biggest champion,” Baquet said in his memo to staffers, “and his unending passion for journalism and for the truth will be missed by his family at The Times, by his readers around the world, and by people who love journalism.”Journalists React to Carr’s Death:last_img read more


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first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionRepublicans also not putting America firstMr. Homan’s Feb. 3 letter should have been entitled “Politicians are not putting America first” and not just single out the Democrats.I’m a registered Republican, and I wonder why is it when a Trump Republican cult member makes an argument such as his, they never present the fact that the Republicans and Mr. Trump had control of both the Senate and the House for the past two years and they didn’t pass a single piece of legislation to give Mr. Trump his precious wall or any immigration reform.He asks why the Democrats all supported border security previously, including a wall, but oppose it now? He conveniently forgets that the bipartisan bill in December that included all these things was not signed by Mr. Trump.He also notes Democrats are importing more low-income persons illegally. And just how are they doing this importing? By not voting for a wall that persons can climb over or tunnel under?And then he goes even further by saying the Democrats can’t stand to see Trump win to fulfill his campaign promise. Are you referring to the promise he made on numerous occasions that Mexico would pay for the wall?Mr. Homan, if you want to put America first, why don’t you write to Mr. Trump and request he use his emergency powers to combat gun violence in Chicago and other parts of America?Mike NorrisDelanson Consider impact of negativity to TrumpYour opinion page is hurting this country. It’s all negative with the Trump administration. You’re not the only newspaper doing this unfortunate reporting. If we put one of these crazy liberals as president, we can kiss this country good-bye. I know this letter is going to be laughed off until it hits you personally. Please think of your children.Joseph ParilloBallston SpaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes I’m appalled that Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed the Reproductive Health Care Act.With this act, you are becoming the killer of thousands of unborn babies. This is truly a genocide against the human life — the weak, the handicapped and the poor —  starting with the womb, where life is created. The RHA was concealed in false propaganda. This act does not help women. It does the opposite. What’s next? Are we going to start selective breeding through involuntary sterilization because you have judged individuals physically or mentally unfit to reproduce? How far are you willing to go, governor? Babies, who are precious and innocent, have now become “undesirables” in New York state. A child in the mother’s womb isn’t even considered a human being anymore. My mother delivered me eight weeks early. Was I not considered a child to you? Are you not going to stand up for the unborn? No one has the right to kill a child in the womb or out of the womb. Just as Abel’s blood cried out to God for revenge (Genesis 4:10), so does the blood of the innocent babies cry out to God and demand justice. The Lord will be the one who will avenge these heinous sins. What you do to one of them is inflicted upon us all. It is truly a sad time for the state. I pray for you because Jesus tells us to pray for those who persecute us. God have mercy on us.Eva LoucksBallston Spa Legal pot. Gambling. Is prostitution next?Now that we are moving forward to legalize recreational marijuana and expanding gambling, the time is right to add the world’s oldest profession to the list: prostitution. Consider the following:The governor has said he isn’t legislating morals or religion; everyone has a fundamental right to decide what they want to do with their own bodies; current laws have a greater impact on minorities; state regulation and rules will make it safer for those involved; and the state will enjoy a new stream of revenue. Who can be against this?Jim VincentNiskayunacenter_img What is the cost of not building the wall?Ken Bress’ Jan. 19 letter illustrates poor calculation in the cost of building “the wall.” But can Ken calculate the cost of one human life affected by opioid addiction or myriad felonies (too heinous to mention here) perpetrated by illegal immigrants?Eric R. AlmondScotia Cuomo endorses the legal killing of babieslast_img read more


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first_imgThe World Bank’s transportation specialist, Elena Chesheva, said the government should continue with the consolidation of small contracts into larger ones of more than Rp 30 billion ($2.1 million) to attract bigger firms.“Such measures are expected to increase efficiency in procurement and attract new, larger players to the market with the economy of scale and stronger quality assurance system,” she said.The size of large contracts has been increasing over the years, with 72 percent of the spending packages recorded to be above Rp 30 billion, rising from 31 percent in 2013, according to the World Bank’s report.The government is also urged to decrease its reliance on state-owned enterprises (SOE) to execute toll and national road projects, while allowing private companies to build economically viable projects as SOEs were already highly leveraged.“We recommend that the government revise its decision-making [process] and consider whether the project is good for leveraging private financing before looking at the potential allocation for public-sector financing,” Elena said.The World Bank’s report shows that the liability-to-equity (LE) ratio of SOEs involved in toll and national road development projects has already reached a high level.Toll road operator Jasa Marga, construction company Waskita Karya and Hutama Karya’s average LE ratio in 2017 stood at 3.8, more than twice as high as the average LE ratio for comparable private firms in emerging markets.In the water and sanitation sector, the World Bank report found that the majority of city and regency-owned tap water companies (PDAM) were relying heavily on government subsidies as they were operating in a state of loss. This had hampered efforts to upgrade into using the PPP framework.“From more than 400 PDAMs across Indonesia, only 10 percent are financially healthy. Half of the PDAMs don’t even impose fees on their customers that could cover their full costs,” the World Bank’s water and sanitation specialist Irma Magdalena Soetiono said.Additional investment was critical for the government’s target of 100 percent access to clean water and improved sanitation services, according to the World Bank.Between 2001 and 2016, Indonesia spent only an average 0.2 percent of its GDP to develop and improve water and sanitation systems, the same rate as the Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.“We urge the PDAMs to improve their financial condition, so that, in the future, they can be supported with nonpublic funding,” Irma said.Responding to the World Bank’s recommendations, Herry said the government divided infrastructure projects into “solicited” and “unsolicited” projects based on the project’s economic viability to increase private funding through PPP schemes.Infrastructure projects that were initiated and mostly funded by the government were labeled as “solicited”, while the private-company-initiated projects that were economically viable were labeled “unsolicited”.“For example, in toll road projects that are not viable, we assign Hutama Karya to run the project. However, it is a corporate decision to invest in toll roads that are viable,” he said.Topics : The government has increasingly been relying on the private sector to take part in developing, financing and managing the country’s ambitious infrastructure projects under the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) to ease the strain on the state budget.The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) has estimated that the country will need infrastructure investment worth US$429.7 billion, equal to 6.1 percent of GDP, between 2020 and 2024.The government could only finance 30 percent of the infrastructure projects using the state budget, said the Public Works and Housing Ministry’s financing strategy director, Herry Trisaputra Zuna.“I believe what we need to do is use our limited budget to encourage the private sector rather than concentrating on conventional [funding] efforts,” Herry said during Thursday’s webinar. The World Bank has urged the Indonesian government to improve public-private partnership (PPP) financing schemes to attract more private capital that could fill the government’s budget shortage on infrastructure projects.“Mobilizing capital for financing infrastructure has been challenging for some sectors, particularly water resource management, where the infrastructure has been considered to be public assets and private-sector financing hasn’t been successful to date,” said World Bank energy coordinator Stephan Garnier.Garnier said Thursday during a webinar called Indonesia Public Expenditure Review 2020: Spending for Better Results that inadequate project planning may have also dampened interest from the private sector to invest in transportation.last_img read more