CALIFORNIA PUBLIC UTILITIES VISITS BAYVIEW
It is not too often that an Administrative Judge Halligan and California Public Utilities Commission Wood come to ground zero to hear the constituents of Hunters Point and Bayview about Energy Issues and the pending bankcrupty case involving Pacific Gas and Electric.
The came on August 13 for a meeting at the Southeast Community Facility at 1800 Oakdale in San Francisco.
It was good to put a face to the Public Advisor Harriett Burt. She saw that most everything was in order, welcomed each and everyone and most importantly made sure that those who wanted to speak got a chance to express themselves.
There was even a Court Recorder. Commissioner Wood made sure to tell everyone that every word would be recorded and gave a good introduction concerning the issues at hand. We the Public could speak about the pending settlement between PG&E and the CPUC . We could also talk about any other Energy Issues on our mind.
It is the process that matters. I think that the Judge and the Commissioner learned a lot from the speakers - some were very emotional, others went on and on, there were some who did not care less like the President of SPUR. He made a brief statement, which was pompous and then slipped out the door.
Andrew Bozeman laid it out, as it ought to be. He said that the community was suffering and that only by uniting could the community bring about some defined mitigation.
Long time activist Espanola Jackson spoke about the high prices paid for Energy and asked for a reduction for the Seniors and those on fixed income.
Francisco Da Costa spoke and gave a short history of the Energy situation in San Francisco. The start of Hetch Hetchy to today.
Don Paul and Maurice Campbell gave the Judge and the lone Commissioner some technical and factual information that could help in the settlement and the adjudication.
Lynne Brown has been following the issues for a long time and spoke well on behalf of the community. Barbara George spoke well on behalf of all the advocates. It think the various speakers from the community did well and that includes Marie Harrison. She spoke twice and got carried away but I guess when one is too close to the issues one tends to get lost with the moment and the issues at hand.
There were a number of speakers who spoke on behalf of the Retired PG&E workers and did not want to lose their benefits. The Union Electrician representing as the Steward had a lot of poignant statements. The most important being that way back in 1998 when the promise was made to shut down the Hunters Point Power Plant the Union working for PG&E thought it was good to shut the plant down. This could have meant loss of jobs but the UNION thought it was the right thing to do.
It would be nice if in the future we have a workshop and that the community is focused on the legal and practical issues affecting the matter to be discussed at these choice meetings. This meeting was a good start and we hope that we will have many more to come.
It was interesting to hear David Erickson come up with a plan to use areas close to the existing transmission line tied to Solar and Wind power. That should be the future plan and should be executed as has been done in Germany, Kenya and Japan.
There were community advocates speaking on behalf of the Elderly Asian praising PG&E for their help. And there were those who did not have kind words for PG&E. It was all good. What was not good was the SPUR President making a statement " =that here in San Francisco many of us are there only for the fight" and not so much to come up with solutions. He should speak for himself. He came to San Francisco some 20 years ago and has not learned much. He is closer to Castro Street and far away from the constituents of Bayview and Hunters Point.
It was good hearing the Hunters Point tenant President speaking in ebonics - a little too fast for the Court Recorder but then he too saw much good in what he heard and quickly lost himself in his primary mission.
Joe O'Donague was there from the Builders Association saying some kind words and massaging PG&E. It takes all kinds to make the world tick tock and business men and Energy Issues go hand in hand. Time is money and Energy brings in the juice.
PG&E have made a lot of money off the community. Jesse Mason touched upon the monthly bills and the deaths of the children. The explosion in 1950 and the daily survival, food versus electricity. I think the Commissioner and the Judge heard as much as they could.
It is our hope that they take the real message back to the other Commissioners. Andrew Bozeman asked them to feel the pain and look at it from a feeling heart. Africa is the home of all humankind. If the root is in pain we need to examine the plant and San Francisco is not big less then 50 miles square. The pollution goes where the wind goes and poison has a way of killing all living beings. African Americans are the ones suffering most in Bayview Hunters Point.
The hearing was about the bankruptcy settlement. It was about mitigation. It was about learning from the community. Hopefully it will lead to action with a vision never seen before.
For too long has there been a lot of talk - time to walk the walk.
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