NEO-LIBERALS ARE WORKING FOR GLOBAL CORPORATIONS AND NOT YOU AND ME! STOP VOTING FOR THE SAME INCUMBENTS AND RUN FOR POLITICAL OFFICE!
Below you see how our public utilities are being corrupted by this privatization push. My concern for Smart Meters is they are set to gather data to sell and that the goal will be to ration water and electricity. Even greater than that is that the process has already been filled with fraud and corruption. California, Texas, and Arizona were ground zero for this privatization and installation of Smart Meters and tons of articles exist speaking of billing inflation-----the high cost of the product and installation----all when the public system we used for a century has worked just fine until the last decade when public employees were fired and bills were 'estimated'.
When global corporations commit fraud----no one goes after them. Imagine a $600 utility bill and how you would get that back? Well, those already exposed to this are shouting -----YOU DON'T GET IT BACK AND YOUR STATE WILL NOT HELP YOU!
In Maryland, O'Malley and the Maryland Assembly are so neo-liberal as to pass laws that fine you for opting out and making those fines grow too costly to have a choice. They say----YOU WILL CONNECT---WE WANT THAT DATA!
Another Attorney General exposes "smart" meter scam
Written by Donna Hancock
Subject: Big Brother
Sent from at reader:
â€œWhat the record sadly lacks is a discussion of competing considerations regarding the program or the necessity of the program and its costs as related to any net benefit to customers.â€
~ Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
55 Ross Circle
Sedona, Arizona 86336
928 204 6434
April 20, 2013
Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC)
Docket Control Center
1200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Re: Docket # E-00000C-11-0328
In addition to both the Attorneys General of Illinois and Connecticut, the Attorney General of Michigan has also issued a statement calling into question the efficacy of â€œsmartâ€ meters and the â€œsmartâ€ grid.
Â· â€œA net economic benefit to electric utility ratepayers from ... smart meter programs has yet to be established.â€
Â· â€œAny assumption that large numbers of residential customers will have the time, ability and motivation to attend to, and act upon daily or even hourly changes in their electrical is questionable.â€
Â· â€œWhat the record sadly lacks is a discussion of competing considerations regarding the program or the necessity of the program and its costs as related to any net benefit to customers.â€ [italics in original]
The Michigan Attorney General's statement (enclosed and available online here: http://efile.mpsc.state.mi.us/efile/docs/17000/0408.pdf) reinforces what I have said repeatedly: the only benefit of the â€œsmartâ€ grid is to utilities, not ratepayers. Utilities are gaming the system through their 8 to 10% guaranteed rate of return on so-called â€œcapital investmentsâ€.
Of course another part of the scam is the proven over-billing of â€œsmartâ€ meters. California's KION/FOX35 TV did a three month side-by-side comparison of a â€œsmartâ€ meter and a calibrated mechanical analog meter. After three months the â€œsmartâ€ meter showed an extra 37 kilowatt hours. The test is consistent with anecdotal over-billing reports I receive from Arizonans. Do the math. I calculate a similar rip-off in Arizona would net APS over $20 million more per year. (â€œPG&E Smart Meter Side By Side Test Final Resultsâ€ â€“ http://www.kionrightnow.com/Global/story.asp?S=14016659)
What a miserable pity for Arizona ratepayers that the ACC never followed through on its 2007 decision that called for the costs and benefits of the â€œsmartâ€ grid to be considered. Indeed, â€œWhat the record sadly lacks is a discussion of competing considerations regarding the program or the necessity of the program and its costs as related to any net benefit to customers.â€
When will it be admitted that the ACC made a colossal mistake by allowing the utilities to install â€œsmartâ€ meters without any regulatory oversight or examination? How much more ratepayer money will be wasted on this utility scam, while the already bloated salaries of APS executives are set to double and triple? (â€œAPS offering executives potential bonuses for 2013â€ - http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2012/12/28/aps-offering-executives-potential.html?ana=yfcpc)
Cc: Governor Jan Brewer, Attorney General Tom Horne
I had a friend run into these problems where late water bills end in your house being placed for auction. The City Hall allows citizens homes to be handed to an investment firm buying the debt. My friend asked 'DO YOU WANT MY HOUSE' to which the City Council person said----yes they do. It's in a valuable section of the city. The article below is from 2012 but it is still happening today. Nothing has changed.
