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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

PG&E in local and statewide news

Two years ago, PG&E spent over $10 million in an effort to prevent Yolo County from approving a public power initiative. Now PG&E is back in the news at the local level as well as at the statewide level.

There has on this blog been a long debate over the viability of a proposed development on the PG&E Service Center Site located at 316 L Street. The site encompassed around 27 acres, extending from Fifth Street to Second Street.

Councilmember Sue Greenwald has long trumpeted the site as a largely relatively unused parcel that would be walking and biking distance to the downtown and even UC Davis.

Separated from adjacent neighborhoods it would be ideals for high density housing and condos.

However despite these advantages some have questioned its feasibility. One question that has arisen is whether PG&E even wants to sell the site.

Former Davis City Councilmember Mike Harrington, who also was a member of the HESC pointed out that there was a letter from PG&E to the City that indicated their interest in selling the property. (See the scan of the letter). As it turns out this was available all along on the city's website and in the HESC packet when the site came up for discussion on July 26, 2007.

The letter in part reads:
"As discussed during the June 7 meeting, the City's philosophy toward maximizing green, efficient and renewable technology and opportunities is consistent with that of PG&E. The company is sensitive toward the needs of the community and we are open to considering and exploring innovative alternative uses for the site."
That should settle at least that portion of the debate. What remains unknown is the cost to the city that they would incur from purchasing the property. Although it would seem to me that a developer could do it and recoup the costs by developing the property and selling the units.

Still this would seem to be one of the more interesting sites that if available, it appears most Davis residents could get behind.

PG&E Gives $250,000 to defeat Proposition 8

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that PG&E announced it would give $250,000 to the No on Proposition 8 campaign.

According to the Times:
"Analysts said businesses may be more willing to get involved this time because they have more gay and lesbian employees who are out and in positions of power and because they believe the amendment could hurt business if passed, by giving the impression that California is not friendly to gay and lesbians."
Spokesperson Eilen Chiu said:
“We fought for immigration rights as well as for affirmative action. Gay marriage is the next initiative we felt is worthy to fight for. Every single employee and customer deserves the right to marry.”
The company is also calling for other California businesses to publicly endorse allowing gay couples to marry.

Not surprisingly the announcement was met by less enthusiasm by supports of the proposition, one of whom quipped that he couldn't call them up and tell them to turn off his power.

But then again, maybe such a move might generate good publicity.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting