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The Californian Energy and Space Admininstration (CESA) Ballot Initiative



(Originally Posted Over at Space.com)

It just occurred to me sometime ago that California has the budget to create its own space program and a very angry populace that might be willing to fund it. I'm giving this its own topic here at missions.

Anyway, this is the open letter that I've already sent to Harvey Rosenfield and Douglas Heller who are writing the California energy initiative. I have suggested that it be turned into a space and clean industry initiative as well. If you support this idea email them both at doug@consumerwatchdog.org

Obviously, this is much more than message board blather. This is something real that you can do to forward the cause of space exploration.

Please feel free to make improvements and suggestions and answer some questions that I really haven't figured out the answers to yet, such as: Who should the five board members of CESA be? What kind of budget should the agency have? What kinds of proposals should it entertain? Does California have the legal mechanism to allow voters to approve the annual budget by ballot? Should this be a separate initiative from the energy referendum? And remember: don't just post your messages here but tell Harvey and Douglas how you feel...That's why I've included their email addresses...

An Open Letter to the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights

Dear Harvey Rosenfeld and Douglas Heller:

I have taken a look at your proposal and I have added an amendment or two. I think that you should focus that Californian anger and do a little bit more with it. I’ve made several additions that I hope that you take very very seriously. Now, keep in mind that I’m a Pennsylvanian and we don’t have as effective an initiative or referendum process that you have there in California. For example, I’m not sure if you set budget parameters for a referendum, or if you have to name a board for the public institution that you conceive. I’m hoping that you get back to me on that.

Here are some suggestions:

That public utility that you mention should be called the California Energy and Space Administration or CESA. The agency should have five board members who decide issues on a majority vote. Obviously, the members should be pro space and pro renewable energy. I would suggest you or Danny as a board member. Why space? Because California, which could enter the European Union as one of their major economies, has the money to build its own space program. The other reason is that solar energy works in space much better than it does on the ground and its apparently very safe. Theoretically, if California was the first to establish Solar Power Satellites, which have undreamt of power potentials, it could not only power the state, but the entire Earth. Realistically, the technology may not be ready to do it cheaply. That’s why the first task of CESA should be getting price proposals for SPS and finding out whether its feasible. It may turn out that windmills and wave power generators off the Californian coast would be cheaper, if so then that path should be taken. Furthermore, the public should approve the budget for CESA annually by the ballot. However, the state legislature should not be precluded from funding CESA even if the public votes no. The following quote, from one of the websites that promotes SPS technology, explains the concept a bit more:

“If Solar Power from Space works, it could literally save our planet. In fact, you could call this effort a "Mission to Save Planet Earth." Why? SPS would provide clean, totally renewable energy to the rapidly growing economies on this planet. The 1.3 billion people in China, and the 1 billion people in India want the same standard of living currently enjoyed by all Americans. It is estimated that world demand for energy will double in the next 20 years, and then double again by 2040. If you are worried about global warming, nuclear energy, or the eventual energy crisis as our fossil fuels deplete, SPS is a positive, pro-growth, pro-technology solution. At the same time, if you want to open the space frontier, SPS will create a huge commercial space market that is one or two orders of magnitude larger anything in existence today. Hundreds to thousands of people will have to live in space to build and operate these power satellites.”

I might also add that by doing this you would really piss off the oil and utility industries. If this kind of technology was publicly owned and reached fruition it would put them out of business. Personally, I know how bad I’d feel if Enron and the fossil fuel industry were wiped out. I’m sure you feel the same way.
Here are some links if you want to research it some more.
http://www.netdepot.com/~preble/#SSP History
http://www.prospace.org/issues/index.htm#SPS HotSummary

Second, the CESA should be a proactive and not a reactive force. In other words, CESA shouldn’t just promote conservation but promote technologies such as wave generation plants, windmills, solar retrofitting and most importantly: The construction of the Californian Car Industry. California should lead the nation in building cars that run entirely on biofuels and/or air compression. There are a number of promising technologies here. Find out how viable they are by commissioning studies on the French Air compression car, the Scottish wave generator and any other idea that works. That way you can tell the predictable naysayers who will claim that the initiative is anti jobs and anti growth that you are in fact building a new kind of industry that will create Californian jobs for years to come. CESA, should, of course, involve the best science minds at CIT, Stanford or wherever else there’s substantive intellectual talent. Here are the links concerning the technologies. CESA should also work to coordinate its budget, which should be about $10 million its first year, with whatever else the state is doing to avoid overlap. I’m not sure how that would work, this is where your knowledge of what the California state legislature is doing would be helpful. Here are some links about the car that runs on air compression and the ocean wave generator.

Three, you should include a clean money statute into your referendum, or public financing for elections. I don’t think this needs any explanation. This is the model bill that is provided by the www.publicampaign.org. Or you could just insert the appropriate Californian bill that probably hasn’t gone anywhere.
Four, severability. What this means is that if any of the referendum’s provisions are overturned legally, the rest of the referendum survives.
So, tell me what you think. If you make the additions that I’ve asked for, then you would find that you not only have an energy initiative, but a space initiative, a Californian car industry initiative and clean money initiative. I don’t know why you don’t ask for it. You’re probably going to get it. If I was a Californian then I would sure vote for it. No amount of utility brainwashing will wipe away the painful amount of those fuel bills. I might add that California is so large that it would affect the rest of the nation. People will say “We don’t need deregulation. Look at how California did it. We can create green industries, look at how California did it. We can create politicians who are accountable to us, look at how California did it.”

