On infrastructure, hope remains but skepticism reigns

On infrastructure, hope remains but skepticism reigns

PHOENIX – Infrastructure advocates are bearish on the near-term success of President Donald Trump’s ambitious plan to “rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure” following the apparent collapse of his push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, despite the administration’s continuing assurances that transportation, where the backlog is greatest, is a top priority for Trump.

Bloomberg News

The President’s 10-year $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which likely will rely on incentivizing private investment in certain types of infrastructure including energy and other non-transportation projects, has an uncertain outlook as the administration prepares to present legislation to a Congress deeply divided both along party lines and within the President’s own Republican Party. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said at a White House town hall with business executives Tuesday that the legislation could come as soon as May. Trump told the business leaders that his emphasis is going to be on “shovel ready” jobs that can get started very quickly.

“We’re going to be very strong that it has to be spent on shovels and not on other programs,” Trump said. “If you have a job that you can’t start within 90 days, we’re not going to give you the money for it. I don’t want to send $1 billion to New York and five years later find out it was never spent.”

But the President, who ran in part on his reputation as a dealmaker, has struggled to build the coalition of support he needs to advance his legislative agenda. A Republican replacement for the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare, collapsed after House Republican leaders and the White House were unable to convince some of the most conservative Republicans to back the bill. The legislation had no Democratic support, and would likely have had an even tougher time advancing in the more moderate

Senate even if it had cleared the House.

Yet there is bipartisan agreement that infrastructure spending is necessary, with policy groups representing state departments of transportation, road builders, and engineers sounding a near-constant alarm about the crumbling state of America’s infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers released its latest “Infrastructure Report Card” for the U.S. last month, giving the nation’s overall grade a D-plus. The report card cited estimates of hundreds of billions of dollars in unfunded highway projects, as well as much-needed investments in ports, mass transit, aviation, and other critical infrastructure.

Jack Basso, principal and transportation financing consultant at Peter J. Basso & Associates LLC and former chief operating officer of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said he believes that the failure of the healthcare legislation hastens the need for an infrastructure bill.

“I think it (failure of healthcare reform) makes the need more urgent,” Basso said. “So I think it may help to move up an infrastructure measure. However, the congressional leadership still seems lukewarm to moving this year.”

Basso said that help for infrastructure finance may be better placed in a comprehensive tax reform bill, another key Trump priority.

“I believe the tax reform bill is the best shot,” Basso said.

Bob Poole, director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation, also cast doubt on the infrastructure bill’s near-term outlook, though he sees some hope for standalone bills and tax reform efforts.

“I’m still somewhat skeptical that we will see a major infrastructure bill this fiscal year,” Poole said. “The upcoming major policy battle will be over tax reform; that might include something for infrastructure, in the form of repatriated corporate tax revenue, but I wouldn’t count on that since many conservative members want to use those revenues to offset corporate and personal income tax rate reductions.”

“The most likely piece of infrastructure to see action in this fiscal year is air traffic control, which the President has said he wants separated from the Federal Aviation Administration and converted into a user-fee supported nonprofit corporation. That would lead to a large reduction in passenger ticket taxes and the use of revenue bonds

to support large-scale capital modernization of the air traffic control system.”

Chris Hamel, head of U.S. Municipal Finance at RBC Capital Markets, said that the healthcare bill experience could be looked at two ways.

“The healthcare experience represents further evidence of the challenge of getting something through Congress,” said Hamel. “Or you could say it was an excellent

learning lesson on how to approach issues in the future.”

“I am encouraged that infrastructure remains a top three issue among Washington policymakers with respect to what’s on their agenda,” he added.

Hamel said it isn’t clear how impactful the bill will be for the muni market, but hopes that it will encourage P3 development in a way that is positive for the market.

Market participants have so far been frustrated by the lack of specificity from the

Trump administration, which so far has advanced a plan that seems tailored more toward projects with a clear user fee revenue stream available. Fitch Ratings has called for a more specific proposal on how non-revenue-generating projects will be financed.

“The policy goal would be to better facilitate the use of tax-exempt financing in the P3 execution model,” Hamel said.

Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, has said that the administration’s infrastructure policy would cover a wide variety of projects, including an upgraded air traffic control system and a modernized electric power grid.

Jim Watts contributed to this report


MA-Ago calls for Smart Grid Pilot Program in Worcester, Massachusetts (“Pilot Program”) INVESTIGATION…

(617) 727-2200
(617) 727-4765 TTY

Mark D. Marini, Secretary
Department of Public Utilities
One South Station, 5th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02110

Re: Massachusetts Electric Company and Nantucket Electric Company each d/b/a

National Grid, D.P.U. 17-53

Dear Secretary Marini:

On March 15, 2017, Massachusetts Electric Company and Nantucket Electric Company d/b/a National Grid (“Company”) filed a petition with the Department of Public Utilities (“Department”) seeking approval of recovery of the Company’s costs through December 31, 2016 for its Smart Grid Pilot Program in Worcester, Massachusetts (“Pilot Program”), and for approval of the Company’s proposed Smart Grid Customer Cost Adjustment Factors (“SGCCAFs”) and Smart Grid Distribution Factors (“SGDAFs”), for effect May 1, 2017. Pursuant to the Department’s April 7, 2017 Notice of Filing and Request for Comments, the Office of the Attorney General submits this letter as its preliminary comments.
The Office of the Attorney General requests that the Department fully investigate the Company’s proposed recovery of its Pilot Program costs and its proposed SGCCAFs and SGDAFs in an administrative adjudication. Such formal investigation should provide the opportunity for a full procedural schedule with dates for discovery, expert testimony, evidentiary hearings, and submission of briefs, and should comply with all other requirements set forth in G.L. c. 30A, § 11.1
/s/ Alexander M. Early
Alexander M. Early
Assistant Attorney General
cc: Alan Topalian, Hearing Officer
Service List
1 See the Attorney General’s Notice of Intervention filed in this docket for a description of the Office of the Attorney General’s authority to participate in this proceeding pursuant to G.L. c. 12, §§10 and 11E and the common

URGENT-Hearing April 26th – 5G Transmitters Placement Streamlined in California

Reply-To: rola masri <rolamasri@sbcglobal.net>


It’s been brought to my attention that when you click on the names of the Senators below you can only send an email if you live in their district. Below are email addresses of the Legislative Directors for each Senator and the email addresses for each Senator’s office. Please use these emails instead.
Tell California State Senators “NO” on SB 649
SB649 will streamline placement of small cell Distributed Antenna System (DAS) on electric and light poles in front of businesses and residences.  This bill eliminates the power of local control and jurisdiction and gives it to the Federal Government to take over control of all placement of small cell distributed antenna systems (DAS) throughout the state of California. SB.649: Wireless Telecommunications Bill Read more at Oppose CA  
California Bill SB 649 is at the Governance and Finance Committee right now.  
Please write and/or call the senators and tell them to vote ’NO’ to CA Bill SB 649.  
In addition , please write on their twitter account. 
Your comments will be perpetually in cyberspace and everyone will see it.  
We need many people to show up at the hearing on April 26, 9:30am, Room 112 at the Sacramento Capitol.
We will meet at Starbucks at 8:30 am on 4/26/17: 1123 12th St/L St., Sacramento, CA 95814 ($12/day early bird parking next door on 12th St. near Hyatt Regency). 
We will meet there and then walk over to the meeting together. Mark Graham is the designated speaker all others will state name and that they oppose SB649.

If you live outside of California
We still need your help!  Please make calls and use the *67 numbers before dialing so your number comes up as ‘private’.  We need as many people as possible making calls and showing up at the hearing!

