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Palo Alto to explore new laws to curb gas vehicles, appliances

Original post made on Jun 17, 2020

Four years after they adopted a lofty goal of cutting emissions by 80% by 2030, Palo Alto's elected leaders are confronting a sobering reality: Barring something dramatic, it's probably not happening.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 17, 2020, 9:35 AM

Comments (54)

11 people like this
Posted by KOhlson
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:50 am

I have yet to see an end-to-end economic analysis of this initiative, including homeowners and the City/Utilities. Is there one? Given proper economic incentives, people will change. We use under $30/month in electricity, for non-winter months. This is directly attributable to LED light bulbs and Energy Star appliances.


37 people like this
Posted by Major Problems Require Serious Solutions
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:53 am

Cool Blocks is not the right approach. It is based on self-reported "savings" rather than independently-verified outcomes. Serious climate threats mandate we take serious, major action rather than indulge in simplistic I-give-myself-a-gold-star delusions

Scaling way back on office commuting makes far more sense. Let's say "no" to new office construction and "yes" to making it easier for people to work at home.


39 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:06 am

Glad it's going to die. I can't believe that former city manager Keene's pet project Cool Block is still inserting itself into our lives. You'll recall that when Mr Keene kept pushing it, the community objected to it duplicated existing VOLUNTEER services and we didn't need yet another pricey consultant gravy train.

Is the city going to buy us all new appliances and new furnaces so it can get us off gas SO they can raise our utility bills even more? Do residents and struggling restaurants need the added expense? Get real.

Let the PAU concentrate on REDUCING our utility rates since they've been running a $20,000,000 "surplus" by over-charging us every year for many years. Which reminds me, what's happening with that citizen lawsuit against those overcharges?


39 people like this
Posted by Jonah
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:18 am

The story does not mention that Alison Cormak actually expressed support for turning off natural gas and banning gasoline fueled cars.


37 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:25 am

Jonah, thanks for stating Ms. Cormack's position. Shame on her. Was she planning on buying us all new cars, too?

The city can't even efficiently process $25 rebates for new water heaters. Does it have a clue how much plumbers charge by the hour when trying to use


44 people like this
Posted by Miriam Palm
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:30 am

Keep your hands off my gas appliances. What happened to freedom of choice?


6 people like this
Posted by Rose
a resident of Mayfield
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:41 am

I’m in a 55-unit condo building with gas fireplaces. I turned off the gas years ago because the fireplace was worthless - it hardly generated any heat. How do I find a good electric replacement? It would be helpful if the city provided info on the best electric products to swap in? Where does one start? I love this planet and I want to help. How can Palo Alto make the transition from gas to electric easier?


10 people like this
Posted by Midtown senior
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:01 am

Do we finally finish the job by blocking off Page Mill Road, Charleston/Arastradero, Churchill, East Meadow and our share of San Antonio to commuter traffic and place guards there to enforce the blockade. We'd also have to deal with El Camino. In the meantime let's immediately place bulb-outs and speed bumps on all these streets. Why wait 'til 2030?


41 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:02 am

"The most dramatic actions (classified as "high intervention") include requiring new non-residential developments to be all-electric, BANNING REGISTRATION OF GASOLINE CARS in Palo Alto by 2030 and requiring apartment buildings to provide chargers for electric vehicles."

Does PA have its very own DMV handling car registrations now? Or are our "leaders" planning on creating one? Will have our very own license plates? No wonder we pay them the big bucks.


17 people like this
Posted by pestocat
a resident of University South
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:20 am

Staff is suggesting residents give up their gas stoves and gas water heaters and convert to all electric. To me this makes no sense. They even want to turn off old gas lines rather than replacing them replacing them. In California ½ of the electricity is generated from natural gas. Running electric clothes dryers would actually generate more GHG. I have suggested that an incentive program be set up to convert wood burning fireplaces to a natural gas insert. What I think is going on is that staff wants to sell more electricity to generate more income. They really don’t care about GHG, it’s only an excuse that sounds good. There are fireplace inserts that are very efficient. We have a Hearthstone gas stove for heating. We have not used the furnace for the last 2 years. It works on the thermostat too.


21 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:25 am

The electricity supply in Palo Alto is too unreliable. We have lost power several times in the past year due to tree limbs, geese, seagulls and mylar balloons. Most of the outages are not in storms or even when it rains.

If electricity was more reliable with less ugly wires dangling through trees, it might make sense. But undergrounding seems to have stopped.


