Tag Archives: measureh

Some Things to Consider in Beyond Chron Analysis of Measure H

Disclaimer: I do some work for Measure H, but my opinion on this issue was decided before I took the job.

In today’s Beyond Chron, author and activist Randy Shaw talks about Measure H. While I totally respect that there are opposing points of view on Measure H, and respect Randy personally, as you read the article it’s important to make note of a few things that Mr. Shaw missed that are important when talking about the true impact of Measure H.

For example, when discussing the Board of Supervisors’ new ability to issue revenue bonds, without a vote of the people, the provision is referred to as innocuous, when in fact the measure, as written, allows the board to issue revenue bonds to take over any utility, not just a power utility.

That means that without any oversight by citizens, the Board could vote to issue bonds to seize Comcast cable television, build a wifi network, etc. None of this has anything to do with the goals of clean energy – but it’s all legal under Measure H.

More importantly, at a time when San Francisco’s affordable housing stock is in short supply, we need to ask ourselves if San Francisco needs to be getting into the power, cable television, and WiFi business. Surely affordable housing (which is also on the ballot) is of more immediate concern to San Francisco’s residents at this time.

Also, while the article gives one account of past public power initiatives, it does not mention Sup. Mirkarimi’s role as campaign manager for the last public power measure before voters in 2001. This is a significant point to remember when reading Mirkarimi’s analysis and motivations to put Measure H before the voters.

As a past manager of the 2001 public power measure, he’s got plenty of reasons to want a re-match years later on behalf of public power. And as a potential mayoral candidate running on the left side of the San Francisco political spectrum, he needs to once again prove his bona fides vis a vis public power in order to secure a Guardian endorsement.

None of these reasons match up with the urgent priorities for San Francisco at this time. Measure H wraps an old idea in a new, misleading wrapper, and it’s important to keep this in mind as one reads the Beyond Chron article.

Questions about Measure H : How Will Proposition H Give the Board of Supervisors a Blank Check ?

Disclaimer: I do some work for the No on H campaign. But my views on the issue were decided before I took the job.

Questions about Measure H : How Will Proposition H Give the Board of Supervisors a Blank Check With No Voter Approval First?  

Measure H calls itself a “Clean Energy Act,” but when you read the actual language of the measure itself, you find the act raises more questions than it answers. That’s why it’s time to ask proponents why there are so many loopholes in Measure H. Case in point – the provision giving the Board of Supervisors the right to issue revenue bonds in any amount necessary to acquire “public utilities.”

Measure H proponents continue to insist the measure is about “clean energy” and possibly the public ownership of electric utilities by the city. However, if you read the language in the measure itself, it’s very clear that the Board of Supervisors will have the authority to issue revenue bonds to take over any entity determined to be a “utility” and in the public interest.

This isn’t a matter of campaign rhetoric – it’s a fact established in Section 9.107 of Measure H itself, which states that the Board of Supervisors will be able to issue revenue bonds without a public vote to “finance or refinance the acquisition construction, installation equipping improvement or rehabilitation of equipment or facilities for renewable energy and energy conversation or other utility facilities pursuant to Section 16.101 of this Charter.”

That last part is critical and it is why it is time to ask Measure H proponents why such an open-ended clause was left in a bill about Clean Energy. That’s because that last part allows the Board, without a vote, to immediately issue bonds to take over cable television, telephone, trash and recycling service, or any “utility” the Board deems necessary. And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

These aren’t far fetched ideas. The takeover of Comcast Cable has long been discussed, and it was not long ago that a publicly owned wireless Internet network was proposed. It’s time to ask Measure H proponents why they’re hiding this information from the voters – or if they’re even aware of these loopholes?

More importantly, voters need to ask themselves if they want to give away to the Board of Supervisors the power to issue revenue bonds without a vote – for any project they want. They need to ask Measure H proponents why that is.