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EDITORIAL: Our View: Transparency Sorely Lacking at CPUC and in Sacramento


The California Public Utilities Commission and the public’s right to know will collide on Thursday when the CPUC will vote on a staff recommendation to withhold and redact documents related to the now closed San Onofre nuclear power plant on the Southern California coast.

According to Consumer Watchdog, San Diego-based attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson asked for the 124 records of communication under the Public Records Act. At least half were emails involving the governor’s office and CPUC members.

Aguirre and Severson believe the documents, related to communication between CPUC President Michael Picker, Gov. Jerry Brown’s office and other advisers and state officials, could show government officials helped Southern California Edison charge ratepayers $3.3 billion of the $4.7 billion cost to shut down the nuke plant, when the entire cost should have been borne by SCE shareholders.

The Public Utilities Commission so far has refused the request to release the records, even though a San Francisco Superior Court judge accused it of stonewalling, probably to protect its members.

Complicating matters is the fact that Aguirre and Severson sued for the records’ release in U.S. District Court but lost. They then took the case to federal court, which is reserving the right to hear the case.

It shouldn’t have to come to that, though. Clearly, the documents Aguirre and Severson are seeking are public records and they should be turned over to anyone seeking them — without redactions.

Transparency in government is of the utmost importance, particularly when it comes to showing how the public’s money is spent or misspent. In this case, Edison’s ratepayers deserve to know if they were saddled with paying for something that should have been the responsibility of Edison’s shareholders.

The best thing the CPUC and the governor’s office can do is release these and all other emails and documents relating to San Onofre’s closure and cleanup. Let’s find out once and for all whether or not the CPUC and the governor’s office put Edison’s interests before those of the public.

Let’s find out once and for all whether or not any crimes were committed

Attorney General Xavier Becerra has spent much of his time protecting illegal immigrants since being appointed by Gov. Brown earlier this year. His constituents would be better served by his office conducting an immediate investigation into this matter.

We won’t be surprised if today’s hearing results in the public being denied access to records it should privy to. Unfortunately, the Democrats who control the state Legislature, Becerra and Gov. Brown have shown little interest in doing the right thing or the legal thing lately.

How else do you explain their refusal to comply with open records laws, tax laws or federal laws?