Posts Tagged ‘vice president’

Legalized Extortion: The City of San Bruno’s Attempts to Get More Money Out of PG&E

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Now, do I think that PG&E got all huffy and actually walked away from the table during this big San Bruno compensation deal?

Nope.

On the other hand, isn’t PG&E 150% responsible for this tragedy?

Yep.

Let’s check the latest:

“PG&E Statement on Support for City of San Bruno”

UH, WHEN YOU SAY SUPPORT, YOU MEAN OPPOSITION, RIGHT PG&E? I THINK SO.

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 15, 2012 — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today issued the following statement regarding ongoing discussions with the City of San Bruno.

PG&E has been discussing in good faith a financial settlement with City of San Bruno leaders over the tragic 2010 accident.

HOW ABOUT TRAGEDY INSTEAD OF “ACCIDENT,” PG&E?

PG&E remains firmly committed to continuing those discussions with city leaders, and believes PG&E and city leaders are aligned in the mutual goal of achieving a positive resolution for both the city and its residents.

OH NO NO NO, PG&E. YOU ALL WANT TO PAY LESS MONEY AND SAN BRUNO WANTS YOU TO PAY MORE, SIMPLE AS THAT.

In fact, PG&E leaders had discussions Tuesday and today with San Bruno city leaders, and plan to meet Friday to continue discussions. PG&E is ready to continue meeting with the city as frequently as its city leaders would like, whenever they would like, to help the city and its residents move through and speed up the recovery process.

FAIR ENOUGH.

PG&E previously announced it established a $70 million trust for the City of San Bruno and a $100 million Rebuild San Bruno Fund. The discussions that have been and are taking place are above and beyond those financial commitments.

FAIR ENOUGH.

As we have said all along, our pledge is to do the right thing, in every area of our response, to help the city and its residents recover from this terrible tragedy.

OH, ‘TRAGEDY.” NOW YOU’RE ON THE TROLLEY, PG&E. BUT HOW ABOUT “OUR TERRIBLE TRAGEDY, THE ONE WE CAUSED” INSTEAD?

That pledge is as unwavering as ever, and we are hopeful we can work in a timely manner with San Bruno officials to reach a successful resolution.

BY “WORKING OUT” YOU MEAN FIGURING OUT THE ROCK-BOTTOM PRICE SUFFICIENT ENOUGH TO BUY YOUR WAY OUT OF THIS MESS, ONE OF THE MANY YOU ALL HAVE CREATED.

“The residents and the City of San Bruno have been through so much,” said PG&E senior vice president Greg Pruett.

…DUE TO OUR NEGLIGENCE, OUR RECKLESSNESS, OUR PURPOSEFUL BEHAVIOR.

“We are committed to doing everything we can every day to support and stand by the City of San Bruno and its community.”

I WOULDN’T CALL YOUR ACTIONS SINCE 2010 “STANDING BY THE CITY OF SAN BRUNO.” JUST SAYING.

SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)

ALL RIGHT, TRY NOT TO KILL AS MANY PEOPLE _THIS YEAR_, PG&E.

WHY NOT STRIVE TO BECOME JUST A NORMAL UTILITY, ONE THAT OTHER UTILITIES DON’T LAUGH AT ALL THE TIME?

BABY STEPS, PG&E.

BABY STEPS.

CODA Automotive, That POS Electric Car Co. With a Bay Area “Assembly Plant,” Surrenders – Lowers Chinese Sedan Price $5k

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Well the big news yesterday from CODA Automotive was that they lowered the price for their old-fashioned Chinese electric car, you know, the one that they’re going to “assemble” in Benicia, and, you know, the one that was originally going to be delivered to California buyers by, pick one, the end of:

2008 - whoops missed that one!

2009 - whoops missed that one!

2010 - whoops missed that one!

the second quarter of 2011whoops missed that one!

2011 - whoops missed that one! [Apparently. It looks like they'll blow this latest promise as well. It's not clear at this point.]

You want some history, brother? Well click here and keep scrolling, it goes on and on.

Ah memories, ah promises broken:

What I’m saying is that even by the low standards of the electric car industry, the CODA Sedan concept, that idea of taking a gas-engined vehicle (the quite unpopular Mistubishi/NedCar Carisma/Lancer) that was engineered by Mitsubishi and Volvo in the pre-Internet era and making it as an electric car in China, is exceptional for the number of liars who have been connected with it.

Anyway, this POS electric car, which is inferior to the Nissan Leaf, is now “only” $41K. Hurray, I guess, but the Nissan is still substantially cheaper.

The CODA’s are coming, the CODA’s are finally coming! Here’s the production line for the drivetrain-free, battery-free “gliders:”

(You know what’s sad? The average college student in China has no idea what this photo of the T54 tanks is all about.)

But let’s get the latest from a CODA Electric booster in the media, let’s read along here. I’ll tell you, I’m intrigued by this opener:

“It’s frumpy, expensive (starting at $39,900 before rebates compared to the $35,200 Nissan Leaf), and doesn’t have a big name attached to it. [Yes, yes!]

And yet, it might just be a hit when it’s released early next year. [Say what now?!]“

All right, I’ll now read the article. (Please wait for me to finish.)

