Will Newsom Really Cut State Worker Salaries by 10 Percent?

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame wrote many years ago that, “There is a right way, a wrong way, and the weasel way.” Often the way of the politician and the weasel are indistinguishable.

Newsom Moves the Goal Posts Again

Recently, our embattled monarch, Gavin Newsom, has been moving the goalposts of reopening California businesses in reaction to all the pushback that he has received. Barack Obama called this style of leadership, “Leading from behind.” Newsom is being forced to let California resume operations not because he wants to but because the revenue is falling frighteningly short of projections and the natives are getting restless. (Oh, and for the first time in 22 years, Republicans just picked up a House seat in last week’s special election.)

Today Newsom redefined the requirements for opening California counties for business. Please note the science has not changed since last week, only the politics.

The changes eliminate requirements that a county have zero deaths and no more than one case per 10,000 residents over 14 days.

Gov. Newsom: Sports, Haircuts Could Be Coming Back Sooner As California Relaxes Some Reopening Criteria

Johnnie Does nailed this very point on our blog a few days ago.

Newsom estimated 53 of 58 counties could meet the new criteria.

Twenty-four counties in mostly rural Northern California had already been cleared to move faster under the old standards.

Folks, in part, you have Elon Musk to thank for this change not you local county supervisor. Elon has embarrassed the crap of out of the unelected bureaucrats and made sure the whole nation knew what horse’s asses the Alameda County Health guy is and by extension, Newsom as well.

Alameda County is allowing Tesla to restart, while the vast majority of other businesses in the county must remain closed.

Coronavirus Crisis: Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Alameda County reach deal for Fremont plant reopening

Oh, lastly, we get this little nugget about Sacramento County.

“In all the hospitals in the county, there are a total of 15 people with COVID, so that’s an example of how the epidemiological data has gone down,”
–Dr. Peter Beilenson, Director of Sacramento County’s Department of Health Services

Sacramento County Meets New Criteria To Relax Stay-At-Home Order, Will Submit To State For Approval

OK, so now even the densest amongst us learn we’ve been sheltering in place for two months for no reason; 15 people hospitalized in the whole county. WTF?

State Worker Pay-cut

As a “good” Democrat, Newsom is promising that State workers will feel the pain of California’s economic shortfall as well but will they really? Will Newsom really cut State worker wages by ten percent?

The better question, is ten percent of what? What state workers make now or what they will make in the new fiscal year starting July first? Or something else?

First remember that a government budget cut has nothing to do with current expenditures. A cut is measured in terms of what fiscal planners wanted to spend next year versus what they actually got. For example if the boat patrol agency wanted to increase spending by ten percent and the legislature and governor gave then six percent, in budget language, the boat patrol agency had a four percent budget cut even though in real dollars they were given six percent more than last year.

Given the above, exactly what budget cut is the governor talking about? The only thing you know right off is that it wouldn’t really be as simple as paying workers 90 percent of what they got this year. Thus, we need to invoke the weasel way of budgeting. Only by invoking weasel logic can you divine the likely way Newsom gets to claim his ten percent salary cut without actually having to cut ten percent.

Given the above, how does he get to ten percent?

Here’s my best guess based on what I know combined with some early trial balloons for accounting gimmicks. Look for the plan to include these four points:

The following is based on SEIU contracts which cover over 90,000 State employees; other unions will vary.

First, the promised pay raise of 2.5 percent is gone.

Also, the promised healthcare stipend of $260 per month may go away also. It was set to start in the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

The CERBT may be suspended to backfill a cut in pay so workers won’t feel the pain as much. (Remember, weasel way.)

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration could offer some relief from potential pay cuts for state workers by temporarily eliminating one of the paycheck deductions workers see each month, according to an Association of California State Supervisors web post.

Newsom this week proposed reducing state workers’ pay by 10 percent on Thursday in a budget that aims to reckon with a projected $54 billion deficit.

To soften blow of state worker pay cuts, California might suspend $2,600 health deductions

Most state employees pay roughly $2,600 per year toward the benefit, although the amount varies by salary and bargaining unit, according to a State Controller’s Office report. Public safety workers, who typically retire earlier than other employees, pay much more.

The deduction shows up as “CERBT” on state worker pay checks, which stands for California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust Fund.

Back in 2016, the CERBT fund was implemented as a way to deal with unfunded liabilities related to healthcare of retirees.

The retiree health care contributions are intended to pay down an unfunded $74 billion liability that the state faces.

SEIU Local 1000 contract deal includes delayed raise, $2,500 signing bonus

The CERBT fund was capped at 3.5 percent of employee wages per the contract between SEIU and the State.

SEIU Contract

Other unions may have different arrangements with the State.

Oh, and look for a hiring freeze or similar gimmick.

Lastly, buried somewhere in the agreement will be something that backfills the money at some point in the future, either in the form of employee retirement being calculated on the basis of no cuts or something similar. Somehow, I think Gavin will make the unions whole at some point in the future or else…

What a Day: Elon Musk, Willie Brown, and Kirk Uhler Agree with Us

In addition to Modoc, Sutter, and Yuba counties, over the last few days Placer, San Joaquin, and El Dorado counties have also made moves to try to reopen their economies.

Placer County

Based on the requirements, Placer County won’t be in the first wave of counties to get the green light.

That’s upsetting some Placer officials. The county this week sent the governor a demand that he allow them to set their own reopening course.

“If we don’t see any action, we may be calling a special meeting to seek a legal injunction,” Placer County Board supervisor Kirk Uhler said on Thursday. Uhler said he believes the governor has overstepped his legal authority in effectively shutting down much of the economy and requiring people to stay mainly at home.

