It's embarrassing that the rest of the Scotts Valley City Council failed to join Councilwoman Stephany Aguilar in going beyond a “purely symbolic gesture” and passing an ordinance that would have banned Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s (not so) smart meters in the city of Scotts Valley. Mayor Jim Reed claims that the city has about as much ability to stop “smart” meters from being installed as “sending a rocket to Mars.” Yet the legal counsels in Watsonville, Fairfax, and now Santa Cruz County disagree with him, and elected officials there have enacted laws banning the radiating devices, citing PG&E’s flagrant violation of legally binding franchise agreements. Whereas Scotts Valley was an early voice against the smart meter program, now within weeks it may be the only place where PG&E can (legally) install smart meters in the county.
It would be nice to see a council who are willing to do what we elected them for — enforce violations of legal agreements by third parties and protect the health, safety and financial well-being of the people of Scotts Valley. There seems to be a political consensus that smart meters are pretty stupid, as demonstrated by the hundreds of residents who have signed petitions and spoken out at council meetings across party lines. Perhaps the mayor and the council will rediscover their moral compass and join that consensus one of these days. People want a council that will stand up for the rights of local government, not be disempowered by a corporation that cares more about amassing profits than about public safety, as we witnessed last week in San Bruno.
Joshua Hart, director, Scotts Valley Neighbors Against Smart Meters