Posts Tagged ‘city attorney’

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Says “MeetMe.Com” Enables Sexual Predators and Child Stalkers

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

All the deets:

“MeetMe.com enables sexual predators and child stalkers, San Francisco’s lawsuit contendsSocial network’s unlawful publication of minors’ profiles, photos and geolocation data has been used to victimize children as young as 13 years of age — and younger

SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 3, 2014) — San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against MeetMe, a popular social networking platform that facilitates interactions among strangers, over inadequate privacy protections and unlawful publication of minors’ profiles, photos, and location data, which can enable sexual predators and stalkers to target children as young as 13 years of age.

The civil complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning alleges that the New Hope, Pa.-based MeetMe, Inc. is violating California’s Unfair Competition Law by relying on legally invalid consent from minors between the ages of 13 and 17 to collect and improperly distribute their real-time geolocation and personal user information.  Approximately 25 percent of MeetMe.com’s user base is under the age of 18, according to social media marketing statistics cited in Herrera’s complaint.  The lawsuit additionally alleges that MeetMe fails to adequately disclose to users how their personal data is distributed.

“MeetMe has become a tool of choice for sexual predators to target underage victims, and the company’s irresponsible privacy policies and practices are to blame for it,” said Herrera.  “MeetMe improperly collects personal information from young teens — including their photos and real-time locations.  It then distributes that information in ways that expose children to very serious safety risks.  Sadly, these risks aren’t hypothetical.  Dozens of children nationwide have already been victimized by predators who used MeetMe to coerce minors into meeting.  Under California law, MeetMe’s reckless business practices are illegal, and we’re asking a court to put an end to them.”

MeetMe has been a key factor in numerous crimes involving sexual assault and illicit sex with minors in California, according to news reports documented in Herrera’s complaint.  In Aug. 2013, a 29-year-old Citrus Heights, Calif. man was charged with multiple counts of sexual acts with a minor and communicating with minors for unlawful purposes.  Police investigators found that MeetMe was among the apps the perpetrator used to send sexually-explicit photos and text messages to underage girls in order to begin a “sexting” relationship that ultimately progressed to sexual contact.  A Fresno, Calif. man was arrested in Oct. 2013 on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor that he met using MeetMe, according to news reports, and in July 2013 a 21-year-old Fair Oaks, Calif. man was criminally charged after posing as a 16-year-old boy to have sex with two girls — aged 12 and 15 — whom he met using MeetMe.

Dozens of minors nationwide have been similarly victimized in sex crimes by predators who relied on MeetMe to target their underage victims, according to reports cited in the complaint.  In June 2013, a Tewksbury, Mass. man was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to more than 50 charges, including rape of a child by force, indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.  The man used multiple aliases on MeetMe to trick teenage girls into sending him nude images.  He then threatened to publish the photos in order to blackmail victims into having sex with him.  A Wilmerding, Penn. man, who was criminally charged in Sept. 2013, used MeetMe to meet and then sexually assault three teenagers.  In Grady County, Okla., a 25-year-old man used MeetMe to meet and rape a 15-year-old girl.  An Albuquerque TV news station, reporting on MeetMe’s role in the case of a 21-year-old man who was arrested for soliciting sex with a 13-year-old girl, noted: “Investigators say it’s the latest site predators are cruising to find new victims, and it’s happening all too often.”

The lawsuit, which was investigated and filed by Herrera’s Consumer Protection Unit, is seeking a court order to enjoin MeetMe from continuing to engage in activities in California that violate state law; civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each violation found to have occurred in the state; and costs of the City Attorney’s lawsuit.

About the S.F. City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit
The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office’s Consumer Protection Unit pursues public interest civil cases under California’s Unfair Competition Law, which are funded virtually exclusively by civil recoveries — not taxpayer dollars.  The award-winning program, for which the National Association of Consumer Advocates recognized Dennis Herrera as its 2009 Consumer Attorney of the Year, reflects voter-enacted changes to California law that require civil penalties recovered by public prosecutors to be used exclusively to enforce consumer protection laws.  Since voters passed the amendments as part of Proposition 64 in 2004, Herrera’s Consumer Protection Unit has recovered some $20 million in successful battles against unlawful business practices that include price-fixing, illegal marketing, credit card collections arbitration scams and more.  The unit’s work has helped win equally important industry reforms to help protect consumer privacy, end discriminatory practices in health insurance and media metrics, protect immigrants, halt predatory evictions, and obtain recoveries for victims of wage theft.

