San Jose (CA) mayor shifts stance on power plant in deal with developer

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San Jose mayor shifts stance on power plant in deal with developer

The Associated Press

May 31, 2001

SAN JOSE -- After months of pressure, Mayor Ron Gonzales has dropped his opposition to a proposed large power plant in southern San Jose.

In a crowded news conference in his office Wednesday, Gonzales said his staff had negotiated important concessions from the companies that want to build the $400 million Metcalf Energy Center -- Calpine Corp. and Bechtel Enterprises Inc.

The companies agreed to donate $6.5 million to community programs, offer long-term power contracts at below-market rates to San Jose businesses and take extra steps to stem pollution levels.

"We came to the conclusion this power plant was on its way to San Jose, and we needed to do everything we could to use our leverage to make this the best facility we could," Gonzales said. "We worked hard to make this plant better for the people of San Jose."

Gonzales and the entire City Council in November had voted against the 600-megawatt Metcalf plant on the grounds it would be too close to residential areas.

The decision on whether the plant will be built now rests with the California Energy Commission, which did not return a call for comment Wednesday. The agency could have approved the plant even without Gonzalesí support.

-- PHO (owennos@bigfoot.com), May 31, 2001


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