Former Edison exec Michael Peevey
  • Former Edison exec Michael Peevey
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On March 26, 2013, an executive of California Edison, Stephen Pickett, had a clandestine meeting with Michael Peevey, then president of the California Public Utilities Commission, at a hotel in Warsaw, Poland.

Stephen Pickett

Stephen Pickett

At this meeting, Peevey sketched out a strategy for Edison (majority owner of the now-shuttered San Onofre power plant) and San Diego Gas & Electric (minority owner) by which they could pass on the decommissioning costs of closing San Onofre to ratepayers, who had nothing to do with the mismanagement that led to the shutdown. Later, the commission approved a deal, which was very similar to what Peevey had suggested in Warsaw: ratepayers would pick up the tab for a whopping $3.3 billion. (Edison and SDG&E already had among the highest utility rates in the nation.)

California Democratic attorney general Kamala Harris

California Democratic attorney general Kamala Harris

The state attorney general's office investigated and recovered the notes from that Warsaw meeting. Those notes were a smoking gun for obstruction of justice. But skeptics guffawed: attorney general Kamala Harris was running for the U.S. Senate. She wouldn't dare cross Peevey pal and fellow Democratic governor Jerry Brown — whose sister Kathleen has been on Sempra Energy's board of directors since 2013. (Sempra is the parent company of SDG&E.) The skeptics doubted that Harris would actually pursue a prosecution.

Jerry and Kathleen Brown

Jerry and Kathleen Brown

The skeptics were right.

Last month, the three-year period of the statute of limitations ran out. Unless the attorney general's office investigates another angle on this case, Peevey, Edison, and Brown will skate. Harris did the same in the case against San Bruno, which suffered the destruction of a neighborhood and several deaths from an explosion that Pacific Gas & Electric will have to throw some money in the pot for. At least, in the San Bruno case, federal investigators have moved in. But "the feds are missing in action" on San Onofre, says San Diego attorney Mike Aguirre.

"For her to let the statute go is malpractice," says Aguirre.

Harris has not put anything close to sufficient firepower on the case, as she has stalled it to advance her own political career. Since that Warsaw meeting, the legislature has passed bills to reform the utilities commission. Brown vetoed them.

Meanwhile, Aguirre and his law partner Maria Severson are fighting the San Onofre battle and have not been able to get copies of emails that are essential to the case.

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MURPHYJUNK April 24, 2016 @ 8:46 a.m.

must be a very large bed to hold all these crooks


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 7:20 p.m.

Murphyjunk: Believe it or not, I can remember days when utilities were honored for serving the public -- rather than fleecing it, as today. Best, Don Bauder


MURPHYJUNK May 1, 2016 @ 9:38 a.m.

seems lately the public is served on a patter to the share holders


ImJustABill April 24, 2016 @ 11:10 a.m.

Such brazen corruption is beyond appalling.

But I still think the most amazing story about Brown and the PUC is the anti-corruption bill that was passed 100% by ALL DEMOCRATS and ALL REPUBLICANS in both the Senate and Assembly and was still vetoed by Brown.

It almost seems like that was a symbolic acknowledgement by both sides of where we stand. Brown is corrupt and will protect the PUC. Everyone knows it. Nobody will do anything about it.


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 7:22 p.m.

ImJustABill: I am afraid you may be right. Best, Don Bauder


shirleyberan April 24, 2016 @ 11:39 a.m.

I really misunderstood what he was about and voted him anyway. Success is suspect forevermore. Wiki says Anne Gust (attorney/wife since 2005 also listed as Democrat) has been influential over him. Could happen.


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 7:23 p.m.

shirleyberan: Has she been influential in a negative or positive way? Best, Don Bauder


Anon92107 April 24, 2016 @ 12:22 p.m.

Don, I'm finding it impossible to believe that you can write so much about the total corruption of California state government (republican and democrat), Brown, the legislature and CPUC type agencies without throwing up with every post.

