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Letters (November 4, 2021)

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Heads up to Valley property owners,

The army of PG&E subcontractors currently in the Valley are aggressively evaluating the risk to PG&E power lines, poles AND guide wires from nearby trees. In the past, PG&E focused on trimming trees on my property to reduce risk to their lines. This time around the focus seems to be to cut down any tree deemed a threat, no matter how remote. They have also expanded THEIR definition of acceptable clearance from 4 feet to 12 feet. Will it be 100 feet next year? More firewood for everybody!

These out-of-state subcontractors have marked which trees need to be cut down on my property. They go on to say that I can refuse, but imply that PG&E will expect me to accept PG&E’s liability for any future wildfire. Do not know about you, but I am not accepting any liability that PG&E may want to off-load onto me.

These subcontractors seem to be tasked with pursuing only one remedy and that is to cut down the tree. They are not considering other, less drastic alternatives like trimming, topping, moving guide wires, etc. Mind you, we are talking about 100 year old oak trees which were growing in the same spot when PG&E chose to locate their poles and wires.

As recently as 3 years ago, PG&E relocated one guide wire from a location that posed no risk, to its current location where it is now near an old Buckeye tree. Now they want to cut down that tree even though it is leaning heavily away from the guide wire. 

Hey, these subcontractors do not live in the Valley, so what that heck, cut it down! But I can refuse. The subcontractor (from Houston) told me that the potential liability from that tree hitting the guide wire and pulling down the pole and starting a fire is very small, so why not just accept the liability and save the tree. Gee, why not move the guide wire? But he tells me that alternative is not in their computer program that evaluates risk.

I wonder if I will ever meet someone who is actually from PG&E who is willing and authorized to honestly discuss alternatives. Or will it just be the next subcontractor with a chainsaw in one hand and a liability acceptance agreement in the other?

I live on the east side of the Valley where trees are sparse. I can only imagine what the west side will look like after this current PG&E plan is executed. Clear-cut roads as wide as a redwood tree on each side of the power lines? That is what they did in Michigan where I grew up. It looks hideous. Any other alternatives?

Hoping other Valley residents will join this conversation.

Neil Darling


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If you are interested in saving our downtown business district you may be interested in the meeting to be held on November 8th at Town Hall by our city council discussing new dispensary zoning regulations. This is our town and these are our elected officials doing this.

I believe it is our duty as the citizens of this town to protect our properties and our downtown business district. If you attend these meetings the council will listen to you, they want your input, they want direction from the people of our town.

If you are a property owner on the west side of McPherson Street you should be especially concerned, many of your properties back up against the empty storefronts on Franklin Street which these businesses are attempting to fill at this time by the evidence of pending permits.

I urge you to please send emails or letters to our council and attend these meetings. We don’t want to end up being a bunch of people complaining about something when we actually could have made a difference, and possibly even prevented it from happening.

Jay Koski

Fort Bragg

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Dear Editor,

Am I the only one to notice the high price we muct all pay for a gallon of gas? Since early summer notthern Californians have been paying well over $4.30 per gallon at the pump. And none of the experts on the oil industry are predicting that the consumer will get a break anytime soon. 

One has to ask, “Are not the big oil companies, Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Chevron charging the public too much?” The CEOs of the big oil companies speaking before the House refused to take any blame for global warming. While it is true that Saudi A abia and the other countries of OPEC, including Russa and Iran, manipulate the price of a barrel of crude every day, another reason is the fact that the US is now not bringing as much crude up to the surface as it onee did under the Trump Administration. 

However with Chevron stock now selling at more than $114 a share, is there any doubt now what is happening? The US. per capita, is the world’s worst contributer to global climate change. While China leads the world in pollution due to its continuing reliance on coal, at least China has the most electric vehicles. We have a long way to go. 

Frank Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

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To the Editor:

There are glimmers of hope for the climate crisis to improve eventually. One of those glimmers happened when California passed a law that all new single family and multi family dwellings up to 3 stories high must include solar panels as of Jan. 1, 2020. Something good!

Half of the new solar now being installed is going into millions of middle and working class homes that will save the residents money on energy costs and clean up the air. Rooftop solar’s energy efficiency caused the state to scale back over 20 power projects saving nearly $3 billion. But, there’s still plenty of room to do better.

Installing solar has been a perfect way to reduce our carbon footprint. Solar residences, businesses, schools, etc. have been able to cut their energy costs and have solar pay for itself Even as solar installation costs decrease, it’s still a large investment by the building or homeowner. But many have decided that solar, as a clean energy source, is worth the cost because there are no gas emissions that warm our planet and seriously affect normal life, such as fires, floods, hurricanes, drought, extinctions. When considering installing solar the low monthly energy rates and credits, if the solar owner generates more power than they used, makes a lot of sense.

