Tag Archives: property rights

Oklahoma Property Rights Protection Bill or Property Rights Destruction Bill?

 

little house

Kaye Beach

May 1, 2014

As promised from the start, HB 2620 which is supposed to prohibit cities from mandating vacant property fees and registration, and HB 3363 which defines “abandoned buildings” as a public nuisance, have been combined. The title for the new version of HB 2620 remains “Protect Property Rights Act”  (Call me cynical but such titles of bills always make me think “PATRIOT ACT”)

There are some grave issues with this measure but for now I am only going to address the first portion.  (I will post the about the rest of it before this weekend in over)

The reasoning for merging the registry ‘ban’ bill (HB2620)  with the abandoned property definition bill (HB3363) is so that owners of property with ‘bad’ vacancies CAN be targeted, forced to register and accrue a variety of fines and fees which if not paid will result in a lien being placed on their property.

Both bills were passed by the House and sent to the Senate (Hb3363 with title off) HB3363 was not heard in the Senate but was combined with HB 2620 after the bill was passed by the senate.

What we have now is a mess that is due to be heard in the House General Government Conference Committee  next week.  I am almost certain that our legislators will not pass this monster of a bill in anything resembling its current state but you never know….and I am concerned enough about it that I am going to begin squalling now rather than taking the ‘hide and watch’ approach and end possibly up regretting that later on.

The first portion of the committee substitute for HB2620 is supposed to prohibit municipalities from implementing mandatory fees and registries for real property.  Rep. Steve Martin, the House author,  says he wants to  protect property owners from onerous and expensive city mandates such as the recent OKC vacant property registration ordinance which he feels goes too far.

Residential properties that are vacant for 30 days must register the property with the city.  If your property is,  at a minimum, 1. vacant  and 2. water and electric has been shut off for more than 60 days, you are required to pay a $285 fee and an annual renewal fee of $190.  It doesn’t matter if the building is entirely up to code.  If those two conditions apply, your property is designated a “vacant property” that requires you to pay for some special attention from the city government.  Read more about OKC’s new vacant property registry here

I agree with the House author of HB 2620 that state intervention in municipal actions that violate city residents’ right’s is appropriate.  However, it is doubtful that the current language will survive to passage of the bill.

For one thing, it is too broad. As currently written this measure would not only nullify all existing vacant property registries and fees but also other existing registries such as for storm shelters which allows rescuers to find and search all shelters in the aftermath of a disaster. Not only will the cities vehemently oppose such a measure, citizens might as well.  Whether or not you agree with the premise that there should be no mandatory registries of real property, understand that the bill is not likely to survive to address the stated goal of halting vacant property registries when written this broadly.

More concerning than what may appear to be merely a stubborn stance on principle (which I usually don’t criticize) is that numerous statements made by the bill’s authors clearly indicates that they do not really oppose all “registration of real property” as the bill states but simply mandatory registration of otherwise perfectly maintained property that happens to also be vacant.

‘Treat also sponsored House Bill 3363, which defines abandoned buildings and how they should be handled by a city. He said he could merge the two bills to help better define what is an abandoned or vacant building. Treat also said Oklahoma City’s fee requirement will not reach those it is intended for – improper property owners’ Link

Its going to be a real trick to separate these proper and “improper” owners, I’m afraid.  In fact, it will be impossible to pass such a measure that will not inevitably harm what you and I might classify as good property owners.

When you consider the fact that state law already allows for the city to deal with “improper” property owners which are those whose use or neglect of their property harms the general right of others, you might wonder what it is we are missing here.   Protecting our rights is precisely the purpose of government in the first place and they are well-seasoned to the task.  City government has broad police power to intervene anytime the rights its residents are threatened furthermore, city governments in this state also have specific statutory authority abate common public nuisances. (See Title 11 )  So what problem do we have that is so new and extraordinary that we need to grant cities some brand new powers?

I don’t agree that some vacant property registries are necessary or proper and think It would be a grave mistake for the state legislature to further burden  property owners with such registries or fees at all.   

Registration is not necessary as cities already know where the problem properties are and how to contact the owners. For example, this is from a 2013 City of Norman Council Oversight Meeting where the issue of a vacant property registration was discussed.

‘Ms. Leah Messner, Assistant City Attorney said locating the property owners is not an issue’

It is important to note that city, state and federal properties are exempt from enforcement of such city ordinances. Government properties (even the ones that may have been taken fro you for being an ‘improper’ owner) can sit happily vacant for as long as the government wants them to with no penalty.  As noted by the Norman assistant City Attorney, banks can be exempt and the outcome of recent federal lawsuit indicates that federal mortgage holders like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also exempt from such city ordinances.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Exempt From Chicago Vacant Building Ordinance

 However, there are no exemptions for the average property owner or financially struggling individuals.  When the Norman Assistant City Attorney was asked if there were any exemptions from a vacant property registry and the attendant fees for low-income property owners her answer was simply “No

It is easy to see why property owners might feel that vacant and abandoned property programs are open to abuse and possibly a racket that will result in an even greater transfer of wealth from the ordinary citizen to government and their cronies.  In fact, in cities across the nation where vacant and abandoned property programs like the one Oklahoma City is apparently embarking on,  are well advanced, there is plenty of evidence that such fears are complete warranted.

Here is what I’m afraid might happen;  if the HB 2620 is amended at some point prior to final passage to protect only perfectly pristine vacant properties  registration and fees wouldn’t it also, by omission, bless city ordinances to mandate registration of any other vacant properties?  This would end up being a case of the exception that swallows the rule.

I guess the question is do you support subjecting property owners (except for the government and big banksters) to more bureaucracy, fines, fees and risk of having their property taken?  Do we have a right to own property that is vacant?

If you think we do have the right to really own our private property then you might want to encourage the members of the  General Government Conference Committee  to be careful and not allow HB2620 to be amended to turn a what is supposed to be a property rights protection measure into a property rights destruction law.

