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.