Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
May 03rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Where to Turn?

news_smartThe question arises for protestors as SmartMeters are installed in Santa Cruz County

Some 90 million SmartMeters are already in use around the world, with more on their way. Santa Cruz County, one of the last places in PG&E’s service area to receive the automated metering technology, had become something of a SmartMeter safe haven.

But although Santa Cruz County imposed a SmartMeter moratorium last June, recent events have gotten locals wondering just how effective that dissenting effort will be in the fight to keep SmartMeters at bay.

 

On Friday, June 1, two protesters associated with local group StopSmartMeters! were arrested for blocking Wellington (sub contractors of PG&E) trucks from leaving a private business yard to execute what they believed was a planned outing to install SmartMeters; violating the county-wide ordinance.

“We were calling the sheriff to have them come and enforce the law and protect the public,” says Heidi Rose, one of those arrested. “Instead they arrested us, enabling PG&E’s illegal installations to proceed.” It has also been noted by protesters that Wellington installers have put blank, white metallic signs over the logos on both doors of their trucks to remain inconspicuous.

Deputy April Skalland, spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Department, says the arrests were made because the protesters interfered with PG&E business. “Everyone is allowed to peacefully protest, but with their presence at the PG&E station, one of the workers did not feel comfortable leaving,” says Skalland. “The sheriff’s department was called and made sure the worker made it safely to his vehicle. When the protesters blocked off his truck by lying on the ground they were detained for interfering with a business and blocking a sidewalk.”

news_smart2Skalland also notes that with the Sheriff’s Department already short staffed, SmartMeter issues are a very low priority, adding that the department would prefer if the public would submit its complaints regarding SmartMeters online. “The sheriff’s department is here to keep the peace and enforce laws—we do not want anyone from either side of the issue being hurt,” Skalland says.

Protestors say that law enforcement’s reactions leave them wondering who will uphold the decision to ban the meters. PG&E answers to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), not to local governments, and the moratoriums and ordinances around Santa Cruz County are mostly symbolic. Cities are tiptoeing lightly over the issue because of the huge cost to defend it. Last month, the Capitola City Council, which had passed a moratorium last year, voted not to enforce it. The City of Watsonville enacted a moratorium last August, but City Clerk Beatriz Flores says it was meant to be symbolic and no action has been taken to enforce it.

Andrew Kotch, a CPUC information officer, says customers have few options. “PG&E is offering customers the opportunity to be put on a list to delay the installation if they call in,” he says. “But PG&E will be installing the SmartMeters eventually, regardless.”

According to Kotch, CPUC has proceedings for an opt-out plan that PG&E submitted in March. However, the time for proceedings to reach a conclusion can extend to a year or more. It is possible that people who are not interested in having a SmartMeter will have one by the time they are given the option to opt-out.

Chief among the concerns about SmartMeters are potential health problems.

“I entered my house feeling wonderful after just finishing a workout, and all of a sudden I was hit with a very high-pitched frequency ringing in my ears,” says Tammie Donnelly, who has been living in Aptos since 1976. “My hands started to hurt; I was getting heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea, and dizziness. At that point, I didn’t realize that we had received a SmartMeter for the house.”

Donnelly says her symptoms were alleviated when she left her home, but returned when she came back. She did some investigating and found a newly installed SmartMeter on her home. After numerous calls to PG&E she eventually got it removed and continued on with her advocacy of stopping SmartMeters. She has spent 10 to 20 unpaid hours a week for the past two years working with the StopSmartMeters campaign.

“I’m hoping to make history here,” Donnelly says. “I wouldn’t spend all this time on this if I didn’t think we had a chance to make a difference here.”

Protestors from other counties where SmartMeters have been present for a year or longer have reported even worse health problems as a result. “Initially I had no idea my symptoms were being caused by the SmartMeter,” says Winifred (who preferred not to give a last name) of San Mateo County, adding that those health complications left her bedridden for more than a year. Winifred’s symptoms included “weakness, shaking, shriveling of ears, flaking off of skin, insomnia, sunburn without sun exposure, complete cessation of urination, kidney pains, constipation,” and more. “I couldn’t take it anymore and started living in my car,” she says. Winifred says her health has improved since relocating to her car, but that it has severely disturbed the normal patterns her life used to follow.

From PG&E’s perspective, these stories are likely just inevitable outliers. The “customer stories” link on the PG&E website depicts many people who are very excited about their SmartMeters. PG&E Spokesperson Jeff Smith asserts that, “We get positive feedback from many of our customers who are excited about the new technology and being able to access their energy usage through their our new system.”

StopSmartMeters! protestors continue to protest at the corner of 38th Avenue and Portola Drive. Campaign director Joshua Hart reports that the group has received thousands of emails of support, and that their website, stopsmartmeters.org, gets 1,000 hits a day.