It could be the first county in California to pursue legal action against the state over Newsom’s stay-at-home orders.

Official threatens to sue Newsom if Placer County can’t reopen from the coronavirus shutdown

“It is not up to the governor at this point to say what the rules are. We are not in a state of emergency. Get out of our way,” said supervisor Kirk Uhler.
Uhler said Newsom is overstepping his authority by continuing to hold counties to the statewide order as businesses suffer.

Placer County supervisor to Newsom: ‘Get out of our way’

San Joaquin County

San Joaquin County has joined a growing list of communities applying for local control over reopening.

Business owners are desperate to open and pay their bills, but increasing coronavirus cases and deaths will make it tough to meet the governor’s requirements.

“We’re now getting to a desperate stage where our economy, in order to bounce back, is going to have to step up and go to work,” said Tom Patti.

San Joaquin County To Apply For Reopening Flexibility As Businesses Get Desperate

El Dorado County

This week, El Dorado County became one of the first in California to send a proposal to Gov. Gavin Newsom outlining plans to reopen key parts of its economy.

El Dorado County works to move faster through Stage 2 reopening plan

Tesla to Pull out of California

Hours after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he would pull the car maker’s plant from the Golden State, the company sued Alameda county, accusing officials of “defying” state laws by refusing to allow the facility to reopen.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a Twitter rant late on Saturday, that saw Musk branding California county’s chief health official “ignorant,” after the local authorities refused to give the company the green light to reopen its plant with more than 10,000 workers in Fremont due to coronavirus restrictions.

That was quick! Tesla files LAWSUIT against California county for not allowing factory to reopen after Musk threatens pullout

“I’m not messing around. Absurd & medically irrational behavior in violation of constitutional civil liberties, moreover by unelected county officials with no accountability, needs to stop,” Musk sounded off.

Backing up his words with deeds, Tesla wasted no time in filing a lawsuit, asking the court to declare the county-imposed ban on its operations “void and unenforceable,” while arguing that the Tesla factory has been a part of the state’s “critical infrastructure.”

Meanwhile Tesla’s Factory is open anyway

The parking lot was nearly full at Tesla’s California electric car factory Monday, a likely indication the company was resuming production in defiance of an order from county health authorities.

The lot at the massive plant in Fremont, which employs 10,000 workers, appeared to have a similar number of vehicles as it does when the factory is fully operating. A normal complement of workers would violate orders from the Alameda County Health Department, which has deemed Tesla’s Fremont factory a nonessential business that can’t open under restrictions intended to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Newsom Addresses Criticism Of Stay-At-Home Orders From Tesla Founder Elon Musk

Oh, Fox News has confirmed that Tesla’s Alameda County factory is open today without government permission.

LA Times Chimes In

Speaking of the Governor’s criteria to reopen…

The Times conducted an analysis to see which counties could pass just the first two criteria — whether deaths have stopped in the past 14 days, and whether there is no more than one case per 10,000 residents in that same time period. Most of California failed that test.

In fact, 95% of Californians live in counties that don’t meet that standard, The Times analysis found. Not a single county in Southern California nor the San Francisco Bay Area met the criteria.

The 24 counties that did meet the criteria, for the two-week period that ended Thursday, are all in Northern California and most are sparsely populated.

The three largest counties meeting both criteria are Placer County, population 380,000, northeast of Sacramento; Santa Cruz County, population 274,000, south of San Jose; and Butte County, population 227,000, in the foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada.

Most California counties fall short of reopening criteria as coronavirus cases climb

Willie Brown

But so far, the authorities who have locked us in have yet to figure out how to get us out.

If they don’t figure it out soon, the public is going to find a way to get out on its own.

In fact, some counties and some professions are already opening up.

And trying to keep businesses from opening with threats of suspending their liquor licenses or cosmetologist licenses won’t work — not on a mass scale that would be needed if many people start to say: enough.

The goal of the shutdown was to curb the coronavirus and keep the hospitals from being swamped.

We kept the hospitals working, but we have yet to curb the virus and a vaccine is probably at least a year away.

In the meantime, we’re headed over the economic cliff and facing unemployment numbers the likes of which we have never seen before.

This can’t go on. California has to figure a way out

One Trillion Dollar Bailout

Ok, let me get this straight, California is projecting a 56-billion-dollar budget hole since they don’t want to reopen and then they asking Donald Trump and Congress to bail them out for twenty times that amount? ONE TRILLION DOLLARS Reasonable people should respond, “WTF?” Based on last year’s budget, such a bailout would allow the State to operate as usual for five years while their citizens continue to shelter in place. And my poor pastor thinks Gavin will be opening his church for worship in two weeks, dream-on both of you.

California and other Western states are asking the federal government for $1 trillion in relief for states and local governments amid the coronavirus pandemic and massive budget shortfalls that have followed.

Newsom: Western states asking feds for $1 trillion in aid


Folks Gavin Newsom is being forced to do something no Democrat likes to do, face reality. Government doesn’t create jobs, wealth, or economic activity only the hard work of the private sector. When you’ve lost Willie Brown and Elon Musk in very public ways, it makes you wonder who has privately broken with the Governor. If you needed proof government was the problem and not the solution, you’re living it now. Oh, at his press conference last week, Newsom was lamenting that California didn’t have the power to print fiat money like Uncle Sam. As Maggie Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.”

Final thought, in both New York and California, you are seeing the leading candidates for President in 2024 self-destruct before either declares for the office.

