Tuesday, August 18, 2009

PG&E Tightens Its Grip

One of the more persistent arguments made during the recent budget mess was that California is essentially ungovernable because the ballot initiative process has effectively made it so.

Similar to Dennis Miller's comedic observation about the absurdity of publicly accessible emergency brakes on trains ("I don’t want to be on any form of transportation where the public has access to the f#*king brakes, okay? I’d hate to hear that I die in some horrific train accident because while we were rolling along at a hundred-miles-per-hour, Gus thought he saw a woodchuck.”), many argue persuasively giving special interests the ability to rewrite the state Consitution to their own economic benefit, has consequences.

Here's more grist for that argument.

According to a David Baker piece in today's San Francisco Chronicle, PG&E poured three quarters of a million dollars into a ballot initiative campaign that seeks to restrict the ability of local governments to extricate themelves from the grip of large utilities and start selling their own electricity. Specifically, the ballot measure would force a 2/3 vote of local citizens.

Ironically, a PG&E spokesman stated that "PG&E supports giving its customers more control over how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent". This, of course begs the question of how much control ratepayers have over how their hard-earned dollars are spent. On ballot initiative campaigns, apparently.