DWP Backs Down on $73.5 Million Transfer to the City General Fund

DWP Interim General Manager Austin Beutner and other top utility
officials have recommended the Board of Commissioners approve the transfer next
Tuesday of $73.5 million from power revenue to the city general
fund.

Withholding
the promised money, part of the DWP’s commitment to turn over $220 to
the general fund this year, was used as leverage to force the City
Council into approving a permanent power rate hike of nearly 5 percent
starting July 1 — the first of what is likely to be increases that
total 20 to 30 percent for many customers in the following months.

The
action relieves some of the pressure on the city to end the fiscal year
with at least a modest reserve fund and suggests that the $257 million
proposed surplus power revenue transfer expected for next fiscal year
which has a $484 million deficit that has been cut down to $80 million
thanks to $153 million in one-time revenue plus furloughs and possibly
some layoffs.

Here’s the item from the board’s agenda:

Item 19.
(Recommended by Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer)
(Approved
by General Manager)
Resolution consenting to the adoption of an
ordinance by the Council of the City of Los Angeles transferring from
the Power Revenue Fund to the City during the 2009/10 fiscal year, the
sum of $73,475,000.

Council
approval by ordinance is required.

LADWP BOARD APPROVAL LETTER



PURPOSE



IF YES, BY WHJCH- CITY
CHARTER SECTION: 344



 



To
authorize the adoption of an Ordinance by the Los Angeles City Council to
transfer
surp
lus money from the
Power Revenue Fund of the City
Of Los Angeles
Department of
Water and Power (LADWP) to the Reserve Fund of the City of Los Angeles (City)
dur
ing the
2009/10 fiscal year, ln the amount of $73,475,000. This amount is
available for transfer
based on a review of the Power System’s operat
ions as of the close of the 2008/09 fiscal
year. This amount is in addition to the
$147 million approved by this Board on

February 2, 2010.

BACKGROUND

The
Power System transfer being recommended is based on the f
inancial results of
the
Power System. This
$73,475,000
will bring the total
transfer to the City to eight percent of
the prior fiscal year’s (Le. fiscal year
2008/09) audited gross operating revenues. The
transfer is subject to the following bond covenants:

1)      
No transfermay exceed prior fiscal year’s net income;
and

2)      
No transfer may result in prior fiscal year’s surplus less the 2009/10 transfer amount
being less than thirty-three and one-third percent
(33-1/3%) of the total
indebtedness (including the current portion) outstanding not more than ten days

prior to the date of such transfer.

Based
on the calculat
ions
as shown
in
Attachment A, the LADWP recommends a total
transfer of
$220,475,000 during the 2009/10 fiscal year, which is
in compl
iance with the
bond covenants. Of this amount,
$147,000,000 was approved by this Board on
February 2, 2010. Approval is being requested for the
additional
$73;475,000.



Board of Water and
Power Commissioners
Page 2

April 28, 2010

This Resolution
provides for
$73,475,000 to
be transferred within 10 days after the effective
date of the Ordinance in one lump sum payment. This transfer is contingent upon
the City’s
payment to the Power Revenue Fund of all monthly charges for power services for
which
the LADWP has billed the City.

COST
AND DURATION

$73,475,000 paid during fiscal year 2009/10.
FUNDING SOURCE

Fiscal Year: 200911 0

Functional Item No.:
Not Applicable

Location in Budget: Power Revenue Fund of the Los Angeles Department
of Water and Power

The Financial Services
Organization reviewed and validated funds on
April 27, 2010.

FISCAL
IMPACT STATEMENT

Approval of this
resolution wilf decrease the fund net assets of the Power System by
$73,475,000.

LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL

Per Charter Section 344, City Council approval is required. A City Administrative
Office

                                                                                                        Report is not required.    

RECOMMENDATION

It is requested your Honorable Board adopt
the attached Resolution recommending the
Los Angeles City Council’s approval of an Ordinance authorizing the transfer of
surplus
funds to the Reserve Fund of the
City.



 



AMS:II
Attachments

e-clatt
Austin 8eutner
Raman Raj
Richard M. Brown
Aram Benyamin
James B. McDaniel

               Cecilia K.T. Weldon
               Lorraine
A Paskett
              Jeffery L. Peltola

               Maria Sison-Roces 
              
Ann M. Santilli


                                                             Attachment A

Power System

City Transfer Calculation
For Fiscal Year 2009-10
and Bond Covenants Compliance Tests

Based on Audited
Financial Data for Fiscal Year Ended
June 30, 2009
(amounts in thousands)



 



Gross Operating Income

Transfer percentage

City Transfer A.mount for
fiscal year 2009110

Transfer Amount already
approved by the Board

Remaining transfer to be approved

Test 1:No transfer may exceed
prior fiscal year’s net income.

