No on Prop 16, “Taxpayers Right to Vote”

by Deborah Lake

There they go again. Proposition 16 is yet another corporate power grab. This doozy of a proposition is funded primarily by Pacific Gas and Electric.

PG&E has spent millions of dollars in California to keep us from controlling our own public utilities. For example, “PG&E waged an unprecedented $10 million campaign against Proposition H that would have been difficult to counter in any election, but was especially daunting during a year with so many progressive issues on the ballot attracting time, resources, and volunteers.” (1)

In the recent past, these utilities were closely regulated and accountable to citizens. Deregulation has turned them into unaccountable leeches on the public treasury who have millions to spend to deprive us of what remaining autonomy we retain.

Read this nonsense. It isn’t even a cohesive argument about voting rights, but it’s scary enough to make people believe that their rights are in danger because public entities, for which they voted, can act in their best interests and take back public services.

“Help protect your right to vote. Right now local governments in California can spend public money or incur public debt to take over private electric businesses without letting local voters have the final say in the decision. In tough economic times like these, voters deserve the right to have the final say about how our money is spent. Join us to protect the Taxpayers Right to Vote – Yes on 16.” (2)

The accelerating trend toward privatizing public infrastructure should concern every citizen. In the short run, there always seems to be a savings, or a one-shot boost to budgets, when we turn a public service into a private service. In the long run, however, costs to citizens always increase. Moreover, our payments do not go to enrich our state treasury or keep state or county jobs, but rather go to enrich unaccountable players. These unaccountable players, once they get their hands on our public services, are never willing to return them to us without extracting vast sums of public money to do so. They can claim that we are “taking” their private property.

It’s way past time to stop this dangerous and expensive game that our politicians are playing with our infrastructure. No on 16, and no on everything else that some giant corporation wants to do “for” us.



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