‘Grassroots’ Looks Like This

Katy Grimes: TIME magazine recently announced the 2011 Person of the Year was “the Protestor.” American protestors conjure up all kinds of images, from the Occupy Wall Street Protestors, striking union nurses, teamsters, to university students occupying the library at UC Berkeley.

The average American can’t fathom the kinds of issues and protests people in other countries face. “The stakes are very different in different places. In North America and most of Europe, there are no dictators, and dissidents don’t get tortured. Any day that Tunisians, Egyptians or Syrians occupy streets and squares, they know that some of them might be beaten or shot, not just pepper-sprayed or flex-cuffed,” reported the TIME story.

While there are no dictators in America, and dissidents are not usually tortured, there are protestors who seem to make a career of protesting – animal rights protestors, environmentalists living in trees, union-sponsored picketers outside of non-union businesses, and the almost daily SEIU members protesting something at the state Capitol.

Rarely do Americans see passionate protestors that aren’t sponsored by some political party or labor union.

Californians should take notice of a large group of protestors from Chino Hills, who traveled from the Southern California city to Sacramento today to meet with Capitol legislators. The group is hoping to gain more attention and help in their fight against mega-utility company, Southern California Edison, over the installation of 3.5 miles of 200 foot monster electrical towers erected within only feet of residences.

More than 75 residents were confirmed to make the 416 mile trip north to represent the community.

But it doesn’t end with a visit and tour of the state’s Capitol. Tomorrow, members of Hope For The Hills will travel to San Francisco to attend a hearing at the California Public Utility Commission, about the future of the Southern California Edison Tehachapi Transmission project. SCE and the CPUC will appear before an Administrative Law Judge to begin review of SCE’s response to a PUC Commissioner’s Ruling on the transmission project.

Chino Hills residents will be observing the meeting and are staging a protest.

Moms, dads, husbands and wives, single men and women, grandparents and college students, have been fighting for several years to stop the installation of the mega-towers near homes, and instead have the towers re-routed to the nearby state park. They are not asking for the end of the project – but just want the towers moved away from their homes.

In October 2010, Southern California Edison (SCE) contractors began removing the old, mostly idle, 200 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines from an easement running through Chino Hills, and immediately began installation of the new, 200 foot towers,with 500 kV transmission lines. Residents immediately contacted SCE worried that the power towers were too close to homes, and concerned about living so closely to beefed-up electro-magnetic frequencies and radiation.

The Chino Hills residents have been persistent in their quest. Despite many setbacks and legal decisions rendered in the utility’s favor, as well as a few wins for the community, the Hope For the Hills crew has functioned entirely as a grassroots operation with no outside funding, no union backup, and no political help. The only help they’ve had has been from the city of Chino Hills, which has spent $2 million on legal fees for its own fight against SCE over the towers. The residents have waged the fight with sheer willpower and determination, and with a love of community rarely seen these days.

This is no whining group of NIMBYs. In October, I traveled to Chino Hills to see for myself just how bad the situation was. I had seen photos of the monster towers. I had written stories of the resident’s plight. I followed the hearings, and read the legal documents. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know how bad.

When I stood at the base of the electrical towers just outside of Joanne’s home, and near the monster tower erected in the middle of the nearby city park where kids were playing soccer, and on top of a hill in a lovely residential development, I was stunned and disgusted.

I thought of the increased electrical current that would run through the monster lines when the towers went live. I thought of the plummeting home prices when residents tried to sell. I started to imagine a once-beautiful bedroom community turning into a wasteland as residents opted to leave rather than stay and wonder about future potential health issues and home values.

But the project seems to be a done deal. Members of Hope For The Hills report that they have been told by several SCE insiders that the utility agreed long ago to build the towers, and have no intention of altering the plan. Some say that there was a contract signed with a cellular company for use of the towers. Others says that because the California Renewable Energy Portfolio was passed and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, no California officials are going to help stop it. And others report that the project has been partially funded with federal stimulus money, which SCE doesn’t want to return.

The Tehachapi Transmission Project feels similar to the High-Speed Rail project. Despite the outrageous and increasing costs, lack of ridership, ongoing long-term debt, California officials seem unable to stop it.

One Chino Hills resident wrote on the Hope For the Hills Facebook page.”As many celebrate MLK day, the quote on our website comes to mind; ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’ We need to all join hands in front of the CPUC and become one big chain that cannot and will not be broken. The Chain of Chino Hills! We can and will do this!”