17 people like this
Posted by Tom from Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:14 pm

I was surprised to see that nowhere in either the story nor the comments was there a mention of solar electricity. I think there needs to be, and more than just a "mention". Palo Alto, for all its desire to be out front on energy issues such as residential solar, actually makes it much (much!) more difficult than most surrounding communities. Chiefly this is done through an arduous permitting process, which forces solar energy suppliers to go back again and again to respond to tinier and tinier modification demands; each time drives up the costs. Having just gone through this, I've seen first-hand how it goes. We used one of the most respected solar providers in the area and what I learned from them is that they are actively considering no longer to offer their service in Palo Alto at all: the permitting process just gets so expensive that it is much less profitable to do business here than in Mountain View or Sunnyvale (those two were mentioned explicitly, though I do not have independent data). There is no question whatsoever that Palo Alto residents want a very expensive investment such as solar panels to be designed and installed correctly; but enforcing a regimen that actually drives the best solar providers away is counter-productive, not to say mind-boggling.


20 people like this
Posted by Decrease the population
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:35 pm

If you really want to help with green house emissions world wide and locally - you need to decrease the demand. That means fewer people. Why will no one discussed the massive overpopulation in the world when they discuss global warming. Even if you look at the state of California, we have made no substantial gains since with each improvement we add more people that negate the gains. We need a set human population goal!

We will never get ahead of the destruction of the open spaces, forests and oceans, and pollution of the land and air until we learn to decrease our numbers. We are in the midst of a massive human caused extinction crisis, we are unleashing diseases on our species from invasion of other animals habitats and we are making the planet uninhabitable from our production of pollution and plastic but we will not stop the exponential growth of the human species.

WE have done this all in a couple hundred years. So, we really aren't the smartest species on the planet like some think. Just the most destructive.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:12 pm

>> Why will no one discussed the massive overpopulation in the world when they discuss global warming.

It started with the Sierra Club's acceptance of the 2004 Gelbaum donation, which came with strings.

Web Link


43 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:51 pm

Agree with Jonah and other posters above that council member Cormack is outrageously out of touch with reality in her comments last night.
Ridiculous unrealistic and probably not legal.

As to installing solar systems on our properties we own....why bother when Scott Wiener and others in the state legislature are trying to skirt the democratic process destroy single family home neighborhoods and allow huge expansion of development standards that could allow giant buildings in adjacent lots that shade solar systems L.

The one two punch of state legislators and our own local elected s trying to destroy our lives and democracy is something we shouldn’t longer tolerate!

Seriously people get involved, there’s a lot at stake


4 people like this
Posted by HN
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:23 pm

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by PhilB
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:50 pm

In 2030, I'm supposed to stop driving my 2007 Porsche Cayman? Those cars easily last 25-30 years, and I don't put on that many miles a year on my car. Or am I supposed to spring for one of these cars: Web Link


33 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Well, those who complain should look yourself in the mirror, because you elected them, and more importantly, you nurtured the liberal environment, for years and years, that made this possible.

From renaming of Jordan Middle School to the ban of new gas appliances, from repeal of Prop 209 to the new state-wide rent control, and the eventual repeal of Prop 13, all these efforts are possible because of your years of naivety, your years of support to the "liberal cause".

This is chicken comes back to roost.

We are witnessing the rapid decay of a great nation. China (and Asia) will win out, in about two decades, because they are far more efficient and don't have this much nonsense.



25 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 3:58 pm

It does feel like we're about to reach the point of flight of talent and capital out of the country, collapse of the currency, and battles among ethnic groups over the dwindling remains.

Welcome to the third world.


30 people like this
Posted by James 2
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 5:41 pm

How many rounds of BART taxes, VTA taxes, environmental taxes, school bonds, income taxes, other kinds of parcel taxes, have you supported over the years? What about protest on "ground water waste" when your neighbor pumps excess water to the bay during construction, subconsciously envious of their ability to afford a new house. Or so-called recycling bins which, when collected, are dumped somewhere they don't tell you, but nowhere near the idea of recycle or reuse, because China has refused to accept them.

Felt pretty good at the time, right?

Every time you support these feel-good measures you embolden them to be even more greedy. You put them onto higher and higher "moral ground".

To quote someone on the Internet, "People complain about corporate greed, but no one notices government greed, they say it goes back to the people, but it really doesn't, it actually just increases government power and decreases personal liberty".


