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February 12, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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February 12, 2014
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 78 COMMUNITY PE1K.SPE q:;T IVE Take OacR ()ur power and wise up zo "smart' meters My partner and I moved to Plumas County last summer from the coastal mountains. She and I love it here, and are grateful for the beauty and the people who have become our community. I work full time from home as a technology writer and researcher, and we support our local economy by shopping in the area. We save time and gas, and if it costs a little more, then that's the price of a healthy local economy. In other words, we're the type of people the Rec & Tech campaign is trying to draw to Plumas County. NOW Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative is threatening to disconnect our electricity. We have paid every penny of power we use on time, and in full. So what's going on? Nearly four years ago, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. tried to install a "smart" meter on our home. After an investigation, I realized there were serious problems with the technology. I started StopSmartMeters.Org in June 2010 to inform others about this threat to our health, privacy and safety. The public remains overwhelmingly supportive of our ongoing campaign, with more than 57 cities, counties and tribes throughout California having spoken out against the "smart grid." More than a dozen have even outlawed the devices. One reason is privacy. Intimate, private details of WHERE I STAND JOSH HART DIRECTOR STOPSMARTMETERS.ORG what goes on in your home are made available by the "smart" meter to the utility and to whomever they choose to pass (or sell) this data. Furthermore, hundreds of fires and electrical faults have led to property and appliance damage -- even loss of life. The meters are cheaply manufactured in China and Mexico and are not UL certified.Radiation from "smart" meters is hurting us, whether we can feel it or not. In May 2011 the World Health Organization classified wireless microwave radiation -- used for cell and cordless phones, Wi-Fi, cell towers, baby monitors and "smart" meters -- a Class 2B possible carcinogen. This is the same category as DDT and lead. People are developing brain tumors on the same side of the head they use their cellphones. "Smart" meters can expose people to 160 times the cumulative radiation of a cellphone. Meanwhile, the FCC -- which has a responsibility to set safe levels for human exposure -- has been asleep at the regulatory wheel, allowing cellphones to be marketed to kids and Wi-Fi to be rolled out in elementary schools, even as European countries ban cellphone sales to children and remove Wi-Fi from their libraries. FCC guidelines recognize that it is not good for your health if you are heated like a hot dog in a microwave oven. Ignored are the thousands of peer-reviewed studies identifying nonthermal effects of microwaves -- including cancer, DNA damage, breaches of the blood-brain barrier, ADHD, headaches, tinnitus, insomnia, heart palpitations and other ailments. PG&E and PSREC's "smart" meters both emit sharp bursts of microwave radiation every few seconds, 24/7 (Liberty Energy generally uses safer analog meters). PG&E admitted their meters emit up to 190,000 signals per day. PSREC's Itron meters emit constantly, even though the signal is only picked up by the meter reader once a month, wasting energy and unnecessarily exposing residents. I've measured radiation levels of 20.5 microwatts per square centimeter from one of their meters in the Mohawk Valley, a level found to damage DNA and affect memory and learning. These levels are so high they would be illegal in China, Poland, Russia and Switzerland. Yet there is no warning to keep your distance. Such a warning would have helped me in 2011. After measuring radiation from a bank of 80 PG&E "smart" meters at a complex in Berkeley, I began to get powerful stabs of pain in my temples often followed by waves of nausea, when near someone using a cellphone. When my doctor later diagnosed me with electro-hyper-sensitivity, I learned that I had been injured by "smart" meter radiation in the same way a sunburn from solar radiation makes you ultra-sensitive to sunlight the next day. Yet this "sunburn" has persisted -- and it's increasingly difficult to find places without wireless, as people are clamoring for cellphone coverage everywhere -- even in the backcountry wilderness. For those affected, it can be a nightmare you don't wake up from. And it's often made worse by those who ridicule the injury as a "psychiatric problem" (Ws not). Before we decided to move to Plumas, I called PSREC to explain my situation, and was assured there'd be no problem getting an analog meter, I never agreed to any fees, nor was I asked to. We moved to the Mohawk Valley in August last year and PSREC installed an analog meter right away. They asked for a letter from my doctor regarding my diagnosis, which I provided. California Utility Code section 453(b) states that "no public utility shall.., require different rates or deposit amounts from a person because of... medical condition." Thus, I expected that my doctor's letter would negate any charges related to the analog. The PSREC board met in September, and decided to charge $141.60 for an analog meter (available online for $14) and $15/month to pay the meter reader to walk from his truck to our meter. We offered to self-read our analog and phone in the readings, but our offer was refused, though dozens -- possibly hundreds -- of PSREC customers continue to be billed this way at no extra charge. Yet for me, with a documented medical condition, they demand that we pay or they will disconnect our electricity -- even in the middle of winter. This is not fair, rea.sonable, or legal. Like PG&E's "opt out" fee in dispute at the California Public Utilities Commission, and which thousands are refusing to pay, PSREC's charges are a kind of extortion. They accuse us of forcing our neighbors to "subsidize" us with the added costs of meter reading, but cutting our power would cost the cooperative hundreds of dollars a year in lost revenue. Is the cost of reading our meter really the problem, or is it that they don't like us informing the community about their hazardous equipment? We should have a free choice about what kinds of technologies we prefer to use in our own homes. I personally choose not to use any wireless -- and that is my choice. The "smart" meter crosses a line and violates our property and constitutional rights. No one should have to pay for the "privilege" of avoiding headaches and nausea -- or even exposure to a Class 2B carcinogen-- in their own home. I encourage the Plumas County community to learn more about this issue at our website: StopSmartMeters.Org. Watch the documentary "Take Back Your Power," available on DVD at the Quincy, Portola and Greenville libraries, and at the Graeagle Outpost (also through our Website). There are alternatives to toxic wireless technology. Wired technology provides a safer, faster, more secure connection. In a world increasingly saturated with "electro-smog," some of us get sick and show symptoms sooner than others. I happen to be one of the early ones, like the canary sent down the coal mine. PSREC, a local energy cooperative, created in the not-too-distant past by and to serve local people, must remember the importance of health and safety even when -- especially when -- it's inconvenient. Josh Hart is a resident o Plumas CounW and is director of Stop Smart Meters! For more irormation, go to the website at StopSmartMeters.Org, erp.aH josh@stopsmartmeters.org or write to POB 682, Portola, CA 96122. LETTERS to the EDIT()IK Guidelines for Letters All letters must contain an address and a phone number. We publish only one letter per week per person and only one letter per person per month regarding the same subject. We do not publish third-party, anonymous, or open letters. Letters must be limited to a maximum of 300 words. The editor will cut any letter in excess of 300 words. The deadline is Friday at 3p.m. (Deadlines may change due to holidays.) Letters may be taken to any of Feather Publishing's offices, sent via fax to 283-3952, or e-mailed to dmcdonald@plumasnews.com. Officials need to step up California's economy is recovering. Its booms and busts have historically been more extreme than America's. It is piling on jobs and emerging from the huge debt overhang left by the housing collapse of 2007-08. A strong bounceback is normal for California. At its post-recession peak in October 2010, California joblessness was 12.4 percent, only behind Nevada and Michigan. Now, we are fifth at 8.5 percent and 1.6 million people in California are looking for jobs. Many areas still face double-digit unemployment and continuing foreclosures. Parts of California, like Plumas County, are being left behind. The poverty rate in Portola and other areas is over 50 percent. California's poverty rate of 24 percent is the highest in the nation. As Governor Brown states, "Jobs is a very abstract term -- easy to demand, hard to create." Plumas County has the assets to attract jobs, but like California has failed to create an environment to sustain and develop businesses. Governor Brown unveiled a budget with a surplus 2013-14 forecast at $4.2 billion. In his state-of-the-state speech, he spoke of California's comeback. It is time for Jon Kennedy, as chair of the Board of Supervisors, and Mayor Phil Oels to perform. Our elected officials need to back up their campaign statements The City Council and the BOS have failed to support performance management that gives hope for our economic recovery. The recent closure of the Bank of America is a perfect example of their policy. Our elected officials wrote letters protesting its closure. They took no action to correct their mistakes. For a decade council and BOS have established their goals and policies rather than implement those of their general plans. The new city manager will likely play it safe and not disturb the status quo. The future of Plumas County depends upon our economic recovery. Larry F. Douglas Portola State of Jefferson Why hasn't Plumas County joined the other north state counties in the attempt to form the state of Jefferson? It may only, in fact, be a statement, but... Why not? What would be wrong with the state of Jefferson? After all, it was Thomas Jefferson himself who said, "...most bad government results from too much government." And it seems like that's what we currently have. Tom Nolte Cromberg Let's start walking It is about time hikers in Plumas/Sierra counties had a hiking meet-up group. W e live in a hiking paradise. It would be nice to get acquainted with other hikers and maybe motivated others to start walking. It makes you feel good, it helps you sleep better and it keeps you in shaPe. You can backpack from one end of Plumas County to the other on the Pacific Crest Trail, then take a public transit bus home. It is around 100 miles from the Lakes Basin to Chester. You'll see parts of our county you have never seen before. For muscle mainteaance, "Walk and Talks." Establish times to meet at trailheads or favorite walks for people who want to walk with, or meet, other walkers. If you need motivation that's the way to get started walking. Our bodies were not designed for sedentary lifestyles. Patricia Wormington Sierra Valley A