• Does this aluminum foil hat make my butt look fat?

    There were some 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! (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. At that meeting, the issue of PG&E Smart Meters was taken up, and they had to continue it until this week.) The hoped-for riot never materialized, but the television station was there beaming high frequency messages at all of us, listening 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 of those tacky butterflies I’ve been making 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 Smart Meters will do, but it seemed pretty obvious that a big issue with the speakers was that PG&E would have the ability to turn off one’s electricity remotely, whether to protect the power grid during 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? He tried to tie the Smart Meters to the San Bruno blast but no one questioned him. Good thing — we’d have been there all night while he made another slide show. Trouble was, those nudniks applauded, which likely will only make the 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 just as Darius was moving in for the grab. 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 one 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!”

    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 (during which they wouldn’t listen to the City Attorney or the City Manager who both cautioned that they didn’t have the jurisdiction and would wind up getting sued) that got us sued by 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: Snarkin' With Marge


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