Supervisors to grill Mayor Lee over CleanPowerSF sabotage

Mayor Lee will have to explain why he's bucking the people and their elected representatives in favor of PG&E.
Rebecca Bowe

Mayor Ed Lee will be on the hot seat for his unqualified support of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and his related opposition to the CleanPowerSF renewable energy program, which his appointees to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission are trying to sabotage, when he shows up for the monthly mayoral question time at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

Hopefully the boring, scripted question time format that Lee created in collaboration with Board President David Chiu will finally give way to what the voters intended when they required the mayor to engage with the legislative branch: an actual, substantive, back-and-forth policy discussion meant to illuminate issues of public concern.

Because that’s what’s needed on this important issue. After more than a decade in the making, the board last year cast a historic vote to create the project on a veto-proof 8-3 vote. But the SFPUC is now refusing to set the maximum rate for the program, which should be a fairly technical and pro forma action, instead raising unrelated issues that the supervisors have already considered. In other words, unelected mayoral appointees have decided to veto a hard-won democratic gain, creating something akin to a constitutional crisis in a city that values public process and input. 

So for the first time ever, all the of the supervisors scheduled to ask questions (it rotates because odd- and even-numbered districts each month) have focused various aspects of a single important issue. Even though Lee has mastered the politicians' dark art of speaking without saying anything, this one should still be a doozy as supervisors ask the following questions:

1. Mayor Lee - As you know, San Francisco has set ambitious goals to combat climate change. In many ways, the City is making great strides in this direction, from increasing bicycling, to pursuing zero waste goals, to hiring a new, excellent environmental policy advisor in Rodger Kim who has a strong background in environmental justice and community engagement. However, the Public Utilities Commission has repeatedly failed to set rates for CleanPowerSF, the most impactful local proposal yet designed to curb carbon emission. This program was adopted by the Board of Supervisors, the legislative body of the City. However, there are some allegations that your office is stalling its implementation. What specifically are you doing, as the City’s head executive, to implement this policy in a timely fashion? (Supervisor Mar, District 1)

2. Mr. Mayor, can you please outline your objections to the CleanPowerSF program as approved last year on an vote 8-3 by the Board of Supervisors? (Supervisor Chiu, District 3)

3. Recognizing the constraints imposed by state law, particularly with respect to opt-out provisions, how would a clean power program need to be structured in order for you to support it? Are you willing to work with the Board of Supervisors, and have your staff and commissioners work with the Board of Supervisors, to revise CleanPowerSF so that you can support it? Can we come to the table and make clean power a reality without any further delay? (Supervisor Breed, District 5)

4. The Board of Supervisors has been very supportive of CleanPowerSF. Do you think it is appropriate for a City Commission to go against the policy the Board of Supervisors set when it approved CleanPowerSF? (Supervisor Campos, District 9)

5. Days after the one-year anniversary of the 2010 PG&E San Bruno pipeline explosion, you called PG&E a "great local corporation" and a "great company that gets it." However, the examples of PG&E's immoral, illegal, and greedy behavior are legion:

- PG&E avoided admitting fault in the San Bruno explosion, failed to cooperate with the investigation, fought against paying a fair fine, and hopes to make ratepayers pay for the fine.

- PG&E's current electric mix is only 20% California-certified renewable.

- Outages of PG&E-owned streetlights have increased over 400% in recent years, and PG&E wants to increase by $600,000 a year the amount it charges the City for streetlight maintenance without committing to improved service.

- Despite the fact that PG&E already has some of the highest electric rates in the country, PG&E is seeking to further increase rates in each of the next three years.

- While PG&E has proposed a new Green Tariff program, it remains only a vague proposal and there is no guarantee that it will ever be implemented.

- PG&E’s previous green campaigns-such as ClimateSmart and "Let's Green This City"-have proven to be short lived and ineffective public relations stunts. Multiple public surveys conducted by the PUC to gauge the level of support for CleanPowerSF have all found that a substantial number of San Franciscans want the opportunity to pay a slight premium for a 100% renewable alternative to PG&E.

