Lara Defies Transparency: Refuses To Confirm Or Deny Whether He Or Department Met With Nunez, Serna and Other Known Applied Underwriters Lobbyists In PRA Litigation

Los Angeles, CA -- In responses to requests for admissions in pending litigation, Insurance Commissioner Lara’s Department has refused to answer straightforward questions about meetings and communications between the Department and known lobbyists for Applied Underwriters.   

The outright refusal to confirm or deny whether meetings and communications took place is not only a violation of the Public Records Act (PRA) but also a betrayal of Lara’s pledge for full transparency in the wake of the pay to play scandal involving Applied Underwriters, Consumer Watchdog said.

Biden, Unlike Trump, Thinks Businesses Shouldn’t Be Free To Abuse Consumers

By David Lazarus, LOS ANGELES TIMES

May 21, 2021

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-05-21/column-rohit-chopra-c…

Rohit Chopra is expected to receive the U.S. Senate’s blessing any day now to become the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. His job will be to restore credibility to a watchdog agency that was largely sidelined during the Trump administration.

Can the Ballot Be Used to Hold Local Government Accountable?

By Max Pringle, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC PRESS

November 2, 2020

https://www.sfpublicpress.org/can-the-ballot-be-used-to-hold-local-gove…

San Francisco has faced many scandals in which public officials abused their power for personal, political or organizational gain. Most recently, the Department of Public Works was rocked by an FBI investigation into alleged kickbacks, slush funds and illicit permitting influence. 

What's on your ballot? My take on the 2020 California propositions

Wondering what the story is with the dozen statewide propositions on your ballot? We've had so many requests that, while Consumer Watchdog hasn't weighed in on every measure, I'm sharing my personal recommendations below.

Prop 14 – LEANING NO
Allows the state stem cell research institute, CIRM, created 15 years ago by a prior ballot measure, to raise another $5.5 billion through bond sales to fund stem cell research.

$7 Signatures Block Citizen Access to Ballot Initiative Process, E-Signatures Can Restore It, Says New Report

Los Angeles, CA – The cost to qualify an initiative measure for the November 2020 ballot averaged a record-high $7.22 per valid signature, a prohibitive cost that locks average Californians out of the initiative process, according to a new report released by Consumer Watchdog today.

Insurers Fail To Rip-off Homeowners

The legislative session is over. I am happy to report that the bad guys didn’t win.

Insurance companies were not able to pass legislation in Sacramento allowing them to raise rates on homeowners in fire zones in violation of strict premium regulation created by voter-approved Prop 103. Thanks to your support, the State Senate refused to pass a dangerous insurance industry-backed bill by Assembly member Tom Daly.

Number Of Oil And Gas Well Permits Issued By Newsom Administration In 2019 Rivals Number Issued In Gov. Jerry Brown’s Last Year In Office

Los Angeles, CA—The total number of oil and gas well permits issued in 2019 under the Newsom Administration rivals the number issued in 2018 during the last year in office of former Governor Jerry Brown, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance reported today. The Newsom Administration issued just 1% fewer permits for a total of 4,545 versus 4,590 for all of 2018.

Conviction Is In Every Hand With Trump's Raw Deal Playing Cards

Whether the US Senate acknowledges it or not, we must never forget the raw deal behind Trump's corruption.

Mick Malvaney may be out as White House Chief of Staff, but he will always be the 9 of Clubs on in the Trump's Raw Deal Playing Card deck.

That's why acclaimed LA artist Charles Lynn “Chick” Bragg has teamed up with Consumer Watchdog Campaign (CW's campaign affilate) to offer a 54 face card, special-edition playing card deck featuring searing, satirical portraits of Trump's accomplices.

Wine & Beverage Industry Stops Bill To Overhaul and Expand Bottle Deposit System On Senate Floor

Los Angeles, CA — A major reform bill to fix California’s broken bottle deposit system and get consumers back hundreds of millions in unredeemed deposits failed in the California Senate today after the wine and liquor industry joined with the beverage industry to unleash their lobbyists against the proposal.  The bill is now on the inactive file after failing on the floor last night with 17 votes in favor.

