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Fire These Men or Not One Cent More for DWP

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David Freeman and Raman Raj — agents of the IBEW far more than public servants — were fired once before from top jobs at the Department of Water and Power and must be fired again before the City Council gives them even one cent in rate increases.

They have both been accused of lying and deceit this week by Tony Cardenas, who has suddenly emerged as the City Council’s lone voice standing up for the public interest with penetrating questions and passionate statements of principle.

Both Freeman and Raj were put into the No.1 and No. 2 jobs at the DWP by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — a failed leader who has engineered spectacular raises for already overpaid IBEW members under contracts that run from 2005 to 2014.

Like the mayor, they have now engaged in a naked attempt to blackmail the City Council into approving electricity rate hikes of more than 20 percent this year with blank checks to double and triple rates in the following few years.

Like the mayor, they have threatened to withhold $73 million in “surplus” revenue transfers to the general fund by manufacturing a financial crisis at the DWP that its own consultants have testified is not in “financial distress” and only needs a small increase to avoid a credit rating downgrade.

As Jan Perry takes up the rate hike demand today in committee, she should make it clear that lying will not be tolerated and blackmail will not be paid.

Freeman and Raj must go or there’s no deal. Anything less will inflame this issue and show to the city that the Council’s taking jurisdiction over this 800 percent quarterly increase in the catchall Energy Cost Adjustment Factor is just a pretense, a delaying tactic before the Council goes along with the full rate hike by summer.

Freeman brought Raj aboard because he was an IBEW ally when  Richard Riordan was mayor.
When Riordan figured out who Freeman really was, he fired him.

Not long after Raj was fired too after the DWP.”spent $3.3 million settling employee accusations that the utility had condoned racial discrimination — and interfered in efforts to investigate those complaints,” according to the LA TImes.

“The allegations prompted the DWP to hire an outside law firm, which concluded that one high-level official, then-Assistant General Manager Raman Raj, had shielded union employees from disciplinary action and discouraged employee complaints. The firm recommended that he leave for the good of the agency.”

Two years ago, Villaraigosa, at the behest of IBEW union boss Brian D’Arcy,  made it a condition of appointing David Nahai as General Manager that he bring back Raj as Chief Operating Officer at a salary of $247,000.

Several months later, after approving rate hikes of 25 percent, the DWP Commission awarded Raj with an extra $152,000 toward his pension even as questions were being raised about the utility’s contracting with a former client of Raj’s.

These two men have compromised the integrity of other DWP managers with their machinations and deceits and destroyed whatever trust the public has in the city’s utility.

Council members now in these troubled times must decide whether they are the side of the residents and businesses of LA or on the side of the profiteers at the public expense.

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9 Responses to Fire These Men or Not One Cent More for DWP

  1. Anonymous says:

    all this is coming from the mayor office ,is the mayor mad there has to be , the mayor dont give a dam what we think he whants this scam rate increse from ladwp at any cost, los angeles have lots to loose if this rate increse is putt in place we will lose {jobs}{ companys} moving out of los angeles even lest taxes colleted by los angeles evry thing goin up in price to make up for the rate increse.
    thats why my belive is there is somthing bery wrong on the health of the mayor
    he just does not make sence or is it the mayor is so ignorat to let los angeles go to hell or he does not care.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Amen, let the truth and nothing but the truth come out.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This blog is so bipolar. Just a few months ago, it was smearing the council and in particular Jan Perry. Now they’re our last resort against the evil DWP.
    a failed leader who has engineered spectacular raises for already overpaid IBEW members that run from 2005 to 2014.
    In case anyone forgot how LA city government works, it’s the council and not the mayor that approved these raises and they did so unanimously.
    And firing Raj and Freeman still doesn’t fix the wider underlying problem of greening the energy portfolio enough to avoid State RPS penalties. You ratepayers need to understand that even if this rate hike is avoided, if the council and DWP fail to put together a plan to fund the incorporation of enough green energy into the portfolio, you guys will be hit with an even larger rate hike in a few years because of State law.
    The best fix would be to deny the transfer of any funds above the utility tax into the General fund and use that money for the surcharge. But since the city is broke, that is not going to happen. So what do you think the council is going to do?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why is the LA City Website screwed up again???

