Home > Earthquake, Humboldt Bay Power Plant > Radiation update from PG&E

Radiation update from PG&E

[Below is a letter to the Community Advisory Board of the Humboldt Bay Power Plant from PG&E]

Dear CAB Members:

In light of the concerns expressed about the situation in Japan and the potential risk to California, there have been several inquiries about the monitoring capability at Humboldt Bay Power Plant. We want to let you know that we do have both the ability to monitor for excess radiation and a highly trained radiation protection team at the site. There are two different types of sensors to detect external radiation at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant, air samplers and thermoluminescent dosimeters, located both onsite and offsite. We are fully utilizing our plant staff and facilities to closely monitor and look for any increase in radioactivity due to the events in Japan.

We are coordinating with the California Department of Public Health and local agencies to provide them with information obtained from the sensors to be made available to the public.

We have two Certified Health Physicists on staff who are industry experts on radiation health impacts. We also have several radiological professional technologists at the site who are specially trained and certified to measure, monitor and control radiation. We have the ability to collect various types of radiological samples and we have a state of the art analytical lab on site capable of measuring radioactivity at extremely low levels.We have not measured any increased levels of radiation above normal background.

Please email me or Paul Roller (PJR2@pge.com) if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Alison Talbott
Government Relations
Pacific Gas & Electric Company
2555 Myrtle Avenue
Eureka, CA 95501
Office (707) 445-5623

  1. Outsider
    March 21, 2011 at 1:37 pm | #1

    Thats all well and good, but I don’t fully trust or believe any huge corporations word.

  2. Greg Gehr
    March 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm | #2

    I would prefer it if PG&E just directly posted their data on the internet, for local agencies as well as individuals to access directly. There is NO REASON to filter the data through local governmental agencies before releasing it to the general public, is there?

  3. skippy
    March 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm | #3

    “We are coordinating with the (CDPH) and local agencies to provide them with information obtained from the sensors to be made available to the public.”

    That was a very discerning read and astute observation, Mr. Gehr, thank you.

    Yours truly also read the most important information contained in the last few lines: “We have not measured any increased levels of radiation above normal background.”/i>

  4. Decline To State
    March 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm | #4

    PG&E reassuring me that they are monitoring the radiation flow?

    Where’s my damned iodine pills?

  5. March 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm | #5

    Greg wrote, “There is NO REASON to filter the data through local governmental agencies before releasing it to the general public, is there?.

    Some might think so, but my guess would be a lot of people might not understand the raw data and see something like background radiation figures and panic thinking it’s evidence of contamination.

  6. Eric Kirk
    March 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm | #6

    Weren’t they supposed to have removed their crap by now?

  7. walt
    March 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm | #7

    Do they have an emergency power supply that is tsunami-proof?

  8. E Percy
    March 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm | #8

    Don’t think they need cooling with dry cask storage.

  9. olmanriver
    March 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm | #9

    I don’t know if this list of American nuclear plants is up to date, but it states that locally there are http://www.animatedsoftware.com/environm/no_nukes/nukelist1.htm#CA“>32 tons of High-Level Radioactive Waste onsite to be disposed of.

  10. March 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm | #10

    They don’t. It’s not a problem. Worry about Japan, not the stuff at Buhne Pt.

  11. Not A Native
    March 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm | #11

    Only be a problem when the earthquake breaks the casks and the tsunami spreads the radiation. Of course, that can’t happen.

  12. Solar Bozo
    March 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm | #12

    Folks, the CAB is not just PG&E and government organizations. There are 6-8 folks from the community, including myself and two others who have been long-time energy activists.

  13. tra
    March 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm | #13

    Weren’t they supposed to have removed their crap by now?

    Well, back when they were building these plants, the idea was that long before the plants had to close, we’d have figured out what to do with the high-level radiocative waste.

    Of course, that hasn’t happened. Not surprisingly, nobody wants that high-level waste dump in their backyard. So the “crap” hasn’t been removed, because there’s nowhere to send it. (Another reason, among many, that building new nuke plants is such a bad idea.)

    But if I’m recalling correctly, the high-level waste created by the long-defunct Humboldt nuke plant has been (or is being) moved to “dry cask” storage on-site. That’s probably where it’s going to stay for a long, long time.

  14. Anonymous
    March 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm | #14

    The radiation in Eureka has doubled over last week’s levels. It’s not at a dangerous level, but still odd.

  15. Mitch
    March 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm | #15

    Worth reading, though I don’t have a clue where I stand on this issue:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/21/pro-nuclear-japan-fukushima

  16. Down the Road
    March 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm | #16

    PG&E entered property I own today, after I had denied
    them entrance several days ago and installed 8 meters
    outside one of my apartments. My tenant went outside
    and told them the owner did not want Smart Meters.
    They told the tenant I did not have a choice as
    I the owner did not pay the utility bills for gas
    or electric. Now my tenant has 8 meters outside
    their door. PGE told me today, too bad, Humboldt
    County and their restrictions have no bearing on them. The PUC has mandated an opt out program.
    Too bad, it is not in effect yet. To hell with you
    PG&E. We will be reading the easement you have
    with this area. I am ready for a class action law
    suit.

  17. tra
    March 21, 2011 at 6:57 pm | #17

    Mitch,

    The essence of Monbiot’s argument is contained in these two sentences in the last paragraph of his column:

    Yes, I would prefer to see the entire sector shut down, if there were harmless alternatives. But there are no ideal solutions.

    This argument is nonsensical at it’s core. He’s saying that since no alternatives are 100% harmless and “ideal,” and some (like fossil fuels) may even be more harmful than nuclear power, therefore we should ignore the fact that nuclear power itself is clearly more harmful and less ideal than many of the other alternatives (like solar, wind, conservation, etc.). In other words, as long as nothing is completely harmless, we should keep supporting harmful things even when less-harmful things are available. That’s just idiotic.

    Also idiotic is his Pollyannaish take on how harmless the Fukushima disaster supposedly has been. The quarter-million people evacuated from the area, and the hundreds of workers exposed to high levels of radiation might quibble with that, as might those whose crops are contaminated and those who can’t eat the local food and drink the local water — and it’s not even over with yet.

    Hopefully Japan will dodge the bullet, and the worst-case scenario will be averted. But even if everything goes as well as it possibly can from this point forward, it will have been a very near miss at a very serious catastrophe. To look at a near miss like that and conclude that the logical response is to worry less in the future, because we got lucky this time…again, that’s just idiotic.

  18. tra
    March 21, 2011 at 6:59 pm | #18

    It’s as if someone pulls the trigger in a game of Russian Roulette, and when the gun doesn’t go off the first time, they smugly conclude that despite what the naysayers say, it’s obviously safe to go on playing Russian Roulette all day. And of course that’s rational because some of the alternatives, like playing “chicken” at 60 mph on the highway, may be just as bad as Russian Roulette…and even if you just play a variety of card games, you might get a paper cut, so “no alternatives are ideal.”

  19. walt
    March 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm | #19

    If, when they built these things, they argued “We’ll figure out some way to safely get rid of the waste: trust us!”, couldn’t the nuclear sceptics now argue “Let’s just close ‘em all down, we’ll figure out some way to run our hair dryers and microwaves.”? What if we started work on planning for, say, 1KW hr per household per day, and after that the meter stops. If fossil fuels are a finite commodity, might it not be a good idea to at least talk about it?

  20. tra
    March 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm | #20

    The hidden assumption is that we must continue to produce more and more energy, so that we can

    (1) continue and increase our energy-intensive lifestyles, and

    (2) accomodate an ever-increasing population.

    If you accept (1) and (2) as givens, then you can plausibly argue that just reducing fossil fuel use, and putting more resources into conservation, solar, wind, and other alternative sources won’t be enough to get the job done, so we’ll “have to” roll the dice with the nuclear option.

    Unfortunately, many people unthinkingly accept (1) and (2) as inevitable, desirable, or both, which is what allows the apologists for the nuclear industry to get away with claiming that new nukes are “needed” as “part of the mix.”

  21. Mitch
    March 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm | #21

    tra and Walt,

    The Chinese have every right to insist that their standard of living improve to Western levels. That will involve an enormous increase in electricity usage.

    In the west, the plans for reducing fossil fuel usage in transportation rely on electric cars, which will use an enormous amount of electricity.

    1 kWh per household per day is a lovely idea, the sort of idea people on the left are very good at coming up with. Unfortunately, people on the left have shown little ability at getting such plans legislated, and offer little reason to believe they’ll suddenly turn successful. Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think there’s the slightest chance of such a plan passing Congress until well after Ralph Nader wins the Presidency, and that won’t happen until hell freezes over. I wish it were otherwise.

    As I said, I have no idea where I stand on nuclear. What I do know is that the debate makes little sense until people have a firm grasp of the number of casualties per kWh that each energy source entails. The fact that there may be five, or five hundred, or even five thousand deaths as a result of Fukushima Daichi does not mean that a kWh of nuclear power causes more human casualties than a kWh from coal, oil, or whatever. With nuclear, yuppies share the risks. With coal, it’s mostly miners who die.

    The best anti-nuclear arguments, I think, are the waste issue and the arms diversion issue.

    In the meantime, conservation, solar, wind, and biotech will all contribute, and should all be subsidized heavily. Serious subsidies for conservation would be miracle enough.

  22. tra
    March 21, 2011 at 8:33 pm | #22

    The Chinese have every right to insist that their standard of living improve to Western levels

    Or maybe meet somewhere in the middle?

  23. tra
    March 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm | #23

    By the way, I think a lot of Americans could “improve our standard of living” while consuming a lot less energy.

  24. Mr. Nice
    March 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm | #24

    But if I’m recalling correctly, the high-level waste created by the long-defunct Humboldt nuke plant has been (or is being) moved to “dry cask” storage on-site. That’s probably where it’s going to stay for a long, long time.

    Dry casks are designed to not to degrade for a 20 year minimum unless some kinna severe acid rain or an earthquake breaks them faster. 20 years seems short to me. My roofing is supposed to last 50 years and shit but their nuclear casks won’t make it. Hope PG&E sprung for the replacement warranty on that shit.

