SACRAMENTO — California Gov.
Jerry Brown recently named two of his advisers to commissioner seats on the
California Public Utilities Commission, and a civil-justice advocate
said his group is looking forward to working with them.
were Martha Guzman Aceves and Clifford Rechtschaffen, according to a
report on www.naturalgasintel.com.
According to John Doherty, president and CEO of The Civil Justice
Association of California, Guzman has worked in and around the the
capital since the early 2000s.
“She worked for a couple of community groups but has been really
a key aid to the governor in different positions since 2011,”
Doherty told The Northern California Record. “She spends
almost as much time advising the current governor on issues as she
was before that and an outside advocate.”
Rechtschaffen was a special assistant attorney general from
2007-10 when Brown was attorney general prior to being elected
“So you’re really talking about two very close, relatively
high-level aides to the governor being moved over to a commission
that has had its share of challenges,” Doherty said, “and I think
that the governor’s move was to put solid policy people that he
trusted to help sort of deal with those challenges.”
Guzman has worked with the United Farm Workers Union and then with
the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, a group that
provides advice and legal counsel for low-income rural residents in
According to Doherty, Rechtschaffen, after graduating from Yale,
focused on working on environmental issues for the government itself.
“There have been recurring bills and discussions about what’s
going to happen with the PUC,” Doherty said. “As you look at it
right now, their two biggest issues have really been the telecoms and
communications of the world, and the energy companies.”
“There have been bills introduced to abolish the agency,” he
continued. “There have even been discussions about splitting it up,
about creating two different entities. So, it’s tough to say what
the next step is for it. But generally speaking, I think that
they’re, for the foreseeable future, trying to implement a culture
of transparency and independence with their regulated seal.”
Doherty said they hope the new commissioners will approach the
CPUC with a balanced perspective of the duty they have as regulators
to look at markets currently standing at CPUC.
“We’re hoping that they will embrace modernization and efforts
to streamline the process to protect consumers, but not create
needless hoops for the company,” Doherty said.
“I’m not an expert on how they developed their expertise and
what they’ve been studying up on,” he continued, “but clearly
both come from a public-sector not a private-sector background, which
is not necessarily a problem and actually not a bad way to be
seasoned in the different policy issues facing the commission.”
“We’re looking forward to working with both of them,”
Doherty said. “We think that the governor’s efforts to make sure
the PUC is working in peak position is something we’re supportive