Monday, March 22, 2010

CA Proposition 16: PG&E's outrageous, offensive, misleading initiative

Just heard an ad on the radio from the Vote Yes on Proposition 16 campaign here in California.  And got a heads up from a friend about it too. Just to cut to the chase before getting into detail - this initiative is horrendous and deceptive.  Here are some details 

From Ballotpedia.Org:
"The proposed constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds majority vote of local voters before a local government could:

It is being pushed by promoters as the "Californians to Protect Our Right to Vote." bill.  But really what this is a move by PG&E to help it make more money.  Some comments/questions

1. Why is the only major donor to the Vote Yes campaign PG&E?  See here for more detail on donors, where as of today the top donors are all PG&E. 

2. Every editorial I could find came out vigorously against it:

3. Not surprisingly, many other utilities have come out against this, as it clearly favors PG&E, aka the status quo.  I am not overly sympathetic to the opinions of these other utilities but it seems that the initiative is more about reducing competition than in favoring democracy.

4. One thing that really annoys me is the component of the proposition that a two-thirds majority vote will be required before local communities can change their energy plans.  To then say that this initiative is about protecting our right to vote is just absolutely offensive.  What this is a way to try and make change of any kind very very difficult.  In this day and age, with energy becoming more and more of an issue, we should have as much flexibility as possible.  What we do not need is an initiative that requires a 2/3 majority to make changes.

5. The most astonishing aspect of the proposal has been some of the words from the head of PG&E, as reported in the Mercury News
Asked why the company was sponsoring the initiative, Darbee referred to the 2006 battle in which it spent more than $11 million to prevent Davis, Woodland and West Sacramento from defecting to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
"So it was really a decision about could we greatly diminish this kind of activity for all going forward rather than spending $10 (million) to $15 million a year of your money to invest in this," Darbee told the shareholders. "The answer was yes."
So basically this is there way to limit the choices of cities by putting this on a statewide ballot.  In essence, whether liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, I can't see why anyone would support this Proposition.  A conservative could easily see this as  PG&E trying to be the big hand of government to take away taxpayer choice.  A liberal could see this as a company using their money to buy votes and prevent choice in energy usage.  I really cannot see any potential upside in this for anyone but PG&E.  Lovely

Simple solution.  Vote No on Proposition 16.  More comprehensive solution would be to actually punish PG&E for the audacity and idiocy of this measure as well as the misleading nature of all of their ads and claims about it.  Not sure how to do that but boy do they deserve it.


  1. Could not agree more. PG&E has now contributed $55M to this effort. For that money, they could have installed solar panels on 2000 homes, providing carbon-neutral energy for each for the next 25 years.

  2. Nice anti-prop 16 post this AM from the DailyKos


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