Note: The Guardian and I were delighted, after fighting PG&E since 1969 to enforce the public power mandates of the federal Raker Act, to see the SF Board of Supervisors finally start the process rolling on a veto-proof 8-3 vote. Even the San Francisco Chronicle, after all these decades of opposition to public power, noted in its Monday story by John Cote:
"The move would effectively end Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s decades-long monopoly on the consumer power market in San Francisco, and it would lay the groundwork for the city to generate its own power in the future.
"Public power has long been a goal of major contingent on the city's political left. The contract approval comes eight years after the city began setting up a community choice aggregation program, which allows municipalities to choose alternativve energy providers." Read more »
Dick Meister, who has covered labor and political issues for more than a half-century, is co-author of "A Long Time Coming: The Struggle To Unionize America's Farm Workers" (Macmillan). Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com.
Amid all the well-deserved concern over the deadly effects of tobacco on smokers, we've largely overlooked tobacco's other major victims – the workers who harvest the damn stuff for the great profit of tobacco companies, often because they have virtually no other way to make a living.
There are nearly 100,000 tobacco harvesters, some as young as 12, most of them Mexican immigrants. They work during the summer in the tobacco fields of North Carolina, the country's leading tobacco producer. As the AFL-CIO, its Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), the human rights group Oxfam America and others have reported, the workers' pay and working and living conditions are abominable. Read more »
And so, after the Guardian started the public power movement in 1969 with the pioneering Joe Neilands expose of the PG&E/Raker Act scandal, after three initiative campaigns to kick PG&E put of City Hall and enforce the public power mandates of the federal Raker Act and bring our own Hetch Hetchy public power to our own people, after hundreds of people worked for years inside and outside City Hall for public power and clean energy, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 Tuesday to formally launch a CleanPowerSF project that would for the first time challenge the decades-old power monopoly of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
It was a historic moment. And it was a historic veto proof vote that Ed Lee, the PG&E- friendly mayor, and his ally and mentor, former mayor Willie Brown, the unregistered $200,000 a year PG&E lobbyist, will have difficulty snuffing out this time around. Read more »
And so, after a Guardian campaign that started in 1969 to kick PG&E out of City Hall and bring the city’s own Hetch Hetchy public power to San Francisco residents and businesses, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in Monday's edition ( 9/17/2012) that San Francisco “is on the threshold of taking a major step into the public power realm.”
The lead story by John Cote, under a big front page head “Clean power plan would skirt PG&E,” nicely laid out the CleanPowerSF program and even said that the plan “would effectively break Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s decades-old monopoly on the consumer power market in its headquarters city.”
He quoted Sup. David Campos, sponsor of the legislation, as saying that “This is about giving consumers a choice. And for the choice to be meaningful, it can’t be dependent on one company deciding the energy future of this city.” The plan goes before the board on Tuesday (9/18/2012) and public power advocates say they have the votes for passage, despite PG&E’s furious lobbying inside and outside City Hall. Read more »