Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Around the Horn On A Wednesday Morn...

Lot's going on...

PUC Commissioner Timothy Simon goes before the Senate Rules Committee today for his confirmation hearing. You can imagine how thrilled he was to read a page 1 story in the LA Times this morning about how he allegedly shook down companies he regulates to fund a green energy conference hosted by the Willie L. Brown Institute on Politics and Public Service (which is, of course, headed up by Simon's political patron, Willie Brown).

According to the Times, this is not technically illegal, but PG&E, SoCalEd, and SDG&E all ponied up $50,000 to be platinum sponsors and, "About the same time Simon was raising money from the utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. were petitioning the PUC to increase bonuses in an energy-efficiency program the commission had established a few months earlier." (They got the change they were looking for.")

PUC member's donation request raises questions [Los Angeles Times]


Down in Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced his new "Solar Jobs Initiative" under which the DWP will fork over $270 million to install solar panels on city-owned commercial buildings and to bring the buildings up to green building standards. They Mayor claims this will create as many as 400 jobs over the next 3 years. Villaraigosa calls these new jobs "green collar" jobs... catchy.

Mayor: LADWP Plan Will Create 'Green-Collar' Workforce []

Also at the LA DWP, the much-lampooned lactation program is going forward after 60 protesters attacked commission President Nick Patsaouras for being "anti-women." The Los Angeles Daily News reports that Patsaouras demonstrated stuck to his guns: "It's absurd," Patsaouras was quoted as saying last week. "At a time when we're asking ratepayers to increase the rates, we're going for lactation."

The DWP's H. David Nahai,has final say over the $37,000 program (it was originally reported to cost $50,000) ahd he's giving it the thumbs up.