Brown/SCE/CPUC threats against public safety at SONGS are enabling the worst disaster in California history. Interesting that Brown and Peevey are Berkeley grads and Berkeley has already become the worst education disaster in the history of California. And no one is able to save us from climate change disasters that have already begun.

Should Californians escape to Colorado before our roads and bridges fall apart completely?


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 7:26 p.m.

Anon92107: One thing California could do is approve sale of commercial marijuana within the state. The money will roll in, and so will tax receipts. Best, Don Bauder


MURPHYJUNK April 26, 2016 @ 7:35 a.m.

or street and cash sales will just go on unchanged


Don Bauder April 26, 2016 @ 9:11 p.m.

Murphyjunk: I doubt if street sales would continue on in great volume if the price is higher than that sold in marijuana stores. However, there might be more street sales of stronger drugs -- heroin, for example. Best, Don Bauder


Flapper April 26, 2016 @ 11:55 p.m.

You must have some statistics on how "druggies" move from cannabis to stronger drugs?


Don Bauder April 27, 2016 @ 1:31 p.m.

Flapper: I don't have stats but I am sure they are out there. There is controversy on the point. Some claim that people don't move upward to, say, cocaine after using marijuana for a long time.

I am for legalized marijuana, but I have one big problem with it: young people are said to suffer brain damage from use of marijuana. Best, Don Bauder


MURPHYJUNK April 27, 2016 @ 7:42 a.m.

the officials will keep the cost ( tax and other related costs) of "ligit" sales higher than street sales,

the illegal market has had a long time to perfect its business model.


Don Bauder April 28, 2016 @ 11:48 a.m.

Murphyjunk: If you are right, the illegal market has the government-regulated legal market in its pocket.

Sigh. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Best, Don Bauder


CaptD April 24, 2016 @ 1:52 p.m.

The key to OPENING SanOnofreGate * is that the CPUC ALJ stalled the investigation and then the ALJ that replaced her never even reopened the investigation despite receiving technical documentation that clearly showed that SCE knew about their RSG design problems yet they continued to have them manufactured, which then put southern California at risk of a nuclear accident, since they failed so soon after being installed and accepted by SCE as meeting all design criteria.

**The new hashtag that will allow you to keep up to date on the ongoing investigation into the multi-billion $ SCE-CPUC ripoff.


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 7:28 p.m.

CaptD: But it will take political will and integrity to stop the utility ripoffs. Is there any of either? Best, Don Bauder


swell April 24, 2016 @ 3:58 p.m.

CaptD: Thanks for tracking all that info. I'm not using the proprietary parts of the internet so I will be unable to see your work. I'd like to know if you ever put your information on the real internet.


CaptD April 24, 2016 @ 4:26 p.m.

Swell — Do a twitter or Google search for #sanonofregate and you will see tons of info, if there is something special you are interested in just let me know.

Here is a link to get you started: + A wonderful free animation that shows what could have happened if SanO Unit 2 was restarted and one or more of its replacement steam generator (RSGs) tubes failed... Note you can move your cursor around the animation and explore many different sub-animations.


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 7:37 p.m.

swell: It could have been terrifying -- in fact, still could. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder April 26, 2016 @ 7:06 a.m.

CaptD: Ratepayers raped again. Best, Don Bauder


Flapper April 27, 2016 @ 12:03 a.m.

I don't understand the appeal of twitter, facebook, ad nauseam. I avoid them and will not subscribe.


Don Bauder April 27, 2016 @ 1:34 p.m.

Flapper: I don't either but that's just because I don't use them. It's the old dog, new tricks apothegm. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 7:29 p.m.

CaptD will come through, I have to believe. Best, Don Bauder


SportsFan0000 April 24, 2016 @ 11:30 p.m.

State AG Harris was also very weak in the Negotiations with States Attorney Generals and Settlement with large mortgage lenders ripping off consumers on their home loans/mortgages making the financial crisis even worse after the crash of 2008.

