By: Former Pacifica Mayor John Keener
The primary race for Anna Eshoo’s congressional seat, which closes on March 5, is filled with people from Santa Clara County and San Jose that few of us know. The top two vote-getters will face off in the general election in November. I am endorsing one of the candidates, Sam Liccardo, the former Mayor of San Jose.
As part of my duties when I was on Pacifica’s City Council, I served on the Peninsula Clean Energy board, and continued as an Emeritus Director after the end of my political career. Most of you will remember the large fires caused by PG&E’s neglect of routine maintenance of transmission lines. The company was facing bankruptcy unless it could convince a Federal judge that it could borrow enough money to pay the large penalties.
Sam Liccardo was the prime mover behind a serious attempt to turn PG&E into a public corporation. A public corporation wouldn’t have to pay its investors a 10 percent profit every year, and it could obtain loans to pay for the damages at a lower interest rate than PG&E could, resulting in substantial savings to ratepayers.
Those ratepayers included Peninsula Clean Energy customers, about 95 percent of San Mateo County. Peninsula Clean Energy provided electricity generation, but PG&E still charged for power transmission and delivery, the poles and wires.
Sam Liccardo’s novel idea was rejected when the governor ensured that PG&E would be able to borrow the money for the fire damages. Sam’s proposal would have saved consumers money. Instead, PG&E’s rates have continued to increase to the highest in the country, about 30 cents or more per kilowatt, with even more increases coming. Transmission and delivery charges account for 62 percent of my bill this month.
Sam Liccardo’s campaign is sending out really huge mailers to voters that set forth many of his policy positions in more detail than his competitors, which is great. This bit of history probably won’t be on one of them, but I think it tells what kind of congressman he will be – someone who truly looks out for consumers. That’s part of why he has my endorsement.