Why does your office continue to oppose providing City ratepayers with an alternative to PG&E’s monopoly by implementing CleanPowerSF? (Supervisor Avalos, District 11) 


would have killed more people than PG&E. Mostly because nothing could ever count as evidence when considering a hypothetical.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:18 pm showing what has actually happened over the last several decades in cities that already have public power, is hypothetical.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:37 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

troll barrier

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into petty irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 1:29 pm


Posted by Anon on Sep. 08, 2013 @ 4:12 pm

I n d e e d , s u c h a n a s s e m e n t i s a b o u t r i g h t .

Posted by Guest Lecturer on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 9:26 am

that *certainty* "troll software" has been written and is being used on this site.

I can't imagine anybody being so dull and yet clever at the same time, so repetitively and vacantly cobbling words together into crude simulcra of a cogent arguments.

Nobody could believe that such an arguments would win anybody else over.

Could such comments simply be an excercise in sadism as I have speculated previously? Might they be solely intended to frustrate those who hope to find intelligent arguments and ideas to weigh here? -- or to comfort them who don't?

Or, does the shear doggedness of such replies point more clearly towards a likely unhuman origin?

I am reminded of the words of Garry Kasparov in "How Life Imitates Chess" where he described how it is difficult to teach computer chess engines the concept of "never."

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:14 am

I think "anonymous x" is a troll. That is proven by the way he always attacks the man and not the ball. But he is not a bot. Not nearly smart enough.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:20 am

a troll who trolls


and gets them to make fools of themselves being on the receiving end of the same shit that they dish out all day

it's fun and hopefully a little educational to the asshole trolls

at least every second they spend replying to me is one that they can't spend harassing people on this blog who are just trying to have a rational conversation without being continuously abused and attacked and ridiculed

as to the bot theory

i'm not thinkin' so

i know pretty well the verbiage that even a good bot puts out and can tell you that these profoundly irritating jerks are actually real people

astounding though that may be

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:38 am

Then you are worse than he is.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

damned straight

i will gladly be worse

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:17 pm
Posted by anonymous x x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

life is suffering

this is just recreation

and it is keeping you from harassing others for a while, as much as you would have if you weren't taking part in this inane conversation

Posted by anonymous bodhi on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

care to continue?

Posted by anonymous bodhi on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

I am not Lillipublicans

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

Even regulars here like Marcos and Greg are afraid to take him on in debates now. Which just leaves personal attacks as the only tactic.

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:38 am

Marcos and Greg don't waste their time with you anon

because it would be pointless idiocy to argue with such a moron

so much of a moron that you actually adopted my anonymous x handle to praise yourself...

you bring idiot narcissism to new heights

(apparently anon he thinks he is being clever and rocking my boat)

Posted by anonymous xxx on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:59 am
Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

Not. The guy has a brain the size of a kitten's. The only thing he has going for him is that he can win any war of attrition because he's here 24/7 and never gets tired of spewing the same tired mantras until he gets the last word. Because he's a troll... duh. By contrast, I've been on the playa for a week, then had company over, and now the weather's warm, so I'm more inclined to spend the day at the beach than swatting at internet trolls. In other words, I have a life... unlike anon, whose face is probably turning an unhealthy shade of greenish-white from all the time he spends on the computer in his mother's basement.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

You've gone quiet since he started posting a lot. And Marcos has virtually vanished.

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

anon posted the reply above

i'm not going to use anonymous x anymore since he seems to want to use it and seems to think it will get him out of the the hole he has dug himself into

let's let him fantasize...........

Posted by anonymous xXx on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

So i really don't care.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

and if the web masters and editor would figure that out and start requiring registration

we'd be getting somewhere

Posted by anonymous bodhi on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

limit the number of handles you can have.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

That last "Greg" was probably anon as well. Sock puppet troll.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

I personally don't feel moving from PG&E to Shell OIL INC will deliver sustainable clean power to the citizens of San Francisco. Green is not related to fossil fuels and as bad a track record PG&E holds, I see no benefit in moving to another provider unless rates, methods, sustainability can be substantiated and guaranteed. Shell OIL and Green energy ... seriously ?!? come on !