  25. Not A Native
    March 21, 2011 at 9:13 pm | #25

    Mitch, I agree with your points about realism, and the future need for more electricity to power cars.

    Only 30% of electricity is now being used by residences. Nuclear plants supply 20% of electricity. If households reduced consumption by 2/3, that would reduce demand by the amount of nuclear power generated now. Thats a lot less reduction than Walt suggested, down to about 10kWH a day. So much for the math. I don’t have magic answers to make that happen.

    Most conservation programs in place now have been shown to not decrease total usage, in the long run. Apparently, people act to keep their energy costs stable. If they get a low consumption appliance, they feel more free to acquire additional energy consuming devices. Political will is strengthened when people see improvement in their personal lives. The ease that higher energy consumption often brings is a part of improvement.

    Price increases might do the trick, thats what the economists say and its how the European Union has lower residential energy use. But the burden of energy price increases doesn’t fall equally. And thats a bigger issue in the US, creating another political will problem: Accepting the unaffordability of things that others have and therefore constitute a ‘decent’ life.

  26. tra
    March 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm | #26

    What I do know is that the debate makes little sense until people have a firm grasp of the number of casualties per kWh that each energy source entails

    A casualty comparison? Good luck with that.

    Remember, with nukes some of the events you’re going to have to account for are relatively infrequent but potentially highly catastrophic. I’m sure there were few if any casualties directly attributable to the Chernobyl plant until it exploded and melted down. Even then, it is often repeated that “only” 30 workers died from radiation sickness. But there have also been studies showing many thousands of excess cancers, many deaths from cancer and other radiation-related diseases in the nearby region and in areas that were farther away, but downwind.

    How should we count those longer-term casualties? Should we count them the same as those who were killed or injured right away (I would), or should we pro-rate them at some % of a “real” death or injury if they become sick and/or die 5 or 10 years later?

    Or perhaps we should just look right past them, as the nuclear industry does, and much of the media does when they refer to “the Chernobyl disaster, which killed 30 workers” as if that was the extent of it.

    In the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, more than a half a million people had to be evacuated and “resettled” elsewhere (for many of them, the land they were forced to leave behind is still uninhabitable today due to radiation, more than 20 years after the accident was “over”). Are those people “casualties” or not?

    And then there’s the rather tricky question of predicting how many casualties will happen sometime in the future, as a result of the radioactive waste legacy we’ll leave behind for the next x,000 generations to keep an eye on (I’m sure they’ll appreciate that).

    So, all you have to do is predict the liklihood of highly unpredictable events including natural disasters and how they may interact with design flaws, faulty engineering, equipment failure and operator error.

    Oh, and to address the waste problem, you’ll also have to make more predictions about unpredictable events, predictions that will be accurate for 1,000s of years into the future (assuming we give a crap about future generations…and I admit maybe I’m assuming too much there). And above all, you’ll have to entirely banish the phrase “unforseen events” from your consciousness.

    So, pop out your slide-rule and get to work, it shouldn’t be all that hard!

  27. High Finance
    March 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm | #27

    Nobody gets out of life alive.

    I am sick of people using Chernobyl as a reason to oppose nuclear power. Russia was no better than a third world country and it happened twenty four years ago. Technology is much better today.

    Then think of all the people who have died for real because of the pursuit of oil, of gas and of coal. Think of all the people that have died because they didn’t have energy.

    More people died in car accidents in the US last month than have died in the entire world, in its entire history because of nuclear power accidents. And yet we are supposed to reduce our standard of living because of maybes and what ifs ?

  28. Random Guy
    March 21, 2011 at 9:53 pm | #28

    musician friend of the family, very healthy early 40′s with no family history of crazy health whatsoever, was stuck in the rain for only a few hours about 2,000 miles from chernobyl during peak crisis. Sixteen years later, still in perfect health, crazy tumors suddenly started growing within his shoulders and he died within months.

  29. Mitch
    March 21, 2011 at 9:53 pm | #29

    tra,

    That’s just the nuclear side. Then you have to predict what the impact of having or not having a certain amount of nuclear power will be on carbon emissions and therefore on climate change, which might severely reduce the size of x,000 future generations. I didn’t mean to imply it’s an easy or reliable calculation, but it doesn’t help to point out only the problems with one side when there might be even more on the other.

    Like you and most people I know, if there were a magic wand that would transition humanity to a glorious sustainable future, I’d wave it. Failing that, I’m probably against nuclear power due to the waste issue. But this is one area in which I have no confidence in my opinion, or at least a lot less confidence than I had 30 years ago.

  30. Random Guy
    March 21, 2011 at 9:56 pm | #30

    …and don’t forget, Humboldt Hill neighborhood is one of the top 3 cancer hot spots in all of california…just downwind and level with the power plant’s smokestacks…hmmm….

    …and I dont’ expect anybody to believe me (show me links or shut up!) but that fact was easy to look up until sometime wtihin the last 8 years or so. There were a few sites that posted stats and demographics of that nature, down to the neighborhood. Try to find a single one now.

  31. Mitch
    March 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm | #31

    From Wikipedia’s entry on black lung:

    “There are currently about 42,000 underground coal miners actively working in the United States. The mining and production of coal is a major part of the economy in several developed countries. In the past ten years, over 10,000 American miners have died from CWP. Although this disease is preventable, many miners are still developing advanced and severe cases.”

  32. Mitch
    March 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | #32

    tra,

    I agree with you that a lot of Americans could improve our standard of living while reducing energy use. But I don’t think that’s possible for the Chinese or for any other developing nation.

  33. Mr. Nice
    March 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | #33

    Technology is much better today.

    Retrofitted 1970s technology is not good today. Difference is the reason why folks do what they are doing has changed.

    Chernobyl made bomb-grade material with energy on the side. Nobody even thought about fail-safe technology. Was about being sort of safe and making warheads for some ICBMs. Most countries don’t disguise nuclear bomb factories as reactors these days besides Iran, North Korea, and the other ones we don’t know about yet.

  34. tra
    March 21, 2011 at 10:21 pm | #34

    Apparently some folks are buying into the assumption that the new nuclear plants they’re proposing for the U.S. and worldwide will “replace” fossil fuel use.

    But with our current trajectory of ever-increasing population, and continuing or increasing high per-capita energy use, we’re really talking about simply adding more nuclear power use on top of more fossil fuel use, not replacing one with the other. If that sounds a lot like the staus quo, just Biggered, that’s because… it is.

  35. Random Guy
    March 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm | #35

    “In the past ten years, over 10,000 American miners have died from CWP.”

    !!! I don’t even know what to say.

  36. tra
    March 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm | #36

    I agree with you that a lot of Americans could improve our standard of living while reducing energy use. But I don’t think that’s possible for the Chinese or for any other developing nation.

    That’s why I suggested that we all “meet in the middle” somewhere. If we in the most energy-inefficient, highly-consumptive societies can reduce oour waste and over-consumption, even as those who are energy-poor today increase their consumption without becoming too wasteful, I think we could all live comfortably without crashing the ecology of the planet. Again, though, that assumes a population that does not expand endlessly.

  37. tra
    March 21, 2011 at 10:41 pm | #37

    …but it doesn’t help to point out only the problems with one side when there might be even more on the other.

    I didn’t mean to imply that there weren’t lots of impacts on the other side, or that those impacts aren’t difficult to figure out too. I just wanted to make sure the tally on the nuclear side wasn’t being limited to those who died of acute radiation sickness (the “Chernobyl only killed 30 people” myth) and that trying to tally up the likely “casualties” for nuclear power over some stretch of time, requires a level of foresight and certainty about the liklihood of highly unpredictable events that is, in my opinion, probably beyond our capacity as humans to try to calculate. The risk may be, literally, “incalculable” The same thing may be true of the overall effects of fossil fuels, which leaves us in a tough spot.

    I’m probably against nuclear power due to the waste issue

    And you’d be justified in opposing it on those grounds alone. The national debt is bad enough, but the nuclear legacy is an even bigger imposition on our children, their children and so on down the line for a few thousand generations (if we lasted that long).

  38. Random Guy
    March 21, 2011 at 10:46 pm | #38

    It’s pretty fascinating that within situations like this, legitimate divides can so easily be manufactured and manifest in people’s minds about do’s and don’ts (don’t’s? dont’ses?)…

    The “do eat .0001 micrograms of cyanide daily” side has some legitimate points, ya know. You can’t discount their side of the argument, that wouldn’t be fair. We must reach a compromise with the “do eat .0001 micrograms of cyanide daily” side vs. the “don’t eat any cyanide at all, ever” side. Maybe the FDA should suggest everybody eat .00005 grams of cyanide.

  39. tra
    March 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm | #39

    And yet we are supposed to reduce our standard of living because of maybes and what ifs

    Here’s another idea: Let’s endlessly increase our energy consumption and population size, and all the resource use and pollution production that creates, and just hope for the best, relying on “maybes and what-ifs.” Oh, wait, we’re already doing that.

  40. walt
    March 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm | #40

    Why is our “standard of living” sacred, something we need to defend to the death, something other folks, like the
    Chinese have a “right” to expect? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness didn’t include two SUVs, ipods and MTV. I’m not saying lets all freeze in the dark tomorrow, I’m just saying someday it’s gonna run out, lets start planning for what we’ll do then. How much juice does a man really need?

  41. 06em
    March 22, 2011 at 6:29 am | #41

    Hey, Random Guy, I’ve never seen such specific info regarding where there is cancer risk in Humboldt. Where does your Humboldt Hill info come from?

  42. March 22, 2011 at 7:32 am | #42

    “How much juice does a man really need?”

    $6,000 a month’s worth for a grow house… right?

    And until you condemn that all your philosophizing and trying to put regular people down is stupid and offensive.

    Rhetoric – sounds so good when it rolls off the tongue, but it means nothing in practice around here, especially when it comes to POT. Hold everyone else to the letter of the law – even set up numerous predatory litigious groups to use every nuance of the word ‘is’ to try to force people to bend to your will, but when it comes to pot – ignore every blatant and fragrant violation of every law in every instance… from workers’ rights to diesel spills to energy use – don’t preach morality about energy use as long as you are tolerating this

  43. Eric Kirk
    March 22, 2011 at 7:44 am | #43

    There you have it. If people stopped growing marijuana, we wouldn’t need nuclear power!