All vacant property registries should be prohibited.

The rest of the measure is an utter nightmare and deserves it own separate post which will go up sometime this weekend.

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Sounding the Alarm about Smart Meters Smart Grid with Curtis Bennett and David Chalk AxXiom For Liberty Live!

a4l 55

Kaye Beach

Jan 30, 2013

AxXiom For Liberty Live!  6-8 PM Central

Listen Live-LogosRadioNetwork.com  click ‘Listen’ then choose your Internet speed.  Logos Radio Network is a listener supported, free speech radio network and your contributions are vital but you do not have to be a subscriber in order to hear the show.

This Friday’s show on Feb 1st is going to be a very special one.  The entire show will be dedicated to covering some of the most pressing concerns about smart meters and the smart grid and we will have two very special guests who are experts in their respective fields to share with us some explosive information regarding the safety and security of the smart meters and smart grid, Curtis Bennett and David Chalk.

Here is the podcast for this show A4L_2013-02-01_64k.mp3

On Oct 27, 2009 President Obama announced that the Department of Energy awarded $3.4 billion in stimulus money to 100 smart-grid projects. The Dept. of Energy estimated that the awards will result 18 million homes getting the smart meters which will allow for the conversion to the Smart Grid.

What is a “smart” meter?

“Smart” Meters are digital utility meters that send customers’ detailed usage information to the utility using a radio-frequency transmitter (or over the power lines in the case of Powerline Carrier (PLC) systems.  The meter also contains other capabilities, such as remote shut-off. They are part of a larger plan to change the electricity grid to a “smart” grid–though there is controversy about whether the customer meter is actually crucial to that change. Electric smart meters are replacing older analog style meters. . .Read more from Stop Smart Meters

The installation of smart meters has raised a variety of concerns.  Privacy, health and safety, and security are among the most prominent concerns.   Most states do not provide a provision to allow citizens to refuse the smart meters by opting out and keeping their analog meters. Battles are taking place all over this country as people refuse the installation of smart meter devices on their homes.   In many instances, the smart meters have been installed against the wishes of the home owner or renter by stealth or deception.

In some cases, law enforcement has been used to install the smart meters against the wishes of the resident by force.

Naperville Police Force Smart Meters- Arrest Two Mothers; Community Reels- and Reacts

Smart Meter Battle Escalating – Idaho Power Brings Guns to the Fight

Curtis Bennett

Our first guest expert, Curtis Bennett has an impressive set of credentials.

Curtis Bennet is a Chief Science Officer, Interprovincial Journeyman Electrician (Red Seal), an Engineering Technologist and Adjunct Faculty for IHF & GEDI. He has a 33 year advanced Thermography background and is the world’s foremost authority on applying infrared technologies at the molecular level. He has testified as an expert witness before Canadian Parliament and was part of Texas Public Utilities Commission’s expert panel for their public hearings on smart meters and provided written testimony for the Texas Senate Committee on smart meters as well as addressing many other courts and governments on this issue throughout the North American continent.

Here is Mr. Bennett’s testimony for the Texas Senate http://www.thermoguy.com/pdfs/Texas_Senate_Committee_Meeting_on_Smart_Meters.pdf

You can access more of Curtis Bennett’s research and writings at www.thermoguy.com/blog

Mr. Bennett explains that safety standards for smart meters only considered the actual meter which is an end use device.  They left out the routers, collectors as well as other wireless infrastructure that interacts with human biological systems.  That only the possible heating effects of the smart meters in proximity to a person was considered in the safety standards, according to Mr. Bennett is a fatal and unacceptable flaw.

With all the discussion on wireless safety it is very important people understand the real dangers of wireless exposure and the science that was missing linking the frequencies to health problems. Read more http://www.thermoguy.com/blog/index.php?itemid=112

Mr. Bennett will walk us through established science and explain the known and potential harms presented by the roll out of the smart grid and demonstrate why that the entire coverage area of smart meters amounts to a “biological killing field”   Mr. Bennett advises that the adverse effects of smart meters/grid encompasses more than just human health and extend to all biological systems but also building structure integrity and more.

David Chalk

David Chalk is a Canadian technology entrepreneur and media personality best known as the host of the syndicated Dave Chalk’s Computer Show.  Mr. Chalk   ‘Take Back Your Power’ The trailer for that film can be viewed at http://takebackyourpower.net/

Mr. Chalk says the entire power grid is at risk and vulnerable to hacking and other forms of cyber attacks.

“One of the most amazing things that has happened to mankind in the last 100 years is the Internet. It’s given us possibility beyond our wildest imagination. But we also know the vulnerabilities that exist inside of it. And then we have the backbone, the power grid that powers our nations. Those two are coming together. And it’s the smart meter on your home or business that’s now allowing that connectivity.”

Hacking Expert David Chalk Joins Urgent Call to Halt Smart Grid

OG&E Smart Meters

In Pressing Issues About OG&E’s Smart Meter Rollout, I hit on some of the most obvious concerns about this program and covered where the authority to force consumers to accept the meters come from.  The authority for OG&E to implement the system on each home comes is derived, not from state of federal statute but from rules promulgated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission

 

Also see Concerns About OG&E SMart Meters: Privacy, Security, Reliability

We invited Kenneth Grant, managing director of OG&E’s smart grid program, to listen to the show on Friday and offered him air time to respond.  Mr. Grant replied to our invitation promptly but explained that he would be out of town and unable to participate.  He did say that the show sounded interesting and said that he would have someone listen in and inquired about getting a recording of Friday’s show.

Back in July on AxXiom For Liberty,  I mentioned that a gentlemen I know is pushing back against OG&E’s forced installation of a smart meter on his home. At that time he had just begun the process of defending his analog meter from being replaced with a new smart meter which he opposes based on health and privacy concerns.  This gentleman shared with us some of the tools he is utilizing to inform his neighbors and halt OG&E from installing the new meter against his will.  You can find those tools at the bottom of this post.

