SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Restaurant owners find themselves in hot water in the Bay Area, and it is not the coronavirus that has them boiling. A ban on gas appliances scheduled to go into effect this year threatens to shut down an industry already struggling amid the pandemic.
#NewOnKHN: San Francisco restaurant owners, already simmering over covid-19 restrictions, are ready to boil over because of a city ban on natural gas stoves in new buildings that takes effect in June.
— Kaiser Health News (@KHNews) February 17, 2021
Beginning in June, buildings constructed in San Francisco will be prohibited from installing natural gas heating, gas appliances, or gas fireplaces. City supervisors voted unanimously in November to prohibit natural gas in buildings applying for a building permit after June 30.
The new law will affect the planned development of over 54,000 homes and 32 million square feet of commercial space, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The San Francisco ordinance is part of a push state-wide to reduce the carbon footprint of California.
Supporters of the ban claim that evidence shows gas stoves emit dangerous levels of toxic gases such as nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde. Supporters claim these gases can cause heart and lung issues, aggravate asthma, and can contribute to an early death.
San Francisco Becomes the Latest City to Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings, Citing Climate Effects https://t.co/XJvywEZQPB
— Big AL (@HOPE4THE_FUTURE) February 9, 2021
The California Air Resources Board claims “cooking can contaminate the indoor air with harmful pollutants.” The group, however, pointed out that range hoods can effectively remove the gases.
Restaurant owners call the law unnecessary and harmful to the economy. They say the ban will make it impossible to expand and open new buildings. Matthew Dolan, the executive chef and partner of restaurant 25 Lusk in San Francisco, said:
“If you get rid of the gas element, I don’t think restaurants can do it unless you’re like a coffee shop with a panini press. Whoever cooked up this idea should be reprimanded.”
To reflect how central the San Francisco Bay Area is to California’s building electrification movement, we’ve updated our map of Golden State ordinances that restrict #natgas use in new buildings. More in the latest Gas Ban Monitor via @SPGMI_Energy: https://t.co/xMKjiP1ROd pic.twitter.com/h0Ap3Axyga
— Tom DiChristopher (@tdichristopher) January 29, 2021
California law has required restaurants to utilize state-of-the-art ventilation systems to remove pollutants from gas stoves and fireplaces. Dolan said that “the average employee isn’t really in contact with those issues.”
Restaurant owners and chefs have argued that the industry cannot survive without gas stoves for cooking food properly. San Gabriel Vice Mayor Chin Ho Liao explained the concern:
“You cannot cook with an electric wok. You can cook with them, but it won’t taste good.”
— Dawn Rose Turner (@DawnRoseTurner) January 11, 2021
There has been a strong push to ban gas appliances and stoves throughout the state, with several studies supporting the negative health effects of natural gas.
Climate activities are pushing the California Energy Commission to ban gas hookups in the next building regulations update. The move would create a ban statewide. The San Francisco ban was “an incremental but important move to help save our planet,” according to District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. A sponsor of the law, Mandelman said after the bill’s passage:
“Today San Francisco made an incremental but important move to help save our planet when the Board of Supervisors passed my legislation eliminating natural gas and requiring all-electric construction for new buildings, with limited exceptions for restaurants and technical reasons.
“Natural gas is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco and poses major health and safety risks. All-electric construction in new buildings is a critical step toward a safer, healthier San Francisco and planet for future generations.”
Natural gas is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco and poses major health and safety risks. All-electric construction in new buildings is a critical step toward a safer, healthier San Francisco and planet for future generations.
— Rafael Mandelman (@RafaelMandelman) November 11, 2020
The California Restaurant Association sued Berkeley in 2019 over a similar natural gas ban. The lawsuit argued that the city’s ban would harm eateries by increasing costs and prevent them from preparing many ethnic dishes.
The lawsuit was filed after Berkeley became the first United States city to ban natural gas hookups in new buildings. The city’s attorney, Farimah Faiz Brown, vowed to defend the new law vigorously, stating:
“We are confident that the city’s limitations on natural gas infrastructure in new buildings comply with all relevant laws.”
Via Utility Dive: San Francisco’s gas ban on new buildings could prompt statewide action: The vote adds San Francisco to the growing list of nearly 40 California cities to pass such ordinances since Berkeley’s historic ban in July 2019. https://t.co/jkK6Jq12ve #Energy #Utility pic.twitter.com/0scceAgNxS
— Tom DeRosa (@RenewableSearch) December 19, 2020
The lawsuit points out that certain foods can only be cooked over a flame, and that the ban will disproportionately affect ethnic restaurants:
“Many restaurants will be faced with the inability to make many of their products which require the use of specialized gas appliances to prepare, including for example flame-seared meats, charred vegetables, or the use of intense heat from a flame under a wok.
“Indeed, restaurants specializing in ethnic foods so prized in the Bay Area will be unable to prepare many of their specialties without natural gas.”
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that 12% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are generated by residential and commercial buildings.
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Incoming Dallas Police Chief is the man who absolutely shredded the hypocrisy of lockdowns in California
February 1, 2021
DALLAS, TX – The former San Jose, California police chief has recently passed the Texas law enforcement exam, meaning that the newly appointed Dallas police chief will be able to don the uniform on his first day within Dallas.
New Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia passed the test that licenses him as a peace officer in Texas, which will allow him to wear the DPD uniform on day one.https://t.co/cW85giKHu8
— WFAA (@wfaa) January 29, 2021
According to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Chief Eddie Garcia had passed the TCOLE licensing exam with a score of 91.
The test in question licenses Chief Garcia to act as a peace officer in Texas, meaning that on his February 3rd, 2021 start date he’ll be able to adorn the Dallas Police Department uniform on his first day as chief of police.
Chief Garcia was apparently one of seven finalists being considered for chief of police for the Dallas Police Department, with his selection having been announced in December of 2020.
And the passing of the TCOLE prior to even starting as the chief of police undoubtedly serves as a morale booster for the department with respect to the incoming leadership.
If the mentioning of Chief Garcia sounds at all familiar, then it might be from when he was the San Jose Police chief and decided to share his unfiltered thoughts back in May of 2020 with respect to the complexities and contradictions of enforcing certain mandates related to the pandemic.
In a video dated May 11th of 2020 that has over 100,000 views, then-San Jose Police Chief Garcia stated the following when news crews were inquiring about pandemic related enforcements with respect to “street parades”:
“Well, first reaction to this is incredibly frustrating. Since this began, seems like the goalposts are not just moving for our community – but for law enforcement. Since day one, these orders have been ridiculously difficult to enforce.”
“But now, I don’t understand…I don’t know how any police chief, in this county, can look at their community in the face and say while people are being released out of jails on zero bail – serious criminals – that now we’re going to stop people from holding signs, driving around, and wishing individuals ‘happy birthdays’ or ‘happy graduations’.?
“I don’t understand. I can’t certainly look at my community credibly and tell them that.”
Like some outside of the scope of law enforcement have pointed out before, mandates with respect to the pandemic have been quite a hotbed of mixed messages and signals.
When looking back at 2020 with respect to the Rio Grande Valley area in Texas, literally hundreds of people were jailed for violating pandemic-related mandates.
Meanwhile, there are federal judges asking how Texas jails can reduce their inmate population due to concerns over the pandemic spreading within jail facilities. It’s a rather bizarre contradiction.
Needless to say, it sounds as though the city of Dallas is onboarding some leadership that – at the very least – is a critical thinker when it pertains to what types of mandates can be reasonably enforced.
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Author: Scott A. Davis