38 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 5:43 pm

At what stage do we rebel against government intervention in our lives, particularly at the local level? We have just had flavored tobacco ban and all that will do is to force people to shop online or out of town and some long time businesses to go bankrupt.

Local CCs are not supposed to be the dictators of what we can and can't do when it comes to vices or how we cook our food.

Perhaps the CC only ever heat up frozen pizza, made of course with vegan and plant based ingredients in a microwave!


43 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:06 pm

You can vote your way into socialism, but you have to shoot your way out.

I hope it doesn't come to that in my lifetime, but I'm not sure.


45 people like this
Posted by Adorno
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:23 pm

Palo Alto has become an experiment in social engineering to see if you can create a Maoist style reeducation camp for 65,000 people without using any walls or uniformed guards.

Like Mao's Red Guard the people pushing this at the local level are well indoctrinated, narrowly educated, and full of revolutionary zeal, which blinds them from seeing how sick it all is. Instead they march around full of virtue spouting empty slogans they can't fully explain.

Palo Alto's intelligentsia need to stand up to these small minded bullies and teach them some science. There is a lot at stake here. If the experiment is successful in Palo Alto, they are going to roll it out everywhere.

God help us.


20 people like this
Posted by AnnetteG
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:40 pm

I, for one, don't plan on giving up my gas stove. We are going way too far with the concept of banning non-electric cars. There is no way that any city can enforce this....or reduce the need for parking. Most of my neighbors have 3 cars and unfortunately park their cars on street...very obvious now with the Shelter in Place.
These proposals are an incentive to leave Palo Alto.


10 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2020 at 12:55 am

"we can continue with the cognitive dissonance, where 80 by 30 is kind of aspirational".
Yep, that is what you need to do at this point ... it is not going to happen because only a small subset of the population has this aspiration once they understand the cost. The rest of us are just trying to make a living, raise families and get by day to day. Electric cars are not a solution for everyone ... expensive to buy and lots of limitations (try driving and spending time in rural areas with an electric car ... or pulling into a gas station and "recharging" in under 5 minutes)


17 people like this
Posted by Midtown senior
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2020 at 9:06 am

As I have repeatedly said during the Ross Road controversy, there is a democratic process here. Vote all those out of the CC who support continued social engineering!


21 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2020 at 10:54 am

When Palo Alto's budget is in freefall, and so many people are unemployed it is time to eliminate the nice-to-have projects, slow down capital projects, renegotiate extravagant pension and retiree medical benefits, negotiate the temporary reduction in wages and bonuses and stop spending on projects that cost Palo Altans more. Switching to electricity from gas makes sense only if that electricity is not generated by gas (as is half the electricity in CA) and the cost to residents is not increased. It is much more expensive to heat my house and dry my clothes by electricity. Once all electricity in CA is generated by sustainable methods, then we can open the conversation again. It is also time for the utility department to purchase the cheapest electricity and gas, not the greenest. At this moment, if there is an overall increased demand for electricity in CA, that demand is mostly satisfied by increasing the amount of electricity generated by gas. Palo Alto's decision to voluntarily pay more for energy so we can boast about using only green sources, has no impact on the overall amount of electricity generated by gas, only what we pay for it. I support research into how to increase our use of solar energy etc ... but it has to be cost-effective, especially in a recession like no other.


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:12 am

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> At what stage do we rebel against government intervention in our lives, particularly at the local level? [...]

>> Local CCs are not supposed to be the dictators of what we can and can't do when it comes to vices or how we cook our food.

>> Posted by Miriam Palm, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> Keep your hands off my gas appliances. What happened to freedom of choice?

Posted by Family Friendly, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> You can vote your way into socialism, but you have to shoot your way out.

etc. etc.

You folks need to quit the overwrought rhetoric. It leads some excitable people to do really nasty things. Web Link

As for your continued use of fossil fuels -- either we all phase out use of fossil fuels, or, none of your grandchildren will have grandchildren. (The world's coral reefs are dead or dying, and, that is now, not in ten years or twenty years. Web Link )

On, as for "rights" -- all rights are in natural competition with each other. Your liberty and happiness that you experience burning fossil fuels is in direct competition with the rights of others. That is why we legislate to determine where your rights end and someone else's begin.

It is time to phase out fossil fuels. Let's figure out how to do it as quickly and easily as we can.


31 people like this
Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 18, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Palo Alto and all the cities between San Jose and San Francisco could go completely dark and it wouldn't move the climate change needle a mili-micro radian. What the CC and staff need to do is quit trying to save the world and start serving the needs of the people who populate Palo Alto.