[Oh the Nissan LEAF sucks, apparently, well they've been saying that for a looooooong time now, so this isn't new at all, "We have a 50% larger battery pack than anyone else in the EV space," well that's horseshit since the Tesla Roadster has a higher capacity battery, "the Coda sedan may get a 110 mile range certification" well good luck on that one, you'd think they'd have an actual rating by now since this car was merely weeks from delivery more than a year ago, "he believes that Coda can sell 10,000 EVs" well that's news to me since the recent predictions from CODA have been in the 20K per year territory, uh sorry, the charger is not a "Godsend," "buyers may flock to the CODA" uh no, that's not going to happen, no sir, "Photos of Coda Automotive plant" uh, no, there are no Chinese people in those shots - the CODA plant is in China, that's where they make the fucking car, don't you know that, writer? And where they make the battery pack as well, of course, Gentle Reader, the final assembly plant in California is window-dressing, for the most part, oh let's see here, Control F, searching for China or Chinese and that comes up goose-eggs. Does the writer know where this car and its battery are made? Perhaps not, can't tell, maybe he knows but just doesn't want to share that with you, cause, well, you know...]

Well that was a waste of time, but it seems like, at long last, CODA Automotive is getting real, or at least more real, actually acknowledging reality, at times.

(“Our pig has a higher quality lipstick than our competitor’s (just say it, Nissan’s, cause that’s who you’re talking about, right, CODA?) pig.”  ”Our pig has has larger ears than our competitor’s, for our customers who prefer larger ears.” Yadayadayada…)

Leave there be no doubt, the CODA Sedan is the biggest POS electric car concept to come down the pike since, I don’t know, a century ago during the first electric car boom. That’s true at a $46k price level and it’s true at a $41k price level.

Sorry.

What they should have done is to price it lower than the Nissan Leaf, which, of course, is a better car, primarily owing to the fact that it didn’t start off life as a POS Mitsubishi with a big-ass trunk and a small-ass back seat waaaaay back in 1994, and you know, also to the fact that Nissan, a real car company, spent a lot moooooooore money during development.

So, keep it up CODA, keep on bad-mouthing the Nissan, even though your stated Mission Statement is to increase sales of all electric cars.

And check it, you’re getting worse coverage now in the MSM, even though you just upped the battery capacity and lowered the price:

Bill Visnic, senior editor of Edmunds.com, said in an e-mail that the price cut “may or not improve the prospects for this earnest second-tier player* in the nascent electric car market.”

And Sam Jaffe, an analyst with IDC Energy Insights, said in a telephone interview that Coda’s long-term prospects** were also an issue.

“In the end, people will weigh the value of a 10-year Coda warranty against Nissan’s warranty,” he said. “Coda doesn’t have a long history of backing up warranties, so it’s a harder sell.**

“There is space in the emerging plug-in vehicle market for both company’s products, but Coda has a steeper hill to climb than Nissan** does,” Mr. Jaffe added.

So, yes, CODA, that other girl sucks and you’re all that. Whatever you say [you big POS car company.]

Presenting the Nissan LEAF. Adorable, huh? 

Don’t listen to those playa haters at CODA, Leaf. 

*Oh, snap!

**Again!

Wow: Complete Poll Results for the Mayor’s Race from The Bay Citizen and USF – A Ranked Choice Voting Simulator

Monday, October 17th, 2011

[UPDATE: Luke Thomas of Fog City Journal offers a listing of reactions from many mayoral campaigns.]

[UPDATE II: Feisty TBC Editor-in-Chief Steve Fainaru promises there's more to come:

"We are analyzing and pumping out this information as fast as we can. The package you see today — including San Francisco’s most sophisticated ranked-choice voting simulator, masterminded by news applications developer Shane Shifflett and lead software engineer Aurelio Tinio — was completed around 2 a.m. Monday; it was up on our website at 4 a.m. Next we will bring you information about the controversial pension reform initiatives and the races for district attorney and sheriff. Finally, we will put up the full data set, so people can take their own look and draw their own conclusions."]

Well, here they are, the results of the big The Bay Citizen / University of San Francisco poll on who will be Mayor of San Francisco for the next four years.

See?

Click to expand

The Bay Citizen political writer Gerry Shih* has the deets.

Writing history as it happens:

“When the Board of Supervisors named Lee interim mayor in January, after former Mayor Gavin Newsom was elected lieutenant governor, Lee promised not to run for a full term. But after two of his biggest political supporters — Rose Pak, the powerful Chinatown lobbyist, and former Mayor Willie Brown — led an effort to draft him into the race, Lee changed his mind.”

[I should note that infamous Rose Pak, for some reason, operates as an unregistered lobbyist, apparently, AFAIK.]

Are you surprised by any of these results? I’m not.

But what’s nice about this independent exercise is that it shows you how RCV “works.”

Oh, and don’t miss the breakdown for gay and Chinese-American voters.

Anyway:

“Exclusive Bay Citizen/USF Poll: Ed Lee Dominating San Francisco Mayor’s Race

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 17, 2011  – An exclusive poll conducted by The Bay Citizen and the University of San Francisco (USF) Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good shows interim mayor Ed Lee poised to win the November 8 mayor’s race handily. The poll shows Lee with broad support across the city, particularly among Chinese voters.

Lee won 31.2 percent of first-place votes, surpassing his closest challenger, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who won 8.1 percent. Supervisor John Avalos finished third, with 7.4 percent of first-place votes.

At baycitizen.org, the poll results power a computer simulation that shows how the election may unfold under “ranked-choice voting.” This is the first competitive San Francisco mayor’s race to use the system that asks voters to select their top three candidates in order of preference.

