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The Madness of King Antonio: Sweatshops, Subsidies and Soaring DWP Rates

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
rate increases.”

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
private-sector jobs”

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
clear. Councilmember
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.

 

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31 Responses to The Madness of King Antonio: Sweatshops, Subsidies and Soaring DWP Rates

  1. anonymous says:

    Is there anything we can do (that’s legal) to stop them?

  2. Jack Humphreville says:

    There is no mention of breaking up the ECAF so that the Renewables, Demand Supply Management and Energy Efficiency programs are subject to review by the public and the City Council.
    That’s a deal breaker.

  3. Sandy Sand says:

    Ron gets a bit THANK YOUfor all his painstaking, detailed articles on this, and since he says it better than most of us can, I cut and paste his words into emails to my councilman, and highlight the salient points in bold and/or large type.
    I’m not sure it does any good, but it’s better than doing nothing! It’s also better than getting a stomach ache worrying about another unafordable rate hike.

  4. Walter Moore says:

    The irony — or is it poetic justice? — is that if anything sends Alarcon to jail, it will be his DWP bills. If he wasn’t living where he was supposed to be living, and if no one else was there either, it’ll show on his DWP bills.
    GREAT WORK, RON! KEEP IT UP!

  5. anonymous says:

    Who is this garment maker and why so much money towards this? Who gains what?

  6. Anonymous says:

    @6:07 Amen – without unbundling, there will be no true accountability.
    The Lock Box becomes a slush fund. Also.
    Seriously, did the majority of City Council jump on board?

  7. Anonymous says:

    The Mayor conducted serial conversations with the majority of the City Council over the weekend — was the agenda made public?

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Mayor conducted serial conversations with the majority of the City Council over the weekend — was the agenda made public?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Lee Alpert, have you been listening, reading, like today`s Times editorial? Time to do the right thing, as the leader of DWP.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Two socialists, Villaraigosa and Alarcon, on a path to destroy the City.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ron, J. Hahn looks better and better by the hour….Don`t you think?
    Antonio is the sleaziest of all.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Classic Antonio. Shenanigans, sleazy deals, and machinations behind closed doors, till the door opens and the lites shine on. Then all of a sudden, he becomes the champion of tranparency and openness, till the next deal.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Let’s wait and see who folds and goes with the corrupt Mayor. Alarcon has proven to be a liar by the DA. He’s a Mexican Mafia thug who has major anger management issues. You can tell small men like him the way he speaks to people. No class, uneducated, idiot who miraclously got into office. Who ever supports the Mayor start the dialogue now to get them out of office and never ever elect them again. Garcetti has been the biggest disappointment of all. I was fooled thinking he actually had some type of ethics being in the Navy however, he’s showed his sneaky, corrupt ways with the rest of them.

  14. Anonymous says:

    12:36, nice try trying to slip in a good word for “J Hahn” who no does NOT “look better and better by the hour.” She’s a babbling idiot as always.
    And let’s remember that she and Alarcon were the two most determined to shift workers scheduled for actual layoffs by Santana (who’s now out of their hair and in rehab, having been driven to drink by the stresses of his job no doubt) INTO DWP, the Ports, or LAX. And she’s jumping all over the idea of another parcel tax to make up for shortfalls in the General Fund. Still hasn’t given up on “her” parcel tax for gang programs she wants to run without a plan, other than “trust me,” I’ll put it to good use.
    Her biggest “accomplishment” remains allegedly finding Reggie the Alligator at a huge cost to the city and putting him into La Bonge’s zoo, so they can both claim he waves at them when they go visit. And she brought the marching band from Ischia, Italy to city hall once. But her constituents give her poor marks for doing much that counts when there’s no photo op involved.
    Guess you’re worried Newsom will beat her for Lt. Gov and she needs to look for a new gig that means trying to appeal to the local voters before her role in the budget meltdown hits the fan.
    Only thing I will say for her is that unlike some of her colleagues, including Kaye’s pets Krekorian and above all Carmen Trutanich (“I made more in the private sector and I’m not giving up a dime”) she did accept a pay cut and drives a modest car.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Meant Jimmy Hahn, not that loud mouth, saying nothing Janice.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Here is another good use of the Public Record Act, request from the CD7/2 Councilman Richard Alarcon, all records of energy usage at his homes in CD 2 and CD 7.
    Lets guess which home has the higher usage…
    Scott Johnson in CD 14.

