Momentum for opposition to Measure B — the phony solar energy measure on the March 3 ballot — keeps growing.
The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles’ board and several Neighborhood Councils including Sherman Oaks and Greater Wilshire came out in opposition to Measure B earlier in the week.
And on Thursday, the Valley Industry & Commerce Association’s Government Affairs Committee voted unanimously with three abstentions to oppose Measure B after hearing from Joseph Avila, right-hand man to DWP General Manager David Nahai and a Yes on B team led by campaign manager Mike Trujillo. I spoke for the “No” side.
Members of VICA, a long-time leader of the San Fernando Valley business community, questioned repeatedly why a ballot measure was needed when DWP could study, plan and implement a solar energy initiative through the normal process of public hearings, approval of the Board of Commissioners and the City Council if necessary.
The “Yes” team offered their usual answer — “the people own this public utility and we want them on board” — but that didn’t seem to satisfy anyone on the committee so the question kept coming up in different forms.
The real reason wasn’t explained at all, just as it wasn’t even mentioned in the three-page handout the “Yes” team distributed.
For the initiated, the solar component of Measure B is meaningless, a smokescreen to the real reason which is that this proposition is a radical change in the city government, politicizing the utility and giving the City Council by a majority vote the power to totally change at any time every aspect of what’s on the ballot.
I said the charter reform element is the real reason this is on the ballot since it gives City Hall a blank check and a license to steal and be able to claim that voters gave them the permission. It is well established that when the mayor and council get to control contracting we see nothing but sweetheart deals for contractors, consultants, unions and other special interests.
Jack Humphreville, Noel Weiss, me and others have talked to upwards of 1,000 people when they hear the truth about “B,” they all get it. This is not the way to initiate the nation’s largest solar energy program without real study and planning, without an honest debate, without making sure what the costs are in soaring rates and what the benefits are in terms of jobs.
The “Yes” team sued to gut the “No on B” ballot pamphlet argument, claiming it contained numerous “false and misleading” statements. They lost last week when Judge David Yaffe ruled there is so little substance to the solar element of the proposal that anyone could say just about anything about it — it’s all just speculation, he said..
“Who knows” what this plan will do, he said over and over. In fact, it is the “Yes” team that is making false and misleading statements. The City Council never discussed the charter reform element and the “Yes” team doesn’t either.
They claim it will create thousands of jobs and bring a solar industry to L.A. But when pressed, they have to admit no more than 400 DWP jobs at most would be created and the real job creation program is in China where the solar panels will be manufactured.
They even admitted Thursday that half a dozen solar manufacturing companies did set up operations in L..A. only to flee the city in the face of resistance to solar from the DWP and IBEW.
Once again, the truth is that DWP promised to have 100 megawatts of rooftop solar by next year but has achieved only 12 megawatts and most of that is on single family homes.
But why belabor the point.
In its first campaign finance report, the “Yes” team said it had raised $267,000 towards its multi-million campaign goal with $170,000 of that coming from the IBEW or its affiliated groups, according to the L.A. Times. That shouldn’t surprise anyone since this plan rewards the IBEW with a monopoly on solar jobs to get them to let the public have what everyone wants: Clean energy.
Other donations include $10,000 from state Controller John Chiang, $15,000 from Assemblyman John Perez (D-Los Angeles) the cousin of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and $20,000 from Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Sylmar.
Campaign consultants tell me that if the “No” side had $267,000 in total to fight this, we would win and force City Hall to come up with a real plan and an honest and open process on how we get clean energy at the lowest cost in the fastest time.
So join the campaign. Contribute to the cause of clean energy and clean government.