What? You don’t think dogs like rock ‘n roll?
As most of you know by know, Antonio offered DWP GM David Nahai a blindfold and cigarette last week and pointed him toward the firing squad.
But before anyone starts playing taps, Ron revealed Sunday that rather than shooting Nahai and putting him a body bag, the executioners – also known as the mayoral-appointed DWP Commission – plan to hand him a bag of money as a kiss goodbye.
That’s the way it works in The City of Angels.
“No hard feelings, David. You screwed up Measure B, raised rates, stubbornly stuck to a plan to lace the desert with high-voltage wires, over-watered your own massive lawn, failed to control the PR crisis of daily water main breaks and – most importantly — pissed off DWP union boss Brian D’Arcy, but we wish you well and would love you to be a consultant.”
Hey, he’s owed the money. Remember who appointed him in the first place. Although he wore great ties, he neither had the experience nor the temperament to run the DWP, without doubt the most screwed up, problem-plagued department in the city.
But instead of finding new blood to run the DWP, Antonio has chosen some of the oldest blood among his inner circle – former DWP GM David Freeman, who’s been killing time as a deputy mayor for environmental affairs waiting for the opening he’s coveted since Dick Riordan canned him.
“Meet the new boss; same as the old boss …”
Freeman, 83, who began working in the power industry in 1949 as an engineer for the Tennessee Valley Authority and has held a series of high-level utility jobs in the subsequent decades, ran the DWP from 1997-2001.
It wasn’t pretty. Riordan hates the guy. (http://articles.latimes.com/2001/dec/02/local/me-10703).
In case anybody forgets, Freeman, who has a love affair with the local media, flaunted LA’s abundance of power — when other parts of the state were dark. He hired Fleishman-Hillard for $5 million a year so he could work with his pal, former Deputy Mayor Steve Sugerman — then had the firm funnel nearly half the money to one of his chief deputies who wasted it on an unsuccessful green power program, which eventually drew Laura Chick’s ire.
And don’t think for a second these department heads are independent. The mayor’s office, and D’Arcy call the shots, when it comes to the DWP. (Just ask Nahai.) Remember, Freeman was the author – the author! – of Measure B and campaigned for the off-the-wall, union-driven plan alongside Nahai and D’Arcy.
The cowboy hat and corn pone shtick can be charming, but Freeman’s not the guy they want. They want somebody who can fool the people all the time, not make a fool of himself most of the time.