ENERGY: The left coast : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Friday, May 25, 2001

Story last updated at 7:10 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, 2001

ENERGY: The left coast

Polls show Californians' confidence in Gov. Gray Davis is plummeting as he continues to show no comprehension of the extent of the disaster taking place in his state.

Amid rolling blackouts, Davis is still sputtering about "price gouging." Other state officials are as clueless and even more classless. The attorney general has said he would like to personally escort one energy company head "to an 8-by-10 cell he could share with a tattooed dude who says, 'Hi, my name is Spike, honey.' "

Mired in denial, California politicians are spending billions of the taxpayers money in an effort to keep the lights on.

The state controller says the state might have to issue another $4 billion in debt in addition to the $13.4 billion it already has borrowed. She also is critical of the state's efforts to keep afloat, saying it is not buying enough electricity under long-term contracts and could be beaten up badly in the spot market this summer.

As a result, the state's bond rating has been dropped and it could reach junk bond status if the indecision and waffling continues long enough.

At the same time, The Wall Street Journal reports, the aforesaid attorney general is offering rewards of hundreds of millions of dollars to people who would snitch on any energy company that has broken the law. No takers, so far.

Meanwhile, the problem is spreading. Aluminum plants, which provide many of the jobs in the Northwest, are being asked to close down for two years because of the amount of energy they require. Economists say that if the plants stay down that long they never will reopen.

While the politicians are looking for someone else to blame, the state's residents are showing recognition of the predicament. About 43 percent believe more power plants are needed and 59 percent favor nuclear power. Most don't blame Davis for causing the problem -- and they shouldn't, because it began before he took office. However, most do not think he has handled the problem well since taking office.

California went for 10 years without building a power plant. It put into effect a Byzantine restructuring plan that nearly bankrupted the state's utilities, who were forced to sell power below the cost they paid.

Davis belatedly has recognized the need for new plants but he also wants taxpayers in Florida and other states to pay for the blunders he and other politicians have made. President Bush, to his credit, said no thanks and good luck. Bush's job performance ratings in California, incidentally, are high.

Our condolences go to those California residents who did not support this tragic public policy choice but must live with its consequences.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 25, 2001


At last! A REALISTIC article on what's going on in California.

May the Saints be praised.

-- JackW (, May 26, 2001.

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