Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Unseemly corporate influence doesn't just come in the form of direct contributions

Came across this press release, and since it involved both Arizona elections and Arizona American Water, it really piqued my interest...

From the press release:
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., July 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Arizona American Water will team up with members of the Arizona Investment Council, the Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association (GCSECA) and the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce to sponsor a candidate forum for the six candidates running for the two vacancies at the Arizona Corporation Commission. Each candidate will give opening remarks and then answer various questions by a moderator.

WHAT: ACC Candidate Forum

WHEN: Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: Little America Hotel, 2515 East Butler Avenue, Flagstaff, Arizona 86004

WHY: All six candidates for the two vacancies on the Arizona Corporation Commission have expressed a commitment to participate in the forum. The candidates include: David Bradley (D-Tucson), Brenda Burns (R-Phoenix), Jorge Luis Garcia (D-Tucson), Renz Jennings (D-Phoenix), Gary Pierce (R-Mesa), and Barry Wong (R-Phoenix)

Arizona American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 350,000 people.
OK, it's not a direct contribution, nor is it even a third party expenditure on a race.  What it is, however, is some "regulatees" ponying up some cash for the privilege of schmoozing with "regulators."

And if you don't think that this kind of investment can pay off for Arizona American Water and various utilities. you should remember that the Corporation Commission is the body that approves/disapproves utility rate hike requests, requests that can generate millions of dollars per year in addition revenues and profits for the utilities and their corporate owners like Pinnacle West (APS) and American Water (Arizona American Water.)

Oh, and AZAm Water's press release boilerplate about "providing high-quality and reliable water"?
Thousands of residents in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley would beg to differ.
BTW - I'm not *entirely* down on all of the ACC candidates who are participating in the corporate sponsored forum.   
Forecast high temp for Phoenix tomorrow: 101.
Forecast high temp for Flagstaff tomorrow: 78.

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