Now, though, PG&E is asking the California Public Utilities Commission to allow a significant rate hike, Net Metering 3 (NEM3), which would charge $50-$90/month for residential solar customers and $950-$3400/month for businesses, schools, county buildings, farms, churches and apartment buildings with solar. And credits to solar customers for more energy production than they used would be reduced by 77 percent.

Do you find yourself questioning as I do how penalizing solar customers will lead to more clean energy? Who is going to install solar when costs are so high? Why are the energy companies against solar when it’s such a simple energy solution? Losing or reducing solar installations creates a gaping void for clean energy and profoundly increases climate change impacts .

It’s not too late to do something. You can contact Governor Newsom who has strong influence with the California Public Utilities Commission that will be ruling on this rate hike soon. An easy avenue to send a letter to the Governor is through The Solar Rights Alliance is a group that is actively soliciting everyone in California to write to the Governor. AARP is in favor of these rate hikes, so consider contacting them as well. TURN, The Utility Reform Network, is also supporting PG&E. The only way to defeat this proposal is to be vocal.

Even if you do not yet have solar on your house you must know that it is a major contributor to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and certainly should not be thwarted in its ease of delivering clean energy and helping us survive on our planet. Please share this information with everyone you know. Nothing changes in the political sphere without an outcry from the public and this is a place where that outcry is imperative for addressing the dire threat of climate change.

Eileen Mitro


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When I moved here in 1978, we lost power with winter type storms, but back then we didn’t have microprocessors, the internet, cellphones, satellite imaging, position sensors and cameras connected to computers on the other side of the world. All this tech, and nothing has changed at PG&E. We still go 60 hours without any form of energy with a storm.

In the mid-1800s, telephone and telegraph poles put the pony express out of business. Nothing has changed since the pony express was replaced by the new technology of poles and wires.

The La Plata Electric Association in Colorado is a cooperative. They have low rates and send their customers periodic checks for member capital credit refunds. In the past 82 years they have returned $85 million to customers. And then there is PG&E.

Roger Delgado


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I would like to respond to Ron Gester's letter about nuclear waste. I agree that all energy system wastes deserve consideration. Sadly, nuclear waste is not being managed properly. Here in the Bay Area the United States Navy operated a nuclear laboratory, attempted to decontaminate ships from atomic testing in the Pacific, and service nuclear powered vessels for many years. Hunters Point and the area south of the China Basin from 16th to 23rd Street have high levels of nuclear reactor waste in soil samples. Across the Bay, in Livermore, radioactive wastes containing plutonium were poured down the drain and entered the municipal sewer system. Later, treated sewage solids containing plutonium were used as fertilizer and soil amendments in Big Trees Park and the Rose Garden near the historic Carnegie Library. To the north, reactor waste from the former Mare Island nuclear submarine facility has been found along the east side of the Napa River in the city of Vallejo.

This reactor waste is particularly dangerous because of the likelihood of spontaneous fission. This is when atoms explode with the force of an atomic bomb only on a one-atom scale. If you live or work in a contaminated area you will breathe dust containing nuclear waste. 20-40% of this will be even-numbered atomic weight isotopes of plutonium and curium. These long-lived substances will build up in your body and very small amounts of these isotopes are dangerous. For example, 30 nanograms (billionths of a gram) will increase the internal rate of spontaneous fission in your body by a factor of 100. If you think of this as little atom bombs going off inside you, that is exactly what happens.

The United States Navy is responsible for the cleanup of Hunters Point and Mare Island. Their contractor, Tetra Tech, was not up to the task. They neglected to test soils for transuranic waste like plutonium, did not test areas adjacent to former Naval facilities where the public could be exposed, and have been charged with processing numerous fake soil samples. This mismanagement has cost millions of taxpayer dollars, put cleanup workers at risk, and spread contaminated soil to other locations.

Wind turbine blades, solar panels and lithium ion batteries in a landfill are things we can see and understand. Nuclear reactor waste is by far the greater challenge. There is more plutonium in the soil around Agua Vista Park in the Potrero District of San Francisco than one would expect to find at Ground Zero of a nuclear bomb detonation. This is a serious problem and it is on our doorstep.

John Mills

Ben Lomond

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Joe Biden said leaving Afghanistan was a huge success. I wonder what a failure would look like.

