Challenge Mayor Lee and his lies

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EDITORIAL In the long history of San Francisco political corruption caused by Pacific Gas & Electric's willingness to do and spend whatever it takes to hold onto the energy monopoly that it illegally obtained generations ago, in violation of the federal Raker Act, there have been countless ugly and shameful episodes, many of them chronicled in the pages of the Bay Guardian.

Mayor Ed Lee's misleading Sept. 10 testimony to the Board of Supervisors, where he deliberately distorted CleanPowerSF and defended the dubious actions of his appointees to kill the program, ranks right up there with some of the worst episodes (see "Power struggle," page 12). If there were any doubts about Lee's lack of political integrity and independence, about his unwillingness stand up to his corporate benefactors on the behalf of the people he was elected to serve, this appalling performance should settle them.

It was bad enough when PG&E used money from San Francisco ratepayers to bury public power advocates under an avalanche of lies, fear-mongering, and the testimony of paid political allies every election when its monopoly was being challenged, making it virtually impossible to have an honest conversation about the city's energy and environmental needs.

But now that advocates for consumer choice and renewable energy have spent more than a decade developing a program that doesn't require a popular vote, is competitive with PG&E's rates, would create city-owned green energy projects serving residents for generations to come, and which was approved by a veto-proof majority on the Board of Supervisors, Mayor Lee has stooped to new lows in a desperate and transparent ploy to stop it.

Once again, as he did during his rash decision to remove Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office before even investigating his most serious official misconduct allegations, Mayor Lee has blithely created what Sen. Mark Leno calls a "Charter crisis." Then, it was over the question of when one elected official should remove another; now, it is whether a trio of mayoral appointees can usurp the authority of the elected Board of Supervisors, the top policymaking body under the City Charter.

Relying on tortured logic and Clinton-esque legalese backflips doesn't justify the SFPUC commissioners refusal to do their jobs — and it would be deemed official misconduct by a less corrupt mayor. But this mayor sees his job as simply carrying water for the people who put him there, whether that be Willie Brown and his longtime client PG&E, or venture capital Ron Conway and the companies that Lee is heaping with unprecedented tax breaks (see "Corporate welfare boom," page 14). Please, isn't there someone out there willing to challenge this corruption and run for mayor? This city, and the future generations living in the warming world we're creating, deserve better.

Comments

since then, due to his hard stance on wife-beater Mirkarimi and the fulfillment of his pro-growth, pro jobs mandate (see the great success of his Twitter tax break) is now on an unprecedented 65% approval rating and a shoo-in to be re-elected.

No wonder you hate that but Lee has commandeered this fabulous approval the old fashioned way - through hard work, a can-do attitude, a lack of ideological baggage and being in tune with the voters.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

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, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 17, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

where the author is happy that the BOS did an end run around the voters.

Those voters being too stupid to think for themselves.

I also like the free choice rhetoric, the program requires that citizens opt out of the program.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

The SFBG makes no secret of the fact that they consider the SF voters to be mindless sheep, easily blinded by tv commercials and door hangers. Too loazy to make up their own minds. They don't see any other explanation for the way that their ideas lose at the polls and are glad that the BOS has stepped in to protect the voters from themselves.

Wasn't it just in District 1 where Eric Mar got way outspent by a more conservative competitor and won easily anyway?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

perfect example of participatory democracy on the odd occasion when the SFBG side wins.

If SFBG loses an election then it was "bought", or there was "election fraud" or the voters were duped, or the voters are just stupid.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 5:54 am

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, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 17, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

The title of this article is "Challenge Mayor Lee and his lies" but the part where the author actually identifies demonstrably false statements by the mayor is somehow missing.

Somebody should go back and fix this because it looks sort of embarrassing the way it is now.

Obviously the writer disagrees with the mayor which makes it all the more unfortunate that the production department somehow left out the part with the lies he promised in the headline.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

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, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 17, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

you would be up in arms about it.

But because it's a bunch of well-meaning sandal-wearing, tree-hugging greens doing that, it's suddenly a good thing?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 5:55 am

I am all for public power, real public power, but I just cannot use Shell Oil and Clean Energy in the same sentence without feeling oxymoronic. There track record is not "clean." Since it will most likely be implemented, I can only say that I hope I am proven wrong in this instance.

