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PG&E Won't Let Polling Numbers Get in Their Way. They'll just Buy a Win

by: Brian Leubitz

Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 17:00:00 PM PST


Interesting polls, updates and the like often find their way into my inbox. Much of it goes onto the pile of "to be written about," but time keeps eluding me on actually getting to the bottom of that stack.  One such item cannot allude me any longer.  It is a poll from Goodwin Simon Research on PG&E's Prop 16, the measure that would require supermajorities to vote in favor of adding any new customers to municipal power systems.

The news ain't good for PG&E. From a simple reading of the ballot title & statement, they're in a pretty tough spot. Just 21% of voters support Prop 16 from just that information.

The pollsters then tossed in a pro-PG&E statement pulled from their ballot argument, "Proposition 16 would "require a city or other local government to get a two-thirds vote of its people before it could use public funds to provide or expand new electricity service to residents and business." After this, only 32% support, with 42% opposing.

These are horrific numbers to start off a campaign with. But, if you're PG&E and willing to plow $6.5 million of your ratepayers money, no mountain is too steep of a climb. As of right now, there's not much of a No campaign, but it wouldn't be that hard to get one going. You wouldn't need to match PG&E just have enough to let people know what a dud this truly is.

Interestingly, I heard that when they were designing the initiative, they tested 2/3 and simple majority, and 2/3 tested better. Folks, we have a long way to go.

Brian Leubitz :: PG&E Won't Let Polling Numbers Get in Their Way. They'll just Buy a Win
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Testing their talking points (0.00 / 0)
This morning, Marin Commonsense Coalition, the Joe Nation led faux grassroots front group for PG&E, will be testing their pain/confusion/stalling points at a San Rafael event billed as a rally.

Meanwhile, citizens are cutting through the haze of misinformation with thoughtful letters to the editor, like this one from Mainstreet Mom's Gail Graham:

Competition + Choice = Lower Prices

"Contrary to what PG$E would have us believe, running a municipal utility is not rocket science and in the case of Marin Clean Energy the issue is Econ 101. Open markets and freedom to compete for customers are the energy currency that built America.  This is an issue of CHOICE v.s. the Power of a Corporate Monopoly, subsidized at that, to spend millions of dollars distorting the facts to protect their revenue stream. One in four Californian's already receive their energy from a municipally run utility and I hope Marin County will be the next.

PG$E is not only spending my rate-payer dollars for their own political gain, they are the sole funders of Proposition 16 which would institutionalize their monopoly for decades to come.  PG$E has committed to spend over 35 million of our rate-payer dollars to fund a political campaign that dramatically distorts the facts to protect their bottom line.  This is a perfect example of the nightmare of powerful corporations manipulating our political process for their massive profit.

I am so grateful to Susan Adams, Hal Brown and Charles McGlashan for their pragmatic leadership, sticking to the facts and keeping their eyes on the county's bottom line. Corporate monopolies have no incentive to improve their product as PG$E has demonstrated by constant and significant rate hikes-while still not meeting their renewable requirements. I look forward to our energy dollars staying in our own community through Marin Clean Energy."


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