The Bay Citizen simulation allows readers to view how votes are redistributed after candidates are eliminated. It projects Lee the winner if the election were held today.

On Tuesday, October 18 The Bay Citizen and the University of San Francisco will release poll results on the San Francisco District Attorney’s race, the Sheriff’s race, and Propositions C and D, the two pension reform measures on the ballot.

For more information and deeper analysis of the Bay Citizen/USF poll please visit: www.baycitizen.org/data/polls/sf-2011-elections/

The poll results are based on telephone interviews of a random sample of 551 likely San Francisco voters between Oct. 7 and Oct. 13, 2011. The survey was conducted by MAXimum Research, an independent research firm, in English and Cantonese; Spanish was not used because only 1 percent of San Francisco voters request ballot materials in Spanish. Of the respondents, 115 were contacted by cell phone and 436 by landline. After the interviews, the data were weighted to match the demographics of the known likely voting population. The sampling error for findings based on the overall pool of likely voters is +/- 4.2 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. The margin of error for population subgroups is larger.

About The Bay Citizen

The Bay Citizen is a nonprofit, nonpartisan member-supported news organization that provides in-depth original reporting on Bay Area issues including public policy, education, the arts and cultural affairs, health and science, the environment, and more. The Bay Citizen’s news can be found online at www.baycitizen.org as well as in print in The New York Times Bay Area report on Fridays and Sundays. For more information, please visit www.baycitizen.org.

About the University of San Francisco (USF)

The University of San Francisco is in the heart of one of the most innovative and diverse cities and features a vibrant community of students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields while building a more humane and just world. University of San Francisco students, faculty, and alumni are involved in the entrepreneurial city of San Francisco and work in all industries, from technology to nonprofits. With dedicated professors and exceptional academic programs to choose from, the university offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional students the knowledge and skills needed to develop into ethical leaders who are sought after in their professions. USF’s diverse student body benefits from direct access to faculty, small class sizes, and a broad array of programs and co-curricular opportunities. Informed by the university’s 156-year-old Jesuit Catholic mission, the USF community ignites students’ passion for social justice and the pursuit of the common good. For more information about the University of San Francisco, please visit www.usfca.edu.

About USF Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good

The Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good is dedicated to inspiring and equipping students at USF to pursue lives and careers of ethical public service and service to others. The Center provides a non-partisan forum for education, service and research in public programs and policy-making. The McCarthy Center values civic engagement and seeks to promote public interest research that encourages civil discourse and constructive interaction among the great diversity of residents and officials in the Bay Area. The Center strives to accomplish its goals by being transparent, nonpartisan and rigorous in designing its work and products. For more information please visit www.usfca.edu/centers/mccarthy

Contacts: The Bay Citizen, Keith Meyer, VP Marketing, media@baycitizen.org

SOURCE The Bay Citizen

CONTACT: Keith Meyer, VP Marketing of The Bay Citizen, +1-415-852-5100, media@baycitizen.org

Web Site: http://www.baycitizen.org”

*The uncredited instigator of this recent bit here in the San Francisco Chronicle

(What If Solyndra Built Cars…) Is CODA Automotive Really an “All-American, All-Electric Car Company?”

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Well, here’s the latest on that horrible electric car company what says it will soon be importing electric cars from one part of China and batteries from another part of China and slapping them together in Benicia, way out in the North Bay.

From former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass:

“Just toured @CODAautomotive with @k4Beanum, 1 of LA’s fastest growing firms–Building green cars and jobs! http://pic.twitter.com/SQYtvByz

See?

Click to expand

I don’t think she has any idea about what a horrible product it is that CODA is “producing.” I don’t think  she knows where CODA is producing it.

And, now let’s hear from CODA itself – I just don’t know where the All-American part comes from.

Oh well…

The New ZAGAT Survey is Here, the New ZAGAT Survey is Here! – Gary Danko Sweeps – Google Era Begins

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

This was the scene last night at Park Tavern in North Beach for the launch of the 2012 ZAGAT Survey.  Read all about it at ZAGATBUZZ San Francisco.

As you can see Gary Danko was the big winner, shown here with Nina and Tim Zagat:

Click to expand

Inside Scoop’s Paolo Lucchesi has already leafed through our new “burgundy bible,” so check that out.

And it’s now the “Google Era” for Zagat, owing to a recent nine-figure purchase by Big G. How will things change?

All of these are users wondering where they should go, where they should spend their time, so to be able to offer accurate information is important, and that’s why we’ve been getting focused on reviews,” Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president for local, maps and location services, said in an interview. Ms. Mayer said that Zagat’s reviews would supplement Google’s Places reviews, but that the publisher’s Web home would remain a paid site for now.”

All the deets:

“SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 20, 2011  — This morning, Zagat released the results of its 2012 San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants Survey covering 1,448 restaurants in the greater Bay Area. The all-new Survey is based on the shared opinions of 10,672 avid local diners who voted online at ZAGAT.com and on Zagat for iPhone. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the guide also covers restaurants in the Wine Country, Silicon Valley and Monterey Peninsula. The guide is available on ZAGAT.com, via Zagat’s mobile apps and in bookstores.

Holding and Gaining Ground: According to the Survey, the local restaurant industry is holding steady this year with diners continuing to eat out an average of 2.8 times per week and with the average meal cost increasing by only 10 cents, from $38.78 to $38.88. Most importantly, 31% of respondents report that the dining scene is better than last year; a mere 4% say it’s worse. From an industry standpoint, another indication of economic importance is that 28% of diners say they are spending more per meal, while only 15% say less. It is also notable that complaints about service have consistently declined, from 68% pre-recession to 56% this year.