The litigation is: People of the State of California ex rel. Dennis Herrera v. MeetMe, Inc. et al. (San Francisco Superior Court Case No. 537126, filed Feb. 3, 2014).  Complete documentation on the case is available at: http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.”

Assignment Desk: Call Up AAA Flag & Banner at 431-2950 and Ask About Them Making Both Pro and Anti Abortion Banners

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Here’s how things look on Market Street these days.

And here’s how things looked a couple years back:

Click to expand

“Milo is masterful but corrupt, parlaying his position as mess officer (in charge of the dining hall) into personal direction of M & M Enterprises, controlling all sorts of goods and services, from fresh eggs to prostitutes. Before long, his business is international; planes arrive daily from such markets as Liberia, London, and Karachi. He deals with everyone except the Russians, eschewing their trade because they are Communists. Nonetheless, he has no problem doing business with America’s primary European enemy, Nazi Germany. Milo even profits from specific battles. When the Allies plan to bomb a highway bridge at Orvieto, Milo arranges to conduct the attack for them. But he also agrees with the Germans to defend the same bridge with antiaircraft fire, bargaining for cost plus six percent from each side, plus a “merit bonus” of $1,000 from the Germans for each plane shot down. Having arranged all the details, Milo has no trouble convincing both sides to furnish their own men and equipment. He thus makes a nice profit by signing his name twice.”

San Francisco Is Being Trolled by the Anti-Abortion People and Here’s the Proof – Plus, What the Banners Look Like

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

All right, let’s pay off on that headline:

Eva Muntean, co-chair of the Walk for Life West Coast said “We are delighted with the publicity our banners have already generated. We urge all people of good will to join us on January 25 …

You see, they want you to call these banners a “hate crime.”

And here’s a banner:

A Courthouse Victory for CCSF: “City College Wins Reprieve, as Court Enjoins ACCJC from Terminating Accreditation”

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

The Big Battle of Boxing Day 2013 is over and here’s the result:

“City College wins reprieve, as court enjoins ACCJC from terminating accreditation - Herrera grateful to court ‘for acknowledging what accreditors callously won’t: that the educational aspirations of tens of thousands of City College students matter’

SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 2, 2014) — A San Francisco Superior Court judge has granted a key aspect of a motion by City Attorney Dennis Herrera to preliminarily enjoin the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges from terminating City College of San Francisco’s accreditation next July.  Under terms of the ruling Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow issued late this afternoon, the ACCJC is barred from finalizing its planned termination of City College’s accreditation during the course of the litigation, which alleges that the private accrediting body has allowed political bias, improper procedures, and conflicts of interest to unlawfully influence its evaluation of the state’s largest community college.  Judge Karnow denied Herrera’s request for additional injunctive relief to prevent the ACCJC from taking adverse accreditation actions against other educational institutions statewide until its evaluation policies comply with federal regulations.  A separate motion for a preliminary injunction by plaintiffs representing City College educators and students was denied.

In issuing the injunction, the court recognized that Herrera’s office is likely to prevail on the merits of his case when it proceeds to trial, and that the balance of harms favored the people Herrera represents as City Attorney.  On the question of relative harms, Judge Karnow’s ruling was emphatic in acknowledging the catastrophic effect disaccreditation would hold for City College students and the community at large, writing: “There is no question, however, of the harm that will be suffered if the Commission follows through and terminates accreditation as of July 2014.  Those consequences would be catastrophic.  Without accreditation the College would almost certainly close and about 80,000 students would either lose their educational opportunities or hope to transfer elsewhere; and for many of them, the transfer option is not realistic.  The impact on the teachers, faculty, and the City would be incalculable, in both senses of the term: The impact cannot be calculated, and it would be extreme.”

