cringinghere's blog

PG&E Pipeline Explosion Hushed by Calif. Public Utilities Commish?

One has to wonder why the media in California are not talking about the results of the investigation into the 2010 pipeline explosion that killed 8 people in San Bruno? It would seem like a natural story of a public utility's arrogance and negligence, but somehow few people are aware of the details.

You may recall the disaster that befell San Bruno, California when a 54-year-old pipeline exploded killing eight people and destroying dozens of homes. Afterward the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was charged with investigating the incident and some of its findings are nothing short of shocking. (Download reportHERE)

The report seems to be going unnoticed by many, sadly, but it shows that Pacific Gas & Electric failed in so many areas that it almost seems criminal. Safety was ignored even back in 1956 when the pipeline was first laid.

According to the report, the original welds on the pipeline did not even meet the standards and engineering specifications in 1956.

Apparently, PG&E has a complete breakdown of records keeping, too. According to the report PG&E classified the pipeline that blew up as a "seamless pipe," instead of welded construction. Not only were the records wrong but it wasn't even possible for the pipe to be seamless. Because of the size of the pipe and the age it is impossible for it to have been of seamless construction.

These sort of errors in record keeping appear to be endemic with PG&E and this puts many such facilities at risk not to mention the people that live near them.

PG&E had been fined many millions already before the accident yet none of the problems endemic in its operations had been fixed. Naturally, PG&E has been claiming it needs more money, but even so the company had no problem spending $46 million on the Prop 16 campaign aimed at awarding the company a monopoly for providing California's energy needs.

So, why has this damning report been ignored so much? Why haven't politicians been screaming about this? Why has the media been so silent?

Calif. Utilities Seeking to Pass Costs Onto Customers While Claiming Moral High Ground on Global Warming

The fight against California's ill advised global warming bill AB32 is heating up as the State's utility companies come to the support of the economy killing global warming initiatives. Yet even as these power companies want to claim the moral high ground for supporting AB32 they are also seeking government approval to merely pass all the high costs of compliance right onto its customers.

So, while people are losing their jobs by the thousands, while taxes are going up, and while AB32 is hampering economic recovery, the utilities also want to pass on higher costs to California’s power customers in a stealth global warming tax.

The California Public Utilities Commission has filed Resolution G-3447 that will give utilities permission to hike prices in order to help the companies pay for the high compliance costs of the global warming law.

Here is the text of that resolution:

Resolution G-3447. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) seeks to modify its gas and electric regulatory accounts to recover from its core and noncore gas and electric customers a portion of the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Assembly Bill (AB) 32 Cost of Implementation Fee (AB 32 Fee) paid to CARB.

San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) seeks to revise its regulatory accounts to record the costs associated with the CARB AB 32 Fee and to recover these costs in customer gas transportation and electric commodity rates.

Southern California Edison Company (SCE) seeks to modify its regulatory accounts to record and recover AB 32 Fees paid to CARB.

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) seeks to modify its Core Fixed Cost Account (CFCA) and Noncore Fixed Cost Account (NFCA) to record and recover AB 32 Fees paid to CARB.

Unbelievable. As these companies collude with global warming evangelists to "save the earth" they also make to force customers to pay for their supposedly high moral stance.

AB32 is killing the economy in many ways. This stealth tax is just one of them. This is why opponents of AB32 are trying to pass Proposition 23, a law that will put AB32 on hold until the economy returns to health.

Internet Regulation Would Take a Toll on Pennsylvania’s Economy

-By Dave McClure, President and CEO of the US Internet Industry Association

As Congress adjourns for its August recess, and lawmakers head home to tout accomplishments and missed opportunities, host town halls, and explain their votes to constituents, one issue that cannot go overlooked is oppressive regulation of the Internet – or net neutrality.

It’s an issue that has been a priority at the Federal Communications Commission and has the full support of President Obama. “I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to net neutrality,” he has said.

The problem is, net neutrality would be detrimental to Pennsylvania’s economy, and it would hurt businesses and consumers across the state. Yet many Democrats and the Obama Administration have embraced this policy, and we need your help in setting the record straight.

Communications companies have invested some $30 billion per year over the past five years to build broadband networks across the country. Since 2003, those investments have created 434,000 new jobs nationwide and helped swell Pennsylvania’s high-tech workforce to 216,000 jobs. Over the next five years, similar investment levels in broadband network deployment should yield more than half a million jobs.

That is one large bright spot in an otherwise dismal economic recovery in Pennsylvania, where unemployment is still over 9 percent after 226,000 jobs were shed since President Obama took office. A policy misstep like net neutrality could blot out broadband’s sunny spot on the jobs horizon.

Net neutrality regulations are a set of oppressive rules that would squelch broadband competition and, therefore, investment. Proponents say rules are needed to prevent one provider from discriminating against others’ content. The truth of the matter is that the Federal Communications Commission is already empowered to police such matters and enforce fair play among all. The commission, in these matters at least, has had a lot of free time on its hands since there’s only been one instance that could be construed as discrimination and it was quickly remedied by the FCC.

