[Stop the Board of Supervisors!]

I'm adding this to the agenda for our August 9 meeting.

I anyone wants to hear the other side of the story, I suggest you do an
internet search of public power san francisco bay guardian.

Editor and Publisher Bruce Brugmann has been talking about this for
years. He can make a pretty good case that PG &E is a government
protected monopoly that enriches itself at the expense of consumers.
While I distain the idea of "public power" it is really what we already
have now. Except that the "public" part is just a deal between city
power brokers, tax collectors and those other who profit from their
relationship with this large "private" entity.

For a good article regarding the history of this issue, go hear to
CounterPunch http://www.counterpunch.org/publicpower.html

At the root of this is the fact that the citizens of the City and County
of San Francisco built Hetch Hetchy with their money. Technically "San
Francisco" OWNED Hetch Hetchy and funded the hydro power creation that
is a primary economic engine for PG & E. The ownership of Hetch Hetchy
has gradually been moved from San Francisco to a quasi private entity
that has literally taken control of it denying the people of SF the
benefit they were promised in exchange for their tax money to build it.

So there is a property rights issue here too.

Mike

Agreed but just trying to provide a framework from which we play the
politics. It is a game.

Mike

On Behalf Of Starchild

Mike,

  You're totally right, this is the Guardian's favorite bone to chew, and I realize that PG&E is in many ways a government entity. But simply municipalizing the company's operations is clearly the wrong answer, especially if it puts taxpayers on the hook for huge amounts of money. I have no reason to think that this measure will be anything other than a big step in the wrong direction.

Love &Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

In many ways PG and E is even worse than the city government. It answers to no one and , besides, to the extent that it owned by Calpers and Wells fargo, it is already government owned. I don't think that we have a dog in this fight as libertarians, except to suggest that a better way would be to break up PG and E to PG company, and PE company, plus allow competive transmission, both regionally and locally. this is particularly practical with the advent of amazingly cheap and efficient underwater and underground cables.Local generation with mini gas turbines would also be a nice complement Bids should also be put out for the considerable amount of micro hydro, and run of the river hydro that has come available in recent yearswith improved technology.,and how about some windmills. I bet that i could run my house on Sanchez street with a small windmill and a flywheel in the basement., but that is getting a bit far out.PGE also could use competition in new construction hook ups, and other customer serviceplus , those right of ways that were acquired by eminent domain should be open for reasonable use by competition.

Phil,

  If the ballot measure were guaranteeing that any funds needed to make the change would come out of PG&E's hide so that there would be no cost to government (i.e. the taxpayers), and that gas and electric rates would be held to no more than the current rate of increase at which they have gone up over, say, the past 10 years, and that a municipalized "public" power system would never receive taxpayer subsidies, then I could agree with you in seeing it as nothing we should really care about one way or the other.

  But of course what's on the ballot (see http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/elections/candidates/Nov2008_LT_SFCleanEnergyAct.pdf, where the text of this proposal is now viewable along with that of other local measures) will contain none of those guarantees. In fact it appears to give the Board of Supervisors a new authority to issue revenue bonds without voter approval: "(gives) the Public Utilities Commission the ability to finance needed capital improvements through revenue bonds or other financing methods consistent with the powers of other major public utilities in California," and "The Board of Supervisors is hereby authorized to provide for the issuance of revenue bonds. Revenue bonds shall be issued only with the assent of a majority of the voters upon any proposition for the issuance of revenue bonds, except that NO VOTER APPROVAL SHALL BE REQUIRED WITH RESPECT TO REVENUE BONDS." [capitalization added]

  Admittedly that last passage appears to be self-contradictory and make little sense on the face of it, but I don't trust it any more than I'd trust a politician's campaign promise. A mailer I just received from PG&E claims that "the minimum price tag to take over the power system is more than $4 billion. That means the average customer would need to pay over $400 more per year." Admittedly PG&E is not exactly unbiased here, but their mailer notes that the company "pays the city nearly $20 million per year in taxes and fees. That would disappear if the city took over and forced PG&E out of San Francisco. We would need to raise taxes, cut services -- or both -- to make up for this lost revenue." The mailer further states that "PG&E is investing hundreds of millions of dollars per year in upgrading the San Francisco power system so it is safer and more reliable. Under the Board's plan, that burden would be passed to the San Francisco public power agency." I see nothing in the text of the "Clean Energy Act" that disputes or addresses these points. I'd think we'd be fools not to oppose it.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))