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Condemn PGE--We Can Do It!!

PGE is one vote away from being condemned by the Portland City Council. Sten and Leonard are both onboard. Call or email Mayor Potter and Sam Adams to let them know that you want them to condemn PGE.
PGE has been playing its coy, covert game of deceiving and ripping off Portland ratepayers long enough. This latest round of revelations on their tax ripoff is just one example of what lengths they are going to. The whole pro-growth, pro-destruction power elites in Portland and Oregon want to keep PGE out of the control of the public because they know that this could spell the downfall of the whole corporate, venture-capital, farmland grab scamming machine. But we are only one city council vote away from the City of Portland condemning PGE and thus putting it into public hands.

Erik Sten has just told me that he and Randy Leonard are both for condemnation, and that they believe they will get a third commissioner for it soon, which means a majority. We can speed the process up before PGE and Enron can play any more crafty games to keep it in their control. Call and email Sam Adams and Mayor Potter today to tell them you want them to join Sten and Leonard in condemning PGE. Their email addresses:

 samadams@ci.portland.or.us

 mayorpotter@ci.portland.or.us

what's happened to our city? 07.Dec.2005 23:38

lokal

when we wanted our highway plan changed and the mt hood freeway fund diverted to light rail. Hardcore activist, along side politicians like Goldschmidt, and middle class portlanders all banded to gether. We founded the neighborhood association coalitions and blocked the existing highways.

what's happened to our city that we can't shut down a simple Utility.

Maybe it's time for the activist community in portland to have a success: let's focus on really shuting this down and bringing it into local control.

Think of it this way': when the shit goes down we do not want a foreign company controlling the power.

Put pressure on the PUC, too 08.Dec.2005 09:13

ratepayer

Sten says that most important at the moment is pressuring the PUC to slow down the rubber stamp of the Enron Stock
redistribution, and that telling Gov K to bear pressure on the PUC will help. This should be a major issue in the Democratic primary, and he should think twice before signing off.

City Condemnation 08.Dec.2005 11:18

Doesn't Buy Anything

The city can only condemn PGE's assets inside the city. That's poles and wires and distribution, but no generation. The new entity would end up having to buy power form, guess who, PGE! The effort has to be regional or not at all.

Those assets are what make its stock marketable, however 08.Dec.2005 21:50

ratepayer

"The city can only condemn PGE's assets inside the city. That's poles and wires and distribution, but no generation. The new entity would end up having to buy power form, guess who, PGE! The effort has to be regional or not at all."

--You have to understand, however, that PGE's management and Enron need those assets within Portland in order to get away with their stock redistribution scheme. Without those assets, and the tax withholdings from ratepayers, the utility isn't worth enough for its stock to be marketable. Thus, the only entity that would want it is the collective of ratepayers, represented by the City of Portland.

The text of my email to the mayor 08.Dec.2005 22:40

leftKoast corporate pigroast

When small groups of privileged people own the spigots of the public resources, we all lose. Whose god appointed these parasites owners of planet earth?
PGE needs to be owned by the people who use its product: all of us.
Why is my PGE electric bill so high, while scum like Kenneth Lay get to escape jail?

After we accomplish condemning PGE. Let's band with other cities in getting somebody like Hugo Chavez installed in the White house.

Yes, the flow of oil in this country should have been nationalized a hundred years ago.

PG & E news from California; Bayview, SMUD, Sierra (SPI) logging 09.Dec.2005 13:23

luna moth

In CA there are also communities struggling against PG&E, one of those communities is Hunter's Point/Bayview in SF, a mostly African-american neighborhood on the less windy eastern side of the SF peninsula that is daily exposed to airborne toxins by PG&E's Bayview power plant. The smog from PG&E's natuiral gas combustion settles in the still air of the eastern slope of the penninsula and nearby Bayview/HP residents frequently experience asthma, breathing difficulties and exhibit high rates of lung cancer. The effluent from PG&E releases a toxic chemical brew directly into the water and the fish are considered too toxic to eat. This environmental racism occurs despite constant community protest and demands to shut down this outdated and polluting plant..

"The PG&E Hunters Power Plant is the largest stationary source of air pollution in Bayview Hunters Point, putting out almost 600 tons of pollutants annually into the air over Southeast San Francisco. According to the USEPA, these emissions include: 321 tons of nitrogen oxides; 164 tons of carbon monoxide; 52 tons of particulate matter; 13 tons of ammonia; 13 tons of volatile organic compounds; and 12 tons of sulfur dioxide.

