THE DC STATEHOOD GREEN PARTY
For immediate release:
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Scott McLarty, DC Statehood Green Party Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, email@example.com
DC Statehood Greens urge DC Council to reject Mayor Fenty’s nominee for People’s Counsel, calling her unqualified to challenge Pepco’s rate hike
WASHINGTON, DC — DC Statehood Green Party leaders are urging the City Council of Washington, DC to vote against the nomination of Vicky Beasley to be the People’s Counsel.
Statehood Greens have called Ms. Beasley unqualified to oversee the utilities under the purview of the Office of the People’s Counsel, and have objected to Mayor Adrian Fenty’s refusal to consult with community stakeholders and the Consumer Utility Board before announcing the nomination.
Ms. Beasley’s lack of experience, with no background in litigation or regulatory law, will make her poorly prepared to challenge Pepco’s proposal for a $51 million dollar (14%) rate hike for consumers in the District of Columbia, said Statehood Green leaders. The party strongly opposes the rate hike.
Council member Muriel Bowser (Ward 4) is introducing the “Peopleâ€™s Counsel Holdover Emergency Declaration Resolution” on December 1 in support of Ms. Beasley’s appointment.
In his testimony before the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs during a November 20 hearing, Statehood Green Party activist David Schwartzman urged the Council to “pass emergency legislation reappointing Betty Noel, who has served the public interest so well in her defense of consumers against the predatory corporate practices of the utilities under the purview of OPC.”
Mr. Schwartzman’s testimony is appended below. Joyce Robinson-Paul, former DC Statehood Green candidate for ‘DC Statehood’ Representative in Congress, also testified, speaking on behalf of the Consumer Utility Board.
In protesting Ms. Beasley’s nomination, the DC Statehood Green Party joins the DC Consumer Utility Board, the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO, the Tenant Action Network, Brian Lederer (a former Peoples’ Counsel himself), and many Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners and civic leaders.
Testimony of David Schwartzman, on behalf of the DC Statehood Green Party
Public Roundtable on PR18-579: People’s Counsel Vicky Beasley Confirmation Resolution of 2009, Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs, Friday, November 20, 2009, 1:30 pm, Room 120, John A. Wilson Building.
We strongly endorse the previous testimony protesting the lack of transparency and a thorough vetting process in the selection of the People’s Counsel of the Office of the People’s Counsel (OPC), given today by Herbert Harris (Chairman, Consumer Utility Board), Joyce Robinson-Paul (Consumer Utility Board), Rick Powell and Joslyn N. Williams (Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO), Ruth Castel- Branco (DC Jobs with Justice), Vanessa Dixon (Doctors Council of the District of Columbia/NUHHCE/AFSCME) , Robert Robinson (a member of the Mt. Pleasant Solar Co-op), William Spencer (Palisades Citizen Association), Ann Loikow, David Conn and Betty Sellers (The Tenant Action Network), Kathy Henderson (former ANC Commissioner, 5B10), Gigi Ransom (ANC Commissioner 5C12), Peter Espenschied, and Brian Lederer (former People’s Counsel). We join with many of the former testifiers in urging that the DC City Council pass emergency legislation reappointing Betty Noel, who has served the public interest so well in her defense of consumers against the predatory corporate practices of the utilities under the purview of OPC.
Mayor Fenty’s nomination of Vicky Beasley, a lawyer from the corporate sector with little or no litigation or management experience, nor record of defending the public against the profit-greedy big corporations such as Pepco, is still another example of the growing corporatization of our municipal government. The Wilson Building is now Corporate Occupied Territory, with public interest being progressively marginalized in the agenda of the Executive and of all too many on the Council. The Office of the People’s Counsel has long stood between the big corporate sector and the average consumer as a wall of defense of the public interest. Mayor Fenty’s nomination and streamlining of the process of confirmation is a clear attempt to smash this wall of defense. It follows a consistent pattern of top-down imposed steps of erosion of our democratic rights, including the right of collective bargaining. These steps have included the change of school governance in the Home Rule Charter by Mayor Fenty going directly to Congress instead of allowing a full public debate accompanied by a referendum, continual attempts to block the of process of transparency in budgeting (e.g. schools).
I will now turn to the current challenges that face our elected District government and the OPC. While we face still another attempt by Pepco to extract still more profits for its stockholders and executives by imposing an onerous rate hike on DC consumers (see appended testimony given today to the D.C. Public Service Commission), we face an ever mounting challenge to reduce carbon emissions in our community, thereby contributing to a prevention program avoiding catastrophic climate change with other significant benefits thereby accruing such as employment in green jobs and reduction in air pollution levels. We applaud the clean energy initiatives already implemented by the District government, such as the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008.
We have heard today from Robert Robinson how well Betty Noel and the OPC has facilitated the expansion of residential solarization and energy efficiency in Mt. Pleasant. This approach should be greatly expanded by further subsidization so that low income and working class residents can enjoy the benefits of energy conservation and rooftop photovoltaic and solar heating installations whether they live in apartment buildings or private residences. Further, since the provision of electricity and other utilities are essential needs, the rate structure should be increasingly calibrated to reflect the income level of the household. The OFC should play a vital role in making these objectives a reality. And lets implement now apprenticeship programs for green jobs in our high schools (see http://www.statehood4dc.com/schwartzman/greencollarjobs). Another DC is Possible!
My testimony to the DC Public Service Commission on Pepco’s proposed rate increase:
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