Myth of Electric Utopia

Folks, I know I keep harping on Elon Musk and the utopian dream of all electric homes, cars, and life in general but as Clint Eastwood once famously said in one of his many Dirty Harry movies, “A man’s got to know his limitations.


Tesla has hardly any market penetration in the United States but is gaining in popularity in California but not without consequences. As I keep saying, charging these cars is a big deal. Look at the ridiculous lines over the Thanksgiving vacation just to keep Elon’s fleet on the road. Drivers waited up to an hour to get to a charger and then a decent charge takes 45 minutes.

Footage out of Kettleman City, the location of one of the largest supercharging sites boasting up to 40 chargers, shows drivers queued up back-to-back in a line about a half mile long.

Testy drivers attempting to juice up after Black Friday sounded off on social media, claiming the wait time was anywhere from thirty minutes to well over an hour.

Video: Tesla Drivers Wait Up to an Hour to Charge Electric Vehicles

In a few years…

Predictions of the future are worse. If 10 percent of California households owned a Tesla and try to charge them overnight, the resulting electric demand would crash the electric grid and that’s assuming PG&E and Southern Cal Edison are maintaining their gear.

As we have previously documented on this blog, given current rates of worldwide mineral production and demand, Great Britain cannot achieve its goal of an all-electric fleet of vehicles by 2040—this calculation is assuming that nobody else in the world like maybe California is simultaneously trying to do the same thing.


Worse yet, another battery (pun intended) of reports has even more dire warnings about our dependence on technology. At current rates of production, six vital minerals used in high tech devices like self-driving cars and smartphones will be gone within 100 years.

Besides the raw waste, mobile devices contain “conflict elements” like gold, toxic elements such as arsenic and rare elements like indium, the Royal Society of Chemistry said. “Natural sources of six of the elements found in mobile phones are set to run out within the next 100 years,” it added.

Electronic waste pileup sparks warnings

Another concern over the recycling of unused devices is that they often contain what are known as “conflict elements” such as tin, gold, tungsten and tantalum, which are mined in areas where battles and child labour are often a routine part of their mining.

40 million unused gadgets in UK homes

“There are about 30 different elements just in a smartphone,” said Elisabeth Ratcliffe from the Royal Society of Chemistry, “and many of them are very rare.”

The metal indium, she explained, is used in a unique compound called indium tin oxide, which is vital for touch screens, because it conducts electricity and is transparent. “It’s also used in solar panels, so we’re going to need a lot of it in the future.

“There’s not a lot of it in the Earth and you need a kilo of ore to extract just a few milligrams of indium.”

Most of us will not have heard of tantalum, but it’s a highly corrosion-resistant metal that is “perfect for small electronic devices like our phones”, explained Ms Ratcliffe. “But it’s also perfect for hearing aids and pace-makers,” she told BBC News.

Scientists estimate that indium and tantalum mines, among others, could run out within a century. Meanwhile, our demand for new technology continues to increase.

“Even the copper in all that wire is not endlessly abundant,” added Ms Ratcliffe.

Elements in smart phones that could run out within the next 100 years

Millions of old gadgets ‘stockpiled in drawers’
  • Gallium: Used in medical thermometers, LEDs, solar panels, telescopes and has possible anti-cancer properties;
  • Arsenic: Used in fireworks, as a wood preserver;
  • Silver: Used in mirrors, reactive lenses that darken in sunlight, antibacterial clothing and gloves for use with touch-screens;
  • Indium: Used in transistors, microchips, fire-sprinkler systems, as a coating for ball-bearings in Formula One cars and solar panels;
  • Yttrium: Used in white LED lights, camera lenses and can be used to treat some cancers;
  • Tantalum: Used in surgical implants, electrodes for neon lights, turbine blades, rocket nozzles and nose caps for supersonic aircraft, hearing aids and pacemakers.

Before this series of articles, I’d never heard the term “conflict elements.” I guess folks were successful with turning “conflict diamonds” into “blood diamonds” so I guess now we can call things “blood Teslas” or “blood iPhones” or “blood solar panels”, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Oh, and child/slave labor also gets a shout-out in these articles too.


It seems that Liberals are torn between telling you to recycle your old gizmos and guilt tripping folks that love technology. Maybe they’ll try doing both. Folks look for this pending shortage to be a way to raise even more taxes on recycling when you buy new stuff—even if it really ends up in the landfill. And if the predictions start to pan-out as being true, look for Elon Musk to propose mining asteroids, the Moon, or some other astronomical body to keep our stuff in production.

Bottom-line: Government planners and technology manufacturers seem to be on a collision course with reality. Mineral production is far less than long term demand and nothing will change that anytime soon.

Lastly, look for this as a future way to weaponize a movement against technology for the masses.

Update: California’s War on Fossil Fuels

Three stories that make a difference that were buried in the last few days.

California is fulfilling their role as a take no prisoners, authoritarian regime. In the latest moves to ban the internal combustion engine and anything else that uses fossil fuels, California has created another list of politically incorrect people that are to be avoided. This time the list includes automakers that will not be allowed to sell to the State. First on the list are GM, Chrysler, Nissan, and Toyota.

Mary Nichols-California Air Resources Board

California issued a statement late Monday saying that as of January the state would only buy vehicles from automakers that recognize the California Air Resources Board’s authority to set tough greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles. California also pledged only to do business with automakers that committed to stringent emissions reduction goals.

Separately, the state also said it will no longer buy sedans that are powered only by internal combustion engines, no matter who manufactures the car. It will buy only plug-in electric or hybrid sedans, although California would make an exception for certain public safety vehicles. That rule does not apply to SUV or truck purchases.