Winners: Hailed as “brilliant” and “perfect for any occasion,” Gary Danko takes home top honors this year for Service, Popularity and Food, with a near-perfect 29 out of 30 rating. Gary Danko has topped the Food list nine times in ten years. Big Sur’s Sierra Mar wins top Decor boasting “stellar views” and “walls of windows,” while the “brilliant rebirth” of Michael Mina debuts this year as Top Newcomer featuring a brand-new concept, location and more affordable New American menu. The full list of winners includes:

Tim Zagat, Co-Chair of Zagat Survey said, “After 25 years in San Francisco, we’re glad to report that the local dining scene continues to improve, thanks to a host of first-class restaurants and affordable newcomers.”

Techies Unite: When asked about the best development to ever hit the Bay Area dining scene, surveyors picked “online reservations,” a feature that 63% admit they utilize when making reservations. San Francisco surveyors continue to be among the most tech-savvy with 39% using restaurant-related mobile applications and 28% following restaurants/food trucks via social media. However, nearly two-thirds think it is “rude and inappropriate” to text, talk, tweet, or e-mail when dining out, though a full 87% say it’s ok to photograph their food or dining companions.

New and Trendy: While fine dining is not dead, this year’s crop of newcomers offers some less expensive options. The zero-zero flour trend is heating up brick ovens with upstart pizzerias such as Cupola Pizzeria, Ragazza and Una Pizza Napoletana in the city, and Addie’s Pizza Pie and Bar Bocce to the east and north. Izakayas like Chotto in the Marina and Ki in Temple Nightclub are offering affordably priced Japanese cuisine matched with sake and cocktails, while Cyrus chef Douglas Keane has opened Shimo Modern Steak in Healdsburg, a downscaled Japanese modern steakhouse with a customizable noodle bar.

On a Roll: Following this year’s expanded survey of Bay Area food trucks, ratings and reviews for 37 trucks are available on ZAGAT.com. This year’s Top Food Truck, Spencer on the Go!, from the Chez Spencer team, offers “imaginative French” fare from Wednesday to Saturday in SoMa. Other trucks offer a variety of cuisines including Mexican (El Tonayense), Middle Eastern (Liba Falafel), Italian/Pan-Latin (Mama’s Empanadas) and Chinese (Chairman Bao Bun).

Big Names, Not Price Tags: Many of San Francisco’s big-ticket chefs are scaling back and opening moderately priced offshoots. In the Mission (named SF’s best restaurant neighborhood), the team from Delfina has opened the moderately priced osteria Locanda, while James Syhabout (Commis) debuted his Asian street food newcomer, Hawker Fare, in Oakland. Up in Napa, Todd Humphries opened the eclectic Kitchen Door.

Green and Local: Eighty percent of surveyors say that locally sourced, organic or sustainably raised food is important and 68% say they would actually pay more for it.

Quarter-Century Club: The new Survey takes a look at major changes in dining trends in San Francisco over the past quarter-century:

Survey Details: The 2012 San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants Survey ($15.95) was edited by Cynthia Kilian and local editor Meesha Halm. The Survey is available now in bookstores, online at ZAGAT.com and via ZAGAT for mobile. Follow Zagat on Facebook and Twitter @Zagat for news & updates.

About Zagat Survey, LLC – Known as the “burgundy bible,” Zagat Survey is the world’s most trusted source for consumer-generated survey information. With a worldwide network of surveyors, Zagat rates and reviews restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, shopping and a range of other entertainment categories and is lauded as the “most up-to-date,” “comprehensive” and “reliable” guide, published on all platforms. Zagat content is available to consumers wherever and whenever they need it on ZAGAT.com, Zagat for Mobile and in book form.”

Starting Monday, Jon Kelley and Marla Tellez will Have the Noon News Early: It’s “NBC Bay Area News at 11AM!”

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Would you like your lunchtime news an hour early and from San Jose?

Well then, you’re in luck.

Marla Tellez on the Central Coast:

Via her FB.

The deets:

“SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 15, 2011 — NBC Bay Area today announced the launch of a new weekday newscast, “NBC Bay Area News at 11AM,” debuting Monday, September 19. Broadcast veteran Jon Kelley, host of Today in the Bay, will anchor the new newscast with NBC Bay Area’s Marla Tellez. The program will air following NBC’s Today Show.

Jon Kelley has spent more than 15 years in television journalism, covering news, sports and entertainment in a variety of roles. He’s won multiple awards for sports reporting, and played football for the University of Nebraska before beginning his broadcast journalism career.

Marla Tellez is a native San Franciscan who has covered news in Northern California for several years. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Sonoma State University with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Communications, and has won multiple Emmys for producing and reporting.

“This expansion of NBC Bay Area news allows us to serve our Bay Area viewers with more of the high-quality international, national and local coverage they’ve come to expect from us,” said Jonathan Mitchell, NBC Bay Area’s Vice President of News. “We’re excited that viewers will be able to join Jon and Marla in mid-day for an update on the day’s most important stories.” About NBC Owned Television Stations NBC Owned Television Stations is the division of NBCUniversal that includes 10 local television stations and their digital channels and websites, as well as a group of out-of-home properties and a production company. The 10 stations produce and deliver compelling and unique local news, information and entertainment programming to viewers in the communities they serve, which include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Miami, San Diego and Connecticut, with a goal of connecting to their audiences anytime and anywhere.”

