Best Best & Krieger News Feedhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=39&format=xml&directive=0&stylesheet=rss&records=20&OL=63Best Best and Krieger is a Full Service Law Firmen-us26 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0800firmwisehttp://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rssRequired Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training for Supervisorshttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=1815&format=xml<div> <p>BB&amp;K provides&nbsp;the State-mandated Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training Program requirements at our offices through California on a quarterly basis.</p> <p>Contact:<br /> <a href="mailto:events@BBKlaw.com?subject=Required%20Sexual%20Harassment%20Avoidance%20Training%20for%20Supervisors"><span style="color: #0000ff">events@BBKlaw.com</span></a></p> <p><br /> &nbsp;</p> <h4>Custom&nbsp;Training Programs at Your Facility</h4> <p>Our attorneys can prepare and present a customized program at your place of employment. These programs can be tailored to reflect the policies and needs of your organization. <br /> <br /> Contact your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=5&amp;LPA=491&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K Labor &amp; Employment Law attorney</span></a> to schedule on-site training, or call <a href="mailto:Sally.Bondy@bbklaw.com?subject=Required%20Sexual%20Harassment%20Avoidance%20Training%20for%20Supervisors"><span style="color: #0000ff">Sally.Bondy@bbklaw.com</span></a> or (951) 826-8356<br /> <br /> All participants in BB&amp;K Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training Programs will receive a certificate of completion to acknowledge that they and your organization have satisfied this State requirement.**<br /> &nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-size: smaller">* Travel over 30 miles from the nearest BB&amp;K office may be subject to an additional charge.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: smaller">* Assembly Bill 1825 requires&nbsp;that by January 1, 2006, any private employer with 50 or more employees and all public agencies must provide at least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education on sexual harassment to all supervisory employees who are employed as of July 1, 2005, and to all new supervisory employees within six months of their assumption of a supervisory position. Furthermore, this training must be presented by trainers or educators with knowledge and expertise in the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.</span></p> </div>Seminars & Training01 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=1815&format=xmlBB&K Attorneys Win $57 Million in Transportation Fee Dispute on Behalf of WRCOGhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=30995&format=xml<p><em><strong>*Updated</strong></em></p> <p><br /> Best Best &amp; Krieger attorneys Jeffrey V. Dunn and Thomas J. Eastmond won a $43 million trial award&nbsp;on behalf of the Western Riverside Council of Governments in a transportation fee dispute with the City of Beaumont.</p> <p>An Orange County Superior Court judge found that Beaumont failed to comply with its municipal ordinance requiring Beaumont to collect and remit transportation impact fees to WRCOG. The impact fees are part of the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee (TUMF) Program administered by WRCOG. Under the TUMF Program impact fees collected from new development in western Riverside County are remitted to WRCOG and allocated to build new transportation infrastructure to mitigate the impact of development on the regional transportation system.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>During the four-week trial, BB&amp;K provided evidence that Beaumont failed to comply with its TUMF obligations and, instead, created both tax and traffic burdens on Beaumont&rsquo;s own residents. The court found that&ldquo; the evidence shows poor local transportation planning and execution.&rdquo; The court went on to conclude that &ldquo;[t]he evidence and testimony reveals that city management and staff engaged in a pattern and practice of deception that transcends the typical give-and-take of dispute negotiation. Had this been a typical civil trial I would have found fraud by clear and convincing evidence as against the city.&rdquo; (*In May 2016, seven former top city officials were charged for misappropriating the funds.)</p> In addition to the $43 million, WRCOG will be awarded pre-judgment interest of at least $20 million. BB&amp;K attorney Steven DeBaun, who is general counsel to WRCOG, also assisted with the case.Client Successes10 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=30995&format=xmlAB 1825 Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training (April 28)http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=29354&format=xml<p>California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, pursuant to AB 1825, requires that employers with fifty or more employees in California provide at least two hours of Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training every two years to any employee that has a supervisory role in operations. This presentation is designed to satisfy those requirements.