Let us please take measured fully informed steps and get this right the first time. No do overs. Frankly, I cannot afford mistakes implemented by over eager compromised board of supervisor members.

25 year homeowner resident and former business owner in San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

Perhaps, much more expensive.

While PG&E is already 60% sustainable anyway.

I'm not changing.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

I totally agree that the Shell contract within CleanPowerSF is nothing less than a big black eye on the whole program; a black eye that community advocates would like to eliminate, and we have even asked the SFPUC to seek a way to do so.

But the last thing we should do is hold up the entire 400+ megawatt local clean energy installation plan just because of this tiny 20 megawatt start up contract with Shell.

To start CleanPowerSF (before local generation is built) a small amount of energy must be purchased on the market. If the City cannot fill that role, then an energy broker has to do it.

And all of the energy brokers large enough to do this effectively are fossil fuel energy corporations.

For example, all of the 4 corporations lined up to fill this role for Sonoma's program, are indeed fossil fuel energy companies.

And fossil fuel energy companies are -all- bad.

So let's focus a lot more on making sure those 400 megawatts of local installation happen, putting 1500 people to work per year, instead of incessantly obsessing about which of the bad fossil fuel energy corporations is contracted for the start up purchasing.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

and Lee's panel of experts are rightly raising some important issues and questions. We need a full debate on this before proceeding as i do not believe the voters want this.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

Perhaps Mr Lee will grill the supervisors as to why they ignored, and overrode the wishes of the voters, who have repeatedly said "NO" to CCA.

Posted by Richmondman on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

anything to ram their ideological agenda down the throats of rate-paying voters, even those the same voters have always rejected public power at the ballot box.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

The voters have never said no to CCA.

In fact, San Francisco voters gave a big 'Yes' to CCA when they voted by a super-majority against PG&E's California ballot measure Prop 16 (2010) which was specifically designed to block California's CCAs from getting off the ground.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

And you see CCA as a step towards public power.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

CCA is simply not public power. Period.

Under CCA, PG&E continues to provide transmission, distribution, and maintenance, and the CCA (in this case CleanPowerSF) simply allows customers to choose what kind of power they will use, and where it will come from.

CCA is simply a consumer choice and clean energy sourcing mechanism; which is exactly why San Francisco voters overwhelmingly voted to protect CCAs by slamming PG&E's Prop 16 at the polls by over a two thirds margin.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

I have a problem if one of the choices is the government option AND the government tries to give itself an advantage by, for instance, requiring customers to opt out of it rather than opt in.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 10:50 am

Opt out is essential.

Otherwise PG&E would just spend ten million bucks on a slick ad campaign lying to consumers, and in doing so scare them all away from joining the program.

With the opt out system, customers will tend to more rationally look at their service, look at their bill, realize they are getting a good deal, and stay in the program.

Getting someone to proactively -adopt- something however, even when it is in their best interest, is much more difficult because most people quite naturally and rightly adopt skepticism as their approach to change.

An opt out decision is like the decision in an election in which an incumbent legislator is running and is much more likely to win, because the public will only oust that legislator if they have seen strong evidence of failure.

An opt out does nothing more than make the community program the 'incumbent' before the consumers 'vote'.

So in the face of certain multi-million dollar highly deceptive PG&E opposition, the opt out simply levels the playing field.

And we advocates have a strong interest in making sure every single consumer knows what they are getting into, because the last result we want is customers finding out they are in a program they didn't know they were being enrolled in. That would engender even more skepticism and result in lower participation.

The state law made programs like CleanPowerSF opt out programs for very good and reasons.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:20 am

Unions are the only other place I have seen this idea, where you have to opt-out of union political cntributions rather than opt-in.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:35 am

No one there is complaining about it, and Marin Clean Energy's retention rate is 80%.

