“Who knows…Who knows…Who knows?”
Three times Thursday morning Judge David Yaffe asked that rhetorical question about Prop. B in rejecting all but one of the six “false and misleading” statements that City Hall Political Machine attorney and treasurer Stephen Kaufman alleged were in the ballot argument against the measure.
“What all this is going to result in is anybody’s guess,” Yaffe said, referring to the solar energy component of Prop. B as devoid of any definition of what policy will eventurally be carried out. “All this speculation…is fair game.”
The one point Kaufman scored in his attempt to intimidate the eight ordinary citizens who signed the “No on B” argument was the phrase: “no public hearings.”
In fact, during the three weeks it took the City Council to ram through Prop. B there were a couple of public hearings that even Kaufman — who represents the mayor, eight council members and a host of Democratic Party office holders and often doubles as their money man — concedes were “meaningless.”
Farcical might be more apt since critical information was kept secret from the council and the public and the measure kept changing in important ways right up to the council’s unanimous vote on something they didn’t understand.
The judge’s mind was made up in advance of the hearing and City Attorney candidate Noel Weiss — who came to the rescue of the Solar 8 when no other lawyer would — barely got a word in edgewise.
He thanked the judge for his “sensitivity to political argument” and accepted the deletion of the three words from the ballot argument happily.
No court costs or legal fees were assessed as Kaufman had sought as part of his effort to squelch public debate on what may be the worst, the most outrageous, proposal to ever come out of City Hall.
Prop. B, as the judge noted, does absolutely nothing to create a solar energy program for Los Angeles. It is no more meaningful than a council resolution against apartheid in South Africa or a call for peace in the Middle East.
It is nothing but a feel-good resolution for solar energy that virtually everyone supports wrapped around the complete destruction of the City Charter’s safeguards against politicizing the the Department of Water and Power and ultimately the harbor and airports where billions upon billions of dollars are spent on contractors, consultants, lobbyists, political operatives and sweetheart union contracts — the special interests that own our elected officials.
In other words, it strips away even the pretense of civilian oversight and subjects the bureaucracy to the whims of the politicians without any protection.
Quite simply, Prop. B is a license to steal.
Kaufman tried futilely to wave lies and red herrings in front of the judge and protect the IBEW, the DWP union that is getting 6 percent raises on top of its inflated salaries and benefits, from the accusation, that it along with the DWP represent a monopoly. He felt no need to mention the whole scheme was initiated by the IBEW _ after 10 years of opposition to clean energy — so the DWP would own all the solar installations and the union all the work, thus preserving the monopoly.
But Yaffe would have none of it, twice cutting Kaufman off:
“I was aware of everything you’re telling me when I wrote the order.
“You’re telling me stories that don’t appear in Prop. B.”