Now, who’ll do the weather for this show?

This is like the front page of the Daily Prophet, huh? It’s mesmerizing. It just keeps going and going…

AT&T Crows About Its New Cellular Tower in the Sunset District: A Stealthy Installation to Improve Connectivity

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Is there a new cell phone antenna installation in this photo here? Yes, but you probably couldn’t tell by looking.

Is this the kind of thing that San Francisco wants? Apparently.

Anyway, the answer to wireless connectivity is more antennas, IMO. So this is good.

MOAR of this!

Click to expand

“SUNSET DISTRICT RESIDENTS BENEFIT FROM AT&T NETWORK UPGRADES WITH MORE COVERAGE, MORE CAPACITY

Enhancements Will Improve Connectivity and Performance for
Mobile Voice and Data Network

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. SEPTEMBER 9, 2011 — AT&T* today announced more network upgrades in the Sunset District of San Francisco designed to provide its customers faster speeds, increased reliability and best-in-class wireless service.

AT&T’s network enhancements include a new cell site designed to improve coverage in residential and commercial areas along Sloat Boulevard from Meadowbrook Drive to 39th Avenue, and on Sunset Boulevard from the intersection at Vicente Drive to Morningside Drive.

In addition to expanded coverage from the new cell site, AT&T has added additional capacity to more than 160 cell sites in San Francisco, including several across the Sunset District to help improve overall service.

“Adding more capacity to a cell site is like adding more lanes on the freeway so that voice and data traffic flows faster,” said Terry Stenzel, AT&T Vice President and General Manager for Northern California and Northern Nevada. “Whether customers are talking, texting, e-mailing, surfing the net, streaming music or video, using their favorite apps, or conducting business we want to make sure they have a good mobile broadband experience.”

In addition, AT&T continues upgrading cell sites with fiber optic and Ethernet connections back to the central switching facilities, enabling faster 4G speeds.**

“We’re investing in our network in the Sunset and in San Francisco because we’re committed to providing best-in-class wireless voice and data service to our customers,” said Ken McNeely, AT&T’s California President. “AT&T has invested nearly $775 million in its San Francisco Bay Area wireless and wireline networks from 2008-2010, and we will continue investing and making network improvements.”

AT&T’s mobile broadband network provides several important advantages for customers, including the ability to talk and surf at the same time. For instance, customers can look up directions to an event while still talking on the phone, or browse social media sites will chatting with a friend. AT&T also provides access to voice service in more than 220 countries and data service in more than 200 countries. Business Traveler magazine recently named AT&T as having the “Best Mobile Coverage in the World” – the fourth time AT&T has received the distinction.

In addition, most AT&T customers have access to nearly 27,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hotspots across the country, and nearly 800 across the San Francisco Bay Area at no extra charge. With half of AT&T customers now using smartphones, the popularity of Wi-Fi is soaring. In 2008, there were about 20 million connections to the AT&T Wi-Fi Network. In 2010, that skyrocketed to more than 320 million Wi-Fi connections, and in just the first 6 months of 2011 customers have made more than 443 million connections to the AT&T Wi-Fi Network.”

Godspeed, AT&T.

Sorry Fast Company: The “New,” All-Electric, CODA Automotive Sedan, Direct From China, is NOT a “Luxury Car”

Friday, September 9th, 2011

[UPDATE: Wired (Magazine, website?) weighs in here with words like "econobox" and "Honda Civic" and "practical EV."]

Ariel Schwartz of Fast Company (Magazine, website, something or other) offers this today:

“Luxury electric car maker @CODAautomotive showcases its EV in a shiny mall store: http://bit.ly/ot8Elq ”

But the problem with that is that what CODA makes ain’t luxury cars.

Leaving aside the issue of which companies actually make the parts what make up the electric vehicles that CODA says they will soon be selling (and people have been saying that this car would go on sale at the end of 2008, 2009, 2010, and now apparently, 2011), the CODA Sedan is in no way, shape, or form a luxury car.

Basically, the CODA Sedan is a gussied-up Mitsubishi Carisma from 15 years ago. The concept at the time was to have a big trunk at the expense of having less room in the back seat. It didn’t work out. Tooling was sent to China and a second-tier “regional” carmaker offered it for something like $9000 with a gasoline engine.

Now, for some reason, taking out the most expensive part, the engine (along with the fuel tank and whatnot) and putting in a battery and a tiny electric motor jacks up the price to $45K.

For some reason.

Of course, you could start with your sister’s Honda Civic from the 1990′s and, you know, Pimp My Ride or something, but the result wouldn’t be what you could call a luxury car, I don’t think. In some ways, the CODA would be better, but in some ways the Honda would be better, IMO.

Oh, let’s travel down memory lane. (Do all these links still work?)

“The NYT’s Jim Motavalli has some news about California’s very own electric car company today:

Coda Automotive is a start-up company that will deliver its first $44,900 electric cars to customers in its home state of California “in three to four months,” said its president and chief executive, Kevin Czinger.”

What that means is that, once again, an electric car company is letting you down, ’cause deliveries were just recently promised for the “fourth quarter of 2010.” (Seems as if promises from any kind of car company aren’t really worth that much these days.)

