Amanda Witherell

Wow! Homeless people win for once!

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photo courtesy of Indybay

It looks like the city of Fresno will be writing a big fat check to 225 homeless people who sued when city workers trashed their belongings in a series of raids on encampments in 2006. Read more »

Cal-ISO totally changes tune on power plants

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Oh my. For all you folks that have been following the controversy around building new power plants in San Francisco, it just got even better.

Mayor Gavin Newsom sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors today outlining a “more promising way forward than the current proposal” to build two natural gas-burning “peaking” power plants in the city.

The way forward: retrofit three existing diesel turbines at the Mirant-Potrero Power Plant, while at the same time shutting down Unit 3, the most polluting part of the power plant, as soon as the Transbay Cable comes online. Read more »

Budget picks on poor and infirm

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The Coalition on Homelessness has done a quick survey of the budget slashes that were announced today.

To sum, if you're a cop, you're psyched. If you're down on your luck, without a place to stay and off your meds, and the city's been helping you sort all that out....well, you've got until the end of the month to get it together. Read more »

Mayor's plan for changing homeless shelters

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At today's Local Homeless Coordinating Board meeting, Mayor Gavin Newsom's homelessness “czar,” Dariush Kayhan, briefed the group on new ideas for improving city-funded shelters that he and the mayor have been hashing over.

There were just a few, and most of them seem like they need coordination more than cash, but they all answer, to some extent, some of the calls for help that have been coming from the city's homeless shelter system.

All of this comes from a Feb. Read more »

Why is PG&E attacking Leno on education?

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It’s not like schools are their business – at all. But the $13 billion utility company is the big money behind recent television ads depicting Mark Leno as a foe of children and schools.

“San Francisco Assemblyman Mark Leno claims that he’s for better schools,” the ad informs, according to a transcript provided by the California Teacher’s Association. Read more »

Marin goes 100% renewable…with natural gas

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photo of PG&E's Pittsburg power plant (now owned by Mirant) in front of a horizon full of SMUD's windmills, courtesy Barbara George of Women's Energy Matters

I’ve been reading through the Marin Clean Energy plan, which is designed to offer customers in 12 potential cities in Marin County the possibility of powering their hom Read more »

Ongoing threat

PG&E asserts dominance while Mayor Newsom waffles on city-owned power
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amanda@sfbg.com

The debate over city plans to build and own two combustion turbine power plants, a project Mayor Gavin Newsom has made a last minute effort to alter, shows that public power — and Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s fear of it — is still a significant issue at City Hall.

Newsom, a past advocate of the project, pulled the plug on its progress May 13. Read more »

Peakers delayed 2 weeks

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At the May 20 meeting, the Board of Supervisors agreed to a two-week hold on a plan to build two combustion turbine “peaker” power plants in the city. (Also known as the CTs.) The delayed legislation was also amended by Sup. Sean Elsbernd, who injected a 90-day due diligence period into the process.

Translation: if the Board, two weeks from now, passes the plan to build the peakers, a 90-day due diligence period kicks in. Read more »

RFK Jr. and NRDC part ways on power plants in SF

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On May 12, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, founder of Waterkeeper, senior counsel for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and as big a wig as Al Gore in the environmental hall of fame, decided to weigh in on San Francisco's plan to build two fossil fuel-burning power plants. He sent this letter to the Board of Supervisors, Mayor Gavin Newsom, the CPUC's Mike Peevey, and Gov. Read more »

PG&E's peaker-less proposal

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For all those following the latest and greatest in the saga of San Francisco's energy future, here's a copy of the proposal PG&E put before Mayor Gavin Newsom's staff on March 5, and which has been making rounds at City Hall. It outlines (though doesn't go into too much detail) a number of energy efficiency measures, demand-response targets, and transmission upgrades. Read more »