“Truthfulness (is) the highest virtue; this means the opposite of the cowardice of the “idealist” who flees from reality…” — Friedrich Nietzsche.
Sounding a lot like the German philosopher who believed God is dead and man as supermen must reign supreme, union boss Brian D’Arcy has suddenly emerged from the world of backroom dealings and stepped onto the public stage to assume his rightful place of power and prominence in the limelight of City Hall.
It’s been a long time coming.
D’Arcy, head of IBEW Local 18, has reigned supreme at the Department of Water and Power for years. He is armed with sweetheart contracts that give him more power than the utility’s general manager and so much money from his 8,000 members that he could spend $1 million in the recent primary to elect Wendy Greuel as City Controller and back his self-serving Measure B solar plan — a power grab that was beaten by the lowly mortals who call themselves community activists.
The newly visible union boss talks today with David Zahniser in the Times, heaping scorn on Neighborhood Councils as “dysfunction-palooza,” environmentalists as profiteers on clean energy and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s push for 20 percent renewable energy by next year as what sounds like the costly boondoggle it is.
” ‘Environmental leadership’ isn’t meeting some artificial deadline by
any means necessary,” he said. “Environmental leadership is actually
creating economic development while cleaning the air where you live,
putting people to work and linking the environment to it. That’s not
really what’s going on, if you ask me.”
D’Arcy — who fought every clean energy initiative proposed for the last decade and even warned they might bankrupt the DWP — suddenly reversed his ground 13 months ago when he announced his rooftop solar plan owned, installed and maintained by the utility.
It was a proposal largely put together in private discussions with various interests but not the DWP itself and made it on the ballot without going through Neighborhood Councils, the DWP Commission or any type of meaningful study, analysis or public discussion.
Although he spent heavily and campaigned publicly for Measure B, D’Arcy takes no responsibility for its defeat, and pointedly attacks DWP General Manager David Nahai, presumably hoping his close ally Raman Raj, the utility’s No. 2 man, will take over the top post.
“Even after the election, D’Arcy continues to speak out, using his dry
wit to skewer not only . . . Nahai, but
the utility’s efforts to secure solar power in the Mojave Desert and
geothermal energy in the Salton Sea,” Zahniser writes.
At times I found myself agreeing with D’Arcy and offer him faint praise as a political bully, saying: “Whatever D’Arcy wants, D’Arcy gets, and that’s because they’re so weak
and easily intimidated. I give him high ratings for doing
his job. I’d give them miserable ratings for not doing theirs.”: .
D’Arcy falsely accuses me of seeking to privatize the DWP like the mayor wants to do with the LA Zoo when the goal is to get the most clean energy at the lowest price in the shortest time.
In contrast, D’Arcy’s goal remains a monopoly on all energy-related jobs for his union no matter what it costs the public or how long it takes to end DWP’s reliance on the dirtiest coal-burning power plants in the country.
So he remains committed to using his clout to get his rooftop solar plan enacted despite voters’ rejection of it.
His position sets the stage for a showdown at City Hall that will reveal whether our officials have any political will at all or any respect for the public and whether the environmental leadership’s goal is clean energy or lucrative personal deals.