by Paul Helliker
At its board meeting of March 17, MMWD’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to oppose Proposition 16 on California’s June ballot. The initiative is entitled the New Two-Thirds Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers Act.
The proposed constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds majority vote of local voters before a local government could:
- Establish a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program
- Use public funding to implement a plan to become a CCA provider
- Issue revenue bonds for the purpose of operating a CCA or municipal power agency
- Expand electric service to new territory or new customers
The initiative would set an unwelcome precedent for any local agency such as MMWD, by requiring a two-thirds vote of approval before revenue bonds could be issued. Currently, the approval threshold is 50 percent.
Pacific Gas & Electric is the sole financial sponsor of the initiative, having contributed $15.5 million through the end of February 2010. In opposing Proposition 16, MMWD joins over fifty other cities; counties; municipal power agencies; state and national associations of consumers, ratepayers and local governments; and citizen’s groups who have taken similar stands.
News media throughout California have roundly criticized Proposition 16 and urged voters to reject it. The following links are to some of these editorials:
Oakland Tribune: “California Voters Should Reject Proposition 16”
Los Angeles Times: “PG&E Amps Up Bid for Power”
Fresno Bee: “Don’t Vote for PG&E’s Newest Power Grab”
San Francisco Chronicle: “Worst Ballot Measure Ever”