So let’s do it.


Philip Shropshire

Revised Ratepayer Protection Act
Initiative Concept Draft

Section 1. Emergency Protection

Requires refunds to San Diego Gas and Electric customers (and other ratepayers who pay excessive rates to "deregulated" utilities) of excessive electricity rates through a windfall profits tax on power companies that sold energy to deregulated utilities at unjust and unreasonable prices.

No back billing of Edison or PG&E consumers for any energy procurement costs above the legal frozen rate.

Determination of energy rates and refunds will consider profits of utilities' corporate affiliates and full amount of "competition transition charges" collected from ratepayers during rate freeze period.

Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will be authorized to oversee all transactions, the terms of which must be publicly disclosed
Section 2. Consumer Price Protection

PUC will oversee electric rates on a cost of service basis.

PUC will be authorized to establish thresholds for excessive energy prices that will be used to determine the windfall profits tax levied against power companies that gouge consumers.

Section 3. Energy Planning and Public Power and the Creation of the Californian Energy and Space Administration

PUC and Ca. Energy Commission will institute integrated resource planning to determine California's energy needs.

The state will create The Californian Energy and Space Administration. This agency will have a mandate to meet California’s energy demand in a reliable, affordable, efficient and environmentally sound manner. The board will be composed of five members who will vote for their replacements. A board member who is leaving his post can vote for his replacement. The board shall also have the right, by a majority vote, to make all the board positions elected. Once publicly elected positions have been approved, according to board rules and by majority vote, this decision can’t be overturned. Otherwise, prevailing Californian law should cover the conduct of CESA.

A) The first goal of the Californian Energy and Space Administration is to get feasibility studies on Solar Power Satellites. The board is to reach a financial and strategic conclusion (e.g. should the state proceed with testing, incubator investment or outright initial launches through either Sea Launch, NASA, or the European Union) no later than 18 months after this initiative is approved and should submit the budget for such a plan for ballot approval. However, even if the public votes down the initiative, this doesn’t preclude the state legislature from approving funding.

B) The second goal of the Californian Energy and Space Administration is to attain feasibility studies on a number of new energy technologies. This should include, but not be limited to, the French air compression car and the Scottish ocean wave generator technology. CESA should formally ask California universities, MIT, CMU and all interested parties to analyze these technologies and, if possible, come up with budgets for building these technologies here in California. CESA should create a plan for the California Auto Industry—an industry that should be founded upon clean fuels and new materials efficiencies. The universities should have their analysis back to CESA within 12 months after the initiative’s approval. CESA should have a completed plan and budget regarding these technologies no later than 18 months after the initiative’s approval. Fission Nuclear Energy is not an option that CESA can look at to solve the state’s energy crisis.

The agency will be authorized to build, own and operate, as well as purchase, power plants and transmission and distribution assets.

The agency will be authorized to auction the right to build power plants to, or contract with, private generators that will sell energy on a cost-of-service basis to the utility distribution companies.

Facilitates the authority of local and state government to exercise the power of eminent domain to take over generation, transmission and distribution assets if necessary.

Section 4. Public Accountability And Clean Money Election Proposal

A. California will establish a statewide Citizen Utility Board to protect the interests of consumers.

B. PUC will be restructured to foster public accountability of Commissioners.

C. In order to make sure that public officials are not influenced by utility industry contributions, the state should adopt a clean money election proposal.

Section 101: Findings and Declarations
Section 102: Definitions
Section 103: Eligibility for Clean Money Campaign Funding for Party Candidates
Section 104: Eligibility for Clean Money Campaign Funding for Independent Candidates
Section 105: Transition Rule for Current Election Cycle
Section 106: Continuing Obligation to Comply
Section 107: Contributions and Expenditures
Section 108: Use of Personal Funds
Section 109: Seed Money
Section 110: Participation in Debates
Section 111: Campaign Advertisements
Section 112: Certification
Section 113: Benefits Provided to Candidates Eligible to Receive Clean Money
Section 114: Schedule of Clean Money Payments
Section 115: Determination of Clean Money Amounts
Section 116: Expenditures Made with Clean Money Funds
Section 117: Disclosure of Excess Spending by Non-Participating Candidates
Section 118: Campaign Advertisements
Section 119: Definition of Independent Expenditures
Section 120: Disclosure of, and Additional Clean Money to Respond to Independent Expenditures
Section 121: Definition and Disclosure of, and Additional Clean Money to Respond to, Issue Advertisements
Section 122: Voter Information Commission
Section 123: Broadcast Debates
Section 124: Free Broadcast Media Advertising
Section 125: Paid Broadcast Media Advertising
Section 126: Limit on Use of Franking Privilege
Section 127: Ballot Label
Section 128: Nature and Purpose of Fund
Section 129: Sources of Revenue for Fund
Section 130: Administration and Dispersal of Money from Fund
Section 131: Political Party Contributions and Expenditures
Section 132: Soft Money
Section 133: Election Commission Members
Section 134: Election Commission Powers and Procedures
Section 135: Other Provisions
Section 136: Commission Reports
Section 137: Rules, Regulations, and Procedures
Section 138: Repayment of Excess Expenditures
Section 139: Penalties
Section 140: Severability
Section 141: Effective Date

Section 5. Severability

If one or more sections of this referendum are struck down in court, the rest of the referendum’s legally binding statutes will go into effect.