Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Planning Commission Discusses Solar Energy for City Facilities Tonight

Please don't get me wrong here, I am all in favor of solar energy. I have 51 panels on my roof, which is a lot. We love to use electricity here. Everything we own runs on sunshine, including our two cars which are Chevy Volts. When we do buy gasoline for them (they have gas fueled generators that produce electricity when the batteries are spent), we usually spend no more than 5 bucks. I am averaging about 125 miles per gallon in my Volt. We're quite big on disruptive technologies here and I can't understand why everyone hasn't seen the light. So to speak.

I don't pay Edison much of anything, and the gasoline industry is just going have to get along without me. I'm sure they will. They practically own the current administration.

There are those who complain that solar, along with my choice of cars, only exist because of government subsidies. My answer to that comes in two parts. Please name a corporation in America (or anywhere else in the industrialized world) that doesn't receive government financial benefits. Either in straight cash handouts, tax breaks, or other considerations. You can't. Don't even bother trying.

Also, I have paid a lot in taxes over the years, as have you I'm sure. If an opportunity comes along to get some of that money back, why should I be among the few that doesn't get to take advantage? Seems unfair. Can you believe that there are some people who actually drive Fords to protest the GM bailout? Talk about adding insult to injury.

I have very little respect for the politics of selective outrage. And yes, I have digressed.

Tonight the Planning Commission will have the joy and privilege of parsing some of the more granular aspects of taking the City of Sierra Madre's government buildings and facilities solar. It is about time. City Hall is way behind the curve on solar, and you can only guess why. Eight years of misrule by a SoCal Edison employee might have had something to do with it. You know, the one who proclaimed himself the greenest to ever live, yet never found it in himself to put solar panels on anything the city owns?

Here is how James Carlson introduces this worthy effort (link).


By the way, if you spend some time with this agenda report, you will see that in addition to Connor Energy an outfit called ConEdison is also involved. As far as I know they have nothing to do with Southern California Edison. So don't go there.

Here are where my concerns come in. 


Here are my questions. This lengthy agenda report offers nothing to us about how much all of this is going to cost. If the City of Sierra Madre is going to take on even more debt than it has now, shouldn't there have been at least one small paragraph detailing how much new debt that is going to be? Perhaps this is more of a City Council consideration than a Planning Commission one, but the courtesy of sharing those numbers tonight would have been appreciated.

My other question is was there a bidding process? I know that Connor Energy specializes in putting up solar for municipal governments and businesses, as does their partner ConEdison. And I'm sure that working with them was convenient. But did you know that there are over 7,000 solar companies in the United States? Seriously. Many of whom would drive over their loving mothers to get the business of a place like Sierra Madre.

Most of these solar outfits are practically giving the stuff away. The competition is fierce. Has City Hall taken any advantage of that? Can it be that the lack of financial transparency in this agenda report is because they have only been talking to one party?

It wouldn't be the first time that has happened. Hopefully some of this will come up tonight. If anyone can do that, it would be the fine people of the Planning Commission.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

35 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. SM needs a dispensary downtown

      Signed

      New City Manager

      Delete
    2. Solar powered grow lights!

      Delete
  2. Well that is a bummer, can't see where the other bids are? Come on City Hall, at least 3 bids for something so important, don't make this another problem that we spend money where we don't have to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. true, quite a few companies that specialize in commercial solar

      Delete
  3. These questions did not come up, when watching the Planning Commission meeting.
    The Mitigated Negative Declaration was brought up, but there seemed to be some assurances that "all was fine".
    There also appeared to be a rush in getting construction of pannels in the city yard, to assure a "hold" or binding contract, until if and when the loan and funds would be available.
    Not sure if this will pass the smell test.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. true, based on history, any time our city management is in a rush, they appear to be hiding or not being truthful with us

      Delete
  4. Bruce Inman used to bring no bid water infrastructure contracts before the City Council. He always said it was because of that company's expertise and experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea, and with no sole source justification required.

