[In the first of what may be a few posts in reference to the upcoming statewide primary election, here are my thoughts on one of the propositions up for vote.]
Proposition 16 would require two-thirds voter approval before local governments provide electricity service to new customers.
This one bugs me more than any other proposition on the ballot. It is so clearly an effort by Pacific Gas & Electric to eliminate competition from citizens want to join together for less expensive electricity from more accountable providers. I live in a city that delivers electric power to all of our residents, and I have to say that the municipal provider is far more accountable to me than was Southern California Edison when I lived in one of their service areas.
What really gets me is the supporters’ double-speak of calling it a “Taxpayers Right to Vote.” This proposition would actually take away the right of a majority of taxpayers in a city to break away from corporate power, as it requires a two-thirds supermajority in order for a municipality to offer electric service to themselves. So even if 65% of a city’s residents want to provide their own power, they could still be locked in to the corporate provider by a minority of dumb-asses their city. If the proposition required only a simple majority to effect change in a city, I would not be so strongly opposed to this one. But as it is, Vote NO.