San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s Big Boner for PG&E: “A Great Local Corporation” – Herrera, Avalos Pounce

[UPDATE: And here’s Dan Schreiber’s take. And here’s Ron Russell. And oh, check out below for PG&E Currents’ take – appears as if a great deal of our “City Family” was on hand at this fiasco.]

[UPDATE II: And here comes Joe Eskenazi to rip the cover off of the ball:

“Lee presided over a heartwarming, press-friendly event featuring kiddies, baseball, and the company that blew up the adjacent town.”

Mercy! Take the next three days off, Joe. You deserve it. Oh, and readers, don’t miss this part:

“Mayor Lee’s comments praised PG&E’s support of a literacy program — period,” said Lee spokesman Tony Winnicker.

Uh no, maybe that’s he meant to do, Icky Renown Nit (do the math, kids that’s “Tony Winnicker” rearranged – it means, well, forget about what it means – “wonky” is in there too but I couldn’t get the rest of the letters to cooperate), but, in fact, what he did was call PG&E “a great local corporation” and “a great company that get’s it.” Spinning too much, as you oftentimes do, Tony, well, that’s called “lying.”

But, prove me wrong. Tell me, when, exactly, did Ed Lee ever “hold PG&E accountable” for its lies about the issues at hand, you know, the ones that have just recently come to light? Ever? Recently?]

ZOMG. In the words of Hannibal Lecter, what could be more inappropriate?

Per “Interim Mayor” Ed Lee and via writer Amy Crawford:

“Isn’t that a wonderful contribution from a great local corporation?” Lee said. “They’re a great company that gets it.”

WTF?

Now, truth be told, this “gets it” language comes straight from the Gavin Newsom administration – this was one of Gavin’s pet phrases for the City’s public-private Corporation of the Day. So it’s understandable how it could sneak into Ed Lee’s brain.

But, again, WTF?

Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job:

Via David Yu - click to expand

Anyway, here’s the pouncing. so far.

From City Attorney Dennis Herrera:

“Herrera criticizes Ed Lee’s lavish praise for PG&E on eve of one-year anniversary of San Bruno blast

Against the backdrop of devastating findings by NTSB earlier this week—a day after another gas line blast in Cupertino—Lee calls PG&E ‘a great company that gets it’

San Francisco – City Attorney Dennis Herrera today criticized interim Mayor Ed Lee for poor judgment and insensitivity to the families of San Bruno blast victims for participating in a PG&E public relations event yesterday, and praising the state’s largest utility for being “a great corporation” and a “great company that gets it.” Lee’s quote was reported in this morning’s edition of the San Francisco Examiner, which also questioned the timing of Lee’s participation with PG&E-sponsored corporate publicity just days after the National Transportation Safety Board issued devastating findings that blamed the utility for the deadly explosion of a gas transmission line in San Bruno, Calif. last, which resulted in the loss of eight lives and the total destruction of 38 homes.

The one-year anniversary of that tragedy is coming up next week, on Sept. 9.

“Ed Lee’s lavish praise for PG&E as ‘a great corporation’ on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the San Bruno tragedy, just days after federal regulators blamed the utility for a ‘litany of failures’ that claimed eight lives, is unconscionable,” said Herrera. “It shows insensitivity to victims’ families, and poor judgment for allowing his office to be used as a corporate PR tool. No less troubling, it ignores the serious work my office and others have done to protect San Franciscans from PG&E’s negligence, to prevent further explosions like those in San Bruno last year and in Cupertino on Wednesday. The interim Mayor should reassess his laudatory view of PG&E, and apologize to San Bruno victims’ families.”

PG&E, which according to its most recent annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission generated $13.8 billion in revenue in 2010, donated $250,000 to a local youth program at a corporate PR event yesterday.

PG&E runs three major gas transmission lines whose integrity and safety has come into question under nine high-population-density neighborhoods in San Francisco, where hundreds of thousands of people live and work. One of those includes the very same line that failed catastrophically in San Bruno last year, and another that dates back to the 1930s. Major facilities threatened by the failure of these inadequately inspected transmission lines include numerous schools and recreation centers, San Francisco City College, and San Francisco General Hospital, which typically contains more than 5,000 acute care patients and visitors, medical professionals and staff. Significant stretches of Highway 101 and Highway 280 additionally run over the antiquated lines.

On July 14, 2011, Herrera took the first step toward suing state and federal regulators for not reasonably enforcing gas pipeline safety standards against PG&E as required by the federal Pipeline Safety Act. Herrera’s notice of intent to sue is a legally required precursor to civil litigation by San Francisco, which will seek a federal court order to compel the CPUC and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to enforce federal pipeline safety standards in an effective manner against the utility giant.”

And from Supervisor John Avalos:

Statement from Supervisor John Avalos on Ed Lee Calling PG&E is “A Great Corporation”

I was frankly astonished to read Mayor Lee praising PG&E in the newspaper this morning, mere days after the National Transportation Safety Board found that the 2010 blast in San Bruno that killed 8 people and destroyed 38 homes was the result of PG&Es “multiple, recurring deficiencies” which were “evidence of a systemic problem.”

