No. 5: Capitol Weekly’s Top 100

Marybel Batjer. Illustration by Chris Shary

5. Marybel Batjer

Marybel Batjer is the president of the California Public Utilities  Commission, one of the state’s most powerful regulatory bodies, with a vast sway over telecommunications, railroads, investor-owned utilities, and more. That’s a big deal, especially now. Last year, the PUC gave its blessing to PG&E’s bankruptcy plan, a major decision after the giant utility was on the hook for billions of dollars worth of damages to property owners, in part because of PG&E power lines that sparked blazes. The five-member PUC also fined PG&E $1.9 billion – the largest penalty the commission ever levied. A key player here is Batjer, who only has one of the five votes on the commission but who has wide influence in setting the agenda. Batjer, a troubleshooter, is no stranger to state government. Jerry Brown named her the first head of the Government Operations Agency – known as “GovOps” – in 2013, and Newsom placed her at the head of the panel to reorganize the complaint-plagued DMV, which she did successfully. Earlier, she was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cabinet secretary.

Updated Aug. 25, 2021

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