A Taste of the Climate Apocalypse to Come

by Abrahm Lustgarten : propublica – excerpt

PG&E’s rolling blackouts probably don’t eliminate fire risk, and they actually could make responding to fires harder. What they largely do is shift responsibility away from the company…

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published. This article was co-published with The New York Times Magazine…

The National Weather Service was predicting 55-mile-an-hour winds, with 10% humidity. It was like living inside a ticking time bomb. And so, in a desperate attempt to avoid detonation, the utility decided to haul almost 800,000 households backward through time into premodernity, for days at a stretch. Around Silicon Valley, residential areas adjacent to some of the most technologically advanced corporations in the world — the offices of private space-exploration companies, internet search engines, electric vehicle manufacturers — would forgo basic electricity.

The blackouts solved nothing, of course. De-energizing the electrical grid is a bludgeon: imprecise, with enormous potential for collateral damage as people deal with a darkened world. It doesn’t even eliminate fire risk. What it largely does is shift responsibility away from Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s largest utility company, whose faulty transmission lines had been found to have caused some of the most destructive wildfires on record…(more)


The Obscure Charges That Utility Companies Add to your Bills
The price of oil and gas has dropped as domestic supplies have increased, and residential energy use has plummeted as appliances and lighting have become more efficient. Still, the national average price of electricity has increased slightly over the last decade, with additional surcharges counteracting any potential savings. That means at the end of the day, many customers have likely noticed little, if any change in their final bills…(more)

Let’s Declare January MTC Awareness Month!

from nine-county-coalition – excerpt

The Bay Area’s MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) looks really good on paper. It has an attractive website rich with information, it has the support of potent organizations such as SPUR and the Bay Area Council, and since its hostile takeover of ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) MTC holds the transportation and development purse strings.

However, look closer and the stress lines start coming into focus: persistent gridlock traffic, a transit/biking-for-all policy that seems to have no roots in reality, vanishing parking spaces, gentrification, obliteration of neighborhood character, questionable imposition of region-wide taxes, density appropriate only for neighborhoods boasting more dogs than kids. To be fair, the MTC can always point to state legislation enabling its actions. But legislation provides the skeleton plan, and the MTC gives the plan copious flesh. Also, while we can vote a legislator out of office if we do not like his/her plans, we are stuck with whatever MTC bureaucrats devise.

Where you detect challenges look for opportunities

The MTC has felt to Bay Area residents familiar with it as an entity set in stone, partly because of its nature as a bureaucracy, and partly because the federal government says we must have a Metropolitan Planning Organization (whether we like it or not). However, this New Year brings to those not happy with the MTC a couple of opportunities. Thus, let’s declare January 2019 MTC Awareness Month.

* Steve Heminger, MTC’s Executive Director is retiring on February 28, 2019, and MTC is looking for his replacement. Heminger is the principal architect of MTC’s growth, influence, and consolidation of power. As such, he receives emphatic accolades and criticisms… (more)

If you want to understand how the uses regional agencies such as MTC, comprised of unelected appointees to: control communities, reduce local power, increase taxes fines and fees, and force unwanted changes on society, without public knowledge or consent, you should read this article.

If you want to challenge the appointment process, you should read this article.

If you want to challenge how your taxes are being used against you, you should read this article.

If you think you can escape the crooked development phenomenon by moving awary from it, you have not paid attention to the history of the world, the news, or the prevalent re-occurring theme in most crime novels and films. The first things criminals do with a windfall of cash is invest in property, force occupants out, and wash the cash in construction projects. Fiction follows reality. You can’t escape the greed behind property development. All you can do is change the narrative and inform the public.

