Editor's Note: ECM received many complaints from readers in Alpine and Lakeside who are irate over Sunday helicopter flights for Sunrise Powerlink construction and say they were not informed. SDG&E says flights were authorized by the County for Sundays through November as well as on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Alpine Planning Group member Lou Russo and others have asked the County to revoke permission.
By Tom and Judy Myers
October 17, 2011 (Alpine)--Sunday should be a day of relaxation, a chance to regenerate our spirit and our psyche. Now more than ever, Alpiners need this. We have had our nerves jangled since the beginning of the year with all the construction banging and clanging in our once quiet and peaceful mountain town.
Since August, the Sunrise Powerlink construction activities have invaded the once pristine Cleveland National Forest and are now defacing Bells Bluff Mountain. The helicopter noise for nearby residents is loud, constant and disruptive. It agitates our nerves and is causing problems with our horses and livestock. But at least we could look forward to one quite day a week. Sunday never seemed so good – until now.
October 16 was a beautiful day in East County as we sat on our patio hoping to enjoy one of our final undamaged views of Bells Bluff. Around us we listened to the happy chirping of more than a dozen Lesser Goldfinches along with the harmonizing vocals of a few House Finches, and the occasional hum of Anna’s Hummingbird. It was an absolutely wonderfully relaxing and peaceful time. Once again all was right with the world. But in a flash, this was all shattered by the noise of a helicopter working on the Powerlink. But, how could that be? It is Sunday, the one day a week that they don’t work on the mountain?
We have now learned that SDG&E requested and received permission to work Sundays into November, as well as on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Is this to make up time they lost because they were grounded due to their own failure to report safety violations? How safe is it to make construction teams work seven days a week in order to make up the missed days? Fatigue is often a critical factor in construction and aircraft accidents isn’t it? And what about the citizens that live in the area – were they asked if they are willing to give up their peace and quiet so that SDG&E can work seven days a week?
Did anyone consider the impact on California rate payers? Construction overtime labor on Saturdays usually cost 1.5 times and on Sunday two times the regular wage. Sounds like a win-win for SDG&E who gets to accelerate the construction and increase their profits by increasing the cost of the project.
This nonsense has got to stop. The greedy SEMPRA and SDG&E Utilities must be told NO when they ask for permission to further destroy our way of life. Please, let us have at least one day a week to enjoy a little peace and quiet.
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