</p> <p>Joseph Ortiz presented the training from the Riverside office. All other BB&amp;K offices participated in the training via state-of-the-art video conferencing. The video conference is interactive, allowing attendees to ask questions and participate in other ways.</p> <p><strong>What&nbsp;was covered:</strong></p> <ul type="disc"> <li>What constitutes sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace</li> <li>How to recognize and avoid it</li> <li>What procedures to follow if you witness harassment or are harassed yourself</li> <li>The potential consequences - including personal liability - of sexual harassment</li> </ul> <strong><br /> Audience:</strong><br /> <br /> <ul type="disc"> <li>Supervisors</li> <li>Human Resources Professionals</li> <li>Public Officials</li> <li>Managers &amp; Private Business Professionals with 50 or More Employees</li> </ul> <p><strong>When: <br /> </strong><br /> Monday, April 28<br /> 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.<br /> <br /> <strong>Registration:<br /> </strong><br /> The training&nbsp;was also&nbsp;held via video conference at the following BB&amp;K offices throughout California.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e92ilu4x8e4f1769 ">Indian wells </a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e92ikck04a9b0260 ">Irvine</a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e92ik142c14495e7 ">Los Angeles </a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e92iiuzb32e32c77 ">Ontario</a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e92im5gq20a742bf ">Riverside</a> &ndash; Joseph Ortiz presented from the Riverside office</li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e92ijc124031fe4e ">Sacramento </a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e92in74a921a8f79 ">San Diego</a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e92ihe1q893ecf8b ">Walnut Creek</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>BB&amp;K Presenter:<br /> <br /> </strong>Joseph Ortiz, Partner, Labor &amp; Employment Practice Group in Riverside office<br /> <br /> <strong>QUESTIONS:<br /> <br /> </strong>Contact <a href="mailto:katey.lamke@bbklaw.com">Katey Lamke</a> if you have any questions about this event and/or about BB&amp;K upcoming seminars/events.<br /> <br /> If you are not currently receiving our Legal Alerts and would like to be added to our email distribution list, please visit our <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2121">subscription page</a>.</p>Seminars and Webinars28 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=29354&format=xmlThe Daily Journal Honors BB&K Attorney With Top 20 Defense Result in Californiahttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=28374&format=xml<p><strong>For Immediate Release:</strong> Feb. 12, 2014<br /> <strong><span>Media Contact</span></strong><span>:&nbsp;Jennifer Bowles &bull; 951.826.8480 &bull; </span><a href="mailto:jennifer.bowles@BBKlaw.com"><font color="#0000ff">jennifer.bowles@BBKlaw.com</font></a><br /> <br /> <strong>RIVERSIDE,&nbsp;Calif.</strong>&nbsp;_ The <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dailyjournal.com">Daily Journal</a> today selected a court victory in a San Bernardino County case that was handled by Best Best &amp; Krieger attorney Kendall MacVey as a top 20 defense result in California for 2013.<br /> <br /> The state&rsquo;s chief legal daily newspaper recognized MacVey for his role in a lawsuit filed by the county that sought to compel his client &ndash; San Bernardino Associated Governments known as SANBAG &ndash; as well as Upland and the California Department of Transportation to reimburse the county for a corrupt $102 million settlement that its supervisors had paid to a developer.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m honored and humbled by the Daily Journal&rsquo;s recognition. The ruling and ensuing settlement in this case is helping to promote a path of reconciliation between San Bernardino County and its 25 cities and towns, which make up SANBAG,&rdquo; said MacVey, a Riverside-based attorney.<br /> <br /> MacVey noted that a group of attorneys at BB&amp;K and the lawyers representing the other defendants worked as a team in bringing the case to a successful conclusion.<br /> <br /> The case was recognized by The Daily Journal Corp., publisher of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals, in its annual list of the top 20 defense results, top 10 plaintiff&rsquo;s verdicts by dollar, tops 10 plaintiff&rsquo;s verdicts by impact and top 5 appellate reversals in a special supplement to today&rsquo;s editions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This recognition is gratifying and a testament to the complex challenges created by the case, which brought together public policy and public corruption issues, land acquisition disputes, millions of pages of discovery and high-stakes litigation. The successful conclusion of the case shows the good work BB&amp;K litigators do on behalf of our clients,&rdquo; said Steve DeBaun, a Riverside-based attorney who serves as special counsel to SANBAG.