Now, back in the day, in 2007, the electric car we were going to get from China was called the Javlon XS500. It was suppose to come in 2008. It didn’t. Check it:

Miles Automotive on the $30,000 Javlon XS500 all-electric sedan

Then, in 2008, we were promised the Miles XS500. That was going to come in 2009. It didn’t. Check it:

Miles XS500 will be a lot more expensive than planned, maybe

Then, in 2009, we were promised the Coda Automotive Sedan. That was going to come in 2010. It didn’t. Check it:

Coda Automotive Unveils New Mainstream All-Electric Sedan

So, based upon the statement written on the NYT website, I guess it’ll be 2011 before the “final assembly” plant in Benicia, CA starts rolling out product. [Oh, this didn't end up happening, IRL]

(Perhaps it’s easier to badmouth Nissan than fulfill promises? Sure looks that way…)

In other news, Vice President of Global Sales, Marketing and Distribution, Michael A. Jackson has left the building. Mmmmm….

And hey, remember Webvan, that slow-motion car crash of a dotcom company, you know, the one that made a big splash and then soon after went belly up, the one that was brought to you by, among others, Kevin Czinger and Goldman Sachs?

Well, KC and GS are back again with Coda Automotive.” 

And hey, just for fun, compare this last from last year to Solyndra‘s investors and board of directors / advisors. Mmmmm…

Keep chasing those rainbows, CODA!

CODA’s investors include:

  • Aeris CAPITAL – a private Swiss investment office
  • Harbinger Capital Partners – private hedge fund based in New York City, New York.
  • Riverstone Holdings – a private equity firm based in New York City, New York.
  • Piper Jaffray – a U.S. middle-market investment banking firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Angeleno Group – a Los Angeles based private equity firm
  • EDB Investments (EDBI) – an investment firm headquartered in Singapore
  • Countyline LLC – an investment entity owned by Tony Pritzker and J.B. Pritzker
  • Miles L. Rubin – Founder and Chairman Emeritus of CODA Automotive; former CEO of Detroit Iron & Steel Industries, Reliance Manufacturing, Puritan Fashions Corp. and Polo Ralph Lauren Jeanswear
  • Steven “Mac” Heller – Executive Chairman of CODA Automotive; former Goldman Sachs Head of Mergers & Acquisitions, Worldwide and Co-Head of the Investment Banking Division
  • Tom Steyer – Managing Director of Hellman & Friedman, a San Francisco private equity firm; Founder, Co-Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Farallon Capital; member of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University
  • Les Wexner – Chairman and CEO of Limited Brands
  • Henry “Hank” Paulson – former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs and special representative of the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue
  • Mack McLarty – (Thomas “Mack” McLarty) Former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, President of McLarty Associates and McLarty Companies, a transportation business based in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Kevin Czinger – Senior Strategic Advisor, CODA Automotive; Former President and CEO at CODA Automotive, executive at Global Signal, Webvan Group, Bertelsmann AG, and Goldman Sachs

Board of Directors

  • Miles L. Rubin – Founder and Chairman Emeritus, CODA Automotive; former CEO of Detroit Iron & Steel Industries, Reliance Manufacturing, Puritan Fashions Corp. and Polo Ralph Lauren Jeanswear
  • Steven “Mac” Heller – Executive Chairman, CODA Automotive; former Goldman Sachs Head of Mergers & Acquisitions, Worldwide and Co-Head of the Investment Banking Division
  • Alan Chesick – Acting Legal Advisor of CODA Automotive, former general counsel of Fortress Investment Group
  • Daniel Weiss – Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Angeleno Group LLC, a leading Los Angeles-based private equity firm focused on high growth investments in the energy sector
  • John Bryson – Former Chairman, CEO and President of Edison International from 1990 through 2008, a director at The Boeing Company, The Walt Disney Company, and the California Institute of Technology
  • Niall Davis – One of ten founding partners of Swiss aeris CAPITAL AG, a large global private equity firm
  • Philip Murtaugh – CEO, CODA Automotive; former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GM China, EVP International Operations of SAIC
  • James P. McGinnis – Managing Director, Harbinger Capital Partners
  • Lord John Browne – Managing Director and Managing Partner of Riverstone Holdings LLC, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Chair of the Tate, Member of the House of Lords}}

Board of Advisors

  • Mack McLarty – (Thomas “Mack” McLarty) Former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, President of McLarty Associates and McLarty Companies, a transportation business based in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Dr. Thomas Cardello – Partner of Sunrise Capital, an institutional fund manager, Advisory Director and former MD of Global Electronic Derivative Market making for Morgan Stanley
  • Dr. Michael Wang – Manager of the Systems Assessment Section of the Center for Transportation Research at Argonne Labs, serves as a senior advisor to the Chinese government on new vehicle technology and alternative energy production
  • Henry “Hank” Paulson – former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, former Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs and special representative of the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue
  • Thomas F. Steyer – Managing Director of Hellman & Friedman, a San Francisco private equity firm; Founder, Co-Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Farallon Capital; member of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University
  • Woo C. Lee – Head of Asia for the advisory firm JL Thornton & Company, formerly a U.S. diplomat at American embassies in China, Japan, Australia and Southeast Asia
  • Thomas R. McDaniel – Director of SunPower Corp., SemGroup, LP, Cypress Envirosystems, and the Senior Care Action Network and Formerly executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of Edison International
  • Kevin Czinger – Senior Strategic Advisor, CODA Automotive; Former President and CEO at CODA Automotive, executive at Global Signal, Webvan Group, Bertelsmann AG, and Goldman Sachs”

All Electric Cars Suck (Except the Nissan Leaf): #2 – Talking With Coda Automotive About “Range Anxiety”

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Let’s imagine a convo with Aaron Cohen, Director of Marketing Strategy over at the latest iteration of Coda Automotive, that company what promised to build an electric car assembly plant in the Bay Area City of Benicia last year.

