Thursday, January 12, 2006
Schwarzenegger Names San Francisco Attorney, Ex-FCC Member Chong to Utilities Commission
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday named San Francisco lawyer Rachelle Chong to the Public Utilities Commission.
“Rachelle’s more than two decades of experience in telecommunications law in conjunction with her exceptional understanding of the regulatory environment will be a tremendous asset to the Public Utilities Commission,” the governor said in a statement. “She brings a unique perspective to this important regulatory body and will work to protect consumers while keeping California’s economy growing and ensuring our state continues to lead the world in technology development and innovation.”
Chong has been involved in telecommunications law and policy for over 20 years, including three years on the Federal Communications Commission. She was appointed to the FCC by President Bill Clinton in 1994, filling a Republican seat on the body, but was not reappointed to a full term in 1997 after she failed to secure the support of Sens. Trent Lott, R-Miss., who was majority leader at the time, and John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Commerce Committee.
As a member of the FCC, she participated in implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the first PCS wireless auctions, the finalization of digital television rules and the provision of new wireless and satellite services. She generally supported the wireless industry and had a well-publicized dustup with then-Chairman Reed Hundt by denouncing as “censorship” his efforts to study possible regulation of broadcast liquor ads.
Chong currently has her own practice, focusing on mediation, arbitration and expert witness work. She served as an arbitrator for the International Chamber of Commerce in a major telecommunications dispute and has been general counsel and vice president of government affairs for BroadBand Office, Inc.
Between leaving the FCC and setting up her own office, she was a San Francisco-based partner in the Telecommunications and Internet Practice at Coudert Brothers. From 1987 to 1994 she served first as an associate, and later as a partner, in the Public Utilities Practice Group of Graham and James, specializing in matters before the PUC. She had previously been an associate at Kadison, Pfaelzer, Woodard, Quinn and Rossi for three years.
From 1988 to 1990, she served on the State Bar of California’s Legal Services Trust Fund Commission.
The 46-year-old Chong graduated from UC Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company