  44. Mitch
    March 22, 2011 at 7:46 am | #44

    walt,

    You ask a great question at 11:40. You’re almost certainly correct that we use too much electricity, just as ethicist Peter Singer is almost certainly correct that the only acceptable thing to do with our salaries is to donate the vast majority of them to famine relief and development aid.

    Peter Singer actually walks his talk, which is probably the best way of actually bringing about the change he desires.

    Short of bringing about a police state run by Platonic Guardians it’s not clear that there’s any other effective approach, and Platonic Guardians have a nasty tendency to transmute in the real world into Stalins and Kim Il Sungs.

    On this blog or Eric Kirk’s, tra pointed out that sometimes the things we consider inevitable are not inevitable at all, and by calling them inevitable we simply create self-fulfilling prophecies.

    OK. But sometimes it’s a complete waste of time to devote emotional and physical effort to changing things that are a result of human nature; it can be more productive to work on the tiny changes at the margins that might actually happen. That requires one first admit to a certain level of narcissistic fantasy in one’s larger plans, and that’s not easy for young people.

    On the other hand, that narcissistic fantasy probably contributes to keeping the world from getting even worse, so fantasize on.

  45. High Finance
    March 22, 2011 at 7:54 am | #45

    Where did Random Guy get it O6em ?

    He made it up like all his charges. Or he quoted somebody else who made it up.

  46. What if?
    March 22, 2011 at 9:01 am | #46

    Hey, HiFi.

    What if a very technologically advanced country had a bunch of nuclear power plants, and what if there were a huge earthquake, like 8.9, followed by a devastating tsunami?

    What if some of the nuclear power plants were damaged and could not be repaired before the poisonous fuel melted down and was released into a densely populated area?

    Hey, but that’s just a big MAYBE, isn’t it? Someone must have made it up, because your tiny, closed mind can’t accept it as reality.

  47. tra
    March 22, 2011 at 9:23 am | #47

    This morning, some bad news from the Fukushima plant, thankfully followed soon after by some good news.

    The bad news: Water in one of the spent fuel pools was close to boiling as of this morning. Meanwhile more smoke was rising from two of the crippled reactors, source unknown.

    The good news: They were able to dump 18 tons of seawater into the near-boiling spent fuel pool, cooling it to 105F, a much safer situation. And they finally got outside power reconnected to all 6 plants, an important step towards (hopefully) getting the original cooling systems back online, which would be hugely important in re-establishing real control over the situation and averting, on a more lasting basis, the danger of full-scale meltdowns in the reactors, and overheating / fire / radiation releases from the spent fuel pools.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/03/22/134758568/live-blog-tuesdays-news-on-the-crisis-in-japan

  48. The Sun
    March 22, 2011 at 9:52 am | #48

    Here I am, just waiting, watching the inhabitants of the Bozo Planet crapping in their nest and making a huge mess with fossil fuels and radioactive waste.

    Here I am, just waiting for some bright people to start using the massive amounts of energy I send you every single day.

    Here I am, as your greed and apathy make you turn you back on the gift I bestow.

  49. Mitch
    March 22, 2011 at 10:02 am | #49

    Dear Sun,

    You’ll be pleased to know that many inhabitants of the Bozo Planet are making enormous strides in using your energy. The Chinese, for example. And Europe, until this year.

    It’s just that some countries are now owned by people who don’t care about fouling their own nests — they pretend to love their children and think they are God’s favorites, but the proof is in the fouling.

  50. March 22, 2011 at 10:20 am | #50

    Solar power is a great idea. Why don’t you bounce it off me?

  51. Random Guy
    March 22, 2011 at 10:47 am | #51

    I’m absolutely NOT a liar, in any way shape or form, High Finance. That only tells me of your capability…career troll. Keep this blog’s ratings going, champ!

  52. Random Guy
    March 22, 2011 at 10:50 am | #52

    My guess is the reason there are no more sites monitoring point-per-point statistics like is because such statistics aren’t being released to the public anymore.

    PG&E says they have numbers, they aren’t telling us the numbers.

    The US government says they have the numbers, they aren’t telling us the numbers.

    You can’t find the numbers or the statistics anymore, and if you’re in any way associated with the industry, you can’t spread the word.

  53. Random Guy
    March 22, 2011 at 10:53 am | #53

    Put up or shut up, High Finance…PG&E seeds clouds out in the siskiyou’s. No environmental permits or regulatino required. Find the information.

  54. Random Guy
    March 22, 2011 at 10:54 am | #54

    …I’ll give you a week or so, I’ve got the info bookmarked.

  55. Random Guy
    March 22, 2011 at 11:04 am | #55

    Hey, this post and one more and I’ll own the update band @ right. “show me links or shut up” is what I’m saying, High Finance. Do you post at the Mirror?

  56. Random Guy
    March 22, 2011 at 11:05 am | #56

    This post completes proper domination. First time I’ve seen anybody do it on this blog. I’m out of here.

  57. taxed
    March 22, 2011 at 11:19 am | #57

    I have noticed that certain information can vanish when you get to nosing around. When some subjects get hot someone seems to have the juice to make the info disappear.

  58. What if?
    March 22, 2011 at 11:21 am | #58

    R Guy, is right – “You can’t find the numbers or the statistics anymore, and if you’re in any way associated with the industry, you can’t spread the word.”

    What if someone found the information and spread it around via the internet? Would that be treason?

    R Guy, when you get in the ring with a heavy weight buffoon like HiFi, stay cool and dig deeper for your metaphors. (proper domination?)

    Hi Buffoon has been beat many times on this blog. What if that realization sinks into his mind? It will be a first step toward his learning to think.

  59. Mitch
    March 22, 2011 at 11:46 am | #59

    What if? asked:

    What if someone found the information and spread it around via the internet? Would that be treason?

    Only if some bureaucrat stamped “SECRET” on it to avoid embarrassment.

  60. Teacher
    March 22, 2011 at 11:48 am | #60

    i find it interesting that the same site that overwhelmingly supports the local dope growing scene, is appalled with PG&E and the way we produce energy in the us. stop talking out of both sides of your mouths. reduce consumption. if that means indoor dope growing (a stupid idea when you live in a rainforest as we do) has to stop, that’s what we need to do. let’s cut our energy usage as a county and say no to PG&E. let’s stop providing energy to grow dope, heat houses in the summer, warm pools, and all that other crap. what do you say humboldt, are you with me? who cares if we stop make money. money is bullshit anyways right. we don’t need the new lrg clothes or that new toyato tundra. we can farm, fish, and hunt our own food. we can use the power of the people. we can do it!

  61. High Finance
    March 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm | #61

    What If? 9.01am. What if Martians landed on earth and blew us all up ? What if our fairy God Mother gave us the secret to provide unlimited & cheap solar power that will replace everything ? What if Random Guy grew a brain ?

    What If a bus hit you when you leave your house tomorrow morning ? But you cannot live your life never leaving your house. You can be paralysed into total inaction by fear of “what ifs” Mouse.

  62. High Finance
    March 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm | #62

    “Teacher”. Please tell me you don’t teach kids anymore ! “who cares if we stop make money” (sic)Money is “bullshit”?

    If you’re a teacher then our society is doomed.

  63. Anonymoose
    March 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm | #63

    Some of us hayseeds been usin that there solar stuff fer decades. Works gooood. Costs a bit up front, but no bills ‘cept every decade or so I gots to swap out my batteries. Pure sine wave sh*t man no hum in the stereo or on the laptop. Evergreen panels and Outback Power inverter, all American made baby. Go Green.

  64. What if?
    March 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm | #64

    HiFi, says:

    “What if Martians landed on earth and blew us all up ? What if our fairy God Mother gave us the secret to provide unlimited & cheap solar power that will replace everything ?”

    This is the best he can offer? So much for intelligent debate.

    I actually thought, a few days ago, that the ditto heads might understand on a simplistic level what is unfolding in Japan — it might take them a few months to forget about that event and start calling for more nukes. HiFi has shown us the speed of stupidity.

    As the world watches the nukes in Japan with great apprehension, HiFi likens the probability of nuclear disaster to invasion by Martians!

    He likens solar energy to a “secret from our fairy God Mother”. He’s attempting to equate our ability to use solar energy with fantasy. Another Rush technique, clumsily employed by the Fi.

    Don’t get out much, do you HF? Don’t read or research either. Pity.

  65. Mitch
    March 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm | #65

    Anonymoose,

    American-made Evergreen Panels! Congratulations! Unfortunately, Evergreen just shut down operations in Massachusetts cause they can’t compete with the Chinese. They opened a factory in China last year.

  66. Mr. Nice
    March 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm | #66

    You’ll be pleased to know that many inhabitants of the Bozo Planet are making enormous strides in using your energy. The Chinese, for example.

    cause they can’t compete with the Chinese

    Bullshit dude.

    Fuck Chinese, amorphorus, polluting as hell solar tech.

    Alright so when you get panels, you have three basic types on the market which is mono, polycrystalline, and amorphous. Crystalline means you got a grown crystal with a repeating pattern and amorphous means it is fused up in a random cheap ass pattern. Mono crystal s one crystal for the whole panel and therefore pimp shit whereas poly is more than one crystal but still way better than cheap ass amorphous.

    Amorphous shit has its place for temporary shit. Issue is when you make amorphous silicon the reaction produces this SiCl4. True, SiCl4 can be purified, heated, and made into all kinds of good shit like high-grade SiO2, but Chinese just fucking dump it.

    In a normal, bloodthirsty, capitalist situation, SiCl4 is recycled into plastics and fiber optics and shit. Communist ass China fronts massive subsidies to produce amorphous solar bullshit panels but nothing to recycling the by-products, encouraging dumping.

    So, if you buy Chinese solar panels or bullshit ETFs backing Chinese solar panels, you are buying into not only Chinese companies dumping subsidies but also the fact that you will have to replace your bootsie ass Chinese shit in a few years with real-deal, American-made crystal silicon.

