In the most recent (Friday, October 24, 2003) issue of the PORTLAND TRIBUNE, an article titled, "Decision Day Nears for People's Utility District Campaign" ( http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=21047) carries a photograph and caption which reads, "Dave Covington, a lineman for Portland General Electric, says union members are being pressured to support PGE and Pacific Power in the fight against the people's utility district." (actual paper carries photo and caption . . . online story does not but I've scanned and included it here).
A link to the Clackamas County PUD site at ( http://www.clackamaspower.com/fatcats.htm ) details contributions made to the "Citizens" from June through September of this year and includes "in kind employee time contributions" for PGE and PacifiCorp (these same figures are quoted in the TRIBUNE article but are clearly out of date at this point). Anyone who has seen nicely dressed "employee-types" walking around downtown with anti PUD signs and stickers on their backs cannot help but believe that these are employees, sent out the door sent out the door like so many automatons with the message that they must push the agenda of their employer, regardless of the fact that they do not stand to lose their jobs if a PUD takes over. The only people with jobs at risk are the executives who make the big bucks and are afraid of losing them.
It would be very enlightening to see one of the memos or e-mails to these employees to determine exactly what sort of coercion or half-truths are being used to move them - willingly or reluctantly - to action. I am sure I'm not the only one who's noticed a majority of the anti-PUD letters to the editor in the OREGONIAN are written by PGE employees and signed that way. One can almost picture them sitting at their computers with a form letter in front of them, devoting a "strongly suggested" 10 minutes a day to trashing the PUD ballot measures.
What sort of employee involvement are we talking here? The TRIBUNE article says, "PacifiCorp, which operates as Pacific Power in Oregon, has spent $500,000 fighting the measure so far as well as $70,532 in employee time, outpacing PGE. PGE has spent $150,000 so far and $52,000 of employee time, according to county campaign election records. Remember that these county figures cover the period from June 12 - September 18, 2003 ONLY. Executives at both utilities ponied up a large percentage of the [$1.6 million raised by the Citizens Against The Government Takeover].
So it looks like power company employees are not only being paid to campaign against the PUD measures, we -- as ratepayers -- get to pay them to spend their time doing it, rather than the job they were hired for. Talk about conflict; some of these people must be in hell.
Keep writing to the papers and speaking up in support of the PUD measures. The TRIBUNE article, although well written, sends the lugubrious message that "Goliath is ahead". Let's show them that David's still got a mighty fine rock in his sling.