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May 09, 2005 - 06:10 PM

Arnold’s Power Point

by Doug Heller
In a Power Point presentation unveiled today, the Gov introduced plans to create a centralized state Energy Department that, among other things, will take away oversight for elements of California's energy infrastructure from the Constitutionally independent Public Utilities Commission. Governor Hiram Johnson, to whom Arnold often compares himself, must be turning over in his grave. Johnson created the Commission to protect the public from the corruption of centralized power in Sacramento.

The point of Arnold's Power Point seems to be making sure that his political appointee and energy advisor, Joe Desmond, has a top-down operation that tightly controls the public information related to the Gov's energy designs. No more of those messy reports that point a finger at oil industry price manipulation or some other big Team Arnold supporter. Desmond is presumed to be the new Secretary of Energy. He brings his own conflicts to the post of Energy Czar: he is the founder of Infotility, which makes its dough through software developed to manage the volatilities of the electricity marketplaces.

This hearkens back to the Gov's Cal. Performance Review, which was panned last year by the public as an egregious attempt to up-end important public oversight boards that were not controlled by the executive branch. Today's Power Play looks like another one of Arnold's attempts to dismantle the independent institutions of California government.

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