Re "Cheney Defends Refusal to Detail Energy Meetings," Jan. 28:
Vice President Dick Cheney feels previous administrations have "traded away" authority and that the demand for more information regarding the White House/Enron dealings is a partisan "fishing expedition." Funny, this administration seems to have exactly the opposite view regarding the treatment of the general public in its so-called war on terrorism, curtailing our civil liberties and casting a wide net to catch "evildoers."
Regardless of what may or may not have happened in those energy meetings, there appears to be a stink bomb in the administration's Enron baggage, and we the public want to know: Did they pack it themselves? Were they asked to carry anything for anyone? Has it been in their possession at all times?
Cheney regarding Enron: "There is no evidence to indicate anybody did anything wrong in the administration." And, of course, he doesn't think that we can be trusted to make that determination after hearing all the details, so he won't give them to us. Oh, why didn't I invest in the paper-shredding industry instead of Enron?
Congressional hearings have been convened to investigate the Enron tragedy in what seems to be record-breaking time. When issues directly affect its members, Congress can move with uncharacteristic speed. The far more urgent concern of extending unemployment and health benefits for the growing jobless ranks, however, has been shunted aside for the umpteenth time. Could this be because the Enron debacle provides greater political finger-pointing opportunities than the survival struggle of those less fortunate?
"Enron Vision Proved Costly to Firm, State" (Jan. 28) portrays Enron as the root of all electric-industry evil. It fails to portray what happened. Deregulation is working in other states. California's Legislature dropped the ball. AB 1890 was not a deregulation bill. It was called "industry restructuring" because the legislators would not let go and create a true market, as you allege Enron wanted. The joke of 1996 was that AB 1890 was "re-regulation."
You imply that Enron was the most influential lobbyist. In fact, California utilities like Southern California Edison contributed large sums of money, personnel and influence during that period, not to create the "perfect market" but to create legislation that would allow them to recapture 100% of their stranded assets. Many lobbyists were heavily involved in that legislative process, trying to secure legislated benefits for other narrow constituents. For state Sen. Steve Peace (D-El Cajon) to now say, in effect, "Enron made me do it" leads me to believe that he is not the brightest bulb in the Legislature.
David A. Rohy
Energy Commission, 1995-2000
The American public should say thank you to Enron. The dramatic implosion of Enron reveals a fatal flaw of privatization and deregulation. The California energy crisis is a good example of failed deregulation, where the state opened the energy system to manipulation and price gouging. It drained the state's resources from the three publicly traded utilities--as well as the state's surplus--to the bone.
Hopefully, the Enron bankruptcy will slow down the bullet train of privatization and deregulation being pushed by the Republican Party. Imagine the suffering the public will face if the privatization of Social Security is successfully rammed through Congress on the coattails of the president's popularity. Enron's workers and retirees who are educated (attorneys, traders and various professionals) still lost their pensions. Average American workers don't stand a chance to protect their private Social Security accounts.