Commentary: Political ads are amusing but not when they're willfully deceptive

With the June election coming up, television is the pits. I've got about 100 choices on cable, and they all look the same. There's the Whitman channel, the Poizner channel and the PG&E channel.

The Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman ads are unintentionally funny. Poizner, a closet moderate, is doing his best to pretend he's to the right of Attila the Hun.

Every time Whitman says government needs to be run "a little bit more like a business," I yell back, "That's what California needs, all right -- to be run a little bit more like Goldman Sachs."

But there's nothing funny about the Proposition 16 commercials paid for by the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Through a front group, the shareholder-owned utility company is trying to persuade voters to preserve its monopoly over large swaths of Northern and Central California.

I find the ads offensive because they are deceitful and target swelling government distrust. I fear that Proposition 16 will pass because PG&E is better at slick ad campaigns than it is at keeping utility costs down or computing monthly electricity and gas bills.

The premise of the Yes-on-16 campaign is that the proposition would protect taxpayers by requiring two-thirds of voters to approve spending public money to start or expand community power companies.

It sounds plausible in a I'm-Bill-O'Reilly-and-I'm-looking-out-for-you kind of way. But then you have to ask: Do you really believe that PG&E is a watchdog of public interests?

To read the complete editorial, visit www.fresnobee.com.