Curtis Bennett and David Chalk expressed that they encourage listeners to call in and ask questions.  Howard and I also welcome your calls and encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity with these two experts.

CALL IN LINE 512-646-1984

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City of Norman’s WQPZ a land grab say property owners

Kaye Beach

July 24, 2012

An ordinance requiring  ‘buffer zones’ to be maintained around streams and ditches within areas that fall within the Lake Thunderbird watershed  was adopted  by the Norman City Council last summer.   These buffer zones are strips of land, usually 100 feet wide, alongside a stream called Water Quality Protection Zones.  Development is generally prohibited in the Water Quality Protection Zones.  In some cases, property owners may get a variance that allows other engineered options to be implemented that protects the water in place of the 100 feet buffer.

Many property owners opposed this ordinance saying that it was unfair in the manner of implementation and asserted that is constituted an unconstitutional takings of property.

Here is one example;

 

Note: The City of Norman did fail to notify 15,000 property owners, which would be affected by the ordinances as required by law. Link

Another example; (click on images to read the entire letters)

Now, over a year out from the adoption of the ordinance, complaints are surfacing.

July 23, 2012 The Norman Transcript/AP

WQPZ can burden some land owners

Some say the Water Quality Protection Zone regulations are overly burdensome for small land owners.

Cindy and Mike Milligan, owners of Milligan Trucking, believe the WQPZ creates a “land grab” that allows government – in this case the city of Norman – to “steal” their land by mandating that a protection zone be unmowed, undeveloped vegetation.

. . .For a small business owner, compliance with the regulations as can be costly, and the additional requirements of the city pushed them to their limit. While applying for a building permit to erect an office on their site, the Milligans were told the land had never been platted and, even though they were not subdividing, it must be platted. There were several city requirements they would need to meet in order to move forward including the WQPZ. Adjacent industry was grandfathered in, but their land was a “new plat” and the zone applied to them.

“We have invested our lives in this,” Cindy Milligan said.

. . .And while the city was willing to apply a variance because of the small size of the land, rather than taking a 100 foot wide strip of the property, the engineered variance would require dirt removal and other expenses.

Read more

Some Norman greenbelt/buffer zone enthusiasts disagree with allowing any exception to the burdensome rule.  They think that property owners who still must pay taxes on this land that they will not be permitted to use,  must be disabused of the notion that they should be able to utilize all of the property that they own.

“I think it sets a bad precedent,” said Charles Wesner, Norman resident and chair of the Oklahoma Chapter of Sierra Club. “If people come in and buy property and can’t get what they want, they’ll ask for an exemption. This can continue. It may not be all of it.”

His wife, Lyntha Wesner says;

“We have an impaired lake,” she said. “It’s well documented. Scientists know it. People know it.”link

Sure.  It is all about the lake and the quality of our drinking water so who can argue?  Of all the possible remedies for the water quality in Lake Thunderbird,  the one that just happens to take portions of people’s property that can be added to the Greenbelt is the one that seems to interest this Sierra Club couple the most.

To see why the Sierra Club is so excited about greenbelts, do a search on “Sierra Club” + “wildlands project

From Property Rights Take a Hit, 2002;

“All across America millions of acres are being put off limits to any use by Americans. They are being declared national monuments, heritage sites, buffer zones. This is spelled out in The Wildlands Project, an environmental plan to deny Americans access and use of fifty percent of the nation’s landmass.” Link

Lyntha Wesner is a member of the state and local chapter of the Sierra Club, she was the Chair of the Norman Greenbelt Commission (until very recently)  as well as participating in a number of other efforts centered around building up Norman’s green infrastructure such as the Greenbelt Task Force, Chair of  Norman Area Land Conservancy, Inc., and both Citizens Committee on Norman 2020 and 2025 Plan.

Take a look at the Greenbelt Commission’s recommendations from 2005;

2005 Recommendations of the Greenbelt Commission;

. . .the Greenbelt Commission recommends the Norman City Council study the option of establishing an innovative Storm Water Utility to both manage storm water run-off and provide other benefits throughout the community.

Conclusion 2:
EASEMENTS FOR STORM WATER RUN-OFF AND OTHER USES PROVIDE AN EXCEPTIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR CREATING A TRAIL SYSTEM FOR NORMAN.

. . .

Therefore, the Greenbelt Commission recommends the Norman City Council revamp the easement dedication and purchase process to include seeking wider easements, in order to create a trail system and preserve more green spaces.

. . .

Easements should be routinely viewed as an opportunity for trail development and developers should be encouraged to consider them when planning their plats.
. . . Properly planned, these areas could also frequently be used for urban or rural trails and would always form pieces of the eventual citywide Greenbelt System. While purchase of these areas may sometimes be necessary, it is believed that most of these areas could be part of the dedications required by the City at the time of development
Read the entire 2005 report here
The WQPZ ordinance is obviously serving a dual purpose here leading residents to question whether or not the city is using its power legitimately.

Supreme Court Rules Landowners May Challenge EPA on Weltlands Ruling

Kaye Beach

March 21, 2012

Remember this case?

In 2005 Mike and Chantell Sackett purchased a vacant lot in a fully built-out portion of property along the shores of Priest Lake, in northern Idaho, with the ideas of building a modest 3-bedroom home. In 2007, they started work, but were forced to stop when the EPA claimed they were filling a wetland without a permit.

Today the Supreme Court unanimously reversed a lower court opinion that prevented the Sackett’s from challenging the EPA in its order to stop preparing their land for building and to restore the property to its original condition.  The EPA claimed this power under the Clean Water Act and told the couple that the fine  for noncompliance could be as high as s 75,000 per day.