  67. Mitch
    March 22, 2011 at 8:55 pm | #67

    Mr. Nice, it’s a nice theory, but the plain fact is Evergreen shut down in the US and opened in China. You can talk about why the Chinese have lower cost production all you want — Evergreen still had to shut down in Mass and open in China.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2011%2F01%2F15%2Fbusiness%2Fenergy-environment%2F15solar.html&ei=Gm-JTa21IoWmsQPqm9iODA&usg=AFQjCNFbllkrZHJ4tvf_R7crgXHgPzYdOg&sig2=c0lYPlp0L79m-oRyGy2Mzw

    Incidentally, before they did that, they lost something like 20% of the company to Lehman Brothers because of “special, clever” financing — Lehman Brothers had borrowed shares from Evergreen and their good faith and credit was backed by a different branch of Lehman Brothers that went bankrupt the day before their branch. It threw the company for a loop and I still can’t quite believe what happened passed as legal, even under our legal system.

    http://www.boston.com/business/ticker/2008/10/evergreen_solar_20.html

    That’s what the US is good at these days, “special, clever” financing; China these days is good at supporting solar.

  68. Mitch
    March 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm | #68

    Sigh. My previous response disappeared, probably due to links.

    Fact is, Mr. Nice, you’re wrong at least as far as Evergreen is concerned. Look it up yourself, Google “evergreen solar china”.

    Incidentally, two years before giving up on its subsidized high-tech Massachusetts plant, Evergreen had something like 20% of the company stolen out from under it by Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. It’s a long story and frankly I still don’t understand it, but just google “evergreen solar lehman brothers” to see just how fucked up American finance has become.

  69. tra
    March 22, 2011 at 9:16 pm | #69

    Maybe if we weren’t pouring hundreds of billions in taxpayer subsidies down a radioactive rathole, we could afford to subsidize the production and installation of solar and wind systems, and also harvesting the “low-hanging fuit” of conservation and energy efficiency?

    Too bad both political parties keep shoveling public money to the nuclear industry, while alternatives get a measly pittance in comparison. Amazingly, both parties continue that approach despite the fact that something like 75% of the public supports putting more money into renewables and conservation.

  70. Plain Jane
    March 22, 2011 at 9:35 pm | #70

    Maybe if the nuclear industry wasn’t pouring tens of millions of those taxpayer subsidies into political campaigns, we wouldn’t be pouring all those billions into nuclear energy.

  71. Anonymous
    March 22, 2011 at 9:38 pm | #71

    32 tons of radioactive waste still at the Humboldt nuke plant? I’m moving.

  72. crayfish lover
    March 22, 2011 at 9:39 pm | #72

    The plant manager at our Humboldt Bay Power Plant said today that radiation from Japan has been detected on site by very sensitive monitors. He confirmed that there are 390 rods stored underground at the edge of the bay.

  73. Mr. Nice
    March 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm | #73

    Mitch I was saying was fuck communist, pretend environmentalism, waste promoting trade subsidies. I wasn’t even saying anything about Evergreen. I was saying buy monocrystalline and by the time your panels wear out the company that sold them to you will not exist.

    This new CIGS and thin-film bullshit will not sell with rural customers with any sense. Hoooking up these panels you know you have to replace them and it is such a fucking production to tear down ang set them up that nobody is going to want to keep doing that. The reason why quick money companies throw these up to collect German 20-year subsidies is because they are cheap but don’t even last 20 years.

    Solar is key for rural but bullshit as a mass market urban energy source. Subsidies will never pay for themselves environmentally or otherwise.

    tra,

    Maybe if we weren’t pouring hundreds of billions in taxpayer subsidies down a radioactive rathole, we could afford to subsidize the production and installation of solar and wind systems, and also harvesting the “low-hanging fuit” of conservation and energy efficiency?

    China minorly subsidizes installation of these bullshit amorphous panels while majorly subsidizing exports. 60 times as many solar panels are produced in China as demand, All these shitty panels get sold to fake ass “environmentally conscious” wannabes and the waste gets dumped because of the subsidy.

    Germany did do alright juicing solar up to 2% of their energy consumption.

    My take is you want to really want to say fuck coal, nuclear, hydro shit and support solar energy, use solar energy. Don’t have the money? Pull some more elbows, simple as that.

  74. Mitch
    March 23, 2011 at 8:02 am | #74

    Mr. Nice,

    I think we disagree about where the future of solar will be — I think it’s far more likely to be CIGS or other thin film than polycrystalline. You’re completely right that polycrystalline has been the best alternative, but that’s rapidly changing. As the other costs of solar decline, installation costs take on increasing significance, and thin-film has or will beat polycrystalline on installation costs by a mile.

    The big goal now is to go under a dollar a watt retail, with minimal installation costs. That’s where thin film is headed, and poly will never get there. Evergreen has the best approach to poly, but that didn’t help it maintain or build market share in panels. So now they are trying to rebuild themselves as a low-cost solar cell vendor to panel makers everywhere.

    I’m not sure what you mean by China subsidizing its exports. If you want to take the time, I’d be curious what you’re referring to. I think it’s mostly a matter of China still paying minimal wages compared to the West, and allowing lousier working conditions, but if there are actual subsidies I’m not aware of them.

  75. Mitch
    March 23, 2011 at 8:07 am | #75

    crayfish lover,

    You might want to ask that plant manager whether his 390 rods would overheat in a loss-of-coolant situation. (They may be sufficiently old that they would not, but I don’t know.)

  76. Mitch
    March 23, 2011 at 8:09 am | #76

    Oops, Mr. Nice, I kept saying poly when I meant mono. Evergreen actually builds its crystals using a unique silicon-reducing technology, instead of sawing slices off of silicon crystals.

  77. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 8:31 am | #77

    The IAEA says most of the reactors have been connected to power but cooling systems are damaged in four of them. Workers are trying to restore internal power. The IAEA warns “Restoring external power to the power plant does not mean the reactors will immediately resume normal safety function.” The agency cautions no one knows when that will happen.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/03/23/134785562/live-blog-japan-developments-on-wednesday

    I think that the correct wording for that final phrase is “…no one knows IF or when that will happen,” and the likely answer is “it probably won’t…ever.” Those reactors are toast, the best we can hope for is that they are able to prevent the worst-case scenario of full-scale reactor meltdowns and overheating/fire/explosions in the spent fuel pools.

  78. Owltotem
    March 23, 2011 at 8:31 am | #78

    Fissionable Uranium 235 a tiny fraction of natural uranium has a half-life of 700 million years. Uranium 238 has a half-life of 4 Billion years. But naturally both are locked up in rocks, so they are not much of a worry.

    However, once a kilogram of Uranium 235 is fissioned (split) into stuff like Strontium 90 and Caesium 137 the half-life is 30 years. Radio Iodine 131 is the worst bi-product, it decays in 8 days and is picked up by your thyroid gland. That is why you take potassiun Iodode (to block it I think, maybe to chelate it)

    Thus, we are concentrating the radioactivity (within our lifetimes) of extracted Uranium 235 by a factor of about 20 Million in a nuclear plant. A deadly poison factory built so we can play Wii and leave our printers on.

    So the loss of heat may be a concern at HBPP but the fact that there 390 fuel rods got spent is the foul!

    Owl, guilty enough

  79. Mitch
    March 23, 2011 at 8:35 am | #79
  80. “HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE”
    March 23, 2011 at 8:35 am | #80

    Daniel Pierce brought this PGE issue back to the forefront before the citizens several years ago and no one really listened to him, especially the supes at that time. What say now folks? A day late and a dollar short as always.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  81. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 8:50 am | #81

    Meanwhile, back at the nuke:

    TOKYO (Reuters) – Radiation at the crippled Fukushima No.2 nuclear reactor was recorded at the highest level since the start of the crisis, Japan’s nuclear safety agency said on Wednesday.

    An agency spokesman said 500 millisieverts per hour of radiation was measured at the No.2 unit on Wednesday.

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2011/03/highest_radiation_level_so_far_at_no2_nuclear_unit.php?ref=fpb

    Again, that’s 500 millisieverts per HOUR. And just to put that in context, just 100 millisieverts in a whole YEAR is the level where excess cancers may develop, and those radiation levels right now are 5 times that amount EVERY HOUR. By the way, about 400 millisieverts can cause radiation sickness in a fairly short period of time.

    http://xkcd.com/radiation/

    That doesn’t sound like very good news for the workers. Anybody know how much is shielded by the kind of protective gear they wear? My recollection is, that it isn’t all that much protection. I hope I’m wrong about that.

  82. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 8:56 am | #82

    And in further news from the “clean, safe, emission-free” front, radiation levels i Tokyo have rendered the tap water unsafe for infants.

    …the metropolitan government said radioactive iodine exceeding the limit for infants’ intake was detected in water at a purification plant, apparently due to the ongoing crisis at the power station crippled by the March 11 massive quake and tsunami.

    http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/80500.html

  83. Mitch
    March 23, 2011 at 9:14 am | #83

    I’m pretty sure you’re right that there’s minimal protection for the workers. One thing I’d read was that part of the importance of getting big power onsite was to reestablish radiation protection in the control rooms.

    I think the numbers you are hearing must establish that there’s either substantial internal damage to the fuel in #2 (such that lots of radiation is leaking when they vent that unit) or that the containment has failed pretty substantially, or both. That UCS press conference transcript usually goes up in the late afternoon.

  84. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 9:23 am | #84

    Mitch,

    The Union of Concerned Scientists site (which you posted the link to above) is an excellent source — not just on the current disaster in Japan, but also about global warming and nuclear power.

    I keep hearing that the UCS has “changed their mind” about nuclear power, due to concerns about global warming, or at least has become “agnostic” about the idea of building a new generation of nuclear power in an effort to cut carbon emissions.

    But here’s their actual postion on nuclear power, taken straight from their website (linked below). It’s definitely not an endorsement of nuclear power, and is only agnostic as to the possibility that nuclear power might become more feasible at some unspecified point in the future. Judge for yourself:


    …the Union of Concerned Scientists contends that:

    1.Prudence dictates that we develop as many options to reduce global warming emissions as possible, and begin by deploying those that achieve the largest reductions most quickly and with the lowest costs and risk. Nuclear power today does not meet these criteria.

