made last Tuesday and hardly anybody noticed, which was City Hall’s goal.
Having fiddled the last three years while a couple of hundred thousand people lost their jobs and city treasury fell deep in the red, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in his desperation has begged, borrowed and stolen every cent he can to keep LA out of bankruptcy.
All to no avail.
So now he and his DWP front man David Freeman have developed a new scheme to transform the nation’s largest municipal utility into a redevelopment and economic recovery agency and economic engine that will provide subsidies, reduced water and power rates and even land giveaways to developers and businesses that will expand or locate in LA.
The mayor’s obedient appointees to the DWP Commission jumped aboard the program and gave blanket approval to Freeman, who, despite his abundance of hot air and disjointed memories of the long lost past, could offer no details.
They acted even as a Grand Jury in Sacramento was finalizing a scathing report that found the local utility in the state capital violated the law with a similar scheme and other abuses of ratepayer money.
They acted even as they were awarding millions of dollars in back pay for a long as two years to DWP managers and certain other classes of employees as well as giving them commitments to even more money this year and the next few years.
They acted even as they were killing nearly $1 billion in badly-needed infrastructure investments in the water and power systems and renewable energy resources.
Those cuts were needed to soften the blow to ratepayers this year while continuing their efforts to come up with a way to double and triple rates in future years without the troublesome need of public involvement or even City Council approval. The vehicle for that is the ECAF, the Energy Cost Adjustment Factor, which has been expanded to include numerous categories of expenses beyond just the temporary fluctuations in fuel and water costs.