Morning Report: Power Company Challenged on Fire Prevention Plans

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Morning Report: Power Company Challenged on Fire Prevention Plans

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The new safety branch of California’s Public Advocate Office has lodged some of its first complaints against SDG&E’s wildfire mitigation plans, arguing that it lacks credible science and could actually make wildfires worse. 

The company prides itself on a robust emergency operations system and meteorological team put in place after wildfires in 2007 to identify when the winds, temperature and water content of the ground may combine and demand targeted de-energizing of power lines.

But MacKenzie Elmer reports that SDG&E is also required to clear trees and other brush within 12 feet of utility poles and power lines and is offering to expand it to 25 feet. The Public Advocate Office argued that might allow for grasses and non-native species, which are much more fire-prone, to take root. If the agency is right, it could jeopardize SDG&E’s safety certificate and associated access to funding covering damage claims.

SDG&E said the advocate office’s claim was “misguided” and pointed to its own data showing that when it clears trees beyond the state minimum, its equipment had fewer contact with vegetation and a drop in fires.

(Disclosure: Mitch Mitchell, SDG&E’s vice president of state governmental affairs and external affairs, sits on Voice of San Diego’s board of directors.)

Real Estate Sellers Don’t Need to Disclose Climate Risk

Last week, Elmer took a closer at the dueling plans to redevelop the Midway area and Pechanga Arena and found that no one’s talking about the area’s future flood zone. Whatever stands there could be under seawater in the second half of this century.

Yet throughout most of California, Elmer wrote Monday in her biweekly Environment Report, there’s no requirement to disclose anything about sea level rise or coastal flooding during real estate transactions.

The state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst is advising the Legislature to spread public awareness of sea level rise and help Californians make informed decisions about the risks of purchasing coastal properties by requiring its disclosure.

At some point in the not-too-distant future, coastal properties could become too risky to insure at all, meaning property values would drop, meaning less money to build the things needed to protect against sea level rise in the first place. 

In Other News

Krvaric Offers More Insight into Hacker Past, Nazi Video

Friday, KPBS reported on an old video filled with Nazi imagery that referenced Tony Krvaric, who has been the chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County for many years. The report featured two prominent Republicans — former U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa and County Supervisor Dianne Jacob — who denounced the video and called on Krvaric to explain his association with it.

Monday, the Union-Tribune let Krvaric try to do just that. Issa and Jacob have long sparred with Krvaric and he blamed the video’s emergence as part of an internal party rivalry finally getting some attention.

“‘Criticize me all you want, but not for this,’ he said, his voice cracking in a Monday telephone interview. ‘This is vile.'”

He provided more insight than previously known of the hacker group he was a part of in the 80s that pirated video games. It was a practice he says was legal. With each success, they would produce videos. One of them happened to have a fetish for Nazism.

Krvaric does refer to his car often as the “Panzer” a reference to the German tanks in World War II. He did not address KPBS’ reporting about his adult son, Viktor Krvaric, who has expressed support for White supremacist movements.

Corrections

  • Last week’s story about how SDPD is instructing officers to stop ticketing people for “seditious language” misidentified the number of individuals ticketed by a single officer. 
  • An earlier version of the Saturday Politics Report also incorrectly described San Diego Unified School District Trustee Richard Barrera’s re-election situation. He is facing a challenger named Camille Harris. 

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood and Jesse Marx and edited by Scott Lewis.

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