Saturday, March 20, 2010

Corporate Piggy

On Wednesday the 17th, protestors assembled at noon in front of the California Public Utilities Commission building at the corner of Van Ness and McAllister.

This was in anticipation of a public hearing that afternoon about Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation's sponsorship of Proposition 16 on California's ballot this June. The proposition aims to make it even more difficult for local governments to switch from the monopoly utility to non-profit utilities run by the community, in that the proposition calls for a new two-thirds majority vote of the public to do any such thing.

Most of PG&E's millions are being funneled through a series of phony "concerned citizens" committees via high-priced public relations firms, along with testimony by bought and paid political hucksters such as former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Jr., (click here for a sick-making photo and article at SFGate by David R. Baker). In Marin County, it's politician Joe Nation who is trying to stop community choice aggregation from occurring, though he may be too late.

The bad corporate citizen behavior is so egregious that San Francisco County, along with a number of other small community utilities, filed suit in Sacramento Superior Court on Thursday the 18th to stop the proposition altogether because its language is so misleading (click here for an SFGate article by Bob Egelko). The corporation has been labeling the proposition as "The Voters' Right to Choose" rather than "The Voters' Right to Get Screwed by a Corporate Shell for Rich People." It would be instructive to know the names of PG&E's largest shareholders so we could determine exactly who is out to profit off their neighbors in such a criminal fashion. I'm sure Willie Brown, Jr. knows most of them personally.


Matthew Hubbard said...

The proposition process was designed about a century ago to get around the fact the legislature was owned lock, stock and barrel by Southern Pacific and Standard Oil. Nowadays, propositions on the ballot are likely to be sponsored by the modern day fatcats.

My best idea is to put a time limit on these things. Once they are passed, they are part of the California state constitution forever. Make them last only twenty years or so and we might be able to get back to being a state that can be governed.

Civic Center said...

Dear Matty: I'm of two minds about this, being a fucking Gemini. Your history is not only correct, but it's sadly still up-to-date. Instead of Southern Pacific and Standard Oil owning the California legislature lock, stock and barrel, it's a conglomerate of corporate structures who now do the dirty work, and they have a whole army of paid public relations people to get their version of reality into the public eye.

Which is where you and I come in. We're not being paid by any of those people and can say whatever we please, as far as honesty and a personal set of ethics allows. Intelligent readers can tell the difference, and grossly overproduced lies can be demolished with a few well-chosen words at the proper moment in the proper forum. That involves a real responsibility, though.

As for the propositions, I like them. It gives people a chance to practice at voting. Remember that Switzerland, which has been a voting democracy for centuries, only gave women the right to vote about 50 years ago because the conservative old shits kept voting female sufferage down.