Michael Picker to head Public Utilities Commission

Dec 24, 2014

[NOTE: Sorry for the delayed RU today - our webhost was tweaking the site]


Governor Brown named his renewable energy advisor Michael Picker to head the Public Utilities Commission, replacing Michael Peevey who steps down December 31.  Both power generation companies and environmental groups are hailing the pick.


Marc Lifsher has the story at the Los Angeles Times.  “Picker, 62, succeeds Michael Peevey, 76, a former Southern California Edison Co. president whose term expires Dec. 31. Peevey has drawn praise for his efforts to curb global warming. But under his leadership the normally low-profile agency has been tarnished by safety lapses and targeted by federal and state law enforcement investigations…


“In an interview with The Times, Picker called the PUC ‘an enormously challenging organization’ where ‘people are starting to respond slowly to the need for change.’"


Last year, the Bee picked seven California politicos to watch – Jim Brulte, Marybel Batjer, Holly Mitchell, Michael Kirst, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Anthony Rendon and Don Specter – quite a list.  Now they offer a look back at a busy year for each, starting with Brulte.


“Jim Brulte, chairman of the California Republican Party, could hardly have envisioned a better year.


“Though the GOP again lost every race for statewide office in November, Brulte met his goals: Republicans picked up enough seats in the Legislature to deprive Democrats of supermajorities in both houses, and the party made gains in the U.S. House of Representatives.”


The major players in the push to legalize online gambling in California are coming to the table (again), this time led by Assemblyman Mike Gatto D-Silverlake, who introduced new legislation the first day of session. 


From John Howard at Capitol Weekly: “Gatto’s AB 9 was introduced Dec. 1 on the first day of the new legislative session – a swift move that caught many by surprise.


“’I didn’t see that coming. I don’t think anybody saw that coming,’ said one lobbyist who closely follows gaming issues, ‘but he (Gatto) is familiar with the tribes and he originally was supposed to be author of last year’s (Assembly internet poker) bill, so it makes a certain amount of sense.’”


Political players are lining up their teams for the 2015 session – Jeremy White reports that apartment-sharing service Airbnb has hired a prominent Sacramento lobbying firm in advance of a year that is expected to see legislation regulating the industry.  From the Sacramento Bee:


“…Airbnb has signed on with KP Public Affairs, lobbyist Greg Hayes confirmed, in the most concrete sign yet that Sacramento will become the latest venue to host a debate over how much services like Airbnb should be regulated. San Francisco has enacted a law sanctioning short-term rentals like those offered on Airbnb, while San Jose has voted to tax Airbnb rentals and Auburn has weighed an ordinance.”


Also at the Bee, Dale Kasler reports that CalPERS has hired two more lobbying firms to represent their interests in DC


“The California Public Employees’ Retirement System hired jointly the Lussier Group and Williams & Jensen to lobby on retirement policy issues. K&L Gates, an international law firm, was hired to represent CalPERS on investment and financial-market issues.


“Until now, the Lussier Group, based in Alexandria, Va., had done all of CalPERS’ lobbying work in Washington.”


And, finally, a story that will warm the hearts of you state employees reading the Roundup while stuck in the parking lot known as Highway 50 while on your commute from El Dorado Hills: the story of Thurmond Alford who spends seven hours a day commuting to/from his job at the U.S. Department of Justice.


“Alford lives in Chesterfield County, but works at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. That calls for a 3½-hour commute of more than 120 miles. And that’s just one way.


“Alford said he’s put 27,000 miles on his 2014 Mazda 6 in just seven months, and he only drives part of the way before hitching a carpool ride and taking the D.C. Metro.


“’If I make all the right connections at all the right times, it’s 3½ hours,’ Alford said. ‘I literally go through 11 counties, cross four rivers and three major cities.’”


h/t  WTVR, Richmond, Virginia


 And, a note that the Roundup will be taking the next couple of days off to celebrate the holiday – best to all of our readers, and we’ll see you Monday!

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