CPUC under fire over more "inappropriate" emails

Sep 16, 2014

A high-level staffer with the California Public Utilities Commission has agreed to resign after the unearthing of another batch of “inappropriate email exchanges.”


Dan Breke reports for KQED: ““It is clear that PG&E was calling the shots at the CPUC, and was accustomed to doing so,” said Mark Toney, TURN’s executive director, in a statement. Toney said the emails show “PG&E had a personal shopper in Peevey’s office, helping to pick and choose the judges that suited PG&E best.”


“Toney said TURN wants PG&E to make public every email sent to CPUC commissioners and staff for the last five years.”


“In its statement, PG&E said it was dismissing Cherry, senior vice president of regulatory affairs Tom Bottorff and vice president of regulatory proceedings and rates Trina Horner. The company said it’s creating a new oversight position, chief regulatory compliance officer. It also announced it’s retaining former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “as special counsel on regulatory compliance matters to assist in developing a best-in-class regulatory compliance model.””


Gov. Jerry Brown signed 28 bills yesterday, including one that repeals language of a law restricting public services to undocumented immigrants.


David Siders reports for The Sacramento Bee: “Senate Bill 396, by Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, is a largely symbolic measure. Coming 20 years after the passage of Prop. 187, the legislation will remove passages of law created by the ballot initiative from the state’s education and welfare codes.”


Embattled now former state Senator Roderick Wright resigned from his L.A. district seat yesterday, after days ago being sentenced on counts of voter fraud and perjury.


John Howard reports in Capitol Weekly: “He resigned his position in a brief note to Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. The investigation, the legal battles, the trial and the sentencing procedures consumed almost seven years.”


“Wright faced expulsion from the Senate if he didn’t step down voluntarily.”


“Gov. Brown is expected to set the date for a special election to fill Wright’s vacant seat.”


San Diego may have been violating the Ralph M. Brown Act for the last 13 years, says City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.


David Garrick reports for the U-T San Diego: ““I’m not saying it’s wrong, but the City Council should not have relied on it,” he said. “The process for the last 13 years may or may not be correct.””


“Goldsmith said cities could abuse the practice of calling meetings on separate days one consolidated session by calling every meeting that takes places in a particular month a consolidated session.”


In the recent gubernatorial debate, contender Neel Kashkari says he’d run California like Scott Walker runs Wisconsin – but what does that mean?


Bob Egelko reports for The San Francisco Chronicle: “California was rated 50th on the same list — not just since Brown took office, but for the last decade, which covers all of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger’s tenure. Kashkari didn’t mention that in the debate.”


“More to the point, Walker’s approach to making Wisconsin more business-friendly has been not just to cut business taxes and regulations but, most prominently, to end collective bargaining rights for most government employees in the state. As a legislator, he also supported a so-called right-to-work law, which would allow non-union members in the private sector to avoid paying fees to unions that represented them at the bargaining table, but he hasn’t tried to enact such a law for private workers since becoming governor.”


Speaker Emeritus John A. Perez says he’s not running for an L.A. City Council seat, but he’s also not throwing his weight behind anyone just yet.


David Zahniser reports for The Los Angeles Times: “Campaign consultant Douglas Herman said Pérez, who spent nearly four years as Assembly speaker, made the decision despite receiving "overwhelming requests from residents, from the community" for him to seek Huizar's seat.”


“"This is not a race he's interested in pursuing," Herman said.”


Nearly 73,000 California public university students will be awarded a portion of the newly launched Middle Class Scholarship program.


Larry Gordon reports for The Los Angeles Times: “The average awards for the 2014-15 school year will be $1,112 for those enrolled at the University of California and $627 for those in the Cal State system, according to Patti Colston, a spokeswoman for the California Student Aid Commission. On a scale that decreases as students' incomes rises, the largest grants were $1,170 and the smallest $90, she said.”


“The Legislature created the scholarships to aid students from families with annual incomes between $80,000 and $150,000 who probably would not be eligible for traditional state and federal assistance. The awards were established to be relatively low at the outset but could more than triple over the next three years, covering 10% to 40% of UC and Cal State tuition if funding comes through.”


Social media stars are using old Hollywood tools to make a successful career out of their YouTube vlogs.


Brooks Barnes and Hunter Atkins report for The New York Times: “A few months ago, CBS Films wanted Bethany Mota, an 18-year-old video blogger, to make a cameo appearance in the movie “The Duff” and tell her 7.2 million YouTube followers about the experience. CBS figured that Ms. Mota, known for making fashion videos from her Los Banos, Calif., bedroom, would jump at the chance.”


“Her response: Talk to my team.”

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