California Won’t Buy Cars From GM, Chrysler Or Toyota Because They Sided With Trump Over Emissions

This list is in addition to the ones that prohibit State employees and athletic teams from California State Universities from traveling to other States because the States are pro-life or pro-marriage; both of which are outlawed in California. I’m sure a similar list banning travel to places based on gun ownership is also in the works.

As a result of this utopian B.S., Elon Musk looks to be the beneficiary of more taxpayer money that he didn’t really earn. Of course this will be in addition to the money being directed to him as a result of the solar panel mandate that begins in January. Elon, by far, is the most heavily subsidized fellow in the history of the planet. Elon gets more corporate welfare from the government than any defense contractor ever dreamed.

Elon Musk has tax money to burn

Next up is California oil production, a story which is told via two news accounts.

But since taking office in January, Newsom’s own department of energy management has approved 33 percent more new oil and gas drilling permits than were approved under Newsom’s predecessor Jerry Brown over the same period in 2018—a median of 174 permits to drill new oil, gas, and cyclic steam wells approved a month, based on Geologic Energy Management Division (CALGEM) reports analyzed by CityLab.

The rate of fracking permits approved also soared at the start of the year, up 109 percent through June.

The fact that fracking approvals in California had spiked in the new year was first reported in July by the FracTracker Alliance and Consumer Watchdog. Newsom responded quickly to the news, firing the head of the approving agency for employing regulators who owned stock in oil companies, and directing the department to stop approving fracking permits. Since June 28, California hasn’t cleared any new hydraulic fracturing projects. After publication of this story on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Newsom announced he was fully stopping the permitting of new hydraulic fracturing pending independent scientific review. He also said he’d issue a moratorium on “new permits for steam-injected oil drilling.”

Why Is California Approving So Many New Oil Wells?
California Halts Fracking Permits In Oil Producer Crackdown

The lesson is, if you support jobs and energy then you won’t last long holding an appointed government office in California.

I think Chevron should move its headquarters from San Francisco to Texas ASAP and close all their California refineries when they go. If California wants to ban fossil fuels then I think the private sector should cooperate. Let’s give politicians a world without gasoline and diesel now. Why wait until 2040? After all, there’s no time like the present. Give fossil fuel users the same treatment that PG&E is giving their electrical customers. Clearly the environmentalist message is, if you hate the planet so much that you use fossil fuels, then you deserve some payback. You can’t break addiction without pain.

Oh and speaking of pain, our illustrious leaders also want to ban the last reliable fuel used to generate electricity, natural gas. (FYI nuclear is banned in California and hydroelectric is not considered renewable energy.)

Fearing for Its Future, a Big Utility Pushes ‘Renewable Gas,’ Urges Cities to Reject Electrification

More California Cities Exploring Natural Gas Bans

Maybe we could shut natural gas off for a week or so in February just to show people what that’s really like. Maybe such a move right before the Primary Elections in March would cause voters to make more sensible choices on the ballot.

Apple Breaks Tesla App

Elon Musk has been rewarded by the 90-day calendar guys after surviving the third quarter report. Elon apparently sprinkled magic pixie dust on the financials and turned a year over year sales loss into a $50 a share boost in one day.

Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) third-quarter revenue tumbled 39% in the United States, its first drop in more than two years…

U.S. sales, which account for the biggest share of the company’s total revenue, fell to $3.13 billion from $5.13 billion a year earlier.

Tesla filing shows U.S. sales tumbled 39% in third quarter

If it weren’t for all the hysteria about saving the planet from imaginary destruction and other automakers being forced into giving billions to Tesla in the name of carbon credits, his goose would have been cooked years ago.

Speaking of cook, our friend of the blog, Tim Cook, has found a new way to be featured in tech blogs, he broke Apple’s Tesla app. Yep, iOS 13 has struck again. The latest iteration of this troubled operating system—also known here as “Apple’s Vista” —has killed the iPhone’s ability to run apps in the background and multitask.

iOS has of course never been famous for being an operating system which placed multi-tasking first, but some developers have come to rely on having their app running in the background.

One of these has been Tesla, which lets you replace your car keys with your phone. Tesla owners are now complaining that their doors do not open when they approach with iOS 13.2.

Of course, not only Tesla owners are affected. Many home automation systems like electronic door locks rely on the same feature.

Apple is rapidly earning a reputation of delivering more issues than features with their software updates, and I suspect more iOS users will be reconsidering installing the latest OS update without it being well tested in the market first.

iOS 13.2 aggressive killing of background apps is causing problems for Tesla owners
Elon Musk is the Svengali of the green religion

Apple ‘s iOS 13.2 update was supposed to fix bugs introduced with the initial buggy iOS 13 release and add a few new features, but it seems like all is not well over in Cupertino.

iOS’s RAM management is so heavy-handed that it shuts down apps almost as soon as you switch away from them. Users find it hard to maintain a conversation on say WhatsApp and switch to Safari to get some information because the former app will reload when they switch back to it and Safari will shut down tabs when they switch away. This issue has shown itself on iPhones as expensive as the top-end iPhone 11 Pro, so it has been a frustrating experience even for superfans.

“I’m sure Apple has good excuses about why their software quality is so shitty again,” Overcast and Instapaper creator Marco Arment said over on Twitter. “I hear the same thing over and over from people inside: they aren’t given enough time to fix bugs. Your software quality is broken, Apple. Deeply, systemically broken. Get your shit together.”