<br /> <br /> In the case, San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Prager on Feb. 5 granted a motion for summary adjudication sought by MacVey that tossed out the vast majority of lawsuit, in large part because of corruption involved. The parties later agreed to dismiss the lawsuit with no payment of money.<br /> <br /> The ruling was part of a decade-long saga involving several civil lawsuits, millions of dollars of taxpayer funds and criminal charges against four former San Bernardino County officials and a Rancho Cucamonga developer.<br /> <br /> The $102 million settlement at the heart of the case occurred in November 2006 when county supervisors paid that money to Colonies Partners of Rancho Cucamonga after four years of litigation over a dispute involving flood control easements on the developer's 434-acre Upland housing and commercial project. The county sued the other agencies, claiming they bore responsibility for the damages claimed by Colonies.</p>Press Releases12 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=28374&format=xmlAB 1825 Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training (January 13)http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=27263&format=xml<p>California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, pursuant to AB 1825, requires that employers with fifty or more employees in California provide at least two hours of Sexual Harassment Avoidance Training every two years to any employee that has a supervisory role in operations. This presentation was designed to satisfy those requirements.</p> <p>Joseph Ortiz presented the training from the Riverside office. All other BB&amp;K offices participated in the training via state-of-the-art video conferencing. The video conference was interactive, allowing attendees to ask questions and participate in other ways.</p> <p><strong>What was covered:</strong></p> <ul type="disc"> <li>What constitutes sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace</li> <li>How to recognize and avoid it</li> <li>What procedures to follow if you witness harassment or are harassed yourself</li> <li>The potential consequences - including personal liability - of sexual harassment</li> </ul> <p><br /> <strong>Audience:</strong></p> <ul type="disc"> <li>Supervisors</li> <li>Human Resources Professionals</li> <li>Public Officials</li> <li>Managers &amp; Private Business Professionals with 50 or More Employees</li> </ul> <p><br /> The training&nbsp;was also held via video conference at the following BB&amp;K offices throughout California:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e8npr0v85e244cf7">Indian wells</a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e8nps63a6249655c">Irvine</a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e8nptx6b7dbc5f11">Los Angeles</a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e8npxtd32768a3e7">Ontario</a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e8ke47kt9505c0f8">Riverside</a> &ndash; Joseph Ortiz presented from the Riverside office</li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e8npx5rf1183de45">Sacramento</a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e8jqowqm53d0b300">San Diego</a></li> <li><a href="http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=apf8yceab&amp;oeidk=a07e8npygjc9ccfbc90">Walnut Creek</a></li> </ul> <p><strong><br /> BB&amp;K Presenter:<br /> <br /> </strong>Joseph Ortiz, Partner, Labor &amp; Employment Practice Group in Riverside office<br /> <br /> <strong><br /> QUESTIONS:<br /> <br /> </strong>Contact <a href="mailto:katey.lamke@bbklaw.com">Katey Lamke</a> if you have any questions about this event and/or about BB&amp;K upcoming seminars/events.<br /> <br /> If you are not currently receiving our Legal Alerts and would like to be added to our email distribution list, please visit our <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2121">subscription page</a>.</p>Seminars and Webinars13 Jan 2014 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=27263&format=xmlPublic Finance Attorney Returns to Best Best & Kriegerhttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=27442&format=xml<p><strong>For Immediate Release:</strong> Dec. 31, 2013 <br /> <strong>Media Contact:</strong> Jennifer Bowles &bull; 951.826.8480 &bull; <a href="mailto:jennifer.bowles@BBKlaw.com">jennifer.bowles@BBKlaw.com</a></p> <p><strong>RIVERSIDE, Calif</strong>. _ Mrunal Mehta Shah recently returned to Bes<span>t Best &amp; Krieger LLP as an of counsel attorney in the public finance practice group.<br /> <span><br /> Based in the law firm&rsquo;s Riverside office, Shah represents cities, counties, school districts and special districts in bond transactions to finance public infrastructure such as schools, streets and water treatment plants.<br /> <br /> In addition, she is working with other BB&amp;K attorneys on the Western Riverside Council of Governments&rsquo; HERO Program, a public-private partnership between cities, counties and the private sector that helps property owners finance renewable energy and energy-efficient improvments to their homes and businesses. It is the nation&rsquo;s largest Property Assessed Clean Energy financing program, known as PACE.