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The Green Machine That Ate LA — DWP Goes Solar Without Sunlight

Time’s up for the DWP to lay out in detail with cost estimates, timetables and implementation strategy its proposal to make LA the greenest city in the nation.

Or at least the deadline would have arrived if voters had not risen up and defeated Measure B on March 3 — a defeat inflicted because it was a back room deal that amounted to a blank check for billions of dollars for the very people who had failed over and over to deliver on their promises to deliver solar energy to LA.

The only meaningful provision in Measure B was the requirement that the DWP come back in 90 days with a real plan to finally deliver on its promises to bring solar energy to LA.

The 90 days are up and there is no plan — at least no plan that has been brought forward for public debate, discussion and analysis.

But that hasn’t stopped the DWP from getting the blank check for billions it wants or moving ahead without public scrutiny on a green energy scheme that, based on past performance, will enrich its union, the IBEW, and the usual coterie of profiteers and power brokers without producing the clean power it promises.

Promises are cheap to the LA political machine. After the defeat of Measure B, there were promises to meet with community, business and labor to develop a solar energy plan that would win public support. No such discussions have taken place.

In the meantime, the DWP has moved forward to get approval for its Green Path North transmission line through fragile and unspoiled desert terrain near Joshua Tree although the I-10 corridor already provides a cheaper and faster way to move renewable energy to the city.

The mayor helps this along by filling a vacancy on thesayles.jpg DWP Commission with former Sempra Energy executive Tom Sayles who and was recently appointed USC’s vice president of government and community relations.

The public is demanding a ratepayer advocate to protect their interests and provide transparency and open discussion but what we get is a corporate lobbyist for energy companies.

His appointment does not suggest someone who will stand in the way of the DWP from getting a 4,000 percent increase in the “pass-through” rate hikes as it goes about buying renewable energy no matter what it costs while enriching contractors and consultants.

Just as with Measure B, environmental groups with their own economic and ideological interests are all aboard the DWP’s underground solar energy plans.

The problem with their holier-than-thou, old school political power play is that it leaves the public out and ultimately fails to achieve the stated goal of a cleaner environment.

Just because a Prius emits less pollution than the ’55 Chevy I dream of owning doesn’t mean it isn’t destroying the planet too. If you want less pollution, you need fewer and cleaner cars which means building a real public transportation system and making the streets safe for cyclists and pedestrians.

Just because solar installations are less polluting than coal-burning plants doesn’t mean you are cleaning the air when the dirty power plants are still operating and you are adding to electricity demand with over-development.

We need to use less water and power — not more cars even if they don’t pollute as much as old ones or more people even if you install rooftop solar panels.

Routinely approving more massive developments as the City Council did this week for Century City and the La Brea-Willoughby areas doesn’t reduce our consumption of water and power or ease traffic congestion.

The contradictions of boasting you’re making LA a green city when you’re actually making the environmental problems worse exposes the truth about what’s going on.

This isn’t a green machine but the same old greed machine.

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16 Responses to The Green Machine That Ate LA — DWP Goes Solar Without Sunlight

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ron, you just don’t get it. You restate the old government mantra, “lay out in detail with cost estimates, timetables and implementation strategy its proposal to make LA the greenest city in the nation.” WE DON’T NEED TO BE THE GREENEST CITY IN THE NATION. ONLY POLITICIANS WANT US TO BE THE GREENEST CITY IN THE NATION.
    What we need is practical solutions to save more water and energy. Some solutions are the use of greywater in the landscape to reduce tapwater usage. Promote carpooling on our freeways someday in electric vehicles, to reduce pollution. Promote solar panels on business premises, where people are located during the day, to reduce electricity from higher polluting energy sources.
    You restate the old government mantra, “If you want less pollution, you need fewer and cleaner cars which means building a real public transportation system and making the streets safe for cyclists and pedestrians.” You get less pollution NOW by heavily promoting CARPOOLING, especially on freeways during rush hour. Do you get it now? Allow only carpooling cars on freeways during rush hour, except for a single, regulated lane.
    You restate the old government mantra often because it is the political thing to do. Why give you more examples. Thinking and implementing “outside the box” means less control for our “socialistic state”, that which has gotten us into this mess. Look carefully at those simple solutions, described above, and you can’t say with a straight face that “the benefits aren’t better than what is currently proposed”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Anon 8:01 am
    The “mantra” you quote is from the DWP not from
    Ron, nor from the public.
    Way back in the sixties the Boy Scouts of America
    taught “Leave every place better than you found it”. I do not know when that started but I am sure that they are still teaching that. In fact,
    that is probably where the public support is coming from for the Green program. In fact, that is probably also from the Sierra Club.
    So that means adults everywhere except in the
    bureaucracy of the DWP are in agreement. It is not a new idea. And anything like that idea must have public support. The DWP is not honest about ITS motivation. Can’t you tell, all words and no action?
    My son is now 55. I was Den Mother,

