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It's on!
Public power move is under way for 2002

By Rachel Brahinsky

There's still no final answer on why ballot-box tops from the November 2001 election were found floating along the coast, in the wake of the narrow defeat of two public power ballot initiatives. But questions about the validity of the election results haven't deterred public power advocates from looking ahead to November 2002.

As a first step, they've successfully pressed the San Francisco Local Agency Formation Commission to move forward with plans to study public power's feasibility. Such a study was one of the key elements missing from the November 2001 campaign.

On Jan. 11, LAFCO voted to speed up its plans for the study and to hold extra meetings to prepare for the possibility of another ballot measure in November.

"We want LAFCO to do the feasibility study, and I think we are on our way," Sup. Tom Ammiano, who sits on the commission, told the Bay Guardian.

The quick action was lauded by Ross Mirkarimi, campaign director for the two failed public power measures. "As supporters of public power, we are enabled to move forward," he told the commission.

Last year a bid for a similar study didn't go out until early summer, so there was little time for LAFCO to choose a consulting firm. Energy consultant E.J. Simpson was hired at the end of July, but he was fired just one month before the election, when LAFCO decided his work had not met its standards.

This year, in addition to funding a study, LAFCO may also hold a series of hearings on the issue.

LAFCO will meet Feb. 8, City Hall, 1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Pl., S.F. (415) 554-7702. Call to confirm room, date, and time. E-mail Rachel Brahinsky at rachel@sfbg.com.