Public officials address allegations against them

Carolyn Shipp
Staff Writer


The March 12 Portola City Council meeting was a time to set the record straight for Bob Marshall, general manager of Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, and for Council Member Pat Morton.

Both individuals addressed allegations against them during the meeting.


Marshall speaks

Marshall spoke during public comment in reference to the last City Council meeting, held Feb. 26, during which an unsatisfied customer, Josh Hart, spoke about how the electric cooperative shut off his power because he did not pay the opt-out fees for choosing to have an analog meter, which has to be read in person.

“Someone talked about smart meters last meeting,” Marshall began during his public comment, during which he never referenced Hart directly. “First off, we don’t have smart meters. We have radio frequency meters.”

“I can’t get into specifics about it, but I can tell you that we hate turning off people’s power, especially in winter,” he continued. “We have a short fuse about being denied access to our meters, however.”

In Hart’s previous speech, he said he felt that the cooperative’s fees to have an analog meter were unfair and illegal because he has a medical condition that requires he not be around the microwave radiation emitted by “smart meters,” or meters that send microwave radiation signals to the electric companies.

Hart concluded his public comment by asking the council to support his cause.

“There was one thing that kind of hit me in the gut and that was (the allegation) that we were behaving illegally,” Marshall continued in his public comment.

He referenced a court ruling that determined it is not discrimination to charge opt-out fees to anybody, including those with medical conditions.

“We also made some pretty significant concessions (to Hart) about three hours before the presentation was made to you guys … and I’m pretty sure you guys didn’t hear anything about that,” he said.


Morton speaks

Morton’s chance to address some accusations came when the council was approving the consent calendar. She asked that the Feb. 26 minutes be held so she could add to them.

During the Feb. 26 meeting the council made a decision to pursue negotiations to adjust LAFCo fees with an ad hoc committee instead of coming with crowds of people to the Board of Supervisors meeting.

During the lengthy discussion on the matter, Morton referenced an email she’d read and used the verbiage “300 Mexicans.” Her reference of the email, she said, was misconstrued to insinuate she was racist or condescending to the Latino community.

“I referred to statements made by someone else that I read,” she said in a statement at the March 12 meeting. “I stated I did not like the negative emails and the negative way in which a segment of the population was organizing to approach the county.”

She presented a copy of the email and asked that it be added to the minutes.

“I am not now a racist and I have never been a racist,” she concluded.

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