PUC needs to get tough with PG&E

The recent California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal to penalize PG&E (through its shareholders) $2.25 billion for the San Bruno explosion disaster is an encouraging sign that the commission's permissive treatment of safety matters may be changing.

The staff's position should be tough, considering that the agency lost one of its own in the explosion. Lost in the rhetoric of the recent report detailing the commission's lax safety culture (which was based upon interviews with staff employees) is the fact that a well-regarded commission rate analyst and her 13-year-old daughter were killed in the blast. Fortunately, her husband -- a former Commission employee -- and their other daughter were away from their home at the time of the explosion and were spared, but they will have to endure the pain of their loss for the rest of their lives.

Donations were sought from employees to build a memorial to their lost co-worker in the courtyard of the commission's office building, but a more fitting memorial would be to require the owners of PG&E to remedy the conditions that led to this awful event and lined their pockets with money they should never have been allowed to earn.

Victor D. Ryerson

Orinda

Administrative Law Judge (Ret.)

Administration's growing misdeeds

There have been a number of revelations that have come to a head just recently. There is the cover-up of the Benghazi diplomat murders, which has gone on for months and continues to get worse with the recent insider's testimony.

Then we are told that the IRS has admitted to targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups in general to hassle them on their applications to establish tax status Now the latest news is that the Justice Department has secretly seized The Associated Press news organization's telephone records, again, apparently to hassle them in Chicago-politics-style.

Now if you believe that these incidents are all to be blamed on low-level government employees, then you also believe in the tooth fairy.

Evo Alexandre

Moraga

Darwinism is fact

Darwin is correct for one reason and one reason alone -- the evidence he presented and since discovered is overwhelming. There is no other theory that can compete; if one arises, it will be based on fact, not mystical nonsense (i.e. religion).

Mike Levine

Moraga