Mirkarimi Warns NCPA
of PG&E Monopoly-Protecting Ballot Initiative

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on September 24, 2009 with 8 Comments


Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi was a guest speaker
at the annual meeting of the Northern California Power Agency yesterday.
He warned its members of a 2010 PG&E-sponsored statewide ballot initiative
that is aimed at protecting its monopoly against public power advances.
Photos by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

September 24, 2009

San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi rang alarm bells yesterday on a 2010 statewide Pacific Gas & Electric-sponsored ballot initiative that would “decapitate” efforts to implement municipal public power initiatives in California.

Attending the annual convocation of Northern California Power Agency members at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, Mirkarimi warned the NCPA that PG&E is attempting to “kill any interest of Community Choice Aggregation being contemplated by municipalities in the State of California,” to protect its monopoly.

The ballot initiative, deceptively dubbed “The Taxpayers Right to Vote Act” would, if passed by a simple majority of voters, amend the California constitution and require the assent of two-thirds of voters to “expand electric delivery service to a new territory or new customers, or to implement a plan to become an aggregate electricity provider,” according to the measure’s statement of purpose.

“It’s absurd and an affront to our democracy,” Mirkarimi said, referring to the two-thirds requirement. “What this does is exactly what it’s intended to do – to annihilate competition.”

Mirkarimi said it is imperative that municipalities begin a coordinated campaign to educate voters against being duped into voting for the measure.

Though the NCPA is prohibited from campaign advocacy, several members expressed concerns with the ballot measure and raised questions on how best to build a winning strategy to defeat it.

More Info

PG&E attacks consumer choice

Stopping PG&E’s fraudulent initiative

PG&E Doubles Down Again vs. Local Energy Choice

PG&E pushes vote to limit public power

PG&E’s power trip

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • Ruth R. Snave

    Ross Mirkarimi is right about PG&E. The company is an affluent and bullying monopoly that wants to crush any effort by people to have alternative agencies of public power. We all have to keep on guard.

  • Rob Anderson

    Oh yes, let’s put public power on the ballot in SF again, even though it’s already been rejected by city voters eleven (11) times over the years. Maybe other jurisdictions in the state will have better luck, but it’s clear that the people of San Francisco don’t trust their government to run the power system, and they aren’t wrong.

  • Jerry Jarvis

    The damn thing about this is the voting sheep of California will go willingly to the killing floor on this one. It is a sad day in California when it does, Kudos’s to the Mirk for standing up to the power brokers. A man who could have led this city when he had the progressive backing.

  • Ruth R. Snave

    In a post above, Rob says:

    “Oh yes, let’s put public power on the ballot in SF again, even though it’s already been rejected by city voters eleven (11) times over the years.”

    Previous proposals have been poorly developed and presented.

    For example, a recent proposal would have had the public-power alternative run by an elected board, with no professional qualifications for its members.

    This measure was presented at a time when members of the Board of Supes were acting out and looking goofy. The voters didn’t want their power system run the same way. Who could blame them?

    Rhetoric isn’t enough to win at the ballot box. Proponents of public power need to do their homework, welcome ideas from people who are not part of their own closed circle, and present a proposal that is practical and appealing.

    This process has yet to happen. But it could.

  • Rob Anderson

    “This process has yet to happen. But it could.”

    And pigs could sprout wings and fly, too.

  • Ruth R. Snave

    In a post above, Rob Anderson says:

    “And pigs could sprout wings and fly, too.”

    I remember a time, 40 years, ago when many folks expressed such a scoffing attitude toward the possibility of a civil rights movement for gay people.

    I also remember the time I heard John F. Kennedy say:

    “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were and ask ‘why not?’”

  • Rob Anderson

    I’m not saying that SF adopting public power isn’t possible sometime in the future. I’m saying that it’s not necessarily even a good thing to do. Based on observing the “progressive” BOS and the mayor over the past years, I think public power is a bad idea. It would just turn into another jobs program like Muni.

  • Ruth R. Snave

    In a post above, Rob Anderson notes:

    “Based on observing the ‘progressive’ BOS and the mayor over the past years …”

    Yes, when politicians act like children, the voters are inclined to distrust anything they back.

    This is the personal factor in politics, which people who are ideologically inclined often overlook.