Camp Fire: PG&E found bullet holes in Butte County power pole, fallen hook, other damage at transmission tower

PG&E has found its equipment in Butte County, scene of a disastrous and deadly wildfire, suffered an array of damage at the outset of the inferno, including bullet holes, a fallen hook and a damaged tower arm, the embattled utility stated in a letter Tuesday night to state regulators.

The cause of the lethal blaze in Butte County, which broke out Nov. 8 and effectively destroyed the town of Paradise, is still under investigation by state fire experts.

The probe’s focus includes PG&E’s Caribou-Palermo electrical transmission line and a power pole that’s part of the company’s Big Bend circuit, both in Butte County.

A power outage was reported on Nov. 8 at 6:15 a.m. in the service area of the Caribou-Palermo line and a separate electricity outage was reported the same day at 6:45 a.m. in the Big Bend service area, according to the letter submitted to the state Public Utilities Commission by Meredith Allen, a PG&E regulatory executive.

“On Nov. 9, a PG&E employee on patrol arrived at the location of the pole with Line Recloser 1704 on the Big Bend 1101 Circuit and observed that the pole and other equipment was on the ground with bullets and bullet holes at the break point of the pole and on the equipment,” Allen wrote to the PUC.

Separately, crews deployed by PG&E detected multiple instances of damage and failure — including indications of worn-out equipment — on a portion of the Caribou-Palermo transmission line during a patrol on Nov. 14.

“PG&E observed a broken C-hook attached to the separated suspension insulator that had connected the 2 suspension insulator to a tower arm, along with wear at the connection point,” the utility stated in its letter to the PUC.

The broken hook wasn’t the only damage detected on the Caribou-Palermo towers.

“PG&E observed a flash mark on Tower :27/222 …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Even with Facebook’s tumultuous year, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan look back at 2018 with hope

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have sent out their annual letter from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, calling it “A note from Mark & me: looking back at 2018.”

The initiative, now celebrating its third anniversary, is a multibillion-dollar effort to address global issues such as early literacy, heath care and scientific research. Fueled with an investment of as much as $1 billion in Facebook shares each of the past three years, the company was created Dec. 1, 2015, in honor of their newly born daughter, Maxima.

This year’s letter, titled “What We’re Hopeful For,” comes at a time of relative turmoil for the social-media giant: San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin recently called for the couple’s name to be removed from Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital because of what he called “a string of frankly scandalous issues confronting Facebook and its leadership, the most recent being Facebook’s hiring of an infamous PR firm to spread vicious and frankly anti-semitic attacks on George Soros.”

A recent by the anonymous work chat app Blind found that 70 percent of the nearly 600 Facebook employees who replied said that Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg should be fired for her involvement in the Soros affair.

And the company’s stock price this year has seen dramatic dips, at one point losing about $120 billion in market capitalization over investor concerns about disappointing earnings report and slowing user growth.

Still, Tuesday’s letter was all about hope, starting with their first daughter, Max. Here are a few excerpts:

“Today marks the three-year anniversary of one of the most important weeks of our lives. In the span of just a few days, we welcomed our first child, Max, into the world, and announced a new philanthropic organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, dedicated to making the world better for …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Google gobbles up huge Palo Alto building owned by satellites maker

PALO ALTO — Google has gobbled up a huge building that had been owned by SSL, a maker of satellites and space systems that once was known as Space Systems Loral, a fresh acquisition that hints the search giant’s quest for expansion room is far from over.

The search giant paid $70 million on Dec. 6 for a long narrow building and an adjacent surface parking lot that sit on 4.6 acres at 3850 Fabian Way at the corner of East Meadow Drive in Palo Alto, according to Santa Clara County property records.

Mountain View-based Google, through spokeswoman Katherine Williams, confirmed the all-cash purchase, but stated the tech titan wouldn’t discuss the situation in any detail.

The 101,000-square-foot building, originally constructed in 1991, is located in an area where Google has been purchasing and occupying an array of smaller buildings in the East Meadow area of Palo Alto.

And just a few miles away, in Mountain View, on Nov. 20, Google paid a head-spinning $1 billion for a 12-building, 51.8-acre parcel that is the Bay Area’s biggest property transaction this year and the nation’s second largest.

Google is busy buying properties in downtown San Jose, has assembled a huge swath of sites in Sunnyvale for future development, and is actively planning a major redevelopment that would transform northern Mountain View.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


Dusty Baker always had great power, now his ambitious start-up is creating it

Dusty Baker played for four teams in his 19-year major league baseball career. He managed four others.

He was drafted, traded, signed as a free agent, granted free agency, hired and fired. In times of upheaval, he learned to follow the sun.

These days that pursuit is both figurative and literal.

Baker, who finished his playing career with the A’s, and who has served the Giants as a player, coach, manager and advisor, runs his own team now.

The Baker Energy Team — call them the Boys of Solar — is bringing renewable energy to a wide range of consumers.

According to a Bloomberg profile of Baker and his business, he got into solar after being fired by the Reds and before being hired by the Nationals. A chance encounter with an investment banker after being fired by the Nationals gave him entrees to networking and opportunity.

“There were no minorities,” he told Bloomberg. “Very few women. This (was) an opening for me.”

It isn’t as if Baker was lacking for interests. He makes wine on his 4.75-acre home outside Sacramento, and the Giants hired him last season in an advisory role. “That’s definitely something I learned about losing these (managerial) jobs,” he said. “You still got to live.”

The solar business, based outside Sacramento, is working on “large projects for historically black universities, cannabis-growing operations, tribal reservations and commercial businesses,” Bloomberg reported. Baker has expanded his line of products to include microgrids, battery and electric-vehicle charging stations.

While managing the Giants, Baker always seemed to have keen insight and personal knowledge of whatever the discussion du jour happened to be. He was a touchstone, ridiculously well-rounded. And that was 25 years ago.

“My best life might have been when I was playing,” Baker told Bloomberg. “But this is close.”

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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