This new tax is a done deal.
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This new tax is a done deal.
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Well, here it is, your brand new PG&E SmartMeter opt-out option.
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David R. Baker was on the scene at the big CPUC meeting yesterday, actually engaging with the crazies, so check that out if you want.
And if you think that a SmartMeter has ANYTHING AT ALL to do with your health (and, oh yes, you yourself are somehow particularly affected by infinitesimal amounts of additional non-ionizing radiation in your life, I hear what you are saying) you’re barking up the wrong tree. People who don’t tell you that are just patronizing you, just saying.
Now here’s what PG&E has to say. Enjoy:
“SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 1, 2012 — Residential electric and gas customers who have concerns about wireless technology can now choose either a new SmartMeter(TM) or a traditional analog meter, following the final decision today by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) supports the CPUC’s decision and will respond quickly to customers who opt-out of the utility’s SmartMeter(TM) program.
“We know personal choice is important to our customers when it comes to the meters on their homes,” said Helen Burt, PG&E’s Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. “This final decision in support of analog meters is a positive step forward for those who have concerns over wireless technology. We understand some customers have been waiting for this decision, and we are actively reaching out to those who have expressed their desire for a SmartMeter(TM) alternative.”
PG&E is installing digital, wireless SmartMeters(TM) throughout its service area in Northern and Central California as part of a statewide effort to help customers save on their bills by offering them more control over their energy usage, improve reliability and customer service, and conserve natural resources to help the environment. As part of a global effort to modernize the energy grid and transform it into a digital network that will deliver more reliable power to homes and businesses, similar metering programs are now underway at utilities throughout the country and around the world. To date, PG&E has installed nearly nine million gas and electric SmartMeters(TM), on its way to about 10 million meters in 2012.
Independent studies repeatedly have affirmed the safety and accuracy of SmartMeters(TM). However, in response to comments from some customers, PG&E in March 2011 proposed offering them a choice to turn off the radios in their SmartMeters(TM), and then provided customers with the option to delay the installation of new SmartMeters(TM) pending the CPUC’s final decision. In December 2011, PG&E asked the CPUC to approve analog meters as another alternative to receiving a SmartMeter(TM), which was the central element of the CPUC’s decision today.
Burt added, “The vast majority of our customers are already seeing the many benefits of SmartMeters(TM). By choosing to stay with our program, our customers will continue having control by seeing where they can save energy throughout the course of the day and making simple but effective changes around the home to save money.”
PG&E customers who want to opt-out of the SmartMeter(TM) program can submit their request online at www.pge.com/smartmeteroptout or call 1-866-743-0263. PG&E plans to remove the gas and electric SmartMeters(TM) from the homes of those opt-out customers who already have SmartMeters(TM); those customers who still have analog meters will be able to keep them.
The CPUC’s final decision requires customers who opt-out of the program to pay a $75 initial setup charge and a $10 monthly charge. This will cover the costs of manual meter-reading and associated operational and billing issues. Income-qualified customers will pay a $10 initial setup charge and $5 a month.
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/
SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company”
Say what you will about our corporate overlords at Morgan Chase, you can’t deny that they can tell which way the winds are blowing these days.
Proof of that is this announcement, below.
My favorite Chase Bank is the one on Oak and Divisadero. Isn’t it kewl?
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That’s right, it’s hella cool.
On a somewhat serious note, thanks for Chase Community Giving, Chase. That’s better than spending your money on a Super Bowl commercial or whathaveyou.
(But don’t get on my bad side, Chase, else it will be smashy smashy like what happened to your nearby competitor on Fell a couple Halloweens back.)
Anyway, you all can join the boycott,* I don’t care. As long as the Chase customers can have their bank branch on Oak, that’s fine.
Or take your money to a credit union, I don’t care.
And, oh, goran nasai, Amerika no Ginkoo. Mite, mite:
“Chase Announces it Won’t Charge Customers a Debit Card Fee - Consumers Union Calls On Bank of America to Drop its Plan to Charge a $5 Fee for Debit Card Purchases
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 28, 2011 — JP Morgan Chase announced today that it will not charge its customers a $3 monthly debit card fee after testing the charge in Wisconsin and Georgia. The bank announced that it would drop the idea following negative reaction from its customers.