“I’m grateful to the court for acknowledging what accreditors have so far refused to: that the educational aspirations of tens of thousands of City College students matter,” said Herrera.  “Judge Karnow reached a wise and thorough decision that vindicates our contention that accreditors engaged in unfair and unlawful conduct.  Given the ACCJC’s dubious evaluation process, it makes no sense for us to race the clock to accommodate ACCJC’s equally dubious deadline to terminate City College’s accreditation.”

Judge Karnow adjudicated four separate pre-trial motions in today’s ruling following two days of hearings on Dec. 26 and 30.  Herrera filed his motion for preliminary injunction on Nov. 25 – three months after filing his initial lawsuit — blaming the ACCJC for procedural foot-dragging and delay tactics, which included a failed bid to remove the case to federal court and its months-long refusal to honor discovery requests.  Judge Karnow granted in part and denied in part Herrera’s motion, issuing an injunction that applies only to the ACCJC’s termination deadline for City College’s accreditation, and not statewide.

Apart from Herrera’s motion, AFT Local 2121 and the California Federation of Teachers also moved for a preliminary injunction onNov. 25, citing additional legal theories.  That motion was denied.  A third motion by the ACCJC asked the court to abstain from hearing the City Attorney’s lawsuit for interfering with complex accrediting processes largely governed by federal law; or, failing that, to stay Herrera’s action pending the outcomes of City College’s accreditation proceeding and ACCJC’s own efforts to renew its recognition with the U.S. Department of Education.  A fourth motion, also by the ACCJC, requested that the court strike the AFT/CFT’s case under California’s Anti-SLAPP statute, which enables defendants to dismiss causes of actions that intend to chill the valid exercise of their First Amendment rights of free speech and petition.  (SLAPP is an acronym for “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.”)  Both of the ACCJC’s pre-trial motions were denied.

The ACCJC has come under increasing fire from state education advocates, a bipartisan coalition of state legislators and U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier for its controversial advocacy to dramatically restrict the mission of California’s community colleges by focusing on degree completion to the detriment of vocational, remedial and non-credit education.  The accrediting body’s political agenda — shared by conservative advocacy organizations, for-profit colleges and student lender interests — represents a significant departure from the abiding “open access” mission repeatedly affirmed by the California legislature and pursued by San Francisco’s Community College District since it was first established.

Herrera’s action, filed on Aug. 22, alleges that the commission acted to withdraw accreditation “in retaliation for City College having embraced and advocated a different vision for California’s community colleges than the ACCJC itself.”  The civil suit offers extensive evidence of ACCJC’s double standard in evaluating City College as compared to its treatment of six other similarly situated California colleges during the preceding five years.  Not one of those colleges saw its accreditation terminated.

The City Attorney’s case is: People of the State of California ex rel. Dennis Herrera v. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges et al., San Francisco Superior Court No. 13-533693, filed Aug. 22, 2013.  The AFT/CFT case is: AFT Local 2121 et al. v. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges et al., San Francisco Superior Court No. 534447, filed Sept. 24, 2013.  Documentation from the City Attorney’s case is available online at: http://www.sfcityattorney.org.”

Oh, It’s On! A Boxing Day Courthouse Showdown Betwixt CCSF and the ACCJC – Thursday, Thursday, Thursday!

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Comes now San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, in the baby blue trunks…

…taking on the nameless, faceless Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, in the dark blue trunks.

I don’t think there’s any argument against the contention that City College of San Francisco has screwed up BIG TIME, and I think we all can agree that the ACCJC is not a perfect organization.

Anyway, Round XXXVII is coming up Thursday AM:

“Court will hear City Attorney’s motion to forbid de-accrediting City College
*** Thursday, Dec. 26, 9:00 a.m. ***

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 24, 2013)—As a part of its lawsuit to prevent the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) from revoking the accreditation of City College of San Francisco, City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office will be appearing in San Francisco Superior Court on Thursday, December 26 to ask the court for a preliminary injunction in the case.

