CPUC Bullies Cameraman
Citizens Oversight (2013-07-12) Ray Lutz
This Page: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M1370
Media Link: http://youtu.be/GIOhUWZXjZw
The CPUC is a public agency that is responsible for regulating the public utilities in California. In this case, this agency is in the midst of an investigation into the outages at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), specifically into the appropriate allocation of costs, either to the utilities (Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, mainly) or to the ratepayer. This meeting is not a formal court-like proceeding where the facts of the case may be presented, but a pre-hearing conference which is only about the scope and schedule of "Phase 2". Not much happened at this meeting except for the violation of the rights of the citizen in the audience, who was attempting to video record the meeting. CitizensOversight has previously been kicked out of the room with our video camera
, and we submitted a demand letter that the CPUC comply with the law. Therefore, we created this audio recording of the confrontation with the citizen in the room. You can skip to the confrontation at about 1:50 into the recording. The entire meeting comprised only about an hour and was nothing but administrative details.
The reason Administrative Law Judge Melanie Darling is so bent out of shape about recordings is because in the prehearing conference for Phase 1, after adjournment, a group of activists unfurled a banner in the room, and Darling ran down and started to seize the banner
, in violation of their First and Fourth amendment rights. Subsequent to that embarrassment, Darling said there were to be no recordings whatsoever. In the evidentiary hearings for phase one, which lasted 5 days, the first day was not recorded at all. However, after the attempt of COPS to record the meeting, they did webcast it, albeit in very poor quality and very difficult to view and replay, plus all intervals which were "off the record" were muted.
The reality is that Edison and the utilities desperately want to keep these meetings under their control and out of the public eye, and the CPUC is rigged to comply with their wishes, and thus this attempt to limit oversight by the public.
We thank Barbara George of Women's Energy Matters for arm wrestling with ALJ Darling and forcing Commissioner Florio to request that the officers remove the citizen from the room.