Archive for June, 2013

More News On Project Loon

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

June 26, 2013

My son in law, Dan Ratner, sent me this article from The Press, Christ Church, New Zealand. It is interesting and is a follow up on the initial reaction to the Loon announcement.

I recently went to the Delta Conference here in Memphis and it was very interesting. One of the presentations was presented by Mr. Sledge Taylor entitled

From a Mule to a Deere: High Tech Agriculture in the Mississippi Delta 

Mr. Taylor went through the history of agriculture in the Mississippi Delta from mules to high tech Deere computer and GPS operated agricultural equipment. Millions of low wage laborers were replaced by high tech farming equipment. The result was a tremendous increase in yield at a lower cost. This loon project promises more production increases for some of the poorest countries in the world if their political system will only allow it to operate without the usual governmental controls and interference. Let the people and the farmers decide what is best and information from the Loon project could help.

Project Loon

Friday, June 21st, 2013

June 24, 2013

My son in law, Dan Ratner, is an engineer with google and has been working on a secret project for some time. Now it can be revealed. It is the Loon project. Go to Dan is the guy with the full beard. Here is what he sent us from Christ Church New Zealand. I have attached the picture of Jfro, their designer dog.

Special shout-out to J-Fro who joined us on many test flights and helped keep spirits high. 

Several people on this New Zealand trip said that launches are just not the same without Fro.

At one company meeting, Serge Brin kept asking about J-Fro since he saw this picture…..Fro truly became our team’s unofficial mascot. Celia, please give him an extra bone tonight in recognition of his important contribution to the project : )

This project could have huge implications if successful by bringing  competition to the educational establishment and the cable and satellite operators and bringing education and communications world wide with less government control. A big job. I thought you would be interested in this technology.

Top Budget Items/ 1 to 8

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Here is the priority list for City of Memphis budget cuts. Here is where the real money is.

  1. Retiree health care. Put city retirees on same plan as the County instituted in 2007. The employer cost last year was $32 million. This could save up to $10 million per year and help bring down the OPEB unfunded liability as it did for the county.
  2. Bring the health care sharing for retirees and active employees up from 26% to 30% as it is supposed to be. This could save $5 million.
  3. Cut the benefits for city employees (sick days, vacations, holidays, personal days etc.) so that long term, employees do not have the possibility of not working 3 months per year. (1 sick day maximum per month and 3 weeks maximum vacation). This could save upwards of $5 million per year.
  4. Privatize the solid waste collection. Savings with reductions for buyouts around $10 million per year.
  5. Shut down and layoff auto inspection personnel and stations.
  6. Turn the Parks department back over to a public park commission.
  7. Turn disability approval (regular and line of duty) over to a private insurance company as the county does. This is costing the city up to $12 million per year.  Under section 25.82 of the pension ordinance, if a line of duty or ordinary disability person is determined to have recovered from his disability, he shall be reinstated to his city employment. If a participant suffering from an ordinary disability and receiving benefits under this section never the less engages in a gainful occupation not with the city his disability benefits shall be reduced so that the sum of his disability benefits and the sum of his occupation shall not exceed his average monthly compensation as of the original date of his disability. This section applies only to ordinary disability people but should be changed to apply to line of duty where the real abuse is located. Curry Todd is a good example of this abuse.
  8. Require that EDGE (Economic Development Growth Engine) and Reid Dulberger furnish a report (as promised on WKNO) for at least the last five years of the companies that came off the PILOT program (reached the end of their Pilot) and show the amount of the tax reduction for the years on the Pilot and how much they paid after the Pilot expired. I have attached the Trustee’s report from 2007 and there is page after page of expiring Pilots from 2007 and before. How much are these Pilot properties paying now compared to their tax abatement? Answer the question. Is that too much to ask?

Look at Detroit which is facing bankruptcy. Let us act to save Memphis.

Smart Meter Meeting

Friday, June 14th, 2013

June 14, 2013

I posted a blogpost on on Monday June 10th concerning smart meters. Jerry Collins, the President of the MLGW asked for a meeting concerning the contents of the posting to discuss some points that he said were inaccurate. I, of course agreed, as I want to publish nothing but the truth and I will correct any inaccuracies.