Bill To Overhaul Bottle Deposit System Passes Out Of Senate Committee

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court said in testimony today before the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on bottle deposit reform legislation, SB 372, that it is time for the beverage industry to take responsibility for recycling the empties that their beverages leave behind, as is done in all other successful bottle deposit programs here and around the world.

Data Shows Insurance Companies Use Occupation and Education to Segregate and Overcharge Communities of Color And Blue-Collar California Drivers

Los Angeles, CA -- An analysis of new data obtained from insurance companies by the California Department of Insurance (“CDI”) confirms complaints by Consumer Watchdog and other citizen groups that insurance companies are surcharging motorists based on their occupation or educational status, in violation of insurance reform Proposition 103.

Families of Injured Patients File California Ballot Measure To Adjust $250,000 Maximum Compensation Cap Set by Politicians In 1975 That Has Never Been Updated

Sacramento, CA -- The father of a 29-year-old man disabled for life by medical negligence when he was two and the parents of a young girl with life-long disabilities, who await their daughter’s medical negligence trial, filed the Fairness for Injured Patients Act  (FIPA) today, a proposed initiative for the November 2020 ballot. 

CA Dept of Insurance Confirms Ongoing Insurance Discrimination Based on Education and Profession Affinity Groups

Consumer Watchdog Writes Attorney General & District Attorneys To Investigate IC Ricardo Lara Over Bribery and Money Laundering

Los Angeles, CA – The nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog has written California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the District Attorneys of Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles calling for an investigation of money laundering and bribery relating to the fundraising scandal engulfing California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

Fair Political Practices Commission Investigates Two Oil Regulators For Conflict Of Interest After Consumer Watchdog Complaint

 

Los Angeles-- The Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating two regulators at the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources for conflicts of interests raised in a July complaint by Consumer Watchdog.

CA Leg Compromise Gets $10 Million More For Recycling Centers, Small Exemption for Grocers

Sacramento, CA — Amendments to AB 54 (Ting) last night freed $5 million for beleaguered consumer recycling centers, seeming to seal what appears to be a short-term band-aid for recycling center problems until a larger solution is developed next year.  AB 54 already provided $5 million for mobile recycling and a short few months exemption for grocers affected by August recycling center closures that would otherwise have to redeem bottle and can deposits earlier.

Consumer Watchdog Asks Attorney General And DAs To Investigate CA Insurance Commissioner Over Apparently Illegal Payments For Second Home In Sacramento

Los Angeles, CA –  Following a Politico report that California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara billed the state for his Sacramento apartment, Consumer Watchdog has called on Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the District Attorneys for Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco counties to launch an investigation over the potential theft of public funds.

Grocers Launch Last-Week-Of-Session Attack on Bottle Deposit Law

Seek Exemption From Recycling Responsibilities As Consumers Turn To Stores For Deposits

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog today condemned eleventh-hour legislation by Senator Steve Glazer, SB 643, that would exempt thousands of grocery stores statewide from the obligation to recycle consumers’ bottles and cans and return their five and ten cent deposits. The bill was amended Saturday to be heard during the last five days of the legislative session.

Ricardo Lara’s Troubles Aside, Reverting To An Appointed Insurance Commissioner Would Hurt Consumers

Where the troubling trail of accusations dogging Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara will lead is hard to tell. State records show that insurance industry executives and their relatives gave tens of thousands of dollars to Lara’s campaign committee–even as he intervened on their behalf in cases before his agency. 

We’ll know more on Aug. 31. That’s when Lara has promised to make public his communications and calendars of meetings with the executives.

Advocates Call for Withdrawal of Insurance Commissioner Lara’s Bill to Give Insurers & Wall Street Blank Check From CA Taxpayers

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said legislation sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and scheduled for a vote Wednesday would needlessly expose California taxpayers to the same kind of complex and risky financial instruments that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

The bill would allow the state to purchase insurance and other financial products with none of the usual state oversight, including insurance regulation by Commissioner Lara’s own Department of Insurance and procurement rules at the Department of General Services.

Consumer Watchdog Urges Governor To Take Urgent Steps On Recycling

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog today urged Governor Newsom to crack down on the state’s recycling regulator CalRecycle and to take urgent steps that save the state’s bottle deposit program in the long and short term.

