Why won’t the PG@E attorney for supervisor answer some questions?

Pub date October 20, 2006
SectionBruce Blog

Douglas Chan, an attorney with the law firm of Chan, Doi, and Leal, is a candidate for supervisor from the Sunset District. PG@E has paid $2l0,054 to his firm the last two years, according to PG&E’s filings with the California Public Utilities Commission.

Chan also disclosed that he has received more tthan $l0,000 during the last year in gross income including his pro rata share of the gross income of the firm from five clients (PG&E, Ferry Plaza Limited Partnership, Chess Ventures Legal Challenge, Sugarbowl Bakery, and Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association), according to his Statement of Economic Interest filed with the Ethics Commission. This is nothing new for Chan: Back in 2002, he put his name on PG@E campaign material opposing the public power initiative and supporting PG@E and thus earned a spot in the Guardian’s Hall of Shame that year.

The PG@E connection raises some serious questions for Chan. He refused to be interviewed for our Guardian editorial endorsement interviews of candidates for supervisor (even though most other candidates in other races came in for interviews.) And he and his campaign staff have refused to talk to us about these questions. So it may be up to the residents inside and outside the Sunset District to ask him these questions at candidates’ nights and when they spot Chan on the campaign trail. Good luck! Let us know. These are the questions I emailed today to Chan, his campaign manager Tom Hsieh jr., and his firm.

To Doug Chan, Tom Hseih jr., Nicole Yelich, and to Chan, Doi and Leal:

We’ re sorry that Doug Chan, as a candidate for public office in the Sunset District (not far from where I live), has decided not to come to the Guardian for our normal round of candidate interviews, as almost everyone has done in other campaigns.

We’re also sorry that we cannot reach him, or anyone in his campaign, who can answer some important questions about the relationship that he and his law firm have had with PG@E for years. So I am asking these questions by email (for Guardian coverage and for my Bruce Blog at sfbg.com):

l. PG@E has paid $2l0,054.ll to the Chan, Doi, and Leal law firm during the last two years, according to PG@E filings with the CPUC. What has PG@E paid the law firm so far this year? Will PG@E be an ongoing client of the firm? What is the total that PG@E has paid the law firm through the years? What percentage of the firm’s revenue has been paid directly or indirectly by PG@E, year by year? If elected, will Chan fully divest himself and disengage completely from the firm?

2. What work has Chan himself done for PG@E? In reading through the resume of Chan and the partners of the firm, it doesn’t appear that this firm or its partners have any specific utility or energy expertise. Why then did PG@E hire this firm?

3. Did PG@E encourage Chan to run for the Sunset supervisorial seat?

4. Have you asked the city attorney for an opinion on how PG@E’s hiring of the firm and Chan would affect his votes and whether he would have to recuse himself on such votes as public power, the community choice aggregation project, and the many other projects and votes involving PG@E? If you have an opinion, what is it?

5. What is Chan’s position on enforcing the Raker Act and bringing Hetch Hetchy power to the city for our residents and businesses? Would he vote to put on the ballot an initiative proposal to buy out PG@E’s transmission lines and make San Francisco a public power city? Would he for example support proposals such as the last two public power proposals that went on the ballot? We would appreciate his reasoning on this critical issue that costs the city hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

6. Would he vote to direct the city attorney to sue PG@E to make null and void the city’s l939 PG@E franchise fee, which is the lowest in the state, and PG@E claims is signed in perpetuity? If not, why not? We would appreciate his reasoning on this critical issue that costs the city tens of millions a year.

7. What is Chan’s position on the community choice aggregation proposal now before the board? On the city’s development of alternative power sources such as solar, tidal, etc.? ON tearing down the ruinous Potrero Hill power plant?

7. The critical question: given PG@E’s heavy investment in Chan and his firm, could Chan explain to us and the people of the Sunset how you would represent them fairly and honestly on these critical public power/public resource issues and not be under the influence of your former client PG@E?

Thanks very much. We would appreciate talking to Chan directly or, if that is not possible, getting his answers to the above crucial public power and public policiy quetions from him. Thanks very much. B3

Doug Chan, PG&E’s man at City Hall