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Commentary
Mercury News Coverage of Metcalf
Original October 24, 2002 "Letter to the Editor" submitted to the Mercury News

David Grey
Professor Emeritus, San Jose State University

It is troubling and puzzling that the Metcalf Energy Center in South San Jose continues to be mostly ignored these days by the Mercury News as a significant South Bay and entire Bay Area story.

And at the very time Calpine Corp., builder of this controversial 600-megawatt, $400 million power plant adjoining residential neighborhoods and schools in prime North Coyote Valley open space, says it is to start pile-driving for the plant's foundation.

The plant's construction future is still in the hands of the courts, with several cases scheduled to be decided soon. And there is the bad economic timing for Calpine with its recent rock-bottom stock market values and related other uncertain finances. Construction has already been delayed; it must now be completed by December 2004.

That is: If the plant is honestly still "so needed" or even any longer, on balance, desirable as located.

Since early 1999, as followed by this observer, the Mercury News has been mostly on the Build Metcalf bandwagon and pro-Calpine. Allowed to fade from public scrutiny have been many issues that caused initial lack of support by San Jose and state politicians who later turned suddenly, almost in panic, pro-plant.

These changes, of course, were brought on most by pressures from companies such as Calpine in the days of rolling blackouts which, we now know, should not have been allowed to happen. And to be over-accepted, over-dramatized especially by the press.

Isn't it the responsibility of area leaders, including the Mercury News, to monitor old and new doubts? And to make efforts to follow up their own premature, predetermined judgments and to re-examine, try to correct them?

David Grey
Professor Emeritus of Journalism, San Jose State University
Mountain View

Two weeks from submittals, rewrites to published letter

Original October 21, 2002 Commentary submitted to the Mercury News

November 5, 2002 published "Letter to the Editor" by the Mercury News

November 7, 2002 Commentary

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