See Phone Numbers Below. Click on Senator’s Name to email.
SenatorMike McGuire (Chair) – 2nd Senate Dist — North Coast/North Bay, 
State Capitol Rm. 5061, email:   senator.mcguire@senate.ca.govPhone: 916-651-4002
SenatorJanet Nguyen (Vice Chair)34th Senate Dist — NW Orange County, 
State Capitol Rm.  3048, email via website portal, Phone: (916) 651-4034
SenatorJim Beall:15th Senate Dist — Including cities of San Jose, Campbell, Cupertino, 
State Capitol Rm. 2082, email via website portal Phone: (916) 651-4015
SenatorEd Hernandez22nd Senate Dist — San Gabriel Valley communities
State Capitol Rm.  2080, email via website portal, Phone: (916) 651-4022
SenatorRobert M. Hertzberg18th Senate Dist  —  San Fernando Valley
State Capitol Rm.  4038, email via website portal, Phone:  (916) 651-4018                                                                
SenatorRicardo Lara33rd Senate Dist  —  LA & LA County-various cities
State Capitol Rm.  5050, email via website portal, Phone: (916) 651-4033
SenatorJohn M. W. Moorlach37th Senate Dist – Much of Orange County
State Capitol Rm.  2048, email via website portal, Phone: (916) 651-4037 
Points to help you draft letters, make calls and/or give testimony at the hearing, provided are some sound bites for you to give to the Governance& Finance Committee:
    • Taking away property rights will result in lowered property value
    • Lowered property value will then lead to lowered property tax revenues
    • US NTP $25 million dollar study proved RF emissions from cellphones causes DNA breaks, cancers of the brain and heart.
    • Over 220 international scientists have sent an appeal to the WHO that RF emissions are already out of control, and this statement was made two years ago.
    • Increase in health care costs due to growing health problems amongst the population
    • Lowered productivity at work due to negative health impacts from the increased wireless radiation exposures
    • Lloyd’s of London and Swiss Re, two major insurance companies of the world, will not cover medical expenses incurred due to exposure to electromagnetic radio frequency radiation (EMR) (i.e. cellphones, wifi, cell tower, antennas, DAS, IoT devices, smart meters, etc.)
    • Environmental devastation from loss of oxygen producing foliage due to damage of trees and vegetation from EMR exposures
    • Environmental devastation from astronomical increases of approximately 124,416 lbs. of CO2 per city every day, or 1.6 trillion lbs. of carbon per year nationwide emissions from powering up the 5G DAS infrastructure 24/7 (and this does not include the carbon footprint created from all the other IoT network and clouds)
    • Fiber optics is the best and only solution.  They are energy efficient, less vulnerable to shut down due to EMP or hacking, and do not create hazardous RF emissions that cause damage to health and the environment
    • Russia has denied 5G rollout in their country.  Instead, they are utilizing fiber optic cables to deliver the internet to every private resident.
    If you have any question please email Mark at mark.graham@scientists4wiredtech.com

    Exposure to radio frequency a big concern

    Exposure to radio frequency a big concern | SaukValley.com

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    Exposure to radio frequency a big concern

    Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 11:54 p.m. CDT

    Hats off to Vicki from Dixon (“Worried about smart meters?”) and Sherie from Galt (“Smart meters aren’t so smart”) for bringing attention to the dilemma of smart meters.

    I usually keep my concerns about the radio frequency (RF) soup we’ve immersed ourselves in to myself, lest I be labeled as “tin foil hat kook.” The Daily Gazette deserves kudos for being brave enough to publish such controversial matter.

    Being employed in the IT industry for 30 years, I’ve witnessed the proliferation of RF technologies at astronomical levels while the general public remains clueless to the health ramifications, most notably to our young, even the unborn.

    Over the years, I’ve kept up with the negative health issues attributed to RF exposures, cell phones and towers, Wi-Fi in homes, business and schools. Anyone paying attention has to notice the increase in overall fatigue, insomnia, ADHD, migraines, irritability, etc. All these are symptoms that can be attributed to increase in RF exposure at even minimal levels by international organizations such as BioInitiative 2007 and 2012.

    While no direct correlation has been established to date, one can’t help but wonder whether the astronomical increase in autism can be attributed to the same RF exposures.

    Now we’re exposing ourselves to a cell tower at every home, with no choice to refuse this exposure. Yes, we can “opt out,” but we’re still exposed to our neighbor’s smart meters. There really is no place to hide anymore.

    I am currently monitoring the RF increase in my neighborhood since my smart meter was installed. I can show bursts that the RF increase is more than 1,000 times higher than pre-meter install and have full intention of installing shielding to reduce this exposure. Hopefully I can persuade my immediate neighbors to do the same.


