Friday, November 03, 2006

GVEA's gag order

GVEA's recent mailing touting the glories of the new G&T proposal, combined with the quickie review period and upcoming vote in November, made me a little suspicious. I haven't really been paying much attention to Gary Newman's blog and his frequent criticisms of GVEA (sorry, Gary, but it's true), but the short turnaround on what is a major vote and a profound change in the nature of our electric utility made me decide to go back there and take a look. One paragraph caught my eye:
An interesting aspect is that, now that the board took a vote in the affirmative, ALL board members are supposed to officially support it. This is in accordance to a board policy that was written to insure that the board appears to be all one big happy family to the public.
I asked Tom DeLong about it at the Eagle last night, and he confirmed that this is true. When the board makes a decision, dissenting board members must support the decision. Tom was the only board member who voted against the G&T transfer. But now he must support it, because the board voted for it. Okay, but he's my representative. He's not the GVEA board's representative. How can he represent me on this if he MUST support it? What if I don't want GVEA to go ahead with the transfer? Or if I want to know what the risks or negative possibilities are?

I don't like the thought that my representative cannot speak his mind to me, his constituent. This is damn fishy. It's not like this is classified military intelligence or something.

I looked on the GVEA website, and at the Ruralite article (PDF), and nowhere do I see balanced information: no list of possible cons to this decision. What's up with that? And where does this $30 million figure come from?

I don't like the idea of selling off our assets, particularly to something that could sell them off to somebody else, and that doesn't answer to the GVEA membership. We have a public utility for good reason, and from what I've seen when public utilities go private, profit becomes the driving force, not the public good. Remember California's artificial electrical crisis and all that price gouging? GVEA's been a public utility for 60 years. We need more time to think about this. A lot more.

Here's the link to the proposed bylaws (PDF) for the G&T cooperative.

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