  5. Anonymous says:

    The most recent LA Weekly notes that the City’s Channel 35 has laid off several employees:
    http://www.laweekly.com/2010-03-25/news/bleak-house-at-l-a-cityview-35/
    These layoffs negatively affect the useful information Channel 35 is able to provide to City residents.
    The Information Technology Agency (ITA) is responsible for operating Channel 35.
    However, while capable employees at Channel 35 are laid off, ITA still sees fit to pay Willliam Imperial over $100,000 annually.
    During 2002 03, the City=s Information Technology Agency (ITA) argued to the City Council that ITA needed an additional Temporary Telecommunications Regulatory Officer (TRO) position to help ITA complete cable television franchise renewal negotiations.
    ITA then proceeded to hire two TROs who had no cable television regulatory work experience. The Temporary TRO hire, William Imperial, was noteworthy for having resigned from the California Bar after having been repeatedly disciplined by the California Bar. See:
    http://members.calbar.ca.gov/search/member_detail.aspx?x=98400
    Not surprisingly, ITA failed to complete cable television franchise renewal negotiations, thus wasting thousands of hours of City employee time and hundreds of thousands of City dollars, if not more.
    One of the above two TRO hires (Richard Benbow) resigned from City employment and now works for Time Warner Cable.
    Mr. Imperial, the “temporary” hire is still at the City, collecting over $100,000 a year in salary plus City benefits.
    Does ITA have a justifiable reason for continuing to employ Mr. Imperial?
    Not once, during his tenure at the City, has the City ever imposed monetary penalties against a cable television company for a violation of the City’s video/cable customer service standards.
    Cable television franchise fee reviews are farmed out to private CPAs. The City doesn’t need to pay someone $100,000 to renew these contracts with outside CPAs.
    Mr. Imperial has done virtually nothing to put meaningful Public, Education, and Governmental Access programming on Time Warner’s Cable System. There is a bulletin board on one channel in the 90s and another potential channel lies fallow. Imperial is not significantly responsible for the programming on Channels 35 and 36.
    Why does the City continue wasting money on William Imperial?

  6. Anonymous says:

    @10:16 Folks know there is going to be a rate increase. However, the current crisis arose from the last minute and ham handed manner by which Villaraigosa’s staff managed the stage: 1st- it is for green! Then – it’s for the DWP Bond rating! Then -it’s to keep the City from going bankrupt! Now it’s for green! Again.
    The Mayor should scale back his renewable goals which are more aggressive than the State requires. In an economic downturn. Also.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Folks know there is going to be a rate increase
    Let me say it again: A RATE INCREASE IS NOT NECESSARY TO FUND THE GREEN POWER PLAN.
    The DWP is highly profitable and has plenty of money to pay for it — if the city stops hijacking those profits over to the general fund to hide its structural deficit.
    The DWP exists to serve its customers — not to generate excess profits to fund jobs programs or other initiatives in the city.
    End the transfers and balance the budget. Period.

  8. Anonymous says:

    11:46, I agree with the mayor’s 40% by 2020 goal being impractical and that any General Fund transfers beyond the utility tax are unnecessary.
    But I doubt the council will suddenly decide to forego General Fund transfers to let the utility pay for the carbon surcharge the right way. It’s the council and the mayor’s fiscal irresponsibility that put the city in a position where it is now reliant on the transfers to fund programs. The mayor knows this which is why he was trying to leverage it in his briefing by mentioning bankruptcy.
    The only way I could see an end to the transfers occurring is if the courts got involved – the same way they did when they declared transfers from the water fund to be illegal.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Phony Councilmembers like Rosendahl ONLY started going against DWP after community leaders started sending out emails against the hike.
    A far different reason to deny the increase than doing is because its the right thing to do.
    Hope Rosendahl does not run for Congress. My money will not be on him!

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