<br /> <br /> The WRCOG program has expanded to 13 counties across California, and recently received the prestigious California <font color="#0000ff"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wrcog.cog.ca.us/uploads/media_items/ca-governor-awards-hero-program.original.pdf">Governor&rsquo;s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award</a></font>. BB&amp;K attorneys serve as bond counsel to the WRCOG program as well as the San Bernardino Associated Governments HERO program, which was recently launched throughout San Bernardino County.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re happy that Mrunal decided to come back to the firm; she&rsquo;s an excellent lawyer and the firm and our clients will benefit greatly from her experience and expertise,&rdquo; said John Rottschaefer, leader of the firm&rsquo;s public finance practice group.<br /> <br /> Shah first joined BB&amp;K in 1998 as a law clerk and returned in 2002 as an attorney after receiving her law degree from Tulane University in New Orleans. She left BB&amp;K in 2010 when her husband received an out-of-state fellowship.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;One of the main reasons I returned to BB&amp;K is the great work environment,&rdquo; Shah said. &ldquo;All of the attorneys and staff work together congenially to make sure our clients&rsquo; needs are met promptly.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Shah </span>is a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers. She speaks Spanish and Gujarati, a language native to parts of India.</span></p>Press Releases31 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=27442&format=xmlBB&K Seminar: Statements of Economic Interests - Legal Requirements of Filing Officers & Officialshttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=25124&format=xml<p>This program addressed the statutory duties of public agency filing officers and officials regarding Form 700 Statements of Economic Interests (SEIs).</p> <p><b>What&nbsp;was covered:</b></p> <ul> <li>Legislative &amp; Regulatory Changes</li> <li>General Rules &ndash; What&rsquo;s Your Role? <ul> <li>Types of Public Officials &ndash; PRA vs. CIC</li> <li>Disclosure Requirements &ndash; Full vs. Limited</li> </ul> </li> <li>Guidelines &ndash; Notices, Fines &amp; Waivers</li> <li>SEI Reviews &ndash; Facial vs. Full <ul> <li>What to Look For &ndash; Common Errors</li> </ul> </li> <li>SEI Records &amp; Retention</li> <li>Public Access &ndash; Two Days</li> <li>Enforcement &ndash; Reporting Apparent Violations</li> <li>What February 1 Deadline?</li> </ul> <p><br /> <b>Audience:</b><br /> City Clerks and Deputy City Clerks, Filing Officers and Filing Officials designated in agency conflict of interest codes; and assistant or backup personnel<br /> <br /> <b>Cost Per Person:</b><br /> $75 for clients who participate in the Public Policy &amp; Ethics program<br /> $125 for non-participants in the Public Policy &amp; Ethics program<br /> <br /> <strong>BB&amp;K Presenter:</strong><br /> Dianna Valdez, Senior Paralegal, Conflicts of Interest &amp; Ethics Coordinator, Public Policy &amp; Ethics Group<br /> <br /> <strong>QUESTIONS:</strong><br /> Contact <a href="mailto:katey.lamke@bbklaw.com">Katey Lamke</a> if you have any questions about this event and/or about BB&amp;K upcoming seminars/events.<br /> <br /> If you are not currently receiving our Legal Alerts and would like to be added to our email distribution list, please visit our <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bbklaw.com/?p=2121">subscription page</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>Seminars and Webinars13 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=25124&format=xmlFour BB&K Attorneys Named by the Daily Journal Among Top 20 Municipal Lawyers In Californiahttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=25824&format=xml<p><strong>For Immediate Release: </strong>Nov. 6, 2013<br /> <strong>Media Contact</strong>: Jennifer Bowles &bull; 951.826.8480 &bull; jennifer.bowles@BBKlaw.com<br /> <br /> <strong>LOS ANGELES</strong> _ The Daily Journal today named four attorneys at Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP among California&rsquo;s Top 20 municipal lawyers in 2013 for cases involving medical marijuana, water rights, redevelopment and corruption.