By Luke Thomas
July 22, 2008
Mayor Gavin Newsom today confirmed his opposition to a November ballot measure that would, if approved by voters, advance San Francisco to a 100 percent clean renewable energy portfolio by 2040.
“I don’t support the public power initiative,” Newsom responded to Fog City Journal inquiry.
Defying expectations that he understands the severity of global climate change, Newsom said he has spoken “to real people on the streets” to arrive at his position. “I haven’t met one person who says ‘my gosh, boy, you really need to take over the power system in San Francisco’.”
Newsom, who maintains close ties with PG&E and is exploring a run for Governor said, “this is the wrong time” for “a public power initiative to take over PG&E” despite climate change warnings echoed by former Vice President Al Gore and PG&E’s fossil-fuel-heavy energy portfolio.
“I think it’s rather cynical way of branding it, ‘The Clean Energy Act’,” Newsom said.
“Al Gore just delivered a helluva speech two days ago,” Mirkarimi said, “which everyone is talking about, that this country is able to convert to renewables – a hundred percent renewable in the next ten years.”
“As long as PG&E’S there, that’ll never happen,” Mirkarimi added. “At this rate, PG&E will only abide by the bare minimums, the federal minimums, as stipulated by the Bush administration, and that is 20 percent renewable by 2017, and that is just god-awful.”
The legislation has the support of environmental and social justice organizations including the Sierra Club, San Francisco Tomorrow, ACORN, the San Francisco Green Party, the League of Young Voters, Green Action for Health and Environmental Justice, State Assemblymember Mark Leno, Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi, Aaron Peskin, Tom Ammiano, Gerardo Sandoval, Bevan Dufty, Sophie Maxwell, Chris Daly, former San Francisco Public Utilities Executive Director Susan Leal, San Francisco School Board President Mark Sanchez and other civic leaders.