What: Hearing on plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction in the case of People of the State of California v. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

When: Thursday, December 26, 2013, 9:00 a.m. Note: the court’s calendar begins at 9:00 a.m., but this particular motion may be heard at any time between 9:00 a.m. and the conclusion of the court’s morning business

Where: Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco (Complex Litigation Department), 400 McAllister St., Department 304, San Francisco, CA

If the motion is granted, the Court would not only forbid the ACCJC from de-accrediting City College until the conclusion of the case, but would acknowledge that the City is likely to prevail on the merits of the case should it go to trial.”

 

“Nevada ‘patient dumping’ led to crimes–including a murder–Sacramento Bee reports”

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

The latest:

“Nevada ‘patient dumping’ led to crimes–including a murder–Sacramento Bee reports

San Francisco City Attorney suing Nevada over improper discharge, busing practices says news ‘confirms our worst fears: that some of these trips led to tragedies’

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — In a major follow-up story on the State of Nevada’s controversial psychiatric patient discharge and busing practices, which critics have called “patient dumping,” the Sacramento Bee today reported that dozens of the more than 1,000 patients the newspaper was able to identify went on to commit crimes in locales to which Nevada officials bused them.  Included among the crimes committed by patients discharged from the state-run Rawson Neal Hospital in Las Vegas were one murder, another attempted murder, detonating explosives in a grocery store, failing to register as a sex offender, and an apparent suicide.  The report is available online at http://sacb.ee/1dCtXve.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, whose office is currently pursuing a class action lawsuit against Nevada on behalf of California local governments to which indigent psychiatric patients were improperly bused, issued the following statement in response to today’s new revelations.

“Earlier this year, federal auditors identified multiple instances in which Rawson Neal patients were clinically diagnosed as homicidal and suicidal–and yet were still bused within hours to remote destinations,” said Herrera.  ”Today’s news from the Sacramento Bee’s investigative report confirms our worst fears: that some of these trips led to tragedies.  We know from federal audits that Nevada officials bused at least one patient who was diagnosed as homicidal to San Francisco.  We also know that their clinical records reflect nothing about where that patient would stay, or access mental health services once here.  I hope this report is wake-up call to local governments nationwide that they, too, may be paying a heavy price for Nevada’s reprehensible conduct.”

Auditors from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is evaluating whether to revoke the hospital’s Medicare funding, included extensive reviews of Rawson Neal’s confidential clinical records.  Some of the resultant auditors’ reports, which have been released to the public, contain references to homicidal and suicidal patients whom Nevada officials discharged and bused out of state, including: the March 20, 2013 U.S. CMS Complaint Investigation; and the May 9, 2013 U.S. CMS EMTALA Complaint Investigation.  Both are among the records available for download on the San Francisco City Attorney’s website at http://sfcityattorney.org/index.aspx?page=519.

Herrera’s class action, filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Sept. 10, seeks a court-ordered injunction barring Nevada from similar patient discharge practices in the future, and reimbursement for San Francisco’s costs to provide care to the patients bused there.  If successful, San Francisco’s claim for reimbursement of the amounts expended to care for indigent patients bused from Nevada would benefit all California jurisdictions by setting a precedent for restitution to all jurisdictions able to demonstrate claims for damages and restitution substantially similar to San Francisco’s.  The suit additionally seeks injunctive relief that would apply statewide to prohibit Nevada from continuing to transfer non-residents into California without prior arrangements for patients’ care, or in a manner that violates state or federal standards governing patient discharges.

The case is: City and County of San Francisco v. State of Nevada et al., San Francisco Superior Court, filed Sept. 10, 2013.

SOURCE  City Attorney of San Francisco

City Attorney of San Francisco

Web Site: http://www.sfcityattorney.org

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Sues Former Supervisor Michael Yaki for More Than 70 Violations of City’s Lobbyist Ordinance

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Well, I suppose I can’t oppose enforcement of the Lobbyist Ordinance.

[And I'll mention that the "Yaki Compromise" would have had numerous salutary effects and would have saved lives lost due to the horrible Octavia Boulevard project.]

Herrera sues former Supervisor Yaki for more than 70 violations of City’s lobbyist ordinance

Lobbying for Rescue Air Systems, Inc. in the legislative process involving Fire Code revisions, Yaki ‘brazenly flouted a law with which he had no excuse to be unfamiliar’

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 4, 2013) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against former Supervisor Michael Yaki for more than 70 violations of the city’s lobbyist ordinance during the time Yaki was paid to advocate for the interests of his client, Rescue Air Systems, Inc., in the legislative process that revised San Francisco’s Fire Code earlier this year.  According to the complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, “Yaki flouted the lobbyist ordinance in every way” by failing to register as a lobbyist, failing to disclose the amounts and sources of payments for lobbying, and failing to report his lobbying contacts.  The complaint, which was filed with 15 accompanying declarations from Board members, legislative aides, fire commissioners and S.F. Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White, alleges that Yaki misrepresented his identity as a paid lobbyist when trying to set up meetings with five Supervisors.  

The city’s lobbyist ordinance provides for civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, or three times the amount of compensation scofflaw lobbyists fail to report — whichever is greater.  Yaki himself voted to support the ordinance in 2000 while a member of the Board of Supervisors.

“San Francisco’s Lobbyist Ordinance is a good government cornerstone that brings needed transparency to our local legislative process,” said Herrera.  ”It imposes a simple requirement on lobbyists to disclose the nature and extent of work they do for their clients, and other paid advocates have managed to comply with it thousands of times.  Unfortunately, in the case we’ve filed today, the evidence is overwhelming that Mr. Yaki brazenly flouted a law with which he had no excuse to be unfamiliar.  Our lobbyist ordinance fulfills a very important function in our local government, and its aggressive enforcement is essential to the legitimacy of the law itself.” 

San Carlos, Calif.-based Rescue Air Systems, Inc. manufactures a patented “firefighter air replenishment system,” or FARS, which San Francisco’s Fire Code has required since 2004 for new buildings with a height of 75 feet or more.  When city policymakers undertook their periodic revision to the local Fire Code beginning last year, Fire Chief Hayes-White was among numerous city officials to oppose extending the FARS requirement because the San Francisco Fire Department had never used or trained on the system, and because firefighters “do not have confidence that the air coming from the FARS pipes is safe and breathable, or that the system has been checked and maintained on regular basis,” according to Hayes-White’s declaration.  

Yaki engaged in extensive lobbying efforts over a period of more than a year on Rescue Air Systems’ behalf to retain the FARS requirement.  According to the city’s complaint and supporting declarations, the former supervisor lobbied fire commissioners, S.F. Fire Department officials, staff in the Mayor’s Office, and members of the Board of Supervisors and legislative aides to extend the legal requirement for an air replenishment system that only one company — Yaki’s client — manufactured.  The City Attorney’s Office’s investigation secured evidence of at least 70 lobbying contacts, including more than 10 lobbying meetings with Supervisors and their legislative aides and more than 50 emails to city officials on behalf of Rescue Air Systems’ interests in the Fire Code revision process.  

Yaki’s lobbying efforts ultimately proved largely unsuccessful.  San Francisco’s Fire Commission passed a motion recommending that the FARS requirement be altered to offer developers a choice of whether to install FARS or a firefighter service elevator to facilitate oxygen delivery.  That recommendation was adopted as part of the San Francisco Fire Code amendments unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors in September, which Mayor Ed Lee approved on Oct. 3, 2013.  

The case is: Dennis Herrera in his Official Capacity as San Francisco City Attorney v. Michael Yaki, San Francisco Superior Court, filed Dec. 4, 2013.  Due to the large file size of the 468-page court filing, the complete presskit with accompanying declarations is not being emailed but is available for download on the City Attorney’s website at: http://www.sfcityattorney.org/index.aspx?page=570.”

More Backbone for Our Invertebrate Ethics Commish: “Dennis Herrera Names Peter Keane to San Francisco Ethics Commission”

Monday, October 21st, 2013

In one fell swoop, our ethics commish has become 40%* vertebrate, a strong minority:

“Herrera names Peter Keane to San Francisco Ethics Commission. Law professor, former law school dean and Chief Assistant S.F. Public Defender brings ‘extraordinary professionalism and legal credentials’ to five-member panel

SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 21, 2013)—City Attorney Dennis Herrera today named law professor and law school dean emeritus Peter Keane to the San Francisco Ethics Commission. Keane brings a wealth of experience in law and government ethics issues to the five-member panel, which is charged with serving citizens, public officials and political candidates through education and enforcement of ethics laws and regulations.

