It is nice to know that anybody who would like to cause a major blackout in California can do so by simply releasing a store bought Metallic (Mylar) balloon into electrical power lines. According to the Los Angeles Times, metallic balloons, which have caused 63 power outages in Burbank since 1993, and can cost businesses $220,000 or more each minute. So Senator Jack Scott (D-Altadena) is spearheading a bill SB 1499 that reads:
The bill prohibits the sale or distribution of “any balloon that is constructed of electrically conductive material, and filled with a gas lighter than air, or any balloon filled with a gas lighter than air that is attached to an electrically conductive string, tether, streamer, or other electrically conductive appurtenance,” beginning on January 1, 2010, violators of the bill are subject to either an infraction or a misdemeanor penalty, as specified.
Hello, these are helium balloon purchased at your local balloon store. Now, if a Las Vegas casino has a grand opening and decides to have a major balloon release and one of those balloons is Mylar — travels into California and finds themselves in California electrical lines, look out, major blackout in California. So we now have to band balloons in every state to save California?
Why is it that politicians like to shutdown small business by enacting laws that should more address the problems of the electrical company not improving their product, but instead looking to pass a bill to hurt the local economy and business?
According to the Los Angeles Times: Scott said he introduced the ban, in Senate Bill 1499, at the request of Burbank officials concerned that businesses, including major movie studios, are losing power too frequently because of balloon-triggered outages.
Major movie studios – which produce mostly poor quality movies, lack imagination and make billions of dollars in revenue. I know little business like myself have backup equipment. Besides, how do these companies run when their out in the jungle shooting the new action adventure move.
They use backup generators!
So spare me Senator Scott if I don’t feel sorry for the multi-million dollar movie studios. I’m more concerned about the small businesses that make the United States successful. Those are the people you should be assisting, not protecting large multi-million dollar companies like the movie studios and electric companies.
I think it is time that the balloon community and entertainers of the world united to help defect bill SB 1499 and I’m calling upon the McCain, Clinton, Obama, Governor Schwarzenegger to lobby on behalf of small balloon business thought the US.
YOU WANT OUR VOTE – Help us defeat California Bill SB 1499
If you candidates are really concerned about changing and helping business, then show your support and help us defeat SB 1499. Save small business – bills like these will hurt the local economy. People will simply buy their balloons from neighboring cities or order Mylar balloons online and buy helium at Toy R Us.
Make your voice heard…. We need your help… please email every politician running for any office. Notify every politician if they vote for this bill you will actively campaign against their re-election. We need the entertainment community to help the balloon entertainment business.
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Contact these people now!
Senator Jack Scott
Other Resources on Bill SB 1499
June 2, 2008
The Los Angeles Times
What’s helium-filled, foil — and harmless?
May 29, 2008
Contra Costa Times
Take air out of this Bill
May 2, 2008
Op-Ed from The Balloon Council
Popping balloons in Sacramento
April 28, 2008
Press Release from The Balloon Council
Criminalizing Balloon Sales Called Silly and Unnecessary
April 24, 2008
The balloon ban mentioned on the Mark Levin Show
The Balloon Council
If your a balloon distributor then you should get in touch with the Balloon Council – The Balloon Council (TBC), an organization of retailers, distributors and manufacturers, was formed in 1990 to educate consumers and regulators about the wonders of foil and latex balloons and the proper handling of them.
15 thoughts on “California Blackout – Presidential Candidates Need to Voice Their Opinion”
The more I think about this, the less sure I am of which is the proper stand to take. On one hand, I’m pretty tired of the government taking more and more rights away from us. On the other hand somethings have to be done to serve the greater good. (Banning balloons in hospitals is an example of what I mean.) There were advertising and helium balloons long before mylar hit the scene. If mylar is banned for the sake of public safety, the balloon industry will have to come up with alternate flash that will serve the purpose without causing potential problems.
Sorry if this isn’t the popular opinion, but I don’t feel too strongly one way or the other.
This bill is nonsensical. This is not a health concern (as banning *latex* balloons in hospitals) but a complete and utter waste of time and money. Sadly, I doubt this one Canadian’s email will make any impact, but seriously? If a tiny mylar balloon can truly create this sort of havoc, then the electric company needs to look at their equipment and make some changes.
I don’t think this has anything to do with ‘rights’ but more to do with ignoring a larger picture of some sort, which would be why power lines are this poorly manufactured and maintained if any of this balloon stuff has validity.
The ONLY balloons to be released filled with helium should be natural rubber latex …. with NO plasic clips or strings … the balloons should be knotted, and only biodegradable string should be used …
(1) Mylar will last far too long in the environment … pollution is the issue, and can, if they drift out to sea be eaten by various sea creatures.
