Politicians at various times
have said that government should be run more like a business. Arnold
seems to think it should be run by businesses. In that spirit, the gov
today named Pacific Gas & Electric to the California Energy
Commission and a private energy consulting firm to be his chief energy
Officially, of course, Arnold must actually name human beings to the posts.
So, the Energy Commission�s environmental slot — by law the Commission
must have a member with expertise in environmental protection — went
to Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, a former executive at Pacific Gas &
Electric who is said to maintain close ties with the company. You’ve
got to have some serious sway to convince the governor (with his
reputed eco-friendly attitude) to appoint a former utility executive to
be the environmental advocate at the energy commission.
PG&E pays for sway: the company contributed $200,000 to Arnold’s main campaign committee this year.
And, as ArnoldWatch predicted last week, the gov picked Joe Desmond, an
energy industry executive, to be his chief energy advisor. Desmond runs
a company, Infotility, that was formed in 2000 and profits off of the
confusion and complexity of deregulated energy markets. It is no
surprise that he has been an active voice in the effort to keep
deregulation — and the volatility that makes businesses need
consultants like his firm — alive. In recent years Desmond has worked
on energy issues with the special interest lobbying force known as the
Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group. But why work as a special interest
on the outside when the governor has prime spots for special interests
on the inside?
Arnold isn’t the first governor to hand the reins of government over to
corporations. He follows the course set by Gray Davis, who put
oversight and regulation of utilities in the hands of former Southern
California Edison utility executive Michael Peevey.
Peevey, still in charge at the California Public Utilities Commission,
rounds out the energy industry assumption of power in Arnold’s
government of PG&E, by Edison and for the Business Lobby.