4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

UCAN Talking Merger with TURN

San Diego-based Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN), a watchdog organization focusing on public utilities, is talking possible merger with San Francisco-based The Utility Reform Network (TURN).

Neither Michael Shames, executive director of UCAN, nor Mark Toney, executive director of TURN, would comment. However, a person who has been very close to the top of UCAN for years says that the merger has been discussed among board members for a long time, although he doesn't know that actual negotiations are going on now.

Members of the UCAN staff have been forced to sign a document indicating that they will not discuss the possible merger. However, I was able to get confirmation from some, and they say that negotiations are ongoing. UCAN staff members are fearful that the combined organization would be based in San Francisco, and most if not all UCAN employees would lose their jobs. Presumably, Shames would remain in San Diego and work for TURN. I have also confirmed that Shames has told board members that UCAN might have to be shut down.

This comes among turmoil at UCAN. Inside whistleblowers have officially complained about a number of problems. One is that Shames lists himself as an attorney but has been an inactive member of the state bar since 1988. Another is whether Shames has adequately disclosed that he makes ten percent of intervenor fees that UCAN gathers from participating in California Public Utilities Commission cases. The UCAN board hired an attorney to study these matters and others.

I will have a lengthier report on UCAN woes in an upcoming column.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The masterful Meistersinger singers

The best six hours I've spent in an opera house
Next Article

SEALS in Afghanistan, Panama, Vietnam, Grenada

Killer training in Coronado, spying for Koch in America's Cup race

San Diego-based Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN), a watchdog organization focusing on public utilities, is talking possible merger with San Francisco-based The Utility Reform Network (TURN).

Neither Michael Shames, executive director of UCAN, nor Mark Toney, executive director of TURN, would comment. However, a person who has been very close to the top of UCAN for years says that the merger has been discussed among board members for a long time, although he doesn't know that actual negotiations are going on now.

Members of the UCAN staff have been forced to sign a document indicating that they will not discuss the possible merger. However, I was able to get confirmation from some, and they say that negotiations are ongoing. UCAN staff members are fearful that the combined organization would be based in San Francisco, and most if not all UCAN employees would lose their jobs. Presumably, Shames would remain in San Diego and work for TURN. I have also confirmed that Shames has told board members that UCAN might have to be shut down.

This comes among turmoil at UCAN. Inside whistleblowers have officially complained about a number of problems. One is that Shames lists himself as an attorney but has been an inactive member of the state bar since 1988. Another is whether Shames has adequately disclosed that he makes ten percent of intervenor fees that UCAN gathers from participating in California Public Utilities Commission cases. The UCAN board hired an attorney to study these matters and others.

I will have a lengthier report on UCAN woes in an upcoming column.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
2

I interviewed with UCAN out of college, and the pay was pathetic, close to minium wage and I passed even though I would have oved to work there.

Then I saw that one of our former city council members was hired by them - cannot recall who it was-at an astronomical salary!

MAN was I GLAD I passed on that low life outfit.

July 21, 2011

I have always supported Michael Shames and UCAN's mission. It truly bothers me to report on these very serious problems. I will have more. Best, Don Bauder

July 22, 2011

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close