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Prop. B Is for Bribery and Blackmail — Political Power, Not Solar Power

This is pay-to-play pure and simple.

The DWP and the IBEW union that runs it blocked solar energy development in Los Angeles for a decade, demanding that the utility own all major solar installations and that the work of installing the units and maintaining them belong to the IBEW.

They blackmailed the city, held solar energy developmentsun.gif hostage. And now the elected officials who lacked the courage to stand up to the DWP/IBEW want us to bribe them to let us have green power.

That’s all Proposition B is about: Rewarding the very people who used their political might and the public’s money to prevent under contract the 30 largest customers from installing rooftop solar energy units or other green power by giving them discounted rates.

They stopped a solar energy industry from flourishing in Los Angeles, actually chasing away companies to greener communities, and kept such a tight lid on solar energy that the city gets less than 1 percent of its electricity from the sun.

Prop. B doesn’t do anything to increase solar energy use.

It only gives into the DWP/IBEW blackmailers’ demands: They will own solar power, not us. They will feed the City Hall political machine with huge campaign contributions and the city treasury with hundreds of millions of dollars in ratepayers’ money.

The campaign being orchestrated by Mayor Antonio Villaraigsoa is a big lie. Prop. B is nothing but a blank check to steal. It’s got nothing to do with solar energy.

And when eight ordinary citizens stood up to them and told the truth, the mayor and his team dragged them into court to intimidate them, to tie up their time and energy, to threaten them with huge legal bills, court costs and attorney fees.

I am one of those eight, the L.A. Solar Eight — Jack Humphreville, Soledad Garcia, Humberto Camacho, Kristine Lee, Nick Patsaouras, Joe Pulido, James O’Sullivan are the others. And they have made our Christmas week tough, trying to find a lawyer, raise money, understand the law and the risks we face.

We dared to sign our names to the ballot argument (solarpro-con.doc). Even that is now too much for this out-of-control political machine.

We dared to say they held “no public hearings” on this plan because
they ignored the City Charter and their own regulations by failing to
present the largest solar energy plan ever undertaken in the United
States to Neighborhood Councils, and because they failed to conduct any
engineering or planning studies by the DWP or even allow the DWP
Commission to consider it, and because they kept secret a critical
report that revealed all that’s wrong with this plan, making a mockery
of what passed for public debate in the three-week mad rush to put it
on the ballot.

We dared to say the rooftop units they plan to
install are “outmoded technology” because there are more advanced
systems coming out that are more efficient and cost-effective.

dared to say the IBEW will be handed the entire “contract” and “there
is no competitive bidding” because the union will get all the work
unless the DWP management — most of whom are IBEW members — bungle it
so badly there’s room for private enterprise.

We dared to say
the opponents of Prop. B include trade union members because people
like Humberto Camacho, former vice president of the United Electrical
Workers Union, and others in the private sector building and
construction trades do oppose it.

For that, we are accused of
trying to lie and mislead the public when their own ballot argument is
filled with half-truths intended to fool the public.

They claim
Prop. B will “save lives” and keep the nation’s dirtiest air “clean”
but suggesting it will reduce the use of fossil fuel burning plants in
L.A when their plan will only help meet growing energy demand caused by

They claim it “strengthens” the L.A. economy
but don’t mention that most of the $3.5 billion this will cost will go
overseas to China to buy the solar units.

They claim it will create “good jobs with good benefits” without mentioning they are all IBEW jobs on the city payroll.

claim rate increases will be “minor” because of this plan when their
own consultant in the report kept secret warned this plan could cost
ratepayers billions.

They claim solar power will be
“significantly cheaper” in the “long run” without any backup about
whether that might come true in this century or the next.

is not the fight of the Solar Eight. This is our fight. This is our
L.A. and if we let them get away with this, there will be no stopping

This entry was posted in City Hall, Community Activists, Hot Topics, Los Angeles, Solar Energy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Prop. B Is for Bribery and Blackmail — Political Power, Not Solar Power

  1. Anonymous says:

    It is amazing that despite the alleged “scandals” of the Hahn administration, which opened the door for Antonio to challenge an incumbent mayor, our current mayor and his lackeys on the City Council, led by former good guy Eric Garcetti, have ignored recent history and succumbed to the IBEW to shaft the public with this phony solar initiative. It would have been impossible if any of these politicians, particularly the mayor, faced viable opposition in their reelection bids. The political system in LA is indeed broken, controlled by money and influence, and operating as though the voters do not exist.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Where can we send money to support the legal costs of defending your argument against the sleazy lawyers of the Mayor?

  3. Sandy Sand says:

    “B” is for Baffle us with Bull.
    “B” is for Boondoggle.
    “B” is for Beat us with a stick until they Baffle us with their Bull until we buy their Boondoggle.
    “B” is for Bruno taking a Bite out of them.
    “B” is for fill in the Blankety ________ Blank.
    I suppose they’ll figure out a way to get Bratton on the TV Braying aBout how if we don’t vote for “B” crime will Bust out all over the Blinking place.

  4. Sandy Sand says:

    “B” is for Baffle us with Bull.
    “B” is for Boondoggle and Backroom deals.
    “B” is for Beat us with a stick until they Baffle us with their Bull until we buy their Boondoggle.
    “B” is for Bruno taking a Bite out of them.
    “B” is for fill in the Blankety ________ Blank.
    I suppose they’ll figure out a way to get Bratton on the TV Braying aBout how if we don’t vote for “B” crime will Bust out all over the Blinking place.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Where can we send money to support the legal costs of defending your argument against the sleazy lawyers of the Mayor?