Consumers Union, the nonprofit advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, today commended Chase for its decision and reiterated its call on Bank of America to end its plan to charge a $5 debit card fee beginning in 2012.
“Consumers Union has heard from thousands of consumers across the country who are outraged that Bank of America is instituting the $5 monthly debit card fee,” said Norma Garcia, manager of Consumers Union’s financial services program. ”It’s time for Bank of America to listen to its customers who are saying loud and clear: drop the fee or we’ll drop you. All banks that are considering debit card fees should ditch those plans.”
SunTrust has also started rolling out a similar debit card fee and Wells Fargo has been testing one in select markets. Earlier this month, Consumers Union called on Chase, Bank of America and these other banks to abandon plans to charge customers a fee for debit card purchases.
“It’s unfair for banks to stick consumers with a monthly fee just to use their own money,” said Garcia. ”The banks that charge debit card fees risk losing customers who are fed up with financial institutions that got bailed out that are now turning around and hiking fees.”
Consumers Union has published a set of tips for consumers who want to switch banks.
Saturday, November 5, has been dubbed Bank Transfer Day by grassroots activists upset with rising bank fees, including the new $5 debit card fee that Bank of America will start charging its customers in 2012. Consumers are being encouraged by Bank Transfer Day organizers to switch their accounts to credit unions or community banks on that day.
SOURCE Consumers Union”
Oh, there’s an updated version of this release. See it after the jump.
*Facebook, really? Heh. Home of the ephemeral…
See? They all gather together for some big party, looks like.
And then they all sort of circle around
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How many cars do you count?
The average wait for an emergency room visit at UCSF‘s Parnassus Heights campus is 4.5 hours for people with mild medical emergencies? Wow.
Wouldn’t it be nicer to pay $5 to check-in online and then wait at home rather than in the ER?
That’s what UCSF thinks.
“UCSF patients with minor medical needs seeking treatment in the Emergency Department now can make an appointment to be seen – waiting at home rather in the hospital – via a new online check-in service called InQuickER.
UCSF Medical Center’s Emergency Department (ED) at Parnassus Heights is now offering InQuickER designed for patients with non-threatening minor medical needs.
UCSF patients can register online for a $4.99 fee and pick an open slot for an emergency room visit. The fee will be refunded if they’re not seen within 15 minutes.
In April, UCSF did a trial run with the online service, which 22 people used. UCSF Medical Center launched the system a few weeks ago.
“One thing we encountered during the trial was that a lot of patients were using it inappropriately,” said Jennifer Dearman, the Emergency Department’s patient care manager. “The online registration is screened by ED nurses and we have had to advise some patients to come directly to the ED. This service is for a fast-track kind of patient.”
“For example, a cancer patient on chemotherapy with a fever can have complicated issues and should be seen in the regular ED, so InQuickER is not appropriate for that person.”
About 105 patients a day visit the emergency room at UCSF Medical Center on the Parnassus campus, Dearman said, and the average time between arrival and departure, for those not admitted to the hospital, is four-and-a-half hours.
That’s in keeping with the average wait in 2009 for ER patients throughout California: four hours and 34 minutes – 27 minutes longer than the U.S. average, according to a 2010 report by health care consulting firm Press Ganey.
Dearman said patient satisfaction was the main reason UCSF Medical Center adopted InQuickER. “It also helps us control the flow,” she said. “The general population doesn’t think the emergency room ever has slow times. But it does.”
UCSF is one of 55 health care facilities in 13 states partnering with InQuickER, said spokesman Chris Song. The service, based in Nashville, began in 2006 after its founder, Tyler Kiley, had to go to an emergency room and spent hours witnessing stasis and frustration.
“He just thought there had to be a better way,” Song said. “With our service, you still have to wait but you get to do it somewhere else. Like on your couch instead of being surrounded by other sick people.”
Song said InQuickerER provides patients with convenience, comfort and some level of control. And it allows emergency department staff to know who’s coming and what symptoms they have, so that they can better prepare.
