January 22, 2003




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Public power Hall of Fame
An account of those who helped marshal the campaign for public power Proposition D in fall 2002. The measure lost, but the issue lives on

DOZENS OF ACTIVISTS and organizers lent time and funders (including the Bay Guardian) lent resources for the Proposition D campaign. At the top of the list is Ross Mirkarimi, who led the fight and built up the public power coalition's strength for two years running, with very limited resources and against great odds. There are many others who helped. In the interest of fairness, they are listed here in alphabetical order. We apologize for any inadvertent omissions:

Sue Abby, Charles Adams, Angela Alioto, Gerry Almanza, Bradley Angel, Mark Arata, Greg Asay, Victoria Ashley, Peter Bagatelos, Lani Battiste, Alan Benjamin, Medea Benjamin, Brad Benson, Dan Berman, Bob Boileau, Michael Borenstein, John Borg, Joe Boss, Ross Boylan, Richard Brooks, Dave Campbell, Mike Casey, Larisa Casillas, Tony Cesnik, Vincent Chao, Skip Charbonneau, Taj Chibnik, Joe Chmielewski, Rose Chung, Claire Cladwell, Sarah Clark, Jennifer Clary, Lucy Colvin, Doug Comstock, Laurence Courdier, Glen Crawford, Cassidy Curtis, Denise D'Anne, Robin David, Philip De Andrade, Michael De Beer, Ron Dicks, Phil Diers, John Dunbar, Laurie Earp, Don Eichelberger, Joshua English, Rob Eshelman, Alice Fialkin, David Fierberg, Alexei Folger, Lotus Yee Fong, Conny Ford, David Freeling, Rick Golbreath, Merle Goldstone, Alexis Gonzales, David Grace, Robert Haaland, Jason Halley, Eileen Hansen, Tom Harriman, Marie Harrison, Rick Hauptman, Karen Heisler (who was a key leader and coordinator for the campaign), Barry Hermanson, Sue Hestor, Paul Hogan, Nettie Hoge, Diane Holland, Agar Jaicks, Garrett Jenkins, Sharon Johnson, Walter Johnson, Dan Kalb, Charles Kalish, Betty Kallo, Greg Kamin, Paul Kangas, Dennis Kelly, Liam Kirshner, Carolyn Knee, Rick Knee, Karl Kramer, Mishwa Lee, Fred LeFevre, Robert Lehman, Whitney Leigh, Jonee Levy, Lori Liederman, Loris Lipki, Kathy Lipscomb, Dana Long, Mark Loy, Gordon Mar, Bruno Mauro, Surma Mauro, Paul McConnell, Brian McWilliams, Mary Jane Mikuriya, Jane Morrison, Joshua Morrow, Denis Mosgofian, Jerry Nelson, Joe Nielands, David Novogrodsky, Moira O'Brien, Christina Olague, Leon Olson, Richard Ow, Rik Penn, Karen Pierce, Kathleen Price, Angela Ramsey, Mary Ratcliff, Willie Ratcliff, Clint Reilly (who gave the largest single cash contribution), Chris Romero, Eddie Rosario, Renee Saucedo, Laura Schacherer, David Schmidt, Bill Schwalb, Giles Scott, Lana Scott, Tamara Sherman, Mary Frances Smith, Marc Solomon, Robert Stine, Mark Stout, Ahimsa Sumchai, Galen Swain, Tricia Taborn, Marc Tognotti (who built and played PiG&E, the papier-mâché puppet who made Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s financial excesses infamous), Wayne Tomlinson, Betty Traynor, Corey Valdez, Joel Ventresca, Pat Villano, Debra Walker, Howard Wallace, Rich Waller, Alan Wolf, Franki Kai Wah Wong, Howard Wong, and many others who lent their homes and businesses to be used for fundraising parties (including Bazaar Café, Goat Hill Pizza, the Merchants Exchange, and New Pisa).

San Francisco Chronicle reporters Chuck Finnie and Susan Sward and their news editor pushed their paper to break a decades-old news blackout on how PG&E has controlled city hall and kept public power off the political agenda.