Net Income for fiscal
year ended June
2009

Conclusion: Transfer amount is
less than Net Income.

Test 2: No transfer may result in prior fiscal year’s Surplus
less
the
2009110 transfer
amount being less than thirty-three
and
one
third percent (33-1/3%) of the total indebtedness
(including the current portion) outstanding not more than
ten days prior
to the date of such transfer.

Surplus as of June
30,
2009
            $4,557,311                                                         Less: 2009/10 City Transfer Amount $220,475

Adjusted Surplus $4,336,836

Total debt outstanding
including current portion as of
June 30, 2009  $5,459,735
Debt issued since June
30,
2009

Total Indebtedness

Thirty-three and
one-third percent

33.3% of
Total Indebtedness

Adjusted Surplus less 33.3% of Total Indebtedness

Conclusion: Adjusted Surplus is greater than 33.33% of
Total
Indebtedness





                               RESOLUTION NO. _______ _

BE IT RESOLVED:

1.        
That
the Charter provides that this Board may, after the close of a fiscal year,
consent to a transfer of surplus money from the Power Revenue Fund to the
Reserve Fund of the City based on audited financial data; and

2.    That this Board finds and determines after first considering, and subject to, all
covenants made by the Department with respect to transfers from the Power
Revenue Fund, that there is surplus money in the Power Revenue Fund as of
the close of fiscal year 2008/09, and consents to the transfer of $73,475,000 of
said surplus money to the Reserve Fund of the City during fiscal year 2009110
and pursuant to the terms of this resolution; and

3.     That this Board does further consent that the Council of The City of
Los Angeles adopt an ordinance in words and figures substantially as follows,
to wit: 

ORDINANCE NO.
An ordinance directing the transfer of surplus money from the Power Revenue Fund of the Department of Water and Power to the Reserve Fund of The City of Los Angeles during Fiscal Year 2009/10.
THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES DO ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Subject to audited financial data for fiscal year ended 2008/09, and all covenants made by the Department of Water and Power (Department) with respect to transfers from the Power Revenue Fund, and subject to there having been and only to the extent that there was surplus money in the Power Revenue Fund at the close of the 2008/09 fiscal year and subject to the declaration of consent adopted by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, it is hereby directed that $73,475,000 be transferred from the Power Revenue Fund of the Department to the Reserve Fund of the
    City during the 2009/10 fiscal year.     .
Section 2. The City Clerk shall certify to the passage of this ordinance and have it published in accordance with Council policy, either in a daily newspaper circulated in the City of Los Angeles or by posting for ten days in three public places in the City of Los Angeles: one copy on the bulletin board located in the Main Street entrance to the Los Angeles City Hall; one copy on
the bulletin board located at the Main Street entrance to the Los Angeles City  Hall East; and one copy on the bulletin board located at the Temple Street entrance to the Los Angeles County Hall of Records.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that after the adoption of an ordinance as set forth in (3) above, the Chief Accounting Employee of this Department is directed, upon certification by the General Manager, to cause to be transferred $73,475,000 within
10. days after the effective date of the ordinance in one lump sum payment from the Power Revenue Fund of the Department to the Reserve Fund of the City. Such transfer shall be made only after the CUy has paid the Power Revenue Fund all monthly charges for power services for which the City was billed by the Department.
I HEREBY CERTIFY that the foregoing is a full, true and correct copy of a resolution adopted by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners of The City of
Los Angeles at its meeting held on
Secretary
. APPROVED AS TO FORM AND LEGALITY
CARMEN A. TRUTANICH. CITY ATIORNEY


A Dose of Reality: They’re Robbing You Blind

Do you get it yet? Or are you too numb and defeated to react to anything except the latest ball score or smutty sitcom?

You are being robbed blind in broad daylight by people who would steal the last morsel off your table without a qualm, people you elected to serve you who are so venal they have no qualms or are so weak and stupid they convince themselves you are willingly sharing a feast.

Watch CBS2 David Goldstein’s shocking report showing six-figure DWP workers going to strip clubs, drinking on the job, driving giant trucks while drinking beers wrapped in paper towels. Do you think those are isolated scenes of the few miscreants or a window into widespread abuses by a workforce that has total immunity from discipline as long as they don’t cross their union?

