Reformer Hiram Johnson must be rolling over in his grave at the mere fact of this misguided misuse of his initiative process. Deceitfully advertised as "The Taxpayers Right to Vote Act," this measure is not sponsored by the taxpayers but by one single special interest, the largest private utility in the state, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the measure's sole backer and is spender of $25 million to $35 million on misleading TV ads and mailers. It seeks to make it harder for public utilities as opposed to private energy firms to be set up.This isn't a right-to-vote act, it's a PG&E keep-its-monopoly act.
And, finally, the ugly, Proposition 16, the “Taxpayers Right to Vote Act.” That misnomer ranks right up there with the most deceptive political advertising slogans of all time – and that covers a lot of deception... It is little more than special-interest legislation for PG&E to protect its monopoly in much of Northern and Central California. Such supermajority requirements are, in fact, undemocratic.San Diego Union Tribune
In reality, a yes vote will establish a constitutional iron curtain to prevent locked-in customers from breaking PG&E's grip on the lucrative energy-delivery business to a large portion of California, including Kern County, potentially enabling even higher rates. The company already has higher rates than almost all of the utilities around the state, including municipal utilities of the very type that PG&E would like to discourage through the passage of Proposition 16.
Newspaper editorial boards throughout California have denounced Prop 16 as a special interest initiative that will benefit no one but PG&E. To understand what's wrong with California's initiative process, all you need to do is look at Proposition 16 on the June 8 ballot. This outrageous measure is funded by more than $25 million from PG&E, and its sole purpose is to protect PG&E profits. Voters must say no.
San Jose Mercury News: March 12, 2010
The PG&E ballot measure (Proposition 16) is another example of the initiative process going awry in California, of a powerful special interest seizing the initiative process for its own narrow benefit. The measure the utility is bankrolling is not a simple statute. It is a constitutional amendment. If it passes, it enshrines unfair protections against competition for PG&E into the California Constitution.
Fresno Bee: January 20, 2010
Don’t miss the opportunity to send PG&E an unequivocal message by ignoring the barrage of misleading advertising and voting no on Proposition 16. The constitution of the state of California should not be for sale.
Long Beach Press-Telegram: March 22, 2010
Voters should not be fooled into thinking Prop. 16 is anything about improving the democratic process. It is entirely about PG&E's financial interests and would do considerable harm to local governments' ability to create and expand publicly owned utilities for the benefit of electricity customers.
Oakland Tribune: March, 12, 2010
Voters should reject Proposition 16 on June 8. It is a brazen attempt by PG&E to protect its business interests and thwart the spirit of a state law.
Marin Independent Journal: March 23, 2010
It is unusual for The Bee to come out against a ballot measure before the campaign has really started. The PG&E initiative deserves special attention. It's that bad.
Sacramento Bee: January 19, 2010
No, the point isn't to protect taxpayers' rights. It's to protect the profits of a monopoly utility - both from ambitious clean-power schemes in San Francisco and from modest annexations in Redding. This is one measure (Proposition 16) where voters will need to look past the catchy slogan and see who really stands to benefit.
Redding Record Searchlight: January 16, 2010
More Newspapers Opposing Proposition 16