Elected officials who led the way or supported the cause: Public defender Jeff Adachi (who was public defender-elect during the campaign), Sup. Tom Ammiano, state senator John Burton, Community College Board trustee Johnnie Carter, school board member Eddie Chin, Sup. Chris Daly, Sup. Matt Gonzalez, former Board of Education member Daniel Guillory, Sup. Mark Leno, school board member Sarah Lipson (who was a candidate at the time), school board member Eric Mar, Sup. Sophie Maxwell, Sup. Jake McGoldrick, Board of Equalization member (and former assemblymember) Carole Migden, Sup. Aaron Peskin, former Board of Education member Steve Phillips, BART board member Tom Radulovich, school board member Mark Sanchez, Sup. Gerardo Sandoval, secretary of state (and former assemblymember) Kevin Shelley, state senator Jackie Speier, Assessor-Recorder Mabel Teng (who was a candidate at the time), then-assessor recorder Doris Ward, and San Francisco Community College Board member Lawrence Wong.

Organizations that lent time, money, or other key support: Bay View, Bernal Heights Democratic Club, CalPIRG, Campaign to Re-elect Chris Daly, Chinese Progressive Association, Communities for a Better Environment, Consumers Union, District Three Democratic Club, First Unitarian Universalist Church and Center, Global Exchange, Grey Panthers, Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Club, Housing Rights Committee, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21 (along with many other unions who supported the campaign; IFPTE was one of the few that paid for an official ballot book argument), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Literacy for Environmental Justice, Mission Agenda, Peace and Freedom Party, Potrero View (and its editor Ruth Passen), Pride at Work, Proposition Campaign Alliance: Yes on B, Yes on L, No on N, and No on R, Richmond District Democratic Club, St. Peter's Housing Committee, San Francisco Democratic Party, San Francisco Green Party, San Francisco Labor Council (representing 80,000 working people in dozens of Bay Area unions), San Francisco National Organization for Women, San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association Ballot Committee (which voted to support Prop. D – although the SPUR Board of Directors later reversed the committee's decision and actively opposed the measure), San Francisco Tenants Union, San Francisco Tomorrow, Senior Action Network, Senior Housing Action Collaborative, Sierra Club, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, TURN (the Utility Reform Network), United Educators of San Francisco, Vanguard Foundation, and the Yes on K campaign. Compiled by Bay Guardian staff.

Public power Hall of Shame
An account of individuals and groups who fought public power Proposition D against the evidence of 2,000 public power cities nationwide, which have lower rates and better service than PG&E

Elected officials who opposed Proposition D and supported a campaign of lies and distortions that killed it: Mayor Willie Brown (whose position undercut the work of his own utility experts who had been working to push public power), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (who signed an anti-Prop. D letter critiquing the city's ability to run a power system while out of the other side of her mouth she praised the city's water system. Same system, Dianne!), Sup. Tony Hall, Sup. Fiona Ma (who was a candidate at the time), Sup. Gavin Newsom (who is using his cozy position with PG&E and its downtown allies to undercut the poor, district elections, and the progressive agenda), San Francisco Community College Board president Rodel Rodis, and assemblymember Leland Yee.

Officials who ducked the issue, when they should have been supporting the cause: Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Tom Lantos, Treasurer Susan Leal, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Organizations and media that spread the lies: Above all, PG&E! (the financially and morally bankrupt utility spent more than $27 million to defeat Prop. D). And PG&E's allies: Asian Business Association, Building Owners and Managers Association, Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods (especially Rebecca Silverberg and Barbara Meskunas, who opposed Prop. D and allowed their names to be used in anti-Prop. D literature and ballot arguments despite the way PG&E's high rates and bad service hurt neighborhoods; Meskunas and Silverberg let PG&E's front group write the ballot argument and let the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, PG&E's employee union, pay for it), Engineers and Scientists of California, City Democratic Club, Communication Workers of America Local 9415, District 11 Democrats, Excelsior District Improvement Association, the Fang papers (the Asian Week, the Independent, and the San Francisco Examiner), Filipino Democratic Empowerment Council, FDR Democratic Club, Golden Gate Restaurant Association, IBEW Local 1245 (which probably regrets its position now that they've seen PG&E's terrible contract offer), Irish American Democratic Club, Log Cabin Republicans, Neilsen Merksamer Mueller Parinello and Naylor law firm (especially Jim Sutton), RFK Democratic Club, Residential Builders Association of San Francisco, San Francisco Apartment Association, San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce (especially Roberta Achtenberg and Lee Blitch who attacked Prop. D even though they were pushing a bond to improve the public water system) and the Yes on A campaign, San Francisco Chronicle editorial board (which must not have read the fine reporting published in its own paper pointing to the benefits of Prop. D), San Francisco Homeowners Council, San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (which defied its own committee recommendation and fought Prop. D), San Francisco Republican Party, San Francisco Women's Political Caucus (especially Laurie Beijen), Small Business Network, the campaign consultants at Solem and Associates (the mastermind behind PG&E's campaigns for years), Sunset Heights Association of Responsible People, and Westside Chinese Democratic Club.

