Supervisors to grill Mayor Lee over CleanPowerSF sabotage

Mayor Lee will have to explain why he's bucking the people and their elected representatives in favor of PG&E.
Rebecca Bowe

Mayor Ed Lee will be on the hot seat for his unqualified support of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and his related opposition to the CleanPowerSF renewable energy program, which his appointees to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission are trying to sabotage, when he shows up for the monthly mayoral question time at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

Hopefully the boring, scripted question time format that Lee created in collaboration with Board President David Chiu will finally give way to what the voters intended when they required the mayor to engage with the legislative branch: an actual, substantive, back-and-forth policy discussion meant to illuminate issues of public concern.

Because that’s what’s needed on this important issue. After more than a decade in the making, the board last year cast a historic vote to create the project on a veto-proof 8-3 vote. But the SFPUC is now refusing to set the maximum rate for the program, which should be a fairly technical and pro forma action, instead raising unrelated issues that the supervisors have already considered. In other words, unelected mayoral appointees have decided to veto a hard-won democratic gain, creating something akin to a constitutional crisis in a city that values public process and input. 

So for the first time ever, all the of the supervisors scheduled to ask questions (it rotates because odd- and even-numbered districts each month) have focused various aspects of a single important issue. Even though Lee has mastered the politicians' dark art of speaking without saying anything, this one should still be a doozy as supervisors ask the following questions:

1. Mayor Lee - As you know, San Francisco has set ambitious goals to combat climate change. In many ways, the City is making great strides in this direction, from increasing bicycling, to pursuing zero waste goals, to hiring a new, excellent environmental policy advisor in Rodger Kim who has a strong background in environmental justice and community engagement. However, the Public Utilities Commission has repeatedly failed to set rates for CleanPowerSF, the most impactful local proposal yet designed to curb carbon emission. This program was adopted by the Board of Supervisors, the legislative body of the City. However, there are some allegations that your office is stalling its implementation. What specifically are you doing, as the City’s head executive, to implement this policy in a timely fashion? (Supervisor Mar, District 1)

2. Mr. Mayor, can you please outline your objections to the CleanPowerSF program as approved last year on an vote 8-3 by the Board of Supervisors? (Supervisor Chiu, District 3)

3. Recognizing the constraints imposed by state law, particularly with respect to opt-out provisions, how would a clean power program need to be structured in order for you to support it? Are you willing to work with the Board of Supervisors, and have your staff and commissioners work with the Board of Supervisors, to revise CleanPowerSF so that you can support it? Can we come to the table and make clean power a reality without any further delay? (Supervisor Breed, District 5)

4. The Board of Supervisors has been very supportive of CleanPowerSF. Do you think it is appropriate for a City Commission to go against the policy the Board of Supervisors set when it approved CleanPowerSF? (Supervisor Campos, District 9)

5. Days after the one-year anniversary of the 2010 PG&E San Bruno pipeline explosion, you called PG&E a "great local corporation" and a "great company that gets it." However, the examples of PG&E's immoral, illegal, and greedy behavior are legion:

- PG&E avoided admitting fault in the San Bruno explosion, failed to cooperate with the investigation, fought against paying a fair fine, and hopes to make ratepayers pay for the fine.

- PG&E's current electric mix is only 20% California-certified renewable.

- Outages of PG&E-owned streetlights have increased over 400% in recent years, and PG&E wants to increase by $600,000 a year the amount it charges the City for streetlight maintenance without committing to improved service.

- Despite the fact that PG&E already has some of the highest electric rates in the country, PG&E is seeking to further increase rates in each of the next three years.

- While PG&E has proposed a new Green Tariff program, it remains only a vague proposal and there is no guarantee that it will ever be implemented.

- PG&E’s previous green campaigns-such as ClimateSmart and "Let's Green This City"-have proven to be short lived and ineffective public relations stunts. Multiple public surveys conducted by the PUC to gauge the level of support for CleanPowerSF have all found that a substantial number of San Franciscans want the opportunity to pay a slight premium for a 100% renewable alternative to PG&E.

Why does your office continue to oppose providing City ratepayers with an alternative to PG&E’s monopoly by implementing CleanPowerSF? (Supervisor Avalos, District 11) 


I'd suggest grilling Mayor Lee over low coals with a piquant habanero BBQ sauce. A young Chateauneuf-du-Pape should stand up to the heat.

Posted by Chromefields on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 11:55 am

If the stupidvisors have a right to question the mayor, then the public should have the same right to publicly question the supervisors, set a time, invite the public and truthfully answer their questions with the media in attendance.

If I was the mayor I would question Alavos and Campos on why they put the rights of illegals, gang bangers and the homeless ahead of the middle class.

Posted by dave on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

Anyone can question the supes at the 100% public Supervisor meetings, imbecile.