"We're sick of being sick," said Tessie Ester, President of Huntersview Tenants Association. "If these people breathed the air we do, this plant would have been closed years ago."
"

 http://www.greenaction.org/hunterspoint/pr032305.shtml

The operation of PG&E's Bayview plant does not provide the nearby residents with any power themselves. Most of the electricity produced from the Bayview plant is exported to unknown energy consumers. After a temporary shutdown of the Bayview plant, no net energy loss was recorded on the SF grid. So where is Bayview's energy going??

In Sacramento a local utility provider SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) is being sued by PG&E for not filing an EIR. PG&E claims that the proposal of SMUD annexation of three nearby communities (Woodland, DAvis, West Sacramento) in neighboring Yolo county will require additional utility lines not provided by PG&E. However, SMUD is encouraging solar cells, windmills (including bird friendly vertical windmills) and other forms of renewable energy as an alternative to the outdated nuclear, hydroelectric, and natural gas facilites operated by PG&E at great taxpayer expense. What it comes down to is PG&E is threatened by SMUD's ability to implement renewable electricity instead of depending on outdated nuclear/petroleum facilites..

"PG&E filed a lawsuit Thursday, complaining that SMUD has not studied key environmental issues, including plans to build a substation and 15-to 18-mile, high-voltage line between Elverta and Woodland.

The suit seeks a court order halting annexation and requiring a detailed study - a time-consuming step that would keep SMUD's plan off the Yolo County ballot next year. ...

... SMUD General Counsel Arlen Orchard said the annexation review process complies with state environmental requirements. If and when voters approve the plan, he said, more detailed studies and mitigation plans will be done for specific projects - including the Elverta-Woodland transmission line being considered for a wide corridor that includes wildlife habitat and land near Sacramento International Airport at a cost of $10 million to $12 million."

 http://smud.typepad.com/smud_annexation_updates/2005/11/pge_files_lawsu.html

Under capitalism SMUD has the same potential to become the force of destruction that PG&E currently is due to unregulated consumption primarily by corporations (greatest consumers of electricity, NOT the little old lady heating up some soup on her stove). This is another factor that PG&E omits from their advertisements, most of their energy is in the form of free giveaways to other corporations, enter the ENRON "energy crisis" in CA where consumers were duped by Ken Lay and his golf buddie Arnold the Nazi Actor, who usurped the state capitol from an unaware, blindfolded and gagged Gray Davis in total recall election. Now the Hollywood actor Arnold smiles and reads the scripts provided by the corporations and wealthy financeers. Currently Arnold is the sole individual "deciding" the fate of former gangmember Stanley "Tookie" Williams, a death row inmate and now anti-gang writer who prevents youth from joining gangs via outreach..

 http://savetookie.org/

Another factor to consider is that a great deal of energy consumption by corporations and government is wasteful and unneccesary. We don't need 24 hour lighting at McDonalds or(substitute other sprawl corporations here), and the streetlights of suburbia's sprawl are a form of light pollution. The only spotlight we need is the one that educates people on the wastefulness and ecological destruction caused by multinational corporations like McDonalds..

 http://www.mcspotlight.org/

Exposure to ambient nighttime lighting isn't good for humans either, lack of nighttime darkness can increase sleep disorders, agitation and other physical/mental reactions. This lighting all requires an input of energy that is coming at great cost to the environment and human ecosystem health from exposure to various pollution and ecosystem distrubances..

Here's a group in Tuscon working to reduce light pollution so we can all see the stars once again (and save energy tambien);

International Dark-Sky Association

"To preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through quality outdoor lighting."

 http://www.darksky.org/

In Lassen Volcanic foothills, PG&E is leasing land out to Sierra Pacific Industries for clearcut logging operations, as if SPI didn't rob enough timber from the public trust..

SPI facts from endgame;

"Facts
Largest private landowner in North America, with 1.3 million acres.
Owns 28 percent of the 4.57 million acres of timber industry land in California.
Largest purchaser of public timber in California.
Ranked 192 on the Forbes 500 list of private corporations in the U.S.
SPI chairman Red Emmerson is ranked 161 on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans (based on an estimated worth of $1.1 billion).
Funded timber industry campaign against Forests Forever initiative in California.
Helped create the Sierra Accord and Quincy Library Groups."

 http://www.endgame.org/spi.html

PG&E says they will not remove any of the outdated dams on the Feather River despite evidence that salmon migrations are negatively effected by the presence of outdated and sometimes dangerous dams. One example is the earthen OROville Dam just a few miles upriver from downtown Oroville. There was recent seismic activity (74) in Oroville and there are several tensoin faults nearby. The reason the dam remains standing is the dependency of Central Valley agribusiness on large amounts of water for irrigation and export style plantation corporate farming. Small time conventional (nearly extinct) and organic farmers usually can manage to irrigate with less water and use ground/well water, though depletion of the groundwater table is an issue from inefficient irrigation methods..

