Patterson wants supervisors to oppose the proposition

County Supervisor Jim Patterson is asking his colleagues to take a formal position opposing Proposition 16 on the June 8 primary ballot.

The proposition imposes a two-thirds voter approval requirement for local public electricity providers. It is being promoted heavily by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which is calling it the “Taxpayers Right to Vote Act.”

PG&E is a major employer in the county, providing 1,200 jobs and bringing in $25 million in annual property taxes.

Nonetheless, Patterson’s proposed resolution says Proposition 16 is “against the public interest, and a potential setback for renewable energy production.”

The two-thirds requirement “creates an opportunity for a small minority to prevent county citizens from receiving the cost savings and environmental benefits of efficient alternative energy production and delivery,” his proposed resolution reads.

“As you well know,” Patterson wrote in an e-mail to the Tribune, “requiring a two-thirds majority approval of almost anything guarantees certain defeat. And that is precisely what PG&E is hoping for. It effectively creates a monopoly for them.”

Patterson notes that the county has been exploring alternative energy sources, including solar.

“Enabling the development of distributed energy facilities potentially benefits our … electricity ratepayers, creates jobs, increases energy independence, contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gases, and regains local control by cities and counties,” he wrote.

If his fellow supervisors go along with his proposal, Patterson’s resolution would be sent to the California attorney general and secretary of state, as well as various city and county organizations.Supervisors put the resolution on their Tuesday agenda. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo.

Reach Bob Cuddy at 781-7909.