Aaron Cohen: “You have “range anxiety” about driving an electric car and then running out of juice someplace. You so crazy! I’m diagnosing your mental dysfunction free of charge, you’re welcome.”

Wedding Guest: Uh, isn’t range a problem with your product. Isn’t that a real-life concern? Isn’t $45k a tad expensive for what’s basically an electrified 1990′s-era econocar?

Aaron Cohen: ”I see. I guess I’ve been misleading everybody. It’s sort of my job though. I’m proselytizing EV’s, you know?”

Wedding Guest: Well the problem is that the Sedan model that your employer may eventually offer for sale in CA sucks big-time. And it costs waaaaay too much money for what it is.

Aaron Cohen: “You’re forgetting about the tax incentives, like…”

Wedding Guest: I’ll stop you right there. Didn’t the Chinese market reject this car six years ago back when it was a retreaded Mitsubishi four-cylinder gas-engine vehicle selling for something like $9000-something? And didn’t the Euros reject this car back in the 1990′s when it was known as a Mitsubishi Carisma? And doesn’t the huge trunk come at the expense of rear seat passenger room? Now, I know that experts have come in to help you all electrify the thing, but why didn’t you start with a modern vehicle?

Aaron Cohen: “Gee, I’m kind of new here and Wikipedia doesn’t mention any of this stuff .”

Wedding Guest: Well, there you go. Wiki tends to forget about things that determined people are determined to make Wiki forget about. Oh well. Now, whatever you do, don’t badmouth the Nissan Leaf the way soooooo many other people from Coda have done before you. You’re trying to market one of the worst vehicles available (or soon-to-be-available, see below) in the American marketplace, just so you know.

Aaron Cohen: “Gee, now that I know all that, I come off kind of patronizing, huh?”

Wedding Guest: A little, sport. Just a little. Your electrified ride was supposed to come out in 2008, back in the day. Now it’s over budget and behind schedule. Coda Automotive doesn’t know what it’s doing and its dithering is taking up too much time and money from the govmint – why don’t you address one or both of those issues post-haste, Coda? All right, Aaron, Go Forth and Sin No More.

Wow, that was a piece of cake. Too bad real life isn’t that easy…

Now, let’s close with the sperpective of some wag from last year. (I’ll tell you, I can’t begin to tell you all the problems that Coda Automotive has. Oh well.)

“The NYT’s Jim Motavalli has some news about California’s very own electric car company today:

Coda Automotive is a start-up company that will deliver its first $44,900 electric cars to customers in its home state of California “in three to four months,” said its president and chief executive, Kevin Czinger.”

What that means is that, once again, an electric car company is letting you down, ’cause deliveries were just recently promised for the “fourth quarter of 2010.” (Seems as if promises from any kind of car company aren’t really worth that much these days.)

Now, back in the day, just three years ago, the electric car we were going to get from China was called the Javlon XS500. It was suppose to come in 2008. It didn’t. Check it:

Miles Automotive on the $30,000 Javlon XS500 all-electric sedan

Then, in 2008, we were promised the Miles XS500. That was going to come in 2009. It didn’t. Check it:

Miles XS500 will be a lot more expensive than planned, maybe

Then, in 2009, we were promised the Coda Automotive Sedan. That was going to come in 2010. It hasn’t so far. Check it:

Coda Automotive Unveils New Mainstream All-Electric Sedan

So, based upon the statement written on the NYT website, I guess it’ll be 2011 before the “final assembly” plant in Benicia, CA starts rolling out product.

(Perhaps it’s easier to badmouth Nissan than fulfill promises? Sure looks that way…)

In other news, Vice President of Global Sales, Marketing and Distribution, Michael A. Jackson has left the building. Mmmmm….

And hey, remember Webvan, that slow-motion car crash of a dotcom company, you know, the one that made a big splash and then soon after went belly up, the one that was brought to you by, among others, Kevin Czinger and Goldman Sachs?

Well, KC and GS are back again with Coda Automotive.

Let’s see how they do this go-around…”

All Electric Cars Suck (Except the Nissan Leaf): #1 – Tesla Motors Sues the BBC for No Apparent Reason

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Here’s Tesla Motors’ account of its recent pathetic-cry-for-help / lawsuit filing against the BBC.

And here’s some reaction from the media.

And here’s the defense from, more or less, the sainted BBC.

So Tesla, let’s agree that that Top Gear TV show has, at the very least, a flair for the dramatic, a bit of cheesiness built into its DNA. So, why then, did you give them cars to test?

Oh well.

Here are the first two grafs from Tesla’s corporate do-boy:

“Tesla Roadsters in over thirty countries have driven more than ten million real-world miles. [SO WHAT, WHO CARES?] That’s 500,000 gallons of fuel that didn’t burn [HEY TESLA, HOW MUCH JET FUEL DID YOU BUY FOR YOUR CEO OVER THE YEARS? 10,000 GALLONS? 100,000 GALLONS? JUST ASKING, BRO] and over 5.3 million pounds of averted carbon dioxide emissions. [WHY NOT JUST NOT DRIVE INSTEAD, TESLA? AND HOW MANY GALLONS WERE BURNED TO MAKE THE ELECTRICITY TO POWER THE CARS?] The credit goes to approximately 1,500 Roadster owners around the world who drive their electric vehicles in all conditions; [THEY'RE LIKE HEROES, OR SOMETHING, RIGHT?] they’re an enthusiastic group who often talk and blog about their experiences. ["HERE'S A SNAPSHOT OF MY BRAND-NEW SIX-FIGURE TOY" - IT'S JUST LIKE, "LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY GRANDCHILDREN."]