Other options are available, though it will take community organization initiatives to pressure these changes to sustainability to take place. Community organic gardens like in Cuba's huertos intensivos can deliver needed nutritionally diverse food available with less demand on resources. Solar, wind and other renewable forms of energy can provide humans (not corporations) with needed electricity without destruction of the ecosystem..

"Organic Agriculture Can Feed the World
GM WATCH daily
Nov. 4, 2005
 http://www.gmwatch.org
---
EXCERPTS: If GMOs cannot feed the children in the country that is the world's third largest producer of GMO crops, how will they feed the rest of the world?

It costs tens of millions of dollars and takes many years to develop one genetically modified plant variety.

Organic agriculture is the quickest, most efficient, cost effective and fairest way to feed the world.

Organic Agriculture Can Feed the World

Leu, Andre F.

Chairman, Organic Federation of Australia

Abstract

Proponents of industrial agriculture state that synthetic biocides, soluble fertilisers and genetic engineering are necessary to feed the worlds growing population. Several authorities further state organic agriculture is not capable of this task.

This paper looks at numerous and diverse data sets from around the world, showing that given the right conditions, organic agriculture can deliver sustainable high yields. Organic agriculture programs initiated by several organisations have substantially increased yields for many third world communities. This has been done with very low input and infrastructure costs to these communities and has substantially increased their standard of living. Data from the advanced agricultural economies of North America, Australia and Europe show that best practice organics can deliver equal and to significantly better yields than current conventional agricultural practices."

 http://www.organicconsumers.org/organic/110705.cfm

Though some claim that conversion to organic agriculture will result in lower yield, this ignores the fact that global famine and malnutrition is primarily caused by problems with food distribution, not availablity. Plantation monoculture cash crop export ties up land and people who cannot grow traditional subsistence food crops. Waste of food in western nations also indicates a food surplus but inadequate distribution, primarily caused by economic inequality..

Vertical axis windmills can harness to nearly constant valley/estuary wind from any direction without needing to be turned like horizontal axis windmills. Their longer vertical blades also make them bird friendly..

"Wind Power to the People!

by Christopher Paddon

Hipfish

August 2005

But what about birds? New designs have reduced the hazards to birds to zero percent. The old-style, (propeller type) horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT's) of the 1980s did cause bird deaths: two hundredths of one percent (1/5500) as many as buildings and windows and one tenth of one percent (1/1000) as many as cats, fourteen hundredths of one percent (1/700) as many as cars. (Erickson et al, 2002, Summary of Anthropogenic Causes of Bird Mortality) However, new designs now minimize, and even prevent birds colliding with the rotors. The newer, more efficient propeller-style turbines rotate much more slowly--and visibly--without reducing the amount of power they produce. Vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT's), such as those now being produced by TMA, Inc. of Wyoming, stand upright and spin much like the old-fashioned barbershop poles. There are even designs that rotate parallel to the ground in an open-and-close "Pac Man" fashion. One such turbine design, by Encore Clean Energy of Vancouver, BC, sits in a river with a set of collapsing rotors both above and below the water. The rotors above the water harness the wind, while those below simultaneously harness the water current. By rotating in opposite directions, the dual rotors double the amount of power generated."

 http://www.postcarbon.org/lifeboat/page31.html

Let Portland take the lead. 10.Dec.2005 10:07

Man on the street

Yes we need to take back what Enron stole from us. It was politicains and the Public Utilities Commission that sold us down the river for the priice of a campgain donation. If we were the first to take the lead others would gain the strength to follow!

Mr. Potters reply: not progressive enough for me. 15.Dec.2005 09:04

S

I wrote Mayor Potter about this issue and here is his reply:


Thank you for your suggestion to acquire Portland General Electric (PGE) by eminent domain.

As you can imagine, we were terribly disappointed by Enron's decision to terminate Portland's bid to purchase Portland General Electric. I continue to believe that the acquisition of PGE by the City is in the best interest of Oregon ratepayers. Our offer would have provided Oregon ratepayers with savings of at least $100 million annually. That's $100 million that would have strengthened our local economy, provided local businesses with long-term, stable rates and given ratepayers the lowest rates possible.

We are not finished protecting the rights of Oregon ratepayers. City Council has authorized staff to gather information and determine whether to regulate PGE's rates within Portland. The City of Portland, as all cities in Oregon, has the legal authority to establish rates within its boundaries. At this point I do not know if this is feasible or whether other cities may have an interest in exploring the possibility, but I think it would be irresponsible not to ask the right questions about it.

I appreciate your suggestion that the City exercise its right to condemn PGE and acquire it by eminent domain. That certainly is an option, but one that I do not support at this time.

Sincerely,

Tom Potter
Mayor