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We Beat City Hall — We Can Change LA Working Together, Yes We Can

The Highway Patrolman’s red lights were flashing as I stood outside my car just across the border into Arizona Thursday night waiting for him to write the ticket when I heard the “tweet” alert.

I reached for the cell phone in my pocket, slowly, and told him I was waiting for an important message. He stiffened but I went ahead and looked: “We won, Measure B Lost.” It didn’t mean a thing to him.

By the time I got to Phoenix, I realized this was a dream come true. David beat Goliath. The People beat the Machine. Business, labor and the community came together and showed Antonio Villaraigosa he’s living in a political fantasy world believing he can get away with pandering to special interests and smiling his way out of the failure of his policies.

This wasn’t an election about solar energy. We all want clean energy instead of the dirtiest power plants in America. We all want clean air instead of the dirtiest air in America.

It was an election about back room deals, about the DWP monopoly and whether it serves the public interest or private interests, about the IBEW and whether it has abused its power for the last time.

It was an election about the failure of City Hall and the demand of a broad coalition for open, inclusive and democratic processes on solar energy and billboards and budgets and everything else City Hall does.

The mayor and City Council can follow the lead of the IBEW’s Brian D’Arcy and the DWP’s David Nahai and ignore the will of the people. They can pay lip service and say they “heard” the people. Or they can change course and embrace the changes that are coming with — or without — them.

No, this wasn’t an election about solar energy.

The majority of LA voters repudiated City Hall itself and the way it has worked for far too long.

This is a mandate for change. The mayor could seize the day. Anyone on the council could step forward. Dozens of prominent and important people could see the momentum and step forward.

I hope he does and they do. But my belief is the future hopes for a prosperous and liveable city will rest on somebody who comes out of a new generation of leadership, someone who isn’t tied to the politics of the past, who puts the greater good of the city and its people ahead of the interests of the few.

The task at hand for all those who want to be part of something greater than themselves is to demand the kind of processes that bring us together instead of keeping us apart, to demand policies that serve the public interest, not the special interests, to elect the people who see themselves as public servants, not officials elected to high office who serve themselves.

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15 Responses to We Beat City Hall — We Can Change LA Working Together, Yes We Can

  1. Chris Rowe says:

    Ron, I sent you an email at 9:36 PM. We did not expect the count to be done that early.
    The one that is so special – and probably does not know is Soledad. Soledad is far away from Tweet and computers.
    I had wondered if just like after election day that there would be a coalition at City Council tomorrow. If you are out of State, and Soledad is away, many of our “Solar 8″ are not here for a presence in City Hall.
    What I feel is this – we keep saying that we want to be at the table – we get our 2 minutes at City Council. And we might get our 2 minutes at the “Energy and Environment Committee”.
    And we might even get more than 2 minutes with David Nahai. But have you ever noticed – we can go in with really specific questions in our minds, and we leave with none of them answered.
    The problem with the public comment process whether at City Hall or at any other meetings is that is our time to speak – but we are not usually responded to. And that has to change.
    Whether we write to an official, email them, or speak on the public record – we should get a reponse back from at least our own City Councilman, the Mayor, or what ever City, State, or federal official we address.
    It is only when we demand a response that we will know if our emails and letters are even seen by anyone.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic, Ron! Now it’s official. What a victory for everyone who wised up and got cracking. Bravo!

  3. anonymous says:

    The proponents biggest mistake: taking you guys to court over the ballot argmuments, creating the Solar 8. Really stupid unnecesary arrogance. Who the hell thought dumbass Truiilljo could run a citywide campaign? He fucked up a sure thing by treating it as a sure thing. If he got paid, he was stealing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was impressed on how the president on his visit to Southern California got to see how a utility company is working hard on our future. Ooops, it was not DWP, sorry Villar that is your pay for being a poor leader to this great city!

  5. Amy Alkon says:

    Ron, this would never have been defeated but for your efforts. Thank you, from me, and on behalf of all the people in this city who would thank you if only they knew what you did.

  6. anonymous says:

    Congrats on the win Ron and all who fought to defeat this. The scary thing is we won just by the hair on our chinny chin chins. Don’t think they won’t come back for another go. In other words, the fight ain’t over. It may have only begun.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ron, your leadership and courage have awakened the silent majority. Lead on.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You’re all pretty pompous for a group that barely, barely won.
    Fine job Trujillo. I don’t know how they can ask why you would be doing a city-wide campaign since you nearly kicked their collective, silent majority asses. The poster must be some old nemesis of yours.
    If Ron is leading, he should have taught the first poster, Chris Rowe, that the talks that he wants to be in on, have already started.
    He’s talking about maybe getting 2 minutes in Committee? If you don’t win in Committee – you don’t win.
    Learn how the system works if you’re going to fight it. Otherwise you just look like those dumb ole valley white guys fightin’ the system, gol’dern it cuz you ain’t payin’ no extra taxes for no new fangled energy crap especially on account of their ain’t no such thing as global warming. Them thar tree huggers made that sheet up.