Modern software is often developed with a ship first, fix later attitude. Apple’s fast updates mean that while users can get fixes as soon as they’re ready, they’ll also be more likely to experience bugs due to the initial shipping scramble.

iOS 13.2 may be killing your apps faster than you’d expect

Last I heard, north of 60 percent of Apple phone users—that don’t loose support November 3rd—were running this version of the operating system. I have faith that Apple will eventually get it right. I know it will irritate their customers but when you have folks locked into your eco system on two and three year contracts, then these sorts of errors don’t hurt the 90-day clock too badly.

Back to Tesla’s founder; California’s looming solar mandate for new construction and PG&E blackouts are breathing new life into another Elon Musk venture. This convergence of mandates and malfeasance is looking like the next step in cordcutting, being able to live off the grid in suburbia.

Once again, Elon is benefitting from government interferrence in the free market under the guise of saving the planet. It’s amazing how he has inserted himself into the minds of many as the high priest of the green religion. Musk’s use of captalism to fleece socialists is kind of poetic.

Zombie Apocalypse Day 1 Recap

Photo: Auburn, CA 10-09-2019 credit Sacramento Bee

For those of us in the shadow of the State Capitol, it’s just another day. However, if you live elsewhere in the State, things are anything but normal.

Shoot the Messenger

A PG&E employee was driving a truck Tuesday evening in Northern California’s Colusa County – before the electricity cutoffs – when a bullet shattered one of the vehicle’s windows, the California Highway Patrol told The Associated Press. The driver was not hurt, according to the AP.

CHP is investigating the incident, which occurred north of the town of Maxwell as the staffer headed southbound on Interstate 5, according to authorities. A white pickup may have pulled up beside the PG&E truck before the shooting, CHP Officer J. Sherwood told the San Francisco Chronicle.

PG&E pleads for employee safety amid outage; police report gunfire at vehicle

Welcome to Venezuela

More than a million people in California were without electricity Wednesday as the state’s largest utility pulled the plug to prevent a repeat of the past two years when windblown power lines sparked deadly wildfires that destroyed thousands of homes.

The unpopular move that disrupted daily life — prompted by forecasts calling for dry, gusty weather — came after catastrophic fires sent Pacific Gas & Electric Co. into bankruptcy and forced it to take more aggressive steps to prevent blazes.

The drastic measure caused long lines at supermarkets and hardware stores as people rushed to buy ice, coolers, flashlights and batteries across a swath of Northern California. Cars backed up at traffic lights that had gone dark. Schools and universities canceled classes. And many businesses closed.

Lights out: Power cut in California to prevent deadly fires

Why have forest management when you can just pull the plug at random?

“I wish we weren’t in a situation where, in maybe one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world, we are turning power off to large swaths of the population every few weeks,” said Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy program at Stanford University. “But it is better than what we’ve been through, and I very much hope that we get through this fire season without a repeat of 2017 or 2018.”

PG&E declared bankruptcy in January, in part because of potential liabilities from its role in some of the 2017 northern California fires and the 2018 Camp fire that killed a total of 129 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.

“Is it a huge inconvenience? Yes. Is it going to be dangerous? Yes,” Wara said. “There are lots of risks on the other side. Someone could die because they have a medical device.

PG&E should have been maintaining and updating its infrastructure before the crisis reached this point, said Mindy Spatt, a spokeswoman for the Utility Reform Network.

“PG&E should be held to higher standards than this,” she said. “No one wants to see another fire like the fires we’ve seen in the past, but we have to remember that the problem that these shutoffs are hopefully going to address are PG&E’s negligence and incompetence, and PG&E’s propensity to ignite fires.”

Now PG&E customers must bear the burden of navigating possibly days without power, with businesses losing money and people in possibly unsafe situations, Spatt said.

“Consumers would rather have their power shut off than have their homes and businesses burnt down, but they would also rather have a utility that didn’t start fires,” Spatt said.

Record power shutoffs in California are set to become the new normal

The shutoffs are part of its wildfire mitigation plan, mandated by the state and agreed to by the California Public Utilities Commission, the state’s top power regulator. — Kevin Stark

Why Is This Happening? Answers to Your Questions on the PG&E Shutdown

Folks, when you live in a socialist state, you get socialist utilities too. We keep being told the lie by the ruling class that wind and solar are the way to energy independence so what happens on a sunny, windy day—conditions that we are told are best for energy production—why we cut the power off to people in the state’s flyover country.

But elites take care of their own. Tesla is prominently mentioned in two articles that I saw about the scheduled blackouts yesterday.

One article mentioned that the scheduled outages stopped just short of Tesla’s production facility in the San Jose area and the other was to juice-up before the lights go out.

The electric automaker issued a preemptive over-the-air advisory overnight to many vehicle owners, telling them to charge up ahead of the planned outages, which utility Pacific Gas & Electric began rolling out Wednesday to try to lessen the risk of wildfires.

“A utility company in your area announced they may turn off power in some areas of Northern California beginning October 9 as part of public safety power shut-offs, which may affect power to charging options,” the message read, according to social media posts. “We recommend charging your Tesla to 100% today to ensure your drive remains uninterrupted.”

California’s power outage means problems for electric cars. Tesla says charge up, quick.

So what ever happened to Elon’s promise that his cars could be charged as they were driven by solar cells built into the car? Actually, Toyota was promising something similar a few years ago but I digress…

I still haven’t heard whether Oakland participated in the lights out festivities.

Closing Comments

All of this bowing to the environmentalists goes back to the oil spill in Santa Barbara back in 1969. Up until that happened, nobody cared about the environmentalists. From that point forward, they increasingly gained access to influence public policy in California. Now nobody dares to act without their blessing.