Posted by Granny Gear on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 10:26 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 10:48 am

None of the community advocates who have been working for the last decade to successfully launch CleanPowerSF strongly support the Shell contract (which by the way is a very minor component of CleanPowerSF in the first place). To date we have decided to very reluctantly -tolerate- the tiny 20 megawatt Shell program start up.

That small start up is planned to provide less than 5% percent of the eventual 400 megawatts or more of locally built clean electricity that CleanPowerSF will deliver to the City over the next decade.

We reluctantly tolerated the Shell launch for three reasons:

1) We asked for and received a commitment from SFPUC staff that the Shell deal would be held to only 20 megawatts and would be temporary - not to be extended beyond its planned five year timespan.

2) We asked for and received from both the SFPUC commission and Board of Supervisors extremely strong language in their program launch resolutions, stating that the local hiring of workers to build those hundreds of megawatts of local clean energy will -be- the program, not a piddling purchasing of tens of megawatts of electricity on the open market from producers who are already generating it in the first place.

3) SFPUC staff falsely told us that hiring a large fossil fuel energy corporation like Shell to purchase that first small tranche of electricity on the market was the only way to start the program.

So we all gritted our teeth and tolerated the contract with Shell, because it is the huge local clean energy installation and green jobs program -following- that small market start up which is important. The large local build-out is the ball we need to keep our eye on.

Here's The Best News - Shell Might Not Be Necessary

SFPUC staff have recently admitted that the SFPUC can in fact do the same type and scale of clean energy purchases on the open market that are planned under the Shell contract, on its own, in house.

Because of this dramatic new admission, community advocates are now engaging in talks with SFPUC staff on how fast the SFPUC might be able to get such an in house energy purchasing plan off the ground to start up CleanPowerSF, and if it can be done quickly and not delay the program any further, it is quite conceivable that the Shell contract could simply be dropped.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

the lowest price. If that energy trader is Shell, or even Enron, then that is what we should do.

Unlike you, I do not think it is worth paying more just so the suit is a bureaucrat rather than a businessman.

Posted by anon on Sep. 23, 2013 @ 8:08 am

We need to bring down our greenhouse gas emissions and drastically increase the percentage of renewable energy resources we are using.

I'd rather pay a little more to do that, then give the profits to the money-hungry PG&E stockholders.

The lowest prices bought us a Bay Bridge that is about as dependable as a bamboo skewer.

Posted by CopperJet on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

socialist policies in the US and destroy US competitiveness. The rest of the world doesn't give a crap about it so why should we? Technology will fix any problem that happens as and when we need a solution.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

All the world's scientists are in on it too. They cooked up this plot because they all hate America. And they somehow managed to get all the world's governments to sign agreements to curb global warming... except one. Because America won't be fooled by such shenanigans to sabotage our economy! America can see right through all those conspiring socialists!

Posted by Greg on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

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 reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 29, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

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 reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 29, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

If you go through the comments here, and change the "guest" moniker on each comment to "PG&E", the comments make more sense.

Public, or municipal power makes sense as a great source of renewable power and revenue for the city of San Francisco. PG&E is opposed to it, because they want that money.

As you ponder PG&E's motives on this issue, consider the fact that they were able to manipulate the hearings on the San Bruno blast to engineer it so that we, the ratepayers and taxpayers of California will be paying the costs and fines associated with that tragedy. Poetic, is it not?

I am usually too conservative for the opinions in the SFBG, but if y'all believe that municipal power is bad for San Francisco, I've got a Willie Brown bridge to sell you...

Posted by Netzard on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

How often are buses late or do not show up? Do they look well maintained and safe?

Gas is an inherently dangerous business and if the city had been in charge, we'd have had twenty San Bruno's.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 3:56 pm

Actually PG&E has been successful in creating a large number of explosions in downtown SF, resulting in several fatalities.

