Patterson wants supes to oppose Proposition 16

May 23, 2010

The increasingly controversial Proposition 16 on the June 8 ballot has picked up more local opposition. County Supervisor Jim Patterson wants his colleagues to formally go on record against the PG&E financed-initiative. [Tribune]

Proposition 16, backed by PG&E to the tune of more than $30 million so far, is referred to as “The Taxpayers Right to Vote Act” on the ballot. However, the actual focus of the measure is on making it more difficult for cities to develop their own local public electricity providers by requiring a two-thirds approval of the voters first.

The move has been roundly denounced by newspapers up and down the state, including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Tribune.

Patterson intends to introduce a resolution at Tuesday’s board meeting, arguing that Proposition 16 “is against the public interest, and a potential setback for renewable energy production.” The 5th District supervisor believes that PG&E is using the proposition to maintain a monopoly in providing electricity.

If the other county supervisors agree with Patterson, a formal resolution would be sent to the California attorney general and secretary of state.

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I guess I missed something but did SLO County propose building a power plant to run it themselves and then bank the profits?

I mean even a little gas-powered peaker plant (50 MW) costs about $50 million. If the county WERE thinking about this, it might not be a bad idea to have to get a vote of the people. Let’s face it, government doesn’t have the smartest business minds in the world. If companies like Duke Energy, CalPine and others find it hard to build plants and make a profit, what makes anyone think SLO County’s circus could do it?

That said, when I lived in Modesto in the early 1980s, we had a local electricity municipality (Modesto Irrigation District as I recall) and there was also the Turlock Irrigation District which both used existing reservoirs to produce hydro power. PG&E only had the natural gas in Mo-town. The municipal electric bills were pretty cheap as I recall.