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This week, two events affecting Pacific Gas & Electric, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and CPUC president Michael Peevey, have ignited a firestorm of justifiable indignation.

First, the City of San Bruno managed to get emails between Peevey and PG&E executives that pertained to the 2010 pipeline explosion. Those emails clearly showed Peevey's egregious pro-utility bias.

In an editorial, the San Jose Mercury News said, "We knew the president of the CPUC placed his cozy relationship with the utility above any responsibility to the public…. The state Attorney General and federal Department of Justice should immediately open an investigation into the connection between Peevey and the utility...the public trust, already worn thin, is in tatters…. And if Gov. Jerry Brown persists in backing his outrageously unethical appointee, he might as well change the name to the Pro Utility Commission."

Said the San Francisco Chronicle in an editorial, "Gov. Jerry Brown had ample cause to remove Michael Peevey as president of the California Public Utilities Commission even before the disclosure of emails that underscored the coziness between the state regulators and Pacific Gas & Electric."

Also this week, a federal grand jury indictment superseding one last April charged PG&E with obstructing justice. There were 27 charges of violating the federal Pipeline Safety Act and one charge of allegedly lying to National Transportation Safety Board investigators after the blast. This indictment raised the possible fine the utility may have to pay to $3.8 billion.

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Comments

Anon92107 July 31, 2014 @ 2:38 a.m.

Don, it's time to send Peevey and utility execs to jail.

Even Brown should go to jail for allowing them to get away with murder and threatening public safety throughout California!

California has just taken First Place as the most corrupt state in the 21st century.

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 7:28 a.m.

Anon92107: Peevey is a longtime friend of Brown. No astute politician should put friendship ahead of political survival. The top newspapers in the state realize that Peevey's sole concern is utility profits. He doesn't give a damn for consumers. Yet the CPUC exists to protect consumers from predatory utilities. Wall Street and management of California utilities love Peevey, but nobody else does, or should. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel July 31, 2014 @ 10:10 a.m.

don bauder, I don't believe that Brown is putting friendship ahead of political survival. Brown ran virtually unopposed and got almost 55% of the total vote. The last poll I saw had Brown at about the same level and Kashkari 20 points down, with Brown spending very little of his $20+ million war-chest and doing little campaigning since the primary. Odds are that he wins, easily, and he knows it. So rather than putting friendship ahead of political survival, I don't think he sees Peevey as a causing even the slightest bump in the road in his re-election. It's called arrogance. And Jerry Brown is nothing if not arrogant, though he would call it confident. Full discloure, I did vote for Brown the first time around. NOt first term, but first time as Governor. But in my own defense, it was my first general election in California, in all honesty, I probably voted for him because his girlfriend at the time had been a friend of my aunt in high school and I actually knew her when I was a little kid. Probably seemed as good a reason as any at the time.

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 12:30 p.m.

danfogel: Was that when Brown was dating some pop singer? I think her name was Linda Ronstadt. Don't know if she is in the spotlight anymore. Or was it somebody else he was dating? Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel July 31, 2014 @ 6:58 p.m.

don bauder, Respectfully, Linda was not just "some pop singer.Though she can no longer sing due to her Parkinson's disease, she was honored with the National Medal of Arts this past Monday by POTUS at the White House.

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 8:47 p.m.

danfogel: Many thanks for informing me. One of my many weaknesses is an utter lack of knowledge of popular culture. I get teased about it on the blog -- deservedly. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh July 31, 2014 @ 8:22 a.m.

While this is bad news for Peevey, it is not the catastrophe it would have been a decade ago. Why? People aren't reading newspapers that much (as evidenced by the massive decline in Mill circulation) and thus don't sway public opinion that much. TV hasn't supplanted the papers as a news source due to the declines in viewership. Your evident frustration with Brown is obvious. What was obvious to me was that as governor he would do some really foolish and bad things, and he's right on track. How did I know? I remember when he was governor the first time!

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aardvark July 31, 2014 @ 9:36 a.m.

Visduh: Just think how bad the circulation numbers would be for the Manchester U-T if they could only count papers that were delivered that were actually paid for either for full price (single copy) or by subscription. I'm sure everything is counted--including papers that are sold for a penny or papers that are delivered to households that have cancelled their subscription, yet it still magically appears on their front porch.

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AlexClarke July 31, 2014 @ 11:54 a.m.

I went by a UT paper stand and it was open. There were 5 or 6 papers in there and when I went by there again about an hour later there were 5 0r 6 papers there. LOL

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 12:37 p.m.

AlexClarke: And my bet it that the stand was left open on purpose. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 12:36 p.m.

aardvark: Technically, a customer has to pay at least a penny for a paper for it to be called paid circulation. However, the U-T must somehow be counting those free papers they are distributing, or they would halt the practice. It's expensive. Maybe after someone cancels, there is leeway on how long the newspaper can be delivered and still be counted as paid circulation. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark July 31, 2014 @ 4:58 p.m.

Don: I have friends who continued getting the Manchester U-T for weeks and even months after cancelling the subscription.

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 8:52 p.m.

aardvark: Yes, people are telling me that regularly. As long as they are not being billed, they should keep their mouths shut unless they absolutely do not want the paper. I would bet that the U-T reports these papers as paid circulation. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 12:33 p.m.

