Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Shell deal amounts to a total shell game

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Ed Lee was onto something when he raised the question about the costs and risks of community choice aggregation. SPUR has been reserving judgment about CleanPowerSF, but as the contract details started coming out it’s not looking promising.

If The City moves forward with a contract with Shell Energy — really, Shell — the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission starts the whole process by giving Shell $19.5 million in upfront and reserve costs, money that appears to be coming out of energy efficiency programs.

What we then have is a “shell game” where the rate payers buy renewable energy produced somewhere — anywhere — without any requirement that there be a net increase in the system’s renewable energy.

In other words, if I read the contract correctly, we would be signing up to pay more money for what amounts to an accounting exercise of redirecting the way we count electrons, rather than an actual creation of new renewable power or an actual reduction in greenhouse gasses.

Paying more to not necessarily get more green power, while shifting financial risk onto The City and dismantling our existing energy efficiency programs is not something we should be rushing into. There does not seem to be any benefit to this program as structured.

Gabriel Metcalf
Executive director, SPUR
San Francisco


SoMa residents ignored

As if the Board of Supervisors appointing someone who does not live in San Francisco as an entertainment commissioner wasn’t bad enough, the Entertainment Commission is holding hearings on an agenda item that, if approved, would dismiss years of South of Market neighbors’ community meetings.

How is it that the community’s hundreds of meetings, specifically 66 meetings where entertainment uses were discussed between the years 2006 and 2011, can be trumped by entertainment commissioners who know nothing about land use and zoning and who do not live in South of Market?

I’d like to encourage my South of Market neighbors to tell the Entertainment Commission to respect our community’s plan for Western SoMa and vote no on any resolution making changes that benefit only the entertainment industry.

Jamie Whitaker
San Francisco


Thank you to Jane Kim

The “incredible love” that Supervisor Jane Kim says she found in her overnight stay at Episcopal Community Services’ Next Door Shelter is testimony to the empathy and resilience of so many homeless people and to the values of compassion and community that our shelter staff, many of whom also have experienced homelessness, bring to the work.

Shelter work is demanding and often very difficult, particularly at a time when public resources have not kept pace with demand and rising costs.  As an ECS board member and a member of San Francisco’s Local Homeless Coordinating Board, I want to thank Supervisor Kim for her decision to learn firsthand about the shelter system and her willingness to share her experience with the broader public.

Richard Springwater
San Francisco