“The closure of the largest recycling chain in the state, rePlanet, has cut the number of recycling centers available to Californians in half over the last six years,” Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court wrote in a letter to Governor Newsom. “CalRecycle has long known about these problems, but it has failed to act.

California’s Biggest Bottle Redemption Center Chain Closes

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog said the closure of the largest operator of bottle redemption centers in the state, rePlanet, today requires the Governor to prioritize recycling reform in the coming months. rePlanet closed its last 284 centers today, leaving consumers with few places to receive bottle and can deposit refunds.

Consumer Watchdog called for CALRecycle, the state agency in charge of recycling, to immediately require every grocery and convenience store chain to begin redeeming bottles and cans.

Insurance Commissioner Lara Delays Calendar Release Another Month

Los Angeles, CA – Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s office will delay disclosure of the Commissioner’s calendar or records of his meetings with insurance companies to August 31st, according to a communication sent to Consumer Watchdog.

Commissioner Lara said that he would disclose his calendars in response to revelations that he took $54,300 in campaign contributions from insurance executives and their spouses, took actions that benefited the insurance company connected to three of those donors, and met with the company’s CEO.

Watchdog Report Shows The Lack of Cybersecurity in Internet Connected Cars Puts Drivers at Risk

Kill Switch Report Highlights Widespread Hacking Vulnerability of Connected Cars

Alarming Watchdog Report Shows Connected Cars Are Vulnerable to Hacking With Potentially Fatal Consequences

Kill Switch Report Shows Internet Connected Cars Are At Risk of Fleet Wide Hacking

Consumer Watchdog Report Shows Connected Cars Are Vulnerable To Dangerous Hacking

Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Auto Safety Urge DMV, AG, & FTC to Investigate Tesla for Deceptive Practices After Another Autopilot-Related Death

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Auto Safety today renewed their call to the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Motor Vehicles to investigate dangerously misleading and deceptive practices and representations of Tesla Motors, Inc. regarding the safety and capabilities of its Autopilot feature.

Consumer Watchdog Seeks Disclosures Regarding Influence-Peddling Scandal Under Public Records Act

Los Angeles, CA -- The non-profit, non-partisan Consumer Watchdog gave California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara until July 31 to produce public records related to his meetings with insurance industry representatives who gave him $54,300 in campaign contributions in a letter sent late last week. 

DOGGR Regulator Fired Over Conflicts of Interest and Increased Oil Well Permits

Gov Newsom Fires Top Oil Regulator & Institutes Sweeping Ethics Review of Agency In Response To Watchdog Report of Conflicts

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog today thanked Governor Gavin Newsom for firing the state’s top oil and gas supervisor and instituting an ethics review of the state’s oil well approval and inspection process in response to its recent report of conflicts at the agency and request.

Watchdogs Call For Resignations & Permit Freeze As California Oil Regulators Approve Surge In Well Permits While Personally Invested In Oil Companies

Los Angeles, CA -- A review of state conflict of interest forms shows that eight regulators managing the state’s oil and gas well approval and inspection process have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the oil companies they regulate.  One of the regulators is among the top three in command at the State’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR).

Insurance Commissioner Lara Gives Insurance Industry Money Back, But Questions Remain About Circumstances Of Influence-Peddling At Agency

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s decision to return over $54,000 in contributions from donors tied to a company seeking the Commissioner’s approval for an acquisition was an “important first step that protects the credibility of the elected position you hold.” The non-profit advocacy organization urged the Commissioner to return the money in a letter yesterday.

Wildfire Legislation On Track or Train Wreck?

Can Sacramento help wildfire victims get paid without bailing out the investor-owned utilities that claim they cannot pay for all of the wildfires they start?

The debate came to a head today in the California Senate Energy and Utilities Committee, where a parade of skeptics gave tenuous support to a proposal by the Newsom Administration. It tries to make sure shareholders pay for fires utilities start and ratepayers pay for fires where the utilities aren't at fault.

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Governor Newsom’s Energy Commission Report Taking on Gas Price Manipulation

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said today that the California Energy Commission under Governor Gavin Newsom is finally taking steps to confront artificially high gasoline prices in California by acknowledging the role of oil refiners' supply and retail price manipulation in sky-high pump prices.  

