“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana.
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their
Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.
Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are
destined to repeat them.
Austin Beutner’s response to critical audit of DWP officials misleading the mayor, City Council and the public to withhold $73 million from general fund:
“Since my appointment just weeks ago as General Manager of the Department of Water and Power, I have made it clear we are moving forward, not looking back.”
news for Austin Beutner, he cannot move the DWP forward without restoring its
credibility and he can’t restore its credibility without a full accounting of
where all those billions have gone, why the pipes and power system are old and
rotting, why we’ve got the dirtiest power system in America, why its wages are out of whack with reality, why it’s overstaffed, why its culture has been corrupted by a union bully and a long succession of incompetent general managers.
And that’s just for starters.
In a matter of just a few months, Beutner for all his brilliance has fallen into the trap of believing the old rules of City Hall still apply and that he can get away with treating the public like a bunch of dummies unworthy of the slightest respect.
Maybe he should stop listening the second-raters and sycophants at City Hall and start listening to the public that has been robbed blind for so long and isn’t going to take it any longer.
Even recent history ought to give him some insight into what he’s facing like the cash flow report in April when the DWP was pleading poverty and the Commission was at war with the Council. The DWP was sitting on $1 billion in cash, $60 million more than a month earlier (dwpcashflow.pdf
The Council didn’t stand up to the lies of the DWP because they actually give a damn about the public interest. They stood up to the DWP out of self interest because they know that the people in their communities are fed up with rotten customer service, soaring bills that hit homeowners and local businesses unfairly, secrecy, dishonesty, incompetence and failure.
Controller Wendy Greuel’s report Thursday — timid as it was — was a bill of indictment of the DWP for “misleading” everyone about why it was refusing to turn over the $73 million promised to the city general fund from “surplus” power revenue. (Read Beutner’s full statement
In fact, it was nothing but money gained from overcharging its customers and amounted to blackmail to get up to 28 percent rate hikes so it can continue to pay outrageous salaries to its workers and cut deals with insiders who just happen to be gift-giving pals of the mayor for green energy.
You can read Greuel’s report and watch videos of her news conference outside the DWP at OurLA.org.
In typical fashion, Greuel did her job as if she was the auditor assigned to do no more than determine the facts but failed to exercise her authority as the public’s elected watchdog on city government by offering solutions so DWP officials never tell another lie — a word she refused to use or demanding reforms or accountability.
Those, she said, are the responsibility of the DWP Commission which signed off on everything David Freeman and Raman Raj and their team did and said without asking question one — even when the public, the press, Councilwoman Jan Perry knew exactly what was going on was nothing but extortion.
That’s precisely what’s wrong with not examining, remembering, learning from the past. The DWP is exposed and we will not be condemned to repeat the past.
But that’s exactly what Beutner is up to by insisting “we are moving forward, not looking back.” He is proposing a 3 percent water rate hike for Tier 1 which is paid by all DWP customers — revenue that at best will cover only the wage and benefit hikes granted in the middle of the recession and budget crisis to DWP employees.
Everyone who uses more water than that — nearly every homeowner and business but not most apartment dwellers — will be hit with an 8 percent rate hike for Tier 2 water use, although just a few months ago DWP managers said there would be no base rate hike for water in 2010-11.
The reality is that many customers have been slugged with massive rate hikes, with bills of $1,000 a month or more because of the way DWP sets the rates to squeeze the middle and upper middle class and captive businesses while tripling the number of household getting 30 percent discounts.
When these people complain about damage caused by DWP bungling or water pressure surges, they are treated like criminals.
While Beutner talks big about transparency, DWP officials continues to offer dog-and-pony shows intended to obscure what is going on as they did in a meeting with Neighborhood Council leaders earlier this week.
We are not fools or criminals. We are the ratepayers, the taxpayers, the voters., and we demand a full accounting of where and how the DWP went wrong and how it is going to be fixed. Otherwise, the uproar of the spring will be repeated over and over.
Mistakes of the past that go unexamined have a way of doing that.