    2.Nuclear power is not the silver bullet for “solving” the global warming problem. Many other technologies will be needed to address global warming even if a major expansion of nuclear power were to occur.

    3.A major expansion of nuclear power in the United States is not feasible in the near term. Even under an ambitious deployment scenario, new plants could not make a substantial contribution to reducing U.S. global warming emissions for at least two decades.

    4.Until long-standing problems regarding the security of nuclear plants—from accidents and acts of terrorism—are fixed, the potential of nuclear power to play a significant role in addressing global warming will be held hostage to the industry’s worst performers.

    5.An expansion of nuclear power under effective regulations and an appropriate level of oversight should be considered as a longer-term option if other climate-neutral means for producing electricity prove inadequate. Nuclear energy research and development (R&D) should therefore continue, with a focus on enhancing safety, security, and waste disposal.

    http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_and_global_warming/ucs-position-on-nuclear-power.html?utm_source=SP&utm_medium=link4&utm_campaign=SP-japan-nuke-link4-3-14-11

    I basically agree with all 5 points, except that I would strengthen #5 to include: Research into nuclear should be focused only on reactor designs where it is literally impossible, under the known laws of physics, for a melt-down or other catastrophic event to occur which could result in widespread radioactive contamination. Not just “unlikey,” but truly impossible.

    If someone can come up with such a design, successfully test it, and also find some way to render the radioactive wast much less dangerous and dangerous for far fewer years, then I’ll be willing to consider that kind of nuclear power as a viable energy alternative. In the meantime, thanks but no thanks.

  85. Mitch
    March 23, 2011 at 9:32 am | #85

    We basically agree, tra, but the UCS itself calls itself agnostic. Here’s part of the opening from their daily press conference:

    “…the Union of Concerned Scientists is an independent, science-based advocacy group that has been a nuclear industry watchdog for 40 years. We are not for or against nuclear power. Our goal has always been to ensure that the industry operates its reactors as safely as possible.”

    And tra, there are reactor designs that make meltdowns impossible under the laws of physics — unfortunately, they don’t solve the waste problems or the proliferation issue.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor

  86. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 10:21 am | #86

    Mitch,

    Yes, I’ve read about the pebble-bed design, and also about other designs that may also make meltdowns impossible.

    There was a good piece about one of the other alternative designs that I saw in the Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago. Sorry, I don’t have a link to it and I’m not sure of the exact date. I was reading a paper copy at a friend’s house. I tried to find it online just now but apparently access to their site requires a subscription. But if you happen to have a subscription, you might want to check it out.

    The reactor design the WSJ was talking about used a totally different fuel, and supposedly not only was a meltdown completely impossible with this design, but also the waste would decay in a time-frame of hundreds of years (still not great) rather than thousands, and it also supposedly would not be useable in a nuclear bomb.

    I’m all in favor continuing research and trying to perfect those kinds of designs, trying them out at a small-scale (if possible), and so on… though I think a lot of caution is still called for.

    At any rate, our current nuke plants are basically technological dinosaurs based on 1960s designs. Yet the the nuclear industry that keeps talking about a “nuclear renaissance” is pushing hard to re-licence many of these old dinosaurs for a few more decades of “cross your fingers and hope for the best.”

    So it looks like the “nuclear renaisssance” they have in mind is continuing to take a gamble on a bunch of outdated reactors, and build a few dozen new ones with more or less the same design and all the same fundamental problems — but with the addition of a layer of 21st century technology and styling, along with plenty of modern public relations spin.

  87. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 10:35 am | #87

    We are not for or against nuclear power.

    Yes, they do say that. But in light of the 5 points listed above, I think I was accurate in stating that the UCS is “only agnostic about the possibility that nuclear power might become more feasible at some unspecified point in the future.”

  88. Random Guy
    March 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm | #88

    Down the road @ 626, I hope you’re able to follow through and of course you know you have the moral support of the majority of people in all of california. My brother, who lives in a plex in the city and has a baby, was pretty upset to come home from work one day and find freshly installed smart meters right outside his bedroom window. Same thing, they said nobody had any say in the matter whatsoever.

    As I can tell, there is some kind of legal loophole that PG&E is avoiding attention to at all costs, that DOES give property owners weighted rights in this matter…but I’m a total layman when it comes to this stuff.

    Anybody have a collection of neodymium magnets? Is it illegal to store them in a cupboard opposite the same wall of smart meters? Or even on a shelf right next to the smart meters? Of course not…

  89. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 10:09 pm | #89

    Stop Wasting Taxpayer Money on Nuclear Power Subsidies:

    Tell your legislators that putting taxpayers on the hook for subsidies to the nuclear industry is bad business and will only delay or diminish investments in affordable clean energy alternatives.

    Get involved… [link]

    That’s from the upper right-hand corner of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ web page about the Fukushima disaster:

    http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_risk/safety/japan-nuclear-crisis-briefings.html?utm_source=SP&utm_medium=link2&utm_campaign=japan-nuclear-crisis-link2-3-15-11

  90. Anonymous
    March 23, 2011 at 10:23 pm | #90

    Friends of mine put a meter on their new unwanted electrical smart meter and found a level of 300. 10 is considered safe.

  91. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 10:38 pm | #91

    While I was a bit skeptical that the Wikipedia page on the Fukushima disaster would be a good source, it looks like some knowledgeable people are putting in a lot of effort to keep it updated, and to make sure the information is well-sourced. One section of that Wikipedia page has daily updates. Here is today’s update:

    23 March: In the late afternoon, smoke again started belching from reactor 3, this time black and grey smoke, causing another evacuation of workers from around the area. Aerial footage from the plant shows what looks like a small amount of fire at the base of the smoke plumes from within the heavily damaged reactor building. Tepco state that they are unaware of the source of the fire and smoke.

    Clearly they are not out of danger yet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_I_nuclear_accidents

    Unfortunately the Union of Concerned Scientists’ daily briefing for today (Wed, March 23) is not yet up. But I assume it will be at some point on Thursday. The link is in my last post.

  92. tra
    March 23, 2011 at 11:11 pm | #92

    Latest from the NY Times:

    The restoration of electricity at the plant, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, stirred hopes that the crisis was ebbing. But nuclear engineers say some of the most difficult and dangerous tasks are still ahead — and time is not necessarily on the side of the repair teams.

    Full NY Times article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/world/asia/24nuclear.html?_r=1&hp

    There are now serious concerns about salt buildup (from all the salt water that’s been pumped in to the reactors most of which has boiled off, leaving a huge volume of salt behing) coating the fuel rods and leading to more overheating.

    There is surprise and concern at the levels of radioactive idodine found in drinking water as far away as Tokyo — which until today wasn’t thought to be likely, but now has scientists concerned that more radioactive materials have been released and are being released than was previously predicted.

    And there’s still smoke and fire coming from an “unknown source” at the very-troubled reactor 3, which has both damage to the reactor containment and problems with an overheating spent-fuel pool, and also, you guessed it, happens to be the one reactor that was using the part-plutonium fuel mix.

    They are definitely not out of the woods yet.

  93. Sheryl
    March 24, 2011 at 12:22 am | #93

    Not sure if this has been shared here already, but I find this site of interest:
    http://www.radiationnetwork.com/
    Obvious limitations, but I haven’t seen anything better for realtime data.

    And policy-wise, I’ve been hearing this exact same dialogue since the 70s – before Three Mile Island, before Chernobyl, before Fukushima – and it STILL makes no sense to SPLIT ATOMS to BOIL WATER, then leave the most toxic crap we could possibly create as waste we STILL have no realistic way to contain for the countless lifetimes it will haunt us.

    We’ve spent way too much good money on this ridiculous idea already, and we absolutely should NOT keep throwing more money at it, sticking our fingers in our ears, and keep right on saying “la la la la la” “can’t happen here” just because we’re greedy for the easy out right now.

    But as you might be able to tell, I have rather firmly held views on this. And while I’ve changed my mind about a lot of things as I’ve gotten older, nothing I’ve seen over the last four decades on this one changes the basic facts that nuclear power is the worst solution among many admittedly challenging options.

  94. Anonymous
    March 24, 2011 at 12:34 am | #94

    Creating plutonium is just plain evil.

  95. crayfish lover
    March 24, 2011 at 1:19 pm | #95

    Agreed, Sheryl. We all have to reduce our expectations regarding our energy needs and demand greater efficiency of machines that work for us. We live in luxury.

  96. Plain Jane
    March 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm | #96

    Conservation is by far the best way to “create” more energy, economically and ecologically. The amount we waste could power another country.

  97. Mr. Nice
    March 24, 2011 at 6:34 pm | #97

    Mitch,

    Mono and polycrystalline currently make up over two thirds of all generated solar installations in terms of raw gigawatts not size as amphorous likely covers the most space but is less than 1/3 as efficient.

    Thin-film has continually been talked about for years about how it is about to take over. Pretty soon, any day now, folks will start buying up thin-film shit. In the next three years… the pundits keep saying every year. The real incremental increases mean little when the total crystalline panels sold damn near doubles every two years.

    There will eventually be increased market share for bootsie solar panels especially in large installations where refreshing panels is no problem. Stock market excitement about shitty solar panels reminds me of how folks got all bent out of shape over ethanol fuel. Neither are pragmatic energy sources.

    Can speak on Chinese subsidies a little bit. China has been investigated for fucking with the green tech market. The Chinese government subsidies the shit out of solar panels directly.

    In the US, if you make SiCl4 there is a market to reprocess. Companies holding SiCl4 don’t have the government looking the other way when they dump like in China, so they make the effort to sell the waste. Even Eastern European panel manufacturers sell waste, it is most all China that dumps. Chinese solar firms have a big market advantage essentially being paid by the government to pollute.

    Not all Chinese manufacturers are like this but the amorphous shit panel startups most definitely pollute.

    Rural folks will never be tricked into the cheap panels. Governments might but it will only be until the funding runs out or citizens get fed up with the rate hikes.

