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PG&E continues deception on Proposition 16

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POSTED June 1, 2010 2:15 a.m.
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

The deception continues. Last week, for example, the Proposition 16 campaign sent out mailers. “At a time of tight budgets and layoffs of police and firefighters,” it read, “voters should have the right to vote on anything that affects our pocketbook.”

But public-power agencies like SMUD have nothing to do with a city’s general funds, which finance services such as police and firefighters.

The notion that taxes are being used to provide electricity is just untrue. The California secretary of state already told the proponents that they couldn’t keep the words “Taxpayer’s Right to Vote Act” as their official title, instead giving the measure the much drier title: “Imposes New Two-thirds Majority Voter Approval Requirements for Local Public Electricity Providers.”

PG&E lies when they say that local governments could manipulate power rates to balance their budgets. Public power is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission and cannot provide any money to a local government because it is against the law. Public power money is not part of any general fund and has no effect on police, fire and other public services. Public power is highly regulated.

Among the 48 municipal utilities spread across California, there is not one single example of a white elephant nor any history of a taxpayer bailout or a bankruptcy. No public power operation has ever lost money.

The state’s three investor-owned for-profit utilities, on the other hand, all received taxpayer bailouts in the 2001 electricity market meltdown when Governor Gray Davis had state government procuring electricity for them.  PG&E, of course, put itself into bankruptcy after ring-fencing as many of its assets as possible to escape the jurisdiction of the court - a strategy designed and carried out by then CFO and current CEO, Peter Darbee, mastermind of Proposition 16.

PG&E’s talk about saving taxpayers money is hogwash. PG&E cost the state billions with their bankruptcy while no public power operation has ever cost the taxpayers a nickel for a bailout. PG&E’s bankruptcy bailout contributed to California’s huge budget shortfall.

Proposition 16 will benefit only one corporation, PG&E, which is why PG&E is the sole funder of Proposition 16.

 PG&E is spending $44 million to promote Proposition 16 and I’m getting sick of hearing their brain-damaging commercials all the livelong day.

That’s why I’m voting no on Proposition 16.
Ralph Givens
Manteca
May 30, 2010

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