BAILOUT WATCH: Keeping an eye on the energy industry and the politicians
Bailout Watch #76 – Sep 06, 2001
SPECIAL EVENING BULLETIN
Dems Push Republicans for Political Cover on Bailout. FTCR has vowed a referendum and/or initiative to reverse the Edison bailout, along with individual accountability for lawmakers who vote to stick ratepayers with the $4.1 billion tab for Edison’s financial losses. This has got a lot of Assembly Dems nervous — with damn good reason. Today, the Dems enlisted Republican Bill Leonard, the only Republican turncoat so far, in a campaign to get other Republicans to walk the plank with them on the Edison bailout. They want to show the voters that this unprecedented exercise in CORPORATE WELFARE is bipartisan — not just a Democrat idea.
$192,199.51 per acre. What are the ratepayers of California going to get in exchange for being forced to invest $4.1 billion in Edison? At first, we were going to get Edison’s transmission lines — albeit at an outrageously inflated price. But Edison didn’t want to have to actually give anything up in exchange for the bailout — especially since having the government end up in the transmission business would be kind of embarrassing to the utilities, which pushed deregulation arguing that a free market in electricity would keep rates lower than under government regulation. So the transmission purchase is out.
But in an effort to give cover to pro-environment Democrats in the Assembly in exchange for their vote on the bailout, the Davis administration and other unidentified forces have amended the bailout bill to require Edison to hand over some pristine watershed land owned by the company as the quid pro quo. 21,332 acres, to be exact. Edison doesn’t mind this deal, since the bailout bill gives it the right to continue to use the land anyhow, including for construction of hydro plants. Also allowed will be timber harvesting, sewer pipelines, telephone wires, etc. Very nice.
This Hot Dog Won’t Hunt. We’ve done the math. We don’t see the voters — no matter how supportive of protecting the environment — looking at this and saying, heh, in exchange for being soaked to the tune of over $1,000 per man, woman and child in California, we got a few thousand acres in Fresno. To use the now immortal reckoning of Sen. President John Burton: where’s the beef? (Or was it Wendy’s who said that?)
FOR INFO ON HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR STOP THE BAILOUT CAMPAIGN IN SACRAMENTO DURING THE COMING TWO WEEKS, CALL THE "BAILOUT HOTLINE" at 310-392-0522 EXT 8 — OR EMAIL US: [email protected]
425 Days Until November 5, 2002