No help from Ed Lee was needed, although I'm sure he would have sat up and begged when they blew their whistle.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

It's impossible to know whether a city-run gas business would have been safer, since that requires evidence of a hypothetical counter-factual situation. All we can go on is the competence of the city in other areas like Muni and fixing the streets and, based on our experiences with that, it's easy to see that the accident record would be much worse with a bunch of over-paid, under-educated, demotivated suits running it who are just holding out until an early retirement.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 19, 2013 @ 7:06 am

And there's a reason for that. Public utilities are accountable to the people at some level. PG&E's only motivation is to make more money for its shareholders and its executives. San Bruno didn't happen out of the blue. It happened because PG&E made willful choices about where to spend its money: fat executive bonuses, crazy smart meter schemes to squeeze more money out of people, but not improving its outdated, rotting infrastructure. Because the latter doesn't bring in more profits. It just benefits the ratepayers, and as a for-profit business which is not accountable to ratepayers, PG&E has absolutely zero incentive to do that. That simply wouldn't be the case with a public agency.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

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 reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 29, 2013 @ 9:36 pm

The PUC hasn't run Muni in several decades.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 23, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

runs Muni versus anything else? The result is the same.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 23, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

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 reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 29, 2013 @ 9:37 pm
Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 10:15 pm
Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 10:14 pm

We already have had several explosions thanks to PG&E's incompetence.
MUNI is not run by the SFPUC and it is NOT run by bureaucrats.

Posted by CopperJet on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

supply was run by the same morons who run Muni and "fix" our streets.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

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 reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 29, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

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 reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 29, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

-- "Guest" = PG&E

Posted by CopperJet on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

Every time public power has been on the ballot the voters have rejected it. They know very well that the same city that can't run it public transportation system, can't keep the streets clean, can't keep the streets paved, can't maintain the parks and have pretty much screwed up everything they touch can't be trusted to keep the lights on. Ed Lee knows that as well which why he is right in keeping this boondoggle from being pushed on the city.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 19, 2013 @ 8:38 am

for adopting tactics that usually only the left adopts.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 19, 2013 @ 10:26 am

Sadly, many voters believe the circulars that PG&E spends billions of rate-payer's dollars to produce. San Francisco is a great place to live and raise children because a true majority of citizens are progressive.

You can call CleanPowerSF a boondoggle if you wish, but that doesn't make it one. Despite the economic downturn, San Francisco has worked hard and succeeded in making itself a transit and bike-friendly city; a city where all citizens have access to health care through Healthy San Francisco; an urban landscape scattered with good parks and open spaces, large and small that give adults and children a place to recreate amidst greenery the middle of the city.

PG&E and San Francisco are still in defiance of the Raker Act of 1913. The electrical power from Hetch-Hetchy belongs to the people of San Francisco. Instead PG&E owns the transmission lines and charges us to use it for benefit of PG&E's stock holders.

Every municipality in California where a public power entity (Community Choice Aggregation) has successfully provided a choice for its citizens over for-profit energy, the landowners and renters are happy with the results. Additionally public power entities are leading the way for cleaner, more efficient energy in the state. PG&E is still significantly behind in meeting RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standards) for alternative forms of energy.

Posted by CopperJet on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

The wrong people get to vote?

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

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 reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 29, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

If they lose, the election was stolen, or bought, or defrauded, or (as you observe) the wrong people voted.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

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 reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 29, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

is that most people don't vote. How many beers before you lose your reading comprehension abilities?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 10:22 pm

Those are the people who don't agree with progressives.

Somehow you think if more people voted the regular non voter would vote your way?

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

those who don't vote somehow think differently from those who do.

Well, they may think differently about the value and utility of voting, but there is no reason to believe that, if they did vote, they would vote any differently.

That is why opinion polls usually give very similar results to actual elections. The distribution of opinions across people typically does not vary according to who shows up to vote.

The whole myth is really just a way of rationalizing election defeats. But only, of course, where the left loses. When the left wins, it doesn't matter if turnout was only 10%.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 6:27 am

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 reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 30, 2013 @ 7:51 am

Nice of him to let everyone know that.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 8:08 am

That has always been true.

And remains true.

The SFBG has continually failed to convince people otherwise.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 29, 2013 @ 6:07 pm

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 reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and 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. 29, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

In order to challenge Ed Lee, progressives have to relearn how to win elections with the current residents of San Francisco.

Given that so many professional progressive luminaries make out so well personally under the current corrupt arrangement, that is not going to happen without a fight.

Ed Lee is not the impediment to moving a progressive agenda that includes public power. Progressive electoral impotence is.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 20, 2013 @ 5:52 am

power and, in fact, every time they have been asked at the polls, they have rejected it.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2013 @ 7:38 am

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