Comments (4)Add Comment
...
written by Yonah Goldstein, July 31, 2011
On friday when my landlord who lives upstairs was out, a smart meter was installed and a notice saying so was left on his door. I had been talking with him about opting out but he is in his 80's and had not decided to do so yet.
No doubt they have been installled on the whole street.
Wghat options do we now have?
...
written by Artist Pacific Grove, July 13, 2011
I applaud these dedicated folks for standing up and being counted. After this country sprays us,puts us at war, sells out our jobs to China and seems to have no regard for our health it truly is time for protest. Lets come out of our closets and get to work. Thank you for your protest.
...
written by Steve Adams, July 13, 2011
Since when does "being excited about technology" become a reason to promote suffering of any kind?
...
written by RobertWilliams, July 13, 2011
SMART METERS LINKED TO CANCER.

Utility Companies based previous safety claims on World Health Organization (WHO).

But May 31 2011, WHO says Wireless Smart Meter radiation is linked to CANCER (possible Class 2-B human carcinogen – same as Lead, DDT, etc), and so it likely also damages bodies & brains (including children’s) in many additional ways sooner than cancer.

Doesn’t this automatically end the mandatory installation of Wireless smart meters in Civilized Nations?

1. WIRELESS SMART METERS – 100 TIMES MORE RADIATION THAN CELL PHONES.
Video Interview: Nuclear Scientist, Daniel Hirsch, (5 minutes).
http://stopsmartmeters.org/2011/04/20/daniel-hirsch-on-ccsts-fuzzy-math/

2. WIRELESS SMART METERS – CANCER, NERVOUS SYSTEM DAMAGE, ADVERSE REPRODUCTION AFFECTS.
Video Interview: Dr. Carpenter, New York Public Health Department, Dean of Public Health, (2 minutes).
http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=3946

3. THE KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE IN STOCKHOLM (the University that gives the Nobel Prizes) ISSUES GLOBAL HEALTH WARNING AGAINST WIRELESS SMART METERS.
2-page Press Release:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/48148346/Karolinska-Institute-Press-Release

4. Best 4-minute smart meter Video ever
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8JNFr_j6kdI

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Mountain Mystic

When Cora Evans died in Boulder Creek in 1957, her thousands of pages of religious writings hadn’t yet been published. More than a half a century later, Evans’ fiery visions and spiritual devotion have inspired a crusade within Catholicism to make her the Santa Cruz Mountains’ first saint

 

Wesak (Water) Taurus Solar Festival, Buddha Blesses the Earth

A most important celebration occurs Sunday, May 3—the Wesak Taurus Buddha Solar Festival/full moon. At the moment of the full moon the Buddha’s presence enters the Earth plane for eight minutes. He brings the Will-to-Good from the Father, which, when reaching humanity becomes goodwill (Mother Principle). Held yearly in a valley hidden deep within the Himalayas, the Wesak festival is prepared for for months in advance (beginning at Winter Solstice). On festival day, amidst pilgrims, disciples and Holy Ones gathered in the valley, the Buddha is invoked through movement, symbols and mantrams. At the moment of the full moon, hearing the words, “We are ready, Buddha, come,” the Lord of Illumination (brother of the Christ) appears in the clouds above the altar to emanate forth the will and purpose of God to earth. The blessing of the father is then held in safekeeping for distribution at the June full moon Goodwill Festival. The day of Wesak (May 3, 8:42 p.m. West Coast) all disciples (east and west) place crystal vessels filled with pure water outside (in gardens, on rooftops, porches and steps) under the heavens. As the Buddha blesses the world, all waters, including waters within our bodies, are blessed. The Buddha is accompanied by the Forces of Enlightenment to illuminate humanity’s minds. Humanity then begins to express new constructive, productive and beneficial ways of the Art of Livingness. Wesak covers five days—two days (before) of dedicated preparation, the actual festival “Day of Safeguarding,” and two days (after) distributing goodwill (the NGWS to humanity). Join us in the Valley by reciting the Great Invocation, mantra of direction for humanity.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of May 1

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Hole in the Wall

Popular Aptos spot opens for dinner

 

How do you connect with the natural world?

My connection to the natural world is through my art. I totally feel it there very physically in nature and even right here on the street. Jonathan Rosen, Felton, Pastor

 

Hess Collection Winery

My friend Emma from London came to visit for a few days in early March, so I took her wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains—a rare treat for her, as there aren’t too many vineyards in the middle of London. Her visit reminded me how fortunate we are to live in this paradise of ultra-fresh produce, with grapes growing in wild profusion.

 

Springtime Walkabout

May Day Flower Festival, free tours of the UCSC Farm, and a nondairy chocolate indulgence