All the Sackett’s have won really is the right to take the EPA to court and challenge their claims but that is a start.

The Washington Post reports;

“There is no reason to think that the Clean Water Act was uniquely designed to enable the strong-arming of regulated parties into ‘voluntary compliance’ without the opportunity for review–even judicial review of the question whether the regulated party is within the EPA’s jurisdiction,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia. read more

Reuters

Supreme Court backs landowners in EPA clean water case

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that landowners may bring a civil lawsuit challenging a federal government order under the clean water law, a decision that sides with corporate groups and sharply curtails a key Environmental Protection Agency power.

Read more

 

Oklahoma Action Alert! Pushing Back against the UN and Sustainable Subversion

Kaye Beach

Feb. 14. 2012

The problem with UN Agenda 21 is not that it came from the United Nations but that our government leaders have embraced the plan and have worked diligently to naturalize the policy into US law and national, state and local policies. The principles of government promoted by the UN and it’s Agenda 21 are antithetical to our form of government that has traditionally put great emphasis on private property rights.   This emphasis on individual liberty and property rights is largely responsible for the historic success of United States as a nation.

The implementation of the tenets of Agenda 21 is nothing short of subversion.  This has nothing to do with environmental stewardship.  It is about control!

There are battles being waged all over the United States as citizens and legislators struggle to protect fundamental property rights against multitudes of non-government organizations and agencies carry out the goals of Agenda 21.

Below is information on two efforts taking place in Oklahoma to defend against the implementation of contrary UN goals, a little history on how the UN policy came to America, one example of how damaging it is to industry and innovation in America and a new agreement (signed Feb 11, 2012) between the EPA and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

____________________________________________________

Two efforts to push back  taking place in Oklahoma right now. Your support is crucial.

On the county level;

Cleveland County Commissioner Offers Resolution Opposing Agenda 21

On a state level; HJR 1072, Support for the American Sovereignty Restoration Act by Rep. Charles Key.  This measure reiterates the intent of the American Sovereignty Restoration Act  which would end membership of the US to the United Nations. 

HJR 1072 urges Congress and the President of the United States pass legislation and take steps to end membership of the United States in the United Nations. Read HJR 1072

This measure was  referred to the House Rules Committee on Feb. 7, 2012 but it needs to be scheduled for a hearing in the Rules Committee.

Let the Rules Committee leaders know that it is very important that HJR 1072 gets scheduled and heard! 

Call or email;

____________________________________________________
Some background;

Land Use Control

Since the mid 1970s, both the United Nations and the United States have been moving toward ever-tightening “public” control of land use.

By: Henry Lamb – Sovereignty.net

Ownership of land is the foundation of freedom in America.  The hope of owning even a small plot of ground compelled our forefathers to brave incalculable risks crossing the ocean and challenging the wilderness.  Land ownership was so cherished by our nation’s founders that they guaranteed that government could not take private property without just compensation paid to the land owner.  This founding principle has eroded dramatically over time, especially since 1976.
The United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT I) met in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1976.  Agenda Item 10 of the conference report was entitled simply “Land.”

Here is an excerpt from the Preamble to that item:
“Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market.  Private land ownership  is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.  Public control of land use is therefore indispensable….”
This policy document was agreed to by the United States.  Among the U.S. delegates were William K. Reilly, former EPA Administrator, and Carla Hill, former Trade Negotiator in the Bush Administration.

Read more

Here is one example of how the principles of UN Agenda 21 looks on the ground as it is being carried out in the USA.

Signed on Feb 11, 2012-New Agreement between EPA and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). 

http://www.epa.gov/international/io/unep.html

Administrator Jackson signed the first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between EPA and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) during the 26th Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, held in Nairobi, Kenya in February 2011. The MOU identifies areas for strategic cooperation, including strengthening environmental governance and regulatory capacity in developing countries; creating healthy urban communities; facilitating the transition to a green economy; responding to global challenges such as climate change; and providing scientific leadership.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
BETWEEN
THE UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME
AND
THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


WHEREAS the United Nations Environment Programme (hereinafter referred to as UNEP) is the leading organization within the United Nations system in the field of environment;
WHEREAS the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America (hereinafter referred to as EPA) is to protect human health and the environment within the United States and EPA may, consistent with applicable law, cooperate with other nations and organizations to protect the environment globally;

Full text of the MOU

Pressing Issues About OG&E’s Smart Meter Rollout

Kaye Beach

Dec 27, 2011

 

Over the last few weeks I have been discussing the issues and concerns about OG&E’s smart meter rollout with a gentleman with an extensive background in areas relevant to smart meters/smart grid in order to better understand the technology, specifically the technology being used by OG&E in its implementation of the Positive Energy® Smart Grid program.

This gentleman is an electrical engineer and published author with dozens of patents in digital communications and network storage.  He is the founder, contributor  and executive for multiple hi-tech companies including an internet company and he has decades of service to his credit on National Standards Committees. He does not wish to be personally identified at this time so I will refer to him simply as a “consultant”  Due to the nature of his work, this consultant also has more than a passing familiarity with business law and also  property and intellectual rights which adds considerable dimension to the discussions regarding the smart meter program in Oklahoma.

OG&E’s Positive Energy® Smart Grid program stresses that it is “in partnership” with OG&E’s customers, however, many customers that I have spoken with do not think that they are in any way being treated as “partners” with OG&E.   The reason why is both obvious and likely responsible for much of the ire that has been raised by the installation of smart meters by OG&E-the customer has absolutely no say so in the matter.  There are no options for OG&E customers, they must accept the new meters which enable two way communications between consumer’s meters and the utility.