Consumer and Recycling Advocates Condemn Loss of Last Recycling Center West of 405 Freeway

Santa Monica, CA --- At the site of the soon-to-be shuttered Santa Monica Community Recycling Center, consumer advocates called on California lawmakers and regulators to rescue the failing redemption industry. The center, closing Saturday, is the last redemption center west of the 405, serving 200,000 people on LA's Westside. 

Appellate Court Holds Mercury Insurance Accountable for Phony Premium Overcharges

Los Angeles, CA -- A state Court of Appeal in Orange County has upheld $27 million in civil penalties imposed by former Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones against Mercury Insurance Company for falsely claiming premium overcharges its agents tacked on top of its approved rates were “broker fees.”

California Insurance Commisioner Ricardo Lara Receives “D” Average on Report Card

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Los Angeles, CA – California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who has approved $292 million in auto and homeowners’ insurance rate increases since being elected, has received a “D” average from the nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog on his first four-month report card.

Ricardo Lara Puts Brakes On California's Climate Leadership

Los Angeles, CA — On Earth Day, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara chose “collaboration" with the insurance industry over urgent climate action. Commissioner Lara rejected a petition from 60 environmental, consumer and social justice groups that sought emergency rules to make insurers disclose the fossil fuel projects they insure. The Commissioner's refusal to act allows insurers to keep their complicity in global warming secret and puts the brakes on the forward momentum on climate built by the previous Department of Insurance, said Consumer Watchdog.

Consumer Watchdog: Victims, Taxpayers and Ratepayers Shouldn’t Be Forced To Pay For Felon’s Negligence Under PG&E Bailout Plan

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said today that a California wildfire victims’ relief fund could be important, but that the proposal put forth today by Governor Newsom, in legislative hands, threatens to take rights and dollars from wildfire victims, ratepayers and taxpayers without forcing PG&E to make tangible concessions.

Assembly Insurance Committee Members Vote to Strip Insurance Consumers of their Privacy Rights; Pass “Peeping Tom” Bill to Exempt Insurers From New Privacy Act

Sacramento, CA — The members of the Assembly Insurance Committee voted unanimously today to pass AB 981 and exempt the entire insurance and financial services industries from California’s new Privacy Act.

A troupe of mimes dressed as insurance company mascots tracked lawmakers and lobbyists outside the hearing room to dramatize how the bill, sponsored by Committee Chair Tom Daly, would allow insurers to violate their policyholders' privacy.

Push To Exempt Insurance Companies From California Privacy Law By Assembly Insurance Chair Tom Daly

Los Angeles, CA — Today Consumer Watchdog called on Assembly Insurance Committee Chair Tom Daly to withdraw legislation (AB 981) that would exempt insurance companies and banks from complying with the California Consumer Privacy Act.

The Privacy Act will take effect in January and empowers consumers to prevent their personal information from being sold to other companies, as well as allowing  consumers to sue reckless companies for data breaches.

Insurance Commissioner Promises Hearings – But Sets No Timeline To Stop Auto Insurance Discrimination

Statement of Consumer Watchdog: “Thirty days ago, Consumer Watchdog and ten other organizations petitioned Insurance Commissioner Riccardo Lara to stop insurance companies’ discrimination against low-income drivers and communities of color based on their education or occupation.

Public Interest Groups Seek Nation’s First Rule Mandating Insurance Companies Disclose the Fossil Fuel Projects They Insure

Los Angeles, CA --- More than 60 environmental, consumer and social justice organizations petitioned California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today seeking first in the nation emergency regulations to require insurance companies to disclose the fossil fuel projects they insure, even as climate change-exacerbated catastrophes are costing insurance companies billions.

Watchdog Report Finds California Consumers Lose Half Of Every Nickel Bottle Deposit

Los Angeles, CA—For every nickel bottle or can deposit that California consumers pay in the grocery store checkout line, they only get back 2.65 cents, or 53%, of their deposit, according to an investigative report on the state’s beverage container recycling system.

The report by the nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog finds that of the $1.5 billion consumers pay in deposits, they leave $732 million behind.

