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Sunrise Powerlink Meeting in Alpine, 2010-05-10

Citizens Oversight (2010-05-10) Raymond Lutz

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More Info: COPs Program, Energy Policy, Sunrise Powerlink

SDG&E Hosted this meeting at the Alpine Women's Club to go over the details of the construction in the middle of Alpine to underground the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line.

They always say the project is one of the most studied in the history of the PUC, but they fail to mention that the 11,000 page EIR concludes with the #1 recommendation that the line should not be built at all. The PUC, in their "infinite wisdom" decided to go against the recommendation of the EIR and build it anyway. Now, we are stuck with a project that is a waste of rate-payer dollars. We could install solar arrays throughout the SD basin and get the same amount of power the transmission line would bring in, for the same $$.

The bottom line is that the Sunrise Powerlink does not generate one kwhr of power, and they guaranteed that at least 0% of the power would be renewable. Their true game plan is to use this line to transmit power generated in Mexicali using imported LNG through the new Costa Azul LNG terminal.

This project must stop, even if we have to chain ourselves to the tractors.

Prior to the recording of the session, Don Parent, PR Rep for SDG&E said recording would not be possible and the camera had to be removed. Ray Lutz said that he would stand his ground and record anyway, unless Parent would have him arrested. Read the emails that followed after the event, below.

Part 1 of 2

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Part 2 of 2

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Emails after the event

5/13 email from Ray Lutz to Don Parent

Dear Don:

At the May 10 2010 Sunrise Powerlink meeting in Alpine, you said that video cameras were not allowed and told me that I had to leave the room. I did not, and said that I had a right to video record a public meeting, and that you would have to have me arrested to stop. Most public meetings of any public body, such as city councils, school boards, etc. are governed by the "Brown Act" which specifically allows such recordings. When you say your meeting is a "public meeting" it implies that it will follow those general rules. Plus, I have video recorded almost every other meeting with regard to the Sunrise Powerlink, which you can find on my website, at

First of all, I would like you to confirm that you did ask me to leave, and second, ask you to provide the policy of SDG&E regarding their public meetings and video recording by the public. Most groups welcome the actions of citizens to help document what occurs at these meetings. If SDG&E does not want them recorded, what are you trying to hide?

If your policy is to allow video recording of your meetings, I would therefore request that you discontinue asking anyone in the public to stop recording the meetings, and that you apologize for putting me on the spot at the meeting.

By the way, the video recording will be hosting on the Internet on a permanent basis, and I plan to continue to video record regardless of your policy. If you would like to have the police there ready to arrest me, I would relish the thought.

--Ray Lutz

His reply on 5/14

Mr. Lutz:

hank you for your note.

My recollection of what occurred at the May 10, 2010 meeting hosted by SDG&E and designed for the benefit of Alpine residents and property owners in relation to the Sunrise Powerlink Project is:

- Before the start of the meeting, I asked you to remove from the room, your table displaying your congressional campaign literature along with some sort of petition attached to clip boards which I assumed you intended to circulate for your campaign's benefit. You did move your table and campaign literature to the area outside of the building's front entrance and for that, I thank you.

- I was mistaken in my request for you to remove your video camera. I apologize if I made you feel uncomfortable by my inquiry. However, never in our conversation did I state that such things were against SDG&E's policy, nor did I threaten to have you arrested; this, evidenced by the fact that you went on to video tape the meeting without incident or interruption.

- SDG&E does not have a policy restricting video taping of meetings where the public is invited.

- When you set up your tri-pod for your video camera, you displaced two or three of our easels intended for the Sunrise project display maps. As you are aware, the room was tight on space and, since such displays are helpful in providing important information about the project for the benefit of the attendees, perhaps, in the future, you could arrange an alternative method to support your camera.

Thank you for your interest in the Sunrise Powerlink project.

Email from Ray Lutz to Don Parent

Dear Don Parent:

Thanks Don for your reply. I would like to make some corrections to your thinking about public meetings, esp. regard to the Sunrise Powerlink. You say in your note that the meeting was designed for "Alpine residents and property owners" but since the meeting is open to the public, you should say that the meeting is designed for "any member of the public to attend, without discrimination of any kind." This is, in fact the policy under the Brown Act, and when you say your meetings are "Open to the public," that is the implication. Also, at truly public meetings in public places, according to the Supreme Court Decision called the "Pruneyard Case" (attached) anyone can distribute material of any kind, including material that is in opposition to your position on the project, partisan materials, and virtually any "free speech" materials. (The Pruneyard Case related to people distributing material within privately owned malls.) This includes within the meeting room, which is a public area, if it is a public meeting. (However, let me say that we really don't mind moving outside to make room for the attendees.)

I would like to suggest that you take a different approach with your public meetings, specifically with regard to attempting to stop me from recording and putting a damper on the distribution of materials. And, I will remind you that it was not an inquiry, you said "You will have to remove your camera from the room as we don't allow cameras in our meeting. We rented this hall and we set the rules." To which I said that I would stand my ground and videotape the meeting, and that the only way you will be able to stop me is by calling the police and having me arrested. (Indeed, I am sorry that I did not have my camera recording at that time because the video recording would be nice to review.) In fact, I did feel quite uncomfortable that you were asserting yourself to stop the recording of the meeting.

In general, the attitude of SDG&E is not at all inviting and in your last message, continue to make it difficult, implying that if the room is tight on space, that I should have to modify my behavior instead of your behavior. In this case, you make it sound like it is my responsibility to make room for your easels and should not use a tripod since you could not have those materials displayed. The other way to handle this would be the opposite, stating that "We'll be sure to get a larger room to make sure there is room both for any video cameras as well as our displays" or "We could have moved our displays out of the room to the porch since there was not even room for people to stand and that would make room for your video camera." As it turns out, you did not have your displays available until after the start of the meeting, so almost no one looked at them, and those easels could have been set up in the front at the end of the meeting to allow anyone to look them over. So again, this is just an attempt in your last email to continue the attitude that a camera is not something that you embrace in your meetings.

Please be aware that many other people can view the meeting when these videos are placed on the Internet. I usually get 100s or perhaps 1000 additional viewers of your meeting. The last thing you want to do is also get the disclosure in the video that you asked that the camera be removed.

I hope you don't mind me saying that the attitude of SDG&E does not help the PR relations of SDG&E in the public's eye, I hope you, as the PR representative understands that. Your attitude is "we are in charge here and we get to tell the public what to do," and "You can't record," "take your materials outside" or "you should find some other way to support your camera because you are frankly, in the way" instead of "Gee, Mr. Lutz, we would be happy to have you record the meeting, is there any way we can make that work better for you?" and "Do you have enough room for your materials in our public meeting? We have tables for anything anyone wants to put out just so we can show the public that we are ready to get along here." I hope you understand my suggestion. Honestly, I think it would help your relations with the public.

I will be documenting the fact that I was asked to leave the room in the video recording of the meeting, and the fact that you have apologized for mistakenly asking me to leave.

Again, thank your for your response. I trust the next time we try to record an SDG&E meeting, we will not be confronted in the same way.

--Ray Lutz

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Title Sunrise Powerlink Meeting in Alpine, 2010-05-10
Publisher Citizens Oversight
Author Raymond Lutz
Pub Date 2010-05-10
Media Link Media Archived Offline
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Note SDG&E attempted to thwart recording of the meeting, Ray Lutz said he would continue to record unless he was arrested.
Keywords COPs Program, Energy Policy, Sunrise Powerlink
Media Type Video
Media Group News
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Topic revision: r8 - 28 Dec 2013, RaymondLutz
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