This was paramount in voters minds after the Watergate hearings as well as various incidents in almost every city throughout America.
California has produced its fair share of headlines with stings in Compton, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Colton and the latest big one in San Bernardino County.
Another bad decision is coming to the surface, this time in the city of Corona by city councilmen Darrell Talbert and Jeff Miller. All of us remember the recent rigged electric shortage crisis in our state.
You say yes I remember, but what does that have to do with Talbert and Miller? Well Miller and Talbert have decided to correct the problem for the citizens of Corona by creating a city owned municipal utilities agency.
It is a great idea especially when you look to the east and see the cities of Riverside and Colton operating their own utilities. However, they have been doing it for years, when it was far less expensive to get into that business. But, they too were impacted by the past utility rip off in California.
What makes Talbert and Millers idea fall into the realm of political bad decisions is that they formed their own Municipal Energy Solutions(MES) company with two Corona utility officials, and then in December put forth a motion to take over the Edison owned and operated utilities lines through an eminent domain lawsuit on behalf of the city of Corona.
This action clearly falls into the arena of Conflict of Interest since Talbert and Miller stand to make personal financial gains from any city take-over of Edisons existing customers.
Talbert has tried to dismiss the conflict of interest allegation as a shell game by the opposition to their business venture. In addition we have discovered that two city officials, Glenn Prentice and George Hanson, have met with the city on behalf of the MES company while still employed by the city.
We think the Attorney Generals office and the Fair Political Practice Commission should be asked to investigate the council members actions before the voters are drawn into a very costly situation. It will be costly for the citizens when Edison decides to fight this action through the courts in order to protect their property and shareholders investments.
Any study for such an undertaking would have to take into consideration the cost of purchasing the existing company, cost to hire a qualified staff to maintain the company once purchased, the length of time involved to show a profit for the citizens of Corona, and last but not least, who stands to profit from this idea?
Im sure these council members mean well, however their actions could put them in line with Watergate and other political scandals uncovering elected officials who have fallen victim to the temptation of personal greed.
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