Baltimore uses fraud and corruption to take people's houses from them and it of course hits those struggling financially as it is. WHEN GOVERNMENT PREYS ON THE PUBLIC FOR REVENUE RATHER THAN COLLECT IT FROM CORPORATIONS----
You have a neo-liberal or neo-con working City Hall. GET RID OF THEM!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Lester Davis Monday, March 5, 2012 410-396-4804 (office) 443-835-0784 (mobile)
Council President Young Calls for Moratorium on Placing Liens Against Properties Based Solely on Unpaid Water or Sewer Charges
Legislation comes after audit reveals dozens of homes were placed under lien based on estimated water bills
BALTIMORE, MD –City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young has taken the bold step of calling for a moratorium on listing properties in the City’s annual tax sale based solely on unpaid water or sewer charges.
Council President Young will introduce a resolution at tonight’s City Council meeting requesting a moratorium on placing liens on properties with unpaid water or sewer charges. The moratorium would be in place for a two year period, or until the Departments of Public Works and Finance are able to create a viable and fair system for billing the more than 400,000 city and Baltimore County customers served by DPW. Tonight’s resolution will be followed on Monday, March 26, 2012, by the introduction of an ordinance that would enforce the moratorium through a change in city law.
Council President Young’s legislation was prompted by a recent audit that found widespread problems with the integrity of the billing system used by the Department of Public Works to charge residents for water and sewer usage.
Some of the troubling findings from the audit include:
- 38,000 customers in Baltimore City and Baltimore County were over-billed, resulting in refunds totaling more than $4 million.
- More than 18,000 properties were billed based solely on estimates, with no actual meter readings for a year or longer.
- More than 2,600 customers were billed based solely on estimated meter readings for at least 4 ½ years.
- Efforts by customers to correct these billing issues by requesting actual meter readings often resulted in the customers subsequently being over-billed.
- $31.7 million, or 25 percent, of the total adjusted water billings for the year examined resulted from estimated billing.
“I’ve encountered too many constituents on fixed incomes, who routinely have to choose between feeding their families and buying needed medication or paying improperly estimated water bills, which if left unpaid have the danger of forcing them into homelessness,” Council President Young said. “It’s time we do something serious to remedy this situation, which has driven too many Baltimoreans further into poverty.”
In May 2010, 851 properties were included in the city’s tax sale based solely on estimated readings for one or more years. Some of these bills were for just hundreds of dollars, and a DPW review suggested that in at least one instance a property would not have been eligible for the tax sale if actual readings, instead of estimates, had been used.
Ms. Lelia Ellerbe, who has lived at Alameda Place in North Baltimore for 18 years, said that she recently contacted Council President Young’s office after growing increasingly suspicious about inflated water bills. Ms. Ellerbe said her research showed that nearly a dozen of her neighbors had received identical water bills over several billing cycles, despite differences in their water consumption.
“If you’re on a fixed income, a discrepancy with your water bill could be extremely detrimental,” Ms. Ellerbe said.
Placing unnecessary financial burdens on families during difficult economic times is harmful and unacceptable, but overcharges on water and sewer bills are especially dangerous because the charges, if left unpaid, are routinely converted into liens against the properties. The liens can then be sold or foreclosed on, which could lead to a family losing its home because of an unpaid water or sewer bill.
Click here for a copy of Council President Young’s resolution
If corporations are not paying taxes, getting all kinds of subsidy, and committing huge frauds-----we need the working and middle-class paying lots of fines and fees to state and local government. That is what speed cameras is about. In Baltimore it became so corrupt and fraudulent that thousands of people were ticketed without cause and we could not get City Hall to turn off the cameras. It took a huge upswell of citizen rage to have these faulty cameras turned off.
Again, a public employee used to do just fine randomly setting up speed zones to keep citizens aware. THAT IS ALL THAT IS NEEDED. Now, you have no idea when an infraction happens and almost no way to fight it.
The reason all this exists is no oversight and accountability and no public justice makes the conditions for a free-for-all in corporate operations. Remember, all these businesss getting these contracts are global corporations.
This article is long but it does a great job at showing how massive the corporate grab for money has become.
Speed Cameras: A Scam the Motorist Cannot Win
It's all about the revenue
May 9, 2013 by Doug Gill
So glad we are all better drivers these days. No cell phone calls, no texting, no smoking with the snowflakes present, mandatory seat belts, helmet laws, the crackdown on drunk drivers, sobriety checkpoints, red light cameras, work zone cameras, speed cameras – why, getting behind the wheel these days is the motoring equivalent of being a babe in its mama’s arms.
