Friday, June 6, 2014

Telephone Call Between Congressman Jared Huffman and Lindsay Leveen On June 2, 2014

UPDATE 11:04 am June 6 2014
Email Received from Paul Arden of Mr. Huffman's Staff

Arden, Paul

10:52 AM (12 minutes ago)
to me
Mr. Leveen,

Below please find Congressman Huffman’s clarification on your email:

Neither AT&T nor Bloom had anything to do with AB 864, nor was it one cement manufacturer. Then-Asm. Huffman worked on the bill with CLECA – California Large Energy Consumers Association – which is an association of manufacturing companies who use lots of electricity and have large facilities.

Congressman Huffman has asked that we terminate communications on this matter.


My Reply to Mr. Arden - Thanks.

End of Update  Original Blog Post Follows

Yes Congressman Huffman finally did call me!!  The call lasted 13 minutes and 56 seconds and it may be the call that finally shows us all what Mr. Huffman is all about.

This is a long blog but worth reading.

In order to correctly and accurately memorialize my notes of the call Mr. Huffman made to my home in the late afternoon of June 2nd 2014, I sent two emails to his staff as well as posted on Congressman Huffman’s public Facebook page

Here is my first email to Mr. Huffman’s staff to memorialize the conversation copied from my gmail sent mail.

Lindsay Leveen 
Jun 2 (2 days ago)
to paul.arden, jenny.callaway, Kevin, Robert, Rick
This email is to memorialize the call Mr. Huffman made to me today

The call was made by Mr. Huffman from 707 981 8967   to the Leveen residence at 415 xxx  xxxx

The call lasted 13 minutes 56 seconds

Mr Huffman told me three times he would regret having called me but that he wanted to set the record straight on AB 864 and that it had nothing to do with AT&T and Bloom Energy

Mr. Huffman said he was doubling down in AB 864 on the size of the projects under the SGIP so that California manufacturers such as a cement manufacturers with large land could put in solar or wind turbines and lower their electricity cost and remain in state and not leave California.   He added the state did not want to lose these type of manufacturers.

When I pressed him if AT&T was a manufacturer who could benefit from the legislation he said that he could not recollect meeting with AT&T on the subject legislation of AB 864. 

When I asked him about the CPUC squashing AB 864  he said yes indeed the CPUC did squash AB 864.

He added he was not responsible for the original legislation of the SGIP and the SGIP from the beginning was not the greatest legislation and he did not invent the SGIP and thought it had flaws.  

I then asked him if indeed his staff while he was  an assemblyman did take my request to the CA AG to  investigate Bloom and he said they did and that the AG told his staff that there is no case against Bloom.  

He then said I had never convinced anyone else other than myself that Bloom has done anything wrong.  I reminded him that Senator Feinstein found the case against Bloom to have enough merit to have contacted the US FTC on my behalf.

He then said he dislikes natural gas and any other fossil fuel.  I then said I knew he had a passion for the environment when he started out as a lawyer and I also have a passion for the environment I and have worked on the largest solar PV farm in Latin America and that I wrote a text book on energy, fuel cells, and sustainability.

I then said that I know that the Bloom claims are false and the DE public information of the permits show their claims to be false.  He said well if you can convince any one other than yourself of this, that will be interesting.

I then said Mr. Huffman it is interesting that it took you 18 months to contact me 

He said his staff has spent more time with me than any other constituent of his.  I told him maybe Lawrence Cooper spent some time in Sacramento but since he became a Congressman I have simply been ignored.

I thanked him for calling me but reminded him he certainly had not acted as my representative and that I was not giving up on the Bloom story but would note and report that he said AB 864 had absolutely nothing to do with Bloom and AT&T and that the reason he introduced the legislation was to keep a cement manufacturer in California that had a large open space for wind turbines or solar plants.  I said I would report the call.

End of notes

Mr. Huffman should review my notes and let me know if I have recorded the conversation correctly or incorrectly and that the theme of his call was to inform me why he introduced AB 864 to increase the SGIP from 3 megawatts to 6 megawatts so that larger solar or wind projects could be funded under the legislation for large manufacturers such as the cement manufacturer to keep them operating in the State.  If I do not hear by Friday June 6 2014 that Mr. Huffman has revisions to the notes I have memorialized herein I will report these notes as accurately reflecting the conversation.


