Governor Jerry Brown Beholden to PG&E, San Bruno Mayor Charges

Written by FCJ Editor. Posted in Energy, News, Politics

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Published on October 13, 2015 with 3 Comments

California Governor Jerry Brown. File photo by Luke Thomas.

From the Office of San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane

October 13, 2015

San Bruno City leaders lashed out this week at Governor Jerry Brown’s veto of six bills that were unanimously supported by the California Legislature and would have brought important reforms to the California Public Utilities Commission, the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and other California utilities.

“Jerry Brown’s legacy will forever be marked by his acceptance of a corrupt CPUC and an equally corrupt PG&E at whose hands eight of our citizens died,” said San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane. “It appears that political contributions are more important to Governor Brown than public safety or public trust. Today, we’re calling on the Legislature to stay the course and, despite Brown’s failings, to continue to pursue reform of the CPUC, PG&E and statewide utility companies for the safety of all Californians.”

Gov. Brown last week vetoed a package of bills that were meant to reform the CPUC by diluting the CPUC’s powers, increasing transparency and ultimately helping restore the public’s trust in a broken state system.

The bills followed one of the largest scandals in California history when dozens of emails between PG&E and its state regulator were exposed after San Bruno successfully sued the CPUC for release of previously concealed public records.

That lawsuit resulted in the CPUC handing over more than 7,000 pages of communications that exposed more than 41 instances of illegal contact and emails between CPUC Commissioners and PG&E executives. San Bruno’s initial lawsuit also led PG&E to turn over 65,000 additional emails, revealing corruption and additional ex parte violations between CPUC decision makers and PG&E leadership, including an effort by PG&E to secure a favorable judge in a statewide rate case.

These communications ultimately forced the resignation of then-CPUC President Michael Peevey and the recusal of Commissioner Mike Florio from the PG&E San Bruno explosion and fire penalty case. Three PG&E executives were also terminated.

The U.S. Attorney’s office and the California Attorney General’s office have since launched separate investigations and served search warrants.

Meanwhile, on the heels of scandal, state lawmakers introduced a series of bills that would have created tighter rules around CPUC communication and helped restore the public’s trust in the embattled state agency. One bill would have banned private communications between utility executives and state regulators during proceedings to set utility rates. Another would have allowed parties to sue the commission in Superior Court when regulators do not respond to public-records requests or they are accused of violating the state open-meeting laws.

The City of San Bruno had championed the passage of these important laws, calling the reforms critical to preventing another devastating, man-made pipeline explosion by addressing the CPUC’s unethical abuse of power, biased decisions and secret communications that had found to be leading causes of the tragic and fatal 2010 PG&E pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

Mayor Ruane said Brown’s decision to veto this important legislation, despite its overwhelming support, is a “slap in the face to the citizens of San Bruno and an insult to the memory of the eight victims of PG&E’s and the CPUC’s criminal incompetence, leaving a permanent stain on Gov. Brown’s legacy and history.”

“Once again, the legendary Jesse Unruh’s admonition that money is the mother’s milk of politics has proven to be true,” Ruane added. “Investor-owned utilities have made millions in campaign contributions to lawmakers statewide. Clearly it’s a good investment that’s paid off with our Governor, who seems more willing to bend to political and financial pressure than stand up for justice and public safety.”

Ruane is calling on legislators to do the right thing and not give up the fight for necessary CPUC reform.

“We ask that lawmakers not submit to the mistakes of our state’s tone deaf Governor, but to persevere in its efforts to ensure that the CPUC increases transparency and bans illegal conversations with utilities,” Ruane said. “These reforms are not optional but critical to ensuring appropriate regulation of PG&E and other statewide utilities so that what happened in San Bruno does not happen again, anywhere.”

  • Mike Dillard

    This mayor is a joke, what has he done for SB? He is an uneducated fool of a Mayor and is only concerned about his own self promotion. Every chance he gets he tries to get on TV,AND MAKES A FOOL OUT OF HIMSELF AND THE CITY OF SAN BRUNO.
    This FOOL criticizing Governor Brown is ridiculous, he could never even come close to do the things the Governor has done in his political career.

    • R94110

      The mayor of San Bruno was elected by how many votes again? 30? 40?

  • mel perry

    it is not only the bald headed asshole in sacramento, but the entire administration, that
    has been bought and paid for by pg&e, where do you think these 300 retirement packages come from: dead bodies, burned out neighborhoods, and kickbacks to the
    corrupt lawmakers, he had a chance after san bruno, to clean up the corruption,
    especially with the puc, but did he?, hell no, that would have meant killing the golden goose, at least the mayor is speaking the truth, i always love it, when individuals who
    don’t live in a disaster area, caused by graft and corruption, bad mouth the local
    politicans, for telling the truth, you reading this mike dillard?, tell us where you live?
    or who pays your troll salary?, pg&e?