It has been three years since MCE's start up and if consumers had a problem with it, we certainly would have heard about it by now.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:50 am

I just think that it should be the default, since it is the option that involves change.

Why should i have to make an effort to not change anything?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

I'm guessing you are excluding nuclear from the category of sustainable, but for all practical purposes, nuclear power is infinite and indefinite.

Why pay extra for supposedly clean power from Shell when PG&E are progressing in the same direction anyway?

Why not trust the experts rather than risk our power being in the hands of newbies and bureaucrats.

I think Lee should be asking the Supervisors these questions, not answering them. the voters have not approved this.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

As I've already made clear, the Shell contract is less than 5% of the program. The remaining 400+ megawatts will be far cleaner, and create far more local jobs, than PG&E's incredibly toxic nuclear power.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

OK, here is my question to the Supervisors;
"Why do you not support giving SF home owners a
reasonable fee for the solar they feed onto the grid?

Here is my answer The Big Picture:
Syria or Fukushima?
Which poses a greater threat to life on earth?

Syria is no threat to anyone in America.
The false flag gas attack came from the CIA/“Rebels”, to trick the US into another war for oil.

Fukushima represents a far bigger danger to the US & the world.

We need to focus our energy on preventing global warming.
Fukushima is about to suffer a worse meltdown now, than the original disaster on 3-11-11.
Reactor #4’s foundation is crumbling & is about to tip over,... & spill 1,500 fuel rods onto the ground.

This will trigger an atomic fire that will require the evacuation of Japan, as soon as Christmas, and contaminate the whole northern hemisphere!!
This is why the work is so very important.

Wars create more global warming.

Why is the media ignoring Fukushima?

Because behind your back, the elite are attempting to take over solar energy in the US. The oil corporations are making a big thrust into controlling solar energy in the US.

They do not what home owners to be investing in home based, decentralized, solar energy that can make homes big money, and so decentralize the whole energy sector, as is happening in 69 nations in Europe, using a Feed-in Tariff (FiT). This is the key class struggle in the world today.

Australia, Germany and Japan, to name a few, have passed new FiT laws, that the oil companies hate, because the new FiT laws are shifting the world economy towards solar and pushing oil companies out of business.

Decentralization. The FiT has turned Utilities into a modern version of a Farmers Market, where anyone can sell solar & wind energy onto the grid at $0.53 kwh. This has created 400,000 new solar jobs in Germany, and over 1 million solar jobs in 69 nations.

Lancaster, Ca. just passed a law requiring all new homes be solar powered. This new law is creating millions of solar jobs in construction. We need to harvest our timber, and build new solar homes, before forest fires destroy it.
Global warming can be stopped with solar energy & a FiT law.

If we organize for a FiT law here in the US, we can shut down the oil based war machine & stop global warming. Put a FiT law on the ballot in each city.

The FiT is a new tool the working class is using to take over the energy sector of the economy, and create a world solar economy.

The FiT is stopping global warming.
Workers in Germany, using the FiT, have shut down 8 atomic reactors.

Oil companies have a secret plan to stop the FiT. An example is the “Community Choice Aggressions” in Marin, SF, etc. The corporations give these secret plans green washing names like “Clean Power SF”.
CPSF is a fraud.
It is a centralized attempt to give Shell Oil $1 billion in tax payers money to build a giant solar farm in Nevada.
It will fail, because it does not create JOBS.
It is designed to centralize power & money into the hands of a tiny elite with Shell Oil. It will fail because it does not create solar powered homes.

CCA, CPSF, MCE are all fake "community" organizations, with green washed names, that benefits oil corporations, like Shell oil directly, to the tune of $1 billion.

How did Bernie Maddof rip off so many investors? Because no one exposed his fraud.

We are exposing these oil company green washing frauds.
Notice all the elite media, Examiner, etc., are supporting these frauds.

