Posts Tagged ‘program’

Wow, Those SmartMeter Crazies Almost Make Me Feel Sorry for PG&E, America’s Worst Big Utility Company – But Opt Out If You Want

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Well, here it is, your brand new PG&E SmartMeter opt-out option.

Click to expand

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 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

SOURCE  Pacific Gas and Electric Company”

27th Annual Run Wild For A Child 5K and 10K a Huge Success in Golden Gate Park

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Run Wild for a Child 2011 went off without a hitch today in Golden Gate Park.

It’s sort of like the Bay to Breakers annual civic event, except Run Wild isn’t owned by some hung-up, Burnsian, “Christian Billionaire” what lives in Colorado and uses your B2B entry fee to fight the concept of evolution. (How refreshing.)

Anyway, today’s 5K race was 3053 vs. 1729 leading most of the way through. One of these guys won, you’d think.

Is this Fell? I can’t really tell:

Here’s Oak, anyway:

As you can see, this race swings both ways, with 5K and 10K runners facing each other at times:

Monkey butts?

All right, see you next year!

10K • 5K featuring Run Wild For A Child Costume Contest

Sunday, November 27, 2011 • 8:30 AM START
27th Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Run
Golden Gate Park • San Francisco


Support San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program
Bring a new toy or two to donate to Bay Area Children in need
Run dressed as a toy in the “Run Wild Like A Child Costume Contest”

The entire event is staged from the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park, which is the outdoor plaza in the center of:

California Academy of Sciences
De Young Museum
Japanese Tea Garden
Start Check-In is at Music Concourse — see below for Start details.


Run or Walk the 5K dressed as a favorite childhood toy to be eligible for the costume contest judging. Prizes will be awarded to the Top Ten Costumes selected by the Judges. Click to see some past year’s costumes!

1st Place: Luxury Weekend for Two at Hotel Carlton (good through Nov. 2012) and $150 Gift Certificate to Sports Basement
2nd Place: $200.00 Sports Basement Gift Certificate & FRS healthy Energy Gift Pack
3rd Place: $100.00 Sports Basement Gift Certificate & FRS healthy Energy Gift Pack
4th Place: $50.00 Sports Basement Gift Certificate & FRS healthy Energy Gift Pack
5th –10 Place: A Sports Basement Gift Certificate good for a pair of Brooks shoes.

All 5K Costume Contestants should report to the front of the starting line for initial judging from 8:00 AM – 8:20 AM.

Initial judging at the starting line from 8:15 – 8:30 AM
Semi-final judging – at the 5K finish line.
Final judging – at Bandshell Stage at 10:00 AM

After the race join us in the Music Concourse where you can ‘get down’ with live music provided by Pure Ecstasy while enjoying refreshments and the final costume judging on the main stage. Entrants can pick up their T-shirt and goodie bag, as well as visit sponsor booths for free samples and fitness information. The awards ceremony and Costume Parade & Judging will begin at approximately 10:00 AM at the Bandshell.


Pre-registered entrants may pick up their T-shirt with the full color logo in the Post-Race Expo area from 7:00 AM to 8:15 AM race morning or immediately following the race. Race Day entrants can pick up their shirt immediately following the race. The T-shirt Booth will be closed from 8:16 AM – 8:45 AM. T-shirt sizes cannot be guaranteed.


The San Francisco Firefighter’s Toy Program is the city’s largest and the nation’s oldest program of its kind. Distributing over 200,000 toys to more than 40,000 disadvantaged children. Besides helping individual families in need, the Toy Program serves many community organizations, including shelters for abused women and children, inner-city schools, neighborhood groups, children’s cancer wards, and pediatric AIDS units. SFFF Toy Program also responds on a year round basis to displaced children who become victims of fires, floods and other such disasters. The SFFF Toy Program is dependent solely on donations.

The San Francisco Firefighter’s Toy Program will be onsite race day accepting donations of new unwrapped toys. Entrants are encouraged to bring a toy or two on race day to donate and/or to make a cash donation when you register. Any donation above your entry fee will be given to the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program and is a 100% tax deductible.

OMG, 12-Foot-Tall LEGO Santa Yoda in Union Square! 12-Foot-Tall LEGO Santa Yoda in Union Square!

Monday, November 14th, 2011

From The Stark Insider (“All things West Coast”) comes news of a 12-foot tall, 10-foot wide Santa Yoda made out of LEGO bricks. It will go up in Union Square starting Friday, November 18th,* 2011.

Get the deets at LEGOSantaYoda.Com. (No, I’m not joking, I’m srsly.)

