Posts Tagged ‘city attorney’

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

PG&E Delivers a Big FU to Superior Court Judge George Miram – PG&E Engineer: “Are We Sitting on a San Bruno Situation?”

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Isn’t it special when America’s worst large utility starts talking smack about pipelines and safety?

Yes it is.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee* might be in the pocket of PG&E, but not the authoritahs down San Carlos way.

How refreshing.

Here’s the latest:

“10/5/2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  - PRESS RELEASE #10052013
Subject :

City Activates Limited Emergency Operations Center
Responds to State of Emergency
Contact : Jeff Maltbie, City Manager, City Manager (650) 802-4228
jmaltbie@cityofsancarlos.org
Greg Rubens, City Attorney, City Attorney (650) 593-3117×202
grubens@adcl.com

SAN CARLOS, CA, October 5, 2013 – At 11:30am on Saturday, October 4, 2013, the City of San Carlos activated the Emergency Operations Center in a limited capacity.

At 12:00pm today, the City Manager, City Attorney, San Carlos Police and Fire Departments, and Public Works met via conference call with representatives from PG&E Gas Operations, and State and County Office of Emergency Services, to discuss the current status of Natural Gas Transmission Line 147. Line 147 is a 20″ pipe that is 3.8 miles long and runs from the Interstate 280 corridor, through San Carlos, to the Highway 101 corridor, primarily down Brittan Avenue. The City estimates that some 5000 plus residents live near the transmission line.

Thursday, the City learned that some engineers within PG&E had stated in emails that line 147 may have been structurally compromised by pressure testing that the company permitted in 2011. The City requested PG&E voluntarily shut down line 147, until such time as a neutral third party could examine the data and evidence establishing the current physical condition of the pipe, and its safety. PG&E declined to shut down line 147, and the City was forced to seek an injunction to shut down the line. The injunction was obtained just before 5:00pm Friday.

As of the conclusion of today’s 12:00pm conference call with PG&E, company representatives confirmed that they continue to operate line 147 despite the existence of the injunction, but are analyzing the alleged impacts of shutting down the line. The analysis, according to PG&E, will be concluded by Monday morning, October 7, 2013. Mayor Bob Grassilli responded, stating this timeline is not at all satisfactory. “How can a company which claims safety is their top priority continue to ignore a court order issued to protect the public? It’s 80 degrees outside, PG&E customers in the Bay Area aren’t going to be without gas if line 147 were shut down. They shut down the line for several months in 2011 without impacting customers.” City Manager Jeff Maltbie reiterated for the residents of San Carlos that the City has no reason to believe physical conditions of the pipe have changed in the last few days. He stated, “We’ve declared a state of emergency and obtained a court order because we believe PG&E has incomplete and contradictory information about the safety status and physical make up of line 147. We believe PG&E has a responsibility to our community to shut the line down until they can show the public it’s safe.”

Vice Mayor Mark Olbert stated, “ Our residents deserve to live in their own homes without fear of a pipe line explosion. We are asking that the line be shut down until such time as PG&E can prove to the public in front of the CPUC that line 147 is safe and they know what they have in the ground here in San Carlos.”

*For various reasons. One of them is that he’s enamored by a PG&E lobbyist

Oh, So _That’s_ What the Central Subway Looks Like – A Giant Hole in the Ground at the Foot of Stockton – “Don’t Dig There!”

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

The Central Subway project might make sense politically (let’s take money from taxpayers from all over America to pay for a big project in our little-big city), but it doesn’t make sense from a transit standpoint.

Down down we go, under Market Street, under the MUNI Metro, and under the BART. When you pass by, you should crumple up all your ones and fives on you and throw them into this sinkhole because that’s what you’re already doing and what you will be doing far far into the future.

Click to expand

Oh, what’s that, “transit justice,” they say? Well, most of the victims of this project live in San Francisco and most of them aren’t caucasoids, so I don’t know what the fuck that phrase means in the context  of this ridiculous scheme.

The project promotes transit justice by providing reliable, efficient, and safe transit for those who live in Chinatown and those who want to visit Chinatown.”

Does City Attorney Dennis Herrera believe this bullshit? No. Does Supervisor Scott Wiener? No. How about closeted Republican Supervisor Mark Farrell? No. How about Board of Supervisors President David Chiu? No.

Oh well.

