May - June 2010
Sierra Club Yodeler
Vol. 73 No. 3
Sierra Club California has joined a growing coalition of consumer, environmental, and economic-justice groups in opposing Propo 16, the ballot initiative on the June ballot that would lock in high utility rates by locking out local community choice (see March-April, page 7; and January-February Yodeler, page 19).
Current law allows communities seeking clean, green, and affordable energy to vote on alternatives to their utility. PG&E, the dominant utility in Northern California, is spending tens of millions of dollars to pass Proposition 16 and stop local communities from exercising that right.
The targets of this measure are municipal utilities and an innovative program that most Californians have never heard about: Community Choice. Community Choice is a right - under state law - that allows local governments to contract for electric power and make this service available to all local utility customers. Some California communities, including Marin County and San Francisco, are already using this choice to bring far more renewable energy into their grids than PG&E has done.
The initiative would amend the California constitution to require a 2/3 vote before communities could break away from their utility. This anti-democratic obstacle would further unbalance an already unequal playing field; PG&E has repeatedly been able to vastly outspend public-power advocates in local elections. It would also set a dangerous precedent by allowing a private corporation, in an outrageous perversion of the initiative process, to use the constitution to restrict competition from public entities and give its own high rates extraordinary protection.
The law should protect renewable energy and consumer choice, not obstruct them. PG&E wants to purchase a constitutional amendment that will stop local efforts to choose clean, green, and affordable energy. This June Sierra Club asks you to vote no on Proposition 16.
Write letters to the editors of your local newspapers.
E-mail your friends and family to explain why they should join us in voting no on Prop 16.
To get involved in the No on 16 campaign, contact Chapter conservation organizer or call (510) 848-0800, ext. 312 or Al Weinrub at (510) 531-0720 or by email to al.weinrub -at- comcast.net
Go to the Prop 16 campaign on-line to get the latest news through our Facebook page and Twitter. Social networks are very effective and can be used to drive people to the official campaign web site. The site has convenient ways to do any of the above actions and many more.