“It can help reduce the burden of peak times and spread it out,” Song said. “It creates more efficiency and a better environment in the waiting room.”
So far, more than 10,000 people have used the service; 95 percent have been seen within the 15-minute window. In a triage situation, of course, even people who have registered will have to wait. When there are delays, users are notified through text messages and emails with updated projections on treatment times.
The service is available online at https://ucsfmedicalcenter.inquicker.com/. It is growing rapidly, Song said, which is not surprising: A study led by San Francisco General Hospital emergency physician Renee Hsia, MD, MSc, found that the number of hospital-based emergency departments in the United States is declining, despite an increase in the number of patients seeking emergency care.
The study by Hsia, an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine in the UCSF School of Medicine, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in May. It reported that 27 percent of urban and suburban emergency rooms have closed in the last two decades.”
I’ve told you before, taxi drivers, and I’ll say it again.
If you want to get healthcare and if you want local govt. to take you seriously, become a MUNI driver.
Anyway, the latest deets are below.
One of the group of San Francisco taxi drivers who isn’t afraid of a little protest, obviously. She has three kids and she’s from Brazil – maybe she’ll be at the big meeting:
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Do I think it’s remotely possible that the bulk of a shift of taxi drivers will go on strike? No.
Do I think it’s probable that MUNI drivers will go on strike on August 2? Also no.
Anyway, the latest:
SF Transit Operator/Taxi Drivers Organizing Meeting August 1st
An open meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 1st, 2011 from 6pm to 9pm, between San Francisco taxi drivers and MUNI bus workers. (Everyone is welcome)
These meetings are to strengthen relations between the taxi workers and bus workers, and to envision a more united and organized public transit worker front. Taxi drivers of late have been protesting 5% credit card fees, rear seat payment terminals, and electronic waybill tracking.
Some MUNI and TAXI workers have voiced OSHA health and safety complaints. They are also protesting Proposition G, which is said to prevent workers from negotiating on their work conditions.
The MTA has recently approved a $233 million contract towards its controversial $1.6 billion project to begin tunneling under Chinatown. Meanwhile, taxi workers and MUNI workers are seeking to combine their efforts to not be forgotten and fight for their rights and demand to have what’s theirs.
WHEN: Monday, August 1st, 2011 from 6pm to 9pm.
WHERE: 201 Turk St. between Jones and Leavenworth.”
This is what you can see inside Strybing Arboretum this time of year:
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And outside, what you’ll see are a bunch of tourists debating the merits of paying $28 or whatever to enter the gates. Usually, they walk off dejectedly.
Why does our Strybing Arboretum (aka San Francisco Botanical Garden) need to become “world-class?”
Nobody’s ever explained that one to me. But that’s the rationale for charging admission these days (after six decades of free admission.)
Now, why isn’t our Strybing Arboretum called Strybing Arboretum anymore?
So it can become “world-class.” (Apparently, naming an arboretum after the woman who gave the money to start things up is considered provincial Back East. Plus Founder Helene Strybing made the mistake of becoming old and dying so nobody gives a ROMEO ALPHA about her anymore.)
Anyway, they started charging admission so the place turned into a ghost town, a “museum of plants and trees.”
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They said if things didn’t work out, they’d stop charging admission.
Here are your deets for the new ticket booths at the San Francisco Botanical Garden:
And here’s your bill:
And here’s what they look like. Yes, there’s a bathroom in there:
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Myself, I haven’t been back into Strybing (except to poke my head in to see how few people are there) since they started charging admission.
Maybe I’ll visit again when they stop charging…
But these booths need hawkers, you know, just like the strip clubs in North Beach. Why don’t you sign up?
You’ll need sales skills of course. Check out the job posting below.
BTW, your pay as a “Garden Ambassador” will be $9.92 below minimum wage (aka nothing) and your commission will be zero (0) percent. (Can you imagine what hawkers would do on slow days if they got paid a commish of one dollar per entry ticket? OMG,
Greet visitors at the North Gate of the Botanical Garden and encourage them to visit this outstanding garden. Many visitors approach the admissions kiosk and don’t know about the amazing garden that lies just beyond the gates.