  98. tra
    March 26, 2011 at 9:28 pm | #98

    Two new messages from Steve Herman at Voice of America:

    RT @martyn_williams: Radioactivity readings in sea near #Fukushima 1 are now 1850 times from normal, up from 1250 yesterday – NISA

    NISA: Pool of highly radioactive water at Reactor 2 may be from reactor core. #Fukushima

    http://twitter.com/W7VOA#

  99. Plain Jane
    March 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm | #99

    Inside America’s Most Dangerous Nuclear Plant (22 miles from Manhatten)

    http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair03242011.html

  100. Plain Jane
    March 26, 2011 at 9:35 pm | #100

    Manhattan

  101. skippy
    March 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm | #101

    Tom Sebourn notes a very unusual interactive map (working with GoogleEarth) illustrating purported radioactivity levels in Japan.

    Also curious is the map indicating levels taken from (independent?) Geiger counters and presumably downloading the information for what they claim surpasses “the government’s ‘Under Survey’ blackout attempts.”

    I’m not so sure about the veracity of either the readings or the source credibility. Make of it what you want– and believe what you will. Click on the map’s image contained in the link below and form your own opinion. It’s interesting:

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/googleearth-based-3d-map-of-real-time-radioactivity-distribution-in-japan-projected-global-radioactivity-dispersion.html

  102. tra
    March 27, 2011 at 7:34 pm | #102

    Don’t know whether those maps are accurate or not, but the website they are on is certainly not credible. It’s run by Alex Jones, noted scaremongering profiteer, whose radio show and website pushes all sorts of “survivalist” products, including the most ridiculously overpriced seeds, which are not even geared to the specific climate of the suckers who buy them. Also incredibly overpriced MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), etc.

    And even as Jones has whipped his fans up in to a frenzy of paranoia over radioactivity in the U.S. (which at most will receive very modest doses from Japan) he’s raking in the dough from the sales of potassium iodine advertised on his site. Beyond ripping Americans off by selling them something they don’t need (and which will probably cause far more health problems than the tiny does of radiation that we might get here) this sort of fearmongering/profiteering in America has depleted supplies of potassium iodine on the world market, leading to a shortage of supplies for the people who really need it, in Japan. Disgusting.

    Jones is a charlatan, and a greedy sleazebag profiteer, no better than Glen Beck or any of the frightwingers.

  103. skippy
    March 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm | #103

    I was wondering about the site’s credibility for different reasons, hence the reluctance about source and veracity. I had no idea of the details you mentioned until now, thanks for the definitive history and word.

    Anything else to report before this thread heads off the opening page and into the oblivion of ‘previous entries’?

  104. tra
    March 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm | #104

    Did I mention that Alex Jones is a charlatan, and a snake oil salesman, and a sleazy, scaremongering, cynical profiteer?

  105. Bob
    February 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm | #105

    Well rember trunoble in Russia. Nobody still can live there. So if it’s economical to posion citys then nuc. energy is a great idea. Also like there going to tell people more than they have to. Look at history they always cover up radiaton leaks untill there is no denying it. There is no way to dispose highly radioactiove waste other than to store it. It is a security risk a terrorist could bomb a waste pond. What will controll the radiation from that. Rancho Seco california the plant reactior is empty but the nucular waste has armed securty gaurds. From this waste, fuel rods spent and fresh nuculear fuel. It is possible to make nuceular weapons. Look up nuc fallout from the Nevada test site. They the scientist knew it was harmful look how far they went to lie and tell the people it was harmless. They knew the residence didn’t know. The people in St George Utah where ginea pigs for the fallout from Nevada. Bottom line DONT BELEVE NUC. ENERGY CAN BE MADE SAFE. IT IS NOT SAFE. NUC. POWER IS TOO POWERFUL TO CONTROLL. ALL NUC. POWERPLANTS HAVE LEAKED SOME RADIATION. Sorry I wish it wasn’t true and I wish I didn’t know. Ignorance is bliss.

  106. Just Watchin
    February 9, 2014 at 7:25 am | #106

    Now there’s a timely post……nearly 3 years since the last one. And how can we forget “trunoble” ? Looks like the only thing forgotten is how to use spell check. If you paid for that education Bob, you should sue to get your money back.

  107. eurekaworker
    February 11, 2014 at 7:00 am | #107
  108. Anonymous
    February 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm | #108

    A Walmart Worker Explains Why Walmart’s Customer Service Is Horrible

    Walmart, America’s largest seller of stuff, has recently been plagued by very public problems with understaffing and poor customer service. Why has the Walmart shopping experience become so chaotic and unpleasant? An actual Walmart employee graciously explains, below.

    We receive quite a few stories from Wal-Mart employees about what life is like inside America’s largest employer. But this one comes from a… Read…

    After publishing our behind-the-scenes exposé by a Walmart manager last week, we received this email—a blunt FAQ for angry customers—from a current Walmart employee. Why can’t you find anything? Where are all the people who are supposed to be helping you? And what happened to the smiling faces?

    Enjoy.

    Thank you so much for your series of Wal-Mart worker stories! I am kept sane by them, knowing other associates have the same problems and that people on the outside sympathize with what we go through. I have worked at Wal-Mart for five years, two years as an associate, and the last three as a department manager over hardware and sporting goods, respectively.

    If I were to write down every unethical/illegal thing I have personally witnessed in the last 5 years, I would have to write a book. For the sake of simplicity, I will instead answer the most common questions asked by frustrated customers who shop at Wal-Mart, because truly, every evil thing you need to know about our day-to-day existence can be summed up by answering these questions.

    How come every time I come into Wal-Mart, there’s never anyone around to help me?

    Excellent question! The reason there’s nobody to help you is because our salaried management team decided to cut hours and staff. Why did they decide to cut hours and staff if you are here now and needing help, you ask? Well, even though the company is worth billions, home office gives store managers a set amount of hours and payroll dollars that they can schedule people/pay people in each area of the store, and it is based on what the sales were in that department on that day the previous fiscal year. So even though last year was a Friday, it was snowing out, and no one was shopping, this year, on a Saturday, when its sunny out and everyone is shopping, you won’t have anyone around to help you because LAST YEAR we didn’t make enough money! Add to that the fact that store manager’s and assistant manager’s incentive bonuses (to the tune of $80K for store managers and $20K for assistant managers, once yearly) are partially determined by how much they can bring scheduled hours/payroll DOWN from the year before (of course, while still keeping sales up,) and you begin to see how this pattern of never having any help around comes to be. Us hourlies get quarterly bonuses, of course, but they’re usually less than $300, and they don’t even make up for all of the hours that they cut from our paychecks to earn said bonus.

    Long story short, Wal-Mart won’t hire more people to help you, the customer, until you part with your sweet, sweet dollars so that our sales can go up, and then maaaaaaybe they’ll hire another person to cut some fabric for you. Salaried managers want their bonuses, you see, and if it means that you don’t get help when you come into the store, why, they really don’t care! Plus, if you have to wander around for awhile before you find someone to help you, you might end up picking up a few more things than you’d planned. See how that works?

    How come nobody ever knows where anything is whenever I shop here?

    Another excellent question! Well, as you know, we live by a culture of attrition here at Wal-Mart! As I mentioned before, the assistant managers and store managers are given incentive in the form of $80K and $20K bonuses to cut payroll and scheduled hours. Given that knowledge, you would be correct to conclude that you aren’t going to find a lot of people in any Wal-Mart who have worked there long enough to actually learn where everything is. What happens to people who stay there long enough to actually tell you (correctly) where the toilet plungers are, you ask? Well, if they don’t get into the store manager’s good graces and become a manager themselves (much faster to accomplish, if you have a penis), my bosses make up a BS excuse to fire them just before they hit $12 an hour! Isn’t that great? “You took a 17 minute break instead of a 15 minute break, and that’s time theft” and “lack of productivity” (aka, you couldn’t help customers/answer phone calls in 5 departments at a time AND back up cashier AND clean up YOUR entire area all at once) are the most common excuses I’ve seen, though occasionally they’ll just fire you for saying a swear word, without any previous coaching or provocations. You would also be correct to conclude that the one associate you do find to help you is likely a part-time worker (so no more than 32 hours a week, tops), who, again, because of cutting hours/payroll, likely spends half of his or her shift on a cash register (or unloading a truck) instead of in his or her department, because salaried management couldn’t be bothered to schedule more cashiers/truck unloaders (fewer workers=less payroll=more bonus money, you see?)

    As department managers, we’re also required by home office to change the layout of our areas and what products are stocked there about once every six months. When you throw in all of the seasonal merchandise we have to account for (Easter stuff, summer stuff, Thanksgiving, etc.) its easy to see why not even the managers know where anything is all the time. My first department alone had about 6,000 items in it, and I dare anyone to find me a soul on Earth who can catalog in their brain where 6,000 individual items are at any given time, especially after you factor in that their spot on the shelf changes about once every 3-6 months. This also serves the purpose of getting YOU to part with your dollars by making you wander about 5 aisles over and pick up 4 other things you didn’t need while you look for the thing you came in to buy in the first place.

    Isn’t Wal-Mart just swell?

    How come everybody who works at Walmart is so grouchy and surly? I used to work retail/currently work retail and I am/was always sunshine and rainbows no matter how shitty other people are/were to me!

    I only added that second line into this FAQ so that I could tell people who tell me bullshit like this on a weekly basis that you are terrible, terrible people, I hate you, and I hope you get eaten by a dragon. That is all.

    I can only speak for myself, but from reading other installments of Wal-Mart worker stories, I have concluded that my experience is pretty common for the company, so other associates can probably relate to what I will say. On any given day, I am given, on average about 3-4 “notes” that I must complete before the end of my shift. This includes things like taking down/moving displays, working 100 (ish) boxes of merchandise to the floor, changing the layout and replacing all of the labels of an entire aisle in my department. Sometimes these things don’t take long to do at all, but if too much merchandise is full on the shelf, or there’s a lot of extra discontinued stuff after you put up a new layout on an aisle, it can take an entire shift or longer to complete. This would be fine, if not for the fact that you are also expected to help customers, back up cashier (even department managers/zone managers), and clean up and put away stuff in other departments where salaried management has cut hours (they love their bonus more than your satisfaction as a customer, remember.)