(2) Plastic clips … can be eaten by wildlife … big issue !!
(3) Non biodegradable string can be hazardous to wildlife too ….
I know the issue here is that natural rubber latex balloons, filled with helium, and knotted at the kneck, need to be prepared just before the ballon release, as opposed to mylar balloons which can be prepared days in advance … but is employing a whole bunch of people to prepare the balloos just before the release really so bad ??
Ban Mylar and go “natural” ….
Cheers … Dave from Downunder
What about the economical impact to the companies that makes the Mylar balloons? California is a large state with many companies that distribute these balloons. Consider major grocery stores, K-Mart, WalMart, and many other major stores sell these balloons. So it’s not just the California companies that feel the impact, but the whole industry will feel the impact. Every party store chain would be affected, but how do they stop people from buying them on the Internet and still using Mylar balloons?
I just did a google search for “leading causes of power outages in CA” and I found just about what I figured I’d find. I found high temps, high winds, storms, flooding, wildlife, trees, vehicle accidents, and utility repairmen mistakes. It wasn’t until I got to page 3 of the search results before I found a mention of balloons. It was an article by Rick Cundiff of the Star-Banner where he tells about one utility company blaming between 100 and 150 outages per year on balloons. What I found most interesting in this article was that it ended by saying the California Public Utility Commission has reported no incidents of outages directly caused by balloons. Here’s the article:
So here is what I have concluded from my research about this matter:
Uncontrollable forces (high winds, storms, ect…) are the leading cause of power outages. Not enough energy supply to meet user demand when temps rise comes in second. Then comes trees, wildlife, and accidents (such as cars taking out electrical poles and repairmen mishaps).
To my way of thinking only one of those items listed can be recitfied… Create a larger energy supply. All the others no one really has any control over. I mean you can keep your trees trimmed just like you are supposed to, but then along comes a flash flood and whisks your well manicured tree into a couple of electrical poles causing them to topple over. And heaven knows that no matter what you do to try and keep a squirrel out of something, the pesky little critter will always find a way to get where he wants.
Of course if you are a senator in CA you could always propose a law to eradicate trees and wildlife. A law like that makes about as much since as one trying to ban balloons.
Bonnie, The Balloon Lady
What about the impact this will have on many hospitals and some schools. At least in my area there are several places like this that do not allow any latex
So, if they also ban foil balloons what’s left? The Bubble Balloons
from Qualatex are great, but not many people are willing to pay the
higher price. They also have a few that are more like cello,
(forgive me, I can’t recall the name) but that selection is also very
It is a ridiculous law! And, if the QBN suggests we all follow
California’s balloon laws…should it apply to this as well?
I heard on Larry King live here in San Diego that they did a survey of causes of power outages (random sampling 6,000) in California and they found 0 (zero) of those to be from Mylar balloons. That was just today 6/4/08….go figure.
Smiley the clown
Why is it that it is only in California that power outages occur from using foil balloons? If indeed that is the case. If it was such a prevelant concern wouldn’t other states have gotten on the band wagon too?? Sad that lawmakers have nothing better to do than to come up with silly legislation. Maybe they should just ban all holidays, parties, celebrations, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries etc altogether. With the economy, housing markets, gas prices, job losses, foreclosures etc. people NEED something to be cheerful about and this legislation is just another kick in the teeth.
This bill is a total waste of time, money, resouces etc. First of all, this balloons have brought smiles and happier moments in our lifes. By banning it, it is going to be tough on balloon manufacturers as the people they hire will be out of jobs. I love these balloons so much and can’t imagine the world without them. To me, they have brought fun, happiness and love. Who can imagine Disneyland without these balloons? Who wants to spent time blowing latex balloons up with helium only to find out they last for only 6-8 hours to decorate a birthday party which by then, the decorations are ruined. Therefore, this bill should never have been implemented and should be stopped!!!
i m enjoying the commnets more than the aricle
Eleven months ago while sitting at my kitchen table a terrifying electric surge arced through my home and through the homes of 52 other houses in my neighborhood. The blue flash of light ruined computers, television sets, microwave ovens, stereos and other household appliances. Fortunately no one in my area was using portable oxygen when the arc surged. If they had been personal injury would have been added to the list of property damage caused by mylar balloons.
This is not a small business vs big business problem. This is a public health and safety issue and should be taken up immediately.
Banning Mylar balloons is only the band aid to the problem. If this is a serious problem, would you not what the power company and politicians to solve this problem immediately? Why leave California power company open to a terrorist attack by a simple Mylar balloon. The solution is to correct the problem at the source – the power company.