Keane currently serves as a professor of law and dean emeritus at Golden Gate University Law School, and as a visiting professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he teaches evidence, criminal procedure, constitutional law and professional responsibility. He served for 20 years as San Francisco’s Chief Assistant Public Defender, and was appointed by the Board of Supervisors in 2004 to serve a term on the San Francisco Police Commission. Keane, a former president of the Bar Association of San Francisco and vice-president of the State Bar of California, remains a highly sought-after legal commentator for local, national, and international news organizations, and has hosted numerous legal roundtables and radio programs, including “Keane on the Law” for KPIX Radio. He authored 1994’s Proposition 190, the successful statewide ballot measure that amended California’s Constitution to reform and restructure the Commission on Judicial Performance, the agency that oversees the California Judiciary.

“Peter Keane brings extraordinary professionalism and legal credentials to the San Francisco Ethics Commission, and I know San Franciscans will be extremely well served by his experience as an educator and veteran public servant,” Herrera said. “Peter’s dedication to the cause of justice and remarkable knowledge of government ethics will be an enormously valuable asset for the commission and the citizens it serves.”

The San Francisco Charter specifies that the City Attorney’s appointment to the Ethics Commission have a background in law as it relates to government ethics. Created by voters with the passage of Proposition K in November 1993, the Ethics Commission is empowered to, among other things, administer the City’s ethics laws, including its campaign contribution, conflict of interest, lobbying and whistle-blowing laws; to investigate alleged violations of those laws and to impose penalties; and to submit proposed ordinances directly to voters relating to government ethics.

Keane fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Herrera’s prior appointee, Jamienne S. Studley, who was recently appointed to serve as Deputy Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education in the Obama Administration. The unexpired term is set to lapse on Feb. 1, 2014.”

*Keane plus Benedict Y. Hur, Esq., vs., you know, three jellyfish.

San Bruno vs. San Carlos: Incompetent “PG&E Welcomes Opportunity To Demonstrate Safety Of Line 147″

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

So let’s see here. According to PG&E, it doesn’t have to listen to any judges telling it to shut down any pipelines, no matter how dangerous the pipeline is and no matter how reckless PG&E employees and contractors behave.

In the words of John Malkovich, “WTF to that.”

You see, PG&E prefers to be regulated by the lapdog CPUC.

All right, here’s the latest, from PG&E’s point of view, just released:

“PG&E Welcomes Opportunity To Demonstrate Safety Of Line 147

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 8, 2013 — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today said it welcomes the opportunity to continue its work with the California Public Utilities Commission and San Mateo County communities to validate that the company has completed, as represented, safety-related work on transmission Line 147.

“We want to be a good neighbor to San Mateo County communities. Customers in these communities can be assured that Line 147 is safe and we look forward to the opportunity to document all the work that has gone into maintaining and operating this line safely. It is important that this validation be completed on an expedited basis because Line 147 is even more critical to our system once colder weather comes our way. We don’t want to be in a position of being unable to serve our customers because the pipeline is out of service,” said Nick Stavropoulos, the executive vice president responsible for leading the PG&E gas organization since June 2011.

PG&E on Friday was ordered by a San Mateo Superior Court to cease service to Line 147 after the City of San Carlos questioned the pipe’s safety.  The company complied with the order and today said it does not intend to return the line to service pending a review by the CPUC. However, the company today asked the Court to vacate the temporary injunction because it lacked the jurisdiction to make such a ruling.  In California, exclusive jurisdiction is given to the California Public Utilities Commission in order to avoid a patchwork of conflicting local standards and regulations.

Background

What is Line 147 and where is it located?