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow,Ron, this is a very informative letter to us – the public, pointing out to us as well as our government officials why they are leaving the public out BECAUSE THEY ARE,
    The WHY is because they do not take the time to
    think about what they are doing. We are not going to be fooled any more. Prop R was an illegal and insulting measure. It succeeded only because people did not read the fine print. But the way that illegal document was a scam, the
    entire city council who voted to put it on the ballot should actually be doing time in jail. Why, they voted themselves an extra term of office which had not been supported by the electorate in the previous election.
    We have been entirely too trusting in our elected officials. They know less than we do. I say LET US RECALL OUR ENTIRE GOVERNMENT HERE IN LA AND HIRE A CITY MANAGER WHO WILL APPRAISE EVERY DEPARTMENT AND CLEAN UP THE MESS. We are paying a fortune for commissions, department heads, staffs, offices, councilmembers and mayor and are not getting our money’s worth. We can, within, our budget, hire an efficient crew to run our city, not like the federal post office, but like private companies who manage very well without a bureaucracy.
    If we cannot have a great city, then I support secession not only for the cities in the Valley who should really be running their own affairs and have their own school districts, but I would hope that all of the other cities united under the misnomer LOS ANGELES, secede as well.

  4. david r2b says:

    I dislike doing a re-post, but I feel it’s needed here. Anon 1049 TH, thank you for reminding folks about the 2007 Prop R. The Council wanted 12 years, not the Charter ordered 8. So they conned some group in writing the request so they could put it on the Ballot. The Council was afraid they would not get their 12 if “ONLY” term extension was in the Prop. AND don’t forget the Judges who approved it and said it was OK. However, it could go back to 8 years………..IF………see below:
    (Posted 2 Jun 09)
    It is time for all the different interests in the City to make contact and start discussing what’s right, what’s wrong and what needs to be changed in the City of Los Angeles. I’m been hearing many different concepts / desires on what needs to be addressed. The only problem is, we’re all in different rooms and that needs to be changed. We all need to meet in one room or one stadium or at one on-line column / blog.
    Eventually, and I’ve mentioned this before, a City Charter Convention…a C3, needs to be held. The center point should be the Neighborhood Councils, already by Charter the Citizens have been given an instrument to use to get things done. The only group that is opposed to NC’s is Spring Street. If the City Council and Mayor could make them disappear…..they would in an instant….15 Yeas. They do not want to have their fiefdoms loose any power or control. They want to be served rather than have to serve. In this last election, there was only one Council seat in which a possible change of “modus operandi” could occur: CD5, yet NOT ONE past or present Council Member gave their endorsement to the Candidate from the NC’s. Instead they gave their endorsements and walked the district to support a career politician who will not rock the boat. Actions speak louder than words and their actions were to maintain business as usual at City Hall: developers, special interests and my next government job, take president over Citizens. Citizens are only there to supply the “gold in the gutters” (tax & fee revenues).
    Here’s a prediction: soon there’ll be an election in CD 2 to replace a CM that has moved on. I’m sure there will be a candidate or two from the Neighborhood Councils and I’m also sure that a career politician will have rented an apartment in the district so they can run. MY PREDICTION: the career politician will get all endorsements from Spring Street; the NC candidate will get nada. The election will be held on the most un-opportune Tuesday they can find. Twelve % voter turnouts is good for City Hall, also check your polling places, they will all change or at least have some irregularities.
    A City Charter Convention…a C3…………after the CD 2 election, after I’ve been proved correct.

  5. Anonymous says:

    David, Why must we wait that long? We have a
    “winners” edge right now and we ought to take advantage of it. Ron, how do the rest feel about
    Davud’s suggestion. Can we use site
    for this kind of discussion?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Koretz, a recyled politician got elected. How did this happen. We need to understand this, so that same mistake does not happen in CD2.

  7. Anonymous says:

    5:35 – the answer is UNION backing. The union elected Koretz.

  8. Anonymous says:

    6.00. Are you saying that CD5 is filled with union people, and not enough thoughtful residents who want a quality life free of gridlock, overdevelopment and corruption. Still need to understand what went wrong so the mistakes are not repeated. Blaming everything on unions is too simplistic and a recipe for distarous repeats.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Anon 6:56
    Unions and Special Interest Groups equal lots of campaign money toward a candidate that is not always the most qualified candidate. This money makes a candidate viable which many uninformed voters vote for based on colorful pamphlets, 20 second sound bytes, 20 second TV ads, and the LACK OF FREEDOM OF THE PRESS COVERAGE.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Anon 6:56
    The FACT only 9% to 17% of eligible voters actually participate in our democracy.

