Utilities Hire Sen. Peace’s Firm to Produce Propaganda
Consumer Advocates Urge Voters to Ignore Utilities’ Infomercial and Ad Blitz, Vote Yes to Save Money and Send Utilities a Message
San Diego, CA – Consumer leaders and volunteers supporting Proposition 9, the electric rate reduction measure, rallied today outside the offices of state Senator Steve Peace’s production company, which produced a half-hour “infomercial” attacking the measure. Prop. 9 proponents charge that Sen. Peace is profiting from the utilities’ propaganda, which is misleading to state voters. Prop. 9 supporters also unveiled a gigantic “Gouge-o-Meter” that calculates the amount of “bailout” money that San Diego Gas & Electric is receiving from consumers under the current deregulation law.
The news-styled infomercial stars former consumer reporter David Horowitz, who received $106,000 from the utilities’ campaign against Prop. 9. The show is currently airing on cable stations throughout the state. The utility-funded campaign against Prop. 9 paid $39,000 to Four Square Productions to produce the show. Sen. Peace owns Four Square and is its Chief Financial Officer.
Harvey Rosenfield, co-author of Prop. 9, and Harry Snyder, senior advocate of Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, criticized the money trail between the utilities and Sen. Peace, who recently co-chaired a contentious Legislative hearing on the impact of Prop. 9.
“It now appears that Sen. Peace is personally profiting from the utilities’ campaign against consumers,” said Snyder. “His company is producing one-sided propaganda shows to skew the public debate on Prop. 9. He’s not representing his constituents in the Legislature, and he’s helping to deceive them back home.”
“Prop. 9 would end a portion of the massive bailout of three utility companies by the state’s consumers,” Rosenfield said. “It’s fair and appealing to voters, so the utilities launched a multi-million dollar advertising onslaught against Prop. 9. All voters, especially San Diegans, should be outraged that a state legislator would side with utilities and personally profit at the voters’ expense.”
“Sen. Peace defends his role by saying that he didn’t want to turn away their business,” Rosenfield said. “For the good of California voters, he certainly shouldn’t help spread utility company lies that legitimate news outlets have dismissed as misleading.”
“Voters should send a message to Legislators who try to trick them and utilities who are trying to stick them with a massive bailout bill,” Snyder said. “Ignore the paid propaganda, research Prop. 9 in the official ballot pamphlet, talk to friends, vote yes on Prop. 9 and save 20 percent on your electric bill.”