The authority for mandating the installation of the smart meters, according to Kenneth Grant, Managing Director of Positive Energy® Smart Grid, comes from rules promulgated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission

TITLE 165: OKLAHOMA CORPORATION COMMISSION

CHAPTER 35. ELECTRIC UTILITY RULES

PERMANENT RULES

AMENDED, EFFECTIVE 7-25-2011

 

I will be posting more information gathered in my correspondence and discussions with my consultant but for now, the basics.

Here is his explanation on how OG&E’s system works followed by what the consultant believes to be the issues of greatest concern.

The network that the utility uses is composed of several layers.  The collection layer is called a “mesh”.  Each meter on each home is both a send and receive radio. 

Your information is broadcast to all of the homes in your surrounding neighborhood for a radius that can sometimes exceed a mile. 

Other homes pick up your information and pass it along.  Multiple homes will receive your information and your home will likewise receive the information from multiple homes.  The intent is to create a redundant “net” of radios that relays information to a central hub, where it eventually is transmitted to the Utility’s central servers over a combination of microwave transmitters and Fiber. 

Every home is required to have a meter that contains a 900 MHz radio and a 2.3GHz radio.  Those radios are always on in listening mode.  OG&E’s implementation will transmit data from each home at least once every 4 hours, and as often as once per hour.

It is not the aims of OG&E that our consultant takes issue with so much as the means in which the utility has chosen to accomplish those aims.

I agree with the ability of the utility to be able to transfer ownership, do load-based billing, pre-paid billing, etc. and to manage their network remotely.  However, the means that OG&E has chosen to employ is invasive and tramples on individual property and privacy rights.

Smart Meters do not have any inherent money or energy saving abilities.  They are touted as being effective due to their ability to help customers monitor their energy usage and make behavioral changes based on that data.  However, as the consultant explains, it is the utilities that are the most obvious beneficiaries of the cost cutting benefits of smart meters.

According to the consultant;  The major advantage of the smart meter is not that it allows customers to save energy – it does not.  It saves the utility millions of dollars in payroll to read meters, it allows them to charge different rates depending on the time of day that electricity is being used, and it allows them to turn meters on and off remotely without a physical visit to the home. . .  It appears that this cost savings is the principle costs savings to the Smart Meter program.

The consultant identifies the following as the most pressing issues and concerns regarding OG&E’s smart meter/grid rollout;

1)       Utility companies are essentially government sponsored monopolies.  In Oklahoma there is oversight by the commission, but the commission operates independently from the legislature.  That allows policy to be made without public review.  I find that to be dangerous.

2)       A consumer needs reasonable property rights to prevent the utility from forcing him/her to submit to RF as a term of service (there are solutions like the one that OEC uses that do not require that)

3)       A consumer should have reasonable rights having to do with the amount of personal information that is transmitted to the utility.  If you are billed once per month, they should only be allowed to read it once per month.  This is a huge privacy issue.  Someone privy to that information can discern a great deal of personal information about the individual.  Primary consideration from a theft perspective is knowledge of whether is someone is normally at home during the day, on vacation, etc.

4)       A consumer should have rights against being into becoming a part of the utility information network.  Current implementation by OG&E as I understand it forces the homeowner to receive and pass along information from other consumers in the area.  That is done without the consumer’s knowledge or consent.  It is like being forced to allow the utility access to your property to read your neighbors meter, or being forced to be a radio transmitter without your consent.

5)       The use of the 900Mhz and 2.4Ghz frequencies for data transmission.  The OG&E meters have radios that are capable of picking up use on those bands.  That information could be used to detect when TV remote controls are being used, garage door openers, internet, cordless phones, and even TV remotes.  That is not the intended use, but the capability exists within the meters.

Essentially, even though every person that uses radio will guarantee that their network and information is safe and invulnerable, the only real way to protect personal information is to not collect it at all.

6)       The meters have the ability to upload new code remotely, so their functionality can be changed at any time by an authorized individual, or potentially by a hacker without the homeowner’s knowledge

In addition, this consultant raises some concerns about the vulnerability of OG&E’s smart meters to electronic attacks.

Are smart meters secure from electronic attacks?

No.  At least not the ones being used by OG&E.   No wireless electronic device can be secure from electronic attacks.  Just as no mechanical device can be secure from an explosion.  The issue with electronic attacks is that they are often undetected and can also cover a very large number of devices simultaneously.

Electronic attacks can take several forms. 

(a)  Direct interception of data

(b)  Hijacking data input or output

(c)  “Man-in-the-Middle” attacks

(d)  Hijacking of the meter and re-programming

(e)  Viruses

(f)   EMP

(g)  Ability to monitor several properties electronically to check for patterns indicating no one home during the day or vacation mode.

Most important, even if the data transmission itself is secure, the data will eventually reside on a server somewhere.  Servers containing banking information and credit card information are routinely hacked.  Utilities are hacked.  Satellites are hacked.  Military drones are hacked.  The only information that cannot somehow be compromised is information that is never transmitted or stored.

More to come….

Oklahoma Smart Meter Info Swap

Kaye Beach

August 21, 2011

Everywhere I go, people have lots of questions about the Smart Grid and Smart meters.  In an effort to share information and help Oklahomans connect on this issue I have opened a group for that purpose on Facebook.

Oklahoma Smart Meter Info Swap

This is a new Facebook group for Oklahoman residents who want to share information about the Smart Grid or the new Smart Meters being installed in this state.

Smart electric meters are electronic devices that track and record a customer’s use of electricity.

The purpose of the Smart Grid is to monitor, analyze, and better control energy delivery and add communication capabilities to the national electrical delivery system for the purpose of stability of service and to reduce energy consumption.
On Oct 27, 2009 President Obama announced that the Department of Energy awarded $3.4 billion in stimulus money to 100 smart-grid projects. Each project had to provide its own matching funds which put the investment at over $6 billion. The Dept. of Energy estimated that the awards will result 18 million homes getting the smart meters which will allow for the conversion to the Smart Grid.
Since February of 2010 OG&E has already installed 350,000 smart meters. They plan on installing smart meters for nearly 800,000 customers by the end of 2012.

