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For Larsen, PSC was never about the Public or Service

Public Service Commissioner Steve Larsen is stepping down, and I think that Marylanders should be happy to be rid of him.

Larsen was never the guy O’Malley promised us, promising a professional regulator who was going to make sure energy rates for consumers were lowered. Instead, we got a professional statist with a long record of sticking it to taxpayers who was more interested in cockamamie sticking it to taxpayers and keeping rates as high as possible in direct contradiction to Governor O’Malley’s promise.

Of course, the Baltimore Sun’s article on Larsen was a complete puff piece, talking about how Larsen was a “quick study” of energy issues that he was unqualified to be discussing. And of course there was talking about Larsen’s great bipartisanship, which meant we got a quote from the one Republican always willing to kiss Governor O’Malley’s ass:

Both Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly said Larsen did a good job leading the PSC.

“He certainly worked to be nonpartisan, and with both sides of the aisle,” said Del. James King, an Anne Arundel County Republican on the Economic Matters Committee, whic handles many of the energy issues. “Unfortunately for me and every other resident in the state of Maryland, I don’t think we solved a lot of the issues that we face with the energy situation, but I don’t think that’s from any lack of effort.”

I would say that we should hold up that Governor O’Malley’s new PSC Commissioner is going to be more sensible, but guess what? This one’s a trial lawyer:

Though little known in Annapolis, Nazarian handled numerous high-profile cases before Maryland courts. Among them was a 1998 case where he successfully challenged the arrest of paroled inmate Vincent Henderson. Henderson was among dozens who were re-arrested after the state concluded it had incorrectly calculated the amount of good behavior time due some inmates, and prematurely released them. The case resulted in the release of nearly 50 inmates.

Nazarian also represented the state in a series of lawsuits against the law firm of Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos. The case related to attorney’s fees Angelos was due in connection with national tobacco litigation.

“His experience doing litigation and preparing cases is exceedingly good training for now trying to set policy and decide issues in the regulatory context,” said Ralph S. Tyler, Maryland’s insurance commissioner.

Great…..just what we need. And Tyler finishes up with this quote about the new Commissioner:

“I expect that [Nazarian] will lead the commission in a way where it will be fair, but it will be fair in looking out for the public interest,” he said.

Not bloody liklely. But what I do suspsect is that Nazarian will be a chip off of the Larsen block, attempting to lead Maryland further and further into an O’Malleynomic hell of higher regulatory costs, higher energy costs, and ever higher taxes. Like Larsen, serving the public interest will be the farthest thing from his mind…

(Crossposted)






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