  9. Chris Rowe says:

    By Anonymous on March 21, 2009 1:25 AM
    “If Ron is leading, he should have taught the first poster, Chris Rowe, that the talks that he wants to be in on, have already started.”
    It is cowardly to be anonymous – which is why I usually am not. Try saying that so everyone can see you.
    We are very aware that the discussions about solar have been going on for years – and they are just that – discussions – they haven’t been able to pull off a decent solar plan.
    Take a look at the Top 25 cities for solar in the United States – Los Angeles is not one of them.
    Just maybe if they had scientists and engineers running the LADWP instead of lawyers, we would know what the LADWP is capable of doing.
    It appears that the appointments to the LADWP Commission are “Good Job Brownie” appointments.
    The only commissioner that I know of that had any credentials was Nich Patsaouras. Now that he is left, the Commission will just rubber stamp anything that the Mayor wants.
    We need scientists and engineers to go before the “Energy and Environment Committee” and tell us what is feasible and affordable.
    The LADWP is asking for help from NASA / JPL.
    Why don’t those energy specialists give us a feasibility study?
    And when I ask David Nahai for energy audits – he says that they do them all of the time. So let’s see them – tell us how we can conserve our energy before we implement the solar plans.

  10. Anonymous says:

    From the insomniac posting at 1:25 am: “Fine job Trujillo. I don’t know how they can ask why you would be doing a city-wide campaign since you nearly kicked their collective, silent majority asses.”
    Fine job? Good God, he lost! And he lost to a unorganized gang of nobody’s with no money. Next time, maybe he’ll tuck in his shirt when he addresses “their collective, silent majority asses.”
    Someday analysts will write that Antonio’s gubernatorial aspirations were killed when that angry rabble beat his sophisticated, well-funded machine with nothing more than a blog and a bunch of appearances at lightly attended forums.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Don’t expect any change from our CLUELESS Mayor. Los Angeles has a mayor who does not care about good policy making. In fact, he does not ask for information to make policy decisions from his staff and department heads. Each and every decision is driven solely by the question” “What’s in this for my political future?”
    Antonio Villaraigosa = Tammany Hall of the 21st Century.
    When you are too busy selling out your wife, your kids, your family, your friends, your supporters, your employees, your constituents, and your future generations of Angelinos, why would you spend more than 11% of your time actually meeting with department heads or conducting the real business of this City?
    The next step is to begin a recall of the Mayor. The loss of Measure B shows to viable mayoral candidates that Villaraigosa is very vulnerable. It does not even take much money to out gun his slick little mailers and fake television commercials because the far more powerful network of Internet communications is capable of getting to voters like NEVER BEFORE.
    Let’s start the recall and find ourselves a real mayor instead of this lame excuse of a human being.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Really rewarding to read the above comments from
    the “ragtags” that just found out that we won!!!
    The “incrowd” just lost their credibility. And, we have only just begun. You are an excellent leader, Ron, you let us talk with each other until we were informed where the issues are and
    then left it up to us to get out the vote.
    Thanks a million, as they say in showbiz. TH

  13. Anonymous says:

    Really rewarding to read the above comments from
    the “ragtags” that just found out that we won!!!
    The “incrowd” just lost their credibility. And, we have only just begun. You are an excellent leader, Ron, you let us talk with each other until we were informed where the issues are and
    then left it up to us to get out the vote.
    Thanks a million, as they say in showbiz. TH

  14. Anonymous says:

    We need to start looking for viable replacement for Villar contenders NOW! This is how the silent majority will prevail.
    Do not wait for the last minute!
    Should Not be from the status quo of electeds.
    If a recall succeeds, is there another election? Or does the Council President take over? Not a good choice either.

  15. sheila says:

    Congrats to all who fought so hard. I was heartened to see Mr. Humphreville finally get feed in tariffs into the press today (thanks!) but sadly, David Z didn’t fully understand what they are – a democratic REVOLUTION for ratepayers who want to be the power generators and be paid for doing the right thing. Everyone here should read this article:
    http://tinyurl.com/9tvw7u
    Unfortunately, one guy is trying to hog all the FITs in Gainesville, but 90% of the successful programs have individuals and businesses installing solar – often oversized – on their own roofs and being paid for feeding clean, stable power into the grid. Imagine, our ratepayer-owned utility would actually have to start acting as though we own it, instead of perpetuating their mercenary imperialism out outlying communities (the latest being Joshua Tree, which they are trying to totally destroy with unneeded power plants and power lines), and their rapacious pricing and supply manipulations (by owning all the solar panels instead of us owning them).
    Feasibility studies have already been done for both San Diego and the entire US. 190% of our energy needs can be met just by installing super-cheap thin film within urban load centers on existing rooftops and in brownfields within cities. there is no question that LA could be a net exporter of solar power – from our own roofs, and that it would be MUCH cheaper than building unneeded, expensive remote power plants and powerlines.
    san diego: http://www.renewablesg.org/
    US: http://tinyurl.com/chdevb
    What LA needs is full funding of the AB 811 loan program which provides 100% of the financing for major efficiency improvements and solar panels, so that WE can all afford to get our homes and businesses in position. Then we need a fair per-kwH payment (35 to 50 cents) for power we feed into the grid. Property values shoot up, strapped residents get cash flow, clean power is immediately ramped up at very, very little cost to non-generating ratepayers (far less than DWP’s horrible plans), many more jobs are created, and our beautiful open spaces are saved.
    AB 811 and FITs are a slam dunk for all of CA, and especially LA – you really need to push for this since the Big Enviros have sold you out to Big Energy and Big Energy has bought our politicians off. Press is our best weapon – once people know their options, success is inevitable!

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