Individuals who lent their names to PG&E's anti-Prop. D campaign, or otherwise helped PG&E: Richard Achuck, Warren Achuck, former San Francisco Community College board member Ernest Chuck Ayala, Alice Barkley, Donny Bendo, Chris Benz, SFPUC member Ashok Bhatt, Pete Brannigan, Jon Brevik, former supervisor Amos Brown, former treasurer Mary I. Callanan, L. Carter, Derry Casey, Joe Cassidy, Mike Cassidy, Kelly Castagnaro, Kallie Castro, Douglas S. Chan, Lorene Chan, May Chan, Eleanor Chang, SFPUC member Jeffrey Chen, Elsa Cheung, Arnold Chin, Jack Po Chin, Mee Chin, Barbara Chionsini, Anni Chung, Pat Christensen (who runs the San Francisco Council of District Merchants), Ken Cleaveland, former supervisor Annemarie Conroy, Dona Crowder, Kristine Cummings, Mike Denunzio, O. Desmet, Josif Duberovsky, Howard Epstien, former supervisor John Ertola, BART director and newspaper publisher James Fang, Assessment Appeals Board commissioner Peter Fatooh, Frank Gallagher (the Examiner columnist who used to work as a PG&E campaign consultant and infused his columns with distortions to obfuscate the value of public power and hurl ad hominem attacks at progressives), G. Michael German, Doris H. Grover, former supervisor Jim Gonzalez, Mark Hagopian, Richard Hart, Winchell T. Hayward, David Heller, Nancy Hill, Examiner and Independent columnist Warren Hinckle and his Argonaut (which viciously attacked public power advocates and took $25,000 from PG&E for ads), Steve Isaacson, Espanola Jackson, Megan Janis, Michael Janis, Ed Jew, former mayor Frank Jordan, David Jung, former supervisor Barbara Kaufman, James Kavanagh, former supervisor Willie Kennedy, George Leal, Andrew Lee, Gim Gee Lee, Julie Lee, Maria Lee, Mary Lee, Mei Fong Lee, Patrina Lee, Priscilla Lee, Stephen W. Lee, Toby Lee, Toby Lee Jr., Yvonne Lee, Siu Yet Leigh, former SFPUC member Nancy Lenvin, Sally Leung, Rodney Leong, Harrison B. Lim, Mirna Lim, Chark Lui, Redmond Lyons, former supervisor Bill Maher, former SFPUC member Victor Makras, Darlene Mar, Angela Marcheschi, Angus McCarthy, Robert Mellet, former supervisor Jack Molinari, Jeff Mori, Sandy Mori, Stan Moy, Jeff Nelder, Janan New, Thomas T, Ng, Jadine Nielsen, Alicia Nieva-Woodgate, John O'Conner, Joe O'Donoghue, Felini O'Reilly, Jon Osaki, Irwin A. Phillips, former SFPUC member Claire Pilcher, Carlota T. del Portillo, Denis F. Quinn, Linda Richardson, Don Rodis, Janet Rogers, K. Peggy Shiu, Yee K. Siu, Mike Smith, Julie Soo, Parrish Spisz, Virginia Stefanelli, Hunter Stern (of IBEW Local 1245), Chong Hin Tang, Yee Mei Tang, Tom Walsh, Melvin Washington, Annie Wong, Independent columnist Samson Wong, Walter Wong, Wing S. Wong, Yu Sin Wong, former supervisor Michael Yaki, Frank S. Yee, Harold T. Yee, Elaine Young, Laurence Young, Maylen Yue, Dennis Zell, and Perry Zimmerman (head of IBEW Local 1245).

We extend a particular note of shame to those residents of Bayview-Hunters Point and Potrero Hill who opposed Prop. D. They live in the shadow of the PG&E power plant and should know better than to oppose a measure that would have helped to close it far sooner. Compiled by Bay Guardian staff.