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May 28, 2004 - 12:00 PM

Arnold Wants To Keep You In Cell Hell

by Jamie Court and Doug Heller
The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved yesterday a Cell Phone Bill of Rights that includes simple steps for transparency in cell phone bills and the right to cancel a new contract within thirty days or when the phone company increases rates. Consumer groups responded with disappointment about the narrow scope of the changes. Arnold, on the other hand responded as though he were the CEO of a cell phone company having to submit to socialization of his industry.

"I am disappointed in the action taken today by the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The PUC has overreached its regulatory responsibilities. This measure will impede growth in the highly competitive wireless industry and could result in companies shifting investments and jobs outside of California…. An attempt by the Commission to protect consumers will have the unfortunate consequence of increasing litigation, growing a bureaucracy, raising rates and costing consumers. The Commission should focus its efforts on more urgent matters, such as ensuring that California has the energy infrastructure to keep California's lights on."

Job killing, investment destroying, growth impeding, litigation exploding, red tape rolling, rate rasing, cost consuming, blackout inducing consumer protection proposal?

Sure, Arnold's received six figures in campaign cash from cell phone carriers, but either someone had too much coffee at Schwarzenegger's shop yesterday or Arnold is really pumped up about becoming an all star on the team of cell phone lobbyist and former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Steve Largent. (read more at

Or maybe Arnold's just the Chamber of Commerce's echo chamber. Compare Arnold's statement to the very same phrases released by the Chamber's president, Allan Zaremberg: "We are extremely disappointed that the PUC has decided to regulate the highly competitive wireless industry. ...The only certainty as a result of the CPUC's wireless regulation is that prices will go up, competition will decline, and California will lose jobs and investment."

They are both "disappointed" about regulation of "the highly competitive wireless industry." Arnold mixed up his words warning that California will lose "investments and jobs," while the Chamber is more focused on California losing "jobs and investments." Arnold has got to remember to send his statements back to the Chamber for a final proof read.

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