VOX POPULI: Say YES to Prop 16

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By JOHN KINOSHITA

California is facing a 20 billion dollar deficit.  Government spending in our state is at an all-time high and now they want to keep the status quo and not let our voices be heard when it comes to spending our tax dollars on entering into the retail electricity business.

Proposition 16 – the Taxpayers Right to Vote Act would require a two-thirds voter approval before local government can spend or borrow taxpayer dollars to go into the retail electricity business.

Asking for a two-thirds majority requirement stated in Prop 16 is no different from the current voter requirement for special taxes and most infrastructure bonds.  Prop 16 does not decide whether public power is a good idea or not – it allows that decision to be made by us; the voters.  If local government is going to spend our tax dollars and possibly incur public debt when entering into the risky retail electricity business, then we should have the right to vote on the issue and hear a sound plan.

Currently business leaders and organizations are joining together to make their voices heard.  The list of supporters is broad.  The California Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Asian Business Association of Los Angeles, California Taxpayers’ Association, and Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce – just to name a few.   On June 8 we can make our voice even stronger and vote YES on Prop 16 together as a community.   Let’s put the power back in our hands – the taxpayers.

John Kinoshita is former Special Assistant CA Trade and Commerce Agency. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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4 Comments

  1. Took this from a very well-written comment on this article: http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2010/02/26/pge%E2%80%99s-laughable-prop-16-who-needs-friends-when-you%E2%80%99ve-got-35-million

    “10 Reasons Why Prop 16 Is Anti-Democratic:

    1. It is created and funded by one multi-billion dollar corporation only to protect its own market share; it is NOT a grassroots effort, and it has no other backers
    2. It allows 1/3 of the voters to overrule a majority of the people
    3. The 2/3 vote stacks the odds heavily and unfairly in favor of PG&E– opponents of PG&E will have to get more than twice as many votes
    4. Local governments that try to set up alternative energy choices for customers are not allowed to spend a dime on campaigning in an election, while PG&E is free to spend millions–further stacking the odds in favor of PG&E
    5. An election is NOT “democratic”, when the odds are doubly rigged by absurd and unfair rules
    6. It amends the state constitution so it will be difficult to change if people don’t like the result
    7. The community choice programs that would be “voted” on are actually voluntary, and a vote will add an extra barrier to people’s right to choose their electric supplier
    8. Without these alternative programs, people have no democratic choice–no one is allowed to “vote” whether PG&E will be their electricity supplier, or “vote” for representatives on PG&E’s board of directors.
    9. The local energy programs that Prop 16 is attacking are set up and run by your local elected government; Prop 16 allows a minority of voters to take away this local democratic participation from you— and hand it over to unelected state regulators and corporations.
    10. Democracy means increasing public participation and choice; Prop 16 stacks the odds against the majority, and against individual choice–and sets up a high wall to keep the energy business an insiders game. “

  2. M.N. McCarty on

    It’s difficult to believe that anyone who’s not on PG&E’s payroll could honestly support Prop 16 on its merits. The formation or expansion of publicly owned electric utilities has nothing to do with the state’s budget deficit. Local governments that decide to enter the electric business to provide arms-length competition with an investor-owned utility are run by elected local officials – officials who were elected by a majority of the voters. Allowing a 1/3 minority to override the will of the electorate is not giving taxpayers a “right to vote”–it is tyranny by the minority. Prop 16 is a crock! Vote NO.

  3. Prop. 16 is an underhanded, deceptive effort to alter the voting requirements in existing law for choice of electricity provider. Instead of the 50% + 1 required by existing law to seek out a competitive provider, this misleading measure would change that to a required two-thirds majority. The only motive for Prop. 16 is to entrench the monopoly power of PG&E, which is the only monetary contributor to the measure — using more than $46 million collected from its customers!

    Prop. 16 has nothing to do with taxes, and nothing to do with new voting rights. In fact, PG&E’s CEO admitted at an investor conference that the intent behind the measure is to “greatly diminish this activity for all going forward.” Don’t be taken in by this propaganda. Competition is the cornerstone of capitalism. VOTE NO on 16!

    http://pgandeballotinitiativefactsheet.blogspot.com/

  4. James Fujita on

    I just got back from voting. I voted NO NO NO on Proposition 16.

    I’ve seen what the electricity rates are for Los Angeles DWP vs. the rates for SCE (PG&E’s twin brother). DWP, a public government agency is much lower than the private, for-profit corporation.

    I would love to have a DWP set up in my region, and Prop. 16 would make it much harder for that to happen.

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