  17. Anonymous says:

    A neighbor said Alarcon always had the lights on before the first break-in – didn’t even have a timer. So that usage might actually have been higher. Probably no water usage, though, with the homeless burglar living in the bathtub. Where he really spends most of his time doesn’t bother me as much as that he tried to redistrict this house when his wife was just his fiancee, which would have meant moving hundreds of other people whose well-being or preferences he didn’t care about.
    Anyway we know he’s a leftist hypocrite who likes the good life for himself. But playing populist while living high on the hog and refusing to take a cut in his pay doesn’t have to mean Democrat liberal – look at Carmen Trutanich. And Parks, with his half-million pension also refused to take any cut. Alarcon is just a distraction here from the main issues.

  18. Anonymous says:

    “Lee Alpert, have you been listening, reading, like today`s Times editorial? Time to do the right thing, as the leader of DWP.”
    Lee Alpert is not the leader of DWP…
    “Her biggest “accomplishment” remains allegedly finding Reggie the Alligator at a huge cost to the city and putting him into La Bonge’s zoo, so they can both claim he waves at them when they go visit. ”
    hahaha

  19. laub says:

    put tony in federal jail when city go bankrupt for corruptions & many other crimes he committed!

  20. Walter Moore says:

    Yes, by all means, let’s “compromise” by giving Villaraigosa the rate hike he wants right now.
    And “compromise,” means, of course, that he gets exactly what he wants.
    How about this instead, let’s “compromise” by rescinding the five-year pay raise the the DWP employees got in December?
    And let’s “compromise” by repealing the trash-collection “fee” that was supposed to pay for police, but did not.
    Let’s further “compromise” by reducing his staff from 200+ back to 50.

  21. Talk is Cheap says:

    Lots of talk about the problems you put in office by either not voting or being suckered into a yes vote for the evil empire known as city hall.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Walter Moore, didn’t you promise to move to France if you lost the mayor’s election? what the hell happened? Just a grumpy old fart. Go away already.

  23. Anonymous says:

    It`s going to be an entertaining circus tomorrow in the Council Chambers. The morons are going to try to outdo each other, as to who is going to propose the lowest rate. First, our Mayor this morning said “We heard our residents and the business community loud and clear”. Where the hell has he been or is he deaf? Well, may be he was busy with LU. He was joined by the thug, Alarcon, and the idiot, Hahn , proposing lower rates. And tonite pretty Eric is trying to outbid them. I am going early to get a seat, great fun and free.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Call 311 and ask to speak to all of the Councilmen, Ask Humpreville to post which hearings/meetings to attend (I think it is the Energy Committee followed by the City Council), call the LA Times and local TV news outlets – Shine the light very bright to stop this!
    Don’t accept anything less but a big fat NO!

  25. James says:

    Walter, please stay in Los Angeles as long as you can afford it. Your voice is even more appreciated since your predictions have come true.
    Don’t listen to Matt Szabo’s post of 7:15 PM.

  26. Anonymous says:

    WHen you have the 2 main newspapers putting out editorials stating there is something fishy about this DWP rate hike how in the hell can council vote for it? I read this morning now the Mayor is threatening that if the rate hike isn’t passed the city won’t get the $73 million transferred to general fund. Is this a threat that can be investigated? We need the FEDS to start investigating the corruption in city hall. There will be major grandstanding today. No doubt Mayor will bring in people for support who are all idiots and kiss butts. Let’s hope for once city council has the GUTTS to go against the Mayor and DWP. Walter, how can we get a public document to audit DWP???

  27. anonymous says:

    I’m a little confused about this transfer to the general fund process that has been occurring over the years. Isn’t the need to transfer funds the first red flag? Shouldn’t the moment funds were transferred be an indicator that changes were needed?

  28. Anonymous says:

    DWP transfer started before Riordan was Mayor. Does anyone know history?

  29. Anonymous says:

    I thought I read an article last year where it stated tranferring these type of funds was against the law. I”ll research that article.

  30. Astonished says:

    I stood before the Energy Committee last Thursday when they were discussing these very hikes. The representatives from DWP were so poorly prepared it sickened me. That means they were convinced of their success!
    I told the committee that my family is sure to lose everthing if they approved the rates, as DWP wanted them;therefore, I would NOT be paying any new rate hikes. PERIOD.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I thought I read an article last year where it stated tranferring these type of funds was against the law. I’ll research that article.
    Transferring from the water fund = declared illegal by the courts and that’s what you read about
    Utility tax = perfectly legal and normal at any municipal utility.
    Transferring from the power fund = legal at the moment. If a taxpayer’s association wants to sue DWP, who knows what’ll happen though.
    Note that both transferring from the water and power fund were found to be OK by the State Auditor in 2005. And these transfers are a part of the charter so it’s not something that halted overnight.
    I told the committee that my family is sure to lose everthing if they approved the rates, as DWP wanted them;therefore, I would NOT be paying any new rate hikes. PERIOD.
    And I’m sure in all practicality you totally have the leverage to get away with doing something like that. Might as stop paying your federal taxes while you’re at. You go girl!!

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