What could be an easier sell to the people than something everybody wants?
That’s what makes the growing opposition the City Hall’s solar energy fraud, Proposition B, so interesting. Who could be against getting clean energy from L.A. abundant sunshine instead of from coal-burning power plants belching noxious smoke?
No one, of course. So why is it that three Department of Water and Power officials and Prop. B campaign manager Mike Trujillo dissembled, deflected and deceived so much when faced with a barrage of hard questions Saturday at a meeting of the L.A. Neighborhood Council Coalition meeting?
Their problem — the problem with Prop. B. — is that it has got nothing to do with solar energy.
It’s about the public writing a blank check for City Hall for billions of dollars. It’s about paying off the DWP and its union, IBEW Local 18, for resisting the development of a solar energy industry and generation system in L.A. with all their political influence for the last quarter of a century.
They saw clean energy as a threat to their monopoly, their power, their jobs so all they allowed was one measly megawatt of solar energy in L.A. a year for the last 12 years. And now, with astonishing arrogance, they want to be bribed with what they claim is a $1.2 billion payoff — but could turn out to be two, three or four times that amount — to allow the city with the nation’s most polluted air to finally embrace solar energy.
Prop. B promises 400 megawatts of solar energy within five years or 80 times as much annually as we’ve been getting and the mayor claims he can even triple that with a still unspecified plan that goes beyond Prop. B.
None of this has been studied, planned, engineered, examined, scrutinized, debated or analyzed. Yet, the City Council agreed unanimously to this measure without even understanding it, without even having access to a highly critical consultant’s study that Council President Eric Garcetti kept secret until seven weeks after the measure was put on the ballot.
The DWP team was led by Aram Benyamin, the $233,000 a year head of power operations, who admitted the utility has failed to deliver on the public demand for solar energy, and by campaign manager Trujillo, a long-time political operative for the mayor, who did his best to frame the question as simply a referendum on whether the public supports or opposes solar energy.
That’s the Big Lie of this campaign.
Activists with the Saving L.A. Project along with LANCC members discussed for 90 minutes Saturday afternoon how the community can defeat Prop. B in what promises to be a multi-million dollar onslaught of false and misleading advertisements and mailers.
We will need money and volunteers and organization. So let me know if you want to help in any way. We’re setting up teams to handle strategy, media, organizing through the internet and on the ground.
I know it won’t be easy to overcome their power and money but if we don’t make a stand now, I’m not sure there will ever be a better time.
If they can get away with this fraud, they will be capable of getting away with anything. Putting $3.6 billion, probably far more than that, into a single pot totally under control of the council and mayor guarantees there will be massive corruption.
One way or another, they will steal big chunks of this money. There are no safeguards, no accountability. The public is excluded.
If you want clean energy, you got to have clean government. Vote No on Prop. B.
To be continued…