<b>Score one for Sonoma Clean Power</b>
We've posed many questions about Sonoma Clean Power, the public agency formed this year as an alternative to PG-E. One of those questions was whether it could match PG-E's rates for electricity.
The answer, for now anyway, is yes. Sonoma Clean Power adopted its initial rate schedule last week, and when service begins later this year, its customers are expected to pay 2 percent to 3 percent less than what PG-E charges.
Plenty of questions remain, including the agency's ability to meet its clean power goals and whether its rate will remain competitive. But Sonoma Clean Power earns a thumbs up for delivering on its promise of competitive rates.<br>
<b>Unions exert influence on supervisors</b>
The debate as to who is in control at the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is over. After Tuesday's meeting, the answer is clear -#8212; it's the unions.
Bolstered by support from Supervisors Mike McGuire, Susan Gorin and Shirlee Zane, the board is on the verge of giving labor unions everything they've been wanting for years in terms of project labor agreements, a mandate on publicly funded projects that tips the scales in favor of union contractors. This despite the fact there's no indication that there's anything wrong with the existing process. There's never been evidence of construction delays, cost overruns or unfair labor practices on any county project.
Nevertheless, supervisors are prepared to forge ahead, requiring PLAs on all projects of $10 million or more. The majority even rejected a compromise recommended by Supervisors David Rabbitt and Efren Carrillo to have a nonbinding alternative bid process that would allow supervisors to compare PLA bids with ones from nonunion contractors.
The question is, if PLAs don't cost more, why not have a means to compare and see if that's true -#8212; at least, say, for the first five years? Apparently such prudence is too complicated. Unions get the whole pie. Taxpayers get the bill. Supes get the thumbs down.<br>
<b>Letting the smoke clear</b>
As the first state to treat marijuana the same as alcohol, Colorado is giving new meaning to Rocky Mountain high. Washington will follow this spring, and Alaska's voters will decide on legalization in August. That has raised an obvious question: When will Golden State voters get another chance to allow recreational use?
California voters rejected a marijuana initiative in 2010, and Gov. Jerry Brown isn't in any rush for another test. "I'm not leading any charge for further chemical interactions," he told the Washington Post this week. "We've got an awful lot of that going right now, starting with Ritalin with little kids."
Indeed. Colorado and Washington are launching an experiment. Let's see what works -#8212; and what doesn't -#8212; before further relaxing state marijuana laws. Besides, is there anyone in California who wants a medical marijuana card and can't get one?