BARC-ing Up The Wrong Tree

By Polly Baker : nine-county-coalition – excerpt

What if your government set up and operated a regional system of agencies with the goal of eliminating your legal political power and jurisdictions while it took control of your life? If this sounds crazy, I assure you it is not. Check it out for yourself: https://barc.ca.gov/

The Bay Area Regional Collaborative (BARC) works on climate change, sea level rise, and the many other existential crises facing the human race. They don’t really have the data, and one wonders if they have ever verified the true facts. Whatever you think of climate change, these crises require that you give up your money, property, privacy, freedom and country as you submit to a Soviet style patronage system of unaccountable appointed people and their five-year plans of the collective. It is the Soviet system of central planning. Does climate change really require this level of control over us?(more)

Smart Ideas From Other Cities: Utilities Powered by the People

By Ida Mojadad : sfweekly – excerpt

State regulators are weighing a dramatic shake-up of PG&E. Could San Francisco join dozens of other jurisdictions in establishing a public utility?

What would California’s increasingly devastating wildfires look like if PG&E were beholden to the people instead of to its shareholders?

That’s the crux of a proposal by state regulators that could prove trouble for the utility headquartered in San Francisco — despite the California Legislature’s repeated bailouts amid lawsuits and criminal investigations. In December, the California Public Utilities Commission announced that, in the name of public safety, PG&E could soon have its board replaced or be broken up into regional subsidiaries.

But the most striking option is for it to be designated as a public utility run by the government, not merely a regulated monopoly. This presents an opening for San Francisco to join dozens of other cities that either have long-established municipal utilities or are considering it….

The California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to discuss the proceeding at its Jan. 10 meeting at 9:30 a.m. held at 505 Van Ness Ave... (more)

10 challenges that will define cities in 2019


From homelessness and housing to big tech and budgets, the forces shaping urbanism in the coming year.

Here are 10 big issues expected to play oversized roles in shaping the story of cities in 2019.

The elimination of single-family zoning and parking minimums
How far will the scooter invasion go?
Can cities continue to lead on climate change?
Bigger blowback against big tech
Can congestion pricing help curb traffic woes?… What to watch: The expected Uber and Lyft IPOs offer an interesting wrinkle to the ongoing debate in New York over congestion pricing…
The pension payment time bomb continues to grow
The rise in homelessness
A widespread shortage of affordable housing
The potential of legal pot
Retail’s continued evolution

What to watch: Will New York find a way to fund an ambitious subway overhaul? Will Uber, Lyft, and the raft of scooter companies bleed more riders away from transit?… (more)



Regulators mull massive changes to PG&E management, structure

: sfchronicle – excerpt

California regulators are considering whether Pacific Gas and Electric Co. should shake up its leadership, split its core operations into separate companies or be transformed into a publicly-owned utility.

In an announcement late Friday afternoon, the California Public Utilities Commission stressed it had not drawn conclusions but listed those possibilities among a series of provocative questions it will explore in the next phase of a long-running investigation into PG&E’s corporate culture.

The inquiry could have far-reaching consequences for PG&E, the state’s largest investor-owned utility, which is facing existential questions after two years of historically devastating wildfires and a recent pipeline record-keeping scandal that renewed questions about its commitment to safety in its gas operations… (more)

California legislator revives bill to boost apartment complexes near transit

: latimes – excerpt

A California state senator has revived a major effort to boost homebuilding near transit, a proposal he says is necessary to address the state’s housing affordability and climate change challenges that have only deepened since his initial bill failed earlier this year.

Under the new proposal from Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), developers would be allowed to build four- to five-story apartment complexes in neighborhoods surrounding Los Angeles Metro stations, Bay Area Rapid Transit and other rail stops around the state. The legislation would also ease some local restrictions on building homes near frequently used bus stops… (more)

Wiener misses the major objection that the opposition had to SB 287 with his new SB 50 bill. The primary problem we as independent taxpaying voters have with these bills is the fact that they are meant to override local government jurisdiction over these matters.

Some of our more honest state representatives have described to us the importance of human contact with their constituents in order to serve them when they are working at the local level. When they go to Sacramento or Washington that close relationship goes away. That is the reason we need to keep the local jurisdictions powerful to provide for the public.

The headiness that takes over once the representation becomes too general and too widespread is not healthy for our republic or our democratic government order. We need to stay local in order to solve the local problems and housing and transportation do not exist in Sacramento or in Washington they exists on all our local streets.

