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By Charlene Ayers

February 26, 2009 (Lakeside)--Last night SDG&E had all of its easels up and tables placed so that folks could mozy around the large Lakeside community room and inform themselves about the Sunrise PowerLink. There were approximately 30 black pants and white shirted people there to help. As soon as a person stopped to read, they were surrounded by these cheerful minders, er, messengers. It was like entering Circuit City.

But even with all these smooooth operators inside, there was trouble brewing outside in the hall. It was "The Battle of the Tables."

There was a sign-in table for the protestors who were also holding a meeting, and there was the sign-in table for the people going in to see the SDG&E exhibits. They were both attempting to garner the best location to snag the people who were attending.

The protestors were winning. Their table was the first one that people saw when they came through the door.

The SDG&Eers moved their table so that they could be better seen, but it didn't work. People were still lining up at the protestors' table, and SDG&Eers were not getting any business.

The SDG&Eer-In-Chief came out and started arguing with the protestors, Denis Trafecanty, in particular. He was waving a document at Denis and trying to prove some point. Trafecanty was having none of it, and waved him off.

I started taking pictures. I took them of all the happenings, and then returned to the hallway where the table battle was going another round.

There was the SDG&Eer-In-Chief arguing with the protestor table folks again. I started taking pictures again. This time he saw me and demanded that I stop.

I reminded him that this was a public building where anyone could take pictures. There were TV cameras all over the place for gawdsakes.

He kept after me saying that he wanted me to stop because it was "inappropriate" and "intimidating." I didn't plan to stop on his say-so. He then asked me if I would like having my picture taken. I handed him my camera. He slunk away.

This guy was trained to wrangle people into a consensus. When the situation went off script he had a meltdown.

Contrary to one of the TV reports that I watched last night, there were more than a "couple of dozen" people there to protest. The regular meeting room was packed with people lining the walls.

All the speakers were good, Dianne Jacob especially. All urged folks to fight and fight some more because this was not a "done deal."

Other TV reports interviewed a SDG&E spokesmouth who said that Lakesiders had no beef because they were properly notified like all the other communities along the route. I am told that the Alpine folks found out because one of the tribes notified them of one tiny sentence buried in the 11,000 page EIR. To SDG&E that's notice.

Chief Baker, Lakeside Fire District, said he really should have been noticed because of all the fire fighting ramifications. Nobody told him.

If you want to join up for this fight contact: Linda Hayes: Linda@hazymeadow.com

Linda sent out a notice late yesterday advising that the protestors should not harass the SDG&Eers. She didn't warn about them harassing us.

Charlene Ayers rules the roost, specifically, the Ranter's Roost, a lively online list-serve and discussion group devoted to land use issues.

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine or its publisher. If you wish to submit an editorial for consideration, please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.