Open Mic: PG&E erects unsightly monster

By Mary Naples

Once again, PG&E is up to its dirty tricks. Without specific prior notice or a public review process, PG&E erected a gargantuan power pole with banks of unsightly transformers and a high voltage electric switch in a densely packed residential street across from a public park in Sausalito. We have been told by PG&E officials that these same power poles will be appearing in residential neighborhoods all over Marin, as a means of combating wildfires by shutting off power with specificity. Who’s next?

Because this neighborhood and our city officials were taken by surprise—PG&E had simply informed us they were doing “routine maintenance”—this pole is obstructing views for many in this middle-class neighborhood occupied by tiny homes with big views. As a result of PG&E’s negligence, many homes in the area now have unsightly views of power transformers where pristine views of the city and the bay once were.

In fact, with this power pole planted in front of it, a recently listed house has had to reduce its sale price substantially as its once pristine view is now obstructed. But aside from obstructed views and impacted home prices, there is a concern about the inherent dangers and possible health hazards from the EMFs this contraption emits so close to homes and directly across from a public park where children play. Lastly, the area of town where this pole was installed is known for its heavy winds—many have already witnessed the transformers swaying in winds that are not considered heavy for this neighborhood.

In order to safeguard our views, Sausalito is known for its tight permit process, yet we have been told by city officials that there is “very little” they can do to help residents combat PG&E’s reckless placement of this monster in our midst. It is indicative of an era of corporate dominance that PG&E has more authority over the quality of our lives than our elected officials do.

Mary Naples lives in Sausalito.

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