ENERGY DEREGULATION -- (House of Representatives - October 11, 2000)

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   The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from California (Mr. BILBRAY) is recognized for 5 minutes.

   Mr. BILBRAY. Mr. Speaker, as things are cooling off here in Washington and the temperature of the city is dropping, to the relief of the local communities, back in San Diego things are heating up. And sadly, they are heating up not because of the weather but because of the inappropriate action of Government and the inaction of those who should be taking care of their constituents.

   A few years ago, the State legislature of the State of California tried an experiment called energy deregulation, at the same time that those of us in the Congress were working on deregulation of telecommunications. But unlike what we did successfully here in Washington, the State did not assure competition, access, and infrastructure for the energy consumers of San Diego County, and soon to be the entire State of California.

   Now, it may seem like a political comment to say that, when politicians make mistakes, terrible things happen. But I think too often some of our elected officials do not consider the impact on the real people in the community who are out there doing the great things that we take for granted.

   Mr. Speaker, I am in a sad position tonight to announce that an institution in my district in Pacific Beach, a landmark that has been there for 54 years, is going to close because the State legislature of the State of California passed a so-called energy deregulation bill that is now causing electric power rates to rise to such astronomical levels that small businesses are going bankrupt.

   The small business I am speaking of is DeVaney's Bakery in Pacific Beach. It has been a bakery that has been around since 1946. It has been a family-owned business that has served not only the local community but the entire sub-region of the coastal area that we call San Diego.

   It is sad to see that Sacramento adjourned, Mr. Speaker, this year before they addressed this absolutely critical economic and social crisis in San Diego, which is soon to spread throughout the State of California. I would hope that the speaker and every Member of this Congress would join with me in asking that we try to work together here to do what we can to save the constituency and the citizens of San Diego County, and soon to be California, from this horrendous mistake by the State legislature.

   Mr. Speaker, it took a bipartisan effort in Sacramento to create this disaster that is closing down this landmark in Pacific Beach.


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   I would ask us here in Washington to step forward and make a bipartisan effort to save businesses throughout San Diego County and California from the devastating effect of this legislative mistake in Sacramento. So I ask us to learn from this tragedy of DeVaney's Bakery and let us work together at trying to see what we can do to protect the constituents from Sacramento's mistake. I hope we do not find excuses to walk away before we can address this issue. It is sad that Sacramento did that. I would ask us, both Democrats and Republicans, to work together. I hope I am not here next week announcing the next business that had to go under.

   I would remind Mr. Speaker that this is not just a San Diego problem. San Diego and California has been a driving force at generating revenue for this Federal Government that has constituted what we call the surplus. If we do not address this power crisis in San Diego, it will not only spread throughout California, it could severely hurt the entire Nation's ability to continue the economic prosperity that so many of us in elective office want to point to and take credit.

   Now the challenge is, will we rise to protect this economic recovery by addressing this government problem that was created in Sacramento and may only be corrected now by working together to protect the consumers, the taxpayers, the citizens and, yes, even small businesses like DeVaney's Bakery that has been around so long and will not be around tomorrow because of

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mistakes that have been made by others, but that we must address.