Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, February 01, 2010

Pacific Gas & Electric: “Fuck the Voters”

If you’re somewhere to the left of Dick Cheney and Grover Norquist, this article combines the worst of corporate monopolies, corporate welfare, and the hijacking of the statewide initiative process by corporate interests.

There’s probably a city near you that’s fighting the ongoing battle of public/municipal utilities vs. “the private sector” trying to provide the same service.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has a long history of spending quatrabrazilians of dollars throughout California every time a municipal government even thinks about creating a public utility service and thereby no longer needing PG&E’s monopoly “service.” Sometimes they win (money talks) and once in awhile they lose.

And PG&E is about to fix this pesky little problem once and for all.

This June, courtesy of the above-named monopoly, there will be a ballot in California which, if passed, would require a two thirds vote before any local government could change to another utility provider.

What The Fuck is going on here? I thought voting meant, uh, gee, the saying “majority rules” rings a bell.

It was bad enough when these Neanderthal anti-tax fuckwits started getting a two thirds vote requirement in order for communities to get themselves out of a straitjacket. And this two thirds requirement was always about schools, mass transit, libraries, fire departments — in short, anything that actually benefited the public.

There’s never been any two thirds vote required for invading other countries, building more prisons, or sentencing potheads to life in prison.

Enough is enough.

And now PG&E — with the help of the Mafia Supreme Court Ruling legalizing bribery — is trying to use this same undemocratic Fascist tactic to guarantee that no public utility will ever compete with them again.

In addition to being a corporate monopoly — completely unresponsive and unaccountable — PG&E has a disgraceful history of providing Stone Age service at 21st Century prices. Every time California has a winter storm — and this happens in California in the wintertime — PG&E is completely dumbfounded and unprepared. “Rain and wind in January, who knew?!?!?!?! Nobody could have anticipated…”

So when tens of thousands of their captive customers are stranded without power for days, weeks — “But, these storms were unprecedented! There was nothing we could’ve done!”

They’re also famous for massive layoffs at the worst possible time. Several years ago, a judge levied a multi-million dollar fine against PG&E for failure to cut down trees that were near power lines. (This is part of their job requirement.) The company pleaded and groveled and sobbed that they’d have to lay off thousands of their employees if they had to pay that huge painful mean awful fine.

The judge relented and suspended their fine — and a few weeks later PG&E went ahead and laid off thousands of their workers.

That’s the kind of company they are. Any past or present California resident will vouch for that. And now PG&E has millions of dollars to spend — dollars extorted out of their millions of captive customers — to hijack California’s initiative process.

California voters, please don’t let this happen. If this can happen in California, we’re all toast.

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Blogger Holte Ender said...

They are paying the price in California for the 2/3rds vote needed to raise taxes, which is crippling California. For a state which such a progressive and innovative reputation they are beginning to do some pretty regressive things. Doing things for the benefit of the majority is no longer cool, in hip California. Minority rules.

February 1, 2010 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Holte: California definitely has a price to pay for that "two thirds" mentality. In my book, California is no longer hip; hasn't been for at least the last 10-15 years. It's turned into the place everybody left (or thought they were leaving) when they moved to California.

February 1, 2010 at 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Hey now, there are still some REALLY hip people in California that are trying to make it hip again. Thanks for this, I had no idea. Guess I'll find some people I can meet up with and do some damage on the good side of the fight.

February 1, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jess: True, I was probably a little harsh in my description of California. That PG&E power grab is the most blatant piece of corporate sleaze I've seen in a long time. I can't imagine the voters approving it, but if PG&E spends enough millions on advertising, all bets are off.

February 1, 2010 at 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

No worries, it's like when I dog the rubes in the south. I know there are many southerners that are trying to get their states out of the messes, so I hope they take it in the fun it is intended. Hell, I have enough to say about my own backwards slice of America. They will never be hip like CA though ;). I managed to arrange a meet up with some people that are doing some protesting about this before the primary, so I have plans to go meet some next week for lunch.

I know I just got my PG&E bill and was shocked almost speechless by it. We put solar in a few months ago and I figured it would save us some. I guess not till the real sun comes out and we can generate more than we use.

February 1, 2010 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

Unfortunately, I see this as a signpost for the future of America. The power elite seem to be working overtime to find ways to screw the American people.

February 1, 2010 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jess: Good luck with your protests against this PG&E monstrosity. What happens in California today happens in the rest of the country tomorrow; so that sickfuck ballot needs to be squashed before it multiplies.

Lew: That's a pretty scary signpost.

February 1, 2010 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger MadMike said...

In my little home town, located in the Heart of Darkness, i.e. South Georgia, we are also being seriously screwed by the local utility, with help from the state of course.

The difference between the two could be that ours is owned an operated by Jesus. Yes. It is true. The J-Man is into electricity.

February 1, 2010 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

MadMike: I was part of PG&E's captive audience when I lived in California, so that news story caught my eye. But I'm sure these power grabs are happening all over the country.

February 1, 2010 at 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

There's got to be change in the way California is governed. Ahnold is exactly right on that point; the initiative system has left it impossible to get anything done there.

February 1, 2010 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: Yup, that "two thirds" approach to everything (or at least everything the Oligarchy doesn't want) has crippled California for the past few decades.

February 2, 2010 at 12:07 AM  

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