More reasons why PG&E hurts the city

No blackouts here -- and no PG&E

I know that the folks in Santa Clara are just taking full political advantage of the Candlestick blackout, buy you have to admit: They have a persuasive case. Here's today's Bay Citizen:

On Tuesday, Santa Clara's mayor said his city's superior public infrastructure helped lure the Niners away from San Francisco.

“To say this would be unlikely here is too kind: it simply could not happen in Santa Clara,” Mayor Jamie Matthews said in a Tuesday interview.

Santa Clara’s publicly owned Silicon Valley Power agency runs its own power generation and distribution system, drawing on sources such as wind turbines on Altamont Pass.

“The reason they moved to Santa Clara is the reliability of our services,” Matthews said. “We have reliability in our electricity system that is unparalleled.”

Yep: PG&E's aging infrastructure and its inability to keep the lights on costs San Francisco jobs. And a reliable public system like the one in Santa Clara would help attract business. Maybe even more than tax breaks.

You paying attention, Mr. Mayor?



supply gas then it's an inherently dangerous material. As such, I'd ratehr see safety stats for PG&E versus other utilities rather than anecdotes.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

PG&E was held responsible for knowingly poisoning at -least- hundreds of people.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

And shouldn't a Green want to tear down that dam?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

And because I grew up in the Sierras, I support the effort to remove the dam and restore Hetch Hetchy Valley.

Why did you assume that I support the dam (just as you did with both Tim and yet another poster on this thread).

The fact that you automatically assume that anyone who criticizes PG&E and supports a community power program, is also supportive of the Hetch Hetchy dam makes no sense, and seems to indicate that you are just fishing for reactionary debate points in order to demonize your opponents; a strong indication that you are in fact paid by PG&E to post here.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

dam that led to the Raker Act. Take the dam and the Act away and there is no longer any argument that PG&E is being allowed to break the law.

So it seems you are in disagreement with SFBG as well.

The voters have rejected public power so amny times, Bruce doesn't even try any more.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

Is a terrible, criminal, monopolistic corporation, you might have a point.

But of course, it is not.

So your continuous attempt to pretend that this discussion is only about the Raker Act is blatantly absurd.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

ConEd, Duke, SouthernPower, AEP and so on. Their business profile is similar. Nobody is arguing to take those public.

I'm glad we agree the dam should come down, and you should use your "influence" with SFBG to persuade them to support that as, historically, they have seen that dam and the associated laws as making it more likely that SF can get public power.

Assuming, of course, the the voters ever supported that.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

there are lots of people arguing that all of those utilities (and every other utility) should be municipalized

where do you get this horse manure?

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

Why do SF voters always reject it?

Why do no major newspapers talk about it or support it.

You're relating a myth.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

To see a large list of reports on scores of municipalities that are using new Community Choice and other laws to shift to municipal electricity go to:

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

At least bring up something that those alive today can remember.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 23, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

You are of course, yet again, wrong.

The chromium pollution in Hinkley which PG&E is responsible for, is still escaping and PG&E is still in violation of court orders for its cleanup and abatement.

To verify this see the new California EPA report on the contamination at:

Here is the intro text to that report:

"PG&E’s Compressor Station is located approximately two miles southeast of the town of Hinkley and a dozen miles west of Barstow in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino County. Between 1952 and 1966, PG&E used hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium 6, to fight corrosion in cooling tower water. The wastewater from the cooling towers was discharged to unlined ponds at the site. Some of the wastewater percolated to the groundwater, resulting in hexavalent chromium pollution. The chromium affects an area of groundwater approximately two miles long and nearly a mile wide.

Recent chromium plume migration to the northeast of the Desert View Dairy has been detected. This plume migration violates a Cleanup and Abatement Order requirement to maintain control of the plume. At the July 14, 2010 Board meeting, the Water Board adopted an amendment to the Desert View Dairy land treatment unit permit to allow additional groundwater extraction on two properties adjacent to the Desert View Dairy to the north and east to address the expanded plume in that area.

The Third Quarter 2011 Monitoring Report shows that chromium has been detected in groundwater in the north, out to at least Sonoma Street. In addition, new monitoring well data also shows the chromium plume being undefined to the east, west, and south of the Compressor Station. PG&E has been directed to continue expanding the monitoring well network to determine the extent of the chromium plume above maximum background levels of 3.1 ppb hexavalent chromium and 3.2 ppb total chromium.

PG&E is under orders from the Lahontan Water Board to stop plume expansion and clean up the chromium plume."

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 23, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

to provide safe and reliable gas and electric service should not have it's franchise agreement with the CCSF terminated. Voters aren't stupid which is why public power is so successful and popular here in California, esp in the Silicon Valley and Sacramento.
The SF CCA is yet another attempt in the sad legacy of Hetch Hetchy in which the goal is appropriating public revenues to subsidize private corporations and to greenwash their images. This is certainly cowardly and bankrupt as a concept. It may also constitute illegal profiteering off the SFPUC facilities and funds. Certainly, it will produce “paper power” as no green generation will be built on the spot market.
I know that there is a complete transmission system running from Hetch Hetchy to The City on the SF PUC's rights of way and land because I personally have seen many parts of it and you can google-map it under satellite image and see it. The grid is there plain as day except that PG&E owns it and operates it without any compensation to the CCSF. The real lesson is: If you cannot trust the Mayor, the Board of Supervisors, and the SF PUC to use its public assets for the benefit of the citizens and businesses of San Francisco rather than for private profit, then vote them out but not "public power."

Posted by Guest 333 on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

MUNI is not a utilities system. I'm not sure why people always refer to it to explain why PG&E must be allowed to maintain its monopoly. A much better comparison would be the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission which actually does a fine job of not only keeping the water running for all of us BUT, in fact, also already does a stand-up job of providing electric power for all City/County properties.

Oh, and we can't fix the streets cuz we haven't any money. this obviously isn't an argument in favor of privatization. I'd be thrilled to see some of my rate-payer dollars going to investments in my community through pubilc infrastructure projects, rather than into the bank account of some stockholder on the other side of the country, wouldn't you?

Posted by Andy on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

real point is if the City can't run one complex organization, then why dilute their attention and abilities by adding something else to run, and something they have zero experience of running?

And if there's no money to fix the streets, then that's further evidence that the city cannot balance a budget. So why give them another one to mismanage?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 23, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

It's clear PG&E cannot be trusted to keep the lights on. Blackouts twice in the Haight today. The lights go off at least twice a year in the Haight, often more. Twice in a day is not uncommon.

On the other hand, the city's record on blackouts is much better. Hetch Hetchy powers the new Fillmore developments, the schools, City College -- blackouts are very , very rare where the city delivers power.

Posted by 99 Percenter on Dec. 28, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

I agree that the Raker Act provision allowing San Francisco to build a dam in a national park was an environmental disaster. But here's the deal: The legislation was a compromise between conservationists and public-power activists (like Sen. George Norris of Nebraska) who said that private companies should never control water of electric power. The legislation says very clearly that in exchange for building a dam in Yosemite Valley (bad) San Francisco would have to promise to use the dam not just for water but for public electric power for its residents and businesses (good). The idea -- which was very clear in the debate in the house and Senate -- was to prevent any private company (i.e. PG&E) from building a private monopoly over electricity in Northern California.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld that premise in 1940. Every since, the city has been using various legal gimmicks to get around the fact that PG&E has an illegal monopoly in town.


Posted by tim on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

More PGE prevarication. They now propose charging an initial fee plus a monthly charge for those who want to opt out of smart meters, claiming they will have to hire more meter readers than they planned. The reality is it means they will just have to lay off a few less people than they had planned. They're not loosing money, just not able to gouge us quite as much. Another reason we need public power, as if San Bruno wasn't the final nail in the coffin, was evident during the Niners spectactular performance on Monday night.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

who supplies the power. As do gas accidents.

and even when PG&E make a concession on meters, you're still not happy.

Whine all you like but the voters always reject public power. We may not like PG&E but we dislike and distrust the city bureaucrats even more.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

Again you are casually tossing off as 'accidental' a gas explosion which federal reports make clear was the result of gross negligence on the part of PG&E; negligence which might in fact lead to criminal prosecutions.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

I'm still waiting for your stats showing PG&E's safety record versus other utes. I suspect their safety record is no worse than many others. Gas is a dangerous business and, personally, I'd trust city bureaucrats a lot less than a specialized experienced utility.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

Again, you apparently do not read the SF Guardian which reported that no Northern California public utility has ever had an accident like the San Bruno explosion.


And in any case, what if one of them had?

With PG&E's clearly appalling record, especially its willful poisoning of the residents of Hinkley, which will result in -far- more deaths, wouldn't it perhaps be advisable to switch to a community owned system and see if we can do a lot better...?

We certainly have nothing to lose when the alternative is a criminally deadly corporation like PG&E.

This is a no-brainer.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

Show me something from the Wall St. Journal, the New York Times, CNN, BBC or an established news source - not a biased local rag with an agenda.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

The SF Bay Guardian does perfectly good research for its articles.

And as I said, what if there had been an equally bad explosion somewhere in California?

It still wouldn't come close to PG&E's outrageously unacceptable purposeful poisoning of the residents of Hinkley. Nothing compares to that.

If you are so hot to see comparisons of public power safety compared to PG&E find them yourself.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

any reputable, non-partisan paper then?

Excellent. We're making progress here.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

during PG&E's incredibly foolish and cynical attempt with Prop 16 to entrench its monopoly in the State constitution, even the SF Chronicle and SF Examiner ran scathing reports sharply criticizing PG&E, as did almost all of the other newspapers in California

crawl out from under your rock much sparky?

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 7:59 pm
Posted by anonymous on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 8:25 pm

It's not easy to find posts - even on this infamous website - as juvenile, petty, vulgar and scarily obsessive as those by Mr. Brooks and other prominent members of the marginalized, ineffective local Green Party, but I sense the two of you might be the perfect match. Even when you and Eric make a decent point - like every 1 out of 10 posts - you have this uncanny ability to completely undercut your point of view by using language of a 7-year old.

When you care so much - obsess really - about a point a view it looks creepy. Nobody else cares, except perhaps some of your allies, who must cringe every time they read another one of your posts. By the way, sfgate is filled with a few obsessive posters you might enjoy, if you're just looking for a little companionship to help reduce the tedium and boredom.

Life can be a beautiful thing. Maybe take a break sometimes and try some different life and personal experiences rather than acting out on this chatboard day in and day. It's pathological and appears borderline psychotic.

At a minimum I can't believe your allies think you're helping their causes very much by posting here. Maybe some of them can go on the record every so often to express their unqualified support for your tactics and tell us why it's so important for you to try to dominate every discussion you participate in here.

It's one thing when we self-destruct with our own actions and behavior, but when we consistently bring down the reputation of organizations we belong to it's no longer just another tragic life, we're causing real damage to others who deserve better.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

Hunter, let's get something straight.

If you think for one second that you are succeeding in being demeaning or intimidating with your little fake tantrum diatribe (a clear resort to nothing but one long empty personal attack because you have no real argument left) and a truly ludicrous hail Mary attempt to illicit an angry response from those who you are debating, you are sadly mistaken, and won't get one.

You are the only one who looks like a seven year old here.

Why don't you stop making such a joke of your life, develop some balls and some independence, and stop kissing PG&E's gold plated ass to pay for whatever new toy or drug you are planning to stuff up your nose this week?

Sound like a plan?

Posted by NetRunner on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 3:52 am

The New York Times are non-partisan? And exactly what makes them "reputable"?

Posted by Michael W. on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

And with far more resources and contacts to do real investigative journalism

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 10:51 am

mouthpieces for the ruling class "objective"? (Nice, and typical, slight of hand there: first you say "non-partisan" and now you say "more objective".)

Comparing the resources (aka: money) between the above two newspapers and The Guardian is intellectually dishonest. If The Guardian, their readers, the protestors, and the left are so insignificant to you, why do you spend so much time attack them; usually with ad hominems which you mostly rely upon.

Posted by Michael W. on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 11:23 am

SFBG is more objective and reliable than the NYT, the WSJ, CNN, BBC etc.

You're deluded.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

and reliable "than the NYT, the WSJ, CNN, BBC etc."?

Posted by Michael W. on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

than demonstrate where I claimed The Guardian is more objective and reliable "than the NYT, the WSJ, CNN, BBC etc.". After doing so, please show me where I did indeed claim the above.

Posted by Michael W. on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

respect of PG&E and any number of other topics, then you essentially agree with my contention that their coverage cannot be trusted.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

and you did not show me where I claimed that The Guardian was more objective then the New York Time or the Wall Street Journal.

I have been very critical on this blog of The Guardain editors unwavering endorsement of the Democratic Party regardless of the past and current actions of the Party. I am sure they will endorse Obama again, complete with rationalizations and apologies for the Obama Administration. Personally, I would love if Steve Jones ate crow and admitted he was wrong in what he posted here on the day of Obama's inauguration.

What I find baffling, and annoying, is that a person, such as yourself ,would spend so much time and effort posting on a blog, in which it is apparent you hold nothing but contempt for the contributors, and offer nothing to the discussion excepts ad hominems, personal attacks, and assertions. (Which , like your response to me above, you usually resort to when you can't prove or back up a statement.) I doubt very much you even believe half the stuff you post, but just do it to stir the pot. It is fine that you would and can disagree with the discussions here, it is not fine that you resort to such efforts which just makes you look like a clown that is pissing against the wind.

Happy holidays, and may you find solace in the comment pages of SFGate and The Examiner.

Posted by Michael W. on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

..unless of course you're such an intellectually lazy ignoramouse that reading comprehension is another of your deficiencies.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 8:04 am

Who loves the electric and gas and phone companies anyway?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 6:24 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

The utilities have done well this year because savers (anyone remember them?) are desperate for any investment that pays osme income. My credit union is paying .5% interest and the well-respected, well-managed Vanguard federal money market fund is paying around 1%. With a 3% inflation rate (actually higher but official government statistics always lie in favor of the economic elites), savers are losing money, while politicans of all stripes hail savers as the backbone of a strong economy.

Quoting from a MW article posted today:

"Consider the outperformance of utility stocks in 2011. As risk-averse investors shunned volatile equities and avoided paltry Treasury yields, the income potential and stability of utility stocks attracted quite a few buyers. After all, what's not to like? These are legalized monopolies with captive customers, and politicians and regulators ensure that they are going to stay that way. You can set your watch to the revenue!"

"It's just not logical to think the share appreciation has come from growth — because the same business model that makes utilities bulletproof, stable investments also prevents them from ever seeing significant jumps in revenue or profits. It's not like ConEd is going to start providing electricity to the Southeast to double its customer base or Southern is going to be able to charge 75% more for its service."

"In short: The upside for utility stocks has already been had. Consolidated Edison and Southern both have a forward P/E of over 16 — higher than the S&P average — despite the fact they are in a slow-growth sector. Sure, a 4% dividend is nice ... but shares could easily lose more than that once utilities fall out of favor and investors move their money elsewhere."

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

good qualities to have in a down market.

But I was merely refuting the stated idea that "nobody loves utilities". Lots of retired folks rely on those dividends for income.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 10:52 am

when I saw the front page of The Examiner which expressed Ed Lee's dismay at the blackout at Candlestick Park. (Does Lee still thinks PG & E gets it?) "Guest" did not let me down.

I have to say that it as become kind of a pastime -- and a form of comic relief-- to check the threads on the Guardian to see if "Guest" has posted on the political threads, comments that are usually the first ones no matter what time of the day. Must not be busy at work much, but "Guest" seems to appear to the the job of trolling quite seriously. What fuels "Guest's" pathological hatred to expend so much time? I noticed that "Guest" did not blame the homeless families themselves that were the subject of SFGate and The Guardian articles a few weeks, or did he/she?

BTW: I think there is a big difference in the legal standards of running a inherently dangerous company and gross negligence.

Posted by Michael W. on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

If so, I imagine that you think that "Anonymous" is just one guy too.

Thanks for today's laugh.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 8:10 am

then maybe I would think that "guest" and/or "anonymous" were different people. However, what is constantly on display here suggests otherwise. I have also been reading and contributing to the comments on the political threads for at least four years, and noticed a certain tendency that first appeared with Paul T. that has now been adapted by "Guest". (Then there is Luceritta, who seems to have calmed down a bit, or moved onto another alias.)

Posted by Michael W. on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 8:46 am

differed, then maybe I would think that "guest" and/or "anonymous" were different people. However, what is constantly on display here suggests otherwise. I have also been reading and contributing to the comments on the political threads for at least four years, and noticed a certain tendency that first appeared with Paul T. that has now been adopted by "Guest". (Then there is Luceritta, who seems to have calmed down a bit, or moved onto another alias.)

Posted by Michael W. on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 8:51 am

Or when "Anonymous" disagrees with another "Anonymous"?

I'm sure it is comforting for you to believe that only one person supports PG&E and so that every post here supporting them is really just that one person.

But then how do you explain that public power voter initiatives always lose? It's almost as if people with that view are a clear majority . . .

Posted by Guest on Dec. 23, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

@Michael. "Guest" above unwittingly reinforces your observation. If it were not for the fact that such intellectually challenged folks had the same voting rights as those who are at least reasonably well educated, his/her lack of understanding would be laughable. He/she exemplifies the truth of de Maistre's quote, "Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle merite".

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 9:00 am
Posted by Guest on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 10:32 am