Posted by Dave on Sep. 10, 2013 @ 1:50 am

the Shell program among the citizenry. The supervisors approved something that the subject matter experts now see various problems with. That's what happens when you put ideology before science. Lee has the experts on his side, and the people.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

Mayor Lee & the Unions are right on this issue.
The CPSF is a fraud, similar to the ones Bernie Maddof pulled.
The only reason Maddor got away with his fraud so long,
was no one called him on it.
Time to expose the CPSF fraud.
The CPSF is a trick to give a tiny clique $1 billion
to start their own Utility.
I'm not buying it.

What most people want is to be paid $0.53 kwh for feeding
solar onto the grid, by putting solar
panels on their own roof.

Decentralization. One of the Green Party key values.
It does no good to pay Shell $20 million to build a
solar farm in Nevada.
That creates no JOBS here.

Posted by Paul Kangas on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

Paul, on the last comment thread where you were repeating this toxic nonsense attacking a good and important clean energy program (with exactly the same arguments that PG&E is using) as soon as I challenged you to post proof of your claims, you went silent. Because as you well know, you have no proof of your claims.

Let's try again.

Please post verifiable objective links which prove your following claims:

1) "CPSF is a fraud"

2) "CPSF is a trick to give a tiny clique $1 billion
to start their own Utility" Be specific: What clique? What utility?

3) CPSF will "pay Shell $20 million to build a
solar farm in Nevada."

Please post definitive proof of these claims.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

SF is earthquake country. If we install solar panels on each home, that way, when the grid goes down during a quake, homes, schools & hospitals still have lights. Best of all, if we have solar panels on each home, we get the money from selling our solar onto the grid. The money does not go to some middleman.
Now AB 327 requires PG&E to buy solar from anyone who is selling solar to help the state achieve 100% solar. This law gives the CPUC the power to set the rates paid to home owners, as high as necessary, to fully compensate people who buy solar panels. This means the CPUC can require PG&E to pay $0.53 kwh to home owners & farmers to motivate them to invest in solar. This will create 50,000 jobs in SF.
The goal is to make California 100% solar powered, so we can ban gas fracking, shut down all nukes and stop using coal. This is Decentralization, a key value of the Green Party.
The opposite is to pay Shell Oil $20 million to build a solar farm in Nevada, which is what CPSF wants to do. Bad idea. I urge people to opt out of the CPSF Centralization.
Fukushima is about to have a second and worse meltdown with the next quake. We need to lead the way against nuclear power, by shutting down all the nukes in the US. The way the Germans are shutting down all their nukes is by using a Feed in Tariff (FiT) that requires Utilities to pay $0.53 kwh to all homes who feed solar onto the grid. This has created 400,000 jobs in Germany. There are now 69 nations that have a FiT like that.
SF does not need to re-invent the wheel. SF should go with the law has been proven to create the most jobs: the FiT.

Posted by Paul Kangas on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 6:16 am

Your plan even says you are asking for a SF BOND
for $1 BILLION,
to be stolen from the SF taxpayers
to start your own Utility.

Don't play dumb.
We are onto your CPSF scam.
It will create almost no JOBS in SF.
I am opting out.

Posted by Paul Kangas on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 6:47 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 7:17 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

Between Hinkley and San Bruno it is responsible for hundreds of deaths and maimings.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

You've obviously learned from the best here.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

I just entered this thread. How could I be 'losing' in a conversation that just started...?

As to your claim about my comment..


Show me evidence that my statement about PG&E is inaccurate.

It isn't.

Here is evidence that it is quite accurate.

And before you start crowing about '4 deaths' read lower down the reference to a second suit with 2,000 plaintiffs.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

and post some research about how much blood and destruction is on Shell Oil's hands?

Or does that not matter to you? Does the thought of this project as currently structured mean so much that you don't care who SF gets into bed with?

Posted by GuestD on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

I do care. I am well aware of Shell's incredibly evil history, and I and other organizers have specifically asked the SF Public Utilities Commission to try to find an alternative to Shell.

But we also need to face reality.

The climate crisis is serious business and is already passing tipping points that could doom this planet and human civilization to a near total collapse by the end of this century if we don't -dramatically- change our energy use immediately.

Throwing out this relatively small pain-in-the-ass Shell start up contract, while ideologically attractive, could delay the program for years by forcing us to go back to bid for another energy broker.

Because of that imminence of the climate crisis, any more delays are a really bad idea.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 4:00 pm

I'm not even convinced it is inevitable.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 6:41 am

If I and the 99% of climate scientists who are raising the urgent alarm that the crisis is imminent are wrong, and people and governments do as we are asking, here's what will happen. The world will become a cleaner and better place which is no longer dependent on fossil fuels that the entire world is at war over; and millions of new jobs and a vibrant new economy, will be created to build that new cleaner world.

