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View other events for the week of 8/ 3/2011
“Wise Up to ‘Smart’ Meters” Emergency Santa Cruz Townhall Forum Aug. 3
Date Wednesday August 03
Time 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location Details
Louden Nelson Center, 301 Center St. (at Laurel) in Santa Cruz
Event Type Teach-In
Organizer/AuthorJoshua Hart
Emailinfo [at]
“Wise Up to ‘Smart’ Meters” Emergency Townhall Forum: How Can Our Community Defend Itself?

Santa Cruz, CA- Critics of ‘smart’ meters say they are anti-consumer, a false solution to climate change and a threat to your health, privacy, safety, and the environment. More than 45 cities and counties throughout the state of California agree . Thirteen local governments have even gone so far as to criminalize the wireless meters- including Watsonville, Capitola, and Santa Cruz County. The “Wise Up to ‘Smart’ Meters” Townhall Forum in Santa Cruz, California will feature a panel of national experts who will answer your questions on the subject, including Joshua Hart of StopSmartMeters.Org and Dr. Karl Maret of the Aptos Dove Health Alliance. The panel will be moderated by Michael Zwerling (MZ), owner of KSCO radio in Santa Cruz. The landmark event will take place Wednesday, August 3rd, 7-9pm, at the Louden Nelson Center, 301 Center St. (at Laurel) in Santa Cruz. Organized by a coalition of community advocates led by Stop Smart Meters! As of this announcement PG&E has not responded to an invitation to participate and defend their ‘smart’ meter program that has become a debacle of epic proportions.

Wireless “smart” meters have been widely reported to cause headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears- even memory loss and heart palpitations among susceptible individuals due to the constant bursts of microwave radiation- estimated at more than 22,000 per day. The movement against “smart” meters is the sharp end of a growing movement demanding health-based standards for wireless technology.

Wellington Energy- a Pennsylvania based contractor for PG&E- has resumed installation of wireless “smart” meters throughout Santa Cruz county as of late June, violating local laws that prohibit installations due to urgent concerns about health impacts from the meters’ wireless pulses, which have been measured at 100-150 times the cumulative radiation exposure of a cell phone , as well as privacy violations, ongoing accuracy issues and a series of fires and explosions caused by the new meters. The company is operating out of a yard at 38th and Portola in Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz County.

Thousands of people have submitted written health complaints to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and on May 31st the World Health Organization made an earth shattering declaration- that non-ionizing radiation- from cell phones, cell towers, wifi, and “smart” meters- is now a class 2b carcinogen in the same category as lead, DDT, and engine exhaust. Nevertheless, PG&E continues to maintain that their meters are safe. The utility had been citing the World Health Organization’s reassurances in past public statements. Now, they are no longer referring to the health issue at all, as no independent health organizations will back up their claims of safety. Instead, they recently mailed a 4 page glossy brochure to every household in Santa Cruz County, stating that “smart” meters will “cool the planet.” This is despite PG&E’s own admission that the program has not reduced a single kwh of energy demand despite more than 80% of the meters already being installed throughout California.

Despite decisive action taken by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors in passing ordinance 5084 on January 11 2011 prohibiting “smart” meter installation, and a letter from County Counsel Dana McRae indicating that county law enforcement would enforce the law, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak has been arresting peaceful protesters, enabling PG&E’s forced, illegal smart meter installations onto people’s homes. A number of reports have come in of installations on homes that were on the delay list, or had “no smart meter” signs posted. PG&E has refused to remove these unwanted meters.

Three arrests of “smart” meter protesters have been made over the last month in Santa Cruz County, and numerous conflicts between residents and “smart” meter installers have been reported since installations resumed in the County in June.

“Every option is on the table,” says Joshua Hart, Director of StopSmartMeters.Org. “When you hear countless reports of serious illness resulting from the installation of these meters, and government agencies sit on their hands, refusing to intervene to protect the public, communties retain the right to defend themselves through peaceful mass direct action, lawsuits, or other means. This forum will kick off a community discussion of how to keep Santa Cruz County safe from utility attacks.”

The “Wise Up to Smart Meters” forum comes at a time when community anger is building against PG&E for willfully violating local laws and threatening residents. A large crowd is expected to attend.

Who: Organized by StopSmartMeters.Org, featuring a panel of distinguished national experts, moderated by local radio personality Michael Zwerling (MZ) of KSCO radio. (see below)

What: A public forum with expert panelists and an opportunity for the public to have their voices heard

Why: To provide a forum for the Santa Cruz County Community to learn more about wireless “smart” meters and organize to resist their forced installation in the County

Where: Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St. (at Laurel) Santa Cruz CA 95060

When: Wednesday, August 3rd 7-9:30pm

“Wise Up to ‘Smart’ Meters” Forum Featuring:

Moderator: Michael Zwerling (MZ) Owner, KSCO Radio,
Michael L. Zwerling is President and CEO Zwerling Broadcasting System, Ltd. Chairman and CEO ZBS Radio Associates, Ltd. He is owner of KSCO NewsTalk AM 1080 serving Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz-San Jose metropolitan areas.


