It’s been a busy weekend for the out-of-touch mayor and his team of second raters.
First, he floats the crazy idea that the discredited David Freeman will step down as “interim” general manager of the DWP having caused enough damage during his six-month reign.
His replacement on an “interim” basis likely will be “jobs czar” Austin Beutner, fresh from his triumph of putting together a $5.7 million package of subsidies to lure a garment maker to move his 30 worker factory from South Gate to South LA. That works out to nearly $200,000 per “living wage” $10 an hour job.
Whoopee! What could be more exciting and stimulating of the economy than yet another sweatshop in LA.
Then, after twisting a variety of City Council arms for support over the weekend, the mayor called an 11 a.m. press conference for Monday to announce he’s backing Richard Alarcon’s 13-point proposal as a “compromise” so he can get the 6 percent rate hike approved now and the other 20 to 30 percent in hikes in a few months. Alarcon couldn’t even get a second for his proposal at Friday’s Council meeting where the mayor’s own plan was rejected 13-1.
That’s really no different than what the DWP Commission approved, only to see it rejected by the Council on Friday in the face of a firestorm of public criticism.
Alarcon, the mayor’s only backer on this, added his own twists by suggesting the so-called carbon surcharge trust fund be used the first year to subsidize “energy efficiency
programs for Los Angeles-based employers most severely affected by the
He also wants “a hardship exemption program to alleviate rate
impact for commercial and residential customers most severely affected
by the rate increases” and “an economic development strategy…to maximize creation of local public and
So there you have it, the grand scheme developed in panic to send electricity rates soaring to subsidize the poor and poorly run businesses and to create living wage jobs. It’s right up Beutner’s alley from what we’ve seen so far.
It’s what the plan was when they brought the wealthy Beutner aboard: To turn the DWP into an economic development engine by taking money from residents and businesses to “buy” jobs.
Green energy is a cover story to please environmentalists and to profit the greenwashers and insiders who will no doubt benefit handsomely from their connections.
This is a complete corruption of the DWP’s mission as a publicly-owned utility providing water and power. It is not a fund to subsidize economic development, for transferring wealth from one group to another.
Spinning madly in his desperation, the mayor put out this statement overnight:
“We heard our residential and the business communities loud and
Alarcon’s compromise plan for a small, one-time rate
increase maintains our commitment to clean energy and
green jobs while mandating reforms to protect our ratepayers. It is a
strong first step and a reasonable middle ground which I will urge the Board
of Water and Power Commissioners to adopt if approved by the City Council.”
It’s actually the same .8 cent increase that was previously approved as part of a series of quarterly increases of similar amounts that will double and triple rates before you know it.
The truth is the mayor has lost all credibility. The DWP and its commission have lost all trust. And if the Council goes along with this charade, the circle of failure and deceit will be complete.
The DWP does not have financial problems. It has more than half a billion dollars sitting in the bank untouched for years.
There is no justification for any rate hike until there is a clear and coherent plan with specifics on the table on how it intends to go forward, until all costs are broken down clearly and transparently and subject to full public debate, until there is a credible management team put into place, until the commission is reconstituted to provide independence and genuine public participation, until a Rate Payer Advocate’s Office is created totally independent of all political control.
Those are just a few of the conditions that have to be met before we talk about how we actually achieve cleaner energy at a price residents and businesses can afford and ensure that we get value for our money.