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Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Fight for Public Power Continues Post-Measure H and I

PG&E last fall spent over $11 million in Yolo County to turn back a several year movement to bring public power to Yolo County. They did so by overwhelming the more modest efforts of those supporting public power. They did so by turning back the rare united effort by Yolo County elected officials. And they did so by confusing the issues in the voter's minds making them believe or at least doubt the financial outcome of such a change. In Yolo County this lead to the barebones defeat of Measure I. In Sacramento County it led to the massive defeat of their companion measure that would have authorized expansion of SMUD.

However, the fight for public power was not a short-term battle by any means. Measures H and I were several years in the works and the result of hard fought efforts by a number of activists, public officials, and local efforts. Those efforts did not die at the ballot box last November. PG&E may have defeated that effort, but now they will have to defeat future efforts as well. And at some point, PG&E is going to be the one that ends up on the losing side.

This Tuesday, April 17, 2007, the Woodland City Council is taking a very modest step toward public power by sponsoring a resolution that basically demonstrates their commitment to public power.

The resolution declares,
"The City Council of the City of Woodland supports the continued assessment of power alternatives that would lead to less expensive, more reliable and more earth-friendly electric power for the citizens, businesses and property owners of Woodland and throughout the Yolo County region."
Art Pimentel, Woodland City Councilmember is one of the key supporters of this resolution.
"We need to look at all options and alternatives to PG&E and bring this issue back to Yolo County voters in the near future."
PG&E if you can believe this, has already hired a company to defeat the resolution--a resolution that is very basic and does not mention SMUD as the alternative to pursue. They have actually created a call center that will link callers directly with Woodland City Hall.
"The resolution was not even made public until this afternoon and already had around 50 calls into City Hall to oppose a Resolution "supporting SMUD" As you can see the resolution has nothing to do with SMUD, but looking at other alternatives/options to bring Public Power to Woodland and Yolo County."
As the Realist writes:
"This has nothing to do with bringing SMUD back on the table. It just says we should be vigilant and keep exploring other alternatives. A monopoly in my opinion is not the best alternative. The control is out of our hands. PG&E may in fact be our best solution to power, but it will hurt nothing to investigate it."
Supervisor Matt Rexroad lended important support to Councilmember Pimentel and the cause on the Woodland Journal Blog:
"I support Art in this effort. Look -- whatever you think about Art -- he is standing up for what he believes in. You have to respect that. It is really easy to just try to make everyone happy all the time. That is not leadership. Art is out making things happen proactively. He is not out there waiting for things to come his way. This resolution has nothing to do with SMUD. It has nothing to do with the guys in the blue trucks. It is about public power and exploring that option for Woodland."
Pimentel and other supporters hope that other communities will pass similar resolutions supporting public power.
"I hope, West Sacramento, Davis, Yolo County, and others can pass the same resolution and be committed to the cause."
To view the full resolution see The Woodland Journal.

From the comments on the Woodland Journal, Mr. Pimentel could use our help and hopefully the Davis City Council can look at a similar resolution. Davis helped to pass Measures H and I overwhelmingly, and we need to help communities like Woodland continue the fight.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting