Commentary

San Francisco: The Epicenter of Stupid Ideas

By Alan Caruba | October 27, 2008 | 11:32am EDT
In the 1980s I found myself traveling all over the United States in the employ of a corporation’s quarterly newsletter. I visited many cities and places, discovering the unfailing courtesy and good will of Americans everywhere I went. One of my favorite places was San Francisco. It is picturesque, sits beside a bay spanned by a marvel of engineering, and has great restaurants, hotels, and other attributes.
 
San Francisco is now the epicenter of spectacularly stupid and just plain bad ideas. Being stupid isn’t a crime, but enacting stupid ideas into law comes close to being a definition of criminal stupidity.
 
This is a city that has been at the forefront of gay marriage. Why anyone other than a homosexual would think there was any sense in two people of the same sex constituting a “marriage” defies the laws of nature. Webster’s dictionary defines marriage as “The legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife.” But not in San Francisco. The rest of the citizens of California have made it abundantly clear they oppose same-sex marriage.
 
On November 4, in addition to voting for the president and other legislators, the citizens of San Francisco will be asked to vote on Proposition H, otherwise known as the “San Francisco Clean Energy Act.”
 
It would amend the city and county charter “to require the city to transition from fossil fuels to clean, non-nuclear, sustainable energy production at affordable rates.”  With this vote, if successful, the city will abandon the use of any energy afforded by coal, natural gas, and, as noted, nuclear power.
 
Electricity is measured in kilowatts-hours.  America’s 104 commercial nuclear power reactors now provide about 20% of its electricity. More than 50% is produced primarily by 400-plus coal-fired “fossil fuel” producers of electricity, providing more than 2,000 billion kilowatt-hours of reliable energy. Hydroelectric and gas-powered plants constitute the rest of the mix.
 
Solar and wind power constitute about 1% of the electrical energy produced from these two inefficient, impractical, and spectacularly idiotic sources of power.
 
What the citizens of San Francisco and, for that matter, the rest of the nation, don’t understand is that even in the best locations, wind turbines produce power only about one third of the time. When they cease to produce sufficient electrical power, a back-up coal-fired or nuclear plant has to be in place to meet the immediate needs of energy consumers. Comparably, solar power depends on the sun shining. Occasionally clouds obscure the sun. At night, it is shining somewhere else on Earth.
 
Proposition H states that, “Nuclear (power) is prohibited from being included in the definition of clean energy.” Moreover, solar and wind power will be mandated to produce “at least 107 megawatts” by 2012, and 75% of San Francisco’s electrical power by 2030.
 
Who supports Proposition H? They include the Sierra Club, the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters, and the San Francisco Democrat Party. I hope they get used to working by candle light if the measure passes. For all those other things that require reliable electrical power, they should plan on finding some means to keep them going other than the electrical socket in the wall.
 
The advocates of this supreme act of madness had the audacity of promoting it by asking, “If you and five friends could save the world, would you do it? If San Francisco voters pass Prop H for a 100% clean energy future, we could save the world.” The justification for this is, of course, “global warming”; something that is not happening.
 
If Proposition H passes, one assumes that views of the city will be obscured by miles and miles of wind turbines and that the drive into the city will include miles and miles of solar panels lining the highways. I don’t plan on visiting in the future.

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