Line 147 consists of a 20-inch and 24-inch gas pipeline that runs for 3.8 miles between Highways 101 and 280 along Brittan Avenue in San Carlos (PG&E Gas Transmission Pipelines). Line 147 plays an important role in PG&E’s ability to safely and reliably serve more than 650,000 customers on the Peninsula. Line 147 is a cross-tie, connecting Line 101 on the eastern side of the Peninsula to Lines 109 and 132 that are centrally located on the Peninsula. Lines 101, 109 and 132 run south to north from Milpitas Terminal in Santa Clara County to PG&E’s San Francisco Gas Load Center.

What measures has PG&E taken to ensure the safe operation of Line 147?
Our work on Line 147 has included verifying records and pressurizing the line with high-pressure water to confirm its integrity. PG&E employees – on foot and in the air – have regularly checked this line, and all of PG&E’s lines, for leaks.

Following the San Bruno accident in September 2010, PG&E lowered the operating pressure on many pipelines – including Line 147 – as an interim safety measure. In addition, after the San Bruno accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended hydrostatic testing for pipelines that were previously not subject to a pressure test – a process whereby water is put into the line at nearly double, if not more, the pressure that the gas typically reaches – be performed across all gas utilities in the nation.

In October of 2011, Line 147 was hydrostatically tested, and passed. Because of this successful pressure test, PG&E asked the CPUC to allow it to restore the line’s operating pressure. This request included a large volume of documentation and evidence supporting this restoration of pressure.

After receiving approval from the CPUC, PG&E increased the operating pressure on Line 147 as necessary to meet winter load, but kept the operating pressure below the approved Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP). On May 24, 2012, after the winter months, PG&E again reduced the operating pressure on Line 147.

Additional measures taken to ensure safe operation of Line 147
In addition to the pressure test, PG&E has taken extensive actions since 2010 to ensure the continued safe operation of Line 147. These have included:

–  MAOP Validation: Using its Pipeline Features List, PG&E conducted a
systematic evaluation of the characteristics of Line 147 to validate the
MAOP of each pipeline component.

    —  Integrity Assessment: PG&E has completed baseline assessments for the
portions of Line 147 that are in densely populated areas, by performing
External Corrosion Direct Assessments in 2004 and/or 2009.
    —  Valve Replacement: A new 20-inch valve was installed on Line 147 near
Brittan Avenue in 2011 to allow PG&E to quickly stop the flow of gas and
isolate the line if necessary.
    —  Regular Maintenance:
–  Leak Surveys: All of Line147 was surveyed in April 2013. PG&E
continues to survey Line 147 for leaks on a regular basis.
—  Ground and Aerial Patrols: PG&E has conducted ground patrols of Line
147 in each of the first eight months of 2013 as well as in November
and December of 2012. During these patrols, PG&E gas employees walk
or drive the line to check for any leaks. PG&E also has conducted
aerial patrols on Line 147 every month from December 2012 to date,
except for February 2013. PG&E continues to patrol and monitor these
lines and records observations of any potential threats to the
integrity of the lines.
—  Anti-Corrosion Measures: Line 147 is equipped with cathodic
protection (CP), a system to safeguard against pipeline corrosion.
PG&E inspects its CP systems using pipe-to-soil reads, and annual
rectifier inspections. This electrical device impresses current on
the pipeline, which is a critical part of the corrosion control
system. PG&E continues to perform CP pipe-to-soil inspections on
Line 147 every other month.
A leak was discovered as part of routine work

In October 2012, as PG&E continued other work to improve the safety of its system, a leak was found on Line 147. At the same time, the company discovered discrepancies in the information that was originally submitted to support the pipeline’s MAOP.

As part of PG&E’s due diligence into the leak, a contractor raised questions about Line 147 in an email. That’s exactly what we encourage our people to do: raise any concerns about safety. All of the issues raised by the individual were seriously discussed.

PG&E also removed the section of pipe that leaked to confirm its mechanical and metallurgical properties via laboratory work, including a root cause analysis of the leak itself. That report concluded the leak was on base metal, not on a girth weld or the long seam weld and, importantly, that “no evidence of crack growth during service or hydro testing was detected.”

The results of this metallurgical test, the results of the 2011 hydrostatic pressure tests, and other steps PG&E has taken to ensure the integrity of its system, confirm that Line 147 is safe.