JAN. 17, 2012

 

38 comments

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  1. Chino Hills Resident
    Chino Hills Resident 17 January, 2012, 23:07

    AMAZING KATY. RIGHT ON!!!!

    Reply this comment
  2. TRTP worker
    TRTP worker 18 January, 2012, 06:17

    I kind of sympathized with these people until one of their members threatened to kill me and the crew I was working with, and someone else from their group smeared dog poop on my personal vehicle parked near the site.

    Reply this comment
  3. Chino Hills Rersident
    Chino Hills Rersident 18 January, 2012, 11:20

    TRTP worker. You continue to accuse a group of non violent peaceful protestors without one shread of evidence that anyone from HFTH had anything to do with this alleged action. An action you claim happened yet there is no record of the occurance. If someone had threatened to kill me and rubbed dog poop on my car the Cops would have been called immediately, Yet there is zero record of this ever happening. If you are driving in Chino Hills and get cut off I supposed you will blame this group for that also. It makes just about as much sence.

    Reply this comment
  4. Mary Cardenas
    Mary Cardenas 18 January, 2012, 11:33

    Dear TRTP worker, I think you are full of “dog poop.” We are not a violent group. We are fighting for our families, our homes and for our lives. Our fight has always been with SCE and CPUC, not with the individual workers.

    Reply this comment
  5. TRTP Worker
    TRTP Worker 18 January, 2012, 11:53

    Reports were filed and the police came out. You go ahead and disbelieve, but the police and workers know better. Go find your buddy with the Arizona disabled plates and ask HIM what he was doing.

    Reply this comment
  6. Chino Hills Rersident
    Chino Hills Rersident 18 January, 2012, 12:22

    It has been establish that TRTP worker is in no way credible.
    Beside that fact it is important to note that TRTP worker is OK with the destruction of a City and thousands of peoples lives because allegedly someone in Chino Hills got mad at him. Facts that stand in dispute. It is to no surprise that TRTP worker is in the employment of a company like SCE. They too are in favor of the destruction of a City and it residents as long as it lines their pockets.

    Reply this comment
  7. Jackie
    Jackie 18 January, 2012, 14:25

    Thank you again Katy for another wonderful article!

    Reply this comment
  8. Mary Cardenas
    Mary Cardenas 18 January, 2012, 15:04

    Dear TRTP worker, why would a Chino Hills resident have Arizona plates? You obviously got someone very upset but I don’t believe it had anything to do with the TRTP or HFTH.

    Katy, YOU ROCK! Like an artist you have painted a perfect picture with your words of our community and our cause. MANY THANKS, ALWAYS. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  9. Debbie
    Debbie 18 January, 2012, 17:19

    First of all, and most of all……Katy….you rock. Thank you again for another outstanding article. You’ve helped us so much, we can never make it up to you.

    Secondly, for the snarky TRTP worker……you sound pretty petty. Even IF one person had perpetrated this action, you “can’t feel badly for the rest of the peaceful men, women and children of Chino Hills” who are fighting this project and being endangered by it? The men I know wouldn’t have picked this site and forum to bring it up. You clearly weren’t injured and dog poop washes off……grow up,….what a little whiner!

    Reply this comment
  10. Jamie
    Jamie 18 January, 2012, 20:47

    Thank you!!! I feel lucky and proud to live in a community that fights for what is right.. to be surrounded by so many that take the time from their own busy lives to fight for a community is amazing! Where now a days most people don’t know their next door neighbor…HOPE FOR THE HILLS has brought us all together to accomplish one thing… WIN!

    Reply this comment
  11. Misty Lamb
    Misty Lamb 19 January, 2012, 13:17

    Once again thank you for yet another great article profiling Hope For The Hills and our fight against SCE. It was wonderful seeing you in Sacramento and only wish you could of been to San Francisco to see our membership in mass take to the sidewalk in front of the CPUC dressed in our uniforms of safety yellow tees and armed with our protest signs. Our voices rang loud and clear with messages of save our health,safety and our community. I am so proud to be a member of this amazing group who after a very long overnight bus ride from Chino Hills to San Francisco arrived with the determination to let the CPUC and SCE know that anything less than having these monster poles removed from our neighborhoods was unacceptable. As HFTH President Bob Goodwin often says, “Together we can and will make a difference”. On January 17th and 18th we did! Misty Lamb

    Reply this comment
  12. Joanne Genis
    Joanne Genis 19 January, 2012, 15:53

    Katy, thank you for the great article, again. Never in my life, would I have thought that I would have become a protestor, but seeing and knowing that this was so wrong, I could not just sit back and let this happen to our community. We need to fight for what is right. Chino Hills has truly proven that we are a great community that will not be defeated. This fight is tough, but worth every minute of it!
    Love my HFTH family and community.

