Once upon a time in the city we all love and hate, a man named Antonio stepped forward and inspired us with promises of a better life for everyone, of a new era with a new spirit that brought us all together..
He was going to plant a million trees and beautify our neighborhoods.
He was going to take over our schools and make sure every kid git a good education and graduated.
He was going to end corruption at City Hall after defaming the Hahn Administration as the “most investigated” in LA history.
Most of all, he was going to make us the “greenest city in America” — something that would restore our pride in the city and create tens of thousands of good jobs.
Fairy tales can come true or they also can turn into nightmares where everyone suffers, well, nearly everyone. Insiders and the well-connected flourish while neighborhoods are destroyed, kids still drop out cause they can’t read or write, corruption reaches unprecedented levels.
The man of a thousand broken promises has turned on his friends in the unions and embraced the evils of unbridled capitalism, indulging himself in a life of royal luxury while half a million of his subjects can’t even find a minimum wage job.
And now, in the latest chapter of this fairy tale gone awry, comes the ultimate hypocrisy: Antonio wants his pals in Sacramento to make a special exemption from environmental policy for LA so we can keep on destroying the oceans around us for another two decades.
“The city of Los Angeles has launched an aggressive lobbying campaign to
roll back tough new state regulations meant to limit the environmental
damage that power plants inflict on the oceans,” the LA Times reports today.
The justification for this is that it will cost $2.3 billion and require increases in the already soaring power rates of at least 6 percent for eight years.
Driving the effort for the exemption is Austin Beutner, first deputy mayor, jobs czar and part-time temporary DWP general manager.
“That’s money that will cause jobs to be lost in our economy and money
that we can’t use to invest in other renewable energy initiatives that
we have,” he says.
The issue is Assembly Bill 1552, now in the Senate, a measure created through subterfuge at the last minute with help from people like Antonio’s cousin, Speaker John Perez, and other phony environmentalist lawmakers.
It would exempt the DWP from tough, new State Water Board regulations that require sharply reducing the amount of seawater used for cooling coastal power plants.
Under AB 1552, every coastal plant in the state — except the three owned by DWP — would still be required to pump in seawater for cooling only once and then recycle it or move to air cooling
DWP’s three plants, now required to comply between 2015 to 2020, would be given up to 11 years longer, to 2031.
Environmental groups — long-time friends of the mayor — are as furious at him as his long-time friends in labor and the voters who elected him.
Heal the Bay has started a phone call and email campaign under the heading: “Your Help is Needed to Protect California’s Coast & the Public Process – OPPOSE AB 1552.”
“It completely ignores five years of process and guts the entire policy,” said Mark Gold, president of Heal the Bay.
Adds Sierra Club California lobbyist Jim Metropulos: “Now here is the L.A. DWP coming in at the last second with a special-interest exemption for them.”
What’s spectacularly appalling about this is that the DWP under then General Manager David Nahai was working on a rational compromise with the State Water Board long before the regulations were approved.
But like so many others, he ran afoul of the mayor’s political priorities — and in his case the greed of DWP union bully Brian D’Arcy — and was fired last fall.
His successor, David Freeman, the poet laureate of green energy who never actually built any, dropped the ball on that effort as he did so many others during his two disastrous terms running the city’s mos valuable asset.
Freeman preferred to play political hardball with the state board when the regulations were being finalized but struck out.
“It makes the department appear cynical and manipulative,” Nahai told the Times..
“I believe it was unnecessary, because the state board has shown a
willingness to try, even now, to deal with the department’s concerns.”
Put your money on the environmentalists winning the fight because they are right that DWP never should have been put in this position. You’ll need those winnings to pay your power bill.
So how did so many high hopes end in failure and broken promises? Whatever happened to the Antonio we knew and loved so much to put him in charge of our city at a time when we needed great leadership?
No one could possible have gone so wrong, betrayed so many. The answer can only be that the real Antonio was kidnapped and a replicant was put in his place to turn LA into the vision imagined in “Blade Runner.”
What other explanation could there be?