Is Art Torres helping PG&E, helping his son's political career, or both?

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Joaquin and Art Torres are both mayoral appointees who serve as presidents of their respective commissions.

As I’ve been reporting on how CleanPowerSF is being blocked by Mayor Ed Lee and his political appointees on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, one piece of the puzzle that I couldn’t quite figure out was why SFPUC President Art Torres took the position he did, offering little public explanation for his stance.

“His opposition to the rate vote was strange because he didn’t give clear reasons,” Eric Brooks, who has been led the grassroots campaign in support of CleanPowerSF, told us. Torres also hasn’t returned Guardian calls on the issue, and he refused a formal request from Sup. John Avalos to explain his position.

As a former state senator and longtime former chair of the California Democratic Party, Torres certainly has connections to Pacific Gas & Electric and the array of politicians that support it, include Willie Brown. But that just didn’t seem like enough for a senior statesman with a decent environmental record to sabotage San Francisco’s only plan for building renewable energy projects.

But some of my political sources have clued me into another possible motive, and it seems to make sense. Art Torres’ son is Joaquin Torres, who works in the Mayor’s Office and who Lee in February appointed to the Housing Commission, where Torres now serves as president.

And here’s the kicker: those sources also say that Joaquin Torres has already started running for the District 9 seat on the Board of Supervisors, which is now held by Sup. David Campos, who is running for Tom Ammiano’s seat in the California Assembly. And if Campos wins that race next year, Mayor Lee will get to fill it, possibly naming Torres to one of the most progressive seats in the city.

So dad gets to score political points with some powerful friends, and help launch his son’s political career in the process. These motives are beginning to add up.

Joaquin Torres is now deputy director of the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, “where he leads Mayor Lee’s Invest In Neighborhoods Initiative to leverage City resources across city departments to maximize positive economic and social impact in low-moderate income neighborhoods and throughout San Francisco’s commercial corridors,” the Mayor’s Office wrote in February when Torres got appointed to the Housing Commission.

Sounds like the perfect job for someone being groomed for the Board of Supervisors, where he could have a serious impact on this city’s political dynamic, tipping policies in the neoliberal to moderate direction of expanding corporate welfare programs and speeding up gentrification.

Neither Torres has returned our calls, but I’ll update this post when and if they do. And while this is clearly just political speculation and conjecture, I have a feeling that I’m onto something here. So remember where you read it first.  

Comments

Thrust counter thrust. Numbers being thrown around, denials from
both sides, no wonder the residents of SF are confused.
There is as much trust and belief in Clean Power as the in there is in believeing politicians.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 19, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

The fact that it will cost more, the fact that it's not 100% clean, the fact that this has bypassed the voters, and the fact that PG&E is now 60% sustainable and rising ALL mitigate against the Shell deal, and everyone should opt out if it ever happens.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 19, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive deceptions, and petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 22, 2013 @ 11:10 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 23, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

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