    Reply this comment
  13. Irene
    Irene 19 January, 2012, 16:28

    Thanks again Katy for offering the necessary insight into this fight. We are not NIMBY’s. If allowed in Chino Hills, you can bet the complete disregard for a person’s property will continue in other cities.

    To TRTP Worker…we discussed this on our Facebook months ago. If your story is true, it was from someone outside of HFTH since we do not promote violence and ugly behavior. None of us would condone such behavior. Unfortunately, we can’t control all actions.

    Reply this comment
  14. H8 Tower of Terror
    H8 Tower of Terror 19 January, 2012, 18:25

    Thank you for another supportive article about this group of wonderful PEACEFUL people that are working to right a great injustice. We are fighting to protect out beautiful community! All hail the power of the pen <3

    Reply this comment
  15. Ruth Dickie
    Ruth Dickie 19 January, 2012, 22:59

    Katy, Thank you so much for another wonderful article concerning our city’s plight. We appreciate the fact that you are willing to keep the City of Chino Hills in the fore-front as this is certainly going to affect Americans everywhere. Somehow, renewable energy has to be a win-win situation for everyone. Thank you, also, for meeting us and spending time with us in Sacramento. You are a big help to all of us. Many thanks, again.

    Reply this comment
  16. Thorntons
    Thorntons 20 January, 2012, 07:18

    Katy, thank you for putting it out there. We appreciate your presence everywhere to be the voice for Chino Hills community. You put into writing what we have been saying/thinking all along. Thank you again. You are terrific!

    Reply this comment
  17. Ray Davis
    Ray Davis 20 January, 2012, 07:57

    Ms.Katy, I dont really know where to start ! You make me so proud to know that someone cares . Please dont ever stop what you are doing for all of us . You have one again wrote a incredible article reguarding the people of Chino Hill ! They too are truly incredible people . We are only asking whats right for our residents and children !

    Thank You So Much !!!

    Reply this comment
  18. Gregg F.
    Gregg F. 20 January, 2012, 08:57

    Katy,
    We appreciate your in depth reporting on our problems with SCE and CPUC. Speaking for myself, there is nothing more fun than shaking up pompous bureaucrats. One of the keys to success for Hope for the Hills is these guys have never had to deal with a group like us. It is so liberating to be “unpolitically” correct.

    Reply this comment
  19. Bob Goodwin
    Bob Goodwin 20 January, 2012, 09:37

    Katy,
    What can I say, you are a rare jewel in the world of often exaggerated journalism, you speak the truth. You words are a gift to this community in the way they describe the FACTS that very few understand or ask for. More often than not, the most often heard reply is that SCE had the “right” to build these towers along their easement. Let me ask, just because someone can do something, does it make it right to do it? In this case the answer is a resounding NO. This is not RIGHT! Thank you for making that clear with you words.
    MR TRTP worker, I would ask you to meet with us and produce the alleged police report you claim exists and show us where this alleged incident occured. I doubt you can and/or will in that is DID NOT happen and no report actually exists except in your SCE educated mind which we all know is nothing more than a “follow the leader” mentality. Drink some more of the Kool Aide so you can be programmed accordingly. BTW, I will sign my real name and not hide behind a ficticious and “safe” alias.
    Regards,
    Bob Goodwin
    President
    Hope for the Hills

    Reply this comment
  20. JBP Chino Hills Resident
    JBP Chino Hills Resident 20 January, 2012, 10:32

    Great article! I continue to be amazed that a PUBLIC utility like Edison spends so much time and energy into ramming this transmission line through Chino Hills. They knew from the start that this would have a detrimental effect on the city, but they pushed ahead to meet an arbitrary deadline for the completion of a renewable energy project. The health and wellbeing of the Chino Hills community is well worth pushing back this “deadline” in order to work with the Parks Department’s guideling. When did we loose sight of the fact that this is supposed to be government for the people?

    Reply this comment
  21. Allison Ferrendelli
    Allison Ferrendelli 20 January, 2012, 10:46

    Katy,
    Please accept my heartfelt thanks for such a wonderfully written and supportive article. My family has lived in this Chino Hills neighborhood for over 15 years and to see this happen to our beautiful area is truly devastating. The support of HFTH and elected officials at all levels has been truly amazing and you are the cherry on top! Thanks so much.

