San Francisco Offers $2.5 Billion to Buy Part of Troubled Utility

A Pacific Gas & Electric crew working in San Francisco. San Francisco officials are offering to buy Pacific Gas & Electric's power lines and other infrastructure in the city for $2.5 billion.

A Pacific Gas & Electric crew working in San Francisco. San Francisco officials are offering to buy Pacific Gas & Electric's power lines and other infrastructure in the city for $2.5 billion. AP Photo

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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | A plan to reduce economic segregation in a Maryland school district … Maine to use ranked-choice voting in 2020… Play revives tale of larger-than-life mayor.

San Francisco offered $2.5 billion to buy Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s power lines and other electrical assets in the city, which would create California’s third biggest government-operated utilities. After authorities found PG&E responsible for deadly wildfires that have plagued California in recent years, the company is in bankruptcy, and is now trying to limit its liability at $18 billion. The San Francisco proposal “will offer financial stability for PG&E, while helping the city expand upon our efforts to provide reliable, safe, clean and affordable electricity to the residents and businesses of San Francisco,” said a statement from Mayor London Breed and City Attorney Dennis Herrera. The company’s largest employee union is opposed to a city purchase. City officials, however, say they will honor collective bargaining agreements. A company spokesman said they oppose municipal takeovers, but are open to talking. [San Francisco Chronicle; Sacramento BeeLos Angeles Times]

SCHOOL DESEGREGATION PLAN | Education leaders in Howard County, Maryland, are pushing a plan to rezone some public schools in an effort to tackle economic segregation in the school system. The push comes in a county where the best-known city, Columbia, was founded as an egalitarian planned community, but critics say kids from families with less money are often concentrated in a small number of schools. The plan would rezone to cap the percentage of students from low-income families in schools, with no elementary schools having more than 55% of students who are counted as poor. Some affluent families have complained that the proposal, which will be considered Nov. 21 by the board of education, means their kids will be bused much farther than for their current schools. [Baltimore Sun]

HOMELESS RESTRICTIONS | A Los Angeles Times analysis of a proposal to limit where homeless people can camp in Los Angeles would eliminate a quarter of the city from being a place where people can sleep on the street. The proposal under consideration by City Hall would outlaw sleeping on streets or sidewalks within 500 feet of schools, daycare facilities, parks and other places. [Los Angeles Times]

RANKED CHOICE | Maine voters could use ranked-choice voting in the presidential race for the first time in 2020 after Gov. Janet Mills allowed a bill to become law without her signature. The law will not be in effect for the March primaries. Maine was the first state to use ranked-choice voting in 2018. The state Republican party opposes ranked-choice voting, saying it will be a waste of resources for the primary.  [Press Herald; Bangor Daily News]

DIFFERENT SPOTLIGHT | Former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci, who died in 2016, takes center stage again as the subject of a sold-out play running in the Rhode Island capital. Based largely on a book by a former Providence Journal reporter, the play covers the beginning of the charismatic leader’s career in 1974, when he ran against the corruption in his city, to the federal corruption trial that ended his career as mayor. [Boston Globe]

Laura Maggi is the Managing Editor of Route Fifty.

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