Some of the most common concerns raised by Smart Meters and the Smart Grid pertain to;


Property Rights
Privacy
Accuracy
Safety

If you are interested in learning more or sharing the knowledge you have about the Smart Grid or Smart Meters-please join us!

Simply click the link below and ask to join.

http://www.facebook.com/groups/258342357528590/

Central Oklahoma Going “Metro”?

Kaye Beach

May 30,2011

Regional Governance, also called “New Regionalism” or Metro Government,  is getting a boost from the federal government with the passage of the Livable Communities Act which made law a partnership between HUD, US DOT, and the EPA.  The Livable Communities Act  created a new office within HUD, called the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. This office is  distributing billions to local governments through Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants.

The Move to Regional Government

In most U.S. cities, the smart-growth coalition described in the preceding section has little political power over the suburbs. Most suburbs have a long history of resisting annexation or merger with their central cities. To overcome that resistance, smart growth advocates support regional government agencies with authority over both the central city and the suburbs.

Some writers are explicit that the purpose of regional government is to prevent local areas from democratically resisting smart-growth proposals.

Douglas Porter (1991) of the Urban Land Institute writes “about the gap between the daily mode of living desired by most Americans and the mode that most city planners and traffic engineers believe is most appropriate” (65), He supports “regional agencies [with] substantial powers to influence local decision making on land use issues”

. . .a regional government made up of local government representatives “can take controversial stands without making its individual members commit themselves to those stands. Each member can claim that ‘the organization’ did it or blame all the other members”

Is Urban Planning Creeping Socialism?  O’Toole

Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant

On October 14, 2010, HUD announced that it is awarding nearly $100 million in Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants to support more livable and sustainable communities across the country. Forty-five regional areas will receive funding through a new initiative intended to build economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation.

HUD press release: HUD Awards Nearly $100 Million in New Grants to Promote Smarter and Sustainable Planning for Jobs and Economic Growth

In addition to helping to push sustainable development policies that run counter to the tradition and law of the US, the grant also makes it a point to reinforce regional governance mechanisms. Only “multijurisdictional and multi-sector partnership consisting of a consortium of governmental entities and non-profit partners.” are eligible.

Regional governance makes government more remote from the people and sets up numerous boards, councils and commissions of unelected bureaucrats.

Charlotte Iserbyte, in her book “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America” writes,

THE DAILY WORLD OF NOVEMBER 8, 1975 CARRIED A VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE ENTITLED “Planning Is Socialism’s Trademark” by Morris Zeitlin.

We have no regional government and no comprehensive regional planning to speak of. Regional government and planning remain concepts our urban scholars and planners have long advocated in vain….

. . .In socialist countries, metropolitan regions enjoy metropolitan regional government and comprehensive planning.

. . .The economic and functional efficiencies and the social benefits that comprehensive national, regional and city planning make possible in socialist society explain the Soviet Union’s enormous and rapid economic and social progress.

The Daily World (newspaper of the Communist Party USA) was formerly known as The Daily Worker and was founded in 1924.

The importance of this article lies in its blatant admission that regionalism, which is gradually becoming the accepted method of unelected governance in the United States (unelected councils and task forces, participatory democracy, public-private partnerships, etc.) is the form of government used in democratic socialist and communist countries.

(Page 134 of The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Iserbyte)

On August 10, 2010 the City of Norman, Oklahoma passed a Resolution in support of ACOG’s (Association of Central Oklahoma Governments) application for federal money under the Sustainable Communities Initiative that would be used to create a regional plan for Sustainable Development.

In a paper entitled,  The Promise and Perils of “New Regionalist” Approaches to Sustainable Communities, Lisa T. Alexander writes;

“The Grant Program’s unique targeting of regions as sites for regulatory reform, as well as its multijurisdictional and multisectoral emphasis, make it an example of what scholars and policymakers call “New Regionalism.”

The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program is an attempt by the Obama Administration to resurrect federal incentives to facilitate regional collaboration as a condition to receive federal funding

Yet, other than the 1960’s housing and transportation programs mentioned previously, there is little precedent in our federalist system for this type of federal/regional regulatory cooperation.

 http://ssrn.com/abstract=1818030

Councils of Government and Metropolitan Planning Organizations

ACOG, the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments applied for funds from HUD’s Communities Regional Planning Grant.

ACOG Seeks Partners for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Program

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) is seeking regional partners for the new HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program

To kick things off, on July 19 ACOG hosted a Sustainable Communities Workshop on the Chesapeake Energy campus.

According to HUD, the regional planning grants will be awarded competitively to regional partnerships consisting of state and local governments, MPOs, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and philanthropic organizations.

Read more

The consensus seems to be that Metropolitan Planning Organizations are the natural choice as a vehicle for regional governance and that coordination of land use transportation, housing and economic development are the areas of society that must be integrated. 

“Responsible for planning and programming transportation investments, metropolitan planning organizations [MPOs] are the most widespread form of regional governance in the United States today”…. Myron Orfield  American Metropolitics: The New Suburban Reality, (The Brookings Institution Press,Washington, D.C., 2002), p. 137

ACOG is one of eleven regional councils of government in Oklahoma and one of only two that is a federally recognized as an MPO, a Metropolitan Planning Organization.

With only a few unique exceptions nationwide (such as the MPO in Portland, Oregon), MPO policy committee members are not elected directly by citizens. Rather, a policy committee member typically is an elected or appointed official of one of the MPO’s constituent local jurisdictions.

From Wikipedia

Of course, federal money will be provided for this endeavor and as shown above, federal money is contingent upon the regionalist approach to these endeavors which largely bypasses both the participation and notice of the average taxpayer.

