Mayor Responds to Millions in Cost Over-runs for San Diego’s ‘Smart Street Lights’

by on February 20, 2020 · 2 comments

in Civil Rights, San Diego

By Dorian Hargrove, Mari Payton and Tom Jones / 7SanDiego / February 19, 2020

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office said it plans to “aggressively renegotiate” the city’s $30 million contract for LED lighting and camera sensors on streetlights throughout San Diego.

The mayor’s statement comes after NBC 7 Investigates reported on a Feb. 12 city memo which found the “smart streetlight” program will cost taxpayers millions more than expected.

In that memo, Erik Caldwell, the Deputy Chief Operating Officer for San Diego’s Smart and Sustainable Communities Division revealed that the program suffered from a “lack of oversight,” a failure to conduct “proper due diligence,” and city staff in charge of the program had “limited technological expertise.”

But more startling, Caldwell said his department had uncovered “errors and missing information” in the program’s accounting. In fact, Caldwell revealed that his department found that the energy savings expected by converting to LED street lights were far exaggerated, by about $800,000 a year. City staff had used the energy savings as an incentive for the city council to approve entering into the contract with GE subsidiary Current.

In addition to the lower savings, Caldwell said there were hundreds of thousands of dollars in “unanticipated operational expenses” including $500,000 annually for a computer interface for each node, $140,000 a year for “data connectivity,” and $446,000 for maintenance, data analysis, and lighting issues.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

thequeenisalizard February 21, 2020 at 9:08 am

Do a search yourself to find out what effects, costs, and more importantly how they are used by the police here, and around the world.
We no longer have to wait for Orwell’s predictions to come true. And yes it matters for a free society.


sealintheSelkirks February 22, 2020 at 12:02 pm

This would be almost funny…if it wasn’t so sick. Putrid rotting-corpse sick.

What is Founding Father Ben Franklin’s old saying about giving up your essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither?

Well, in the ‘modern’ world, I guess you certainly don’t even give it up for free. Instead, you definitely do purchase it with LARGE SUMS of your tax money to have your liberty taken away from you (always for the ‘public’ good) only to find out later that the wealthy anti-democratic authoritarian rule-modeled corporations come back after your dear leaders have ‘purchased’ that non-safety…to charge you even more!

And the anti-liberty San Diego politician that approved this purchase swears he’ll “aggressively renegotiate” the terms.

I mean, really? How many of you believe that crap? Sounds like the US military budget, the 16 different spy & assassination agencies budgets, the militarized US police budgets stuffed with weapons of war pointed at you the citizen on your own streets and in your own homes if you don’t get with their program. Boy, did old Ben have this figured out or what?

Ex-President Jimmy Carter said a while back to a large audience of European leaders (and I’m paraphrasing here) that the ‘United States was no longer a functioning democracy.’ My first thought when I read his words was “it took him this long to figure that out?”

Maybe I need to re-read some Vonnegut. Or Hunter S. Thomson. Just to straighten out my thoughts…but for those that don’t have any Vonnegut or Thompson on the shelf I offer this:

Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both

“A community will evolve only when a people control their own communication”– Frantz Fanon

At long last we (i.e., Americans) are forced to make a clear choice—either preserve the freedoms established by the First Amendment in 1791, or toss them aside and obstinately plod on with our exceptionalism….

Your choice. Citizen or slave.



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