The current budget surplus is more a testament to the burdensome, regressive tax load on Californians than it is to our “resilient economy.” But before you all get carried away congratulating yourselves there are more burning issues to discuss. How many passes on the hundreds of deaths and hundreds of billion dollars in property destruction does PG&E get before the Legislature says enough? How many rate increases will California Public Utilities Commission grant to PG&E before you say enough?

It seems no one in California government has the slightest interest in reining in PG&E. There’s no interest in reigning in the CPUC either. Its members have never seen a rate increase they wouldn’t approve. So, when are you and your cohorts in the Assembly and the Senate going to take up the work a corporate criminal and their enablers refuse to do?

A few weeks ago, alleged arsonist Gary Maynard was arrested in Lassen County for starting a fire which quickly spread and merged with the Dixie fire, which was started by faulty PG&E equipment. The difference? If convicted, Maynard faces five years in prison. PG&E will get another rate increase to pay for all its “planned” safety improvements, even while ducking its responsibility to all the past victims of fires it caused. That is, unless the Legislature grows a spine and says “enough.”

It’s time to break up PG&E and end this reign of terror. In Europe, Japan and most other first world countries, corporate executives go to jail when convicted of malfeasance. Germany imprisoned Volkswagen executives for Dieselgate. No one was killed, although some may have choked on the soot they produced. But they were punished for knowingly committing corporate fraud.

Eighty-four people were killed in Paradise, nine more in San Bruno, dozens more in Sonoma and Napa counties. But not one PG&E executive has done so much as a perp walk. It’s time to flip off your donors and finally act for the people.

Lawrence Bothen

Pacifica

Editor’s note: Bothen originally penned his letter to state Assemblyman Kevin Mullin.

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