Make PG&E get two-thirds for its initiative

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Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Morain just joined the chorus of voices against Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s Prop 16 with a piece that reminds us how PG&E just nine years ago last week went into bankruptcy. It's particularly interesting to read the comments; the Bee publishes in a town that's had public power for decades. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District offers lower rates and better service than PG&E -- and while the public in general, and people who comment on newspaper blogs in particular, tend to be cynical about government these days, the folks in Sacramento seem quite pleased with their public utility.

Here's one comment:

I used to live in a PG&E supplied house and my electric bills were unbelievably high... Now I live in SMUD house and my electric bills are sooo low. So I would definitely encourage people to vote NO. PG&E wants to monopolize the market knowing that a 2/3 vote is impossible. This is a case where a nonprofit efficient quasi govt. entity would be for our best interests. A for profit corporation like PG&E would suck us dry...

And another:

Why is this initiative known as the "Taxpayers Right to Vote" measure when it obviously should be names the "PG&E Profit and Monopoly Protection Act"? It's the same disingenuous campaign that prevented Yolo County residents from enjoying the benefits of SMUD electricity. PG&E, along with their two-faced spokesman, the supposedly "honorable" Stan Atkinson, sold Yolo Co. down the river with a barrage of distorted facts, misinformation and scare tactics. When are voters going to stop approving these special interest propositions that are ruining this state? Quit relying on 30 second sound bites to make your decisions and see who's really behind these initiatives and what their motives are. In fact, vote NO on all propositions unless they really have some merit. Prop 16 does not.

But here's my favorite:

Here is an idea for a new initiative. I propose an initiative that would apply to all subsequent initiatives. For any initiative that seeks a 2/3 voter approval, or 2/3 legislature approval, that initiative itself would have to be passed by a 2/3 majority rather than by a simple majority. What is good for the goose ought to be good for the gander.

That makes a whole lot of sense. If PG&E thinks a two-thirds vote is fair, and the company wants to spend more than $30 million forcing that standard on all of us, then PG&E should have to get two-thirds of the vote for its own self-serving initiatives.