SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (March 18, 2010) — A coalition of locally-owned public utilities from throughout California today filed suit in Sacramento County Superior Court to disqualify Proposition 16 from the June 8 statewide ballot for being false and misleading, and for concealing its true nature and purpose from voters. Proposition 16 is PG&E’s attempt to lock in its monopoly in its existing territories. Even though PG&E spent millions of dollars to qualify the initiative and has committed to spending tens of millions more on the Proposition 16 campaign, the lawsuit points out that PG&E carefully omitted any mention of its name in the measure, and concealed that the true nature, purpose and effect of the initiative would be to protect PG&E from competition from public providers of electric service.
[Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle, December 19, 2003]
Far from the wild-eyed, socialistic power-grab routinely portrayed by well-funded political campaigns over the years, public power in San Francisco is a civic principle firmly enshrined by City Charter. As section 16. 101 states: “It is the declared purpose and intention of the people of the city and county, when public interest and necessity demand, that public utilities shall be gradually acquired and ultimately owned by the city and county.”
[Originally published by the San Francicso Bay Guardian, November 19, 2003]
When then acting mayor Chris Daly made two controversial appointments to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Oct. 22 while Mayor Willie Brown was traveling in Tibet, it marked the beginning of a media frenzy that has even now scarcely begun to subside.