Ian Pike noon, Dec. 8
Do San Diegans Lose Simple Majority Franchise Right If Prop. 16 Passes?
Recent advertising in favor of Proposition 16 state that if the PG&E-sponsored constitutional amendment passes, then Californians get the right to a 2/3 vote on creating municipal public utilities.
But it appears that voters in the City of San Diego already have the right to do the same with a simple majority vote, courtesy of the 1970 electricity franchise agreement that covers current franchise grantee SDG&E.
According to Section 17 of the franchise agreement, the electors in San Diego have the right by a simple majority to amend or terminate the franchise agreement with SDG&E. Together with other franchise language authorizing the City's right to acquire SDG&E properties through eminent domain, it appears that San Diego voters already have the power to create a municipal franchise by default once an initiative to terminate the franchise is approved by a simple majority (http://www.sandiego.gov/undergrounding/pdf/sdgefranchiseagree.pdf).
This blogger believes that a constitutional amendment requiring a 2/3 vote for a municipal utility effectively would ultimately negate the franchise language on our right to terminate the franchise agreement by a simple majority vote.
A NO vote on Proposition 16 would definitely be in order this June.