Imagine that City staff is getting paid for the hours spent on these silly projects! Vote in November if there is anyone else to vote for!


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:11 pm

Posted by Steve Dabrowski, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

>> What the CC and staff need to do is quit trying to save the world and start serving the needs of the people who populate Palo Alto.

Palo Alto going fossil-fuel-free is serving my needs.


16 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:48 pm

"Palo Alto going fossil-fuel-free is serving my needs."

And your needs take precedence over the needs, rights, preferences and finances of everyone else even though enacting this would have NO effect ob climate change, esp. with the Trump Administration rolling back all types of environmental protections?


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 2:36 pm

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

>> And your needs take precedence over the needs, rights, preferences and finances of everyone else

We live in a "representative democracy" and all of our rights are adjudicated via legislation and courts. Some of those rights are Constitutional, others are granted via legislation. Rights are always a balancing act. As has been said (cliche' warning), “your personal liberty to swing your arm ends where my nose begins” Web Link

Anyway, my point was that the pro-burn-fossil-fuel lobby doesn't represent -me-. Because, lots of people were saying that "nobody wants this", "nobody cares". etc. Well, -some of them- want to burn more fossil fuels, but, -I- don't. There is no (Constitutional) -right- to burn fossil fuels. (There is a -right- to a jury trial.).

As for the argument, "Palo Alto is too small to make a difference" -- I disagree for two reasons.

First, "virtue is its own reward". In so many situations in life, the arithmetic seems to be against virtue, and yet, we expect every single individual to do and not do certain things. (e.g. Ten Commandmants). Indeed, "society" depends on people doing the right thing even if one instance seems insignificant.

Second, one small act of virtue can make a huge difference. It really matters that electric cars actually work and individuals have driven hundreds of thousands of miles in them. They work, they are practical, now we just need to get the cost down a little more. And, likewise, we can live with all-electric houses, and, -reduce- the overall carbon footprint of the house. We can have a whole discussion about PV grid power, pumped storage, heat-pumps, etc., but, let's just leave it at that for this thread.


25 people like this
Posted by Josh
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Jun 18, 2020 at 3:12 pm

This all goes back to money. PG&E is bankrupt and they charge a lot more for electric service than the gas that is readily available now with fraking. The States that do the fraking are Red states and making profits that they then support Republican Politicians with. The liberal Democrats here in California don't like that, and want to now get rid of natural gas....not for your benefit, but for theirs....and they have been telling you for years that electrich power was SOO bad for the environment!! Now they want it all electric and to take away your cheaper natural gas! What a joke!


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 3:34 pm

@Josh: If we want our families to have a future, we -must- stop burning fossil fuel. And, for most products we need, now, -we know how to do it-. Let's do it.


13 people like this
Posted by pestocat
a resident of University South
on Jun 18, 2020 at 3:49 pm

Anon, what have you done to convert to an all electric home. What steps have you taken. Remember an electric clothes dryer is actually going to produce more GHG. As mentioned 1/2 of our electricity in CA is generated from natural gas. These power plants are only about 40% efficient.


6 people like this
Posted by pestocat
a resident of University South
on Jun 18, 2020 at 4:13 pm

In 2016, the city was also trying to get rid of natural gas for water heaters, etc. I put to together a website that has all sorts of information and numbers for replacing natural gas appliances. See Web Link the city gave up at that time. But now trying again. But take a look at the website. I have not updated to the latest costs, but the arguments are the same.


9 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2020 at 4:23 pm

Maximize misery and fewer people will try cramming themselves into Palo Alto.


16 people like this
Posted by N
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 18, 2020 at 4:35 pm

How about some incentives, and reducing friction, rather than onerous and expensive new laws!

Our high efficiency home has three zones w/three furnaces, plus a gas water heater and large range. Replacing all of these will cost (no joke) over $100k. If PA requires electrification on home sales in 2025, we will sell in 2024 and leave town. Seriously this is an incredible and unfair burden. Our home being highly efficient uses only one of three furnaces for 1-2 hours per day during the coldest of winter, yet we'll be on the hook to pay big $$$ under some of what is being proposed. Similarly, we *like* our gas stove for cooking -- it was a big upgrade we chose, and should be free to keep doing so.

Putting this all in context - we already replaced 1-of-2 vehicles with electric, and have hopes to replace the second. We wanted to install a high-power/L2 charger, but the PA process is again far higher than neighboring towns, so are living with L1.