The work that has been done in the name of affordable housing and public transit has not solved our problems. Over the last six or seven years the state has gone into a sad condition of economic and social unrest because the state government fails to recognize the problem is a local one and needs to support the local efforts not hinder them.

Let us start with the CPUC. That entity has done considerable damage to our state by supporting corporate profits over public desires, needs, and services. We were dealing with the Ubers and Lyfts, and their ilk, but nothing compares to the looming power utility crisis that may befall us due to the CPUC’s lack of proper regulation of the power industry. We are looking at a possible failure of that system and calling on our new governor to do something about that problem that needs to be fixed before inviting any more people to move into the state.

People do not live by housing alone, as SB 50 seems to indicate. Just pile them into housing and somehow we will find the water, power, and food to keep it all going. We need a time out now and passing SB 50 is not the answer.

The YIMBYs who support Wiener did not win in his home town and many of his constituents want to recall him. That should give some people pause when they consider supporting this new bill.


PG&E picked a dumb fight with SF; will the city now pursue public power?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The passage of Prop. A means SF now can start building its own electric distribution system – and the folks at PG&E are giving the supes every reason to do so.

Toward the end of a hearing last week on how PG&E is delaying public projects, including affordable housing,by imposing unreasonable connection demands, Sup. Aaron Peskin did something city officials should have done years ago:

He told PG&E to stop messing with San Francisco – or the city will start moving to create its own retail public-power utility and in essence kick the private company out of town.

He couched in the way Peskin likes to do: “I don’t want to go back to the days of pitched warfare between the city and PG&E,” he said. “But I want to send a message to the [company] leadership: I don’t want to be put in a position to go back to those days.

“You can work it out [with the city]. You should do it expeditiously.”… (more)


AB-813 is working through the state Senate. Authored by Holden, and supported by Patterson , Quirk , Stern , and Wieckowski, AB-813 was written for large energy companies to place limitations on relationships between smaller, independent energy companies’ ability to work with regional Multi-state transmission system organizations to obtain better deals on renewable sources. This bill is currently in the state Senate Judiciary Committee.



German Coal Company Allowed To Clear Cut 12,000 Year Old Forest

by jonathanturley

Germany has pledged to cut carbon emissions by up to 95 percent by 2050 by virtually ending the use of coal for energy. However, that will not come in time to save the spectacular Hambach Forest, an ancient woodlands in Germany that lies between the cities of Cologne and Aachen. The forest is 12,000-years-old and is irreplaceable. However, the government has given the go ahead to Germany’s second-largest electricity producer RWE to clear cut the ancient trees to extract the coal underneath…(more)

There isn’t much we can do about Hambach Forest, but we should try to protect our own forest in San Francisco from clear-cutting. The SF Forest Alliance is requesting that you help by sending letters opposing the slaughter of our trees in support of a little known or understood program that would replant the forest with “native plants”, primarily shrubs and grasses. Please send the prepared statement to the SF Planning Commissioners by clicking on the link below. A copy will also go to local and state politicians.   DO THIS NOW, before Dec 12th at 5 pm.

We need to make sure our voices for the forests and against pesticides are heard. The meeting date for the San Francisco Planning Department to certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the Significant Natural Areas Management Plan for NAP is December 15th .

Please send this prepared statement: Click Here – to open letter to the SF Planning Department Commissioners, a copy will also go to local and state politicians.
Powered by EMF Contact Form

There is room for you to add your own words, which is even more powerful!
Here are a few of the shortcomings of the EIR:

  • EIR claims implementing the SNRAMP will result in an increase in stored carbon.
  • EIR claims there will be no increase in herbicide use when the plan is implemented.
  • EIR fails to address the fact the Plan would close 95% of our Natural Areas to public access.
  • EIR claims the SNRAMP is not being implemented ahead of the EIR certification, which would be a violation of CEQA.
  • We have all seen the trail closures, access control fences and signs threatening us with $100 fines if we walk off designated trails.  These are all CEQA violations the writers of the EIR deny.

    Send this as soon as possible and before Dec 12th at 5 pm.

    Thanks for your support!

    San Francisco Forest Alliance

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