Case closed. Matter resolved. Existing regulations work. No additional rules, whether they be born of regulation or legislation, are needed.

During the recession, capital spending declined more than 18 percent. At the same time, telephone companies, cable companies and wireless operators investing in broadband infrastructure cut capital spending only 3 percent. This steady investing during the darkest economic period our nation has experienced since the Great Depression sustained hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Broadband also has the potential to create new efficiencies and new economic value, and the jobs that go with such gains. Consider the impact broadband and its applications have on other sectors of the economy, from hotels to manufacturing. As more sectors adopt broadband, the more they must, in turn, increase their own investments in computers, software and other technologies. Those investments also create new jobs. A recent study found that for every percentage point increase in broadband penetration, several hundred thousand more new jobs are produced. Broadband access has been rising by several percentage points per year.

Network neutrality rules would cloud this picture and deter new job growth by stifling the investments broadband providers have been consistently making in laying cable, fiber and DSL lines and making new connections via wireless and satellite-based broadband networks – all the hard work behind expansion of broadband penetration.

Limited government interference will result in maximum broadband investment, the highest number of sustainable jobs and the most new job creation. That’s a huge win for Pennsylvania’s consumers and businesses alike.

David McClure is the president & CEO of the US Internet Industry Association (www.usiia.org), of which the Pennsylvania Telephone Association is a member. David has testified before the Pennsylvania General Assembly on broadband issues. Founded in 1994, USIIA advocates effective public policy for the Internet and provides its members with essential business news, information, support and services.

Jury SNAFU Invalidates Skilled Healthcare Case

Problems with the jury that decided the case against Skilled Healthcare of Foothill Ranch, California has brought requests of a re-trial from the nursing home operator. (See motion for mistrial)

Additionally July's $671 million award to the trial lawyers that brought the case has endangered the existence of the nursing home company. Skilled Healthcare is only worth some $100 million and might have to declare bankruptcy in a vain attempt to satisfy the award. Currently that award is in mediation.

As to the jury, it has been ascertained that on her questionnaire one of the jurors was misleading concerning her familiarity with Skilled Healthcare's facilities. She said she had no knowledge but it appears she actually did. The woman also did not disclose a personal familiarity with someone on the prosecution's team.

These facts are enough to call the impartiality of the jury into doubt says Skilled Healthcare.

Juries are supposed to be free and clear of any previous involvement with either the plaintiff or the defendants in a trial so that their consideration of the evidence at trial is made in an impartial manner but the pre-trial familiarity of this juror to both the plaintiff and defendants calls her impartiality into doubt.

Skilled Helathcare points out that this biased juror could easily have led others on the jury to her preconceived notions. She could have polluted the whole process, says the healthcare company.

The healthcare provider is hoping that the irregularities with the jury is enough to get the case thrown out and a new trial convened.

Kinzinger Tops Polls in 11th District (Good Illinois Pickup)

From the Adam Kinzinger for Congress campaign (11th District)…

Adam Kinzinger is currently holding townhalls across the district and after Wednesday night, he will have held 11, Debbie Halvorson, who voted yes for healthcare, has held zero. This is the first poll conducted on the Congressional Level after the Healthcare vote.

NRCC Memo Adam Kinzinger currently leads on the ballot test 44%-38% over Congresswoman Halvorson, with 16% of voters undecided. Among high interest voters (8-10s), Kinzinger’s lead improves to 49%-35%, with 13% undecided.

On the generic Congressional ballot test, the generic Republican candidate enjoys a ten point advantage in the district (43%-33%, with 21% undecided).

Voters in the district are unhappy with the job President Obama is doing, as 45% approve of the job he is doing, and 52% disapprove. Nearly four in ten voters (38%) strongly disapprove of the job the President is doing.

Congresswoman Halvorson’s image stands at 33% favorable/31% unfavorable. Her challenger, Adam Kinzinger is still relatively unknown, with a name ID of 50% and an image of 19% favorable/5% unfavorable.

Congresswoman Halvorson’s re-elect stands at 31% total re-elect to 44% total new person, with 24% of voters saying they do not know if Halvorson deserves to be re-elected. Such a low reelect score shows that Halvorson is in a precarious position for a first term Member of Congress.

www.electadam.com Results from Public Opinion Strategies:

Key Findings 1. Voters in Illinois’ Eleventh Congressional District are ready to elect a Republican candidate and disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing.

On the generic Congressional ballot test, the generic Republican candidate enjoys a ten point advantage in the district (43%-33%, with 21% undecided).

Voters in the district are unhappy with the job President Obama is doing, as 45% approve of the job he is doing, and 52% disapprove. Nearly four in ten voters (38%) strongly disapprove of the job the President is doing.

2. Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson’s image is polarized and her re-elect score is poor.

Congresswoman Halvorson’s image stands at 33% favorable/31% unfavorable. Her challenger, Adam Kinzinger is still relatively unknown, with a name ID of 50% and an image of 19% fav/5% unfav.