Biden said the infrastructure bill would be paid for by taxing corporations and the rich. The bill would also provide jobs. Biden didn’t notice the help wanted signs? Corporations and the rich are a lot of things, but they are not stupid. Did you notice the jump in prices for just about everything? That didn’t work.

Now there is new about supply chain problems. So, how come the supply chain problem did not exist last year or the year before? Now, there are also all sorts of stories to explain away the shortage of goods relative to the huge price increases.

Based upon how politicians vote down party lines, I question who they represent. Since any representative has voters of both major parties in their district, it appears that party line voting means that your representative actually works for the party and not for you. I think that in this case the Democrats have shot themselves in the foot with a shotgun and the Republicans are not far behind.

David Grundman

Rohnert Park

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We used to be a country that loved freedom. The first coins of the US had the motto “mind your business.” If those people could see America today? I believe one of the first wrong turns was having an IRS. It was sold to the American public as a scheme to soak the rich. Now it soaks the working class and pays the non-working class. People love socialism but seldom talk about the Police State necessary to support free stuff and pyramids of parasite administration. Well paid by their own design.

Did you say there are 31 agencies taking care of the local homeless? If you are one of those homeless cases, please start your own non-profit organization and stop letting these parasites use you to enrich themselves at our expense. 

Did you ever read that sign at the park that says, “Please don’t feed the animals”? I hope it makes sense. It must make sense to whoever put the sign up. So just apply that same principle to the homeless situation. That’s the cure. Sometimes when you’re talking to people you realize everything is inverted, upside-down, down is up, good is bad and bad is good, sick is well, and well is sick. You get the idea. These are the type of people who are getting elected in this state. Have you ever shaken hands with one? It’s like dipping your hand in septic juice; bring the alcohol to your town meetings.

If I am right about this, the homeless will be barbecuing people on street corners when their homeless stage is over. And if I’m totally wrong, the homeless will be housed, fed, drunk, drugged, clothed, etc. at great expense and will all live happily ever after.

Tom Madden



  1. Mark Wilkinson Laszlo November 4, 2021

    Neil D, “I wonder if I will ever meet someone who is actually from PG&E who is willing and authorized to honestly discuss alternatives. ” A word from Ukiah, OK? Don’t be naive. PG&E has an old reputation for unfairness and lying. Like landlord’s agents and labor contractors, a PG&E subcontractor’s job is to keep that from ever happening. W/O powerful help, money and time, those with power in the company can give you the runaround through flunkies and hide from you indefinitely. I dare say, if you travel to try to meet, protest or reason with them, unless you leave determined guards to stop their rabid drooling chainsaws while you’re gone, your harmless trees will be gone when you get back. I suggest you resist personally and in co-operation with neighbors on your land and theirs. A measure of intimidation is necessary. One thing you guys need to find out, is, is PG&E following the law or color of law or no law? Another would be, who said they could do what they are doing? Do they have legal permission from any authority over their activity? But resist them anyway, because it is unjust. How wide is their easement, really?
    They can’t change it arbitrarily. You can petition PG&E, just to let them know you will make their depredations difficult. The more difficult, the better. Consider physical barriers to your trees. Claim the trees as your own. Don’t accept contradictions to your ownership, no matter what anyone says. American laws give no rights to trees, so you must claim personal ownership to protect them. You may not have to threaten their lives, but you have to make them afraid. Vocal volume, with projection of breath from the diaphram may intimidate, even w/o threats of violence. Another question is, are they taking the wood to sell? Who and what law gave them the privilege, if any? If you’ve been sold out, resist anyway. Sounds like you need to organize patrols to guard every concerned person’s properties or they’ll do their dirty work when you’re not there. There is power in numbers. Whatever the outcome, your community could grow in solidarity to resist all depredations from abusers of power. So meet, organize and plan in a spirit of love and solidarity. OK?

  2. Deny Dudzik November 4, 2021

    Regarding PG&E contractors; You should see Big Oaks Drive in Yorkville, they’ve been here for two months and have devastated it. We’re calling it No Oaks Drive now.

    • Mark Wilkinson Laszlo November 4, 2021

      So Denny, are you saying there are too many in the PG&E subcontractor army for people who have to work and other necessary activities in their lives to resist them? I don’t want to presume with
      ignorant suggestions.

  3. Mark Wilkinson Laszlo November 4, 2021

    Frank Baumgardener, from my readings i think very few oil industry experts are not investors in them, vested in high prices, so there’s little to learn from them in the interest of consumers, to protect us from gouging, not to mention little things like AGW. Gasoline prices are of course manipulated, not set by supply and demand now. Fossil fuel cos are an entrenched industry that dominates the world economy, like munitions.