From an editorial in the CHATTANOOGA NEWS-FREE PRESS of November 18, 1972, about the perils of accepting federal funding for local needs;

“Philosophically, local governmental dependence upon federal grants through revenue sharing lessens the independence of action and decision by local government, thus becoming… (a) threat to the degree of freedom we have experienced and should guard carefully.”

In the future, State and local governments will look to the federal government to provide them with funds rather than to their own initiative. As a consequence, they will become increasingly more dependent upon the federal government and increasingly more impotent themselves.

Forcing Change

Sustainable communities present three problems:

(1) the initiative for a community to become a sustainable community almost always comes from outside the community;

(2) the comprehensive plan through which a community is transformed into a sustainable community always infringes, and in many instances completely destroys, private property rights; and

(3) the local community rarely knows anything about the plan until it reaches the final stages of adoption

This process, of course, is by design. In communities that have been transformed, individuals may discover that they cannot build a house for grandma on five acres of their own land because the county’s comprehensive plan requires no more than one home per 40-acres. Many communities discover that their comprehensive plan includes a provision to incorporate by reference the entire set of 13 different codes developed by the International Code Council. Each of these codes amounts to government dictating human behavior.

These codes go far beyond building and fire safety codes. They include: residential, property maintenance, energy conservation, wildland interface, and other behavior modification codes.

. . .Sustainable development is coming to your community, or is already there. Your property rights have been diminished, or soon will be. The only way to protect your community and your property and profit is to reject the entire concept of government-dictated land use and behavior codes.

http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/forcing-change/010/11-sustainable.htm

Private Property Ownership in Oklahoma Barrier to Sustainable Development

Kaye Beach

May 9, 2011

If you are looking for some clarity regarding the confusing cacophony surrounding “Sustainability” efforts in Oklahoma, you should read this.

In 2004 The Oklahoma Academy set their sights on Oklahoma’s Environment: Pursuing A Responsible Balance, a 208 page compilation of essays, opinions and ideas given by experts covering sustainability issues mostly in the context of gaining acceptance for Sustainable Development practices.

The Oklahoma Academy report addresses the definition of sustainability in the second essay, Moving Toward Sustainable Progress by Will Focht

The most commonly cited definition of sustainability was offered in 1987 by the Brundtland Commission: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


The Brundtland Commission is the unofficial name of the World Commission on Environment and Development, which was chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland , a former prime minister of Norway. Created as an independent commission in response to a United Nations General Assembly resolution of 1983, the body was given the general mandate of proposing ways in which the international community could achieve sustainable development that would both protect the environment and fulfill the aspirations of the poorer countries for economic development.   From Answers.com

For the truth about Sustainable Development, I recommend Understanding Sustainable Development For the People and their Public Officials by Freedoms Advocates

www.freedomsadvocates.org

Sustainable Development has become a “buzz” term that refers to a political agenda, rather than an objectively sustainable form of development. Specifically, it refers to an initiative of the United Nations (U.N.) called Sustainable Development Agenda 21. Sustainable Development Agenda 21 is a comprehensive statement of a political ideology that is being progressively infused into every level of government in America.

Taken from Understanding Sustainable Development For the People and their Public Officials

Further into the Oklahoma Academy report, the problem of private land ownership is addressed.  The problem is, according to this report, is that too much of it is privately owned in Oklahoma.

“Oklahoma, which ranked number forty-two in 1995 among the fifty states in percentage of land owned by Federal and State governments (National Wilderness Institute 1995). Only eight states had more land under private ownership than Oklahoma. “

Beth Schaefer Caniglia, Assistant Professor of Environmental Sociology at Oklahoma State University and member of the Board for the Oklahoma Sustainability Network gives her advice to overcoming  the  “long-standing sentiments regarding private property rights as symbols for democracy and freedom” held by Oklahomans.

“Many landowners resist the perceived slippery slope of conservation mandates and retreat behind constitutional takings provisions, . . .”

 

The Constitution protects property rights mainly through the Fifth Amendment’s Takings or Just Compensation Clause: ‘‘nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.’’

link

Drawing upon her experience as a “consultant for the NGO Steering Committee to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development”, Ms. Caniglia offers some suggestions to overcome the problems that arise from the friction between sustainable development goals and the rights of property owners.

 

“These recommendations flow from my scholarly and professional experience as an environmental sociologist studying sustainable development policy making at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and in various sectors of society.  They are also informed by my involvement in Oklahoma sustainability-related organizations and initiatives”

Oklahoma, according to Ms. Caniglia, need some work on its “cultural framework”, noting that

“Recent decades have witnessed increasingly heated debate over efforts designed to harmonize environmental protection mandates with private property rights.”

Ms. Caniglia comforts sustainable development enthusiast by pointing out that,

“Oklahoma is not unique in its need to reconcile sustainable ecological management with private property rights, since Texas, Nebraska and Indiana, among others have even higher percentages of land under private ownership.”

Specifically she recommends work in three areas to aid in adjusting Oklahoma’s faulty cultural framework.

Recommendation #1:Facilitate Place-based Environmental Education for All Citizens in Oklahoma

Recommendation #2: Increase the Scope and Authority of Citizen Engagement in the Creation of Oklahoma Sustainable Land Management Policies

Recommendation #3: Calibrate the Creation of Collaborative Comprehensive Plans and Implementation of Land Use Standards

But education alone is not enough…

“Unfortunately, education alone is not enough to overcome the adversarial character that often pervades discussions of private property rights and sustainable ecosystem management trade-offs, . . .”  (See some of Ms. Caniglia’s other work below)

Understand that “citizen engagement” is not for the purpose of giving you a voice-you already have one.  It’s called the US Constitution which guarantees your natural right to own your property.  This is the law (bastardized though it has been)

Citizen engagement is to give them the chance to change your mind.

