A LAFCo “milestone” at today’s Board meeting

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By Rebecca Bowe

At meetings of the Local Agency Formation Commission, it’s all too common to hear concerns that the whole Community Choice Aggregation program endeavor is moving along at a snail pace. At today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, there will be vote on whether to approve two new LAFCo staff positions, which could jump start CCA. But is there enough support for eight votes, which would ensure that the decision could withstand a veto? And will Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who voted against it at the last meeting but for it at a committee meeting the day before, stick with her 'no' vote?

LAFCo plays an advisory role in the implementation of San Francisco’s CCA program, which would allow the city to combine electricity needs of residents and businesses into a citywide electricity buyers’ program. Administered by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the plan includes ambitious targets for clean and renewable-energy generation.

But the process of getting such a massive project off the ground has been fraught with delay, and it’s not uncommon for citizens to get up during the public comment session at LAFCo meetings to voice their anxiety that an environment threatened by climate change can’t afford to wait any longer.

The two new positions -- a senior community development specialist, and a community development assistant, would help to accelerate things, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi told the Guardian, by ensuring that LAFCo stays on schedule with the CCA implementation plan. “This is a pretty critical milestone,” he said. The salaries and benefits would be covered by funds allocated by the SFPUC for the CCA program.

But just seven Supervisors voted in support of the two new jobs at last week’s meeting, and today there will be a vote for final approval. Supervisor Maxwell joined Supervisors Sean Elsbernd, Michela Alioto-Pier and Carmen Chu in opposing the new LAFCo staff positions last week. This seems odd, in light of the fact that at the Government Audit and Oversight Committee meeting held one day earlier, Maxwell voted in favor of recommending approval of the staff positions to the Board of Supervisors. We’re not sure what led to the change of heart.

Will she change her mind again today, or stick with the ‘no’ vote? We tried to call her office to find out, but never got a call back. We'll let you know.

**UPDATE**
We just received word that the new LAFCo positions were approved on an 8-3 vote, with Supervisors Elsbernd, Alioto-Pier and Chu opposed. Supervisor Maxwell voted yes.