    Red Deer woman not giving in to smart meter switch over

    By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
    April 18, 2017 – 7:21pm

    A Red Deer woman is not backing down in her fight against smart meters.

    Lori Curran, a resident of Riverside Meadows, says what’s being emitted from smart meters can have long-term health impacts.

    She also says smart meters may pose privacy concerns.

    A natural health practitioner by trade, Curran admits some people are more sensitive than others.

    “It’s so widespread. With our cellphones and WiFi, we’re being bombarded more than ever with all these electromagnetic frequency signals,” she says. “Myself, I try and limit it, but you can’t get away from it. We’re living in this world and that’s the way it is.”

    To limit her exposure, Curran says she doesn’t carry her cellphone near her body, has it turned off when she isn’t using it, and uses a hard line for internet on her laptop.

    Curran is also worried hackers could obtain personal information such as how much natural gas or water her household is using, when she’s using it and when she isn’t home. In the end, she says she’s being unfairly penalized simply for making a choice about her health.

    Curran’s natural gas bills from ATCO show, and the company confirms to rdnewsNOW, that it is standard practice for customers with analog metres to be charged a twice-yearly fee of $109 (plus GST).

    Meanwhile, the City of Red Deer, which is gradually rolling out 30,000 smart meters across the city to record water use, is also charging users who don’t upgrade.

    Water Superintendent Alex Monkman says the City initiated its water meter replacement program in 2014, and has so far installed about 10,000 meters. He says the City is strategically going neighbourhood by neighbourhood and should be finished by 2020, noting Riverside Meadows won’t be done for about another year.

    “We’ve approached Alberta Health Services, and they have documentation which states they don’t have any concerns with them. Also Health Canada has similar documentation regarding concerns with these meters,” he says.

    An education package sent to residents with concerns states, “Radio frequency energy levels from Itron meters are 10 to 16 times lower than the exposure limits allowed by regulatory agencies, including the FCC and Industry Canada.”

    Monkman adds, “We haven’t had any instances of [hacking]. Some customers have brought that concern up, but our stance is that there’s not any personal information stored on the meter. The meter has the meter information, the meter number, the electronic reading transmitter and the read. That is all.”

    In order to get any personal information, Monkman says someone would need to hack into the City’s system.

    He also confirms there are fees associated with sticking to your old analog meter. Once a water smart meter is installed, you’re given thirty days’ notice before taking an $80 non-compliance fee, then $25 monthly for processing, and $65 each time the City deems it necessary to read your meter manually. Monkman says smart meters will save the City between $300,000 and $600,000 annually.

    For electricity, the province was supposed to bring in legislation for smart meters in 2008, but that never happened. City of Red Deer Electric, Light and Power Manager Jim Jorgensen says with solar panels and renewable energy gaining prevalence, the need for smart meters could return sooner than later. At some point, Jorgensen adds, the manufacturing of analog meters could end.

    In the end, Curran wants choice, free of penalties. She says she’ll be writing city council on the matter.

    “I could easily take a picture and send in to them [ATCO or the City]. It feels like it’s a punishment to force me into getting a smart meter. Financially, who knows, I might have to someday if I can’t afford to pay the extra money. It’s being forced down our throat.”


    Cell phone and cordless phone use causes brain cancer

    Scientific and policy developments regarding the health effects of electromagnetic radiation exposure from cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi, Smart Meters, and other wireless technology

    Thursday, April 13, 2017

    Cell phone and cordless phone use causes brain cancer: New review

    Evaluation of Mobile Phone and Cordless Phone Use and Glioma Risk 

    Using the Bradford Hill Viewpoints from 1965 on Association or Causation

    “The nine Bradford Hill viewpoints on association or causation regarding RF radiation and glioma risk 

    seem to be fulfilled in this review.
    Based on that we conclude that glioma is caused by RF radiation. Revision of current guidelines 

    for exposure to RF radiation is needed.”

    This review paper by Michael Carlberg and Lennart Hardell evaluates the strength of the scientific evidence to determine whether there is a causal relationship between a risk factor and an associated disease — namely, wireless (cellphone and cordless) phone use and glioma, the most common brain cancer. The paper applies the nine perspectives developed by Sir Austin Bradford Hill to the peer-reviewed data pertaining to this health risk.