      Delete
    2. The City Council didn't push the bidding too often. I think it has made staff complacent.

      Delete
    3. I would expect bidding out to 3 firms a requirement? I know it takes more effort on the city's part but can save significant $$ if the bidders know they have to bid competitively, vs knowing they'll be handed the job? I guess that's why city's rarely go bankrupt, and private company's generally don't tolerate such crap.

      Delete
  5. Daves not hear.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good morning. Don't wanna beat a dead horse but from last night;
    The water bill is a cut and paste from the city billing website.
    The bill from Athens is totally separate from the city water bill and is $46. for a 2 month period.
    My water usage was $23,meter charge $76,sewer $31,UUT $13,$144 2 month bill for a 10,640 Sq. Ft. lot 3 bed 2 bath house I have owned for 35 years.

    2:51pm. Obviously not a home owner, just an apartment dweller.
    With Athens Trash bin rentals about $60.00 a month x 2 months, so you use $10.00 a month in water usage?
    Yeh, thanks for the fake water billing run on

    ReplyDelete
  7. 420 day and government handouts in encouragement of the weed should be on the agenda.

    ReplyDelete
  8. When you get a politicle science degree don't they teach business and common sense? Who is responsible for these lack of action decisions that being made with our TAX dollars? We get taxed more and get less. We all better get out and vote next year.

    ReplyDelete
  9. 7:52am. I agree, the tired excuse of expertise and experience, along with no open bidding process, has made a mess of many questionable repairs and builds, within the City of Sierra Madre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. code for "we're lazy"

      Delete
    2. I am sure ConEd has city government psychology down pat.

      Delete
  10. The more important question of a back up system and battery storage inorder to give the City its optimum financial savings, was not offered by Conner Energy. Why not?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Athens trash service is $220 for 60 day billing period, one pick up a week

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Athen's charges depend on what size and number of trash cans you have.

      Delete
    2. They pretty much can do as they like. The city gave them carte blanche.

      Delete
  12. "Don't wanna beat a dead horse", but "Why dont you run for City Council and change things? So much easier to post things anonymously"; oh wait 7:58am., you may be a council member.
    Unable to let go of a subject, then persistent with "your"response of beating it to death, regardless of what others around you are saying.
    The current council could use some listening skills or in the very least, do a better job in hiding the fact "their" mind has already been made up and do away with public hearing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Um I think you're confused. I'm talking about water rates and quite happy with the Council.
      Sorry if I wasn't clear I was replying to a post last night @5:13 pm.
      There are two 7:58s' I'm the "dead horse" one.

      Delete
    2. what blows me away is that with this Council and the previous few, the Council members actually believe they are smarter than the average resident, many have had an open disdain for long term residents and many have have massive overblown and undeserved egos.

      the reason is they are on the Council is because they wanted to and some for their own agenda (like benefiting their employers)or career (look look look at me) but only a couple had a civic mindset where they were there to do what is responsible and good for the city residents and not developers or the real estate crowd

      we'd be better off hiring a property management company than having a Council

      it's really nothing more than a home owner's association

      Delete
  13. Does anybody know where the solar panels Connor Energy uses are manufactured?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. North Korea?

      Delete
    2. Soledad State Prison.

      Delete
  14. while I commend the city for entering the 20th century, once again it's the path of least resistance.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sierra Madre should start a "clean coal" facility,I'm sure trump would be pleased with us. And it's environmentally friendly although non-existent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fracking would be good. And a pipeline.

      Delete
  16. Trolls get trumped again!

    President Donald Trump received substantially worse ratings for his initial months in office than any other president elected to his first term since World War II, according to Gallup.

    Even those presidents who went on to be unpopular generally enjoyed high ratings during their first months in office after their electoral victory. But Trump’s average rating since Inauguration Day is just 41 percent, Gallup finds, making him the only such president in its polling history to fall short of majority approval during his first quarter.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Replies
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xo5zZLZpLs

      Delete