The City Hall political machine’s mouthpiece, attorney Stephen Kaufman, is dragging community activists who oppose Proposition B — the solar energy fraud measure — into court this morning to challenge most of their argument on the March 3 ballot.
Kaufman — who has long represented the mayor and boasts his clients include the City Attorney, a majority of the City Council, powerful city unions, numerous Democratic Party politicians, several insider institutions and Clear Channel billboards — filed a 15-page petition demanding opponents’ arguments be watered down and that they pay court costs and attorney fees.
He is representing Mitchell Schwartz, president of the League of Conservation Voters, one of the environmental groups that have signed on in support of Prop. B, which “which calls for unionized DWP workers to install solar panels on rooftops and parking lots across the city,”’ accordiing to the L.A. Times.
A copy of the petition was turned over Thursday afternoon to DWP
Committee activist Jack Humphreville, who wrote the “No on B” argument,
just hours before the Times published an article revealing that city
officials concealed a consultant’s highly critical study of the plan.
story by David Zahniser said an analysis by a city-hired consulting
firm “called the solar plan ‘extremely risky’ and considerably more
expensive than was being portrayed” by the DWP.
“Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller warned Garcetti that the solar
measure could result in ‘substantial increases’ to the electricity
bills of DWP customers,” Zahniser reported.
“Neither Miller nor Garcetti made those findings part of the public record.”In the mad rush to get the measure on the ballot, he couincil
unanimously approved Prop. B without knowing that information except
for a few like Wendy Greuel who “concluded that the DWP had answered
all the questions raised by it” Of course, the DWP never saw the report
so it’s hard to see how they answered all the questions. The public
never knew anything about it until now which made public hearings such
as they were a farce.
Nonetheless, Kaufman accuses those who
signed the opposition argument — a group that I’m proud to be part of
– of “false and misleading statements.”
complains about the statement that there were no public hearings on the
measure even though the public had no details about the plan or
knowledge of the consultant’s critical report when perfunctory hearings
He complains about statements alleging the DWP union,
the IBEW, will get all the work and it will cost the public hundreds of
millions of dollars when that’s exactly what he does. He was even
developed by an IBEW front group and bought into by City Hall because
the union funds their political campaigns.
It will be
interesting to see how Judge David Yaffe handles his arguments when the
city’s own argument for Prop. B contains such false and misleading
statements as the measure creates good jobs with good benefits without
mentioning they are all IBEW jobs.
Or that it protects
ratepayers and solar energy will turn out to be cheaper than fossil
fuel energy when it’s three times as expensive now — and the
consultant’s report says it could lead to a 12 percent increase in
Or that it will “save lives” in L.A. by
making the air cleaner when even if all the all the solar energy
envisioned by Prop. B were to come on line, it would just keep pace
with demand caused by the city’s densification efforts so there won’t
be less fossil fuel burned in L.A.
Or even the totally falso
claim that Prop. B will make L.A. a center for the solar energy
technology industry when the worst thing about it is that it will do
exactly the opposite — keep L.A. from being the capital of solar
energy innovation since the measure relies on silicon panels that will
almost entirely have to imported from other countries.
concede there’s political hyperbole on both sides of this but the far
more important question is the council didn’t have the facts, the
public didn’t have the facts and Garcetti deliberately hid the truth
from the public
In a Nov. 4 e-mail obtained by The Times, as reported by Zahniser, “Miller told Garcetti that he
entered into a ‘quick contract with a very reputable firm’ to study the
solar plan at Garcetti’s request.
“He offered to keep the analysis from
other council members even as he complained that DWP officials had
failed to do their own thorough analysis of the measure. ‘It concerns
me greatly that the department did not come forward with this
information themselves, Miller wrote. ‘It would have been as available
to them as it was to me.’
“Miller later concluded: ‘Since this
request came directly from you, I am not sharing this with
[Councilwoman] Wendy [Greuel] or the other members until you clear it.’
the start I called Prop. B a fraud and the evidence is now clear that
it is. The ballots aren’t printed or finalized. The council should come
back into session and withdraw it until a real plan is put in place
that achieves the clean energy we all want at the lowest cost with the
best technology and with a strategy to make L.A. the capital of the
soler energy industry.
Garcetti and Miller can play down this
report and claim the entirely phony and baseless DWP report
whitewashing the costs and problems with Prop. B is valid. But that
doesn’t make it true.
We don’t know the truth. The
environmentalists were sold a bill of goods and ought to take a hard
look at this and demand something that really moves us forward toward a
cleaner and healthier future.