Power struggle - Page 3

Mayor Lee misrepresents CleanPowerSF in defending his appointees' effort to kill it


The newest member of LAFCo, Sup. London Breed, authored a resolution supporting CPSF that the Board of Supervisors was set to consider on Sept. 17, after Guardian press time. It recites a history of strong support for the program by the Board of Supervisors, starting with a unanimous votes in 2004 and 2007 to launch the CCA and continuing through the supermajority approval of CleanPowerSF and a $20 million appropriation to launch it in September 2012.

It noted that the SFPUC held 18 meetings on the program between September 2012 and August 2013, and that its Rate Fairness Board determined that rates for the Phase 1 are "technically fair."

The resolution emphasizes an important governance issue at stake: "Irrespective of the particular policy decision, the Board of Supervisors must protect and defend its authority to make policy decisions."

Yet there's been a concerted effort to undermine CleanPowerSF this summer, led by appointees and allies of Lee and PG&E.

At the Aug. 6 Commission on the Environment meeting, Commissioner Joshua Arce pushed Department of the Environment head Melanie Nutter to renounce CPSF as no longer a green power program, something she refused to do. Arce fell a vote short of approving a resolution characterizing the program as not meeting "all of the commission's original goals" and urging the SFPUC "to work with the Department of the Environment to craft a program that is acceptable to the San Francisco Environment Commission."

Breed said she was disappointed in Lee's approach, although she takes him at his word when he says he's open to alternatives.

"The questions were answered, but there wasn't any closure in terms of what this means for the future," Breed said. "If not this program, what's the alternative?"

If the city is going to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals, which call for reducing 1990's carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2017 and 40 percent by 2025, it's going to have to offer some alternative.

"We need to be aggressive about moving in this direction," Breed said, "and we need to make sure the public has an alternative to PG&E."