See the mayor’s “boys will be boys” smirk as he promises to investigate as if it’s a teenage son and his buddies getting in trouble for stealing booze from the liquor cabinet and making fools of themselves.

Is it any wonder that Austin Beutner — Jobs Czar, First Deputy Mayor and Interim DWP General Manager — is turning the DWP Headquarters into a fortress to keep the public from seeing how little is really going on inside a rogue agency that claims it’s losing money even as it jacks up rates, gives out big pay raises and has been hiring nearly 100 extra workers a month for the last two years?

That’s right when everybody else is losing their jobs and getting no raises or pay cuts, the DWP is hiring madly, giving 6 percent raises followed by five years of raises of up to 4 percent and wanting 20 to 30 percent rate hikes. Does anybody know what the 1,400 extra bodies at the DWP are doing for the public benefit?

What passes for Beutner’s and the mayor’s economic development and green energy policies is becoming clearer by the day — China gets the jobs and our green and we get the bills.

They are trampling on DWP bidding procedures in a mad rush to buy solar panels made in China and cutting deals with an “upstart Chinese electric car company — best known for making cellphone batteries” — to buy their vehicles with city money, reduce port fees and provide $1 million in subsidies to create 150 jobs in LA and thousands in China.

“Villaraigosa is basically bribing a Chinese car company to come to Los
Angeles — and he’s using your money to do it…It illustrates that L.A. is such a
hostile place for businesses that the only way they’ll move employees
here is if City Hall gives them taxpayers’ money,” Walter Moore writes.

“Do you understand, now, why Villaraigosa wants so desperately to raise
your DWP rates?  It has nothing to do with ‘green power’ — unless by
‘green’ you mean ‘money,’ and by ‘power’ you mean ‘political power.’

Day after day, City Council members, as they have for a year, go through every department eliminating services that make life better for the people of the city and create healthier neighborhoods even as they look for ways to squeeze more money out of you every which  way they can.

All this is done in the name of cost-cutting when in reality it is service cutting, and revenue generating.

A quarter of the city’s working population is unemployed or under-employed and nearly everyone’s income and wealth have decreased but the budget for next year with its $484 million deficit, papered down to $80 million, takes an optimistic view that recovery is just around the corner.

Their fantasy is your nightmare. But keep pretending it’s all just a terrible dream and the morning will be bright and filled with optimism when you wake up.

It is business as usual at City Hall. Nothing has changed or will change until you open your eyes and see the truth of what is happening.

This isn’t a make-believe movie, it’s real and it’s your life and your city.

SAVE CITY JOBS — Forget Services and Healthy Neighborhoods

Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Bernard Parks captured the attitude of the mayor and City Council on Wednesday in a debate over $10 million to revitalize the Broadway Theater District with one-time money.

For the full context of his remarks view the story and longer video at OurLA.org.

Dancing for Dollars — Pratfalls and Missteps of the Budget Ballet

Hour after hour, department after department, the worst show on earth — City Hall’s Dancing for Dollars Budget Ballet — is playing out on Channel 35 this week.

Just as they have for the past 10 months, City Council members are breaking the public’s legs doing pathetic pratfalls and spastic missteps falling all over themselves with their top priority protecting city workers’ jobs — and their own, of course.

Forget tree trimming and sidewalk repairs — those are now the responsibility of property owners with the intent to shift liability and costs away from City Hall. Forget pothole repair. Forget there is just anything your tax dollars get you.

Your money is solely for the benefit of the system itself. Anything that most people get from city government falls under the category of “full cost recovery” so you get to pay twice for it.

There is no vision of a better city — let alone a great city — that drives the mayor and Council’s budget plan, just the preservation of the system itself by papering over the problem through transfers of money from one pot to another — every one of those transfers representing a city job saved, a public service eliminated.

It is survival of the un-fittest, this desperate attempt to protect themselves no matter how much damage they do to the quality of life of the four million residents.

Over and over, all they want to know is how they can protect the jobs of those who bring in revenue from the city’s people and businesses and how they can find other jobs for those who actually provide services directly to the public.

They don’t have a plan to actually fix what’s broken — wages and benefits that are no longer affordable, inefficiencies and low productivity in too many departments.

They only have their prayers and hopes for an Obama economic miracle.

It will take a miracle because their long-term inattention to how the city is run, their corrupt sellouts to special interests, their transformation of city government from a services provider into a jobs program are the back story for this unending crisis.