Japan is on the front lines of this struggle against the big US energy corporations like GE & Shell.
Japan got lucky because the Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, an environmentalist, gave Japan a FiT law that pays homes $0.53 kwh for 20 years.
Why does the law pay those who harvest solar & feed solar onto the grid this premium rate?
Because the world is facing a climate crisis and we need to inspire home owners to take out bank loans to build solar powered homes.
Because solar powered homes do not need atomic energy, and so can stop global warming.
This FiT gives the Japanese working class a great tool to decentralize their energy sector.

Solar has changed. Solar is now on a parity with gas, oil, coal & nuclear. Solar is now able to power the whole world.

GE claims the FiT will destroy nuclear power.

It is key for the US to understand what is going on in Japan.
Japan is leading the struggle to build a world solar energy economy.
Japan is the perfect storm.
Thanks to a set of positive factors, Japan is proving to the world that they can keep the lights on with solar, while they keep nuclear shut down.
We need to watch the working class struggles for solar and against nuclear power in Japan very closely.
If Japan can shift into 100% solar & wind, so can the US.

Australia, Germany & Denmark are far ahead of most of the world as they are easily becoming the first nations to shift to 100% solar by 2050. They are heralding in a world economy without oil or nukes.

By ending the power of oil & atomic, we can create a whole new world economy powered 100% by solar & wind.

Join the national day of action in San Bruno, Ca. on Sept 21 in San Bruno.

Posted by Paul Kangas on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 7:46 pm

Paul, again,

On the last comment thread where you were repeating this toxic nonsense attacking a good and important clean energy program with arguments straight out of the PG&E propaganda play book - as soon as I challenged you to post proof of your claims, you went silent. Because as you well know, you have no proof whatsoever of your claims.

So, once more, let's test to see if you have any sources at all to back up your attacks.

Please post verifiable objective links which prove your following claims:

1) Community Choice Aggregation, and CleanPowerSF are "Oil companies'...secret plan to stop the FiT."

2) "CPSF is a fraud" and "will fail" because
"It is a centralized attempt to give Shell Oil $1 billion in tax payers money to build a giant solar farm in Nevada."

3) "CCA, CPSF, MCE are all fake "community" organizations, with green washed names, that benefits oil corporations, like Shell oil directly, to the tune of $1 billion."

4) "CPSF will fail, because it does not create JOBS.
It is designed to centralize power & money into the hands of a tiny elite with Shell Oil."

5) "CPSF will fail because it does not create solar powered homes."

Please post definitive proof of these claims.

Important: Here for readers, is the link to the latest plan for CleanPowerSF which will create 1500 jobs a year for the next ten years installing lots of local rooftop solar and many other diverse forms of renewable energy and efficiency installations in San Francisco.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 10:42 pm

Our "heroes" should hold another press conference telling us how great they are.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 10:42 pm

Bernal Heights, but they went bat crazy over the woman killed on a bike.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 6:42 am

Is the number four? Did the guy the drunk firefighter (I.e. "hero") hit on his motorcycle survive?

Sorry if I think City employees grossly negligently killing people is a bigger issue than public power.

Yes, it is interesting SFBG does not find a woman lying in a park with her baby killed by a City employee noteworthy. It's truly sickening.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 8:20 am

numbers dead would be massive, as the city messes up everything it touches but fortunately that currently excludes things that can easily kill like electricity and gas.

Do you really want power run by the same morons that run Muni, or that kill people in parks?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 8:33 am

There are cities all over the country that provide their own gas and electric power.

Please respond with a link to any news report which proves your claim that:

"If the city were running gas and electric power then the numbers dead would be massive"

(cue crickets...)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 8:49 am

charge of delivering gas and electric, so it doesn't matter whatever proof you think exists or doesn't exist. In a democracy it is the voters who decide such things by expressing their views.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 9:06 am

You didn't respond to Eric's point.

You also misuse the word "democracy".

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 9:21 am

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