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Sebastopol council urged to ban PG&E’s SmartMeters

By BOB NORBERG

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

More than a dozen people urged the Sebastopol City Council Tuesday to ban SmartMeters, which they contend may be unsafe, even if there are doubts of what jurisdiction the city has.

“We have to figure it out,” said Dennis Machado. “The cavalry isn’t coming. John Wayne isn’t coming. We have to do it ourselves.”

But Vice Mayor Guy Wilson noted that the issue before the council wasn’t whether PG&E’s SmartMeters are good or bad, but what authority the city has and what it would cost in time and money if the city chose to oppose their installation.

“We need to be mindful of what power we have,” said Wilson, who has a Santa Rosa law practice.

SmartMeters are high-tech devices that transmit electric and gas usage data by wireless transmissions.

Mayor Sarah Gurney asked the city attorney to provide a report on the city’s options, potential liability and the costs if the city joined other petitions against PG&E or enacted its own ban or moratorium.

“It would be helpful to us … so we would understand our choices better, the effectiveness of what we want to do,” Gurney said.

So far, PG&E has not challenged any of the cities or counties that have passed ordinances banning the meters, but City Attorney Larry McLaughlin said there is no definitive legal opinion on the validity of such ordinances. “We have looked for a legal opinion and have found none,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin will report back to the council at its Oct. 5 meeting.

SmartMeters have been controversial since PG&E began installing them several months ago, with questions of their accuracy and of the health effects of the radiation emitted by the transmission of data.

The debates have been emotionally heated, with barely controlled anger from many critics who contend PG&E’s lack of credibility on the information it provides.

“We believe PG&E is misleading the public … it is frustrating to try to get information at all,” said Sandi Mauer of the Electromagnetic Field Safety Network.

“We need to pass a ban on SmartMeters, like Fairfax has done, and join the petition to the Public Utilities Commission to devaluate the health impacts that are very serious,” Alan Horn.





12 Responses to “Sebastopol council urged to ban PG&E’s SmartMeters”

  1. Tom says:

    Why stop there. The fine folks of Sebastopol won’t be happy until the earth’s magnetic field is gone and the sun has no UV rays to poison us. Come on. Get a life. And while your at it, get off the grid!!!

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  2. RETEM TRAMS says:

    I am thankful to anyone who takes the time and effort to challenge the mandatory installation of SMART meters for any reason- it is one less battle that I have to fight.
    I do not like or want the SMART meter for reasons other than those who went to the council meeting. If we were given a choice to have them or not, it would be better.
    As things stand now, the people I have spoken to who have them have had rate increases, some quite draumatic. I believe that this is only the beginning of some massive rate increases in store for us, and I think the SMART meters are the instrument to do that. Time of day usage increases will start the SMART ball rolling, and from there it will be all downhill. I question any project that starts with the word “SMART” now, because so far they seem to be anything but smart.(see SMART train).
    No Thanks, my old meter still works just fine.

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  3. Mary says:

    I know none of ban the SmartMeter people are reading this because they don’t believe in electricity and are afraid of machines so, I can tell you this. There are bigger fish to fry in the world of city politics and the city budget than worrying about SmartMeters. They should be worried about getting sun burned from sun rays. I think the phase “get a life” applies here.

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  4. bats555 says:

    I know people are very concerned about the health issues of these meters. But Iam also concerned about the security issues of these meters. Click on these sights, one of them a guy has hacked into the meter and erased the programming. Does not sound that hard to do. PG&E even admits if a problem occurs on less than 1% of their meters it affects aprox. 50,000 customers!

    http://rdist.root.org/2010/02/15/reverse-engineering-a-smart-meter/

    http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-03-27/business/19914351_1_smart-meters-meter-reader-new-meters

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20004645-54.html

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  5. Robert says:

    Let’s do a little math here. There are approximately 8,000 – 10,000 people in Sebastopol. Out of these thousands of people, a grand total of 12 wingnuts showed up to the meeting to protest the Smartmeters. Look folks, I don’t like PG&E any more than the next guy. They truly deserve every bit of dung hurled in their direction. But this Smartmeter-EMF nonsense is not an issue. How about we stay focused on the inportant stuff?

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  6. Mary says:

    The ban SmartMeter people are right. The Sebastopol City Council needs to spend lots and lots of time and tax dollars on stopping this technology and begin to investigate witchcraft and the alien electro magnet waves from the sun and the affect these things are having on city council decision making.

    All of this makes sense given the city’s budget problems. Besides the Leno and Letterman shows needs more funny material.

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  7. Grey Whitmore says:

    Hey Ray M. I hope your kidding. Cause if your not, here is what your giving up:

    water
    traffic lights
    the hospital
    forced air heat
    refrigerated food
    ice
    medicine
    etc., etc.

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  8. bats555 says:

    PG&E should invest their money in inspections and repairs of our gas lines instead of these Smart Meters unless these meters can tell us if there is an explosion coming. As I don’t think they want the blood of another San Bruno on their hands.

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  9. Ray M. says:

    It’s time to ban ALL electrical and radio frequency usage in Sebastopol. Time to make the city a radio and electric free zone.

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  10. M.M. says:

    There might be something to the whole EMF thing, but that would also include cell phones, wi-fi networks, garage door openers, you know, radio waves. Personally I’m glad my smart-meters are installed, now I can build the fence I’ve wanted too, and PG&E won’t have to contact me to read THEIR meter.

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  11. sheryl judge says:

    Tin foil hat anyone?

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  12. Grey Whitmore says:

    “which they contend may be unsafe” (Note the word “may”)

    Add electrical distribution experts to the long list of qualifications for the residents of Sebastopol.

    This includes development experts, traffic experts, building experts, business development experts, etc. etc.

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