  6. Warren Zevon says:

    Send lawyers, guns and money. The shit has hit the fan.

  7. Dave 4LA says:

    David Hernandez knows full well what type of battle lies ahead. If we are to be successful we need more than the truth on our side. The Prop B 8 will need funding to pay for the vital resources needed to present a formatible fight.
    As a Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles I pledge to contribute one thousand dollars to the legal fight. As a Candidate for Mayor I challenge all other 8 candidates to match that amount. I know the current Mayor will not answer that challenge, but what about the rest?
    David Hernandez

  8. Warren Zevon says:

    They’ll be rocking in the projects
    Walking down along the strand
    Freddie get ready: Rock steady
    When Ronnie strikes up the band

  9. Jack Humphreville says:

    Gangster politics is alive and well in LA, fueled by implied threats of retaliation and campaign contributions from our large municipal unions. Remember what happened by Bernard Parks!
    In this case, Solar Scam, where a taxpayer funded consulting report was deliberately concealed, in return for a few hundred thousand dollars of campaign contributions to Antonio Villaraigosa, Jack Weiss, Wendy Greuel, and the Council Members up for re-election, the highly paid and inefficent DWP work crews will be granted exclusive rights to all in basin solar contracts (read NO third party contractors or other union workers), costing the Rate Payers $1 billion extra. Just like the water trunk lines when DWP work crews cost twice as much as private unionized contractors and took twice as long.
    That is $125,000 for each of the 8,000 union members!
    But what about the other 4,000,000 citizens of Los Angeles who are footing the bill.
    But not to worry. The union management is living large.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Let’s not forget Antonio Villaraigosa mislead his constituents when he ran for CD 14, saying he would serve his full term. Villaraigosa was a councilmember for only 1 ½ years. During this time, former Mayor Hahn had the decency to come before the City Council asking for a ballot measure for more police. Chief Bratton also supported Hahn. Councilmember Villaraigosa voted against the measure.
    After being sworn Mayor on July 1, 2005, Antonio Villaraigosa took it upon himself to increase the trash fees for more police. This obviously was a self serving motive. It appears Villaraigosa wants to take credit for everything good that occurs under the sun.
    However, when an internal audit found the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power ran up a $97-million overtime bill over an 11-month period, with some money going to employees who did not show up for work. The 2 million hours of overtime were incurred between March 2005 and February 2006. Yet, I don’t recall Villaraigosa holding a press conference taking responsibility for this and promising stakeholders reform within LADWP.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Tony had his chance with the DWP union–but he rolled over when their contract came up in 2005. The $307,000 campaign investment in him by the IBEW was well-timed, and has paid off handsomely, and like the Energizer Bunny, it keeps going and going. Congratulations Mr. D’Arcy. You serve your members well–too bad it is at the expense of the honest, hard-working, and poor people of this City. You’ve already corrupted the Civil Service system. Can’t believe you are still trying to kill that portion that is still left. Do I hear a call for hiring without Civil Service exams? Yuppers, another payoff for Solar L.A.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wow, Whenever i read the postings on this blog I feel like i’ve entered a bad episode of the Simpsons where Grandpa Simpson is writing one angry letter after another.
    Ron — you are aware that challenging ballot arguments is par for the course when it comes to initiatives. I wouldn’t take it so personally unless of course you want to so that you appear more (fake) outraged then ever.
    But I digress, the Solar 8 fight on!

  13. meterman says:

    This is an unfair frivolous lawsuit against the solar eight. Enough is enough it’s now time to call in the Calvary by way of contacting the U.S. Justice Department.
    Refuse to be abused by the evil three Tony V, H. David Nahai, and Brian D’arcy.
    Once again Brain D’arcy wins the great manipulator of the year award for 2008 by coming up with this fraudulent solar plan. That’s two years in a row. He won 2007 manipulator of the year award for his infamous DWP employee’s salary contract.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-68 (1994)

  15. anonymous says:

    What a freakin’ shame that startup, independent, entrepenurial companies do not get in on this. Shame, shame, shame. UnAmerican. Repressive. Garbage. I am ashamed. It makes me wanna cry. Godammit, I paid attention in Social Studies. If they want to be socialist- fine, but why does this feel more like Fascism?

  16. Mighty Mouse says:

    Mr. Garcetti;
    Nuking the desert at just the right altitude will produce all the silicon we need for solar power.

  17. Anonymous says:

    we will be slaughtered in the streets like in mexico if we do not move swiftly. This street mafia punk is not going to go away on his own he needs alot of help

  18. Anonymous says:

    I heard Mitchell is a higg-priced, high-powered consultant — but NOT a lobbyist.

  19. spiffy says:

    Ron, I smell a rat. That rat is called Rushing It Through. Rushing any bill through or bill onto a ballot always smells ratish to me.
    Why? Why do they want to do this to the people of L.A.? You say it’s corruption alone and the DWP rushing to create a monopoly for themselves, but doesn’t it have to be deeper than that? I mean there has to be some kind of huge ego thing going on here too—some lack of parental love in childhood that makes these guys and gals want to hold on to wealth and power like a baby hanging on to his or her blankie.
    I dunno. I have decided I don’t understand people like this. I don’t understand them. I wish I had some helpful words to give you but I cannot help with those I do not comprehend.
    I’m all for solar power but not if one single entity is going to own and control it all. Isn’t that basically what we have in the oil companies now? Lots of price setting and baloney designed to rip-off consumers?
    God Bless America. She’s going to need it!

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