Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another deceptive mailer sent to Democratic voters

The flyer that was mailed to my house sure looks like it came from the Democratic Party; it says in large capital letters, "VOTER INFORMATION GUIDE FOR DEMOCRATS." It contains color photos of Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer.

But Democrats don't support Proposition 16. So why does this deceptive flyer urge me to vote to help energy companies?

I think the flyer was paid for by friends of Pacific Gas & Electric, which is hoping to prevent municipalities from providing energy to citizens. After the energy companies caused the horrible California financial crisis of 2000-2001, they should allow citizens to defend themselves from unscrupulous corporations who are happy to plunge an entire state into crisis in order to increase profits.*

This kind of deception is why voters need good reading and thinking skills, and this deception may also explain why those in power allow (or perhaps encourage?) our failing education system to continue shortchanging children. It's shocking to me that the biggest changes have merely led to privatization of education, not real change. We now have a bunch of failing charter schools in addition to failing public schools. The success rate hasn't changed significantly, and I don't think it will until we change how teachers are evaluated.
*From Wikipedia:

The California electricity crisis, also known as the Western U.S. Energy Crisis, of 2000 and 2001 was a situation where California had an artificial shortage of electricity. The state suffered from multiple large-scale black-outs, one of the state's largest energy companies collapsed, and the economic fall-out greatly harmed Governor Gray Davis's standing.

Artificial supply shortage was created by gratuitously taking power plants offline for (unnecessary) "maintenance" on hot summer days of peak demand. Rolling blackouts adversely affected many businesses dependent upon a reliable supply of electricity, and inconvenienced a large number of retail consumers. This demand supply gap was further exploited by energy companies, mainly Enron. Enron traders were thus able to sell power at premium prices, sometimes up to a factor of 20x its normal peak value. State cap on retail electricity charges squeezed the industry's revenue margins, causing the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and near bankruptcy of Southern California Edison in early 2001.

The financial crisis was possible because of deregulation legislation instituted in 1996 by Governor Pete Wilson (Republican). Enron took advantage of this deregulation and was involved in economic withholding and inflated price bidding in California's spot markets. The crisis cost $40bn to $45bn...

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