Thursday Must Reads: Disgraced State Regulator Could Become a Judge; UC to Keep Ties to Big Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A top official with the California Public Utilities Commission who was ousted this week for providing special favors to PG&E could become a judge with the agency that regulates utilities, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. On Monday, the CPUC said Carol Brown, the chief of staff to CPUC Chair Michael Peevey, had resigned from her post after the disclosure that she had helped PG&E obtain a favorable judge to oversee a key a billion-dollar legal case. But Brown didn’t actually leave the CPUC — she only left Peevey’s office, and under civil service rules can now revert back to her old job: being a CPUC judge.


Michael Peevey.

  • Michael Peevey.

2. PG&E, meanwhile, could be facing a huge fine for lobbying Carol Brown, Peevey, and CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio to oust a judge that the utility viewed as being biased against it and replace him with one that is biased for PG&E, the Chron reports. Brown agreed to help PG&E and then did so, working behind the scenes to remove one judge and replace him with the judge PG&E demanded.

3. A UC Board of Regents committee voted to maintain the University of California’s extensive investments in oil, coal, natural gas — rejecting a request from students, alumni, and climate scientists that the UC divest from the fossil fuel industry, the LA Times$ reports.

4. The University of California also adopted a plan to overhaul how campuses respond to sexual assaults, the Chron reports. The UC has come under heavy criticism for its continued failure to adequately investigate sexual assault allegations.

5. And President Obama’s approval ratings have dropped to George W. Bush levels, as Americans have become increasingly disenchanted with his handling of foreign policy matters, The New York Times$ reports, citing its new poll.


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