moving speech Another important and moving oration was a far less known but beautifully executed speech by Robert Kennedy at Indianapolis, Ind., on the day of MartIn Luther King's assassination. On his way to a scheduled campaign speech In a largely African American community in that city, he found out about King's assassination and scrapped his prepared speech. He was strongly urged by his auto companions not to enter the city, but he ignored them and very quietly jotted down some ideas in the car. Approaching the city, he and his retinue were stopped by policemen. The police were afraid that they would not be able to protect him, given the circumstances. Nonetheless, Kennnedy insisted on getting through and making his speech. The police declined an invitation to come along and there was no evidence of a uniform during his speech. Many African Americans came to cause death and destruction, but by the time Kennedy had delivered his moving speech of love, unification, forgiveness and a hope for a better America for both African Americans and whites with the assurance that it was only a very small group of whites who were responsible for such hatred, the anger in the crowd died away. Throughout the speech, I did not see him look at any notes. His fixed attention was on the mass of people before him as he spoke with obvious emotion in his voice. One of the most poignant moments of his speech was when he said he knew how the angry crowd felt because he lost a member of his own family by a killer. After that comment, he paused for a moment and then said, "and he was a white man." It was said that at the end of his speech, you could hear a pin drop. People quietly went home. The rest of the nation, unfortunately, did not hear Kennedy' s speech and many cities were trashed by angry mobs. By the way, three cheers for Cheerios! Salvatore Catalano Taylorsville Check Out Our PLUMASNEWS.COM Supportthe local economy and Investin Plumas County! Prosperity vs. confiscation It's not right Vice President Biden spoke ......... The.GOP.Teaparty is to the dire need for upgrading our national infrastructure using the example of the deteriorating condition of La Guardia airport as "third world." Capital can come from a couple of sources, confiscation or surpluses due to prosperity. In the former, reducing the amount of producing assets to upgrade airports roads and bridges seems to be a downward spiral, i.e., cutting your nose offto spite your face. As to the latter, expanding existing producing assets, jobs and the benefits they create in the form of taxes available for public projects, seems to be a more logical solution. In either case, government has no money until it takes it from someone. Promoting prosperity over confiscation of future generations' livelihoods seems more palatable to me. Brian Luce Portola focused with one major concern. Winning both houses of Congress and the presidency in order to simply accomplish one goal: Lower taxes on those who are not only well off, btit quite rich. And for the super rich who mostly make their money by disregarding our environment, and paying their employees as little as possible with as few benefits and safety measures as possible, they want no regulations. So, a group called Americans for Prosperity, operated by the infamous Koch brothers, has been spending millions in state after state. Cut food stamps. Do not raise minimum wage and continue to trash the Affordable Care Act. Cut taxes for the rich and do away with all sorts of regulations. They make it sound so right. Wrong! Tom Slavik Mohawk Vista - :::::::==:::: i1 I i|111 ilul i Contact your elected officials... PLUMAS COUNTY SUPERVISORS - 520 Main Street, Room 309, Quincy, CA 95971; (530) 283-6170; FAX: (530) 283-6288; E-Mail: pcbs@countyofplumas.com. Individual supervisors can also be e-mailed from links on the county website, countyofplumas.com PRESIDENT - Barack Obama, the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20500. (202) 456-1414. Fax: 202-456-2461. E-mail: whitetiouse.gov/contact / U.S. SENATOR - Dianne Feinstein (D), 331 Hart Senate Office Bldg.. Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3841; FAX: 202-228-3954; TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501. District Office: One Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco, CA 94104; Phone: (415) 393-0707; Fax: (415) 393-0710 Website: feinstein.senate.gov. U.S. SENATOR - Barbara Boxer (D). District Office: 501 1 St., Suite 7-600, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 448-2787; FAX (916) 448-2563; OR 112 Hart Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3553. FAX (202) 228-0454. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 1ST DIST. - Doug LaMalfa. 506 Cannon HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515. (202) 225-3076. lamalfa.house.gov. DISTRICT OFFICES: 1453 Downer St., Suite #A, Oroville, CA 95965; 2885 Chum Creek R., Suite #C, Redding, CA 96002. STATE SENATOR, 1st DIST. - Ted Gaines. State Capitol, Room 3070, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 651-4001, FAX: (916) 324-2680. El Dorado Hills Constituent Service Center. 4359 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 112 E1 Dorado Hills, CA 95762. (916) 933-7213, FAX (916) 933-7234; Redding Constituent Service Center. 1670 Market St., Suite 244, Redding, CA 96001, (530) 225-3142, FAX (530) 225-3143. STATE ASSEMBLYMAN, 1ST DIST. - Brian Dahle, State Capitol, Room 2174, Sacramento, CA 94249, (916) 319-2003; FAX (916) 319-2103. District Office, 2080 Hemsted Dr., Ste. #110, Redding, CA 96002; (530) 223-6300, FAX (530) 223-6737. GOVERNOR Jerry Brown, office of the Governor, Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814. Website: gov.ca.gov/ (916) 445-2841. FAX: (916) 558-3160. State