EDITORIAL Smart meters are a dumb idea. That's what The Utility Reform Network says, noting that the high tech devices are expensive (California utilities, including Pacific Gas and Electric Co., will be charging consumers $5.4 billion to install the meters), don't save energy or money, and can lead to privacy risks. PG&E bills have soared unexpectedly in places where the meters have been installed in the past year, forcing an investigation by the California Public Utilities Commission, which concluded on Sept. 2 that the meters are okay, but PG&E's customer service isn't. Still, TURN and other experts say the report is inconclusive, and state Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter) wants legislative hearings before any more meters are installed.
San Francisco hasn't faced the smart meter problem yet since the utility hasn't been installing them here — but that will start soon enough, now that the CPUC (never known as a harsh critic of PG&E) has given the green light. TURN is urging customers to boycott the meters, so the San Francisco supervisors should tell PG&E that the city doesn't want this flawed technology.
Since writing about this summer’s squash bee hunt, I’ve received a number of enquiries about how to view the 2011 North American bee calendar that was referenced in my article. The answer is fairly simple: visit the website for Dr. Gretchen LeBuhn's Great Sunflower Project or for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Read more »
Tony Kelly's been involved in land-use and development battles in the district for more than a decade -- and it shows. He talks about zoning, redevelopment, and urban finance with the ease of an expert. He complains that funding affordable housing just by asking developers to include a little bit in their market-rate units is "a sucker's game." He talks about the need for public-sector investment to handle the major influx of population projected for the district over the next 20 years. He's also thought a lot about city finance, and suggests, among other things, that San Francisco demand that the University of California pay some sort of fee in lieu of the $60 million the giant institution doesn't pay in local property taxes. Read more »
Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 250 of his recent columns.
Let's pause for a moment this Labor Day to recognize some of our most important, yet most maligned workers.
They're teachers and librarians, police officers and firefighters. They're bus drivers, doctors and nurses. Judges and lawyers, landscape gardeners and arborists. They're laborers and other maintenance and construction workers . . .
They are, of course, public employees. There are millions of them, who every day perform many thousands of the essential tasks that keep our country going.
It is they who keep our streets and highways, our parks and playgrounds safe and clean, who help educate our children, provide emergency health care, convey us to our jobs and back home, who sometimes risk their very lives to protect us from harm. Read more »
The economy's not getting any better, we still have 50,000 troops in Iraq, and the Democrats are in serious trouble this fall -- because they refuse to act like Democrats. That's why Johnny's had it with Barack Obama (though Tim says the Dems are still better than the alternative ....) Listen to the ranting and raving after the jump.Read more »
I've long sung the praises of genius local deep and Afro house label Fatsouls, its creative leader DJ Said, and its fantastically soulful We & the Music party -- another monthly installment of which takes place tonight (Fri/3, 9pm, $5. 222 Hyde, SF. www.222hyde.com) with residents Said and Le Charm.
The new release on Fatsouls, "In & Out" by classic Detroit musicmaker Alton Miller, confirms that the label is gaining stature worldwide by continuing its steady stream of high-quality, thoughtfully mature, and devilishly groovy tunes.
DeWitt Lacy wants District 10 to get its fair share -- of the city's economic pie, of the programs that serve San Franciscans, of the parks and infrastructure that San Francisco pays for. He complains that the district has some of the worse environmental problems in the city "and we don't even protect the parkland we have now." He's taking a generally progressive approach -- he opposes sit-lie, is against the gang injunctions, and supports all the revenue measures on the fall ballot. He also thinks the city makes it too hard on the working class; in fact, he complained about the cost of parking tickets, saying they're a real burden for people trying to support a family on moderate incomes. And he's concerned that the emphasis on housing in the city's Eastern Neighborhoods Plan could impact light industry. Read more »
Steve Moss sees the future of District 10 as a great opportunity -- for all of California. "We are a solution to the state's problem," he told us. Development in D 10 can help solve suburban sprawl and reduce commuting time and build a more sustainable state. But that means the state and the region need to help pay for the infrastructure needed to accomodate some 40,000 new residences over the next 20 years.Read more »
Lots of people have trouble with the IRS. Almost everyone I know has run afoul of the tax man at some point in time, and the fact that BART Board member and District 10 candidate Lynette Sweet at one point owed the feds $14,500 isn't exactly a major crime.
But there's a part of her story, at least at Matier and Ross present it, that strikes me as odd:
Sweet says she thought the tax lien was cleared up years ago.Read more »
Whoo! There's a lot going on nightlifewise this long weekend. Besides the parties upon which I shined a woozy post-Canadian spotlight in this week's Super Ego clubs column, here's a few more great soirees at which you can work out your frustration or relief that you aren't at Burning Man. The city is ours!
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson Lori K. Haley sent the Guardian a statement today that suggests that ICE might change the city’s Secure-Communities activation status, after all. Read more »