We want to install solar too! But the PA permitting process is so onerous that many vendors no longer sell or do installs in PA :( As a comparison, look at Google maps' satellite view and you'll see almost no solar in PA yet tons of solar in Menlo, Mountain View, Los Altos, etc. How about making it easier to install solar in PA?

Note also that we don't have time-of-use (TOU) rates like most of our neighbors, which would further encourage solar, local storage, and high energy consumption at off-peak times.

And after all that if you want to encourage reducing gas usage, how about *incentivizing* that behavior? No need to legislate, just encourage! Give a rebate for every appliance replaced, and maybe advertise a lower / eliminated "connection fee" if gas is turned off completely to a building.,


20 people like this
Posted by Pj
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Electric appliances are bad for the enviroment, remember when we were told gas was good and all new construction HAD to have a gas fireplace? Solar is cost prohibitive and doesn't work in the stormy, cloudy wintertime or in the overcast coast....precisely why we have gas furnaces through the whole state and country. Sorry politicians no one wants to give up their clean energy gas! Even our buses use clean energy gas!


7 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2020 at 6:15 pm

There are various hard-to-enforce schemes that could be used to reduce gasoline vehicle use, but the simplest and best way is to simply increase gas taxes. The price for gas is now around $3 per gallon, it should be $6 per gallon statewide. It doesn't have to be done all at once, the tax can be increased 25 cents per gallon per year over 12 years, for example. Once it's clearly cost effective to switch to a non-polluting vehicle, most people will switch.

Palo Alto will have a very hard time doing this along, taxes need to be raised at the state or national level.


11 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 18, 2020 at 6:32 pm

"Palo Alto will have a very hard time doing this along, taxes need to be raised at the state or national level."

Yes, but our "leaders" presumably think PA is a state since they're exploring "banning registration of gasoline cars in Palo Alto by 2030" and will need a DMV to do that.

Our tax $$$$ at work.


4 people like this
Posted by Great ideas
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 9:27 pm

The City has some great ideas. I am glad they are taking this seriously and thinking of both aggressive and less aggressive actions.

I am glad that they are thinking so much about transportation, which is where the majority of our emissions are. By all means, tax gas-powered cars (yes, I have one), phase out sales, and build (or require) chargers everywhere. We need big incentives and disincentives to accelerate the switch.

For heating I like the idea of requiring upgrades on sale and hope we do that. (And, yes, we own a house.)

Thank you to the city staff and council for taking this seriously and for figuring out how to do our part.


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 19, 2020 at 1:13 am

Does California electric car tax go up another $100 on July 1?


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon1
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 19, 2020 at 6:51 am

> Since 2016, its emissions have remained stubbornly flat at slightly below 500,000 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

These numbers are wrong. World-wide annual emissions are only 36,000 megatons.


15 people like this
Posted by pestocat
a resident of University South
on Jun 19, 2020 at 9:56 am

Comparing Electricity and Natural Gas Prices on Your Utility Bill.
The first thing to do is convert the gas Therms unit to KWHs. One Therm is equivalent to 29.2 KWHs. Then just divide the natural gas bill amount by the value you just multiplied. As an example for me, in May I used 14.7 Therms or 14.7 x 29.2 =429.2 KWH. My cost was $26.33. So cost of natural gas was $0.061/ KWH. For electricity I used 919 KWH and cost was 157.89. Electricity was $0.172/ KWH. So in May electricity cost about 3 times more on an energy basis. I checked my January bill where I used more natural gas and cost was $0.041/KWH.


Like this comment
Posted by I forget
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 20, 2020 at 11:27 am

Y'all can have natural gas leaking out and giving you cancer in your house that you want. I'm going to focus on the much more important and pertinent issue of air pollution outside of your houses which I have to breathe

Did you know that car exhaust causes cancer, heart disease, and dementia?
Are you aware that exhaust combines with saturated fat in your arteries to form super globules?
Have you read that children walking to school on suburban streets grow up with stunted lungs?

Web Link
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link


"According to a recent Lancet commission on pollution and health, pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today, responsible for an estimated 16% of all deaths worldwide and associated with a much wider range of disease than was previously thought"

So I was wondering, does anyone know ANYBODY who might be affected by Alzheimers, a stroke or heart attack, or cancer? Also migraines and Asthma

The only reason people don't see car exhaust as a threat is that they don't SEE it. Turn on your soldier killing gas guzzler sometime in the morning when the fog rolls over and you'll see how much poison gas it's shooting out the back of it.


