San Francisco joins other cities in effort to remove Prop 16 from ballot


San Francisco has joined a group of other California cities

and public utilities in a lawsuit to remove a statewide ballot measure they say misleads voters about its true intentions to doom public power.

Proposition 16, a constitutional amendment on the June 8 statewide ballot, would require a two-thirds majority vote before local jurisdictions could establish a public power program, known as community choice aggregation, to compete with private utilities.

Proponents of the measure, funded by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., call it the "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act," and claim it will give voters "the final say" on whether to implement "costly and risky government schemes to take over local electric service."

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the city joined with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the San Francisco Local Agency Formation Commission, the cities of Moreno Valley and Redding, the California Municipal Utilities Association, the San Joaquin Valley Power Authority, the Modesto Irrigation District and the Merced Irrigation District in filing a civil complaint calling for the proposition to be taken off the ballot.

The city attorney's office said the measure, despite its name, has "no bearing on taxation and government spending."

However, campaign spokeswoman Robin Swanson responded to the litigation, saying, "This is exactly why we should pass Prop 16. Politicians would rather spend taxpayer money to go to court, than have a vote of the people on the issue."

Proposition 16 requires a simple 50-percent majority statewide to pass.

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Like this comment
Posted by SF Uses Tax$ for Politics
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2010 at 11:52 am

The real story is why a city council, such as Pleasanton's, can use tax dollars for political purposes. These people should use their own $$ if they want to wage in political lawsuits. (By the way, why is P.W. writing stories about S.F. matters in the first place?)

As far as the initiative itself, let the people vote on it and decide. Pleasanton Weekly could better use their editorial space by providing some research (work on their part) regarding the pros and cons of the issue the proposition raises. I don't care about PG&E's motives, I care about whether this constitutional amendment is a good idea or not.

Like this comment
Posted by joanna
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 8, 2010 at 10:25 am

Why is PG and E pouring millions of dollars into a television advertising campaign to pass Propositiion 16? Because Community Choice Aggregation allows localities (i.e. Marin Clean Energy Web Link produce their own power systems based on renewable energy sources. The rates are the same or less than PG and E. Consumers DO have the right to opt out of a CCA--no one is forced to purchase their energy from the CCA--there is no penalty to continue buying from PG and E. Several other California cities are studying the feasability of forming their own systems, so P G and E sees the writing on the wall and are trying to kill it through Prop 16. I will vote no on 16 and urge others to do the same.

Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 11, 2010 at 10:49 pm

I suggest you research the issue with a little more detail before making your decision. The issue isn't whether a city has the ability to change from PG&E provided power to a municipality, its what vote is required to do so.

Additional food for thought. PG&E does not dictate pricing, the California Public Utilities Comission does. This government entity decides what PG&E is allowed to charge customers for usage. Municipalities also avoid additional regulatory taxes that PG&E pays (and essentially passes onto the customer). If enough cities convert away from PG&E do you think the state won't eventually wise up and start impossing the same taxes?

Additionally, any city that converts does get hit with a large fee from PG&E as PG&E has entered into contracts with energy providers to provide that city with power for the upcoming year - granted this is a one time cost that can be considered part of the "investment" in a new system going forward, but it shouldn't be overlooked in the cost.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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