Public Demands Davis Keep His Word to Protect Ratepayers and Taxpayers
Dozens of citizens, outraged at Governor Gray Davis‘ support for a multi-billion dollar utility industry bailout, gathered with buckets outside his Los Angeles office to demand he reject a utility bailout and rate increases. Simultaneous demonstrations were held at the Governor’s offices in San Francisco, San Diego, and the Capitol.
The protestors demanded that Davis keep his word to consumers and taxpayers that there would be no rate increase. Just weeks ago, Davis assured the public that he would not capitulate to Wall Street and utility industry pressures to raise rates. On Friday, Governor Davis changed his tune with the release of a plan that would constitute a ratepayer/taxpayer double whammy with both rate increases and a taxpayer bailout of the utilities.
“Governor Davis has lent his ear to Wall Street and ignored Main Street,” stated Paul Herzog, Organizer with the Oaks Project. “But Californians won’t stand for another bailout. If the Governor ignores the public’s interest this time, as Governor Wilson did when he pushed through the deregulation debacle in 1996, Davis should know that we’ll remember in November, 2002.”
An audit released yesterday of Edison‘s parent company shows that they funneled $4.8 billion in profits, accrued over the first three-and-a-half years of deregulation, out of California in dividends to their stockholders. Angry citizens today refused to pay a penny more to bail out companies that abandoned Californians to line the pockets of their shareholders.
“We know the Governor was meeting with executives from the utilities yesterday. When is he going to listen to the ratepayers?” questioned Susanne Griffin, an Edison ratepayer. “The 10% rate increase the Governor negotiated is the last we’ll stand for. The utilities don’t need the money, and we don’t deserve, and can’t afford, to pay it.”