    The authors allege that official bodies that have reviewed the evidence on mobile phone use and health risks have been dominated by individuals with conflicts of interest. Moreover, these reviewers have relied upon data from methodologically unsound studies, including the Danish Cohort Study and a UK cohort study, to dismiss the evidence from case-control studies.

    Drawing upon several lines of research, the authors present a compelling argument for their conclusion that glioma is caused by radio frequency (RF) radiation. The paper recommends that the current guidelines for RF exposure must be revised to protect the population from exposure to low-intensity, non-thermal levels of radio frequency radiation.

    Carlberg M, Hardell L. Evaluation of Mobile Phone and Cordless Phone Use and Glioma Risk Using the Bradford Hill Viewpoints from 1965 on Association or Causation. Biomed Research International. 2017;2017:9218486. doi: 10.1155/2017/9218486. Epub 2017 Mar 16.


    Objective. Bradford Hill’s viewpoints from 1965 on association or causation were used on glioma risk and use of mobile or cordless phones.

    Methods. All nine viewpoints were evaluated based on epidemiology and laboratory studies.

    Results. Strength: meta-analysis of case-control studies gave odds ratio (OR) = 1.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.31-2.76 with highest cumulative exposure.

    Consistency: the risk increased with latency, meta-analysis gave in the 10+ years’ latency group OR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.20-2.19.

    Specificity: increased risk for glioma was in the temporal lobe. Using meningioma cases as comparison group still increased the risk.

    Temporality: highest risk was in the 20+ years’ latency group, OR = 2.01, 95% CI =1.41-2.88, for wireless phones.

    Biological gradient: cumulative use of wireless phones increased the risk.

    Plausibility: animal studies showed an increased incidence of glioma and malignant schwannoma in rats exposed to radiofrequency (RF) radiation. There is increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from RF radiation.

    Coherence: there is a change in the natural history of glioma and increasing incidence.

    Experiment: antioxidants reduced ROS production from RF radiation.

    Analogy: there is an increased risk in subjects exposed to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields.

    Conclusion. RF radiation should be regarded as a human carcinogen causing glioma.

    Abstract for open access paper: http://bit.ly/2p1ovBU

    Also see:

    Brain Tumor Rates Are Rising in the US: The Role of Cellphone & Cordless Phone Use

    Long-Term Cell Phone Use Increases Brain Tumor Risk
    National Toxicology Program (NTP) Finds Cell Phone Radiation Causes Cancer

    NTP: Not the First Govt. Study to Find Wireless Radiation Can Cause Cancer in Lab Rats

    Storyline vs. Rest-of-the-story: Brain cancer incidence, cellphone use & trends data

    Why do many scientists believe mobile phone use increases cancer risk?

    WHO Monograph on Cancer Risk from Mobile Phone Use Released

    MOBI-KIDS: Childhood Brain Tumor Risk & Mobile Phone Use Study

    Key Cell Phone Radiation Research Studies


    Letter: Worried about smart meters? How to opt out


    Letter: Worried about smart meters? How to opt out

    Published: Friday, April 14, 2017 2:46 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 14, 2017 2:48 p.m. CDT

    I feel it is important that everyone is aware that a temporary opt-out of the smart meters that are in the process of being installed by Com Ed in our community is available.

    My family has serious reservations about them and feels the risks far outweigh the benefits. We are not comfortable with a smart meter on our home, especially without our consent. Therefore, we chose to defer installation.

    To do so, one simply needs to call ComEd and request a deferral. In other states, there is permanent opt-out, but Illinois only allows it until 2022.

    There is a monthly fee to keep your old meter. Some say this is not legal; others say energy bills have risen with smart meters, so the fee is worth it.

    Our opinion is that there are too many red flags regarding smart meters, beginning with the negative health consequences being reported by thousands due to the constant transmission of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF). Radiation.

    Even if you do not have apparent electro hypersensitivity, studies have shown that EMF causes significant changes in your blood, such as RBC clumping and misshapen cells. These blood morphologies frequently appear in those suffering from illness or poor diet.

