PG&E, the Proposition 16 backers, leave a lot of information out of their slick new TV ad. Let’s go through it (transcript over the flip.
Let’s go over it, claim by claim. First, read the fine print
PAID FOR BY YES ON 16/CALIFORNIANS TO PROTECT OUR RIGHT TO VOTE, MAJOR FUNDING FROM PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPANY, A COALITION OF TAXPAYERS, BUSINESS AND LABOR
Of course, it only flashes on the screen for 4 seconds, so you can’t really read it in the ad. But if you could read it, you wouldn’t even know that 100%, not “major,” funding comes from PG&E. Every penny comes from the electrical utility, who has a lot to gain in their attempt to actually limit the people’s choice, and even limit their voting. By the way, PG&E ins’t a coalition of anything, especially labor. No labor organization that I know of supports this measure.
“But in the end, it’s really government run electric service.”
This is technically true, but they leave a few convenient facts out. Government or municipal electric service is accountable to the voters through board elections and consumer choice. PG&E is beholden to its management and stockholders to make them money. Operators at public power agencies cannot be paid multi-million dollar corporate bonuses like the $10 million a year compensation package PG&E’s CEO, Peter Darbee is getting. (That’s paid for with ratepayer funds.)
Furthermore, government or municipal electric utilities cannot spend one dime of your ratepayer money for a political campaign like Prop. 16. But PG&E, a for-profit utility, has contributed $25 million in ratepayer funds to pass Prop. 16 which will limit consumer choice and give PG&E a virtual monopoly.
Under current law, local government can spend unlimited public funds to go into the electricity business, and we don’t even have the right to vote on it.
This is absurd. Local governments are made up of elected officials – County Supervisors, Mayors and City Council members. They and their actions are highly accountable to voters. It’s the way we decide every other spending decision, apparently PG&E wants special privileges. Anyway, local public agencies cannot put taxpayer resources at risk without a vote of the people under existing law.
Requires voter approval before local governments can spend public funds to take over electric service.
Of course, what it doesn’t mention is that it isn’t just a simple up and down vote. Proposition 16 requires that two-thirds of the electorate has to approve a new municipal power system – giving PG&E a clearly unfair advantage. This is a rarely achieved supermajority that a deep-pocketed for-profit business like PG&E will use to ensure consumers have no choice in power providers.
Whether government run electricity is a good idea or not, voters should have the final say, because we’re paying the bills.
Today, voters have NO say in the high rates and poor service that PG&E provides. Prop. 16 locks that in. Virtually every municipal or government run power system in California charge lower rates than PG&E, some by 25% or more.
Image- power lines
Woman narrating: “It goes by different names”
Text Images on the screen: “public power” “local public electricity providers” “community choice aggregation”
Women narrating: “But in the end, it’s really government run electric service.”
Women on screen: “under current law, local government can spend unlimited public funds to go into the electricity business, and we don’t even have the right to vote on it.”
Image and spoken by women: “Proposition 16, The Taxpayers Right to Vote Act”
Highlighted text on screen read by women: “Requires voter approval before local governments can spend public funds to take over electric service.”
Woman back on screen: Whether government run electricity is a good idea or not, voters should have the final say, because we’re paying the bills. Vote Yes on Proposition 16, the taxpayers right to vote act.”