The mills grind slowly

“Thus, I do not see what use there is in those mills of the gods said to grind so late as to render punishment hard to be recognized, and to make wickedness fearless.”
-Plutarch

Sometimes it is hard to immediately distinguish good intentions from wicked fearlessness. Whirlwinds may be reaped either way.

I recommend this Megan McCardle article, California has difficult choices to make. Its politicians keep avoiding reality. for its summation of the fearless irrationality of California’s energy policies.

I’d suggest it’s even worse than McCardle thinks. If California power generation becomes 100% renewable the problem becomes intractable even assuming a miracle.

So, let us first assume the miracle: Elon Musk invents a method of burying all California’s electric transmission lines for a few dollars per mile – by combining Tesla’s impeccably capable self-driving software with a fleet of miniature Boring Machines powered by his SolarCity solar panels and ultra-stable batteries. Power lines are thereby quickly made safe from the danger of sparking wildfires. Only a few of the machines spontaneously combust or crash into underground gas lines. Which are, in any case, being phased out. Santa Ana blackouts are a thing of the past.

Next, assume that Governors Brown and Newsom, the California legislature, and the envirostatists pushing 100% renewable electricity generation accomplish their objective, and that 50% of that renewable power is generated by windmills, since it’s only sensible not to depend entirely on solar panels, even if Elon Musk donates the entire output of SolarCity for a decade.

We will not go so far as to assume the Santa Ana winds simply cease to blow, however. Those winds are above the windmill cut out speed and will necessitate shutting down the windmills when the Santa Ana blow.

California blackouts, when the wind doesn’t blow and when it blows too much, would become a permanent, designed in, feature of the grid.

The powerless watch their homes burn

Of course, you’ve already heard this joke:
Question: What did socialists use for light before candles?
Answer: Electricity.

Millions of Californians probably don’t think that’s funny.

California is trending ‘third world.’ There’s syringes and human feces scattered all over San Francisco sidewalks, lice and rats infest Los Angeles municipal buildings with an associated return of medieval diseases like typhus, water is periodically rationed due to deliberate political inaction, there’s sky-high regressive sales and gasoline taxation, homelessness is quadruple, and poverty is triple the per capita rate of the rest of America, and California has the fourth highest income inequality of all states.

But even that’s not chaos enough for the California Democrat-super-majority politburo.
California is ‘winning’ its way into the Stone Age

California has experienced a rash of costly wildfires due to irresponsible State stewardship of forest lands through which run electrical transmission lines improperly maintained by State regulated-monopolies.

This confluence of ill-advised State policies is forcing those State controlled corporations to cut power to millions of Californians when the wind blows strongly.

Californians pay the highest electricity rates in the continental United States. In part, because California is forcing its electricity companies to fund windmills (which can’t operate in such high winds) via a mandate of 100 percent electrical power generation from ‘renewable’ (excluding nuclear and hydroelectric) sources by 2045. Idled windmills notwithstanding, millions of customers can’t buy power now at any price.

This is a result of central planning. The sort favored by Liz “I have a plan” Warren, Bernie “I don’t have to say how we’ll pay for it” Sanders, and the rest of the Dem presidential wannabe drove.

Exemplifying California’s philosopher king approach, California’s previous Governor vetoed a bill that would have reduced fire risk by prioritizing the clearing of trees and brush dangerously close to power lines.

California’s current Governor blames “dog-eat-dog capitalism” for the state’s current wildfire blackout crisis. Is that code for “the accumulated burden of State malfeasance“? He can’t mean capitalism, given State direction of the power companies’ business plans. Apparently, the Governor is unfamiliar with the actual economic system that implies. And he can’t even make the train projects run on time.

Both those .gov gentlemen have been otherwise occupied with pouring $10.7 billion, of the $6 billion budgeted, into the first 119-mile stretch of their bullet train to nowhere project. And the $64 billion budget for the total project looks to be way low based on current cost projections of $113 billion – and rising. Maybe they should have trimmed some bushes and buried some power lines instead.

The Governors also reached a consensus that rising CO2 levels are responsible for the fires. Even as the preventable fires spew vast amounts of CO2; negating reductions from the windmills and bullet trains.

Ironically, reducing CO2 emissions is how they justified all those poor policy decisions. Even though a zero-emissions California would have no discernible effect on climate according to the IPCC.

Why does California prattle futilely about dubious future risks beyond their control rather than deal with what they could control: Mitigating the obvious, immediate risks of wildfire and blackouts? Because, vague existential threats are politically superior to mundane good governance when your object is heroic virtue signaling.

Never waste a crisis, especially if you’ve created it.

Update: 1:20PM
Recommended reading for Governors Brown and Newsom:
Escape from model land

Dark side of the Moonbeam

California Governor Jerry Brown:

Never underestimate the coercive power of the central state in the service of good.

Or evil, Governor Brown, you oh so Superior Man.

Meanwhile, California Climate Policies Chilling Housing Growth.

And, Can California Be Saved? I know which way I’d bet.

The 44 crimes Oakland can afford

I noted that police in Oakland, California have said they will no longer respond to 44 types of crime after the city was forced to lay off 80 officers for budgetary reasons.  My take; “When the taxpayer suffers significant economic reverses, police and fire protection are among the first services to be threatened by the adminocrat/union axis.”

I also speculated that the benefits were probably “Cadillac.” Well, RTWT, but here’s a look at Oakland police compensation and benefits:

  • total compensation for an OPD employee averages $162,000 per year
  • high end health plan premium paid entirely by the city
  • the city pays the entire pension contribution – 9% of salary and overtime


Update 11:05AM

Why Would 80 Police Officers Cost Oakland $100 Million?

Little noticed in the story of the Oakland police layoffs and the city’s ensuing crime spree is that less than six years ago Oaktown voters approved a tax specifically to pay for more cops.

I find this uncomfortably close to a proposal by the Ingham County Commissioners for additonal taxation to continue rural patrols.