Now comes the serious money. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on Friday contributed $1.5 million to its somewhat euphemistically named “Californians to Protect Our Right to Vote,” doubling the $1.5 million with which it already had seeded the committee in July and August. As reported here at the times of the earlier contributions, the “Taxpayers Right to Vote Act” that this committee is pushing would require local governments to obtain the approval of two-thirds of their voters before providing electricity to new customers or expanding such service to new territories if any public funds or bonds are involved, or before providing electricity through a community choice program if any public funds or bonds are involved. Critics say PG&E is playing on populist themes in order to block local governments from abandoning the utility giant in favor of power contracts with smaller, greener energy producers – a movement that’s been gaining steam in recent years. The proponents have until Dec. 21 to gather the 694,354 signatures needed to place this on the ballot next year.
Other sizeable chunks of change contributed in recent days include $25,900 from Oracle heiress and real estate agent Nicola Miner of San Francisco to Gavin Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign; $25,900 from former FTD Group CEO Michael Soenen of Chicago to Meg Whitman’s gubernatorial campaign; $25,000 from the Mercury Trust (apparently controlled by financier Saul Fox) in Foster City to Tom Campbell’s gubernatorial campaign; and $10,000 each to Whitman’s campaign from venture capitalist and former Motorola Chairman and CEO Christopher Galvin of Winnetka, Ill., and from retired investment banker James Love of Healdsburg, all last Thursday.
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