Well, one may think that is so – especially the way the elected ninnies tout all the “safety” regulations they’ve enacted, particularly when it comes to traffic surveillance.
But the truth? Well, the reality belies what our lawmakers are shoveling, as 2012 saw the highway death total climb faster than at any time since 1975.
Yet, fudged safety stats notwithstanding, the real truth about traffic cameras lies not in the amount of lives saved and accidents avoided, but in the enormous amount of revenue it supplies both the camera manufacturer and the jurisdictions that embrace these forms of policing for profit.
And in most instances the profits roll in whether the cameras are accurate or not… and these contraptions are proving to be anything but precise.
The evidence of that inaccuracy is overwhelming. In mid-April, Baltimore City became the latest jurisdiction to join the ever-growing list of cities/municipalities that are revamping, reevaluating or in some cases eliminating their revenue-generating speed camera programs.
The Department of Transportation issued a news release saying Baltimore City has temporarily suspended use of its red light and speed cameras because “the devices haven’t been accurate.”
Of course, that explanation reeks of dishonesty; if accuracy was the true reason for shelving the automated cash-snatchers they would have been abandoned six months after implementation.
As of April 1, more than 580 communities had welcomed some form – red light, speed, work zone – of traffic enforcement cameras. And while 29 states currently have no camera enforcement laws on the books, only 12 states have banned the use of speed cameras.
Seven states currently prohibit red light cameras.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 66 bills related to photo enforcement have been presented nationwide so far in 2013.
But at the same time, the critical chorus against these boxed money-grabs is growing exponentially.
In New York, the same state senate that nearly always accepts Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Liberal credit card put the kibosh on a plan for cameras in New York City, prompting Emperor Michael Bloomberg to throw a hissy and announce that the next time a speeder kills a kid it will be the legislature’s fault.
Shocking, I know: Bloomberg desperate to support for-profit businesses other than his own.
In Ohio, Judge Robert Ruehlman ordered the Elmwood Place township to halt usage of the cameras saying they are “a scam” and described the issuing of thousands of $105 citations as a “high-tech game of 3-Card Monty.”
Similar rulings have ignited debate from sea to strobe-flashing sea, and Baltimore’s actions are now at the forefront of the discussions.
Not only did the city suspend use of the cameras, officials also agreed to nullify more than 6,000 tickets that had been mailed to the alleged violators.
Total cost? Over 300 grand. In the last fiscal year the city’s speed cameras – just the speed cameras – generated $19 million.
Gesture, meet token.
Obviously, the business partnerships between camera companies and cities willing to deliberately tweak their speed limits, camera locations and caution lights for maximum ticket profits, rather than for safety, are thriving in spite of symbolic damage control.
“The cameras have never really fully been tested,” Gene Simmers, a retired Maryland State Highway Administration employee, told CBS Philadelphia. Simmers was referencing a state report that found the cameras were not tested as many times as they should have been and that the type of speed detection equipment used by the cameras in highway work zones was not approved by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Pennsylvania media is interested in the thoughts of a former SHA employee because the state legislature in Harrisburg had been considering expanding the automated enforcement programs.
Now, thanks to some of the laughable examples of Baltimore City’s camera follies, even AAA Mid-Atlantic has joined the anti-camera chorus.
“It wasn’t even moving and it got a ticket,” AAA spokesperson Jenny Robinson told CBS News, referencing a Baltimore delivery truck that was issued a citation for traveling 57 miles-per-hour in a 25-mph zone even though video from the camera showed the truck was nearly at a standstill.
“That’s one example of the concerns that we have with automatic enforcement,” Robinson continued. “If it’s not accurate then there’s no point in using it.”
But there is a point in using them, and that purpose is to continue reaping the benefits of the $6 billion per year that Americans pay for speeding violations.
According to an extensive investigation by The Baltimore Sun we’ve learned – through the former camera company’s own admission – that the error rate for these devices exceeds five percent. And more than 1.6 million tickets have been issued since 2009.
And the city nullified 6,000.
“The troubles with Baltimore’s speed camera system have raised the eyebrows of motorists, legislators and traffic safety advocates,” wrote AAA spokesperson Ragina Averella, “and have truly called the integrity of the city’s entire program into question.”
