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.
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.
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
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