To learn more about PG&E’s commitment to pipeline safety, please visit www.pge.com/pipelinesafety.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit: http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom and www.pgecurrents.com.

SOURCE  Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

CONTACT: PG&E External Communications - (415) 973-5930

Web Site: http://www.pge-corp.com

Horrible PG&E Offers Up Excuses for Dragging Its Feet Shutting the Pipeline It Was Just Ordered to Shut Down

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Sometimes it seems like PG&E is 100% run by MBAs. Anyway. here’s the latest in the ongoing San Carlos, CA fiasco:

“Pipeline Is Safe, PG&E Tells San Carlos Customers. Utility is taking steps to be able to safely and effectively shut off service to San Carlos pipeline in compliance with Superior Court order

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 5, 2013 — Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) today said customers in San Carlos, Calif., can be assured that a natural gas transmission pipeline in their community is being operated in a completely safe manner.”

Gee, PG&E, wasn’t that what you said before about the natural gas pipeline in the San Bruno community before your negligence killed eight people in 2010? Do you think it’s a common thing for utility to kill eight people at a time? Your assurances mean nothing, PG&E.

In addition, PG&E said that despite the line being operated safely, the company is taking steps to be able to safely and effectively shut off service to the pipeline in compliance with an October 4 temporary injunction order by the San Mateo Superior Court. PG&E expects to be in a position to shut off service as early as Monday or Tuesday. The plan must account for a number of important safety and customer impacts associated with shutting off service.

What’s all this “PGE said” crap? Aren’t you PG&E? So why don’t you just come out and make the claim to the world, instead of to the people of San Carlos? What’s the angle here? Anyway, this graf here sounds like you’re sassing the judge, doesn’t it? Like, despite some judge going stark raving bonkers, we’re going to do what the judge ordered us to do, eventually. And you’re not ready to shut the pipeline down now? You have to “take steps” first? OK  fine.

“We are working diligently to comply with the court order to safely and effectively shut off service to the pipeline. However, in the meantime, I want all customers to know that this pipeline has been demonstrated to be safe using the leading and most universally accepted standard for assessing the integrity of operating pipelines. Under no circumstances would we operate this pipeline in an unsafe condition and any suggestion to the contrary is simply wrong,” said Nick Stavropoulos, the executive vice president with responsibility for all PG&E gas operations since June 2011.

Yet a PG&E engineer asked, “Are We Sitting on a San Bruno Situation? Right? What about that, EVP Nick?

PG&E is responding to the court order by developing a plan to shut down the pipeline in a safe and effective fashion as quickly as possible.  The company noted that work is presently being conducted on Line 101 on the Peninsula – the pipeline stretches from South San Francisco to San Jose. This work must be completed before Line 147 can be taken out of service in order to avoid posing an unreasonable risk of loss of service to other customers.   In addition, the company is completing an assessment of gas service impact to customers in the San Carlos community, which will be taken into account as the company’s analysis concludes by Monday.

Uh, PG&E? “Safely” means to not kill any more people. “Effectively” means shutting down Line 147 100%. That’s it. Obviously this isn’t going to be convenient for you but aren’t you worried about being in contempt?

“To ensure safe operations on Line 147 in San Carlos, PG&E conducted hydrostatic pressure testing on the line in September 2011 to validate the safe operating pressure. Hydrostatic pressure testing, including a spike test, is widely considered among state and federal regulators the leading industry standard to ensure the safe operation of a gas transmission pipeline. In addition, a third party consulting firm conducted independent metallurgical testing after further questions were raised about the pipeline by a company employee. PG&E is requesting that San Carlos officials consult with state and federal pipeline safety officials to validate the actions taken by PG&E on Line 147. To learn more about PG&E’s commitment to pipeline safety, please visit www.pge.com/pipelinesafety.”

Blah blah blah. Hey PG&E! Why don’t you just shut down the fucking line now before you kill any more people?

All right, play us out of here, you incompetent boobs:

“Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit:  http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ and www.pgecurrents.com.

SOURCE  PG&E

PG&E

CONTACT: PG&E External Communications - (415) 973-5930

Web Site: http://www.pge-corp.com