Joshua Hart MSc
Joshua Hart is the Director of StopSmartMeters.Org, an organization fighting the forced deployment of utility meters that harm health, violate civil liberties and endanger public safety. He completed his Masters Degree in Transportation Planning at the University of the West of England in 2008 and has worked in the energy industry, as an urban planner, environmental advocate, and freelance journalist.

Dr. Karl Maret
Dr. Karl Maret practices Complementary and Alternative Medicine specializing in nutrition, functional medicine and energy medicine at the Dove Center for Integral Medicine in Aptos, California. He holds an M.D. from the University of Toronto, as well as a Masters in Biomedical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. As president of the Dove Health Alliance non-profit foundation he promotes global research networks in energy medicine including health concerns associated with electromagnetic radiation.

Other Panelists TBA
Added to the calendar on Friday Jul 22nd, 2011 12:46 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by John Thielking
Thursday Jul 28th, 2011 10:58 AM
I would go but the hwy 17 bus doesn't run that late (9:30PM). The apparent claim that a single burst of emf once every 15 minutes (the normal duty cycle for a smart meter as I understand it) represents more emf exposure than 100 cell phones on 100% duty cycle is significant. FCC rules state that statements from the manufacturer concerning emf exposure to the general public must assume that the emf exposure is occurring as if the unit were functioning on a 100% duty cycle. So if your estimate of 100x worse than a cell phone is being taken from the manufacturer's specs then there may be much less cause for worry than you indicated in the article. Note that one in 500-5000 of these meters functions as a base station that relays the signals from all of the meters in a neighborhood to a central location. The base station meters likely broadcast on something much closer to a 100% duty cycle than do the individual meters. I wouldn't want to be living at the house that had a base station meter.

A different but more important concern is that apparently the smart meters are not UL Listed. This means that their design has not been quality tested to be sure the units are not prone to starting fires. Apparently there are reports of fires being started by these units, so that is something to look into and possibly litigate as it is my understanding that all electrical equipment used in the home is required to be UL Listed (or the equivalent from another testing agency).
by dumbeter
Thursday Jul 28th, 2011 1:15 PM
"To help people cut down on energy costs, PG&E will set up its SmartMeter Education Center 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Home Depot, 1175 Admiral Callaghan Lane in Vallejo.

"It's set up so that people can come and go as they please," Pacific Gas & Electric spokeswoman Katie Romans said.

During the two-day event, customers can learn more about utility benefits and also sign up for special meters and other devices at

A SmartMeter helpline is available at 1-866-743-0263, and more information is also available at"

They'll probably do more @ various home improvement stores throughout NorCal. Keep a Lookout.
by John Thielking
Friday Jul 29th, 2011 8:57 AM
The following comments were posted to ,but they are likely not yet visible to the public since when I visit the site there are still notes next to each comment saying that my comment is awaiting moderation. So here they are:

I thought I read some info from PG&E that said the smart meters broadcast once every 15 minutes. Also, in one of the anti-smart meter reports I read that one out of every 500-5000 smart meters is rigged as a base station to receive and rebroadcast up to 5000 signals from the other meters in the neighborhood. Based on these figures, the base station meters could end up broadcasting 5 pulses per second. Do you have a url or other reference for the “every 4-5 seconds” remark? I like Uncle Dennis’ solution broadcast on FRSC: Wrap your meter in aluminum foil and leave a screen-wire window so the meter reader can read it.

Daniel Hirsh's analysis of the relative exposure of a smart meter vs a cell phone may be correct. However, the CCST report, if it is only dutifully reporting maximum exposures as the FCC requires manufacturers to do, is also correct in its own way. You see, the FCC requires manufacturers to report radiation exposures based on 100% duty cycles for all devices regardless of their actual real world duty cycles. In the case of the microwave oven, the maximum allowable leakage may also be what is required to be reported. It may be in fact illegal for a manufacturer or an installer such as PG&E to report the numbers in any other way.

This next comment would have been posted on the homepage but there is no comments section there. Have you considered carefully what would be legally required for local governments to legally enforce a ban on smart meters and/or what kind of lawsuit would stand up in court? I refer specifically to the 1996 Telecommunications Act that puts regulation of emf exposure exclusively in the hands of the FCC and may limit liability of wireless device manufacturers. We already went down this path with trying to ban cell towers in Santa Cruz County. Ultimately, one cell tower permit for a location in Beach Flats was denied because the proposed cell tower exceeded the height limit for poles (including flagpoles) in the Santa Cruz city building code, not because the city council concluded that the emf from the tower was dangerous. In fact, when citizens were giving public testimony, they were advised that any consideration by the city council that they were acting to protect people's health, as opposed to enforcing the building codes, could be grounds for the cell tower provider to mount a court challenge later.

