Community choice should be allowed
I thank the paper for the excellent coverage of the action by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to fund a feasibility study on a startup of a community choice energy program for the county.
As noted, in addition to providing another option besides our monopoly utility for clean energy at competitive rates, the benefits of such a program include local jobs and business opportunities in building and installing local renewable energy resources. And, of course, in a community-controlled program we can choose cleaner energy sources.
But this option will be available to us only if we can defeat the bill currently in the state senate, AB 2145, which would change current law to make startup of community choice energy programs impossible. To keep our options open, we have to tell our state senators to vote no on AB 2145.
Bill afoot that would hurt power options
I was heartened to see that Alameda County is moving forward with community choice energy ("Alameda County: Startup Energy Agency Could Power East Bay Cities," June 6).
Meanwhile, a statewide bill is afoot -- AB 2145 -- that would destroy the ability of Alameda and all other California counties and cities to offer their residents cleaner, greener, cheaper electricity.
Alameda County residents who want a choice other than PG&E should call their state senator today and tell him/her to vote no on AB 2145, the utility power grab of 2014.
Real story is the car mayor was issued
I just read the front-page article about Mayor Jean Quan's fender-bender and possible cellphone involvement.
Perhaps the real story here is that the mayor has been issued a Lexus. This seems to be an extravagant expense in a city with so many financial obligations. How many other city officials are issued luxury vehicles on the taxpayer's dime? Incredible. Where is the city auditor and common sense?
Stop the spending on climate change
While I'm all for reducing toxic emissions, the EPA-proposed more stringent control on emission of nontoxic carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants will do little to reduce global warming but will definitely increase the cost of electricity and kill jobs. It would certainly not make us more energy independent. Moreover, besides providing electric power, coal is used to make numerous byproducts such as plastics.
The popular position is that global warming is mostly caused by human activity (additional carbon dioxide emissions), but the reality and nonpoliticized science indicate that the human contribution is no more than 5 percent, the remaining 95 percent derived from natural sources. (Currently, this position is supported by more than 31,000 scientists.)
But the cause of climate change aside, history and current science suggest that a modest increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be much more of a benefit than a detriment.
As an environmental scientist, I suggest that we stop spending time and money (that we don't have, given our nearly $18 trillion debt) on climate change and use our limited resources on more important issues such as the economy, terrorism, infrastructure, education, health, securing our borders, reducing our debt, and, yes, energy independence.
Albany is wrong to displace its people
Don't be fooled by the lack of loincloths: Displacement is forced migration whether it affects indigenous rain forest dwellers or urban homeless. To wit: The Albany Bulb was created in 1963 when the Santa Fe Raiload dynamited Fleming Point and signed a contract with the city of Albany to deem it a disposal ground for debris.
The city of Albany is missing a grand opportunity to improve a unique haven for an established community.
Why wasn't the shortsighted Band-Aid handout -- ever tried to relocate on $3,000? -- used to improve the Bulb with, say, plumbing for a communal shower? Don't forget that the current tax revenue generated from Golden Gate Fields is $1.7 million.
The Bulb as a homeless haven improves our community as a whole. Berkeley and Albany should renew the eroded claim that they are socially progressive. Remember, Albany was founded in 1908, when a group of local armed women protested the dumping of Berkeley garbage in their community, then called Ocean View. Refuse is in Albany's blood.
Let's appropriately rename it "Wastopolis" and finally take Emma Lazarus' poem literally:
"Give me ... the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me ..."