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.