Poor David Freeman, here he is rich enough to enjoy a luxurious retirement at the ripe old age of 83, and renowned enough to bask in the glow of his achievements.
Yet he’s taken on the dirtiest job in town as general manager of the Department of Water and Power at a time when the nation’s largest municipal utility is under siege from all directions.
And he’s off to a terrible start that calls into question his ability to do the job even on the six-month interim basis he says he is committed to serve.
He stood up the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council for a scheduled appearance one night, perhaps because he couldn’t catch a ride since he doesn’t drive. Then, he got stood down by the City Council over proposed water rate increases and pressure for an independent Ratepayer Advocate’s Office.
It is only going to get worse.
DWP has suffered serious damage to its credibility due to its near
total lack of transparency, failure to develop a successful green
energy program and the flurry of water main blowouts and power outages
due to its failure to invest in upgrading its aging infrastructure.
management is in disarray from the confusion caused by an endless
series of leadership changes even as virtually every decision has
become politicized by the mayor’s ambition and union boss Brian
The department’s No. 2, the always controversial
COO Raman Raj, is pushing for appointment as acting interim general
manager on the assumption Freeman will be away often enough for him to
get the service credit he needs to spike his pension at a higher level.
There’s little time bombs like the contract coming before the Board of Commissioners to pay Conservation Strategy Group
$1 million to lobby in Sacramento against a measure to cap carbon
emissions — a policy effort that contradicts the mayor’s commitment to
green energy but is necessary because DWP is so heavily reliant on
dirty coal for electricity.
And big time bombs like the raises
D’Arcy is getting this month for the 95 percent of DWP staff and
managers he represents — raises that come in the face of deflation of
nearly 2 percent, the deferral of raises by other city workers and DWP
demands for rate increases.
The public is angry and the City
Council is worried. They stalled on water rate hikes Wednesday, they
back away from lifting the cap on renewable energy and fuel surcharges
last month and they are talking up the need for an Inspector General or
With his love of the good life, you have to
wonder what compels Freeman to take on this task. It does pay $6,300 a
week plus expenses which is helpful, to be sure, and it does give him
the chance to pontificate about his unrealized vision for an energy
future without nuclear, coal gas generated electricity.
things are going to get a lot worse and fast. And Freeman will soon be
wishing he wrote another book, a fantasy memoir perhaps, called “How I
Dreamed I Saved the World from Global Warming.”