Letters from our readers: PG&E gas valve may not have shut off properly

“Two of the most dangerous commodities in industry, natural gas and electricity, are delivered directly into our customers’ homes. Safety is a moral obligation of all PG&E employees, it is a condition of our employment.” That was the memorandum sent to PG&E employees in the 1990s by the senior vice president of engineering.

It was at a time when I had the project of converting the pneumatic controlled gas and monitor valves in our gas transmission and distribution systems to electric control to avoid venting gas into the atmosphere. It allowed remote control from PG&E’s San Francisco gas power control center (I designed that too), located at Market and Beale streets.

The gas power control center was designed and built in the early 1970s and updated by the late 1980s to a newer computer technology. Since the new wireless technologies have replaced the microwave and glass cable communication systems, I wonder if the new SmartMeter wireless transmission had any effect on the gas valve control that should have automatically shut off these valves to stop the flow of pressurized gas in the San Bruno pipe explosion?

Frank Norton
San Francisco

 

Niners should stay put

The idea of a joint stadium for the Niners and Raiders may be a good one, but the idea of moving the Niners out of their hometown is a slap in the face to The City and the 49ers faithful.

The Yorks have been an unmitigated disaster for this franchise. They’ve repaid the patronage and loyalty of the faithful by putting out a bad-to-fair — at times unwatchable — product while continually raising season-ticket prices. Including this year, when fans have to pay more than last year and get one less home game in the “bargain.”

The 49ers are a treasured and storied team with a rich history and tradition. The path remains open for the 49ers to play in a new stadium in The City, where they belong.

Edward Chmelewski
San Francisco

 

Nothing’s too big to fail

Why are we bailing out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for $1.8 billion? Didn’t their risky loans trigger the financial crisis? But, the executives at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae did not get fired or lose their bonuses. Do the new financial rules apply to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae?

When are we going to give up the false notion of “too big to fail”? When are we going to stop government from choosing which companies fail and which survive? When are we going to let mismanaged, inefficient businesses fail regardless of size?

Keith C. De Filippis
San Jose

 

Tax cuts must expire

The biggest redistribution of wealth in the past 10 years has been from the poor and middle classes up to the top 3 percent of fat cats. And, they want to continue the Bush tax cuts. Allowing them to expire would help immensely to reduce the deficit — as would stopping two wars and reducing military spending. Cutting Social Security would most certainly not.

Lee Goodin
San Francisco

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