What did socialists use before candles?

Electricity.

That joke seems appropriate given the happenings in California of late. As you know, the bankrupt power company there has the habit of turning the power off when the wind blows. Management at the bankrupt power company does that because of the massive wildfire that made the power company bankrupt.

Their theory is that if there is no electricity running through their power lines, the power lines won’t start a fire in high winds.

Maybe so. But it seems pretty certain this particular management plan would not be one taught at a leading school of business.

Someone might suggest, for example, that instead of turning the power off, maintenance of those power lines may be the better option.

But it does make some sense that this happens in California. This is the same place, after all, that can’t keep garbage and crap – literally, people crap – off the sidewalks. Not being able to keep the lights on only seems to be the logical next step for California.

First, areas of cities become inhabitable then the lights go out.

While this is the stuff for jokes, imagine how difficult life becomes when don’t know when there will be electricity. How can a business operate? And if the business can’t operate, how do people who work at those businesses earn a living? Schools, of course, are impossible without power.

The irony is this is the land where windmills are worshipped. Yet when the wind blows, the lights go off.

What makes California’s journey to Third World status especially bewildering is the wealth of the place. California’s economy is massive. Larger than most countries. In fact, California’s GDP ranks in the top five in the world.

So why does such a rich place suffer from intermittent power with mounds of garbage on the street complemented by piles of crap?

Well, the power brokers want it that way. This happened by choice.

Homeless people have taken over large swaths of neighborhoods, yet nothing is done. And yes, we understand, this is not an easy problem. But you can bet the price of the latest iPhone that there are no homeless people sleeping on Tim Cook’s street – so authorities must have some control over the situation.

When they want to take control.

The same is true with the power line problem. This is by choice.

The Leading Lights in the Legislature passed laws mandating so much “clean” energy. The politicians there, who get paid whether the lights are on or not, want to curtail CO2 emissions in California. Never mind that California produces just 1 percent of the world CO2 emission and their efforts – while costly – will have no impact. None.

And let’s avoid the debate about the mining, milling, fabrication and energy required to make solar panels and windmills to make all this “clean” energy. Never mind that when you consider everything, natural gas may produce less CO2 than the “green” choices. And just you hush-up about the thousands of bird killed by windmills. The important thing is these politicians feel good about being green.

But these “green” mandates come with costs.

PG&E, the bankrupt company that turns off the power, has spent billions to comply with “green” mandates – billions that could have been used for maintenance on power lines. Maintenance that would make is possible to leave the power on, even when the wind blows.

Like things used to be. Let’s not forget the wind has always blown in California. The scheme to cut power to prevent fires is new – and is now spreading throughout the state.

Spreading like the CO2 emissions emitted from the massive fires caused by faulty transmission lines.

DAN HAMMES is publisher of the Gazette Record.

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