Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Corporation Commission chaos? And then some.

Just moments before close of business today at the Arizona Corporation Commission, its new spokeswoman, Angie Holdsworth, sent a press release.

Shocking the entire world (not really, just those who would expect the commissioners to do the right thing) we then found out that Trash Burner Bob Stump and his APS-owned colleagues Doug Little and Tommy Forese (collectively known as Tommy Little Stump) ALL have decided that they do not hold any bias against the solar industry.

Therefore, she said, the applications for rehearing the APS net metering fee decision will expire without any official action.

Requests seeking Commissioners’ recusal expire,
Commissioners reject claims of bias
Filings that seek a rehearing on solar cost shift issues and the recusal of three Corporation Commissioners on that case will expire without formal action by the Commission.
The filings, submitted by two former commissioners, Sunrun, and The Alliance for Solar Choice demand Commissioners Tom Forese, Doug Little and Bob Stump refrain from voting on an Arizona Public Service request to increase the fee that the energy provider charges to rooftop solar customers. The requests also seek a rehearing on the Commission’s decision to set a hearing to review the cost shift created by solar customers.
No open meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday, the deadlines for the Commission to consider these filings. By law, if no action is taken within 20 days, the filings are considered denied. The 20 days expire Wednesday and Thursday.
In August, the Commission voted to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine if the current charge to solar customers should be modified.
“After a thorough review of the record, and having fully considered these matters, I have determined that there are no grounds for disqualification or recusal that would prevent me from participating in this decision,” Forese wrote in a filing.
“I did not prejudge any issue presented and considered the record with an open mind and acted fairly and impartially in my decision-making,” Stump wrote in a filing.
“I have duly considered the allegations and the entire record and I conclude that I have acted fairly, impartially and without bias in all aspects of this proceeding,” Little wrote in a filing. “I am not disqualified from decision-making by any conflict of interest because none exists.”
The Commission may take up an APS request to modify its August Decision at its Oct. 20 Open Meeting, according to a filing by Chairman Susan Bitter Smith.
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However, perhaps because APS (virtually) owns the Corporation Commission, APS' motion to withdraw its request to hike the net metering fee, likely WILL be heard and acted on.

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More news today...

Still related to Trash Burner Bob's bias problem, he apparently has gotten himself in a tizzy because Hugh Hallman cited Stump's Facebook postings. As reported in the Yellow Sheet today,
Stump said he is not biased against any party or position on the APS proposal. Additionally, Stump seized on the opportunity to criticize former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman (the attorney for the commissioners and solar company) and others for failing to “distinguish between the quasi-judicial role of a Corporation Commissioner and the rough-and-tumble political process” in which energy regulators also operate under. Stump said “general expressions” on the nature and extent of cross-subsidization and net metering do not mean advocacy for any one position, as these subjects are being robustly debated across the country. “APS does not have exclusive purchase on these ideas, and my musings are not mirrors of APS’s positions,” he said. “Yet certain interveners appear unable to distinguish between political satire and the serious stuff of ratemaking. To enter Facebook posts into the docket is surely a first for the Commission and, in my view, verges on parody.”
How quaint. A commissioner who brazenly has violated Arizona Public Records Law pretends to be an authority on it. YS goes on,
Stump also claimed that Hallman should have left anything he wrote on Facebook alone because it’s private. “The entry into the public docket of personal Facebook photos – my page is a private, not official, page – was a gratuitous invasion of my privacy,” he wrote. Furthermore, Stump suggested that Hallman and others in the solar industry have no sense of humor and can’t tolerate scrutiny. Hallman had complained that Stump’s Facebook page and Twitter feed were replete with postings “openly taunting the rooftop solar industry.” But Stump retorted: “Heaven forfend [sic] that the political tactics of some in the solar industry should escape scrutiny, and it is such scrutiny which I exercised... 
YIKES! Stump thinks someplace on the internet is private?! And how about this amazingly obvious Freudian (projecting) declaration that his detractors can't tolerate scrutiny. Holy CRAP as Frank Barone used to say on Everybody Loves Raymond.


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Changing the subject to redistricting, SCOTUS has tentatively scheduled oral arguments in the Harris case for December 8. AND, the Redistricting Commission is searching for a new office. More on that in the days ahead, but apparently the current location has a leaky roof.

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Finally (for today, anyway), Kelli Butler, who has served as chair of the Maricopa County Democratic Party has resigned, reportedly because she wants to again run for a seat in the Arizona Legislature in LD28. Steven Slugocki, who has served for a few years as first vice-chair, will be acting chairman of MCDP.

More details to follow.

The bright spot, as far as MCDP is concerned, is that someone with key experience is prepared to step into the position so that the organization will be able to continue operations without even the smallest setback. Will that be the case for LD26 next week?

Last week, Ed Ableser became the LD26 former state senator when his resignation became official. He left to take a job in Nevada. More to come on the process to fill the vacancy also.

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