Councilman Kansen Chu Charges Expensive Yosemite Retreat to the City

All work and no play makes Kansen Chu a dull councilmember. Back in March, the representative for San Jose’s Berryessa district (and 2014 State Assembly candidate) took a trip with his wife—on the city’s dime—to Yosemite National Park to attend the 22nd Annual Ahwahnee Conference for Local Elected Officials. What initially caught Fly’s attention was the conference, titled “Building Livable Communities: New Strategies for a New Age,” was sponsored by a who’s who of who-cares-about-the-environment: PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison Company and the Southern California Gas Company. But a closer look at Councilman Chu’s expense report shows he barely attended the event, despite shelling out $809.54 of taxpayer dollars.


Rentseekers and The Free Market: Part II

I watched a piece on CNN the other day that really tied the room together, in terms of the battle over America’s energy future. Recently in this space, I’ve ranted about rentseekers—established industries backed by favorable regulations that stifle innovation and thrive by maintaining the status quo. This story rides a thru-line from social innovators, like Uber and Airbnb, to the heart of the solar energy revolution, and it exposes a dilemma at the core of our economy: The free market doesn’t really exist.

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Key Voting Bloc Trending Toward Solar

A new survey recently commissioned by the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) and supported by Californians Against Utilities Stopping Solar Energy (CAUSE) reveals some striking trends in key voting demographics in California and nationwide.

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San Jose’s Local Park Heroes

I received a phone call last year from a resident who lived near Almaden Winery Park. She told me that she wanted to plant some rose trees in the park, and that she had been referred to San Jose Parks Foundation for help.

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San Jose Parks Foundation: An Introduction

Since this is my first column for San Jose Inside, I’ll begin by framing my current endeavor, the San Jose Parks Foundation. Some of you may know of my past, as San Jose Rep Founder, San Jose Arts Roundtable Co-Founder and the After School All-Stars Founding Executive Director.

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Watt’s Up, Evan?

Fly noticed a familiar, comely face in the corner of last week but was slightly confused to see a blue and orange PG&E logo where Evan Low’s dimple should be.

The trail-blazing, openly gay mayor of Campbell, shilling for PG&E? It turns out to be an ad for the much-maligned SmartMeter Program, the PG&E initiative to replace all old power meters with digital ones supposedly designed to provide more accurate readouts and give customers a better way to monitor their gas and electricity usage.

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Opposition to Prop 16 Grows in Silicon Valley

If it is passed, the Proposition 16 amendment on this year’s ballot will require local governments to obtain two-thirds voter approval before they can provide electricity to new customers or expand their services. In other words, citizens could block attempts by their city councils to expand the service area for existing public utilities or create new ones.