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PRC drowning in perpetual angst

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By Jay Miller

The current Public Regulation Commission difficulties involving Jerome Block, Jr. aren’t the first time that five-member body has been in turmoil.
In its dozen years of existence, it has been in almost constant disorder. The PRC was created in 1998 to replace a three-member state Corporation Commission that was always in havoc.
The solution created by the New Mexico Legislature and passed by voters was to replace the Corporation Commission and the appointed Public Utilities Commission with one elected body that would be reined in by various popular “good government” features such as public financing and a ban on campaign donations or other favors from utilities they regulate.
Districts were created that were intended to provide seats for Albuquerque, North Central New Mexico, Northwest New Mexico, the Eastside and the Southwest.
The political divisions looked good, with two districts leaning Democrat, two Republican and the Southwest district being a toss up.
It worked but it didn’t make much difference. Just as with the former three-member body, political affiliations didn’t matter much. Affiliations were based on personalities and who could gang up on whom.


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