Environmentalists purposely destroyed the logging industry in California and now we have tens of millions of dead and dying trees in our forests and nobody to cut them down. This is why we have decades of fuel gathering on the forest floor.

Dead and diseased trees in California #1

While PG&E did spark some fires, many in our State are the result of arson and nobody has been arrested for most of the manmade forest fires.

Dead and diseased trees in California #2

Any way you slice it, government failure is to blame for the current mess.

Tesla Bad for Environment

It doesn’t take a genius to know that electric vehicles are a scam based on wishful thinking and junk science plus a healthy dose of government intervention to try to manipulate markets to be more favorable to these politically endorsed ideas. If you needed a little more documentation to share with friends to prove the obvious, here are three more articles for your consideration. Oh, if you look them up, there are links in them to even more evidence.

Article One

A Tesla Model 3 is touted as a zero-emissions car by government regulators, but it actually results in more carbon dioxide than a comparable diesel-powered car, according to a recent study.

When the CO2 emissions from battery production is included, electric cars, like Teslas, are “in the best case, slightly higher than those of a diesel engine, and are otherwise much higher,” reads a release from the German think tank IFO.

It’s better read as a warning that new technologies aren’t a climate-change panacea. Recall the false promises about corn and cellulosic ethanol,” The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote of the study.

A study released in 2018 also found driving electric cars might come with higher emissions than diesel vehicles, largely because of lithium-ion battery production.

Likewise, a Manhattan Institute study from 2018 also found putting more electric cars on the road would likely increase emissions compared to internal combustion engine vehicles.

Driving A Tesla Results In More CO2 Than A Mercedes Diesel Car, Study Finds

Article Two

A battery pack for a Tesla Model 3 pollutes the climate with 11 to 15 tonnes of CO2. Each battery pack has a lifespan of approximately ten years and total mileage of 94,000, would mean 73 to 98 grams of CO2 per kilometer (116 to 156 grams of CO2 per mile), Buchal said. Add to this the CO2 emissions of the electricity from powerplants that power such vehicles, and the actual Tesla emissions could be between 156 to 180 grams of CO2 per kilometer (249 and 289 grams of CO2 per mile).

German researchers criticized the fact that EU legislation classifies electric cars as zero-emission cars; they call it a deception because electric cars, like the Model 3, with all the factors, included, produce more emissions than diesel vehicles by Mercedes.

They further wrote that the EU target of 59 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2030 is “technically unrealistic.”

The reality is, in addition to the CO2 emissions generated in mining the raw materials for the production of electric vehicles, all EU countries generate significant CO2 emissions from charging the vehicles’ batteries using dirty power plants.

For true emission reductions, researchers concluded the study by saying methane-powered gasoline engines or hydrogen motors could cut CO2 emissions by a third and possibly eliminate the need for diesel motors.
“Methane technology is ideal for the transition from natural gas vehicles with conventional engines to engines that will one day run on methane from CO2-free energy sources. This being the case, the German federal government should treat all technologies equally and promote hydrogen and methane solutions as well.”

So maybe Elon Musk’s plan to save the world with electric cars is the biggest scam of our lifetime…

Electric Car-Owners Shocked: New Study Confirms EVs Considerably Worse For Climate Than Diesel Cars

Article Three

It’s becoming a joke all around the world — the EVs in Australia powered by dirty diesel. But what’s the difference?

Most EVs in Australia are running on fossil fuel — the generators are just hidden behind longer extension cords. (Ones that carry 240,000V). EVs on our grid are running on 80% of fossil fuels every day.

The sign on the charger above says “Nullarbor” — the vast treeless and grid-free center of Australia — but this is actually a test site in Perth (the trees were the giveaway).

The 3,000 kilometer trip across the Nullarbor from Perth to Adelaide is such an achievement for an EV that it’s practically a news story each time one makes it.

Electric Car owners carry a chip about not being able to drive across the country as any real car owner could.

So Jon Edwards, a retired engineer from Perth, set up this test site in his backyard. He wanted to know if it could be a realistic stop-gap for our far remote roads.

To me, this looks like a chain of efficiency losses going from diesel to mechanical to electrical to battery to mechanical, but Edwards tested it with ten friend’s cars last December and estimates it works out slightly better on fuel use than just driving a diesel.

The charger is a Tritium Veefil 50kW DC (a big fast one) and took 9 hours to charge all 10 cars and used 108L of fuel. Good for fuel. Bad for time. (The 6,600km return trip across the Nullabor took 13 days in case you were wondering, though they were not in a race).

There’s a good reason EVs are only 0.2% of all new Australian car purchases — with vast distances, a fragile grid, expensive electricity and heavy towing loads.

Plus these fast chargers are like adding “20 houses” to our grid, so will cripple the system or require billions of dollars of infrastructure costs.

The dumbest thing is that as long as they run off fossil fuels, they’ll probably increase our CO2 emissions, doing the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to be doing, but yet perversely helping plants grow.

Their big environmental benefit being mainly achieved by failing to do what they are intended to do.

What’s Powering The Electric Car Charging Station? A Diesel Generator

Makes you wonder which uses more energy in their production life-cycle a Tesla or a Humvee?

Tesla’s PR Can’t Fix This

These next two stories hit so many different strands of product liability and malfeasance for Tesla that I couldn’t pass them up. Photos are from the respective articles quoted below. Oh, and NHTSA is National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

It was just days ago that we reported that the NHTSA was opening an inquiry into the use of Tesla’s “Smart Summon” feature. Then, just hours ago we followed up by reporting that a petition had been filed with the NHTSA claiming that Tesla was using over the air software updates to cover up dangerous battery issues.

