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Energy Electric Rhetoric ( June 22, 2001 )
Tin-horn despots who run Third World nations like to rail at elected leaders of the United States to rally support among their followers. Gov. Gray Davis, who seems intent on turning California into another Chad, is beginning to sound the way terrorist Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy used to sound, before bombing and strafing from allied F-111s toned him down.
Each day finds Davis decrying imaginary "price gouging," threatening to sue the federal government or even talking about seizing electric power plants.
This appears to be a diversion to camouflage his inability, or refusal, to ease the energy pinch in California.
Davis has admitted he could have solved the problem in 20 minutes. But he refused to do so.
Instead, he wants power companies to sell electricity for less than their cost so that SUV-loving residents of California can continue their happy hot-tubbing without having to confront reality. In the alternative, he would tax residents of Florida and other states to bail him out.
Davis wasn't governor when California restructured its regulation of utilities. On the other hand, he didn't act swiftly when the inevitable problems began occurring.
It was bad enough that California environmentalists blocked power plant construction for two decades. Even worse was the restructuring that capped retail rates but not wholesale rates.
Now, the governor's office says, 13 power plants have been licensed and seven are under construction. But it will be a while before they can provide relief by increasing supply to meet demand -- especially when his talk of confiscating power plants is scaring away power generators.
Taxpayers in California, meanwhile, are spending billions to buy power in order to spare customers from having to pay more -- even though in many cases taxpayers and customers are the same people.
California sometimes is on the cutting edge of political change, as when it led the property tax revolt, and rebelled against racial discrimination and bilingual education. Most recently, Los Angeles rejected an ultraliberal candidate for mayor in favor of a moderate.
Californians will elect a Ronald Reagan at one time and a Jerry Brown at another. Davis is unique, even for the Left Coast.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), June 22, 2001
Great article. Right on the ball.
-- Uncle Fred (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 23, 2001.
Shame! If I were the Grand Poobah of Chad, I'd sue for defamation of character. Diddler Davis is paving the way way for a triumphant return of Guv Moonbeam.
-- Warren Ketler (email@example.com), June 23, 2001.