​​​​​​​Community Groups Petition California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara To Ban Use of Occupation and Education to Price Auto Insurance 

Los Angeles, CA – Community organizations representing consumers, low-income workers and communities of color petitioned Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today to ban the use of occupation and education to set auto insurance premiums. Many California auto insurance companies charge lower-income and less-educated drivers up to 15% more in order to give discounts to doctors, lawyers, other well-paying professions, and drivers with college degrees. The surcharge is illegal under California’s insurance reform law, Proposition 103.

Patient Safety Advocates Say Overdose Death Investigations Critical To Protecting Patients and Reducing Dangerous Opioid Overprescribing

Milpitas, CA – Patient safety advocates testified to the Medical Board of California today that its initiative to investigate excessive prescribing by doctors involved in prescription overdose deaths is critical to state efforts to end the opioid overdose epidemic.

Watchdog: PUC Must Go After Giving $6 Billion Credit Line To PG&E Pre-Bankruptcy, Raising Rates

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog called for the ouster of the California Public Utilities Commission over its decision late Monday to extend a $6 billion credit line to Pacific Gas & Electric in an unneeded emergency process that allowed no time for scrutiny. The unprecedented vote makes it easier for PG&E to go into bankruptcy today and avoid accountability to wildfire victims, ratepayers and taxpayers.

Consumer Watchdog: PG&E is No Victim, Governor Newsom Should Appoint Tough Regulator

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said today that PG&E prematurely filed bankruptcy protection to drive a political bailout of the company and gain leverage over what and when it pays victims of fires it started.  Bankruptcy could delay what victims receive from the company for its negligence for years.

Maui Utilities’ Junket While Paradise Burned Should Spark New Rules For Real-time Disclosure of Lawmaker Trips

Los Angeles, CA -- In a letter to California’s legislative leaders, Consumer Watchdog today wrote that the shocking details of a utility junket in Maui with 12 state lawmakers while wildfires destroyed the state  should compel new immediate online disclosures about such trips.

As Paradise Burned, 12 Legislators Partied In Maui With Utility Execs & Lobbyists

As wildfire victims fled for their lives in Paradise and Malibu this November, utility executives and lobbyists for California's big utilities were wining and dining 12 influential state legislators in a different paradise -- Wailea, Maui.

The New York Times broke the story about the junket and the discussion about the wildfires there, which had to include the the inevitable bailout for the utilities that helped spark the blaze. 

Consumer Watchdog Applauds New California Rules Ending Gender-Based Discrimination in Auto Insurance Pricing

Los Angeles, CA – California auto insurers may no longer charge drivers more based on their gender under new rules just issued by the California Department of Insurance.

The rules bring auto insurance prices into line with the provisions of voter-approved Proposition 103 that prohibit unfair and discriminatory pricing and require rates to be based primarily on a person’s driving record and experience, not personal characteristics.

2018 Wins, 2019 Resolutions

Given the divide in America, it’s truly been remarkable how much we have accomplished together in 2018. Below's just some of what we accomplished in 2018, and you can also watch this short highlights video about our victories.

The nation’s toughest online privacy law:  A new California law requires that companies tell you what information they collect about you, give you the right to say no, and are legally accountable for data breaches.

Beholden Chris Holden’s Big Utility Tent

Assembly Member Chris Holden is the point man for Pacific Gas and Electric on its legislative bailout plans over the 2018 fires. That's why we paid his holiday party a visit.  Watch us sing Chris Holden our holiday carols.

First, we carolers had to convince some beefy Pasadena police that we didn’t come to Assemblyman Chris Holden’s Christmas open house at his district office to disrupt the festivities and dirty up the place (though we did leave a lunch bag of coal behind).

California Public Utility Commission Urged To Investigate PG&E and Other Utilities For Blackouts And To Require A Specific Threat Before Shutdowns

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog today urged the President of the California Public Utilities Commission, Michael Picker, to launch a public investigation of Pacific Gas & Electric’s shutoff of power to thousands of customers in Northern California over the weekend due to high wind advisories.