Visduh: You are certainly right that newspapers don't have the circulation -- or influence -- as in the past. But Peevey has to pay attention to this bad press he is getting. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 1:50 p.m.

Miriam Raftery: Why doesn't AG Kamala Harris or a grand jury indict Peevey? One word: politics. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 8:54 p.m.

Miriam: You know why. One word: politics. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 July 31, 2014 @ 2:28 p.m.

All we keep proving is that American Democracy and human rights are dying, our environment is in extremis, most people don't even bother to vote anymore and not enough people seem to care enough to join together to fight back even with the future clearly in rapidly increasingly grave jeopardy.

Thank you for your dedication anyway Don.

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 3:33 p.m.

Anon92107: I suppose that people who don't vote think that it's futile: watching our pathetic Congress, they figure nothing will be done anyway. Best, Don Bauder

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CaptD July 31, 2014 @ 3:38 p.m.

Don - One great thing about all this additional SUNSHINE on the PUC is that it will also have a huge impact on the San Onofre proposed deal that would have cost soCal ratepayers 3.4 Billion dollars if it is approved. Michael Aguirre and many of us will be watching the news on these issues since many believe that this matter will really be decided in the news, not at any PUC hearing...

Notice the UT and most local MSM is mute when it comes to the SCE (and SDG&E) San Onofre Replacement Steam Generator (RSG) Project which trailed soon after the SCE in-house designed RSG components were installed.

You can bet that Gov. Brown and Peevey are now doing much more than smiling at each other, while they are visiting Mexico as the Reader reported earlier.

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 8:56 p.m.

CaptD: See the top post, which I put on this evening. The CPUC released a document showing clearly that it is prejudiced in favor of Edison and SDG&E and against ratepayers, just as it favors Pacific Gas & Electric and wants to screw citizens of San Bruno. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill July 31, 2014 @ 4:17 p.m.

I wonder who's going to pay for flood damage on Sunset and at UCLA due to the water main break. DWP ratepayers I guess.

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Visduh July 31, 2014 @ 4:35 p.m.

UCLA has already declared that they're looking to the city for reimbursement. That is doubly the case since it took DWP something like three hours to shut it off. DWP had a flock of excuses, but the telling one and the one that will cost them is that they had to "research" the system plans to figure out where the valve(s) was(were) that could shut it off. If you ever want to see a dysfunctional city utility in action, just go to LA and follow the DWP boys around. That department has been an ongoing scandal for at least twenty years now, and even with all the bad publicity, it doesn't really improve.

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ImJustABill July 31, 2014 @ 7:19 p.m.

It's kind of scary. It's the type of minor catastrophe that I usually assume the powers that be have prepared for - only to find out that they haven't.

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 9:03 p.m.

ImJustABill: Do you assume that San Diego's powers-that-be are prepared for unexpected emergencies? I can't imagine that you do. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill July 31, 2014 @ 9:51 p.m.

You mean like if a single technician in Arizona makes a single mistake it couldn't possibly shut down electricity in all of San Diego County for hours?

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Don Bauder Aug. 1, 2014 @ 7:40 a.m.

ImJustABill: Ah, sweet memories. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 9:01 p.m.

Visduh: Those on both sides of the argument over whether municipal or shareholder-owned utilities are best have plenty of ammunition this week. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 31, 2014 @ 8:59 p.m.

ImJustABill: Since DWP is a municipal agency, ratepayers and/or taxpayers will wind up paying the bill. Can't blame this one on shareholders. Best, Don Bauder

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monaghan July 31, 2014 @ 10:39 p.m.

Jerry Brown IS an arrogant jerk, but he won't like being associated with CPUC head Michael Peevey much longer, since the press in northern California is now editorializing against Peevey's culpable, friendly and illegal ex parte communications with Pacific Gas & Electric. That public utility has been trying to skate from responsibility for the disastrous San Bruno gas explosion that killed people, maimed others and destroyed almost 40 homes. It's a disgrace. Brown needs to cut Peevey loose now.

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Don Bauder Aug. 1, 2014 @ 7:45 a.m.

monaghan: Agreed. Brown has to let Peevey go now. But that will just be a start. The CPUC is a secretive organization in which communication is in winks and nods. Communications are deliberately crafted to be unfathomable. The entire organization has to be reformed, although it operates as an entity on its own, and it won't be easy. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 1, 2014 @ 7:47 a.m.

William Bibb: Peevey won't voluntarily step down. He needs to be shoved down -- down 33 flights of stairs. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Aug. 1, 2014 @ 8:39 a.m.

Remember, Peevey's term is up at the end of the year so Brown has to reappoint him. Brown could remove him as President of the commission TODAY, should he so choose. But at this point, I don't think he has the time to remove him completely from the commission.

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MURPHYJUNK Aug. 1, 2014 @ 8:23 a.m.

Too bad tar and feathers went out of fashion.

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Don Bauder Aug. 1, 2014 @ 11:03 a.m.

Murphyjunk: How about putting Peevey in stocks in public squares for 30 days before dispatching him to prison? Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Aug. 1, 2014 @ 12:54 p.m.

just publishing his ( and others involved ) home address would do it.

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Don Bauder Aug. 1, 2014 @ 4:13 p.m.

Murphyjunk: As I recall, danfogel came up with Peevey's home address. Best, Don Bauder

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