At the April 27 Board of Supervisors meeting, Sup. David Campos made a motion to push back board approval for San Francisco Public Utilities Commission infrastructure improvement projects until a contract was in hand for the city’s Community Choice Aggregation program. If a contract isn’t signed by June 8 , when voters will decide on Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s Prop 16 in the June election, the city could be vulnerable to a legal strike against its green municipal power program from PG&E.
“Having watched the very slow process” of negotiating a contract, “I believe CCA should be the top priority,” Campos said.
Sup. Ross Mirkarimi, who chairs the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) and has been the primary driver behind CCA on the board, acknowledged that asking the board to withhold funding for city infrastructure projects was “an extraordinary act,” but warned that the imminent threat of Prop 16 called for drastic measures. “Given this external threat from a corporation that is doing everything in its power to subvert and deny San Francisco’s right to move forward, it alarms me, like I know some of you, that we do not have a contract in hand … knowing very well the kind of resources and fervor that have been demonstrated or exemplified in the past by the PUC or by the administration or by whatever other combinations of political forces who insist on something getting done by certain timelines and deadlines,” Mirkarimi said.
But while Campos and Mirkarimi won the support of Sups. Chris Daly and Eric Mar, they failed to bring the others around. The tactic of withholding approval on an ordinance in order to send a clear message to a city department about a separate issue “sets a real, real bad precedent for how we’re going to be doing our work here,” Avalos said, though he did voice his support for CCA.
Sup. Sean Elsbernd came out strongly against the move, and made a motion to table Campos’ initial motion to push the vote back for two weeks until a CCA contract was finalized. Then, in one of those dizzying contests the Supes sometimes get into, Daly made a motion to table Elsbernd’s motion to table Campos’ motion to table the vote.
To put it simply, six supervisors voted to move forward with the vote as scheduled, while four voted to hold back on approving funding for SFPUC projects until a finalized CCA contract was in hand. Sups. Mirkarimi, Chris Daly, and Eric Mar voted with Campos to hold off; Sups. Bevan Dufty, John Avalos, David Chiu, Michela Alioto-Pier, and Carmen Chu voted with Elsbernd to proceed. (Sup. Sophie Maxwell was absent.) After that skirmish went down, all ten voted to approve the funding for the SFPUC infrastructure projects.
When reached later by phone, Board President David Chiu said, “We are fully committed to seeing a CCA contract happen before the June election,” and noted that he brought up the urgency of the matter in a meeting with the mayor, who in turn voiced his own commitment.