My advice is to stick to writing laws that talk about things other than emf exposure, and take enforcement actions that have to do with building code violations, so that when the law or enforcement action is challenged in court later it will have legs to stand on. If the smart meters are not UL Listed (meaning that the design is not quality tested to be sure the units aren't prone to starting fires, etc), then if there isn't already a local electrical code section or other law requiring that all electrical equipment used in the home be UL Listed, then pass such an ordinance and enforce it. Building codes are the exclusive domains of cities and counties and any enforcement action taken by these entities to enforce building codes would likely stand up in court. You could also pass a law requiring a permit for any electrical panel upgrade, if such a law is not already on the books. Then routinely deny permits for smart meter upgrades. If federal law requiring the installers of the smart meters to be trained professionals is being violated, then file an injunction in the appropriate jurisdiction and get the installations stopped that way. The more energy expended by local govt's making legal decisions based on emf exposure, the weaker their cases become if they ever go to trial.
by John Thielking
Friday Jul 29th, 2011 10:23 AM
Everything I have said so far are statements of a layman and are taken from my imperfect memory and should not be taken as bonafide legal advice. For legal advice, please consult a law professional.
by John Thielking
Tuesday Aug 2nd, 2011 12:18 PM
According to this news report, CMP utility will remove smart meters at customers' request for any reason at all. PG&E should do the same.
by John Thielking
Tuesday Aug 2nd, 2011 3:23 PM
Here is a newsflash that you should communicate to the electrosensitive people everywhere (post to your e-mail list or bulliten board if you like): I just now got word from my room mate who owns the mobile home that I am living in. He said that the mobile home park manager told him that they do not currently have smart meters installed anywhere in the park and they do not plan to install smart meters in the future. They recently replaced the analog electric meters with digital electric meters, but the smart meters are too expensive so they will likely never install smart meters here. The way mobile home parks work their utility connections is that each space has electric and gas meters that are read by the park and then the gas and electric bills are added onto the rent by the park. There is no PG&E bill to pay. The park I live in is Mountain Shadows near Capitol Expwy and Hwy 87 in San Jose. There is one mobile home (a new one) available for sale here through Advantage Homes. It is likely that other mobile home park owners would also be reluctant to spend the extra money for the more expensive smart meters. It is likely that the economies of scale just don't make sense for a mobile home park owner to get smart meters and then cut the hours of the maintenance staff who read the meters to make up for the extra cost. So check around and find out what each park's policies are. In unincorporated Santa Cruz County the rent controlled space rents on mobile home spaces are really low, about $350 per month. The space rents in Santa Cruz city vary widely since the city did away with rent control a couple of years ago. The space rents in San Jose range from $600-$1000 per month even though San Jose has a mobile home rent control ordinance. The only other concern about mobile homes is that some of them may not be suitable for the chemically sensitive as some of them may outgas formaldehyde (remember the infamous FEMA trailers supplied to residents of New Orleans displaced by Hurricane Katrina). I've lived in older and modern mobile homes since 1995 with no ill effects. Good luck and I hope these people who are being affected by smart meters can find suitable housing. Thanks.


John Thielking
by John Thielking
Saturday Aug 13th, 2011 10:36 AM
As far as I know, the 1996 telecom act applies to cell phones, not just cell towers. The FCC has sole jurisdiction regarding regulation of the outputs of cell phones. Therefore only if the smart meters exceed FCC allowed radiation limits can they be eliminated by the FCC's own rules.

I have heard of at least two people in Santa Clara County who have successfully opted out of receiving smart meters. I don't know why opting out is such a problem in Santa Cruz County.

Another route to eliminating smart meters from your neighborhood is to do like Marin did recently and form your own city managed utility. The utility in Marin is not allowing smart meters to be installed. People in Marin can opt out of that utility and go with PG&E, so it is still possible that your neighbors would have smart meters if PG&E is their utility.

Mobile home parks are also their own little fiefdoms that, at least in the case of the park where I live, may not allow smart meters to be installed. In my park, the owners own the meters and don't want to invest in the more expensive smart meters. I'm surrounded by mobile home parks in this area, so I feel pretty safe right now. For a complete list of mobile home parks in Santa Cruz County (some of which may be far away from cell towers) go here: . It is also possible that condo owners may be able to organize to get the homeowners' association to go with a mobile home park style of electric and gas distribution for their properties and eliminate smart meters that way. You would then get your utilities added onto your HOA dues bill.

Finally, I did a little research by visiting the code enforcement people for the city of San Jose, CA. They said that it is true that all electrical equipment used within the home must be UL listed. However, PG&E is exempt from this requirement. None of their equipment is required to be UL listed. So that means that it is possible that smart meters were never evaluated by an independent testing lab to see if they could get overloaded and start fires and so on.
The show should be archived within a day at about two hours into the audio file.
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