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A Fault, Before and After
WaPoo's CSI LARPing
“The corporate press is factual but not truthful.”
Four wildfires earlier this month engulfed roughly 6,500 acres on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The 12,700 person city of Lahaina, located on the islands Western shore is largely destroyed. The fires have claimed the lives of at least 115 people with upwards of 850 to 1,000 people still reported missing. Both the Hawaii Community Foundation and United Way of Maui County are reputable organizations seeking donations from those who are willing and able to provide financial support.
The incidents have turned into a giant blame game with much of it focused on the local electrical utility, Hawaiian Electric. Of course local government has been de-focused, despite being a huge part of the problem too. Hawaii, like its distant neighbor California is not precisely a place run by a competent or moral government (if there’s ever such a thing). The Hawaii Public Service Commission knew fires were a risk but didn’t act quickly on fire protection and mitigation efforts. One of the state’s water officials, Kaleo Manuel failed to provide firefighters with water when they needed it, citing equity.
Manuel prevented firefighters from access the well-needed water due to equity reasons for the Native population. “We've become used to looking at water as something which we use and not necessarily something that we revere as that thing that gives us life, right? I mean, to me it's a shift in value set. If we can start to really look at how we as humans in an island, we can reconnect to that traditional value set,” he said.
State bootlicking Corporate Journalists of course are willing to let their God slide.
Speaking of the Corporate Press, a Washington Post article published today is making some interesting claims in the article, “Maui utility may have compromised evidence in probe of deadly fire, lawyers say.”
They’re no stranger to distortion.
The gist is this: A Washington Post reporter took a photograph of a broken utility pole located in a dirty (that’s WaPo’s word) alley near the suspected starting point of the fire that destroyed the town of Lahaina.
That was on August 12th.
Then a different Washington Post reporter went back eight days later on the 20th and took another photograph. This time the pole was gone.
Therefore the utility is guilty of mucking up the crime scene.
Oh but there’s a catch: the location of the second photo is not the same as the location of the first photo.
These “journalists” went to two distinct “crime scenes.”
Given there is no evidence of charred ground in either photo, this pole, if it were the one or one of several to have buckled, sparking the fire, has already been moved.
It’s very likely that downed pole was moved, as it was in the public right of way. That’s not uncommon for utilities to do when restoring service.
The dirty alley in both photos is highly likely this street. The first photo was likely taken a few hundred feet to the nouth of the second photo.
Oh, and that pole is likely one belonging to a distribution line. The “coiled up lines” is actually a haul rope, not conductor of any sort. And the yellow object in the first photo is a plastic guy wire guard indicating this pole had at least one guy wire. Why is that last part important? The pole is likely either an angle structure or a dead end structure.
It’s also true that such downed lines should be treated as a crime scene so to speak. That’s because things aren’t looking good for the island’s electric utilty, Maui Electric (a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric).
Anecdotes from locals including videos and photographs indicate several areas near the fires where power lines buckled, likely under the high winds, dropping hot high-voltage lines onto the parched ground covered by non-native invasive grasses. Maui County have already filed a lawsuit against the utility.
The parallels to the Camp Fire, caused by a worn hook on a Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) transmission line, are startling. The 2018 Camp Fire ended up killing 84 people, destroyed the towns of Paradise and Concow, and caused significant destruction to Magalaia and Butte Creek Canyon. PG&E plead guilty in court to the charge of 84 counts of manslaughter and were heavily scrutinized for not maintaining their electrical infrastructure but also for failing to ensure the vegetation in the vicinity of their lines did not pose a fire hazard.
Hawaiian Electric admitted in 2019 that wildfires were a threat to their system after Maui had seen a wildfire season for the record books with 39,000 acres burned - 6.25 times the area of this year’s fires. They turned to California’s major investor-owned utilities, PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric for ideas. These utilities spend money on vegetation mangement, overhead system hardening, undergounding, and implemented temporary suspension of electrical service during extreme weather events such as Santa Ana winds. San Diego Gas and Electric even spent roughly 1.5 billion on weather stations and full time meteorologists.
But for Hawaiin Electric, it was revealed that they invested a paltry amount in these endevors. How much to be exact? How about 30% of the price of a median home in the state: $245,000. That’s not to say they tried past this point. Hawaiian Electric did try to raise rates to pay for “climate change related stresses” citing wildfires but ultimately such requests required approval from the state PUC.
That amount is, at best able, to cover the cost of just a few of the pole replacements in this video.
Yes, this stuff isn’t cheap.
This was all revealed in a recent Wall Street Journal article which was in part authored by Katherine Blunt, author of the California Burning the phenominal book that thoroughly explored PG&E’s, bureaucrats’ and politicians’ role in the Camp Fire.
Hawaiian Electric’s 2021 3rd Quarter Financial Results slides also indicate their commitment to fiat fuels and ESG, the latter they insist is “in our DNA.” Hawaiian Electric is also, thanks to the state’s mandates, trying to transition their generation portfolio to net zero carbon emissions, an impossibility.
Command F “nuclear” reveals zero results.
In other words, the circlejerking promotion of fiat fuels took the focus off investing in wildfire mitigation and prevention.
Mina Morita, former chair of the HI PUC said, “You have to look at the scope and scale of the transformation within [Hawaiian Electric] that was occurring throughout the system. While there was concern for wildfire risk, politically the focus was on electricity generation.”
Of course none of this is likely to be covered by the propagandists at the Washington Post.
But back to the Washington Post piece.
The headline asserts that lawyers have made their say over the affair. Yet nowhere in the article is a mention of such. The subheadline states, “The utility removed damaged poles, lines and other equipment from where the Lahaina fire reportedly started before investigators were able to view the scene,” yet later in the piece they admit, per statements from Hawaiian Electric the possibility that the poles were removed by somoene else other than Hawaiian Electric.
Just why exactly would it take so long for investigators, which in this case if the (checks notes) ATF, to arrive to the scene?
The journalists admit, “However, because so many local, state and federal agencies were on the ground to fight the fires and clear debris, it was ‘therefore possible, even likely, that the actions of these third parties, whose actions Hawaiian Electric does not control, may result in the loss of property or other items that relate to the cause of the fire.´”
That’s a complete turn around from the headline and subheadline.
“Documents show” is a phrase they use in the piece too, yet fail to cite such documents. The article does state however that (apparently) on the 10th of August, two days before the WaPo’s Noble Truth Reporter first went on the scene of the dirty alley, “a law firm representing more than two dozen Lahaina families” requested the utility preserve evidence. Attorneys also requested a restraining order, again, allegedly. Since Wapoop provided no sources as if any of this is even signifanct given that law firms can request virtually anything.
It may, no, scratch that, it’s likely to turn out that Hawaiian Electric will be held responsible for these fires. It seems that WaPoop wants to already portray it as this way. However, their piss poor journalism is disgraceful. A proper weighing of the evidence both in support of the claim the utility is responsible and against such claim is needed. Corporate Press propagandists have no business promoting one side over another.