Document:California Press Release 29 May 2001 California Burns Through $180,000

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14547 Titus Street, Suite 214
Panorama City, CA 91402
For immediate release: May 29, 2001
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 782-8400

While Bush and Davis chat, California burns -- through $180,000

LOS ANGELES -- While Governor Gray Davis and President George W. Bush chatted for 40 minutes today over how to solve the energy crisis, the state spent another $180,000 on electricity -- with no end in sight to the mad spending, the Libertarian Party of California announced today.

"While Davis and Bush go through the motions of an orchestrated meeting, state taxpayers are being drained of billions of dollars with no end in sight," charged Libertarian state chairman Aaron Starr. "Neither one seems willing to make the tough, painful, but necessary decisions that need to be made to end this crisis."

California has been spending an average of $45 million per week since early February to buy power on behalf of the state's cash-strapped utilities. That is equal to roughly $6.4 million per day, $268,000 per hour -- or $180,000 for the 40-minute meeting between the two leaders. To date the state has spent $7.8 billion in electricity.

"After nearly $8 billion, California is nowhere closer to avoiding electricity shortages and blackouts this summer, despite Davis's rhetoric," Starr noted.

Libertarians have been highly critical of Davis's actions since January, including:

  • Making California a purchaser of power
  • Demanding price controls on wholesale electricity
  • Attempting a bailout of Southern California Edison by purchasing it's transmission lines
  • Threatening to seize power plants
  • Putting Democratic consultants on the state payroll to the tune of $30,000 per month
  • Blaming "price gouging" and "market manipulation" for California's problems

"The only gouging going on is of the taxpayer, and the only manipulation is on Davis's part in trying to shift the blame for this crisis," said Starr.

Not that Bush is entirely blameless. "Libertarians are pleased that he has resisted price controls so far, but there was no need for him to put forward an ineffective 'national energy plan.' We would rather see him propose repealing the Federal Power Act of 1935 and abolishing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for starters," Starr suggested.

"Like modern-day Nero's, Davis and Bush fiddled today while more taxpayer dollars burned. Sadly, neither has demonstrated true leadership by explaining the crisis to the public honestly and lifting the existing electricity price controls, which are the root cause of the problem." Starr concluded.

"Californians should expect more fiddling, more burning -- and more blackouts."