Former District 10 San Francisco Supervisor Sophie Maxwell has been appointed to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission by Mayor London Breed, along with labor leader Tim Paulson. (Courtesy photo)

Sophie Maxwell, Tim Paulson appointed to city’s public utilities commission

Former supervisor vows to do ‘whatever is necessary’ to help create a public utility

Former Supervisor Sophie Maxwell didn’t mince words when asked Monday during her nomination hearing to serve on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission if she supported The City taking over the power business from PG&E.

“I will try to suppress my glee. I will try to behave myself. Power should be publicly held,” Maxwell told the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee. “It should be a public utility. It should not be for profit.”

Mayor London Breed has appointed both Maxwell and labor leader Tim Paulson to serve on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Both Maxwell and Paulson said Breed reached out to them for the posts.

The full board is expected to confirm both nominations next week.

Maxwell will serve out the term of the seat formerly held by Ike Kwon until Aug. 1, 2022. Kwon was appointed to serve on the Treasure Island Development Authority board of directors, filling a vacancy there created when Sam Moss, executive director at Mission Housing Development Corporation, became a member of the Building Inspection Commission.

Paulson will serve out the term of another labor leader, Vince Courtney, until August 1, 2020. Courtney resigned from the post earlier this year.

Maxwell served as the District 10 supervisor from January 2001 to January 2011.

The SFPUC is currently studying, at Breed’s request, how much it would cost to acquire PG&E’s assets to help policy makers decide whether The City should transition to a public power system and move to take the business away from PG&E, which filed for bankruptcy in January.

Preliminary analysis is expected later this month.

“This is a prime opportunity and employees will be better off with San Francisco, because it is not driven by money and by profits,” Maxwell said.

“The power should be held with the people,” she added. “I will do whatever is necessary. It is a legacy for our mayor. It is also a legacy for all of you.”

Paulson was more measured in his position. “We want to make sure that the residents and businesses are going to get the best bang for their buck,” Paulson said.

He said that that the labor union that represents PG&E workers, IBEW Local 1245, hasn’t reached out to him on the issue. “No one is advocating for me one way or another on this particular issue,” Paulson said.

SFPUC general manager Harlan Kelly praised both appointments. Earlier this month, the agency issued a poll showing nearly 70 percent of residents support public power.

“If our City leaders and our residents want us to move in the direction of acquiring electric infrastructure, we have confidence in our ability to deliver public power to San Francisco,” Kelly said in a statement at the time.

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