But it’s not just Baltimore. Prince George’s County is taking action to stop Fairmount Heights from issuing any camera citations because the town appears to be in violation of a state law that allows photo enforcement only in school zones and requires that cameras are properly announced via signage.
In Laurel, the city is under fire for circumventing state requirements for independent calibration of the cameras.
Dozens of other national jurisdictions are waking up to elected officials trying to follow the lead of former D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty who, in 2010, accelerated the revenue-vs-safety debate when he raised traffic fines – in one instance from $50 – $125 – to help balance his city’s budget.
And why not? In a report released by AAA one camera on one stretch of the District’s New York Avenue raised $11 million in two years.
That kind of cash comes in mighty handy when you need to grease the lobbyists that help government skim the taxpayer.
If the actions of Fenty and other such kindred governmentals don’t offer proof enough of automated enforcement offering no more than a direct line to your wallet, witness the actions of the Maryland Legislature during the just-concluded General Assembly sessions.
Delegate John Cluster (R – Baltimore County) introduced a bill that would have imposed a daily calibration check on the cameras. Delegate Jon Cardin’s (D – Baltimore County) legislation would have forced the courts to impose a $1,000 fine on the camera company if it were found that a citation was issued erroneously. Delegate Frank Conaway (D – Baltimore City) wanted those who maintain the speed enforcement systems to pay a $250 penalty to the motorist who received said erroneous ticket.
Various speed camera bills were introduced by Sen. James Brochin, Sen. E.J. Pipkin, Del. Carolyn Howard and Del. Mike Smigiel and they not only addressed accuracy and effectiveness, but some also called for outright elimination of the program.
When the confetti dropped (made from shredded taxpayer dollars) in early April to signal the end of the session not a single traffic camera bill had passed, including a final version that would have placed stricter limits on where local governments could put speed cameras, required appointments of ombudsmen to hear complaints, and strengthened language prohibiting governments from entering into new contracts under which they paid private companies for each ticket issued.
Noting the bill’s failure, Sen. Brochin told the Baltimore Sun that the final product would have helped protect Maryland drivers from abuses of the camera system.
Of course, Marylanders are use to having elected officials that continually fail to do the right thing – even if it is our own fault for sending the same repeat offenders back to Annapolis.
No amount of information – no amount of facts counteracting the myths of these devices – will prevent lawmakers from trumping-up the safety angle while gorging at the predatory revenue trough.
“We’ve been able to achieve a pretty significant reduction in traffic fatalities,” Gov. Martin O’Malley weighed in on the safety aspects of traffic cameras in Maryland. “I think part of that has to do with better technology and all of us taking it a little slower. We are saving a lot of lives and reducing traffic fatalities.”
Well, save for that pesky spike in 2012 – and even though he ignored the numbers that showed fatal crashes on state highways dropped in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
State wide use of speed cameras wasn’t authorized until 2009.
In Baltimore the focus remains on getting the cash IV back into the arm of the motoring public. In January the city switched from its current camera provider – Xerox State & Local Solutions – to Brekford, a Maryland-based “upstart” in the industry that has been contracted to install/replace 72 speed cameras throughout the city. In addition to costing $2.2 million, the contract will allow a vendor to share in the proceeds of the fines collected – for every $75 traffic ticket generated by the cameras and collected by the city, Brekford is rebated $21. For every $40 ticket, Brekford gets $11.20.
Also of interest is an April 19 report by Baltimore Brew that notes that members of Brekford’s board include Douglas DeLeaver, a former chief of the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Police; Jessie Lee Jr., executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (which has longstanding ties to the Baltimore City Police Department).
The Brew also reported that the head of Brekford’s speed camera division, Maurice Nelson, was hired from Montgomery County’s automated traffic enforcement program.
In addition, the $2.2 million was handed over to Brekford even though that company’s “clerical mistakes” (and software compatibility issues) are what resulted in an undisclosed number of erroneous tickets given out to motorists.
And, Brekford scored all the repeat business without having to jump through the hoops of competitive bidding.
“We decided it was not practical to seek competitive bids on these additional cameras,” Timothy M. Krus, the city’s chief purchasing agent said in response to City Comptroller Joan Pratt questioning the process.
When it comes to the cameras themselves as well as the government officials who vote to authorize them, it becomes more apparent that Judge Reuhlman’s said it best: automated traffic enforcement is “a scam the motorist cannot win.”