Here are the points that he brought up. The words from my blogpost are in italics.

1)    There is no national construction standard for smart meters. This is still evolving and will not be prepared for some years from now. The meters we buy now will probably not comply.


The answer from MLGW was the following.  MLGW’s Smart Meter Solution Request for Proposal included copies of MLGW’s existing meter standards (Appendices A, B and C). In addition, the RFP included functional requirements for metering, meter data management system, telecommunications and cyber security (pages 67-91). MLGW’s metering standards cite American National Standards Institute (ANSI) C12.10 standards for electric meters, which was last revised in 2011; ANSI B109.3 for gas meters and ANSI/American Water Works Association (AWWA) C701.88 for water meters. The standards, which determine how meters operate as measurement (more…)

Smart Meter Facts

Monday, June 10th, 2013

I was at the recent Thursday night meeting on smart meters. Regardless of what the CA wrote the meeting was very informative. I am a graduate electrical engineer and a former chairman of the MLGW board. I respect the job that the MLGW does and Jerry Collins, Chris Bieber and the employees of the MLGW are good people.

However the union and the public delivered facts that are indisputable. Here are the really important points.

  • There is no national construction standard for smart meters. This is still evolving and will not be prepared for some years from now. The meters we buy now will probably not comply.
  • These meters have a very simple computer board that could be easily hacked and made to run slower or faster or introduce viruses into the system. We already know how vulnerable our national energy system is to hacking.
  • The City of Memphis is broke and there is no benefit for spending some $215 million dollars ++ and all the extra expense for the collection software and hardware. “MLGW places the cost of smart meters in Shelby County at $215 million,” Burton said. The Memphis activist pointed to the example of Chattanooga, which has 100% smart meter compliance. “The cost there was estimated to be $226 million. They have 170,000 customers. But what they need in Chattanooga now is $552 million. When you think that MLGW has more than a million customers, you can see that $215 million won’t cover it.
  • The potential saving in meter readers could be achieved by a system of average billings for the great majority of customers who pay their bills on time. The MLGW does this now with average billings for some customers until an actual reading can be made. This average billing program could cut meters readings in half. However as pointed out in the Thursday meetings, the meter readers are the eyes and ears of the MLGW to prevent utility theft and abuse of equipment.


Comments On Smart Meter Purchases

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

June 5, 2013

Come to the Town Hall on Thursday June 6 at the main Public Library, 3030 Poplar Ave. at 6 PM. We have to STAND UP and speak out!

My name is Joe Saino. My brother and I ran a manufacturing business here for over 40 years. I am a graduate electrical engineer and I was on the board of the MLGW for 6 years. I respect President Jerry Collins and Chris Bieber and the employees of the MLGW. They do a good job of delivering electricity, gas and water.

However they are a pawn in a bigger game and the name of that game is CONTROL. It is control of your lives through the control of your utilities and this is what has to be stopped.

MLGW will not have ultimate control of your use of electricity, gas and water. Those decisions will come from the Washington DC controllers through the US Department of Energy and a smart meter is the first step. Regardless of what the MLGW promises, and I (more…)

Stop Common Core In Tennessee

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

June 3, 2013

Last Thursday I attended a meeting held by FACT (Family Action Council of Tennessee) in Germantown to hear Tennessee state Senator Delores Gresham speak. She spoke on the state of education in Tennessee and that Tennessee is 47th in national education rankings. She is a good speaker and conservative on many issues. However I was not convinced about her argument for Common Core. I think the audience was also unconvinced as the question and answer session indicated.

To Senator Gresham’s credit she listened to a number of audience statements that called for more ethics, moral and religious education in schools. Also she heard some very disturbing real world evidence of data gathering by school administrators from students without the consent of parents’, right here in Shelby County. She called for those parents to meet with her after the meeting so she could document what she heard.

The argument that common core was put together by the National Governors Association independent of the US Department of (more…)