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Apathy, Defeatism and the Solar-At-Any-Price Argument for Appeasement

The heart of the argument I hear over and over from people who intend to vote for Measure B is the moral equivalent of those who believe in peace at any price.

“I know,” they say, “everything you say is true. The DWP is a disaster and has failed in its promises to deliver solar energy. City Hall is a bad joke of corruption and incompetence. Measure B won’t clean the air. It will cost too much. But we just got to have solar.”

That’s the heart of the solar-at-any-price argument. It’s based on a fundamental belief that there’s nothing we can about the failure of our city government, people are too apathetic, they have too much money from special interests. So if we got to appease them by giving the DWP a monopoly on solar energy, it’s worth the price.

Joel Kotkin, the insightful critic of L.A. urban affairs, captures the sense of that in a sweeping article entitled “The Decline of Los Angeles” now online at It’s subtitled: “From real estate to unemployment, the city has suffered under Antonio Villaraigosa. So why is he getting re-elected?”

Kotkin quotes real estate developer Rick Caruso, one of L.A.’s last private sector power brokers who pulled out of the mayoral race at the filing deadline, ascribes
Villaraigosa’s lack of significant opposition to a growing sense of powerlessness, even among the city’s most
important business leaders.

“People feel it’s kind of hopeless. It’s a dysfunctional city,”
Caruso said. “They don’t think there’s anything to do.”

Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who wavered in his support of Measure B and now has emerged as its spokesman, sounded a similar tone during the discussion he and I had Monday night on Which Way LA? with Warren Olney on KCRW.

Rosendahl promised to be the public’s watchdog to make sure DWP delivers on the long list of promises being made for solar energy and to make sure the billions of public dollars it will cost are spent wisely.

Frankly, I think we have a lot better chance of defeating Measure B at the polls next Tuesday than seeing the City Council stand up to the DWP or the mayor on anything let alone when there are billions of dollars to be ripped off. End the apathy and defeatism. Vote No on Measure B and help restore hope to LA.

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8 Responses to Apathy, Defeatism and the Solar-At-Any-Price Argument for Appeasement

  1. Anonymous says:

    That comment that if the DWP does not give us
    solar energy, we will not have it and it is bad for us and for our world really forgets one important attribute that private enterprise delivers and believe, private enterprise will
    find a way to give us this choice. They will
    be able to buy in quantity and there is a price
    saving there for solar energy. They will also
    be able to hire and train people and fit that
    into price structure. We will not have that
    kind of approach from the DWP because they don’t
    think that way. And as public servants, they don’t think that way either.

  2. In Eaqle Rock says:

    First, who said that this is the ONE AND ONLY opportunity for a Solar Energy Project to occur for Los Angeles? I don’t hear anyone saying “It’s now or our choice will be forever barred in the future.” Then why act that way.
    Informed decisions are the best ones and impulsive or uninformed types (“I heard that…,” and, “From what I know …”) are missing any secure basis to make a call.
    Measure B lacks as much information needed for a true informed decision as it has proponents with everything to gain. Too many “interested parties, to use the legal term, to trust their judgment, especially when big dollars AND power will go their way. They don’t even have any risk attached- that’s all going to the DWP consumers. How much sweeter can it be for them?
    Yeah, some real fatalists out there and that’s what the Measure B “interested parties” including the IBEW, and the Mayor with his City Council rely on to get over, WITHOUT a full airing out of the facts. “Just trust us,” is not enough for me to buy into this rigged game.
    Would people get on a plane for their vacation, board the plane, and then have the destination and costs decided IN FLIGHT? You just about have the same condition here, and it’s not going to be over in a few weeks as would be the case with the situation offered for illustration.
    The Idea Man, Bill Rosendahl is so much the wrong guy to handle any watchdog function. First, he’s a council member and can be voted out or recalled and so is not always going to be there. Besides, to stay in office, he’d throw the watchdogger advocates overboard if it meant staying employed.
    Next, his judgment rests on what foundation? The elephant exhibit fiasco showed his inconsistencies. The decision for Billy, the elephant, was to ship him out to a sancutuary to be with other elephants and we stop going forward on the $42 million (so far) project for his home here at the Zoo.
    Well, Bill changed his vote from NO as to project continuation, and that would send Billy out, to a vote of “YES.” It was all Bill’s style. First, the idea of keeping Billy in the best situation for Billy’s health seemed to rule, and the construction was still not complete anyway. But a finance person with the city went on to present a tale of obligated expenses from STARTING the project- it wouldn’t be all the $42 million, but still a few more from what already was spent.
    O.K., so all by itself, a significant matter. Then the impact on “JOBS” THAT WOULD BE LOST gets tossed up for the consequence of stopping the project.
    Now Bill is swayed, “Well if it means we’ll lose jobs then I’m changing my vote.”
    What happened to the “Billy’s best interests for health” that was pivotal to many advocates on both sides of the argument? For BILL, eff that, its “jobs” and so what if MORE money is thrown down if the work stops because we will stop the project and still cut our losses.
    Now with Bill (the council member, remember the elephant is “B-I-L-L-Y”), it’s like he’s now an dollars-and-cents man, and the magic word, “JOBS” was spoken. Billy’s welfare is now being completely overriden by finance, and finance not to the city but finance benefits to those “jobs” and, of course, they probably are UNION jobs, meaning VOTES for Bill.
    If Billy’s case was so heavily based on a moral question as many or all sides viewed it, how did money usurp that value to change the decision? Because it’s related to votes and special interests and you just can’t rely on people whose own jobs are swayed by all that.
    The jobs issue sounded good, and the entanglement’s additional costs per contract commitments that would have continued for a time should not have been bought at face value.
    The decsion should not have been made on that day with the fressh information tossed in that had not been shown before this meeting.
    Bill Rosendahl is FOR Measure B and his judgment and rationale are among the most fallible on the City Council. The track record in the recent example is very revealing as to Bill’s decision making process.
    The opportunity for a solar energy plan is still open and this last minute attempt to slide it by voters and to “trust” anyone in government is another exercise in the city council’s deceit. And THAT deceit is fact, not opinion, for anyone willing to think back to the past examples of city council sponsored ballot measures.
    Vote No and ask for a COMPLETE PLAN next time- with $, Dates, Names, and all INFORMATION that THIS PLAN IS MISSING

