In a series of desperate and ultimately unsuccessful pleas to their
colleagues -- the motion to send the contract to be reworked in
committee failed, 6 to 5 -- supervisors made clear that their
problem with the Recurrent deal isn't its cost. What's wrong with the
project is that it doesn't fit their vision of so-called "public power"
for San Francisco. Public power, for those lucky enough to be ignorant
of the city's ongoing energy debates, is a catch-all term for various
schemes to carry out a government takeover of the city's electricity
grid, which is currently owned and run by Pacific Gas & Electric
Never mind that voters have rejected these proposals not one, not two
-- and not three -- but four times over the past eight years when they
showed up on the ballot. Public power continues to be ne plus ultra political cause of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, which has concocted an edifice of paranoia, delusion, and outright lies around the subject that rivals anything dreamed up in the hotboxed basement of an X-Files fan.
are a few snippets from supervisors yesterday on how this particular
solar-power project doesn't mesh with their idea of electricity
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi: "I think it
does undercut our efforts on community choice aggregation and on public
power... and that's something that's hard for us to take."
David Campos: "Yes, there can be a difference of opinion, but I think
if you really do believe in public power, you should let this process
[of sending the contract back into committee] play itself out."
Supervisor John Avalos: "This is not truly public power, which is something I campaigned for."
famously referred to that time when the often irrational convictions
behind an argument become clear as the moment when the ass appears on the stage.
As it happened, yesterday's meeting offered a dramatic illustration of
this conceit. As he began swearing his own allegiance to public power,
Supervisor Chris Daly gave a shout-out to "our friends over at the Bay Guardian. Welcome, Steve Jones, city editor, here today." Jones, who was sitting in the press box, smiled broadly and waved.
scenes should give the willies to anyone who cares about journalism
that holds the powerful to account, rather than inviting them to
reciprocal ego-stroke fests. And whatever faces, names, or publications
you associate with the ass of public power, one thing is certain: It's
time for the curtains to drop on this act.
Solar-panel photo by david.nikonvscanon.