On the other hand, if we do what you and the tiny handful of climate crisis deniers are promoting (nothing) and -you- are wrong, here's what will happen. Both the entire global ecosystem and human civilization will collapse, and billions of human beings will die in misery, starvation and resource/land wars; and the human species may become extinct.

With those realities in mind, it is pretty clear what we should be doing.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 8:24 am

argue for the existence of God, i.e. it's better to believe in God just in case he is real and is judging you after you die.

Your fear-mongering abut imminent collapse of the ecosystem is not shared by the very people we vote to decide such things. And anyway the cost of implementing what you seek is astronomical and we quite simply do not have the funds or the political will to stop the world.

And even if we did, China would not.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 8:37 am

Retooling even our entire energy system would be far less expensive than the much larger and -far- more resource intensive full modern industrial revolution that was initiated and completed in the last century; and economic analyses have shown that renewables and mass transit create orders of magnitude more jobs than the fossil fuel energy and transportation economy. And China, because it is a lot more economically wise than the U.S. is in fact already making a massive shift to renewables. Where do you think all of our solar panels are coming from?

It defies imagination that you are actually asking us to believe that the current capitalist economy, which is massively larger, more economically powerful, and more productive, than at any time in the entirety of human history, somehow does not have the money to take on an industrial re-tooling that is not even a tenth the size of the industrial revolution. That's just, absurd.

Finally, your silly 'sounds like the argument of Christians for the existence of God' ploy is even more nonsensical. We are not talking about consequences after death. We are talking about consequences in real life, here and now.

So since, as I have just made clear, there is simply no economic downside or barrier to responding to the alleged climate crisis very aggressively, what possible logical reason could we have for following your advice?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 9:15 am

The world has vote.
Over 69 nations around the world passed laws requiring their Utilities, like PG&E, to pay $0.49 to $0.99 kwh to anyone who feeds solar onto the grid.
This is exactly how Japan & Germany shut down fracking and all nukes.
As Einstein said, "You can't use the people & ideas that created global warming to stop global warming. Shell Oil created the climate collapse. Give $1 billion to Shell to build a solar farm in Nevada will not help SF. Einstein was correct.

Posted by Paul Kangas on Mar. 05, 2014 @ 9:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2014 @ 9:16 pm

business, and a few fatalities over the decades is inevitable.

I'd hate to think how many more would have died if some overpaid, lazy empty suit at city hall was running the show.

If the city cannot even run a simple business like the buses, what hope would it have with a complex business like energy. That is why the clean energy abortion need Shell to make it work.

Posted by anon on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

You are spouting rhetoric without citing evidence.

If we include Hinkley, we are talking about hundreds (possibly thousands) maimed and killed due to proven willful negligence on the part of PG&E.

Please show me an actual example of any U.S. municipal program that has maimed and killed that many people.

(cue crickets...)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 3:31 pm

Your speculative conjecture about hundreds and thousands of victims is pure self-serving conjecture. You hate PG&E but the voters have always rejected replacing them.

Why don't you care what the majority want?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 4:00 pm

that's your answer????

'there is no evidence only opinions' ????


you just got you ass handed to you homes and you know it because you were asked to prove your asinine crap and couldn't do it

he proved his - now you prove yours


we are waiting.........


Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

PG&E is just like a Farmers Market.
If you have 50 solar panels, and feed energy into PG&E,
they should pay you a reasonable wage for your energy.
Say, $0.53 kwh, which is what Utilities in Japan, Germany & most
Utilities pay for premium solar energy, during the middle
of a world climate crisis.
It is necessary for PG&E to pay this,
so we can shut down gas fracking,
to save San Bruno from another gas pipeline explosion
on Sept 9th.

Posted by Paul Kangas on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

The injuries and deaths caused by PG&E in Hinkley and San Bruno are well established on the record.

Please show me an actual example of any U.S. municipal program that has maimed and killed that many people.

By all means produce your own verifiable numbers for how many people PG&E has ravaged if you don't trust the ones in the article I cited...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 5:00 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 6:42 am

You will clearly never show any proof of your unfounded statements, because you can't find any. Google searches are pretty easy. I'm surprised you haven't simply complied with the request that you prove your bogus pro PG&E rhetoric.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 8:40 am

power business would be more or less safe? You are asking for evidence that cannot exist, probably deliberately so.

What we do know for sure is what we see every day - Muni sucks, the streets do not get fixed, SFPD's conviction rate is abysmal and almost every other aspect of the city's business in down the crapper.

The voters do not trust the city to run power and they have said so at every election on the subject, as you well know.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 8:54 am

If, as you say, gas and electric systems run by city governments, are far more dangerous than those run by companies like PG&E, you should be able to easily search the internet to find examples of terrible accidents that have happened in one or more of the many cities in the U.S. that have run their own gas and electric systems for decades.

Since you have clearly not been able to do so, we must assume that the evidence simply does not exist.

Please do yourself a favor, and either show us that evidence, or simply stop responding, because in doing only the latter you are making a complete fool of yourself.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 9:28 am

If the voters want public power in their city, then they can vote for it, and can have it. Fine with me.

But if they do not, like in SF, then it should not creep in via the back door, as with this Shell plan.

Accidents are so rare that you cannot draw statistically significant samples from any one city either way. But I happen to believe THAT IN SAN FRANCISCO, where the city is particularly incompetent, public power would be a dangerous disaster. And so clearly do most voters because they have said so every time.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 9:42 am

you just spent hours frantically searching the internet for proof and couldn't find it

so now you are laughably claiming that accidents are so rare you can't post any proof

well if that's the case genius

how can you credibly argue that one thing is more dangerous than the other

what a joke.......

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 10:01 am

It wouldn't matter to you how much evidence exists against public power, e.g. the large number of nations that have privatizes utilities over the last few decades, because you just happen to like the idea of public power.

And if evidence doesn't matter to you then why ask for it? And why criticize others who also discount evidence or ask others to provide it.

You might as well just say that you like public power because you like it. That's as informative and honest as anything else you have posted.

The only real evidence is provided by election results. The voters do not want public power.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 10:14 am

public power?

i didn't say shit about that or any other subject in the conversation

i just jumped in because I despise pathetic idiot trolls like you and intend to help you (although you already do such a bang up job yourself) to fall all over yourself replying with joke ass answers like the one you just posted

you didn't search for anything my sweet ass

i can see the sweat rolling off your brow from it right now homes

and now your latest brilliant pronouncement!

the only real evidence of anything is election results!

no other evidence is clear enough to matter!

i guess in this business of stuff falling to the ground when i drop it...

instead of relying on my own eyes for proof, i should instead put the existence of gravity to a vote, so i can get better proof of whether gravity exists or not


Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 10:36 am

You just want to engage in personal attacks on other posters?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 10:51 am

i just want to help point out to the world what a moronic troll you are

(and not even a good one)

i also want to see how long you will keep replying to someone whose only goal is to get you to fall all over yourself like a fool

if my addiction theory is right

you won't stop until your fingers freeze up

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:25 am

And with a much worse case of lastworditis.

Posted by anon on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:39 am


i forgot you're so much smarter than Marcos and Greg and all of the others that you've got this all figured out

this is my game dipwad, not yours

in the game

i play last word boy

on purpose

to see how long

you will



with a **totally**



Posted by anonymous xxx on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

Interesting that you would take such a reactive role.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

his plan is to disrupt the serious debate here, and for as long as we bitch at each other instead of discussing substance.

Even when he loses, he wins.

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

and proper use of the anonymous x handle

Posted by anonymous bodhi on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

one aspect of all this which shows that cynical site disruption is not what these stupid trolls are about is this -

the more that a troll comments on an original story on this blog, the more it keeps that story in the top ten commented on stories

so the link stays up for a really long time, giving most readers a far better chance to notice and read the original (and most readers don't pay any attention to the stupid comments section anyway because on the SF Guardian it is such a joke)

so more people read the original story when trolls attack it a lot.....

anyone trying to bury important progressives stories

would not cause that to happen <;->

Posted by anonymous bodhi on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

just who is controlling who

but i think most people get it

and can see who's really punkin' who

most trolls don't have enough intellect to figure this shit out

because they are at least a little stupider than most people

(if they weren't, they wouldn't waste their pathetic lives harassing people all day)

(one of the stupidest activities ever undertaken by human kind)

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

It's only you and me at this point, princess.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

but you're still playin....

Posted by anonymous bodhi on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

A law of science is resolved through science - observation, experimentation, theorization, and so on.

A law of the land is determined by those whom we elect, through statute.

So the will of the people matters for the latter but not for the former. You're attacking a straw man in invoking gravity. But for public power, it absolutely matters what the voters want.

As stated before, while I personally prefer power to be private, I defer to the wishes of the voters. If SF voters approved public power, then I'd be fine with having it. They have not, as everyone knows.

Posted by anon on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 10:56 am

so you are claiming that it is not science to prove whether or not people have gotten blown up by public power systems?

you're even more ridiculous than troll number one

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:28 am

whether he or she wants public power based on their own reasons, which include risk assessment.

They have always decided to stick with PG&E

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:36 am

have shit to do with the subject

which was whether more people in fact get blown up by PG&E or by public power systems

still waitin' for you or your sock puppet 'Guest' to post your proof

Posted by anonymous x on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:53 am

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