Brown Needs To Shut Down Oil Wells He Controls In State Waters After He Signs Important Bill Today Limiting Federal OffShore Drilling 

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog thanked Governor Brown for signing important legislation today trying to stop activation of oil wells in federal waters. The nonprofit group noted that Brown has jurisdiction over four times more state oil wells in state waters off California’s coast than oil wells Trump has control of in federal waters off the coast and Brown needs to shut those wells down. (Click on this map for the details)

Hall of Famers RoseAnn DeMoro and Tammy Smick Join Consumer Watchdog’s Board of Directors

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Two of America’s most effective advocates for better healthcare, patient rights and social justice, RoseAnn DeMoro and Tammy Smick, have joined the board of directors of Consumer Watchdog.

DeMoro, who just retired after 32 years with the California Nurses Association, was named to Consumer Watchdog’s Consumer Advocate Hall of Fame at the nonpartisan, nonprofit group’s annual Rage for Justice Awards in June. She grew the nurses association into the most uncompromising voice for patients in America.

Consumer and Environmental Advocates Call On Gov. Brown to Stop California Energy Transfer to Trump

SACRAMENTO, CA — Environmental and consumer advocates today urged Governor Jerry Brown to resist the threat of a Trump takeover of the California electricity grid and to also oppose Trump’s plans to frack and drill California. A western regional electricity market would subject Californians to increased power imports from coal-heavy states and higher bills from speculation on power contracts, in a regional grid under the oversight of the Trump administration.

Senator Dodd Busted Shutting Down Wildfire Hearings To Rush To Fundraiser With Utility Lobbyists

Sacramento, CA -- Consumer Watchdog released evidence today showing that the co-chairman of the conference committee convened to discuss taking wildfire victims' legal rights rushed witnesses to end a key hearing in order to get to his fundraiser across the street attended by PG&E and other utility lobbyists.

Double Victory: The Paint Boycott Worked

Yesterday was a big day for consumer justice!

Just 24 hours after we launched the #BoycottSherwinWilliams boycott, the paint company decided to pull its deceptive ballot initiative to erase its liability for poisoning families with lead in its paint. 

Add that victory to the signing of yesterday's online California consumer privacy law and June 28th 2018 will go down in history as a monumental day for consumer rights.

Consumer Watchdog Heralds Landmark CA Consumer Privacy Reform

LOS ANGELES, CA –Consumer Watchdog said today that the new privacy law passed today in California is a landmark reform and should be a bellwether for America.

"Today, Californians won the right to control their private information and to hold companies accountable for data breaches with stiff financial penalties," said Jamie Court. "This landmark reform should spread to all of America and be implemented for all Americans just as it has been for Californians. 

Boycott Sherwin-Williams Paint!

UPDATE: 6/28/18 5 PM The Boycott worked! Sherwin Williams and Con Agra pulled their ballot measure from the November ballot. Congrats to all.

 

Paint maker Sherwin Williams has decided to go to the California ballot with a deceptive ballot initiative to erase its liability to the public for poisoning families with lead in its paint. We have decided to boycott Sherwin Williams paint stores.

Watchdog Offers New Info That Western Power Market Plan is Enron All Over Again Without The Legal Remedy

Los Angeles, CA -- As the Governor is expected to announce special deliberations on utility proposals shortly, Consumer Watchdog offered new information to the legislature about problems with the proposed new Western power market. The group warned that legislation to subsume California’s electricity grid into a giant regional power trading system will not only open the state to trading manipulation, but permanently hobble California when it comes to prosecuting Enron-style manipulation in the future.

Consumer Watchdog Condemns California Senate Energy Committee Vote For Western Power Trading Casino

Los Angeles, CA — The California Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee voted today to pass legislation turning California into a giant Western power trading casino that puts ratepayers and the environment at risk, Consumer Watchdog said in condemning the vote for AB 813.

Report Warns of Enron All Over Again As Governor Jerry Brown And Electricity Deregulation Era Fixers Poised To Rip Off California Ratepayers

Los Angeles, CA— California leaders are being pressed by former allies of Enron and energy traders who ripped off the state to gamble away California’s energy future on the revival of a plan for a Western regional power trading system that will benefit billionaires and Wall Street and put ratepayers and the environment at risk, Consumer Watchdog finds in a new report.

Ca. Senate Bucks Medical Lobby & Passes Bill to Lift Veil of Secrecy About Physician Sexual Assault & Other Doctor Misconduct Causing Patient Harm

Sacramento, CA – The California State Senate rejected secrecy about physician sexual assault and other doctor misconduct today when it voted 28-3 to support SB 1448 by Senator Jerry Hill (San Mateo) to require physicians disclose to their patients when they are on probation for causing patient harm.

