PG&E still calls the shots - Page 2

Newsom takes aim at the Public Utilities Commission

"She should forge ahead."

At the very least, Leal ought to demand a full, public PUC hearing and demand that the mayor's proxies on the panel explain exactly what she's done wrong. And she should turn that hearing into a discussion of public power and the city's energy future and insist that the commissioners say openly whether they support a transition away from PG&E and toward a city-run system.

But frankly, most of the PUC commissioners aren't likely to defy the mayor or go up against PG&E. It's an embarrassing panel, and the supervisors need to move as quickly as possible to do for the PUC what they've done for other key city commissions and mandate that the mayor and the board share appointing power. The district-elected supervisors ought to have three appointments to the panel and the mayor two.

In the meantime, the behavior of the Mayor's Office here demonstrates why it's critical that the public power movement start looking at a ballot measure for next fall — an initiative or charter amendment that would set in motion a program to create a city-owned utility. There are lots of ways to approach that process; it certainly fits as part of a sweeping campaign against privatization. But however you frame the issue, it's clear the mayor and his PUC can't be trusted here, not for one minute longer.