    Electric vehicles actually don’t cause less use of fossil fuels, at least not yet. The chargers are powered by the grid that still has many coal-fired and more nuclear electric generating stations
    are planned. To learn about conversions to wind, solar and biofuel electric generation’s true effects, see “Planet of the Humans”, free to view in entirety at youtube. Sorry to tell you, so far, these are nothing but greenwashed scams by billionaires who buy support of leading environmental NGOs. I mean potentially, such power sources can deliver clean energy, but so far they actually do not reduce carbon emissions, but need plenty of oil, coal and clearcut forests to build and operate. They negate their own environmental gains.

    Michael Moore’s associate made this documentary. They stand by it. It has made a major impact already. Don’t fall for democrats like Joe Biden’s smoke and mirrors. They just cook our world a little slower than republicans, bought by the same fossil fuel cos.

    However, there is a home scale wind electric generator that rocks instead of spins that’s safe to birds, like a tall flat, fabric-covered baseball bat. There are various types of “bladeless” wind electric generators. Now to make photovoltaic panels, it takes pure quartz & twice as much coal.
    The service life of big wind power towers and big solar power plants is about ten years, then they are a mess of junk to demolish and bury, with toxic metals in them.

    I daresay, whatever real green power generation looks like, off grid is the only way to go for
    land and house owners and co-ops. If you use the “free” solar systems that keep you tied to the grid, you are nothing but an economic slave, as before. And when the grid goes down, your
    home solar shuts off with it. The big corps and sold out govt give nothing w/o a gotcha!

    Search youtube “pogue fuel vaporizer” “Death of a gas guzzler Louis Aponte film teaser” is a good place to start. Old newspaper articles copied in this video say Charles Nelson Pogue, who worked at a Canadian auto parts factory, invented a device that made an 8 cyl car run at 200MPG in 1936, with no performance or safety compromise. Oil cos suffered a run on their stocks. Oil co bosses went to the factory, “He looked like a scared rabbit”. They bought his silence with a car filter factory.

    Tetraethyl lead was added to gasoline, not only to prevent engine knocks, but to foul Pogue fuel vaporizers. Millions of children got sick from the lead, until Richard Nixon created the EPA, that made oil cos remove the lead ingredient. So, in all these years, oil co’s have not only given Earth a fever, and poisoned our aquifers and farmlands for thousands of years with fracking and pipeline spills, but gouged us all by forcing us to use 10 times as much gasoline as we need, to drive gasoline powered vehicles.

    Gasoline prices are of course manipulated, not set by supply and demand. Fossil fuel cos are an entrenched industry that dominates the world economy, like munitions. I think auto cos did not use the Pogue and make it a standard feature because the same bastards bought controlling interest in them. The govt is bought by campaign contributions, both sides of the aisle. They give billions of dollars in corporate welfare to oil cos. Govt adds taxes to the oil co’s fuel prices, raising them more. Govt depends on that income for revenues.

    However, anyone can pick through youtube’s fuel vaporizer videos to see if some little guy is
    making PFVs to sell, who can install them, if they are compatible with your engine, if you want to invest in them or if you want to quietly start a company to make PFVs. Anyone with the skills and a traditional machine shop (lathe, drill press, metal bender), especially for older engines, or with sintering 3D printers using software to make PFVs compatible to newer engines.

    Earth will cook before the psychopathic churros make PFVs. Their astronomical level of criminality can only exist because it’s so profitable they can buy laws. They are like bug-eyed monsters from outer space that come to enslave the human race and destroy Earth in sci fi. But last i read, Pogue’s patents are long expired and at Canadian and US patent offices, with his blueprints, so anyone can legally make them. There are people who sell the blueprints.

    In the 1980s, i had “Secrets of the 200MPG carburetor” published by Spotlight magazine, with the best fuel efficiency devices oil cos have buried, the very best being Pogue’s, with blueprints of them. I think there are more sources. I thought the bug-eyed monsters would suppress the little guys making them, but at youtube the number of videos on them in various versions have increased. The Pogue vaporizes the gasoline with electric heating coils, but some vaporizers use ultrasound. There are articles about Tom Ogle, who claimed to get 1000MPG with his invention, but Pogue’s vaporizer was tested by experts in 1936 at 200MPG in an 8 cyl Ford car. I think this is a chance for a grassroots, underground tech revolution by little guys, to liberate the people from price gouging and pollution. The big guys are making it possible because they have no reason to do it themselves. I hope so many little guys make, sell & install them, they become easy to find and the movement can never be suppressed. Takes a grassroots movement of the People to overcome the tyranny of capital.

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