Click on me you will. Expanding I am.

All the deets:

“LEGO Master Builders Construct 12-foot Tall by 10-foot Wide Santa Yoda out of LEGO bricks

WHAT: Inspired by the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar, this three-day community build where families help LEGO Master Builders to create a 12-foot tall by 10-foot wide LEGO Star Wars™ Santa Yoda made entirely of LEGO bricks to kick-off a countdown to the holidays found at Building event supports the local Bay Area Boys & Girls Club, and consumer engagement via the web site donates LEGO toys to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program.

WHEN: Friday, November 18th to Sunday, November 20th 10am-6pm daily (or until completed)

WHERE: Union Square (next to the Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square), San Francisco”

(This would seem to be a more honest way of promoting LEGO than lying about a viral video ala the LEGO Indiana Jones game people.)

See you there!

*You know, it seems like Santa Yoda goes up earlier each year…

“Me Dancing” by Principal Dancer Maria Kochetkova – Plus, International Auditions for Ballet School Summer Session 2012

Monday, November 14th, 2011

World-famous ballerina Maria Kochetkova is down in Mexico City these days, but she’ll be back to our world-class San Francisco Ballet for the 2012 Season soon enough.

This one is simply entitled, “Me Dancing.”

Via balletrusse

Hey, speaking of ballet, here’s a recent announcement about why you always see gaggles of ballet students congregating around Civic Center every summer:


SAN FRANCISCO –San Francisco Ballet School, the official school of San Francisco Ballet, has announced the schedule for its first-ever International Audition Tour. The School has also announced the dates for its 2012 National Audition Tour. Over the course of three months, hundreds of teenage girls and boys from across Europe and the U.S. will audition for an invitation to attend one of two Summer Sessions offered by San Francisco Ballet School. These include Program 1, a three-week program for intermediate students, and Program 2, a four-week program designed for advanced and pre-professional students. Program 1 will be held this summer from June 11–29; Program 2 will be held July 9–August 3.

The 2012 International Audition Tour is scheduled to visit 4 European cities: London; Madrid; Marseille, France and Florence, Italy. These auditions will be held for advanced and pre-professional students, only.

The 2012 National Audition Tour is scheduled to visit 11 U.S. cities: Boca Raton, FL; Boston; Chicago; Dallas/Ft. Worth; Irvine, CA; New York; San Francisco; Santa Monica, CA; Seattle; Washington, D.C. and Winston-Salem, NC.

“There are many talented young dancers throughout Europe who are well-suited to participate in our training programs,” said Lola de Avila, associate director of the San Francisco Ballet School. “For the first time ever, San Francisco Ballet School is thrilled to hold international auditions, offering prospective students the chance to receive the highest-caliber training.”

Nearly 1,500 intermediate and advanced-level students are expected to audition on the tour, vying for approximately 125 positions for each of the School’s Summer Session programs. The Summer Sessions will include intensive classes in classical ballet technique, pointe work, batterie, dance history, repertoire, character, and Pilates. Students must attend a Summer Session in order to be considered for admittance to the School’s regular school year program.

About San Francisco Ballet School
San Francisco Ballet School, the country’s oldest classical academy, is directed by San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director and Choreographer Helgi Tomasson and Associate Director Lola de Avila. Now, over 75 years after its founding, the School boasts a distinguished international staff, a Trainee Program for advanced-level students, a dedicated student residence, and an extensive scholarship program. San Francisco Ballet School attracts students from around the world, training approximately 350 annually. In addition to filling the ranks of San Francisco Ballet, graduates have gone on to join distinguished ballet companies throughout the world.

For more information on San Francisco Ballet School’s Summer Sessions, visit:

SFPD Goes SVU: San Francisco Police Department Announces the Formation of a New Special Victims Investigations Unit

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Like this:

Click to expand

“San Francisco Police Announce the Formation of a New Special Victims Investigations Unit

San Francisco Police Chief Gregory Suhr is proud to announce the formation of the first ever San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Special Victims Unit (S.V.U.).

For the first time in SFPD history, various investigative units have been assembled in one office to focus on the sensitive nature of crimes where in the victims have suffered the effects of Domestic Violence, Elder Abuse, Child Abuse & Exploitation or Sex Crimes. A majority of these victims are women, children or elderly.