  11. Billy Hays says:

    Thanks Ron
    This points up the amount of work everyday citizens have to do. We have to make people aware of these issues and we have to go to the commission meetings,Energy and Enviroment committee meetings and the City Council demanding a Rate Payers Advocate. We have to hld elected and appointed official accountable and bring the power of public pressure to bare. We can do this through NC’s, The.DWP Committee and grassroot action in our own communities by making our neighbors more aware of these problems and making them aware of the power we hold as voters in this city. We have to get the people educated and mad enough to say “We are mad as hell and we are not going to take it any more”.If our public officials are not going to take care of the citizens then it is incombent on us the activist to fill the voidm

  12. david r2b says:

    Anon 529:
    Thank you for your question. I talked about the CD 2 election as the final straw needed to prove to everyone that Spring Street will do anything “not” to give the Neighborhood Councils their just representation, as per Charter. To use Anon 535 quote: “another recycled politician” becoming the CM of CD 2.
    At a Candidates Forum in Westwood, prior to the CD 5 runoff, I heard the future apparent winner state: “I’m looking forward to being your Councilman for the next TWELVE YEARS.” (quote/unquote). Twelve years, do you know what that means? In the year twenty twenty-one (2021) we’ll be able to elect someone new. Thank you Prop R.
    Also and just as important is that NC’s need to get angry enough to address the problem. It is only my opinion, but a City Charter Convention….a C3 needs to be approached in the correct way. If it is approached the wrong way, it’ll be another 20 years before the opportunity can be tried again. This is a one-shot, so do it right. You know that the Mayor and City Council will be against it, the LA Times will not say a word to promote/inform Citizens about it, so it needs to be done legally and correct. And with some patience.
    It would be best to have a name or two to front lead, to maybe have an Assistant City Attorney available (thank you Nuch) to offer some general counsel, a friendly rep in the City Clerk’s Office for paperwork guidance, maybe a University Professor or two for some brainiack power and a designated C3 Rep from each of the almost ninety NC’s. These NC Reps would initially be the go betweens and assist in the accumulation/discussion of proposed changes, etc. Then finally, rent the Coliseum for an afternoon and have a real vote as to what changes to put on the Ballot. We’re also going to need some Buck$ (are you listening Mr. Caruso?).
    It just so happens I have ideas/opinions as to possible Charter changes:
    · City Elections to be held along with the State/National General Elections (this will save big money and prevent special interests from controlling the 12 % current voter turnouts.)
    · Rescind Proposition R (two eight year terms is enough in any Office, plus the fact that it was put on the Ballot in an unconstitutional format)
    · The Annual City Infrastructure Status Report, must be presented every year or the people at Public Works responsible are fired (I doubt the recently approved LaBrea/Willoughby/Gateway project could even be supported knowing the weak state and lack of our infrastructure capabilities in that area. That is why the Report has NEVER been released. Infrastructure is not glamorous, politicians can’t get re-elected by promoting it and special interests can’t make big profits from it.) (Keep going Lucille.)
    · At least one evening City Council Meeting a week. Preferably Wednesday night (not Friday) so working folks can attend and be part of the process and bring their families so they can also learn.
    · A Rate Payers Advocate position, nominated by the City Council and “only” approved by the NC’s. (This person would have oversight of all fee increases, proposed taxes and other “gold in the gutters” proposals)
    · A person running for City Office must have lived in that district for a minimum of two years.
    · No immediate or extended Family Members may be appointed to some City commission or board. (I don’t care that they are unemployed or even qualified, the opportunity for conflict of interest is too great)
    There are some ideas, anybody have any others? Enjoy your Weekend. Today is D Day……..Hug a Veteran !

  13. Anonymous says:

    Stay away from Caruso unless you want to jump from the frying pan into the fire. Scum developer. Losing his shirt on the Americana at Brand in Glendale. Dark windows all over the buildings there.
    And he puts ads for the Grove and Americana in local magazines that promote something called: “Caruso Style” What the hell is it? Plastic, fake, suburban nightmare, crap shopping centers with no real sense of community? Great. Yeah, let’s have more of that.
    Doesn’t anyone see the similarity? Antonio loves looking in the mirror. Caruso is the same thing with his self-promotion of “Caruso Style” but will give away the City to the developers.
    No way will we support this piece of crud.

  14. david r2b says:

    A City Charter Convention is going to cost some Buck$, wherever they come from. I personally don’t care who assists in writing some starter checks. Probably Mr. Caruso is the wrong source…but then who?
    I’m only a Plumber by trade and have spent a lot of time dealing with fecal material and I would never on purpose impose that stuff on anyone. But I’m only good for a hundred maybe two, but unless there are 10,000 of us, C3 won’t get off the ground.
    So now we have two lists going:
    · Who might be interested in supplying starter funding?
    · What subjects should the C3 address?
    Ideas anyone?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Anon 6:56
    “Unions and Special Interest Groups equal lots of campaign money toward a candidate that is not always the most qualified candidate. This money makes a candidate viable which many uninformed voters vote for based on colorful pamphlets, 20 second sound bytes, 20 second TV ads, and the LACK OF FREEDOM OF THE PRESS COVERAGE”.
    This is exactly the problem we have to overcome in all future elections. Union & other big moneys will always be there. More grassroots efforts will ne needed to convince the uniterested about the issues. Who is going to do that and how will that be done is the issue.

  16. Okay, I do not agree at a thing or two while the remaining seems sensible.

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