    The safety and efficiency of smart meters are being questioned across the nation and worldwide. Some concerns expressed other than health issues are the incidence of serious fires, violation of our right to privacy, and a stronger potential for cyber attacks.

    It may be an understatement that corporate profit is the driving force and bottom line here.

    If you would like to decide for yourself, I would encourage deferring installation and researching further. The amount of information, including published science, seems endless, but here’s a start:




    A must-see video is:



    Former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler summed up the 5G problem

    Former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler summed up the 5G problem quite well in this quote from Aug. 2016: “High-speed 5G service requires high-speed infrastructure deployment.” This is exactly what is happening around the country.  The telecommunication industry is rapidly attaching small cell antennas to utility poles in major cities and eventually will install them in every neighborhood.  Cell towers will not disappear and will continue to irradiate with 2, 3 and 4G.  The wireless radiation will grow considerably in our environment.
    The Center for Safer Wireless is planning to attend a (peaceful) rally outside the FCC on April 20th at 9:00 am.  Following the rally we will go to the FCC meeting at 10:30 am – (It’s open to the public).
    People from around the country are fighting to maintain local zoning rights and to keep 5G small cells away from their homes. This is a great opportunity to display our abhorrence to forced exposure to radio frequency radiation.  These small cell antennas outside our homes will affect all of us.  PLEASE TRY TO BE THERE ON THE 20TH – and please share this email with others as well.
    For a press release about the rally, please go to:
    A flyer about the rally that you can print or email can be found at this link: http://whatis5g.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/FLYER-FOR-FCC-RALLY-2.pdf
    To learn about how concerned other people are around the country, please check out the following links:
    Montgomery County (DC area): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t2Akvl9q54
    Ohio: “This bill allows telecoms to be able to place a 50-foot tower in the front lawns of the residential areas of our cities,” Kessler said. “Cities need to be able to assist our citizens when the placement of small-cell facilities causes problems and disruptions.”  Kessler cited 50-foot utility poles and 28-cubic-foot boxes “the size of a refrigerator” that could be placed within the cities’ rights of way.
    More links below about 5G:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwLJOxXGOww  Dr. Devra Davis speaks about 5G.
    http://scientists4wiredtech.com/2017/04/oppose-ca-sb-649/  At this link is a song about 5G and then you can scroll down for 4 video highlights from a recent interview by Paul McGavin who is quite knowledgeable about 5G and will be attending the rally.
    Article about the onslaught of the wireless industry aided by our government https://backchannel.com/handcuffing-cities-to-help-telecom-giants-7d13cbb600b7
    For more information about 5G (and the IoT) please see, http://whatis5g.info

    Send us an email and let us know you will be there.
    With much appreciation,
    Desiree Jaworski
    Executive Director
    Center for Safer Wireless

    Energy giants blame smart meters for soaring bills

    Energy giants blame smart meters for soaring bills

    Fuel costs are rising yet again, but suppliers claim that the increases are justified

    Recent price rises from five of the Big Six energy companies will cost UK consumers an extra £1.2 billion

    If you are an EDF Energy customer still reeling from the price rises last month, it has been another frustrating week. The company’s decision to increase its dual fuel standard tariff, adding £78 to the annual bills of 1.5 million households, has led to calls for price caps on the energy sector.

    EDF blamed its second price rise this year on wholesale costs and the government’s £11 billion smart meter programme, which has been plagued with delays and technical setbacks.

    ● What are smart meters and when will I get one?
    Energy suppliers have been told to install smart gas and electricity meters in every home and small business by 2020. The meters, which take readings that…

    READ FULL ARTICLE AT:  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/energy-giants-blame-smart-meters-for-soaring-bills-7cmxrwm6s

    CA-Must see video opposing 5G MICROWAVE DIRECTED DEATH WEAPON!

    Senate EUC Comm Apr 4 2017 on SB649 opp

    Add to Share

    Uploaded on Apr 14, 2017

    Opposition testimony to SB 649 wireless telecommunications facilities at the April 4, 2017 meeting of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. Speakers in opposition are Paul McGavin, Lena Pu, Syrus Devers, and Lauren DiValencia. There are also people given varying amounts of time to speak at the microphone.