After a lot of complaints, conga drums, and consternation, former Senator George Mitchell is out as the mediator who was hand-picked by the California Public Utilities Commission, or the CPUC.
This is what San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane said: “Sen. Mitchell and his law firm DLA Piper did the right thing by telling the California Public Utilities Commission that he wouldn’t mediate settlement discussions in the San Bruno explosion and fire without all the parties agreeing. We are very pleased and looking forward getting back to direct negotiations with PG&E.”
The Mayor continued: “We hope this decision sends an important message to the CPUC and PG&E. They must immediately return to the negotiation table and offer a real settlement to atone for the safety laws they violated and the people and community they have devastated.
“We thank the City of County of San Francisco, the Division of Ratepayer Advocates, and TURN for standing with us to fight and stand up for fairness and to ensure justice is done in San Bruno and statewide. We also thank Assemblyman Jerry Hill and the citizens of San Bruno for standing firm and challenging the CPUC and PG&E actions.”
“The unilateral announcement this past week by the CPUC that it had selected a mediator without consulting any of the parties is consistent with the cozy and unholy relationship between the CPUC and PG&E. This action was symbolic of the broken, dysfunctional and dishonest relationship between PG&E and the CPUC, the agency that is supposed to be the watchdog and protector of the public’s interest.
“We call into question the integrity of the entire CPUC process that has occurred over the past two years since our community was ripped apart by the negligent and systematic safety failures of PG&E and the inability of the CPUC to independently protect and represent the interests of the residents of San Bruno and the people of California.
“We look forward to returning to the settlement negotiations to represent the interests of the citizens of San Bruno, the memory of those whose lives were taken by PG&E’s negligence, their families and friends, and equally important, every other city, town and community in the State of California so we can help others prevent what happened to us,” Mayor Ruane concluded.