Utilities chief stays on, files objection

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The Riverside Press-Enterprise

The California Public Utilities Commission member ordered out of office by a San Francisco judge won’t be giving up his post anytime soon, his legal adviser said.

On Friday, the day he was supposed to step down, Commissioner
Henry Duque filed objections to San Francisco Superior Court Judge Alfred Chiantelli’s April 2 order and also filed a request for a
stay, said Lynne McGhee, Duque’s adviser.

“The filing of the objections automatically prevents the decision
from becoming final,” McGhee said. A ruling on the objections could come anytime in the next 90 days, she said.

Duque, whose term would expire in December, is the panel member assigned to shepherd the Valley Rainbow Interconnect through the state approval process. In August 2003 the commission is expected to rule on San Diego Gas & Electric’s plan to build the high-voltage electric transmission line across 31 miles of private property in southwest Riverside County.

The judge’s decision to remove Duque from office was the result
of a lawsuit filed by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer
Rights. The judge found that Duque violated conflict-of-interest
rules by owning stock in a wireless communications company the
commission oversees.

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