    You might be asking yourself how a single person can do all of those things in an 8, or sometimes 4 hour shift. The truth is, they can’t, and salaried management knows that no person could, but nevertheless it is expected that every associate do the impossible and complete 3 days worth of work in a single shift. If they can’t do this for whatever reason, they are treated with contempt, rage or ridicule by salaried management, who mockingly insist that “its not that hard” to get that much work done…while they sit in the office all day and chit-chat amongst themselves and their few chosen toadies. I’ve seen associates cry after being yelled at by salaried manager’s for not getting their area cleaned up, even though those same managers were the ones who told them to leave their areas to get on a cash register because “we’re a family here and we help each other out.” This serves a double purpose. If an associate doesn’t quit from this cruel treatment within 2-3 years, the salaried managers can fall back on “productivity” (even though no human can possibly do that much work) if they need a convenient excuse to get rid of someone who’s making “too much” money, or even just someone they don’t like for personal reasons. Either way, payroll goes down which means the managers have a better chance at…you guessed it, the bonus! The culture basically offers monetary incentive for assistant and store managers to treat their workers like shit and encourages high turnover in the process.

    So when you, Mr. or Ms. customer, approach me with a question, I certainly don’t mean to be surly. It’s not that I don’t want to help you, I’m sure you’re a nice person who didn’t mean to bother me, but if given a choice between pissing off you, a stranger I don’t know, or my boss, who will call me incompetent, lazy, etc. if I don’t get my notes done, I choose to piss you off with my dismissive, rushed service instead of my boss, because ultimately my boss signs my paycheck and you’re a face I will forget in a few hours. Honestly, if someone is making $8.20 an hour, they’re rightly only going to give you $8.20 an (overworked) hour’s worth of service. I’m sorry it has to be that way, but I assume if you’re shopping here you know on some level what you’re getting into.

    If you are a department manager, you have the additional responsibility of having to work five different reports every week, all of which entail a process of running from the back room to the sales floor (in a store the size of a football field) counting close to 50+ items on a single report. Even then, you can count until your eyes fall out of your skull, but it is ultimately the comanagers and store manager who have the power to approve or deny the counts I enter into the computer. Which leads me to my very last FAQ angry customer question about Wal-Mart…

    How come I can never find what I’m shopping for at Wal-Mart? How come there’s never any product on the shelves?

    Because even though you and I can both clearly see that there’s no sex jelly on the shelf, my scanner thinks that I actually have 3, hidden away, somewhere…and management, not wanting to eat into their precious, precious bonus, will not let me change the number in the system from 3 sex jellies to 0 sex jellies. 3 containers of sex jelly at $4 a pop means they lose $12 of sex jelly profit, and every dollar lost eats into their bonus, which is just unacceptable in their world. Those containers of sex jellies could have been stolen, sent to the wrong store…but if the scanner says they’re in the store then OMG IT MUST BE THERE SOMEWHERE THE DEPT MANAGER KNOWS NOTHING! So, no sex jelly for you. But definitely $80K in the pocket of the store manager come December.

    Before I sign off, I just want to add that if you really can’t afford to shop anywhere but Wal-Mart, buy as much stuff on clearance as possible when you do have to shop there. All of our clearance items are sold at a loss to the store. If you buy more clearance items, we lose profit. And it helps the associates suffer less at work, because sorting clearance items is a pain in the ass. That is all!

    http://gawker.com/

  109. Bill Holmes
    February 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm | #109

    If you stopped stealing all the sex jelly, there would be some on the shelf. And if Walmart is soooo evil, why have you been there for 5 years. You Walmart haters claim they pay such low wages, so it couldn’t be hard to find another job. You’re the kind of worker we in the Eureka fair wage movement don’t even want. Stop the whining.

  110. Anonymous
    February 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm | #110

    Hamilton Nolan on Gawker

    wal-mart

    Decades of Greed: Behind the Scenes With An Angry Walmart Manager

    We receive quite a few stories from Wal-Mart employees about what life is like inside America’s largest employer. But this one comes from a remarkable point of view: a longtime Walmart store manager, who vents in detail about how Walmart has systematically screwed employees over two decades.

    Like all of our emails from Walmart employees, this one is anonymous, and represents one person’s opinion. But the wealth of detail it contains about the company’s management policies is remarkable. In particular, he discusses exactly how compensation and benefit policies have changed to the detriment of employees. We’ve bolded some of the parts we find most notable. Enjoy:

    “I was recently on your site and was reading several of the stories from former and current Walmart associates. I would like to give you my experience. I write to you with a new email and will not give my real name; retaliation is alive at Walmart. I’ve been with Walmart for over twenty years beginning in the early 1990s. I’ve work at more than 9 walmarts and held various positions. I’m currently a salary assistant store manager and been one for nearly a decade. For most of my career at Walmart I enjoyed coming to work and quite frankly was the happiest before I became a manager. Once I took on the role as a manager I was privy to meetings, emails, and behind the door discussions that a typical associate will never hear. I know that well established companies must change as time progresses to remain competitive. However I’m not oppose to change and welcome it. If anyone was to speak negatively about Walmart back in the 90′s I would be a defender of Walmart and I was only a stocker in my early twenties back then. But Walmart was a much different company. I started shortly after Sam Walton’s death [ed.-in 1992]. We just began the expansion of super centers and no real international presence. In fact in those days we still had signs in our stores that read ‘Buy American.’ We would have items flagged that were manufactured in America and brag about the jobs we created by buying American goods. We all know that isn’t true now. Before I begin to relay some knowledge you may not be aware of or heard I would like to list to the best of my abilities some of the benefits Walmart has taken away from its associates in the last twenty years.

    [Below are some] Benefits that new hires don’t receive. Long Term associates keep these benefits *Hence a reason to get rid of them*
    Sunday Premium: 1 1/2 Pay
    Sunday Premium: $1.00 an hour (This replaced the overtime pay for Sunday but this $1.00 was also taken away)
    Profit Sharing: Automatically put 6% of Pay in Profit Sharing Account

    In 1997 Walmart changed the policy and put 2% in Profit Sharing and 2% in their new 401-k. They effectively got rid of 2% and never bother to inform associates of this loss. The typical associates had no clue how this would impact them in the long term. This is typical of Walmart executive is to change benefits but spin it as a good thing. Eventually Walmart around 2010 did away with Profit Sharing all together. They now have a 100% match for the first 6% contributed to the 401k. This actually is better however again Walmart know the typical employee can not afford to contribute to the 401k plan. Even though this has helped my 401k balance greatly since I can afford it; I know it doesn’t help the many people that work under me at $8.00 an hour.

    Full Time: Only had to work 20 hours

    Full Time: Only had to work 28 hours (This replaced the 20 hour policy but now any new hires have to work an average of 35 hours for full time status)

    90 Day Raises: You use to get a raise after 90 days, they took this one away recently. So now you must work 12 months to get a raise.

    Insurance Cost: Maybe not fair to blame Walmart on this one but in early 1990s’ I was paying $9.00 per pay period (BiWeekly) for a $300 deductible. Now I pay $150 (Bi Weekly) for a $3500 deductible.

    Christmas Bonus: I can’t remember the amounts but no more than $200. It doesn’t exists for new hires and salary managers don’t qualify for it

    Long Term and Short Term disability: Can’t remember exactly but I know it use to pay around 80% of pay then it was cut to 60% and now it only covers 50%. Oh but the premium went up. So less coverage for more cost

    Merit Raises: Store manager use to be able to increase hourly pay but now all pay is controlled by home office

    Good Job Pin: This was again another award program. If you got four of them you could turn them in for one free share of Walmart stock. Basically all award programs of monetary value has ended at store level. With the exception of a possible quarterly bonus up to $475 but i never been in a store that got such a large amount.

    Pay Cap: Walmart use to keep giving you raises no matter your hourly rate. They now have caps based on position held. I have many associates who have not received a raise in nearly nine years.

    I could keep going but basically Walmart has been hacking on its benefit and pay structure for years to save on cost. Their over all view point is that there is little difference in performance and return on investment from a ten year associate and a new hire.

    As I said before, Walmart was a good company to work for in relations to the retail sector. However I feel horrible for the associates I have to manage and the struggles they face. I ask this question, How come in 1999 Walmart could pay me over $10 an hour but in 2014 I hire people in at $8.00 an hour? I know Walmart will claim that the average associate makes $12.78 an hour. I have multiple degrees and one is in business. I don’t need a degree in business to understand elementary statistics. The question that should be asked is what the Median pay of Walmart associates is? The typical associate (median) is under $9.00. I know this for a fact. Sure if you add all the ones who make $15-$20 an hour plus us managers that make $50,000 to $100,000 then you can get the $12.78 an hour average.

    Below is something you may not be aware of and I will finish the email with this tidbit.
    Walmart use to require us at the stores to have a 60%:40% ratio to Full-Time:Part-Time. Then I was told it had to be 40%:40%:20%, Full-Time:Part-Time:Temporary and to add insult we expect all associates to have open availability. Also Temporary associates can work at the store for six months to a year and not be entitle to any benefits. So if you have 100 associates, 40 FT, 40 PT, and 20 Temporary. Paying a lot less in benefits plus turn-over is high.

    Now here is where a lot of greed and in my opinion immoral behavior begins.

    This company is being managed by the quarter. We have executives who have no vested interest in Walmart. All they care about is their salary and bonus. So when they make poor decisions, for example this Christmas when they had a One Hour Guarantee for multiple items. This was a complete [financial] disaster but yet the executive praise what a big success it was. [...] You know what direction us managers were given to do in January? Remember Walmart’s fiscal year ends January 31st. You guess it, cut hours. For the poor decision made by executives at Walmart who could care less where the company is at in 10 or 20 years, we had to cut hours. Not only that we had to cut all expenses. Home office put a hold on all our ordering of supplies and try explaining to customers you don’t have toilet paper for the rest rooms. We had to cut all our part-time associates from 32 hours to 25.5 hours. All our full-time associates had their hours cut too. In addition we had to call all the people we had scheduled for orientation and tell them we couldn’t hire them. Imagine you were told to start Walmart on Thursday but then get a call on Wednesday saying nope can’t hire you.