Today, we offer a stark reminder that just because the NHTSA has started to perk up its ears, doesn’t mean that Teslas haven’t stopped going up in flames all over the world. The most recent example comes from Austria, where after a Tesla was involved in an accident and caught fire, firefighters had to use a special container to transport the remains of the vehicle and the battery.

Tesla fire

According to a translated version of this ORF News story, a 57 year old driver lost control of his Tesla and crashed into a tree, after first hitting the guardrail. It was then that the vehicle caught fire.

The driver was lucky, as “people passing by the scene of the accident took the man out of the vehicle and called emergency services.”

Firefighters extinguishing Tesla fire
Tesla after fire

In order to put out the fire, the street had to be closed and fire authorities had to bring in a container user to cool the vehicle. The container held 11,000 liters (11 tons) of water and was designed to eliminate the biggest risk in an EV accident which is the battery catching fire.

The Tesla battery is mounted on the underside of the vehicle and contains acids and chemicals that can easily escape during a fire, placing the firefighters in danger.

Tesla loaded into bath tank

Here is the problem: according to the article, some 11,000 liters of water are needed to finally extinguish a burning Tesla but an average fire engine only carries around 2,000 liters of water.

Fire brigade spokesman Peter Hölzl warned that the car could still catch fire for up to three days after the initial fire.

Bath tank to insure car doesn’t re-ignite

The container used is said to be suitable for all common electric vehicles. It measures 6.8 meters long, 2.4 meters wide and 1.5 meters high, it is (obviously) waterproof and weighs three tons.

11 Tons Of Water And “Special Container” Used To Extinguish Burning Tesla In Austria

(emphasis in original story)

We have previously documented the failure of Tesla’s Smart Summons on the blog and now we learn of another issue about Tesla batteries which I will get to in a moment. Then the hazards faced by firefighters. Why does Europe have a full immersion bathtub for electric vehicle fires, and nobody here does? You did catch the part about a Tesla can catch fire up to three days after an accident? I bet that little nugget isn’t in the owner handbook.

Here’s part of the battery story.

A notice published on Tuesday by the NHTSA said they had received reports about a possible defect in Tesla battery packs that could cause fires. The battery packs affected reportedly received new management software as part of over the air updates that were issued by Tesla in May.

The petition was filed by the Law Offices of Edward C. Chen, a California law firm representing a number of Tesla drivers in the U.S., according to Bloomberg.

Chen argued that Tesla is using software updates to cover up a potentially wide spread and dangerous issue: “Tesla is using over-the-air software updates to mask and cover up a potentially widespread and dangerous issue with the batteries in their vehicles.”

Chen has also argued that Tesla owners “saw the range of their Teslas on a charge fall by 25 miles (40 kilometers) or more after Tesla released two battery software updates beginning in May.”

The notice states: “The petitioner alleges that the software updates were in response to a potential defect that could result in non-crash fires in the affected battery packs and that Tesla should have notified NHTSA of the existence of this potential defect and conducted a safety recall. The petitioner also alleges that this software update reduces the driving range of the affected vehicles.”

The NHTSA Is Now (Finally) Looking Into Tesla Battery Fire Issues

(emphasis in original story)

Folks, I keep saying that the moment the government subjects Tesla to the same standards as other automakers that they are in for a world of hurt. Thankfully that day may finally be approaching.

Electric vehicles are a novelty not a solution. In a fair and free market, they would all but disappear. We tried electric vehicles a century ago and they failed in the market. It would take much more than cheap and abundant electrical power to make them mainstream. The proof that such a day is still far from us is the insistence of politicians and environmentalists that wind and solar are the answer.

Tesla’s Latest Gaff

No, I’m not writing about Tesla’s 3rd quarter financial report but their latest feature called “Smart Summons”. If you thought their autopilot was sketchy just wait ‘til you read this. Oh, emphasis was in original post.

With Tesla releasing V10 of its vehicle software earlier this week, owners were chomping at the bit to get their hands on the long touted “Smart Summon” feature, which is supposed to allow drivers to summon their vehicles to them in parking lots using their cell phones.

But, as things go with Tesla, the idea of the idea was worlds away from the actual implementation of it. In fact, early customer videos and reports of the “feature” are making Smart Summon look extremely dangerous and nothing short of a complete disaster.

As soon as the software update pushed to drivers, videos began popping up on social media showing a litany of negative consequences of everyday users beta testing Smart Summon in real life.

Tesla says that with Smart Summon “customers who have purchased Full Self-Driving Capability or Enhanced Autopilot can enable their car to navigate a parking lot and come to them or their destination of choice, as long as their car is within their line of sight. It’s the perfect feature to use if you have an overflowing shopping cart, are dealing with a fussy child, or simply don’t want to walk to your car through the rain.”

Tesla claims that “customers who have had early access to Smart Summon have told us that it adds both convenience to their trips and provides them with a unique moment of delight when their car picks them up to begin their journey.”

Even More Frightening Videos And Photos Surface Of Tesla’s “Smart” Summon Feature

What follows is a series of Twitter posts from Tesla owners complaining about bumps, scrapes, and bruises to their vehicles as a result of trusting this half-baked idea. If you need a quick laugh, take a look at the rest of the article.

As usual, Elon sells the sizzle and not the steak.

