Films shed light on Prop 16, but lack funding for prime time

    The No on Prop 16 campaign is fighting back against Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s advertising blitzkrieg for Proposition 16, the anti-democratic ballot initiative it has bankrolled to secure its monopoly in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    No on Prop 16 Films, created in response to Prop 16, has produced a series of 10 short clips explaining to voters why they should vote no on the PG&E-bankrolled initiative, which will appear on the June 8 ballot. The reasons offered include “It’s antidemocratic,” “it denies consumer choice,” and “it’s a power grab.”

    Here’s one. (Note: if you are unable to view the film, try viewing this post using a different browser, such as Internet Explorer.)

    Visit this web site to see the rest.

    Prop 16 proposes a two-thirds majority vote requirement for alternative energy programs run by local governments. In the case of San Francisco, the municipal alternative would offer a power mix that surpasses PG&E’s renewable-energy portfolio by a long shot. If the progam were subjected to a supermajority vote at the ballot, it would be far more difficult to move forward, and the predictable result would be to lock in PG&E’s monopolistic grip.

    The films are professional, high quality, and ready for prime time. Trouble is, as the filmmakers note on the No on Prop 16 Films Web site, “Unlike the supporters of Prop 16 we do not have 35 million of taxpayers money to buy air time and send everyone flyers.” They put the resources they did have — a crew of volunteers, some borrowed equipment, and the Internet — to good use, but unless these films, produced by a labor of love, are seen by a wider audience, they aren’t likely to affect the outcome of this crucial vote. As long as funding for air time remains elusive, No on Prop 16 campaigners are hoping to spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, and living room screenings that would bring people together and spread the word.

    It’s a modern-day David vs. Goliath story, and it’s a sign of the times that a single corporation is attempting to single-handedly alter the state’s constitution using money derived from ratepayers, while the grassroots opponents have so far been unable to muster the resources for a TV ad to debunk PG&E’s propaganda. There’s always the chance, though, of an online campaign going viral.