Wednesday, April 27, 2016
The shiny, navy blue Tesla of this morning was brand spanking new and, as yet, had no license plate. In lieu of a license plate there was a card that read 'ZERO Emissions'. Well, obviously there are zero emissions, it's an electric car. However, the power station responsible for generating the electricity to power my friend, the tortoise-like Tesla, is most definitely not pumping out zero emissions into the atmosphere: the generation of electricity is not without consequences. That fact, unfortunately, just happens to be an inconvenient detail that most electric car owners seem to ignore. Generally, I have discovered that just ignoring, and denying, reality doesn't make it simply disappear. My musings reminded me of a story that I read in the Napa Valley Register last month.
A short road that dead-ends at the Napa River, and is soon to be developed with a 489 unit apartment village, is to be renamed. The current name, Oil Company Road, has been deemed unsuitable for the new residential complex and so the road is to be renamed Sousa Lane West (the continuation of a small road on the other side of Soscol Avenue that heads east to the Silverado Trail). And why is someone bothering to rename Oil Company Road? A spokesman, when asked this question, said, "We chose to change it because of the confusion of 'oil company' with 'oil cans'; it carried a derogatory feeling to it." What? How fragile are the psyches of the folks who will eventually inhabit these new apartments? Apparently, history has to be forgotten, or worse rewritten, to save these apartment dwellers from the perceived horrors that are fossil fuels.
In the 1890s, this part of Napa - along the river, but on the opposite bank to downtown - was a dockyard area mainly occupied by gasoline wholesalers who, when the demand for petroleum grew, supplied the demand. The flourishing industries that relied on the gasoline wholesalers were tanneries, mills, cream of tartar factories (there were a lot of grapes here, even then) and, of course, the power plants that supplied the electricity to these industries. The same electricity that powers the myriad of Tesla motor cars that are tooting around the Napa Valley today.
I am glad that I got a photograph of the Oil Company Road sign before it is removed, and before the powers that be rewrite Napa history to the absolute detriment of future generations of Napa Valley residents.