13 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2020 at 12:07 pm

According to this proposal of Cormack, anyone living outside of Palo Alto can own a gas car, and drive the car in Palo Alto. But if you are a resident, you cannot own a gas car. Does anyone see the irony of Cormack's proposal?


1 person likes this
Posted by pestocat
a resident of University South
on Jun 20, 2020 at 1:49 pm

"I forget".
What have you done with your gas appliances. Have you converted your gas water heater to a heat pump? What else? What is your experience?


11 people like this
Posted by PowerLineReliability?
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2020 at 4:33 pm

For the 37 years I've lived in my house, the natural gas supply in Palo Alto has never gone out of service except when it's been shut off on purpose for maintenance/construction affecting the line (very short outages) or after an earthquake ( longer outage). On the other hand, my electric power goes much more frequently because tree branches or mylar balloons disturb overhead lines, a pole-mounted transformer blows up, or a car crashes into the support pole.

But even more fundamentally, Palo Alto is fed by a SINGLE, highly vulnerable overhead main power line that crosses the SF Bay parallel to the Dumbarton Bridge. This line is supported by fragile (and elderly) self-supporting towers that can be easily brought down by accident (e.g. small airplane crashed into the line in February 2010) or malice (e.g. sophisticated sniper attack in Metcalf Power Station in San Jose in San Jose).

While the environmental and/or economic advantages of going all-electric are certain worthy of discussion, it is not debatable that our utilities must be highly reliable.

Unfortunately, in Palo Alto electricity distribution is not as reliable as natural gas. So going all-electric shouldn't happen until electric power distribution system reliability is improved. This means hardening the local distribution lines, doing more tree trimming in areas serviced by overhead lines, and installing a secondary main line so that Palo Alto has at least two main feeds. Having a single point of failure for Palo Alto's main feed is unwise.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident123
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 21, 2020 at 1:59 pm

I don't understand the concern about power reliability. When the power goes out I notice it because the lights don't work, or my alarm clock. It's a nuisance. On top of that, would I notice if my water heater went out? No. The water would stay warm enough for most outages. On top of that, would I notice if my heat went out? Depends if the outage was in mid-winter. Then, yes, I'd notice it. But I could also live with it if it happened rarely. Is it EV charging? Our range is big enough, so not a problem.

What are people so worried about? If it's not heat and it's not EVs, then by all means keep allowing gas stoves if people are worried about...


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Once again, our unreliable power went out today. This is Monday, June 22, sunny and no wind, and a branch fell on a wire and power went out.

With people working from home and very reliant on electricity, this is not acceptable. Without gas appliances people can't cook, heat water, etc.

No point in saying more.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 23, 2020 at 11:58 am

I don't get this. The "city" dictates the power supply and has a gas meter to bill usage. If that is part of the cities financial picture and breakdown of how the city is run then why isn't the city proposing a change to the way they do business? People are getting hung up on the fate of PG&E which to my knowledge is not a player in the PA utilities system. We do not pay PG&E. I believe that PA buys gas but then manages that gas within their own systems. We pay PA Utilities. Ultimately they are the owner of the systems and have to be able to provide info to users as to what the options ae.


8 people like this
Posted by Al
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 17, 2020 at 9:18 pm

Al is a registered user.

The City Council needs to be reminded that their job is to serve the community and residents of the City. With the ongoing power outages, does it make sense to push for all electric vs. a more balanced approach? Who is responsible and accountable for putting the lives and well being of elderly and people with underlying medical conditions at risk by imposing 100% dependance on an unreliable (and even inefficient) electric energy source? Dont play God on my life!


7 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 17, 2020 at 11:54 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Thanks for waking up this topic. Several experts attribute part of the blame for the blackouts to the poorly planned rush to decommission the cheaper natural gas plants to meet renewable and emmission-free targets right during the summer for which solar is ill-suited to supply the grid. The LA Times link here covers than better than I could. Web Link


Throw in the surging demand for electricity -- all the new electric vehicles that need to be charged, all the new residences and offices with air conditioning, the 3 million more people ABAG / MTC and Scott Wiener want us to absorb etc. and you've got a situation that will only get worse.

Summer and hotter temperatures happen every year. The decommissioning of the gas plants for noble goals WITHOUT providing adequate replacements is akin to taking away lanes of traffic to "calm" traffic because people will really become car-free in the best of all possible worlds.

Our elected and appointed officials might want to rethink their goals and targets.


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