“There is an oft-heard adage that planning is neither a highly respected nor a politically powerful field in our state. Such an argument deserves consideration, since comprehensive planning is cited by the World Health Organization, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 as central to the achievement of sustainable development, including public health, profitable industrial growth, and ecosystem integrity.”

Ms. Caniglia correctly recognizes that due to the high percentage of private property ownership in the great State of Oklahoma, there is no way around the citizens.

“With the ownership of our lands predominately private, we can best foster sustainable ecosystem management by engaging our landowners in the process.”

Ms. Caniglia proposes to “surmount the radical flanks of private property rights” by  educating,  visioning, dialoging,  and facilitating  the people of Oklahoma into  a more “balanced” perspective of their natural and legal right to ownership of property which really means behaviorally engineering you into fatally compromising an essential human right that undergirds all others-the right to work, acquire and own and use and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

“Given that citizen landowners continue to be engaged in the comprehensive planning process more than many other citizen engagement opportunities, they should be a focus of our efforts to harmonize private property interests with sustainable land management.”

Here is what the proponents of sustainable development always seem to miss;

“One of the most fundamental requirements of a capitalist economic system—and one of the most misunderstood concepts—is a strong system of property rights. For decades social critics in the United States and throughout the Western world have complained that “property” rights too often take precedence over “human” rights, with the result that people are treated unequally and have unequal opportunities. Inequality exists in any society. But the purported conflict between property rights and human rights is a mirage. Property rights are human rights.”

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PropertyRights.html

I encourage everyone to read Ms. Caniglia’s short article.  It begins on page 74 of the Oklahoma Academy’s Town Hall publication of 2004.

http://www.okacademy.org/2004_research.pdf

You may also want to become familiar with the Oklahoma Academy as they are involved in many interesting projects aimed at policy development and have been since the 1980’s.

http://www.okacademy.org/

The Oklahoma Academy’s paper came out in 2004.  Overall, I would bet that they are pleased with the progress on “sustainability” since then.  The federal government is working hand in glove with non-government organizations all over the state giving the whole movement in Oklahoma a real boost.

Here is just one example;

ACOG Association of Central Oklahoma Governments

ACOG is one of 11 Councils of Governments in the State of Oklahoma, and one of several hundred planning organizations across the country.

http://www.acogok.org/About_ACOG/

Board of Directors

http://www.acogok.org/About_ACOG/Board_of_Directors.asp

“. . .regional sustainability planning is ACOG’s latest project!”

Grassroots to massroots

OKC Downtown Monthly – October 2010

. . It takes brave, fearless leaders to tread into the collaborative world of sustainability planning. One such remarkable group is the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG). ACOG is a voluntary association of city, town and county governments within the central Oklahoma area, including Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian and Logan Counties

. . .This kind of coordination among so many member municipalities is really very cool. Also, ACOG’s structure, functions and level of partner participation make it the perfect mechanism for coordinating regional sustainability efforts. And regional sustainability planning is ACOG’s latest project!

. . .In the 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress provided a total of $150 million to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a Sustainable Communities Initiative.

. . .But how do we get some of that $100 million, you might ask? Well, ACOG is writing a grant application, of course! ACOG’s regional sustainability planning will mean that citizens from ACOG member cities such as Luther, Jones, Nichols Hills, Oklahoma City, Moore, Slaughterville and Newcastle will leave their comfortable city “bubble” to meet and greet citizens from other municipalities to collaborate in developing sustainable plans to benefit us all.

. . .ACOG’s work on these planning efforts folds perfectly into the ongoing efforts of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network and our municipal sustainability commissions.

Read more

ACOG is a member of the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC)

“The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) serves as the national voice for regionalism.”


National Associations Congratulate HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Awardees

WASHINGTON, DC (October 14, 2010) – The National League of Cities (NLC), National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), Smart Growth America (SGA), the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI) congratulate the cities, towns, communities and regions which today were awarded Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

One last thought.

“The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management.” –Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816.


Other works of Ms Caniglia;

Informal Alliances vs. Institutional Ties: The Effect of Elite Alliances on Environmental TSMO Networks  http://www.mobilization.sdsu.edu/articleabstracts/061caniglia.html

“Caniglia  found that transnational environmental organizations with informal ties to international agencies played more central roles in transnational social movement networks by helping channel information and pressure among disconnected social actors.”

Handbook of Social Movements Across Disciplines pg 47

Globalization and Resistance: Transnational Dimensions of Social Movements

(As a contributor)

http://www.rowmanlittlefield.com/Catalog/SingleBook.shtml?command=Search&db=^DB/CATALOG.db&eqSKUdata=0742519899&thepassedurl=[thepassedurl]

AxXiom for Liberty Jan.28, 2011 Guests: Matt and Janet Thompson

Tonight on AxXiom For Liberty Radio fro 6-8 pm CST

Friday – Jan. 28, 2011

Guests: Matt and Janet Thompson Owners of Narrogin Beef Producers in Narrogin, W. Australia

Show audio A4L_2011-01-28_128k.mp3

Kaye and I welcome a couple of “hometown” folks to AxXiom for Liberty this Friday to discuss property rights, Freedom of Speech, and government intrusions and usurpation of powers in Australia, America, and around the globe.

Matt and Janet’s story must be heard and understood, and it is a tragic one, for us to be armed with the knowledge required to turn back the destructive locomotive that is Government today.

We will also discuss a variety of topics ranging from upcoming Grassroots events, the Oklahoma biennial GOP Precinct meeting ruckus that is brewing, gov’t desires to implement a cash transaction verification and tracking system (Yes, that is correct…they want to know everything while letting We, the people, know nothing), to a rant or two about the cataloging and CONTROL of Human Beings.

ListenLive at www.ruleoflawradio.com fro 6 – 8pm CST.

Click below for the AxXiom for Liberty Flyer for more info:

A4l Friday Jan 28, 2011 Guests: Matt and Janet Thompson