    Reply this comment
  22. Don Hodson
    Don Hodson 20 January, 2012, 10:55

    Katy,
    Thank you so much for your insightfull commentary. It is much appreciated by those who care about the community of Chino Hills. It should be noted that we are not asking to stop the SCE project but rather have the route of the transmission towers moved to a more appropriate location. You would think that our elected officials would be more sensitive to the very clear will of the people.It is unfortunate that money talks so loudly in this state and as you mentioned,we are not funded by big money in this fight.

    Reply this comment
  23. A.J. Schmidt
    A.J. Schmidt 20 January, 2012, 11:08

    Now for this TRIP worker that is working in our city and state, do you all know that these workers do not live in Cal, or our city they all come from Alabama, Tennasee, North Carilina, they come here from out of state and destroy our community,tear up the country side, build ugly steel monstors in our city and now that start throwing “DOG Chit” on Chino Hills, have’nt they done enough already?
    I have lived in Chino Hills since 9/12/1985 before Chino Hills was Chino Hills, so to all you TRIP workers pack up you “Bull Chit” and live Chino Hills the way you found it before you attacked it!!

    Reply this comment
  24. Linda
    Linda 20 January, 2012, 12:39

    Yes go Chino Hills! Thank you for your wonderful article Cal Watch Dog! This is a determined group of citizens. I fully believe our community advocacy n the joining of a community effort is just amazing to see. We have created and found our voice.

    Reply this comment
  25. Elaine McClanahan
    Elaine McClanahan 20 January, 2012, 12:57

    I truly appreciate the recognition you provided for the many Chino Hills residents involved in protesting the placement of the towers from the beginning. The evolution from individuals with a purpose into a well organized group, Hope for the Hills, took much time and effort. Your article recognizes the level of commitment people in Chino Hills have to work with the CPUC and SCE to reroute these towers. I thank you for this.

    I often feel like we are in a David and Goliath situation. Goliath looks at this issue from a financial perspective. David looks at the situation from a health and community issue. Who will win out? Is it possible that David could win? My vote is with David. I support the efforts of Hope for the Hills.
    Elaine

    Reply this comment
  26. Proud & Long-term Chino Hills resident
    Proud & Long-term Chino Hills resident 20 January, 2012, 14:44

    I am proud to be a C.H. resident for the past twenty years and even more moved by the friends and neighbors taking a stand for what we all believe so strongly about. Katy’s article mentions “a love of community” that to all of us is strong and passionate. It is always refreshing to see straight-forward journalism, we are all to often surrounded by a skewed portrayal by big media. A strong social voice and peaceful activism is crucial to our childrens future and it is our responsability

    Reply this comment
  27. Mary McCarthy
    Mary McCarthy 20 January, 2012, 15:27

    Thank you, thank you Katy. I share your articles with all my e-mail friends. Your work is much needed and the community of Chino Hills very much appreciates what you have done to support our cause. We can rest a little easier knowing your “watchdog eyes” are always open.

    Reply this comment
  28. Dave Reed
    Dave Reed 20 January, 2012, 15:52

    Katy,
    I can’t say “Thank you” any better than the 20+ people in front of me all ready have, but I can certainly say it with them. At first appearance you would think that these 200 foot monsters would destroy our beautiful city, but once you have any dealings with the HFTH people you quickly realize that it has done just the opposite. It has galvanized this city and its residents and has pulled us all together to fight the good fight. This whole experience has renewed my faith in community. I don’t know how this will turn out in the end, but I can tell you that the one thing it will never destroy is this community and the amazing people who live here. Thank you for supporting and bringing attention to our cause.

    Reply this comment
  29. Linda - Chino Hills Resident since 1988
    Linda - Chino Hills Resident since 1988 20 January, 2012, 17:35

    Thanks Katy and CalWatch for being who you are. Many long years of success fighting for a California that is “by the people”. We are in a whole new world that exists by the availability of the Internet,the “Old World Politicians” had better pay heed. The Chino Hills fight is just a sample of what is going to continue to happen in all future abuses of the masses by the superpowers. There is a huge silent majority that will not be silent anymore and it will continue to show in the voting booth.
    In the old days all Chino Hills residents could hope for was a note in the local paper, in today’s world there is “Facebook”, Twitter, Blogs etc and the word is getting out on who are these politicians in the “payolla” of the super Corporations.
    The state park people are very concerned with the animals in the park but the park birds, squirrels, coyotes and even the occasional mountain lion don’t know where the park fences are and will get close to these monster towers just the same. The animal and human population density in the park is miniscule compared to the density in the City of Chino Hills, having the electrical towers routed through the park will greatly reduce the danger to both humans and animals. Politicians pay attention, we are watching, we know your names and elections are not so far away.
    Fellow bloggers I suggest that we all ignore blog #2, Our fight is much bigger and more important that this person who I am willing to bet was looking for a reason to claim disability from dangerous working conditions so he can sit at home now and collect a monthly check and continuously complain about the horribly frightening day when he was yelled at. BOOOOOOHOOOO!!!!

