San Francisco sues over PG&E ballot measure

March 19, 2010

The city of San Francisco and a group of government-owned utilities went to court Thursday to try and block a Pacific Gas & Electric-sponsored measure on the June ballot. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Critics claim that Proposition 16 is merely a power grab dressed up as an expansion of taxpayers’ rights. The proposed measure calls for a state constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds voter approval for any local government to enter the electricity business or expand its electrical generation.

PG&E plans to spend upwards of $35 million on the campaign.

In a suit filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, plaintiffs asked the judge to remove Proposition 16 from the ballot, arguing that the text is riddled with falsehoods. Lawyers suggest that the true purpose of the measure is to “lock in PG&E’s monopoly over its existing service areas.”

Experts say that court-ordered removal of a ballot measure because of misleading language is rare, but not unprecedented in California. The state Supreme Court did dump proposed initiatives in 1934 and 1936 because neither mentioned in its title that taxes would be raised.



  1. pasowino says:

    Just to offer a counter point of view, currently, the law allows your local city or county officials to make the decision to enter the electric utility business and they don’t have to ask the voters. Becoming an electric utility is a very expensive proposition and requires a tremendous amount of capital (hence debt, since no city I know has lots of money sitting around). I would think that asking the voters for their approval ought to be a good idea.

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
    • Vagabond says:

      Lets see, should i trust a board that I can fire (local government) or a board that is beholden to it’s shareholder profits that I have no control over whatever?
      Are you that gullible?

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. earthly says:

    I forgot to mention the error that was made under that administration.

    PG&E upper and lower management didn’t listen to the 1982 call of Ergonomics in the workplace, which cost PG&E million of dollars in Worker Compensation. There have been 1.8 million people reported from Rpetitive strain/stress Injury and I was just one of the victims that sustain this injury in 1982 bring it to their attention of a defected machinery without a good chair. Sad when you don’t listen to your peers.

    Check after March 30, to hear more about Ergonomics arguments against U.S. Chamber of Commerce vs. U. S. Dept. of Labor.

    (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
    • Cindy says:

      What the ^^%$$#*? You worked for PG&E and they gave you a bad chair, is that in a chair or in representation? Either way, I think your a moron. Yes, I think you sound like a moron and I will make no apologies for that opinion.

      (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
  3. earthly says:

    I agree with vagabond statement with the question that this ballot is intented for the shareholders.

    Pushing to have this ballot remove in June is correctly on the money so PG&E wouldn’t integrate as many utilites together to bring back the losses of ENRON and PG&E shareholders from a mistake that Poppy’ made when he was Vice president under Ronald Reagan terms as President. This family have abuse us enough, now it time to abuse our representatives to put them on the curb of the cold streets.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  4. Vagabond says:

    Beware ALL initiatives, most are poorly worded, full of legal potholes and do not mention the unintended consequences.
    Instead, pay more attention to your representative, after all it’s their job to make laws, not yours.
    If they don’t do what you want, fire them.
    Think about this, just who do you think PGE is doing this for? You or their shareholders?

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  5. Cindy says:

    Call me naive but I don’t think it matters how much PG&E spends on this campaign. This is a non partisan issue and I have faith in the intelligence of the voting populace where non partisan issues are concerned. As long as we all hear the facts about this ballot measure at least once, we the people will sink it, a big NO seems like a no brainer to me.

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • Vagabond says:

      Intelligence? Oh my,
      The Horse-meat initiative
      I’m sure with a little work you could make quite a list of non intelligent initiatives that passed.

      (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  6. JordanJ says:

    I signed a couple of fun ballot measures the other day at Von’s. Stuff like demanding that the budget has to be balanced every year on June 1 or they don’t get paid. He also had one to funnel more lottery money into education (which is what the lottery was originally all about) that I signed. Then this seeming well intentioned blind man who was collecting these signatures asked me to sign a ballot measure that would require a 2/3rds vote to effect legislative change. He said ” Right now it only requires a 1/3rd vote and they can force new taxes down our throats”, blah blah blah, I was incredulous! I said doesn’t it require at least a 51% vote? He backed up and agreed, I took a look at this measure that he was pushing, it was the PG&E crap. Watch Out.

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  7. R.Hodin says:

    Definitely one way to run a campaign with taxpayer monies. Go SF !!

    (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down

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