<br /> <br /> The state&rsquo;s top legal newspaper recognized <b>Jeffrey Dunn</b> in <b>Irvine</b> for, among other things,&nbsp;successfully arguing before the California Supreme Court in a case involving Riverside that state law does not prevent cities and counties from regulating medical marijuana dispensaries; <b>Eric Garner</b>, BB&amp;K managing partner based in <b>Los Angeles</b> and <strong>Riverside</strong>, for an appellate court victory involving Santa Maria and a large portion of California&rsquo;s Central Coast that strengthened the right of cities and public agencies to use groundwater for people;&nbsp;<strong>T. Brent Hawkins</strong> in <b>Sacramento</b> for handling lawsuits for cities and counties challenging the state&rsquo;s handling of post-redevelopment issues, including a case that resulted in a judge agreeing that Riverside should get nearly $19 million in loans originally taken out by the city&rsquo;s redevelopment agency,&nbsp;and <b>Kendall MacVey</b> in <b>Riverside</b> for his role in a case that saved the San Bernardino Associated Governments from having to reimburse San Bernardino County for a $102 million settlement that is the target of a corruption probe.<br /> <br /> Lawyers at BB&amp;K, with nine offices in California and Washington, D.C., serve as city attorney to more than 30 cities across California and provide special counsel work to dozens more.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The recognition by The Daily Journal of four BB&amp;K attorneys is incredibly gratifying and an enormous honor for them and the firm. We are very proud of these attorneys for doing such great work for our clients,&rdquo; said Jeff Ballinger, an Ontario-based attorney who leads the firm&rsquo;s municipal law practice group.<br /> <br /> The Daily Journal Corp., publisher of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals, issued its annual list of the state&rsquo;s Top 20 municipal lawyers in a special supplement to today&rsquo;s editions. According to The State Bar of California, there are more than 244,000 attorneys statewide.</p>Press Releases06 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=25824&format=xmlBB&K Boosts Eminent Domain Practice with Three New Attorneyshttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=25206&format=xml<p><b>For Immediate Release</b>: Oct. 17, 2013 <br /> <b>Media Contact</b>: Jennifer Bowles &bull; 951.826.8480 &bull; <span><span><a href="mailto:jennifer.bowles@BBKlaw.com"><font color="#0000ff">jennifer.bowles@BBKlaw.com</font></a></span></span></p> <p><strong>RIVERSIDE, Calif.</strong>_ Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP recently hired three attorneys to join the eminent domain practice in offices across Southern California.<br /> <br /> The eminent domain practice group focuses on helping cities, counties, special districts and school districts acquire property so they can build roads, water supply pipelines and other needed infrastructure.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are thrilled to be welcoming three new attorneys who bring a wealth of diverse experience into our practice,&rdquo; said Mark Easter, who heads the practice from the Riverside office.<br /> <br /> The new attorneys are:<br /> <br /> &nbsp;_ <b>Artin N. Shaverdian</b>, who is based in the <b>Los Angeles </b>office. An of counsel attorney at BB&amp;K, Shaverdian comes to the firm with nearly a decade of experience in eminent domain law. He has represented key public agencies in Southern California, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, various cities, redevelopment agencies and special districts in eminent domain/inverse condemnation cases.<br /> <br /> Primarily a litigator, he represents public agencies, individuals and business owners.&nbsp;Shaverdian has been lead counsel on the acquisition of hundreds of parcels of real property for various projects, including mixed-use commercial and residential redevelopment projects, schools, grade separation and other public infrastructure projects. He has also represented multiple property and business owners in eminent domain and inverse condemnation matters across the California, recovering millions of dollars on their behalf.<br /> <br /> Prior to joining BB&amp;K, Shaverdian was a partner at a boutique eminent domain practice in Glendale, Calif. He received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles in 2002.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> _ <b>Gregory G Snarr</b>, who is an associate in the<b> Riverside</b> office. He represents public agencies and private-sector clients in pre-litigation, real-property acquisitions as well as all stages of complex, commercial litigation in state and federal courts.<br /> <br /> Primarily a litigator, Snarr&rsquo;s eminent domain experience includes acquisitions of rights of way for major public improvement projects as well as valuation issues, water adjudications, and land use and zoning restrictions. Fluent in Spanish, Snarr received his law degree from Brigham Young University in Utah in 2009.<br /> <br /> _<b>Holly E. Cheong</b>, an associate who joined the <b>San Diego</b> office and represents public agencies in eminent domain matters. Prior to joining BB&amp;K, Cheong worked for Snell &amp; Wilmer LLP in Las Vegas as a litigator handing commercial, civil and employment cases.<br /> <br /> Cheong received her law degree from the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2010. After law school, she served as a law clerk to Justice Kristina Pickering of the Nevada Supreme Court. Before turning to a legal career, Cheong received a master&rsquo;s degree in city planning from San Diego State University in 2003, and worked as an environmental planner for the Southern Nevada Water Authority and as a biologist for the City of San Diego Planning Department.