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ron, you still don’t get it. Caruso was partly right. People feel powerless and resigned. But, that’s not the most important thing. Most people really don’t believe the issue strongly concerns them. Most people are selfish. If it doesn’t strongly effect them, most people won’t lift a finger to help.
    And you rabid liberals are wrong about solar. Most people don’t have a compulsion to support solar. It’s only you libs who are rabid about solar.
    So, what’s the answer. It’s right before your eyes. You need star power to convince most plebs that the issue is important to them. You get a respected, very likable, and high-power celebrity/personality to tell people, “LOOK MORONS, YOUR TAX ARE GOING TO GO UP, UP, UP ASTRONOMICALLY IF YOU VOTE FOR PROP B SOLAR. VOTE AGAINST IT BECAUSE IT WILL STEAL MONEY FROM YOUR POCKET, DUMMY.
    and BTW, the high-power celebrity has got to also say, “Bill Rosendahl is a slimy liar”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Bill Rosendahl is simply wishy-washy, and maybe can’t even remember that he is. He’s the one who proposed increased parking meter rates as “gold in the gutter,” but when public reaction hit the fan, and Council hauled in the Transportation Dept. to blame them for inadequate outreach, he was right in on it.
    He was never a strong spokesman against billboards but now that’s it’s taken on momentum, he jumps to the head of the charge as though he hadn’t just leapt off the back of the caboose. (Like almost all his other colleagues on that one, couple of exceptions.)
    Same with Olympic-Pico plan. Like it or hate it, fact is he was there supporting the Mayor, Weiss and the Mayor of Beverly Hills and even did a proud photo op announcing it. Then some people showed up at a meeting he was in objecting, saying nothing new that he hadn’t heard, but he wanted to be liked by them and changed his mind.
    Same with Billy the Elephant: for the zoo, against the zoo, which way is the wind blowing?
    On this solar thing: for it, tepidly against it, now gung-ho for it again. Maybe because he’s realized very few have stayed the course against. It’s dangerous to always want to be “liked,” politics shouldn’t always be a popularity contest. But then again, the public is dumb enough that standing by your guns if you’re not agreeing with THEM is punished. This is what happens in a sound-bite political world.

  5. Voting in Council Races Too says:

    For those of you complaining about Rosendahl, there is an answer. He has a challenger. So spread the word about all the Council members who voted for this. For Rosendahl its CD-11. Look up the area and get out the vote. And that goes for the rest of the B-grade Councilmen and women.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I heard the guy opposing Rosendahl on Doug McIntyre today and unfortunately he couldn’t have been more lacking in personality and spark — even Doug seemed to think so. More of an “anyone but the incumbents” pitch and saying he’s a 33=year employee of the city doing some obscure job. Bill doesn’t deserve such an easy ride in a district as rich as that.

  7. anonymous says:

    February 24, 2009
    Bank With Bailout Boost Threw Lavish Bash
    A lot of people are still ticked off about the taxpayer bailout of financial companies – and here’s another reason – a bank that took more than $1 billion has just thrown a bunch of big parties, sparing no expense.
    The private party was lavish; the entertainment, top notch. Grammy winner, Sheryl Crow entertained while hundreds of bankers and clients dined on steak and salmon at The House of Blues on Los Angeles’s glitzy Sunset Strip. The Saturday soiree capped a week of partying.
    There was dinner at the Ritz while the band “Chicago” played and cocktails in Santa Monica. All were captured by celebrity Web site TMZ. And it was all paid for by Chicago-based Northern Trust Bank – three months after Northern Trust got $1.6 billion in taxpayer’s bailout money and laid off hundreds of workers.
    House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said they want to hobnob with some of the celebrities. That’s fine. I have nothing against hobnobbing, but not on tax payer dollars.
    Angelenos should ask Mayor Villaraigosa if he was hobnobbing with the celebrities at the Oscars on tax payer dollars.

  8. KK says:

    As I understand it, the broader question has been whether we can achieve the 20% renewables on private residences or on city buildings. The Sierra Club has concluded that 20% will not be achieved on private residences and that is why they are in support of this program.
    At the same time, PG & E have announced a 1.5 billion dollar program that will generate 500 (25% more megawatts) at the same cost as Measure B (Low estimate) at 32 cents a month as opposed to a dollar and is split equally between public utility ownershio and private sector. Perphaps, that is what an open discussion would have netted us.

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