Additional investigative assignments within the S.V.U. are: Human Trafficking, Stalking, Sexual Offender Registration Program, Financial Crimes and Missing Persons. The centralizing of these respective investigative disciplines will provide the public with better access to police and victims’ services. The “La Casa De Las Madres” advocate office is located in the S.V.U. office lobby. This in one example of the critical partnerships between the SFPD and the many victims advocates such as: Woman Against Rape, Institute of Aging, Trauma Recovery Center, San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, W.O.M.A.N. Inc., Domestic Violence Consortium, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach and S.F. Women Against Rape.”

A Happy Ending for the Thousands of Burning Man Bikes Abandoned in the Desert: Off to the Reno Bike Collective

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Remember this, from earlier this month?

“From Todd Lappin Telstar Logistic:

“RT @burningman: Jeez, people! RT@danger_ranger: Post-burn abundance: 2,000 bicycles left on the playa.


Via Danger Ranger – click to expand

What’s going to happen to all these bikes?”

Here’s the answer:

Most will go to the Reno Bike Collective and other bike organizations, some will be repainted and added to the BRC Yellow Bike program.”


The Secret of the N-Judah Express “Success” – Three Drivers and Two Starters Just Waiting to Serve You

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

So, I know passengers like and appreciate the N Judah Express, but why is MUNI putting so much effort into this new line?

See? There’s the 5:00 PM bus, and the 5:10 PM, and the 5:20PM, and guess what’ll be coming around the corner soon? That’s right, it must be the 5:30 PM:

Click to expand

Camera right shows one of the two starters used by MUNI to make sure the 5:00 PM leaves at exactly 5:00 PM. (Count how many MUNI workers are hanging out at your bus stop today – I’ll bet it’s less than five. Probably it’s zero.)


I mean, is MUNI going to start following timetables religiously, like Japanese-style, for all its lines now?

The SFMTA has been itching to charge $3 for express rides, right? Does that mean that MUNI loses more on this line than others?

So, yes MUNI, you are trying hard here, but I don’t think you can afford it.

I think, for some reason, you are taking resources from other lines and putting them right here.

For some reason.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood Comes to Oakland to Check Out an All-Electric Zero Motorcycle

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Here’s what you need, a sweet ride from Scott’s Valley, or, in other words, an electric two-wheeler from ZERO MOTORCYCLES.

Secretary of Transportation Roy LaHood* in Oakland yesterday:

“Don’t say Solyndra, don’t say Solyndra…”

The deets:


U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood viewing Zero S Motorcycle

OAKLAND, Calif., (Sept. 14, 2011) – Zero Motorcycles the global leader in electric motorcycle manufacturing, today announced that United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood received a personal demonstration of Zero’s 2011 electric motorcycle product line. The program was held in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2011 (APEC) Senior Officials Meeting being held this week in San Francisco. Zero participated in the Innovative Technologies in Sustainable Transportation program hosted across the bay at FedEx Oakland Airport.

“We are honored to be here and to see the interest from Secretary LaHood. Not only did he see the potential for these electric motorcycles, he was very encouraged by the green transportation jobs Zero Motorcycles is creating here in America,” said Jay Friedland, Vice President of Strategy and Sustainability for Zero Motorcycles. “Our motorcycles are truly game changing and once you ride one, you immediately realize that electric motorcycles are here to stay. Our motorcycles are high performance, fun to ride and the best part is, you can buy one today.”

Besides an overall interest in the Zero product line, La Hood showed particular interest in the efforts to extend Federal Tax credits for electric motorcycles. In a brief discussion with Zero staff, La Hood expressed support for seeing that these valuable incentives remain available to consumers and help create more American jobs.

About Zero Motorcycles
Zero Motorcycles is the next step in motorcycle evolution and represents the ultimate electric motorcycle technology. Unencumbered by conventional thinking about how they design, manufacture and sell high performance electric motorcycles, they are on a mission to turn heads and revolutionize their industry by combining the best aspects of a traditional motorcycle with today’s most advanced technology. The result is an electric motorcycle line that’s insanely fast and environmentally friendly.

Media information: For more information, contact (951) 719-1040,”

How does Zero compare with our home-grown Mission Motors? I know not.

*The man who stupidly told Toyota drivers to park their cars and not drive them, back in the day – that’s all I know about him. Would he have made an offhand remark like this about GM products? Nope, IMO.

Meet Your San Francisco Bike Sharing Program – 500 Bicycles and 50 Stations Coming Next Year to FiDi, SoMA, Civic Center

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

I guess they have the money now and they’re working on figuring out who’s going to run the thing.

Appears as if the SFMTA has given up on a giant Parisian Velib-style program with 5000 bikes strewn all over town – they’re starting small. Regardless, some of this free advice still applies.

