The Curious Case of Paul Pearson
City unreal. Looking back over 2009, no Santa Monica saga is stranger than the curious case of Paul Pearson. Pearson is a 56 year old electro-mechanical genius of sorts who some years ago converted a open wheel race car to his street-legal emission free plug-in electric daily driver. Next up, he rented a garage in a commercial building on Pico to convert his wife’s car to plug-in electric as well. Seems another tenant in the building took umbrage and notified City Hall of Mr. Pearson’s activities.
The city’s investigators sharpened their pencils. They notified the DMV that someone was actually building electric cars in supposed violation of some murky state laws. In a more creative moment, the DMV actually sent an undercover investigator (perhaps disguised in a “Watts Happening” t-shirt?) who begged Mr. Pearson to build him an electric car, and to do so for profit!
The trapped worked: And in one of the more extraordinary law enforcement episodes in city history, on December 8, 2008, a contingent of FIVE SM police officers, FIVE SM firefighters, FOUR building inspectors and two of Governor Schwarzenegger’s DMV investigators busted Paul Pearson at his garage on Pico. Never before in the course of human history have so many pounced upon so few!
Interestingly, Pearson’s plight became a tale of two cities. First is the ornery Santa Monica prosecutor’ s office road blocking Paul Pearson’s affair with Mr. Kilowatt – the worst of times, a veritable sequel to Who Killed the Electric Car with our burg by the bay playing the role of GM. But it also became the best of times. Another Santa Monica – the one most of us “greenies” know and love – opened a second dialog with Paul Pearson to see if he might build a prototype plug-in electric vehicle for city use. The latter initiative (with especially enthusiastic support from Councilman Kevin McKeown according to Pearson) has resulted in the delivery this month of a plug-in Ford Ranger light pickup that is emission free.
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