Prop 16 Pays Off for PG&E, Not Voters


I hope that everyone in at least this part of California can see what a fraud Proposition 16 is. It is not, as PG&E claims, the “Taxpayer’s Right To Vote Act.” It should be called “The Take Away The Rights Of The Majority Act.”

If the initiative really had as its purpose the protection of the taxpayers, it might require the decision to expand a publicly owned utility be put to the voters so the majority could decide. But it does not do that. Instead, it requires that any such attempt be passed by a two-thirds super majority. Any time something requires a super majority, it strips some of our people of the effective right to vote. Note that the important word is effective. When something has to be passed by a 2 to 1 margin, there has to be two voters voting yes for every single no vote. Every no vote cancels two yes votes. The whole concept of one man, one vote goes right out the window.

Super majorities are, in essence, impossible to get. Every person who is opposed to something that requires a super majority can cancel two yes votes. That would be bad enough if they were the only no votes, but they are not. Some people vote no on reflex. Every one of them cancels two yes votes. Others are confused, don’t understand and vote no because they don’t want to vote for something they are not sure about. Each one of them cancels two yes votes.

Why would you, as a voter, put yourself in a position where you become a second-class citizen if you decide something that requires a super majority is a good idea? All of a sudden, your vote is only worth half as much as the vote of the person down the street who does not agree with you. What is wrong with “MAJORITY RULES”?

Finally, do you really think PG&E cares about your right to vote? Suggest that their rate increases be put to a vote and see what they say. The fact is that PG&E, as a privately owned public utility, has its rates set by a regulatory agency that is REQUIRED to set them so that PG&E makes a profit on every kilowatt of electricity it can sell. Keeping utilities like Redding Electric Utility from being formed or expanded means that PG&E sells more electricity and makes more profits. That is why PG&E is spending millions on Proposition 16: because that is where the money is. They will make their money back over and over if we are suckers, fall for their fraud and take away our own right to vote.

One final thought: Did you see the story in Redding’s other paper Monday that Redding Rancheria was working to switch from PG&E to Redding Electric Utility because PG&E was more unreliable and more expensive then REU? Anybody living in PG&E Land who falls for this rip-off can look forward to that same unreliable, expensive service forever.


Dugan Barr has practiced law in Redding since 1967. He has tried more than 200 civil jury cases to verdict. He is married and has five children. The offices of Barr and Mudford, LLP, are at 1824 Court St. in Redding and can be reached at 243-8008.

Dugan Barr
Dugan Barr has practiced law in Redding since 1967, primarily in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death. He has tried more than 200 civil jury cases to verdict. He is married and has five children. He can be reached at Barr & Mudford, 1824 Court St., Redding, 243-8008, or
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12 Responses

  1. Avatar usvet100 says:

    no . no . prop16 is know good . no on 16

  2. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    Those are exactly my reasons for voting no on this. The sponsors of this bill know a 2/3 majority is virtually impossible to get and it will cripple the effectiveness of voters, as well as tie up the governmental process more than it already is.

  3. Avatar Donna says:

    Thanks for writing this. The TV ads are so misleading that it is almost frightening. The public utilities (REU, SMUD, etc.) are much more cost effective for consumers and there will be no more additional public utilities if this measure passes. I hope the voters in CA are able to look past the rhetoric that PGE is spewing. Vote NO on 16!

  4. Avatar Matt says:

    All of these things are true, but I would immediately be suspicious of anything supported by PG&E. The entire concept behind this proposition is absurd, but I hope people aren't wooed by PG&E and their pretense of concern for our democratic process.

    Definitely vote no on 16.

  5. Avatar Adrienne jacoby says:

    Didn't Jerry McGuire posit that you should "FOLLOW THE MONEY!!??" if this is so good for the voters, why is PG&E spending $30+ million dollars to convince us that this is what we want. But their ads are so good, it scares me!!!

  6. Avatar Adrienne jacoby says:

    Ooops . . . no, it was SHOW me the money. . . . same difference in the end.

  7. Avatar Fig says:

    Whew! I thought I was the ONLY one who scratched his head wondering how a "public utility" (like PG&E) would have the interests of its customers in mind. Thank you, Counselor, for making it crystal clear why this particular proposition isn't what it appears to be. I tend to get cautious when a public utility provides major funding to promote their particular agenda (look who the major sponsor of Proposition 17 is).

  8. Avatar Jim Gregg says:

    Prop 16 is the perfect example of the corrosive role of big money in our political process. Millions of dollars spent to qualify and then lie about a proposition designed to limit public power which provides better service and lower rates.

    PG&E's gamble of millions of dollars of their rate payers money for private gain should be defeated but don't bezt on it. PG&E's campaign reminds me of a famous Adlai Stevenson quote from the 1950s. When asked by a reporter if the issues were well covered in his ill fated presidential bid, Stevenson responded,

    Yes, the issues were so well covered the voters never saw them!

  9. Avatar Doug Mudford says:


    Thanks for clearly putting in writing what I've been incoherently shouting …your method is much more effective and informative. I was taken back by the brass it took to call this cynical grab for money "The Taxpayer's Right To Vote Act". Vote no on 16!


  10. Avatar mitch says:

    To tell you the truth, the majority of the U.S citizens are most likely going to vote yes on this proposition. The reason being that there isn't sufficient information out in the world to make people think. They just take things as is, the majority anyway. Everyone is so sucked into their own life, listening to ipods, and MTV, rotting their minds away with government made bullshit to numb their brains and stupify them. so much so that they cant even see what is actually going on in the world, and its sad. people now say "oh protect the world, recycle, do this and that,"be green" but how can we possibly try to nurture our earth back to health, when the people on it, keep working hard to destroy it, and whats on it. people look so much at what people say, but they don't take a minute to just stand back and look at the whole picture. our waste isn't the only thing that is destroying our world. its whats happening right under our noses.

  11. Avatar pmarshall says:

    Every day, we are bombarded with "yes' on 16! Now, I know people are confused, but will vot e "yes" because it seems so great. No, It was put on the ballot by PGE, all in their favor. For the above reasons, I voted "no" because, simply, I smelled a rat. It did not make any sense, and will not help us ratepayers.

  12. Avatar ssjid says:

    This voting is in favor for them.