<br /> <br /> Cheong volunteers as the social media administrator with the San Diego affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. She began volunteering for the network after a friend died from the disease and she discovered that the survival rates with people suffering from pancreatic cancer are extremely low.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p>Press Releases17 Oct 2013 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=25206&format=xmlPublic Agencies In California Bear the Cost Of Electricity Rate Increaseshttp://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=23418&format=xml<p>By <strong>Jason Ackerman</strong><br /> <br /> California electric rates are among the highest in the country and it is likely that the lion&rsquo;s share of future rate increases will be borne by commercial and industrial customers, such as public agencies. Why? Because California has embarked upon a significant number of policies that necessarily impact the state&rsquo;s electricity supply and delivery system. As a result, electric rates continue to rise and ratepayers, including public agencies, are searching for ways to respond to the spiraling costs of this necessary service. Understanding the process, policies and factors behind rate increases provides the first step in planning long-term energy strategies and cost-effective advocacy.</p> <p>If public agencies do not understand and participate in the process and proceedings, they may be in jeopardy of carrying a disproportionate share of the financial burden because their interests are not represented. As one of my California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) expert witnesses told me in a recent general rate case (GRC), &ldquo;Agencies must have a seat at the table&hellip; or they risk being placed on the menu by the parties who do.&rdquo;</p> <p><b>The Ratemaking Process</b></p> <p>The CPUC has jurisdiction over private and investor-owned electric utilities. The big-three regulated utilities in California are Pacific Gas &amp; Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas &amp; Electric. Most public agencies are located within the service area of one of these utilities.</p> <p>Every three years, these utilities are required to file GRC applications that are divided into two phases. Phase 1 applications address issues related to revenue requirements for utilities. In short, the question presented in the proceeding is, &ldquo;How much money is needed from ratepayers to maintain a reasonable level of service through the next three-year rate cycle?&rdquo;</p> <p>A utility may request increased revenue to cover the cost of delivering energy safely, maintaining system reliability and providing adequate customer service. Utilities may also request revenue for capital investment to replace aging infrastructure or to recover the cost of depreciation associated with system investments. During Phase 1 proceedings, an administrative law judge is tasked with determining whether the needs and costs are just and reasonable, such that they should be included in customer rates. The judge prepares a proposed decision for the full Commission&rsquo;s review and consideration.</p> <p>Phase 2 applications must be filed within 90 days of the filing of Phase 1 applications. Phase 2 proceedings address electric marginal costs, revenue allocation and rate design, and here the question presented is &ldquo;How should the revenue requirement approved in the Phase 1 proceeding be divided amongst the different classes of ratepayers?&rdquo; Put another way, &ldquo;How should the pie be sliced?&rdquo;</p> <p>During Phase 2 proceedings, the administrative law judge attempts to balance fair and equitable distribution of costs, stable and predictable rate structures and stable revenue collection. At the same time, the balance includes consideration to providing affordable universal services and incentives to conserve energy. As with the Phase 1 proceeding, the judge for the Phase 2 proceeding prepares a proposed decision for the full Commission&rsquo;s review and consideration.</p> <p><b>Electric Rate Increases</b></p> <p>Although GRC applications tend to seek single-digit revenue and rate increases, it is not uncommon for some classes of ratepayers to routinely see significant, double-digit bill impacts. The driving forces behind these rate increases are the result of many factors, including the following policies adopted by the State of California that are now being implemented:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px">&bull; <b>Once-Through Cooling Requirements</b>. In March 2010, the State Water Resources Control Board issued its Policy on the Use of Coastal and Estuarine Waters for Power Plant Cooling. The policy requires certain power plants to be retrofitted to closed-cycle wet-cooling facilities, with the open cycle facilities phased out by 2024. The 19 effected plants in California represent about 30 percent of total in-state power generation installed capacity. The estimated cost of retrofitting or decommissioning the facilities ranges from $4 to $11 billion.