• Does this aluminum foil hat make me look fat?

    There were three very brave people at the City Council meeting last night — three representatives from PG&E. Not only were they in a serious minority, but they dared to sit with their backs to the crowd.
    And there was only one police officer present! (Guess we should point out that that’s all there usually is, but the local Fox affiliate was freaked when three officers showed up for crowd control at the previous meeting, the one held last week. At that meeting, the issue of PG&E Smart Meters was taken up, and they had to continue the meeting until this week. The hoped-for riot never materialized, but the television station was there beaming high frequency messages at all of us, hoping for a sound byte but only getting an interview with Cdr. John, also known as Det. Laid Back
    So last night everyone donned their aluminum foil hats and took their seats after the pledge of allegiance, those who could find a seat. It was not TRO, but SRO in the council chambers, with a long line for public comment when Smart Meters came up on the agenda.Me, I had my usual press box seat next to Kevin, who was reading a John Forsyth novel called “the afghan.” I was reminded that I should have brought my crochet work to make some more butterflies for the tourists, but it was too late.
    “They’re ruining my lungs!” “I’ll get brain cancer!” “My children! And my ability to have more!” “Save the butterflies!” Truth is, nobody knows for sure what these things will do, but it seemed pretty obvious that the main issue was that PG&E would have the ability to turn off one’s electricity remotely, whether to protect the power grid in peak use times or for non-payment of the bill. Anyone who has let their power bill float until the 24-hour notice arrives in the mail knows what that’s all about.
    No one rioted or tried to storm the councilmembers, but Dilbert did have a slide show and why was I not surprised? Trouble was, these nudniks applauded him, which likely will only make the slide show longer next time. Obviously they haven’t had to sit through 20 or so of these things as I have.
    Now, I have to admit that there was one little old lady who wouldn’t sit down and eat her mushrooms, but kept hopping up and down and shouting “Arrest me! Arrest me!” Maybe she had a crush on Det Laid Back. She finally got hoarse and gave up. There was another in the front row who, having been squelched by the buzzer after her allotted three minutes, kept waving signs at the dais. She gave up when Bill said, “Ma’am, I can’t read your writing.”
    Besides the health issues. the question of allowing Smart Meters to be installed when only the babysitter was home also became a question of personal power, or the lack thereof. “Don’t tell me I gotta keep up with the times, especially when these things are waving micros around.” “Never mind how long I talk on my cell phone every day, these things are dangerous!”
    It took three iterations and three separate votes, but the council finally voted not to do much. No ban, no moratorium, no strong message to Congress. Nope, after the debacle with the Citizen’s Retirement Initiative (which was actually an initiative about public employee retirement, not citizens) that got us embroiled in a lawsuit with the police department, the council decided they didn’t have the jurisdiction and voted to have staff do some more research.
    Meanwhile, deep in the dark woods of Rip Van Winkle Open Space, there lurks a hairless coyote who got too close to the cell phone tower out by the butterfly sanctuary. Maybe he will come testify April 6 when the item comes up again.
    As for the city council, they took a break and I took a hike.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on March 10, 2011

    Topics: Marge Ann Jameson


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