Supervisors to grill Mayor Lee over CleanPowerSF sabotage

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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) 

Comments

of his you are talking about.

But I use "democracy" in the sense of what the voters decide at elections e.g. not wanting public power in SF. But I feel sure you have a special personal sense of what democracy means that has nothing to do with elections. Unless they go the way you want, of course.

Posted by anon on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 9:38 am

to this dismal loser

he is never going to show evidence (because he doesn't have any)

and he is so addicted to getting in the last word, that no matter how stupid it makes him look, he will just keep replying with the incredibly pathetic answer that 'opinions can't be proven'

just watch him

the fool is actually even going to reply to **this** post because he is unable to stop typing even when it makes him look like a complete horse's ass

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 9:52 am

wanting the last word and then "predicting" that he will respond after you tell bold lies about him?

The point about "evidence" is the way it is mis-used in political debates. Neither left nor right are remotely interested in any evidence because they do not want to change their minds. Confirmation bias affects any evidence proferred, so it's almost always worthless in context.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 10:03 am

this fool's got it bad

and his only pathetic rebuttal is that we shouldn't run our world based on **evidence**

:)))))))))))))))

let's see if he replies again

bet he can't resist

i can play this game **all** day..............

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 10:25 am

Either way, anon has gotten his way, by reducing this forum to a catfight.

We both played a part in him winning.

Posted by anonymous x x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

By any chance, is an election result that you like "democratic"? but not the ones you don't like, that of course are bought, or fraudulent, or mis-representative?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 9:40 am

I've sat through several CleanPowerSF presentations. The SFPUC reps come to our neighborhood association and homeowner's association meetings. What everyone became quickly aware of is the higher cost to participate.

The SFPUC reps and supporters could not nail down the exact amount of increase, but based on percentages, which is inaccurate as they didn't know the mean measurements of square footage. For those on fixed income, it's no doable.

Meanwhile, our condo complex (200 units), along with several others, is currently converting the entire property's common area lighting to LED lighting. The entire cost of the project is being funded by PG&E. They are providing the upfront cost for equipment and labor. We pay them back, with the savings the HOA's common area lighting, over 5 years at 0% interest. Our current power use for lights is roughly $45,000/year. It will drop to $3,567/year. We realize the savings in year 6, when the costs are paid off.

The City DOES NOT provide this type of financing for Condos because we are Non-profits, yet they are more than happy to do it for business and apartment landlords. So, why would we seek the City's help. The SFPUC reps were like crickets in the field when we educated them to conversion with PG&E's help. So, now the City looses out our any revenue from our complex, and once the LED lighting is in, we go solar and get completely off the grid.

I've dealt with these topics with the SFPUC for years with ECHO and other Homeowner Associations and SF is light years behind. LA, San Diego and other counties don't prohibit non-profits from participating in energy savings programs.

I belong to a counsel of HOA associations and we advise all HOAs and non-profit businesses to forgo the CleanPowerSF program. They continue to claim it is for all, when it IS NOT

Posted by Guest on Sep. 08, 2013 @ 4:20 pm

politicians, bureaucrats and vested interests do nothing other than try and ram more expensive solutions down our throats

Posted by Guest on Sep. 08, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

The problem with the CleanPowerSF presentations that you sat through is that those staff who gave those presentations have been bamboozled and/or are outright tools of the Mayor's office and PG&E. So of course you had a program described to you that would not work and would be too expensive.

Here's what has changed since you saw those presentations:

1) Community advocates have successfully hammered on, and gotten, that SFPUC staff, to lower CleanPowerSF's 100% green electricity rates dramatically such that they are now competitive with PG&E's -dirty- power rates.

2) Community advocates have joined with union labor to ensure that the CleanPowerSF will only move forward on a foundation of real projects that will build 400+ megawatts of local clean energy and efficiency that will put 1500 people to work every year in its first ten years, and will maximize union jobs.

Kudos to you for doing what you can with the supports that PG&E makes available for things like light bulb switching. That helps make a difference, and I might do the same if I were in your position.

But keep an eye out for the actual CleanPowerSF program when it gets off the ground over the next year or two.

Because it will be accomplishing a lot of great things that the staff presentations you sat through cynically pretended it wouldn't.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 08, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

If the stupidvisors have a right to question the mayor, then the public should have the same right to publicly question the supervisors, set a time, invite the public and truthfully answer their questions with the media in attendance.

If I was the mayor I would question Alavos and Campos on why they put the rights of illegals, gang bangers and the homeless ahead of the middle class.

You would advocate the continued monopoly of coal burning, rapacious energy corporations?

yes, another moron sock puppet advocating against his / her own best interests.

reason? mercenary, sock puppet, disengaged lulz junkie, right wing rentier without a friend nor job, nor pet nor mate.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 10, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

You sound way too hyped up yo.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 10, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

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