    Do you know how hard it is to go to someone that make $8.85 an hour and tell him, sorry but I have to cut you down to 25.5 hours. These people can barely pay their rent as it is and with no notice we cut their hours. The root problem besides greed is that Walmart’s culture changed drastically with Sam Walton’s death and the departure of David Glass as our CEO and Tom Coughlin.

    Lee Scott [WM CEO from 2000-2009] instituted a [culture] where you could not question the company’s direction or offer critical feedback to the leadership. Years ago on our company intranet site, he had something I believe was called ‘Ask Lee.’ It was basically a place you could ask him a question and he would respond. I remember a Store Manager asked Lee Scott why walmart didn’t offer its store associates a pension program so they could have the ability to retire. Lee Scott blasted this store manager for asking this question and I was quite surprised that he even allowed this example to be posted. None the less ‘Ask Lee’ was eliminated and I wouldn’t be surprised if so was the store manager. This mentality extends all the way down to the lowest level of the company. I could never send an honest feedback such as this email to anyone of authority at Walmart without being retaliated. I’ve seen it many times. We even had a 50 year celebration last year and each district was to send salary managers to a open forum discussion. Guess what the direction was, ‘Select managers that are positive’ and it was understood you were not to ‘complain’ about anything. Your market manager and store manager were present for these meetings.”

  111. Anonymous
    February 12, 2014 at 7:14 am | #111

    The real Bill Holmes interviewed on KMUD in 2008.

    starts at 10:00

    https://sites.google.com/site/eurekafaircompensationact/kmud_080327_180000newspm.mp3?attredirects=0

    The real Bill Holmes in 2014:

    Rise Up (And Raise Our Wages) MP3

    https://app.box.com/s/sb4lobou6wwkfm5dj84b

  112. Bill Holmes
    February 12, 2014 at 5:13 pm | #112

    I don’t remember any interview…..probably all the drugs that I took.

  113. Bill Holmes
    February 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm | #113

    I was really fucked up most of the time…..

  114. Anonymous
    February 13, 2014 at 7:39 am | #114

    Vast Majority of Seattle Voters Support $15 Minimum Wage

    New Poll Shows 68 Percent Support Higher Pay

    by Goldy

    Vast Majority of Seattle VoterS Support $15 Minimum Wage

    If minimum-wage opponents weren’t already shitting bricks, they’re in for an awfully uncomfortable bowel movement: A new poll finds a stunning 68 percent of Seattle voters support a straight-up hike in the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. No exemptions, no phase-ins, no strings attached.

    The news for opponents only gets worse the further you delve into the details: 35 percent of voters “strongly support” the proposal, compared to only 14 percent who “strongly oppose,” while support holds fast throughout the city and in every demographic subgroup except Republicans.

    And in case opponents were hoping to console themselves with the thought that this is just some shoddy pro-labor propaganda (the poll was funded by a coalition that includes Working Washington, UFCW 21, Nick Hanauer, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, the Teamsters, and the MLK County Labor Council), well, no luck there. The survey of 805 likely Seattle voters—an unusually large and robust sample—was conducted January 14 through January 22 by the reputable polling firm EMC Research, with a margin of error of ± 3.5 percentage points.

    These numbers may be off the charts, but they’re rock solid.

    “We were certainly surprised,” admits EMC Research principal Andrew Thibault about the unexpectedly positive results, “but it seems that there is a tipping point.” Thibault believes that the $15 campaign in SeaTac, the fast-food strikes, and the embrace of the issue by winning candidates like Council Member Kshama Sawant and Mayor Ed Murray last year have all increased awareness and support for the issue.

    But Thibault suspects another factor may have come into play, one beyond the control of either side of the debate: Seattle’s surging sense of self-confidence. According to the survey, 63 percent of Seattle voters believe the city is “going in the right direction,” up from 53 percent in September and 43 percent in 2011. “That’s a crazy number,” says Thibault.

    But perhaps more impressive is the “wrong track” number, which has plummeted to just 19 percent. “There’s a tremendous amount of optimism in the city,” says Thibault.

    And that optimism may help explain why even when a narrow majority agree with one of the leading talking points against raising the minimum wage, it doesn’t move the dial very far. For example, 51 percent of voters actually agree that “increasing the minimum wage will hurt local small, minority owned, and family owned businesses.” But at the same time, 71 percent of voters also agree that a higher minimum wage would “help” local businesses “because more workers making more money means they will have money to spend at local businesses.”

    Seattle voters aren’t ignoring the concerns of small businesses; they have simply determined that the benefits of a higher minimum wage outweigh the costs: 82 percent agree that raising the minimum wage “ensures more families can make ends meet and get ahead,” while only 40 percent call it a “job killer.” Seattle voters simply aren’t moved by the classic argument that a higher minimum wage would shutter businesses and destroy jobs. “People right now aren’t buying it,” says Thibault.

    And neither are they buying efforts to water down the ordinance. The survey tested tip credits, small-business exemptions, and applying the wage only to certain industries, none of which increased voter support. A three-year phase-in does bump up support to 73 percent, but stretch the phase-in to five years, and both overall support (67 percent) and intensity (28 percent “strongly”) begin to erode.

    By contrast, provisions that strengthen worker protections consistently increase support: all the way up to 88 percent support for requiring that all tips go to workers.

    All of this means that if the city council and the mayor ultimately back a compromise measure that’s too weak (phased in too slowly or containing too many exemptions), activists can feel confident taking a more aggressive measure to the ballot this fall knowing that voters are resoundingly behind them.

    That is the sound of bricks hitting porcelain in executive washrooms citywide.

    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/vast-majority-of-seattle-voters-support-15-minimum-wage/Content?oid=18870987

  115. eurekaworker
    February 13, 2014 at 8:01 am | #115

    San Diego pulls their head out of their ass and does the smart thing, electing a Republican mayor. Maybe there’s hope for California after all…..

    11:06 p.m. PST: Faulconer’s lead narrows very slightly, to just under 10 points, 55.24% to 44.76%, with 85.9% of precincts counting. It’s not just a win for the Republican: it’s an unexpected landslide victory. The San Diego Union-Tribune has called the race for Faulconer. Cue the concession/acceptance speeches.
    10:37 p.m. PST: With 62.9% of the precincts reporting, and the gap steady at nearly 11 points, Breitbart News can call the race for Mayor of San Diego for Republican Kevin Faulconer over Democrat David Alvarez. The unofficial tally provided by San Diego County is 55.39% for Faulconer, and 44.61% for Alvarez. That translates into a lead of nearly 25,000 votes. There is no way that Alvarez will close that gap tonight.
    The much-vaunted ground game of the Democrats–which included advertising across the border in Tijuana, Mexico–was not enough to close the gap, despite a union-fueled fundraising edge. An important GOP win.
    10:25 p.m. PST: Democrat David Alvarez reportedly told supporters: “We have a long night ahead of us.” They certainly do. They have to make up a 14-point gap in the remaining precincts–and half of the vote was cast early or absentee. There is almost no way Republican Kevin Faulconer can be defeated at this point.
    10:10 p.m. PST: The latest results, with 20% of the precincts reporting, are essentially unchanged. The GOP candidate holds a 13-point lead. The race should be called for the Republican shortly. The story coming out of this election is going to be how Republicans managed to out-organize the Democrats despite being at a slight money disadvantage, building an insurmountable lead in early voting and outpacing Alvarez on the ground.
    10:05 p.m. PST: Former Republican mayor Jerry Sanders just called the election for Faulconer, according to local Fox affiliate Fox 5 KSWB-TV. It would be more significant if a Democrat had called the race that way.
    10:00 p.m. PST: While we wait for more results, an interesting subplot to this race has been the so-called “dog whistle” debate–the accusation, by now routine, that Republicans used subliminal racism to turn out all the white racists in San Diego to vote against the Hispanic Democrat. One Latino group complained that a mailing with Alvarez’s face photoshopped onto a man’s body holding a wad of cash and (separately) holding his hands up in a “stop” gesture (a “gang sign”?), the Republicans were guilty of “dog whistle” racism.
    Amazingly, the group’s leaders admitted that the mailing did not appear racist–you needed the spin to see it:
    Presente.org’s Refugio Mata said this is an example of dog whistle racism. That is the kind of racism that plays on coded messages to drum up hidden and underlying stereotypes.
    Mata said in the day and age of political correctness, this kind of racism is the most insidious. “This kind of dog whistle tactic is even more perverse than overt racism. Because when you look at it, you might at first not think that it’s racist, ” he said.
    9:50 p.m. PST: With nearly 6% of precincts reporting, the gap has widened slightly. Local public radio station KPBS suggests that Faulconer’s early lead in early voting is far larger than expected and that the Republican is poised to win.
    There is considerable disappointment in the Alvarez camp–and among those who looked forward to this election heralding a permanent demographic shift in local politics. KPBS’s Sandhya Dirks and Claire Trageser quote UC San Diego political scientist Thad Kousser:
    “It’s over,” he said. “I don’t think David Alvarez will be the first Latino mayor of San Diego, but I think Faulconer will be the last white one.
    “It’s going to get closer, but I don’t think he’s going to get within striking distance.”
    8:45 p.m. PST: With 1.6% of the precincts counted, Faulconer holds a significant lead over Alvarez, 56.64% to 43.36%, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. As more precincts report, the real test will begin.
    8:00 p.m. PST: The polls are closed in San Diego, and the first results are available in the race to replace disgraced former Mayor Bob Filner, who had been the first Democrat in many years to hold the office. Republican Kevin Faulconer had a slight edge in the polls over Democrat David Alvarez heading into Election Day, and was expected to have a lead among early and absentee ballots. Alvarez, however, had put together an impressive and well-funded turnout operation. The race will hinge on the respective ground game of the two candidates.
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/02/11/Live-Results-San-Diego-Mayor-s-Race

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