    Reply this comment
  30. Darlene Baca
    Darlene Baca 20 January, 2012, 18:08

    Thank you for a wonderful article about what is happening in our community and what our protest is about.

    Reply this comment
  31. Paul McLaughlin
    Paul McLaughlin 20 January, 2012, 20:17

    We are so glad to have you on our side Katy. Keep up the great work! We owe you a debt of gratitude.

    Reply this comment
  32. Nancy
    Nancy 20 January, 2012, 22:02

    Good article! Citizens of Chino Hills please keep up the good protest!

    Reply this comment
  33. Aldo Casillas
    Aldo Casillas 20 January, 2012, 22:53

    Once again Katy, thank you for bringing awareness to this important public safety issue. The people of Chino Hills didn’t start this fight but we are determined to finish it. We don’t need or use violence to make our point. SCE and CPUC forced us to engage in this battle, we are only doing what any community or family would do to protect their loved ones. Many believe the odds are against us, but we are not going down without a fight.

    Reply this comment
  34. George Tejada
    George Tejada 21 January, 2012, 07:33

    Katy,

    Thanks for all of your support. Your articles help motivate us to continue our fight to remove the 200ft 500kv monsters towers in Chino Hills. HPFH is getting stronger and bigger. We are being noticed everywhere we go now; San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles…. It was a pleasure to have met you on your trip to Chino Hills. I’m looking forward to seeing you again and reading your inspiring articles as we move forward in our struggle to remove the towers in Chino Hills.

    Reply this comment
  35. Debi Ertel-Hernandez
    Debi Ertel-Hernandez 21 January, 2012, 09:50

    Thank you for your continued support, Katy. Unbiased and level reporting of the facts is a critical component of a civilized society…yet becoming so rare. As a community, our goal is to have these poles taken down by whatever means can be agreed to by the various entities involved…a solution that can be the foundation for ensuring the State’s renewable energy agenda can become a reality without creating an unbearable burden on the City of Chino Hills OR any other community as we move into the future. This has never been a fight for or about just one city…but for our State as a whole. Thank you for shedding light on the facts.
    To the installation worker and your team: I am so sorry if you experienced something so unpleasant as what you described while in our city. This is not the demeanor of our citizens and certainly not the type of interaction we want for anyone visiting or working in our community. I also hope you can recognize that as disgusting as you and all of us in Chino Hills find such behavior, this unnecessary project installation in such incredibly close proximity to homes housing hundreds of children is just as real a threat on our lives and theoretical smearing of feces on our homes and city.

    Reply this comment
  36. Phil Calentino
    Phil Calentino 21 January, 2012, 14:52

    I don’t live in Chino Hills, but I’m stunned by the sight and potential danger of these towers. Congrats to the community for not rolling over, but instead tackling the beauracricy in unison and with a reasonable altrnative. My money’s on ‘David’!!!

    Reply this comment
  37. Ric Cabigas
    Ric Cabigas 21 January, 2012, 17:42

    Thank you Katy for a wonderful article and the support you’ve done to make our city safe from the danger these 200-ft transmission towers can cause. We get to know all the neighbors that help fight for our safety and our property value. People like you who’ve been helping us becomes our friend and we welcome you to our city and our community.

    For the T.R.T.P. worker,
    How do we know if Chino Hills residence did this to you. As far as I’m concern, you did it and blame Chino Hills resident. There are other community fighting these towers, our neighbors Chino, Brea, Pomona, etc. comes in and out of our city as well as we do to their city. How can you conclude Chino Hills residence did this to you?

    Reply this comment
  38. Kathleen Miles
    Kathleen Miles 22 January, 2012, 09:53

    I don’t live in Chino Hills, but I believe it is disgraceful what has been done to a lovely, peaceful residential area.

    There was no need to destroy people’s homes and neighborhood. Besides putting them in danger. How would you like

    to have one of those monsters in you backyard? I think not. Residents of Chino Hill keep up the good fight.

    Reply this comment

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