I read that The California State Attorney General's Office, basically, rolled over and hung out to dry a very large number of innocent California homeowners who could have been helped. State AG Kamala Harris played right into the hands of the banks. She practically let them dictate the terms and pay a multi-billion dollar fine while simultaneously steamrolling over innocent homeowners. And, As with the US AG, State AG Harris did not criminally prosecute any of the executives involved in major frauds in the mortgage settlements mess.

Just what California needs in the US Senate: Another Corporate Lapdog that genuflects in front of and kisses the rings of Wall Street Sharks (Sarcasm Inserted)..


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 7:32 p.m.

SportsFan0000: Are you surprised that Gov. Brown rolled over the for the mortgage fraud perpetrators? Best, Don Bauder


SportsFan0000 May 20, 2016 @ 6:34 p.m.

It was my understanding that State AG Harris was in charge and represented the State in the Negotiations with Big Banks and Other State AGs. Harris approved the deal. She was legally constituted with the Authority to Negotiate and Approve the Deal.

I am not sure if Brown was even involved. Did Brown also have a role in it?! If I am wrong, then please correct/educate me...


AlexClarke April 25, 2016 @ 6:38 a.m.

Follow the money and you will find politicians.


Don Bauder April 26, 2016 @ 7:08 a.m.

Murphyjunk: Too bad you can't get at the offshore secrecy/tax havens. Best, Don Bauder


MURPHYJUNK April 26, 2016 @ 7:36 a.m.

if I could it would be tempting to cash in on the find.


Don Bauder April 26, 2016 @ 9:15 p.m.

Murphyjunk: But suppose you got caught? If you are not a politician, you might go to the slammer. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 7:34 p.m.

AlexClarke: That is good advice for sleuthing in both the public and private sectors: follow the money. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 8:02 p.m.

Bob-Hudson; Progresisves can be crook, too. Beat, Don Bauder


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 8:05 p.m.

Tom Struble: The words you are fishing for are "crook" and "retired administrative law judge". Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 8:07 p.m.

Bob_Hudson. The mayor who turned back Edison's attempt to take over San Diego Gas & Electric was Maureen O'Connor, not Pete Wilson. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder April 25, 2016 @ 8:09 p.m.

Maryanne Beckham: Whoever tells U.S. senators to stop corruption may be a pariah soon. Best, Don Bauder


CaptainObvious April 26, 2016 @ 6:51 p.m.

I find it interesting that Harris always announces a big bust of some kind just before an election. I suspect that she lets criminals that she "has the goods" on run wild until the arrests are beneficial to her political carrer, at the cost of crimes comitted upon the citizens.


Don Bauder April 26, 2016 @ 9:17 p.m.

Captain Obvious: That's how it's done. You know that. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder April 27, 2016 @ 1:37 p.m.

Flapper: Cynicism? On this blog? We're all called "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms." Best, Don Bauder


CaptD April 27, 2016 @ 4:41 p.m.

Rebecca — I think what we have here is the pointed end of the "real" news that many in the media wish they were able to share with the public but cannot because of the cozy relationship between these same media outlets and the "powerful entities, whose names we do not say say outloud"!

Imagine what it must be like to be a "muzzled" professional reporter and have to play along, like nothing is really amiss, when the biggest ripoff in California history is occurring "during your news watch"; especially when they (and their shareholders) who must not be named are laughing all the way to the Bank, while at the same time asking the CPUC for more...


Don Bauder April 28, 2016 @ noon

CaptD: I can tell you exactly what it is like to be muzzled and have to look the other way at corruption. I wrote for Business Week magazine for nine years. I was one of a handful of writers that would write negative things about companies. After a change in management, I was named the reporter who would cover organized crime and business. After my first try, I saw it was impossible. I could cover a pizza parlor or a mobbed-up labor union, but any company big enough to advertise was off-limits.

Then I worked 30 years for the Union-Tribune, whose ownership was very close to C. Arnholt Smith and John Alessio and plenty of other dubious characters. Talk about walking on eggs! Best, Don Bauder


Flapper April 27, 2016 @ 8:52 p.m.

