- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Californias power crisis has already reached fairy tale proportions, and a new chapter was written yesterday when Gov. Gray Davis met briefly with President George W. Bush to discuss the situation, which calls for the construction of new power plants.
With grim subtlety, Prince of Darkness Davis has accused out-of-state power companies, many of them from Texas (hint, hint) of causing, or at least abetting, Californias rolling blackouts by gouging consumers with high electricity prices. Mr. Davis maintains that price caps are the only solution and recently enlisted the Democratic Partys wicked stepsisters Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane (who also happen to work for Southern California Edison, which has also lobbied for price caps) to further spread this Cinderella story, at a gouging price of $30,000 per month.
While some of Californias electricity prices have been tall-tale sized, the states real problem is that many of its citizens and their representatives have spent a decade living in a wonderland in which power is as clean as Snow White and abundant as the Seven Dwarfs, even though power plants have been banished like an evil queen. Even Mr. Davis has recently acknowledged that Californias goofy deregulation scheme and its dismal failure to build power plants in well over a decade has contributed to the problem.
He should have also acknowledged that he accepted, according to public interest organization Common Cause, princely gifts of more than $600,000 in campaign donations from power generators, utilities and marketers during the 1999-2000 campaign. Mr. Davis also might have mentioned that he had a chance to solve the problem a year ago. That is when consumers in San Diego began receiving higher-than-usual utility bills and energy experts recommended suspending Californias version of "deregulation" and locking in long-term supply prices for what now seem like Lilliputian prices. Instead, Mr. Davis stalled, then subsequently killed the proposal.
When those prices disappeared down the rabbit hole, Mr. Davis held a queen-of-hearts-style hearing before debasing all things Republican. Yet Republicans are elected to office in California about as often as tourists wear three-piece suits to Disneyland.
Interestingly, 60 percent of Californians believe his job performance has been "poor," according to the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California. And that means that, as far as his presidential prospects are concerned, Mr. Davis is no longer the prince charming of the Democratic Party.


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