Not Every Angeleno Prospers In The Oil Economy

“Not every Angeleno is going to prosper in the ‘Next-Gen new economy,’” according to a recent newspaper ad by the State Building & Construction Trades. The union wants politicians not to “be bullied into supporting job killing regulations that are designed to shutter yet another Southern California industry.” This one being the oil and gas industry.

Bernie Sanders Headlines Rage For Justice Awards In Honor Of Retiring Nurses Leader RoseAnn DeMoro;

Los Angeles, CA --  United States Senator Bernie Sanders will headline a program celebrating the heroes and heroines of the public interest movement at the 2018 Rage for Justice Awards hosted by Consumer Watchdog on the night of Saturday June 2nd at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

Tickets for the fundraiser benefiting Consumer Watchdog are available at www.RageforJusticeAwards.org

Consumer Watchdog Calls on DMV to Open Robot Car Application Process to Public after Waymo Application Is Deemed Ready for Review

LOS ANGELES, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on the Department of Motor Vehicles to open its application process for granting permits to test driverless robot cars to the public as the department confirmed an applicant had provided all the information necessary to review the application.

The department would not identify the applicant, but Consumer Watchdog learned it was Waymo, originally Google’s autonomous car unit. A DMV spokesperson would not specify a timeframe but estimated it would take at least some weeks before a final decision is made on the application.

Consumer Watchdog Warns CA Legislators New Utility Bailout Will Leave Gray Davis Stain 

Sacramento, CA -- In a letter to the 120 members of the California legislature, Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court warned that a bailout of California's three investor owned utilities for causing wildfires would "almost certainly be the greatest disgrace for this legislature since its decision two decades ago to deregulate electricity and turn over our energy supply to the Enron pirates."

"The integrity, duty and reputation of this legislature should outweigh the largess these three utilities have showered upon the members of its houses," Court said.

Consumer Watchdog Demands That State Oil Regulators Publicly Reveal Leaking California Oil Wells That Are Counted But Not Disclosed

Santa Monica, CA—Consumer Watchdog urged Governor Jerry Brown to direct state oil regulators to publicly post all oil well leaks in the state after learning that the state is tracking all spills from wells of oil, drilling fluids, and toxic water but not disclosing them.

Speed Not Safety Is California Senate’s Concern In Robot Car Hearing

The California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee’s hearing this week, “Autonomous Vehicles: Opportunities and Challenges,” was meant to be an opportunity to field questions and concerns representing both public and private interests about putting self-driving cars on the road. Instead, the Senate committee’s investment in protecting corporate interests ultimately outweighed senators’ concern for the public. 

Atty Gen Falls Behind In Prioritizing Opioid Tracking Tool

Santa Monica, CA -- The California Department of Justice told the legislature today that it will delay implementation of a key technological tool for stemming the opioid abuse crisis until 2019, more than a year later than the database was deployed statewide. The technology appears sound, but the delay seems to be in prioritizing personnel to accomplish its certification, according to today’s testimony.

Failure to adequately regulate utilities helped fuel CA wildfires

Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Corruption can kill.

The fires that laid waste to California’s Wine Country and at least 42 lives were not merely the product of a changing climate and extra-heated winds. 

Early reports suggest the failure of Gov. Jerry Brown and his appointees to adequately regulate our public utilities to prevent such fires also fueled the fast-moving flames.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly From Brown's Pen

Consumers looking for bold action this year on laws protecting their wallets from rapacious drug companies, their privacy from the prying eyes of telecom companies, and their environment from the degradation of the oil and gas industry, didn't get any. But they did get some legislation that helps them take banks to court for fraud and to follow the money behind political ads.

The Ugly:

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Just Sold Los Angeles Down The Aqueduct

Mayor Eric Garcetti just sold out Los Angeles by pushing through the Delta Tunnels. Two of his five appointees to the Metropolitan Water District (MWD), the giant water wholesaler for the region, voted yes on diverting water from the Sacramento River under the San Francisco Bay Delta to the South, helping to ensure an overwhelming majority vote.