California Deregulation Chairman Hires Edison Lobbyist as Chief of Staff

Senator Steve Peace (D-San Diego) the chairman of the California state Senate's Energy and Public Utilities Committee in charge of electric restructuring, has hired as his chief of staff the former head of Southern California Edison's legislative and public affairs office.

Peace is chairman of a joint Senate-Assembly committee currently meeting to draft laws for deregulation and restructuring of the electric industry in California. The panel will also consider the future shape of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which voted last month to restructure itself.

David Takashima, the top lobbyist for the state's second-largest public utility, went to work for Peace on July 1. Takashima was the senator's chief of staff and lived with Peace for a number of years when Peace served in the Assembly before running for Senate. Takashima said it was time for him "to return to public service." The new boss of the senator's office said that his three years with Edison provide a strong background on the issues facing the industry, but claimed that his position did not involve decision-making.