June 21st, 2011: Stop Smart Meters! Director Joshua Hart Arrested in Capitola

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    Contact:  Joshua Hart, Director, Stop Smart Meters!

June 21st, 2011

STOP SMART METERS! DIRECTOR JOSHUA HART ARRESTED IN CAPITOLA

PG&E Threatens Installation in Santa Cruz County, as Showdown with Local Govts. Looms

Capitola, CA—Joshua Hart, Director of Stop Smart Meters! was arrested this afternoon after blocking the entrance to the Capitola PG&E payment center in protest of PG&E’s illegal “smart” meter installations in the County.  The County of Santa Cruz, as well as the Cities of Capitola and Watsonville have adopted urgency ordinances prohibiting the installation of wireless “smart” meters within their jurisdictions.  Contrary to what PG&E and the CA Public Utilities Commission claim, local governments have broad rights granted to them under the California Constitution- including banning installation of wireless “smart” meters, deemed by many experts to be a serious health threat.

Hart’s arrest follows another arrest on Saturday of San Francisco resident Amy O’Hair for blocking Wellington Energy installation trucks in her Glen Park neighborhood.  Arrests have ramped up in recent days as PG&E arrogantly disregards existing local government laws forbidding installation.  The controversy over the “smart” meter program has also heated up since May 31st, when the World Health Organization identified non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (from “smart” meters, cell phones, and wifi networks) as being “possibly carcinogenic”- in the same category as DDT, leaded gasoline, and chloroform.

“Communities have a right to reject a technology that even the WHO has identified as possibly being linked to cancer- we have a right to be safe in our homes and in our communities.  If we have to risk arrest to protect that inalienable right, then that’s a sad comment on the state of our democracy,” said Joshua Hart as he was being led away in handcuffs.

There have now been more than a half dozen arrests of “smart” meter protesters in California over the past year, numerous acts of civil disobedience, and more than 2000 written complaints of health damage from the wireless meter program. Yet the CPUC and PG&E continue to force the meters down the throats of the public.

Hart was charged with disrupting a business and then released, with a promise to appear in court on July 28th.  Members of Stop Smart Meters! a grassroots activist group deeply opposed to the “smart” meter program, have vowed to use civil disobedience to halt any further installations in Santa Cruz County.  This may not be necessary however, as a recent letter from the Santa Cruz County Counsel to Wellington Energy, the company contracted by PG&E to install “smart” meters, states:

“…the installation of SmartMeters in unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County will be in violation of the County’s ordinance, and any person found violating the ordinance will be subject to citation by law enforcement personnel.”

A bystander at the bus stop across the street cheered her support, and also confirmed in an interview afterwards that PG&E has been threatening herself and other residents with service disconnection for refusing the meters- a move that is not within their legal rights.  PG&E has been under fire in recent days for threatening customers in Oakland with disconnection unless they allow the dangerous meters on their homes.  “Though the company claims that the threats are isolated to a few renegade employees, there is growing evidence that this is part of a corporate strategy to isolate and intimidate people into accepting the increasingly unpopular DumbMeters.” says Joshua Hart, Director of Stop Smart Meters! “PG&E seems to be claiming that they are more of an expert than the World Health Organization when it comes to deciding what is and what isn’t harmful to human health.  Thousands of people have reported serious health damage in California alone.  Enough is enough.”

Those opposed to the rollout insist that a monopoly energy company does not have the right to force a device onto people’s homes against their will- a device that emits high levels of radiation that the World Health Organization has linked to cancer.

Video of the arrest is available at https://stopsmartmeters.org  Media is free to use any of this footage as long as StopSmartMeters.Org is credited as the source.

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