Thursday, April 9, 2015

Scandals have a way of evolving

Evolution Illustrated
Will the Berkeley/Peevey scandal arrive at UCLA? Maybe, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, although the problem described below seems more an issue for Peevey than for UCLA so far: 

The scandal at the California Public Utilities Commission has spread from one University of California campus to another, as criminal investigators are asking questions about former commission President Michael Peevey’s contacts with UCLA… His $250-a-plate farewell soiree, attended by the kinds of industry insiders whose relationships with the commission have come under scrutiny, was to benefit the University of California, Berkeley, which ended up turning down the funds. Now investigators are asking about Peevey’s contacts with the California Center for Sustainable Communities at the University of California, Los Angeles. The center is one possible recipient of $25 million to study greenhouse gas emissions funded by utility companies, which is an element of the $4.7 billion settlement deal for premature closure costs from the failed San Onofre nuclear power plant north of Oceanside. …The grant idea first became public as a proposal in September 2014, but may have first been suggested at a secret meeting between Peevey and a Southern California Edison executive in Warsaw, Poland, in March 2013. Commission business is supposed to be conducted in public. New records obtained by U-T San Diego show Peevey established contact with Stephanie Pincetl of UCLA’s sustainable communities center as early as December 2013 — nine months before Commissioner Michel Florio publicly announced the greenhouse gas plan... Pincetl told the U-T she was interviewed by investigators about the matter three weeks ago. She was unable to explain how she knew before the public announcement that money from the San Onofre settlement was coming available. “That is a good question,” she said. “I don’t know.” ...Commission spokeswoman Terrie Prosper did not respond to questions this week about why Peevey met and spoke with UCLA about a campus energy center before he was supposed to have learned about the funding opportunity. …According to the UCLA emails, Peevey was offered and accepted a seat on an advisory board serving the university’s Luskin Center for Innovation, a think tank that works to translate research into public-policy solutions. ...The adopted settlement does not restrict the $25 million grant to the Edison and SDG&E service territory, and the money has yet to be awarded.

Full story at

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