The deets:

“…the pilot service area will be centered in San Francisco’s employment- and transit-rich Downtown/SOMA corridor between the Financial District, Market Street and the Transbay and Caltrain terminals.  This area is notably flat, has the densest bikeway network coverage in San Francisco and enjoys the highest levels of cycling, yet those who commute by transit from cities to the east and south encounter difficulties bringing a bicycle with them on BART or Caltrain.”

El Mapa:

Click to expand

So the stations might end up looking a little half-assed, owing to CEQA:

“Heath Maddox, senior planner for the Livable Streets Subdivision of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), says the defining characteristics of the service they’ve outlined in an RFP draft is that the bike system be solar-powered with no need for external AC power and no requirement for excavation that would turn the installation process into a construction project.”

Remember, sharing is caring.

All the deets:

“The map of the pilot service area presents northeast San Francisco. The highlighted area in the map is the bicycle sharing pilot service area bound by South Van Ness Avenue and the Ferry Terminal along Market Street. To the north, the service area boundary includes the Federal Building at Turk Street, Union Square at Post Street, the Broadway and Columbus Avenue intersection, and The Embarcadero at Sansome Street. To the south, the highlighted service area includes the Embarcadero to Mission Bay, Townsend Street and Concourse Exhibition Center.”

Bike Sharing

Bike sharing is coming to San Francisco! A regional pilot program led by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) in partnership with the SFMTA will bring approximately 50 bike share stations and 500 bikes to San Francisco’s downtown core beginning in spring 2012. The SFMTA is working with a regional team to implement this pilot along the Caltrain corridor in San Francisco, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City and San Jose and shown in this Regional Bike Sharing System map. The project is funded through a combination of local, regional and federal grants with major funding coming from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Innovative Bay Area Climate Initiatives Grant Program (BACI).

What is bike sharing?

Similar to car sharing, bicycle sharing is a term used to describe a membership-based system of short-term bicycle rental.  Members can check a bicycle out from a network of automated bicycle stations, ride to their destination, and return the bicycle to a different station.  Bicycle sharing is enjoying a global explosion in growth with the development of purpose-built bicycles and stations that employ high tech features like smartcards, solar power, and wireless internet and GPS technologies.

Who is involved with launching the San Francisco bike sharing system?

The BAAQMD is the overall regional project lead, coordinating the planning and implementation efforts of the local partners: the City and County of San Francisco, the Cities of San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto in Santa Clara County and the City of Redwood City in San Mateo County. The SFMTA is leading the project in San Francisco, and we are working in cooperation with our City and County partners, including the Planning Department, Department of Public Works, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the Port of San Francisco. The regional partners will be selecting a contractor in fall 2011 to install, operate, and manage the system.

Where will bike sharing be located in San Francisco?

As the San Francisco Bicycle Sharing Pilot Service Area map (PDF) presents, in San Francisco, the pilot service area will be centered in San Francisco’s employment- and transit-rich Downtown/SOMA corridor between the Financial District, Market Street and the Transbay and Caltrain terminals.  This area is notably flat, has the densest bikeway network coverage in San Francisco and enjoys the highest levels of cycling, yet those who commute by transit from cities to the east and south encounter difficulties bringing a bicycle with them on BART or Caltrain. Much of San Francisco’s densely urbanized northeastern quadrant is similarly well-suited to bicycle sharing.

When will bike sharing launch in San Francisco?

The regional partners will be selecting a vendor to install, operate, and manage the bike sharing system in 2011 with the goal of a system launch in Spring/Summer 2012!

Further Information

If you have any questions, comments or feedback about bike sharing, contact the SFMTA at

“Let’s Keep Not Paying Taxes – YAY!” Taiwan’s NMA-TV Takes on the Amazon v. State of CA Sales Tax Fight

Monday, July 18th, 2011

NMA-TV out of Taiwan, Free Republic of China, well, they’ve got us pegged. They know all about what goes on in California and they show that with pithy animated videos.

As here, with the whole Governor Jerry Brown vs. Jeff Bezos / sales tax / “use tax”* issue. NMA already has a proposed slogan for the statewide initiative that’s coming our way from Amazon.


And here’s Jeff Bezos (fresh from swimming in a pool of his money) explaining things to California Governor Jerry Brown and our Official State Animal, who looks hungry for a little tax money.

It’s going to be a tough row to hoe getting people to vote for the Amazon tax next year, IMO.

Anyway, good job NMA-TV.

*The tax is on your “use” in CA of whatever you buy. It’s pretty much like a sales tax except it’s based on the tax rate of where you live (as opposed to sales tax, which is based upon where you buy something).