Mercury News editorial: Governor’s PUC Emails Should Be Public
by The Editorial Board, San Jose Mercury News
Gov. Jerry Brown needs to come clean about his level of involvement in the California Public Utilities Commission’s decision to make ratepayers pay the majority of the $4.7 billion it cost to shut down the San Onofre nuclear power plant.
The PUC is withholding 65 emails from the governor’s office with the outrageous excuse that the agency isn’t fully covered by the state’s open government laws. It’s especially galling, given that the governor in October vetoed the Legislature’s six-bill package aimed at imposing greater transparency and accountability on the PUC.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith said in November that the PUC “should do the right thing” and reveal the emails but acknowledged that he may not have the power to do so. Goldsmith will hear an appeal from attorney Mike Aguirre on Dec. 22.
The emails are relevant because ratepayers should have the right to know the governor’s role in this unpopular decision. They also might shed light on his generally inexplicable behavior when it comes to the regulatory agency.
Brown stood by former PUC President Michael Peevey long after Peevey’s grossly inappropriate relationship with PG&E became clear. Under Peevey’s watch, the PUC let PG&E take money that was approved for pipeline safety and use it instead for executive compensation before the deadly 2010 San Bruno explosion.