They don’t even know at this point whether the DWP will deign to give them get the $73.5 million promised to bail out this year’s deficit or the $257 they budgeted for next year.

Once again, we are facing a hypothetical budget, relying on the same plan to sell parking structures and other valuable assets that didn’t deliver a single dollar this year. CAO Miguel Santana gives them hope, they are better off now with $80 million hole based on optimistic projections for 2010-11 than they were when they passed this year’s budget with a $300 million hole before revenue projections turned out to be hopelessly optimistic.Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for prayla.jpg

They are living in a fantasyland while the rest of us live a nightmare with libraries and parks open only part-time and the infrastructure deteriorating and our rates, fees and taxes soaring.

In the end, they will cover the nakedness of their shame with the fig leaf of their pompous posturing and trust the public will remain apathetic and ignorant.

They are living in the past and unable to see winds of change are blowing hard, that hard times are waking people up and TV news’ sudden interest is filling their distracted minds’ with facts for a change.

In the name of saving LA, they are destroying it.

They think Neighborhood Councils should be out there trimming the trees and helping out in the parks even as they kill the Neighborhood Empowerment department, and refuse to share power with them.

It’s only a matter of time before it all falls apart — unless, of course, you believe in miracles. So we either need to throw these political bosses out and replace them with genuine public servants or get down on our knees with them and pray for LA.

Missing in the Line of Duty: Parks Finks Out

I know beloved Chief Daryl Gates was buried Tuesday but the funeral was over at 11 a.m. and the Council convened half an hour later and just before 1 p.m. voted to allow the con job DWP rate increase to become permanent on a 9-5 vote.

Sellouts Alarcon, Cardenas, Hahn, Wesson and Garcetti as expected provided the five votes to reject taking jurisdiction of the sleight of hand they pulled off to turn a one-quarter increase of nearly 5 percent in power rates into a permanent rate increase.
parkschief.jpg
The mayor’s boys don’t feel a need to listen to the public because they think they are so secure but Cardenas and Wesson will be facing organized challenges for re-election next March from the Clean Sweep Campaign (lacleansweep.com) and Hahn suffers delusions of grandeur that ignoring the public  in exchange for union money will carry her into the office of lieutenant governor — a heartbeat away from becoming governor of the formerly great State of California.

The critical 10th vote was missing in action, Bernard Parks, the former police chief who had every reason to pay full respect to Gates’ controversial service to the city.

Yet, less than half an hour after he chose not to support his ally Jan Perry and fulfill his commitments, Parks appeared at the City Council Chamber to run the first Budget and Finance Committee hearing on the mayor’s new fictitious budget plan. (Corrected: LA Times reports Parks walked in right after the vote and said he didn’t know the issue was coming up but opposed making the increase permanent.).

Parks was assuming his favored role as the public’s guardian on the city’s finances — a role he has done so well we are faced with seeing our libraries and parks closing, our building code enforcement and community planning abolished, our Neighborhood Council system decimated and our DWP rates rising in what is just the first step in a massive escalation.

Parks — the half-million dollar a year man with his pension and salary and lucrative perks and benefits — was a no-show when it counted.

He must be preoccupied with his war against senior lead officers and the three-day work week for cops and thus forgot that he could have pressured the DWP to deliver the $73.5 million it promised to the general fund and given ratepayers a fair shot and forcing the utility to come clean about all the hundreds of plans and costs it has done such a good job of hiding for so long.

It would be charitable to let him off the hook as nothing but a lapse in memory. But that isn’t the truth. It was a rigged vote and Parks made it happen intentionally.

The Council has a long tradition of fixing the vote on controversial issues so that they appear to be close and gee whiz the public lost again.

That’s what happened a week ago when Zine and Krekorian rolled over and let them get away with making the DWP rate hike permanent without anyone except maybe the Machiavellian Garcetti really knowing what they were doing.

So with five “no” votes secure and Parks taking a dive, everyone else on the Council was free to pander to the anger and resentment of their constituents without disrupting the flow of money to a secretive and demonstrably incompetent agency that represents the city’s most valuable asset.

For all his talk about fiscal responsibility, for all his knowledge of penny-ante fine points of the city budget, Parks has allowed the city to paper over its overspending, make promises to workers and the public it cannot keep and pushed the city to brink of bankruptcy as much as anybody.

For a cop, always being there when duty calls is what makes them better than the rest of us. The greatest failing of Gates was that he was off partying when the Rodney King riots erupted and got out of hand.

