Lawsuit targets utility-related June ballot measure 

San Francisco and eight other public entities joined in a lawsuit on Thursday that seeks to remove Proposition 16, an electricity-related measure, from the June ballot.

If passed June 8, the statewide measure would require municipalities to obtain two-thirds voter approval before spending funds to start a competitor to PG&E Corp. under California’s community choice aggregation laws.

The proposition, if it passes, would help protect PG&E’s power-sales monopolies from new competitors that are being formed in San Francisco and elsewhere.

PG&E said the proposition, named the Taxpayers Right to Vote Act, would protect taxpayers from having their money spent without voter approval.

“PG&E formulated and promoted Proposition 16 to misrepresent that it would serve as a control on taxes, borrowing and public spending,” according to the lawsuit, “while concealing that its true nature, purpose and effect is to protect PG&E from competition from public providers of electric service.”

Attorneys for the PG&E-backed campaign behind Proposition 16 are reviewing the lawsuit, which was filed in Sacramento Superior Court.

“Our biggest issue here is that opponents and politicians are now using taxpayer dollars to stop a vote of the people,” said Robin Swanson, spokeswoman for the PG&E campaign.

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