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px">&bull; <b>Renewable Portfolio Standard</b>. California&rsquo;s Renewable Portfolio Standard was established in 2002 and is one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the country. The RPS program requires investor-owned utilities, electric service providers and community choice aggregators to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources to 33 percent of total procurement by 2020. The program has had a profound effect on renewable energy project development and it continues to deliver numerous economic benefits. However, there are costs associated with implementing the renewable energy procurement program and constructing new transmission projects to access renewable energy to load centers. It has been estimated that potential annual program costs total $4.5 to $5 billion.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px">&nbsp;&bull; <b>San Onofre Closure</b>. In 2010 and 2011, Southern California Edison installed replacement steam generators at its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). The generators, installed at a cost of $690 million, were expected to extend the useful life of the 40 year-old SONGS by 20 years. However, the generators proved to be defective and the generating station was shut down in January 2012.&nbsp;Since then, it is estimated that SCE spent more than $117 million on replacement power. In June 2013, SCE advised the CPUC that the SONGS would be decommissioned and that, while some costs related to the defective generators may be recovered through insurance claims and litigation, a significant amount of those costs may have to be recovered from SCE ratepayers. The CPUC will hold hearings in October to decide how to apportion the costs between ratepayers and SCE shareholders, but it is anticipated that ratepayers will be required to pick up a significant portion of the costs.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px">&nbsp;&bull; <b>California Cap and Trade.</b> The California Legislature enacted AB 32 in 2006, calling for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. To achieve these goals the California Air Resources Board worked closely with the CPUC and the California Energy Commission to develop California&rsquo;s cap-and-trade program.&nbsp;Starting in January 2013 and going through 2020, carbon emissions caps will be reduced 2-3 percent per year. As the caps go down, emissions-intensive and trade-exposed emitters such as electric utilities operating power plants will have to decide how to comply with the cap and trade requirements. Their choices are to operate more efficiently, burn less fossil fuel or obtain enough allowances from other companies to maintain compliance. Each of these options will come at significant costs that will be passed on to ratepayers.</p> <p><b>Public Agencies Should Respond to Rising Rates</b></p> <p>Public agencies can protect themselves by monitoring developments at the CPUC. One cost-effective way to monitor CPUC proceedings is through the Commission&rsquo;s subscription monitoring system. This is a free service that provides email updates on issues subscribers select. The subscription system provides the ability to monitor specific proceedings or issues, or to monitor all activity related to the electric industry.</p> <p>If agencies become aware of issues of interest, they may protect themselves by forming advocacy coalitions to participate in Commission proceedings. Coalitions provide benefits to members because they coordinate the message of a large group, while defraying the cost of delivering the common message. Notably, the Commission openly welcomes the participation of parties, including coalitions, in its proceedings and it goes to great lengths to accommodate participation. This is likely because the Commission understands the significant interests that are at stake. Indeed, if agencies do not participate in proceedings on their behalf, they may end up shouldering a disparate portion of the financial burden in the Commission&rsquo;s final decision.</p> <p>As public agencies gain a thorough understanding of what is at stake throughout the process and begin to recognize that they can affect final CPUC decisions, it is likely that more agencies will become involved.</p> <p><b><i>Jason Ackerman</i></b><i> is a partner in the Environmental and Natural Resources practice group of Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP in the firm&rsquo;s Riverside, Calif., office. His practice focuses on assisting clients in complying with state and federal environmental laws and providing general governance advice to public agencies. Mr. Ackerman can be reached at Jason.Ackerman@bbklaw.com.<br /> <br /> * This article was first published&nbsp;by <a target="_blank" href="http://www.publicceo.com/2013/08/electricity-rate-increases-affect-public-agencies/">PublicCEO.com</a> on Aug. 28. Republished with permission.</i></p>BB&K In The News03 Sep 2013 00:00:00 -0800http://www.bbklaw.com/?t=40&an=23418&format=xml