Proposition 16 loses in California

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For those of you who do not know Proposition 16 was put on the ballot here by Pacific Gas and Electric, and would have forced local communities to pass a two thirds vote in order to have publiclly run power systems at the local level. PG+E called this bill the "taxpayers right to vote act" and spent 47 million of shareholders money on the campaign. The commercials were the usual outraged citizens tired of big government spending their money. I thought there was no way PGE could lose. Maybe something is happening in this country that big money cannot buy the political process the way they always have. A great day for California. Freaking Hallelujah!

mattnapa's picture
mattnapa
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

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Wait to go!

So glad PG & E lost this proposition, but actually I am not that surprised they certainly aren't the most popular company in the State.

meljomur's picture
meljomur
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Their ads were targetted towards conservatives using conservative type talking points. Thing is the conservatives I know were opposed to the proposition too. Californians don't like PG&E and it is the butt of a lot of jokes (along with Caltrans). People have also not been happy with their smart meter program either.

captbebops's picture
captbebops
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Yes PG&E has dug it's own grave. But it still remains rather impressive that voters actually figured this one out. The incesant commercials made no mention of PG&E, and there was very little public discussion of the issue as far as I saw. So this was a big win for voter consciousness. Lets hope it continues

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mattnapa
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The 2/3 or tyranny of the minority has hobbled CA in prop after prop, The 60 vote minimum in the US Senate is the same thing.

Dennis Kucinich has some stats on public -vs- private utilities. If you want to save 100 million or 10 billion on utilities you keep it in the commons.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I find it interesting that they had a prop like this.

IT wasn't that long ago during the 2000 energy crisis when it was the deregulated areas that had PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric and a lot of the other larger utility firms that were getting screwed by the energy blackouts by Enron's energy trading schenanigans then. It was that one isolated area in Los Angeles that actually did relatively well there where they had their own publicly owned power system (LADWP) and weren't subject to the messes that were affecting the rest of the state. It would be interesting to see the voting results from the counties served by the publicly owned Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

http://westgatehouse.com/art68.html

...

The greatest of the untold stories of the California crisis is the stunning success of the state's two municipal-owned utilities, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). Both have not only weathered the storm, but thrived in it.

McClatchy and others point to SMUD and the LADWP for keeping rates stable for their customers while reaping substantial profits selling power into the grid.

...


calipendence's picture
calipendence
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

A really good point that I had not thought about. For the most part I see very little media coverage of what should be a rather stunning upset.

mattnapa's picture
mattnapa
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

At the end of every por 16 radio ad I heard the "sponsored by" always mentioned PG&E. And I seem to recall see them listed at the end in the pro 16 TV ads (which I saw little of because I skip past ads with my DVR).

captbebops's picture
captbebops
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The superiority of public power districts over private utilities "regulated" by the state is clear in outcomes as well as theory.

We should demand public power as the frame for our new energy plans. Do not mess with the private utilities as if they can deliver on green. Working with Pac Power people trying to do green always runs into the corporate barrier of profit interest. People are trying hard, but they need a public institution to do their work effectively.

This is part of the education about reclaiming the Commons as good finance and good government. We need to own the natural monopolies of the Commons instead of renting them at high prices for lousy service. Empire sucks, but democratic government is a very good thing.

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DRC
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