For Parks, it was that he wasn’t there when we needed the Council to stand up to the DWP on behalf of the four million people of this city. He can posture and nitpick all he wants from now on, but he was the missing man when it counted.

Come Clean, Austin, Where Has All That DWP Money Gone?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The City Council voted 9-5 Tuesday — one vote short of the two-thirds needed to take jurisdiction of the nearly 5 percent DWP power rate after learning it is permanent, not temporary as many of them, the press and the public believed. Parks, who had opposed the increase and could have supplied the 10th vote, was absent. Alarcon, Cardenas, Hahn, Wesson and Garcetti supported the permanent rate hike. (I erred earlier in saying Zine, missing that Garcetti’s name is now at the bottom of the alphabetical list.)

Austin Beutner has made transparency of the DWP a top priority so taking his word at face value I’ve sent him several requests for information about DWP rates, plans and policies.

Of course, words can mean different things to different people but I’ll go with Wikipedia which says transparency “implies openness, communication, and accountability” which in a government sense includes “open meetings, financial disclosure statements, freedom of information legislation, budgetary review, audits, etc.”
beutner.jpg
Based on the DWP’s long history of obfuscation, half-truths and outright lies, it could take the middle-aged Beutner the rest of his life to shed light into all the darkness of DWP machinations.

We know with certainty that Beutner’s real job is to be just transparent enough to get massive rate hikes through the City Council which means giving then enough cover so that they can overcome their phobic fear of the wrath of voters.

There must be thousands of questions to ask about what has happened to ratepayers’ billions in recent years, why water mains are bursting and the electrical system aging, why there’s so little green energy, why no comprehensive planning, why salaries are so high, how hundreds of millions can be turned over as “surplus” to general fund every year…

Today, Jan Perry’s Energy and Environment Committee is asking questions about why the DWP needs to spend $6 million a year more for “dumping privileges for dumping dirt, asphalt, and concrete” at landfills on top of the $4 million already allocated.

Questions also could be asked about why the DWP is spending $11.125 million to buy warehouse and industrial property for the mayor’s “clean tech corridor” near downtown and is intending — with help from the other bottomless pit of public wealth, the Community Redevelopment Agency — to buy jobs with massive subsidies.

“The Clean Technology Business Incubator will help CRA/LA fulfill its
role of economic development and job creation by encouraging research
and development in green technologies such as renewable energy,
recycling and next-generation transportation,” said Calvin Hollis,
CRA/LA Interim Chief Executive Officer, according to CurbedLA.

Apart from dressing up the DWP to look respectable, Beutner’s real task as “Jobs Czar” is to turn our bankrupt city government into an economic engine the way the Soviet Union and China in their Communist heydays tried to do without success before turning to that old-fashioned notion of free enterprise capitalism.

Perhaps, he knows something Stalin and Mao did not.

Certainly, a key area of flagrant DWP spending is its crash program to meet the mayor’s artificial political goal of achieving 20 percent renewables by 2010 no matter how much it costs, no matter that there is no plan to get rid of coal plants or to methodically go green at a cost the public can afford.

Other People’s Money has always been something the mayor has generously spent and this report Monday from the Tehachapi News shows just how desperate the DWP officials are to please the mayor without regard to cost or common sense:

“At the April 13 Airport Commission board meeting, Tehachapi Municipal
Airport Manager Tom Glasgow offered a clue as to why the Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power needs its huge rate increase.

“In January, the DWP was fueling its Bell Ranger jet turbine helicopter
at the Tehachapi airport as it ferried crews to a new wind farm
construction site 10 miles to the northeast of Tehachapi.

“The roads had not yet been carved out of the mountains, and the DWP was
utilizing sky cranes to carry out work. The department would drive
crews to the airport and airlift them by helicopter to the job site.

“Jet fuel sales jumped from 186 gallons in January 2009 to 1,821 gallons
in January 2010.”

Money is no object when it’s other people’s and that’s what DWP’s green energy plan is all about: Buying wind and solar power and renewable energy credits on the open market at a premium because they failed to carry out their stated goal more than a decade ago to reduce reliance on coal for nearly half the city’s power, why they even dragged their feet on rooftop solar to the point LA couldn’t even power a square block with solar.

This frantic politically-driven policy of buying renewables was so successful the DWP actually achieved the goal of 20 percent in March but the mayor’s failure to get his 20 to 30 percent rate hike could diminish that to 12 percent by the year’s end.

At that level, LA not only would have the state’s dirtiest energy portfolio but also the one with the lowest level of clean energy.