A muzzled reporter is not a professional. A true professional puts the work first. The other kind (fill in your own improper noun) puts the buck first.


Don Bauder April 28, 2016 @ 12:03 p.m.

Flapper: I don't disagree. Read my post above and realize that when I was trying to do an honest job i had a wife, two children, two dogs and four cats.

It is a pleasure to work for the Reader, which encourages tough reporting and writing. Best, Don Bauder


Flapper April 28, 2016 @ 2:33 p.m.

Too many cats! Bird killers!

Stories like yours need wider dissemination. A guide for young reporters.


Don Bauder April 29, 2016 @ 8:13 p.m.

Flapper: I have written about San Diego for 43 years. There is no doubt that mainstream media don't want to step on toes. But there are also few people in San Diego wanting to hear the grim news. They're happy not hearing anything disquieting. They don't want anybody rocking the boat. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder May 2, 2016 @ 8:46 a.m.

Flapper: I was anti-cat until a feral female began hanging around our home. Pretty soon, she was pregnant. (I tried to slap a paternity suit on the father, but could never catch him.)

We got six kittens. We kept four plus the mother. One kitten was eaten by coyotes. We adopted another cat; he, too, was devoured by canyon coyotes. But most of the time we had four or more cats (along with two dogs) and I completely shed my prejudice against cats. Best, Don Bauder


Flapper April 28, 2016 @ 8:48 p.m.

I hope CaptD or someone will compile a fact sheet/talking points on the whole mess. I'm so confused I've forgotten to whom and by whom what was done for whom and when.




The Browns




How about some of these names? No novelist could make this stuff up!


Don Bauder April 29, 2016 @ 8:23 p.m.

Flapper: Sempra is the parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E ) and Southern California Gas. Both are in trouble, deservedly. PG&E is the bay area utility responsible for the horrible explosion in San Bruno. Jerry Brown is governor. His sister is on the board of Sempra. Mike Peevey, after serving as president of Southern California Edison, wound up as president of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the thoroughly corrupt regulator. He is supposedly being criminally investigated but that will probably be shoved aside partly because he is such a close friend of Jerry Brown. Kamala Harris is the attorney general running for U.S. Senate. It is her office that has stalled the Peevey investigation because she doesn't want to upset Gov. Brown.Best, Don Bauder


Flapper April 30, 2016 @ 9:29 a.m.

Thanks for the summary. I want to be able to talk intelligently with people about the specifics, but find I need a crib sheet.

I was talking with a woman a few days ago, and when it came out that her husband "worked in finance," and asked her for specifics, she said he worked for Sempra. I said something like "They're crooks!" but found that I couldn't recite chapter and verse. That's what I need help with, and I suspect I'm not alone. Or maybe a fact sheet/chronology to hand out. I doubt that very many people will actually visit you blog and paw through all the blah-blah to get the meat of the matter organized, but I refer them to you anyway.

Maybe I can get this woman to do some pillow-talk if I know what I'm talking about and can provide a chain of evidence.


Don Bauder April 30, 2016 @ 11:48 a.m.

Flapper: You can remind her that a unit of Sempra, Southern California Gas, was responsible for the biggest methane gas leak in U.S. history. Best, Don Bauder


Flapper April 30, 2016 @ 1:51 p.m.

What about San Onofre? Others? How to find chapter and verse, the string of evidence beyond just making a claim. I'm sure she's in denial because her husband works for Sempra, so a mere claim won't cut it. I have to be able to verify my claims.


Don Bauder May 2, 2016 @ 8:59 a.m.

Flapper: Go to the Reader search engine. Put in my name + Peevey. Then put in my name + California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Then put in my name + other names such as Picker, Aguirre, Severson, SDG&E, Sempra, PG&E, San Bruno, San Onofre, Simon, TURN, Spatt, Bill Powers, UCAN. If you have any energy left, come back and i will give you more names. Best, Don Bauder


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