Congresswoman Halvorson’s re-elect stands at 31% total re-elect to 44% total new person, with 24% of voters saying they do not know if Halvorson deserves to be re-elected. Such a low re- elect score shows that Halvorson is in a precarious position for a first term Member of Congress.

Her position further weakens with high interest voters – the 70% of the electorate who describe their vote interest as an eight, nine, or ten on a scale from one to ten. Among these voters, Halvorson’s re-elect score stands at 30% re-elect to 48% new person.

3. Adam Kinzinger leads Congresswoman Halvorson on the Congressional ballot test.

Adam Kinzinger currently leads on the ballot test 44%-38% over Congresswoman Halvorson, with 16% of voters undecided. Among high interest voters (8-10s), Kinzinger’s lead improves to 49%-35%, with 13% undecided.

The Bottom Line Adam Kinzinger is in solid position to win, and Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson is on very shaky ground to be re-elected on Election Day. The political environment is against Halvorson, as voters in the 11th Congressional District prefer a Republican candidate on the generic ballot test and disapprove of the job President Obama is doing.

Halvorson has a polarized image, has an upside down re-elect score, and trails Adam Kinzinger on the Congressional ballot test. Halvorson trails by a larger margin on the re-elect and Congressional ballot among the voters most interested in the election. Adam Kinzinger, with an issue-oriented campaign, can defeat Congresswoman Halvorson on Election Day.

Methodology Public Opinion Strategies conducted a telephone survey among likely voters in Illinois’ 11th Congressional District on March 21-22, 2010. The survey was completed among 400 likely voters and has a margin of error of +4.9% in 95 out of 100 cases.

 

Ban Bags, Get Sick

Most everyone supports a clean environment.  But many environmentalists fail to recognize the need for balance.  One of the latest examples of environmental extremism is the campaign to punish or even ban the use of plastic bags.

Calif. Unions Get More Gov’t Jobs as Everyone Else Loses Theirs

How is it that California’s unemployment rate can be at 11.6% and still soaring yet California’s public employees unions are getting more jobs? How is it that those taxpayers paying the bills are losing jobs by the thousands yet those taking taxpayer dollars are being hired right and left?

On August 4th, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association wondered this same thing noting that “During the 12 months that ended in June, state government added 3,600 jobs in California, a 0.7 percent gain.”

"I don't know how this can happen," said David Kline, a spokesman for the California Taxpayers Association. "A lot of people are having trouble keeping their jobs, paying their bills, and feeding their families. Most taxpayers would be incredulous if they see these numbers."

So, the unions are finding the worst economic crash in decades much to their liking because, while everyone else suffers, the unions are finding thousands of new jobs offered them by a compliant government. High times, indeed.

Governor Schwarzenegger has tried to get a handle on this budget mess by attempting to furlough these union workers in hopes of saving some cash here and there. But Ahnold is soon to depart the scene, so what will happen next will have to await the results of the upcoming elections?

For sure this situation is ripe for a hard charging, tax fighting, growth oriented Republican to come forward and win the next race for California governor.

With that in mind, what is State Insurance Commissioner and Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner up to? Why, he’s signing onto letters that support the greedy efforts of the very unions that are bloating the budget in Sacramento, that’s what.

That’s right, State Controller and Democrat John Chiang drafted a letter back in February that demanded that the Governator stop all that union employee furloughing and saving of money business.

And who signed onto that union supporting letter but State Insurance Commish Poizner?! Poizner, along with all the other Democrats in state wide office were upset that the unions were being expected to feel any of the pain that those lowly taxpayers were feeling.

So much for Poizner being one of those hard charging, tax fighting, growth oriented Republicans that California so badly needs during this crisis.

After The Governator

Californians are soon to begin the process of deciding what Republican they’ll ask the voters to elect to the governor’s office. Apparently Insurance Commish Steve Poizner is claiming his right to that nomination. But what sort of “Republican” is he?

Why don’t we let him tell us?

"I am a frustrated moderate Republican, said Poizner.” “I don’t think either party in Sacramento does a very good job of representing people like me.” The Stanford Daily October 28, 2004

Poizner says, “I am not beholden to any party." That sure sounds like the making of the next Ahnold-Republican, doesn’t it?

Well, here’s the facts: Poizner made a $10,000 contribution to the Democratic National Committee on 10/02/00; $1,000 to John Forbes Kerry on 02/15/01; and a $10,000 donation he made to the '00 Gore/Lieberman Recount Committee. (Gary) Mendoza (former deputy mayor of Los Angeles and candidate for Insurance Commissioner), another self proclaimed moderate, says, “Less than one-one- hundredth of Republican primary voters supported the 2000 Gore-Lieberman recount, as did Steve Poizner, who is really a Democrat.” The Hotline, September 16, 2005, The Daily News of Los Angeles, June 26, 2005

So what is our lesson for the day? That Steve Poizner is not much of a Republican!

Syndicate content