“Tesla is committed to building the best cars in the world. [HAHAHAHAHAHA! AFTER EIGHT LONG YEARS, YOU'RE "COMMITTED," HUH?] And in doing so, [IN DOING WHAT, ACTUALLY? THESE TWO SENTENCES DON'T BELONG TOGETHER - YOU DON'T THINK YOU'RE BUILDING THE BEST CARS IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, OR DO YOU?] catalyzing change in a very traditional industry [OBJECTION, FACTS NOT IN EVIDENCE] by convincing drivers that EVs can match and surpass automobiles run by combustion. [BUT YOUR EV'S ARE MOSTLY RUN BY COMBUSTION] That’s not an easy task. [O RLY? TELL US ABOUT THE MISMANAGED TWO-SPEED TRANSMISSION FIASCO, RICARDO, WHAT ABOUT THAT?] But the Roadster has changed a lot of minds. [THE ROADSTER IS A FAT LITTLE PIGGY WHAT COSTS WAAAAAAY TOO MUCH MONEY. TESLA MOTORS IS A FAT LITTLE PIGGY WHAT SUCKS ON GOVERNMENT TEAT WAAAAAY TOO MUCH]“

Anyway, check the video, below, if you want.

Why yes, I’m extreeeeeeemely comfortable in this very small, very heavy, very expensive rolling toy. Why do you ask?

And leave us not forget: All hail the Mighty Tesla Driver: “Look at me! Look at me! Ooops.” That was on Geary in the Western A, I believe.

The video you’re not supposed to see. I’d never seen it before, personally. It makes the Tesla Roadster look like the overweight, overpriced, electrified POS that it is.

And here’s part of the defense from the BBC’s  cheesy Top Gear show.

Enjoy:

1. We never said that the Tesla’s true range is only 55 miles, as opposed to their own claim of 211, or that it had actually ran out of charge. In the film our actual words were: “We calculated that on our track it would run out after 55 miles”. The first point here is that the track is where we do our tests of sports cars and supercars, as has happened ever since Top Gear existed. This is where cars are driven fast and hard, and since Tesla calls its roadster “The Supercar. Redefined.” it seemed pretty logical to us that the right test was a track test. The second point is that the figure of 55 miles came not from our heads, but from Tesla’s boffins in California. They looked at the data from that car and calculated that, driven hard on our track, it would have a range of 55 miles.

2. We never said that the Tesla was completely immobilized as a result of the motor overheating. We said the car had “reduced power”. This was true.

3. Tesla claims we were lying when we said the brakes were “broken”. They now say that all that had happened was that the fuse to the vacuum pump had failed, which meant that the brake just had to be pushed down much harder than usual. Well – to my mind, if the brakes are broken, then they’re broken, and if this happened to your car, you’d take it to the garage to get it fixed. Odd it seems so trivial to Tesla now, because on the day of filming they insisted on repairing the fuse before we could carry on driving the car.

The above points will be argued over in the near future by brainy people wearing wigs, but in a layman’s nutshell, this is where we stand on the matter. Before I finish though, I must clear up one important issue: scripting. It’s alleged by Tesla that on the day of filming one of their employees caught sight of a script that had been written, before the car had even been driven, already containing the verdict that in the “real world” the Tesla doesn’t work. This, they say, proves our guilt, because we’d condemned the car in advance. May I just say in reply:

a) The truth is, Top Gear had already driven the car prior to filming, to enable us to form a view on it in advance

b) Our primary reasoning behind the verdict had nothing to do with how the Tesla performed; our conclusion was based mainly on the fact that it costs three times more than the petrol sports car upon which it’s based. It takes a long time to recharge, so you can’t use it as easily for the carefree motoring journeys that are a prerequisite of sports car driving. You can actually reach that conclusion without driving the car. As it happens, when it did come to the subjective area of how the car drove on the track, we were full of praise for its performance and handling.

c) Just so you understand there’s nothing devious going on, you need to know how this filming business works. When you film a car review, the reviewer is only the tip of the iceberg. Behind the lens is a film crew, and only a day’s worth of light to shoot the eight minute film. This means we have to prepare in advance a treatment – a rough draft of a script so that the director and film crew can get to work right away, knowing what shots they will need to capture. It will contain the facts about a car, and what we think of its looks and so on, but how well the car actually drives is added on the day. If we’ve driven it ahead of filming, as we do with most cars, we will also have an idea how it feels to drive. But, and this is crucial, as we uncover fresh information about a car whilst filming it, it is entirely normal for the treatment to be modified as the day unfolds. Jeremy is always tweaking the scripts to reflect what his driving experience has actually been on the day.

There you go. I’ve said my bit, and now we’ll hopefully shut up and prepare for our day in court.

PS: As this is going through the courts right now, we’re afraid we’ve had to turn off comments on this one, but we wanted to let you all know how we see it.

Andy Wilman is the Executive Producer of Top Gear”