Ed Lee called PG&E a “great corporation” yesterday–a great corporation who spent $50 million last year trying to pass a ballot measure that would ensure their monopoly in places like San Francisco instead of repairing and inspecting pipes like the one that caused this terrible destruction. Now this “great” corporation want its customers to foot the bills for its negligence and bad practices? Ed Lee says that this corporation “gets it.” PG&E seem to “get” that a symbolic donation to a charity at the height of their unpopularity might help their rate-payers forget the catastrophic results of their negligence and bad practices.

The residents of that neighborhood in San Bruno will not forget. The families of those who lost their lives that day will not forget. And anyone who fought to defeat Proposition 16, in an effort to maintain a city’s right to produce their own power won’t forget the blatant cynicism of this corporation.

I’m deeply disappointed, and I would like Mayor Lee to tell San Franciscans what makes this corporation “great” and what it is besides insider politics and business as usual that PG&E “gets.”

##

ABOUT JOHN AVALOS:
John Avalos represents San Francisco’s District 11, including the neighborhoods of the Outer Mission, Excelsior, and OMI. He is a third generation Mexican-American, the son of an ILWU longshoreman and an office manager. He is one of seven children. John earned a master’s degree in social work from San Francisco State University. He and his wife, Karen Zapata, a fourth-grade teacher at San Francisco Community School, own a home in the Excelsior. Their young children Rene and Emiliano attend San Francisco Community School, a District 11 public school.”

Here’s the old title of this bit:

Dear Mayor Ed Lee: Just Because PG&E Supports Your Political Faction Doesn’t Make It a “Great Local Corporation”

But then I got these releases so I changed it.

Anyway, how much of a bubble is Ed Lee in? How long did that take, less than eight months? Doesn’t he know how the real world perceives Rose Pak? Doesn’t he know that PG&E just got busted by the Feds for it’s behavior before, during and after the San Bruno pipeline explosion?

Holding court at the party for the opening of the new airport terminal, Rose was seated at the table with interim Mayor Ed Lee and his wife, Anita, and a host of other local officials.

“I want every one of you to call his office and tell him he should run for mayor,” Rose told the table. “And do it right away so that there’s no misunderstanding.”

Then she turned to the architect David Gensler.

“Didn’t you do this terminal?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“Didn’t you remodel this terminal before?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Then your firm should raise a million dollars for his election campaign.”

Poor Gensler, he didn’t know what hit him.”

 And here’s PG&E’s view of the affair:

San Francisco: With Support from PG&E, RBI Program Goes to Bat for Literacy at Bessie Carmichael School
An innovative program that helps improve the reading skills of students at Bessie Carmichael Elementary School in San Francisco got a boost from PG&E on Thursday, Sept. 1.

San Francisco RBI, in a partnership with Major League Baseball, was created in 2010 to help ensure that local at-risk youth in underserved areas of the city can learn essential life skills and the fundamentals of baseball and softball. San Francisco RBI provides year-round programs to the students at Bessie Carmichael School, with a focus on literacy, the arts, health, nutrition, and baseball and softball skills.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee reads to students at Bessie Carmichael School on Thursday.

On Thursday, PG&E contributed $250,000 to the program at an event at the school and the adjacent Victoria Manalo Draves Park baseball diamond in the city’s South of Market neighborhood.

Local leaders, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg and Board of Education President Hydra Mendoza, read to the students. San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia and sports media personalities Vern Glenn (KRON-TV) and Kevin Radich (KGO radio) also took part in the event.

“These are challenging economic times and it is important for us to unite as a community to support the children of San Francisco as they learn and grow in our schools and on the field to become the leaders of tomorrow,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. He thanked San Francisco RBI and PG&E for partnering with the city “to offer a unique investment in our youth as they prepare to compete in the 21st century workforce.”

After throwing out a first pitch to Jim Messemer, executive director of San Francisco RBI, Mayor Lee told about 200 kindergarten and first-grade students to follow the group’s credo: Reach. Believe. Inspire.

He also praised PG&E for its involvement in the project and the community.

“PG&E is a great local company who gets it,” Lee said. “A great corporation has given a grant to RBI to help local kids.”

The partnership with San Francisco RBI is a good example of PG&E’s efforts to support the communities where it provides power and where its 20,000 employees work and live.

“As a longtime member of the San Francisco community, we are proud to team up with San Francisco RBI and Bessie Carmichael School to give these students the resources they need to succeed,” said Chris Johns, PG&E’s president and a board member of the PG&E Corporation Foundation. “Expanding the reach of this exciting literacy program is critical to ensuring that we are developing the young minds that will help shape our future.”

School principal Jeff Burgos spoke to the students in three languages – English, Spanish and Tagalog – while Police Chief Suhr told them, “The better you read, the safer you can be.”

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