Don’t dig there and dig it elsewhere
You’re digging it round and it ought to be square
The shape of it is wrong, it’s much too long
And you can’t put a hole where a hole don’t belong

The Hole in the Ground” was a comic song which was written by Myles Rudge and composed by Ted Dicks. When recorded by Bernard Cribbins and released by EMI on the Parlophone label in 1962, it was a hit in the UK charts.[1][2]

The song is about a dispute between a workman digging a hole and an officious busybod y wearing a bowler hat. This exemplifies English class conflict of the era and Cribbins switches between a working class Cockney accent, in which he drops his aitches, and a middle class accent for the gentleman in the bowler hat.

The Mystery of This UberX Taxi Ad Chalked onto a Market Street Sidewalk

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

“If people did research into the scandal … the woman is the culprit.”

That bon mon came from so-called “girl-power” girl jennifer Siebel back in the day.

But it applies these days too, ’cause UberX sent a woman to sullie our sidewalks with unpermitted advertising art just yesterday.

As seen on Market betwixt 2nd and 3rd:

Click to expand

Now is this kind of thing a scandal? Well it sure was when Microsoft did it Down Mission Way back in 2010. Ah, memories.

Anyway, this is how it looked, les mise en scene:

And then, poof, this corporate ad got erased with a quickness after the Uber managed to figure things out, one supposes.

Oh corporate overlords, when will you learn?

Hey, are Ridesharing Companies Allowed to Chalk Advertisements onto the Sidewalks of Market Street? Check Out UberX

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Uh oh

The 10th Anniversary of the SFPD Detention of Lawyer Rodel Rodis – Everything’s About Race? – Scott Wiener Angle

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Yes, everything that ever happens in your life has to do with your ethnic heritage, apparently.

That’s the conclusion you might come to after reading this tale from area attorney Rodel Rodis. It started up ten years ago and ended up involving a former Assistant City Attorney by the name of Scott Wiener.

All right, Rodel, the SFPD took you into a station after thinking you were trying to pass a fake $100 bill, but actually it was real, so look sad, come on, sadder, sadder, cleek:

Via Darryl Bush from a story by Ryan Kim

Uh, dude, you’re telling your story wrong.

And I’ll tell you, if you ever find me with a $100 bill, I’ll know exactly where I got it from.

And you’d think somebody could have entered the phrase “1985 $100 bill” into the Google earlier in this process, back in the day, but oh well. (And IRL, a teller supervisor at a bank in the pre-Internet era could examine a bill and then contact the feds in a New York minute, you know, to check the serial number.)

And if Walgreens ever sends me a giant bouquet to turn my frown upside-down, I’d tell them they should have simply handed over the bouquet money directly to me.

But, In mitigation, you went to the former New College of Law and then, unlike most of its graduates*, you passed the CA bar exam. So good on you. Srsly.

And you escaped the college board before City College came crashing down, so that was a good move as well.

All right, let’s look forward to this incident’s 20th anniversary in 2023, when we’ll surely hear this tale again…

*Such as your fellow area minor celebrity, the ivory-white “Ivory Madison.”

U.S. Supreme Court Sets Prop 8 Date: March 26 – DOMA Challenge Too – Back-to-Back Showdown Over LGBT Civil Rights

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Well here’s the big news, direct from the Office of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, below.

Via Steve Rhodes - click to expand

“U.S. Supreme Court sets Prop 8 oral argument date for March 26

DOMA challenge scheduled for the next day, setting the stage for back-to-back showdown over LGBT civil rights

SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 7, 2013) — The U.S. Supreme Court moments ago published its formal argument calendar for March 2013, scheduling oral arguments in the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, called Hollingsworth v. Perry, for March 26, beginning at 10:00 a.m. EDT (7:00 a.m. PDT).

Another case that is also related to same-sex marriage rights — a challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA — will be heard the following day, on March 27, at the same time. That case is called United States v. Windsor.

In granting review to both marquee marriage equality cases exactly one month ago, the nation’s highest court set the stage for potentially landmark rulings on LGBT civil rights that promise to be the most eagerly-anticipated of the current court term. Rulings are expected by the end of June.

