The Planning Commission hearings on permitting the Sun Power solar array out on the Carrizo Plains is slowly, slowly winding down. At the Feb. 15th meeting, Sun Power returned with a compromise design that would reduce the number of poles by 25%, reduce their average height to 50,’ increase the pole set back to 3,000 feet from Highway 58 and underground the disputed lines via the design. The new design doesn’t impact critters any worse while improving the visual impact. All of which solved some of the major concerns by the Commissioners.
Public Comment included:
Eric Greening (who needs to be nominated for Citizen of the Year . . . every year. He is always so informed on every issue and offers up such thoughtful and often critical comments.) urged the Commisisoners to clarify the Twissleman Mine issue (whether it’s an illegal illegal or not and clarify it’s status before signing off on the project, since, while the two aren’t connected, they are interdependent in many ways. (The mine would supply a closer source of aggregate and stone for the project.)
Joel Twissleman spoke on the issue of considering mitigation measure costs vis a vis benefit. In other words, don’t spend gazillions of dollars on patching a mouse hole when the barn door is wide open. i.e. spending pots of $ to reduce dust on one road when there are hundreds of dirt roads and farm plowing that regularly kicks up tons of dust, the plains is filled with power poles now so a few hundreds more aren’t going to “blight” a “pristine” pure area, and so forth.
And Andrew Christie, of the Sierra Club, read a long, long, long list of Solar Projects planned for the San Joaquin Valley, all placed on already chewed up land which would not involve ruining habitat held by endangered creatures. The message: Don’t site this solar project in the heart of a highly sensitive environment when there’s plenty of better sites available, an issue that needs to be carefully documented to appeal any findings
The rest of the afternoon was spent going over various other issues and finessing the language. Carlyn Christianson, the Chairpoerson, has her work cut out for her. There’s a whole bunch of new Commisisoners so, as an old hand at this (she served on the Hideous Los Osos Sewer Wars Planning Commission hearings, when then-Chairwoman Sarah Christie transformed the county’s plan) she has to spend some time “herding cats,” since the newbies are often unfamiliar with procedure.
And all sympathy to the newbies – ain’t easy plowing through all this technical stuff while trying to also get familiar with various ordinances. But it’s always impressive to see the care with which each Commissioner attends to the details at hand. That’s heartening since the Devil is always in those details and the earlier on in the project those devils are discovered and ironed out, the better.
So the details were revisited again; noise, agricultural issues, hours of operation during construction (6-7 a.m. – 9 pm to allow for a mid-day break in the the schedule during the brutally hot summer months), worker transportation via Sun Power shuttles (free) with (costly) parking permits suggested to reduce private 9individiual) cars, thereby reducing air pollution from a whole passel of cars arriving each morning. There’ll also be a decommissioning fund to pay for all costs to close things out at the end of the plant’s 25 year working life.
There was a flurry of concern to try to find out whether (or if) the SOC should rely on economic impact to the county (i.e. local employment) or whether employees would be brought in out of the area. According to Sun Power, they’ve contracted with the local unions and trades and their rules require that local residents get first dibs on jobs, so presumably, local workers would get a shot, which would help support an SOC finding.
The Commissison will meet again, Feb 24, at 9 a.m. to (likely) finsh the work. The project will then go to the Board of Supervisors for another hearing and more public comment.
Goodbye Mr. Smith
Steven Smith, 27, was convicted of attempted voluntary manslaughter for shooting girlfriend Gina Stanko, 35, in the head and hand. The sordid story that unfolded in the paper was awash with Tales of People Behaving Badly, including charges of Improper Canoodling, Stupidly Impregnating The Other Woman, Boyfriend Battering by The Other Woman, Inflammatory Yelling and Screaming and Using a Gun while Stupid.
Clearly, neither of these two lovebirds ever learned a basic lesson: If she smacks you around, that means she doesn’t like you. If you shoot her in the head, that means you don’t like her. Time to move on.
Mr. Smith got 18 years. The baby in question got a life sentence with Screaming, Slapping Mummy Dearest.
Rain! Rain! Time for Puddles