Elon Musk now Peddles Car Insurance

By Chief

We had an editorial board meeting here at Really Right last week when the news was dropping about Tesla rolling out their in-house auto insurance department. We agreed to let Aaron Park take the first crack at this one, since you know, he’s an insurance agent and all. Aaron didn’t act, so we feel we must report so the people can decide.

It was announce that Tesla has formed its own insurance company, drum roll please……….. Tesla Insurance. Oh, the millions I’m sure that were burned on that one. The consulting firm that came up with that name is one of pure genius. This new division offers insurance, but only to Tesla drivers in California, which is strange, this being, well… California. You see, California has the most diverse rating factors of all the states in the union outside of Michigan. This is very puzzling.

Tesla’s insurance license with the state of California lists the automaker as a property-broker agent and a casualty-broker agent. The documents show the license has been active since August 2017.

Like the auto industry, insurance is a low-margin business, as increased competition has made the costs of acquiring customers more expensive, Krzysztof Kujawa, the chief product officer at the insurance-shopping website Gabi, said. That means Tesla Insurance may not drive profits for a company that has posted losses in all but four quarters since going public in 2010.

Tesla’s new insurance program prompted some early questions amid a bumpy rollout

Correct, Tesla is now: a dealer, a financer, and an insurance company all in one. Sounds like Elon is trying to mimic the Oracle of Omaha with this take on vertical marketing.

Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE: BRK-B) (NYSE: BRK-A) Warren Buffett argued in the company’s annual shareholder meeting earlier this year that Tesla’s decision to get into the insurance business could be a mistake. “It’s not an easy business,” he said. Buffett knows a thing or two about insurance. Not only is GEICO a Berkshire subsidiary, but Berkshire owns insurance companies that insure other insurance companies. “Our [insurance business] has been the engine propelling Berkshire’s growth since 1967,” Buffett wrote…

Tesla Is Getting Into the Insurance Business

However, this arrangement raises a set of questions that Elon will never be able to answer, and even better I spoke to the California Department of Insurance and they couldn’t answer either. First off, Tesla has a unique reputation of blaming the driver, not the car for anything that goes wrong. They use their vehicle’s telemetry logs and recordings to back this up; as far as insuring the vehicle goes, do the claim reps have access to this or does an independent third party? Well, it won’t be a third party…so scratch that. That is disturbing. Is this a backdoor way to limit product liability? But like the Ronco Knife sales guy on QVC says…but wait there is more!

Tesla is making a bold claim that customers will save 20% over their current carrier but savings can be up to 30%!

“Starting today, we’re launching Tesla Insurance, a competitively priced insurance offering designed to provide Tesla owners with up to 20% lower rates, and in some cases as much as 30%,” the company said in a blog post.

“Tesla Insurance offers comprehensive coverage and claims management to support our customers in California, and it will expand to additional U.S. states in the future.”

Tesla says its insurance is now available in California

I am not sure this is a great promise to put out there, as with most commercials you see on TV from other insurance carriers, such statements are heavily disclaimed at the bottom of the ad. It is a very bold claim to say you can reap that kind of savings from a company who only insures Tesla’s over larger carriers with far more exposures to mitigate their risk. This creates bad will with your vehicle owners not to mention distrust. In addition, how can you be so sure your price is that much better…. most companies offer a bundled discount with home and additional vehicles. I hope they did their research on this one, yet something tells me they didn’t.

Tesla’s capitalization structure should be called into question as well. For example, at my company: Auto/home/life/health/bank/mutual fund businesses are all separate and must have separate capital to prove solvency. This capital must be held in separate reserve accounts, and in the case of Tesla, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) will look at their books every year to prove compliance. Just to point out that pretty much every pundit in the field has major questions about Tesla’s finances. Given that the company is burning through cash, issuing additional stock, taking out high risk loans, and their only real source of income is selling climate credits, I think you have to ask the obvious question….

How will Tesla pay out claims? Remember, Tesla may have extensive info on their own cars, but what about the car their driver hits? What about injury accidents? Will Tesla only allow the vehicles to be repaired in-house, even though this violates CA insurance laws? Will they even fix claimant cars, or will they be like AAA and just say fix it yourself and send us the bill? Too many questions here for me.

Tesla owners have dealt with high insurance costs due in part to the relative difficulty of finding replacement parts and qualified body shops. AAA raised insurance rates for Tesla vehicles in 2017, though Tesla argued that AAA’s decision was “severely flawed” because it compared Tesla’s Model S sedan and Model X SUV against dissimilar competitors.

Tesla’s have long been a question mark for insurance companies, Business Insider Intelligence analysts say, due to their built-in sensors and Autopilot software. In 2017, AAA said that Tesla owners should pay more than traditional vehicles due to “abnormally high claim frequencies,” Automotive News reported in 2017.

Tesla says its insurance is now available in California

I called the CDI about Tesla Insurance and they too were short on answers, like how they are capitalized, and their company structure (claims/underwriting/service/sales/special investigations etc.). Actually, more disappointing, a contact I have in this regulatory agency suggested Elon may have been able to put one by Ricardo Lara (the elected commissioner) because they are a “green friendly” company. Or maybe Lara owed Elon a favor after getting elected? Lara, like Aaron Park, has a policy of contributing to him first if you want an endorsement.

Final thought here, and likely the most disturbing, by the way. Look at the exposure Tesla has (there are not many) but look where their customers are all located (mostly coastal areas). What if a wildfire strikes that is similar to the magnitude of the one in Napa a few years ago? (Or the Oakland Hills fire many years ago) Such losses to a small company could be enough to wipe them out, and let’s not kid ourselves, Tesla’s are not cheap cars as referenced by their price.