The legal issues at stake in the challenge to Prop 8, the controversial 2008 ballot measure that eliminated marriage rights for same-sex partners in California, are two-fold: first, whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman; and second, whether the proponents of Prop 8 have legal standing to litigate the case.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights filed the lawsuit in May 2009 on behalf two California couples who sought to marry: Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo. They are represented by lead counsel Theodore B. Olson and David Boies. City Attorney Dennis Herrera intervened as a co-plaintiff in the case in August 2009, renewing San Francisco’s groundbreaking pubic sector legal advocacy for the broader societal interest to end marriage discrimination against lesbian and gay couples. At trial, Herrera and his legal team provided extensive evidence that state and local governments derive significant societal and economic benefits when same-sex partners enjoy equal marriage rights — and, conversely, that denying such rights inflicts grave injustices on the LGBT community that, in turn, harm government and society at large.

When the high court granted review to the case on Dec. 7, 2012, Herrera said: “The federal challenge to Prop 8 represents one of the most significant civil rights cases to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court in decades, and I’m confident that the high court will reach a decision that reaffirms our Constitution’s promise of equal protection under the law.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s argument calendar for March is published online here:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_calendars/MonthlyArgumentCalMar2013.pdf

The comprehensive timeline of San Francisco’s legal battle for marriage equality since February 2004 is available on City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s website at:

http://www.sfcityattorney.org/index.aspx?page=23

The Prop 8 case is: Hollingsworth v. Perry, U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 12-144.  The DOMA case is: United States v. Windsor, U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 12-307.”

Tink happy tots…

DJH and company, 2008, Civic Center:

Click to expand

Supervisor John Avalos Throws Down: Regulation of the Google Bus is Coming – Legislation for Corporate Shuttles

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Here’s the news:

“Supervisor Avalos Moves to Regulate Private Shuttle Stops

San Francisco, CA – Today San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos requested that the City Attorney draft legislation to create a permit process to regulate shuttle stops for private employer shuttles in San Francisco.

The number of private shuttles on San Francisco streets has increased dramatically in recent years. The San Francisco Transportation Authority reports that there are approximately 36,000 one-way trips per day taken on private shuttles. These shuttles stop at over 200 different locations in the City. There are currently no regulations governing the locations of these shuttle stops. The majority of these stops are using Muni curb zones, which is currently illegal and impacts Muni service.

“I appreciate how private shuttles help reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions,” Supervisor Avalos said, “but their rapid growth makes it clear that we need sensible City policy to prevent this from growing into an unregulated Wild West era of shuttles competing with Muni for curb space.”

As a member of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Mobile Source Committee, Supervisor Avalos recognizes that private shuttles are becoming an important part of the City’s transportation and environmental policies.

Despite their benefits, private shuttles present challenges that the City must manage. In addition to delaying Muni service, these shuttles increase the wear and tear on City streets and impact neighborhood’s quality of life. As chair of the Public Safety Committee Supervisor Avalos says, “I recognize the need to address the safety hazards posed by large, double-decker shuttle buses navigating narrow and hilly City streets.” Less direct impacts, such as the dramatic increase in housing costs near shuttle stops, also warrant study.

Supervisor Avalos is encouraged by the work of the Transportation Authority’s San Francisco Integrated Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Partnership Project in coordination with the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA), the Planning Department, the Department of the Environment, and the shuttle operators. He looks forward to working with all of these groups to develop a comprehensive City policy to foster additional growth in private shuttles while minimizing their adverse impacts.”

Now here’s how we handled things a half decade back, or at least here’s how Supervisor Bevan Dufty handled the NIMBYs of Noe Valley back in 2007. (I think he was holding a photo of a Google Bus but I never saw the photo any closer.)

On It Goes…

PS: MUNI sucks. 

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Stars in “Call Me Baby” Parody for the Money Mart Settlement – Deadline Oct 1st

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Here it is:

I was waiting for a stinger at the end, maybe involving DJH, you know, bookends, but anyway, all the deets:

“San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera and Money Mart (also known as Loan Mart) have reached a settlement requiring Money Mart to repay California consumers up to $7.5 million

How much is each repayment?

Repayments will range from $20 to $1,800.

Who is eligible to make a claim for repayment?

You are eligible to make a claim for repayment if:

1) you borrowed a pay day advance loan (sometimes called a “Cash ’til Payday” loan) at a Money Mart or Loan Mart store between January 2005 and July 2005, or

2) you borrowed an installment loan (sometimes called a “CustomCash” loan) at a Money Mart or Loan Mart store between July 2005 and March 2007.

(more…)