Lindsay Leveen

Note Paul Arden and Jenny Callaway are Congressman Huffman’s staffers.  Mr. Robert Sterling is the Editor of the Marin Independent Journal (IJ) and Mr. Rick Halstead is a reporter for the Marin IJ.  Mr. Kevin Hessel is my Executive Editor at the Tiburon Ark, the newspaper that I write the Green Machine column for each month.  The Marin IJ has been a mouthpiece of Mr. Huffman’s “green” agenda and after first agreeing to let the Green Machine write an Op Ed, they retracted that offer and have ignored the Green Machine and continued their ardent support of Mr. Huffman.

Here is my second email sent on June 3, 2014 to further memorialize the phone conversation

Lindsay Leveen 
3:07 PM (19 hours ago)
to paul.arden, jenny.callaway, Kevin, Robert, Rick
Dear all I have one addition to my notes of the call

Mr. Huffman explained to me that he did not have four hours to spend on the phone and learn thermodynamics from me.  I told him we would pass on the thermodynamics lessons.

Ms. Callaway and Mr. Arden please get Mr. Huffman's revisions of the notes I have sent you all to me by 9 am Friday June 6 California time.  

Again if there are no comments given to me I will use the notes as an accurate record of the call.


Lindsay Leveen Tiburon, CA

I also posted the following on Congressman Jared Huffman’s Face Book on 6/4/14 in the morning.

o    Lindsay Leveen Mr. Huffman Congratulations. Please make sure to answer the email regarding the accuracy of the notes I took during the call you made to my home. Again thanks for calling me. I need your revisions by Friday 9 am else I will use the notes as given to you.
The above was retrieved from Face Book on 6/4/2014 at 11:17 am

Given the lack of response by Mr. Huffman or his staff by the set date and time, the notes are considered complete and accurate in the memorialization of the conversation.

Now I will give my analysis of the conversation.

Mr. Huffman sounded a little nervous and not very excited to be talking to me although he initiated the call to my home phone.  He made sure to tell me three times that he probably would regret having made the call.  My analysis:  Is that he would have preferred to never speak to me just as he and his staff have done for 18 months, but that he and or his staff had convinced him that it would be best for him to call me in the mid to late afternoon one day prior to the primary elections set for June 3, 2014 and get the conversation behind him.

In the call Mr. Huffman said he sponsored AB 864 to help California manufacturers such as the cement plant that were large users of electricity as an enticement to remain operating in California and that the legislation would allow companies such as the cement plant to install large wind or solar power generation on their sites and get affordable power.  -  My Analysis:  The bill he sponsored (AB 864) was introduced to the Assembly by Mr. Huffman on Feb 17, 2011 and below is a link to the text of the bill.

The Bill had passed the Assembly unopposed in its third hearing on May 19, 2011.  All present in the Assembly voting aye and all very excited by the prospect of doubling the SGIP giveaway.  I have to say Mr. Huffman had the company of all Republicans and Democrats in the Assembly for the expanded giveaway of ratepayer money.  Mr. Huffman was correct in telling me in the call that the large users of power like the cement manufacturer in California who are members of CLECA (California Large Electricity Consumers Association) supported the bill.  The whole assembly had been bought by the left and the right and Mr. Huffman’s AB 864 sailed through.

The link below gives a good outline on CLECA and what they do for their members to get subsidized power at the expense of other ratepayers.

Yet by August 15, 2011, the unopposed bill was dead after having been “squashed” by the CPUC.  We know from the May 22, 2014 email to me from Mr. Scott Murtishaw the SGIP subject matter expert at the CPUC that the bill was killed by the CPUC because they were worried Bloom Energy had taken so much of the SGIP funds in 2010.  Here is the direct quote from Mr. Murtishaw’s email to me.

“3) As for AB 864, the CPUC's leg position speaks for itself. We were in the thick of the proceeding to implant the SGIP overhaul per SB 412 and we didn't want any more legislative micromanagement of the program design during that session. In the end, we kept the steeply declining incentives for capacity over 1 MW and we imposed a cap on the total amount of funds any one company could receive per year, basically to prevent a repeat of 2010 when Bloom was dominating the applications submitted.”

The CPUC knew that over 90% of the power generated under the SGIP was created using methane gas as the energy source and that the large manufacturers would use the expanded SGIP to install gas fuelled devices like Bloom Fuel Cells and not deploy wind turbines.  The large manufacturers like the cement plant who are members of CLECA typically purchase their electricity under interruptible contracts.  The SGIP also has the purpose to meet highest demand loads in mid-summer and given that the CLECA members would interrupt their operations and curtail their power demand when needed the CLECA members were already benefiting from reduced costs under their interruptible tariff.    I believe the CPUC saw right through the CLECA story and put an end to the boondoggle of AB 864.

We also know that the CPUC had separated out solar funding from the SGIP into the Solar Initiative in 2006 effective January 1, 2007, yet Mr. Huffman told me in the phone call that under his bill the cement manufacturer would have intended to install wind or solar on their site and would have been enticed to remain manufacturing in California.   My concern with Huffman’s statement in the call to me is that If solar was not eligible under the SGIP how would doubling the size of the projects under the SGIP as proposed in AB 864 have given the cement manufacturer any incentive to install solar cells? 

Remember that in February 2011 when Assemblyman Huffman sponsored the bill, solar was already moved out of the SGIP into the California Solar Initiative (CSI).   For the sake of clarity I am repeating that AB 864 was introduced on Feb 17 2011 and passed the Assembly in its third reading on May 19 2011

The CSI was started in 2007.  The PUC issued 06-01-047 on Jan 12 2006 to move all solar out of the SGIP by Jan 1 2007 and into the CSI..

Note the following is taken directly from the bill that Assemblyman Huffman sponsored  in Section 1 (2) of AB 864

(2) The commission shall administer solar technologies separately,
pursuant to the California Solar Initiative adopted by the
commission in Decision 06-01-024.

I have to think Mr. Huffman is either not very intelligent, is suffering from dementia, or tried to mislead me in the call he made to me in saying the cement plant could use a large solar power station under his job saving bill, when he wrote in his own language in his bill that he knew full well that solar technologies were administered separately from the bill.

Yes either Mr. Huffman had forgotten by the late afternoon of June 2, 2014 that Solar had been removed from the SGIP program, or he intentionally misled me in the call he made to me about his motivations for sponsoring the bill.  I do not believe he had forgotten.  If he intentionally misled me during the phone call, his claims that AT&T and Bloom had nothing to do with his legislation that included fuel cells is also a possible untruth that should be investigated. 

If indeed Mr. Huffman misled me on purpose then I believe he is not fit for the office of my US Representative.    Hopefully the investigation should be thorough and take longer than the four hours Mr. Huffman did not want to spend learning Thermodynamics from me.  In this investigation we will learn the truth about Mr. Huffman’s real motivations for sponsoring AB 864.

Returning to the timing of AB 864 it is interesting that in July 2011 AT&T announced they had partnered with Bloom Energy.  In August 2011 the bill was dead.

According to Mr. Huffman his largest individual contributor, AT&T, did not speak to him about the SGIP and AB 864 while it was in passage, yet at the very same time AT&T and Bloom announced their “partnership”.    This is disturbing.

Mr. Huffman I did not just fall off of a turnip truck.  I believe you misled me about the cement manufacturer’s desire to install a massive solar plant and how AB 864 was going to keep that manufacturer in the Golden State.  Mr. Huffman you had to know your language in your bill stated that solar was administered under a separate program. 

The BLOOMDOGGLE should be the major part of the debate between you and the other candidate seeking the office of Congressman for the Second District of California.   As for me I am now more convinced than ever that Mr. Huffman played a pivotal role in the BLOOMDOGGLE under the SGIP and that Mr. Huffman has to answer all the citizens in the Second Congressional District of California how he sold us down the “green river” that has cost us over a quarter billion dollars just to fund Bloom Boxes his friends at AT&T have benefitted from. 

Yes Mr. Huffman you were correct about the main point in your phone call, you are probably going to regret having made the call.


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