Transparency is the issue and Beutner has to come clean about all the questions about DWP before he has any chance of getting his hands on more of the public’s money.

To do that, he’s going to have to take the politics out of water and power policy, rein in payroll costs that make up nearly 60 percent of DWP spending after buying water and fuel — not the 25 percent of total costs he claims — and put forward clear long-term plans for rebuilding the infrastructure, generating renewable energy, closing coal plants and do all that at rates that don’t kill more jobs than they create and bankrupt more people than they enrich.

In other words, the mission of DWP must be what it’s supposed to be: Providing water and power for the City of Los Angeles, not serving the political games of the mayor. It’s a utility that provides public services, not a jobs or wealth redistribution program.

Austin & Antonio: Good Guy, Bad Guy Doublespeak

In light of the mayor’s scathing criticism of DWP’s management, it’s worth noting what the mayor’s point man, Jobs Czar and Interim General Manager Austin Beutner is telling the utility’s staff.

“While I have been at the Department for a few days, I have already gained great respect and admiration for the linemen, engineers, managers, support staff, and thousands of professional men and women of this Department. You insure the reliability of incredibly complex water and power systems. For this, I extend the thanks of a grateful City,” Beutner said in a letter to staff Monday. (Read the full letter at OurLA.org)

“These efforts are led by a very capable senior management team that gets the
job done day in and day out. The senior management team has my confidence,
and I look forward to working with them over the coming months.”

His words are in sharp contrast to what the mayor told the LA TImes last Wednesday, words that drew a sharp rebuke from union boss Brian D’Arcy and set off a firestorm of anger among senior managers.

“For four years, I’ve battled a bureaucracy that just won’t respond to the policy direction” to move away from coal toward renewable fuels like solar and wind energy. It’s been an absolute war,” the mayor said.

“Every time that we tried to figure out what the numbers are,” the bureaucracy resists. “Getting through that Byzantine bureaucracy is very difficult…. We’ve got to figure out a way to make that agency more transparent.

“They undermined [former General Manager Ronald] Deaton, they undermined [former General Manager David] Nahai. Even [outgoing General Manager S. David] Freeman,” Villaraigosa said. “…I’m talking about that upper-level management…You can’t fire them. They just go back to the Civil Service system” and they lose about $15,000 in salary as well as their city-provided cars, but they stay in the DWP. “They out-wait you. They’ve out-waited everybody.”

Bruno, LA’s Watchdog: Enduring Fantasies of LA and State Officials

How could a dog ignore a web site called LACurbed.com?
keeper.jpg
I learned of this great site this morning after being struck by a Dog Trainer post about one of the silliest projects floating around this crazy city.

The project concerns a lot of green space – which I love for a variety reasons, mostly scatological.

But Curbed L.A., while its story was picked up by the Dog Trainer, has nothing to do with dog training, which was a bit of a disappointment.  I’m into self-improvement.

The story – thank God! — also has nothing to do with the DWP, the mayor, the City Council, the controller or that Nuch guy – at least not yet.

The project in question is to build something like New York’s Central Park over the 101 freeway just east of the 110 in downtown Los Angeles.

According to Shelby Grad, the Dog Trainer investigative reporter who stole the story from Curbed LA:

“There are no firm design plans for the freeway cap — nor is there a firm price tag. The concepts show meandering open space and new high-rise development in and around what is now the 101. Backers are bullish, likening it to L.A.’s version of New York’s Central Park.

101cap.jpg“Preliminary concepts say the park would likely be built as part of a public-private partnership that would involve some new high-rise construction. A community meeting on the project is scheduled for May 13 at Caltrans headquarters, according to Curbed L.A.”

Grad didn’t even steal the funniest part of the Cubed LA post:

“While we don’t know what designs are currently on the table, interns at EDAW AECOM created plans for the project in 2008 that called for a half-mile cap with ‘an iconic gateway and overlook at Grand Avenue’ that would include the tallest structure on the west coast.”

Interns? The tallest structure on the West Coast?

One of the comments on Curbed called the project “architectural masturbation,” a term I hadn’t come across before, but obviously familiar to Curb’s audience, which seem to know a lot about building things.

Another one of these things is apparently planned for the Hollywood Freeway.  That idea has been kicking around for a while.

First, it’s insulting that Caltrans is spending a dime on this idiocy.  But more frightening is the idea of waking up one morning to the Garcetti Skating Rink or the Lake LaBonge.

Let’s kill this one in the cradle.

Woof!