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Voter Fraud, Part Three: The Neverending Scandal of the DWP

Nothing can fix what’s wrong with the city’s most important and valuable asset — the Department of Water and Power — until we elect a mayor and other city officials who will stand up to blackmail by union bully Brian D’Arcy

None of the dozen or so mayors-in-waiting deserve any consideration unless they demonstrate they have the courage to confront D’Arcy and his strike threats and his ruthless use of political money.

Nothing put forward by the gutless City Council to reform the DWP is worth a damn thing because they cowered before the mighty D’Arcy and let him dictate the terms of a meaningless political deal that will have zero impact on controlling rates or rebuilding the rotting and obsolete water and power systems.

We have the dirtiest municipal power system in America and 100-year-old water mains because D’Arcy has extorted our money out of the mayor and Council and put it into the pockets of his beer-swilling and strip club enjoying workers and the IBEW treasury.

The DWP is in chaos, going through general managers and policy swings on annual basis, operating in concealment and double talk.

They haven’t been able to hire a competent professional to run the DWP in more than a decade. It is now being run on a daily basis by a man who has gone through personal bankruptcy and been fired for misconduct in an earlier stint at the DWP while First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner serves as a part-time interim general manager who is giving away tens of millions of dollars of ratepayer money to developers and corporations to buy jobs no matter what they cost.

It is an unending scandal. The measures proposed to quell public discontent will do nothing to restore the DWP’s credibility or its efficiency at fulfilling its mission to provide the city with water and power. .

Jose Huizar was the first to propose a Rate Payer Advocate to protect the public from the DWP’s price-gouging but with his re-election very much in doubt in March, he quivered and hid when it came time to fight for real reform.

Council President Eric Garcetti was even more cowardly, leading the effort to water down and gut the public’s demand for a fully funded, independent and powerful advocate for the public interest who could stand up to the union and the entrenched bureaucracy.

He cut a deal with the devil D’Arcy to slash funding for the OPA/Rate Payer Advocate by 75 percent from $4 million to $1 million and limit its ability to break down the DWP’s wall of secrecy with access to full and complete information.

The measure going before voters defines the OPA/Rate Payer Advocate’s authority to providing a “public independent analysis of department actions as they relate to water and electricity rates” — a far cry from what was supposed to be an office with the broad power to evaluate all aspects of DWP activities.

Those maneuvers left the OPA/Rate Payer Advocate nothing but a shadow of what activists had sought — an office so weak and easily manipulated that Garcetti won a promise from D’Arcy not to oppose it.

DWP officials will be able to keep the Office of Public Accountability in the dark just as they have Neighborhood Councils and everyone else while they continue to pursue policies that keep rates low by depending on dirty coal plants for nearly half the city’s energy — the worst record of any municipal utility in the nation.
So much for the mayor’s boast about L.A. being the greenest city in the nation. So much for accountability, transparency and all the other words used so blithely by dishonest leaders.

If there were any doubt about whether to take this crumb from the table of power, remember this: Actual implementation of this measure will be up to the Council to decide through ordinances, the same Council that quaked in the face of D’Arcy’s threats.

With all his brilliance and choir boy demeanor, Garcetti also engineered a deadlock on a measure that would give the Council the power to remove the stooges who serve as the five members of the DWP Commission and the general manager on a two-thirds vote.
It comes back for a final vote on Dec. 7 when the nation’s high paid city officials — better paid even than members of Congress — return from one of their frequent vacations.

The removal authority itself is laughable.

The Council routinely applauds every mayoral appointment to the every commission and only on the rarest of occasions does even a single member object to a nominee.

At any point in the last year of heightened controversy and conflict with the DWP and its commissioners, the Council could have passed a “no confidence” motion that would have brought the issues of soaring rates and failed policies to a head.

They didn’t and they won’t use this removal authority because it’s all a closed system. Measure K is meaningless.

In the past six years, this mayor and this City Council have approved two long-term contracts with the IBEW that gave raises up to 6 percent a year and guaranteed at least 2 per cent raises even at a time of deflation.

At the same time, the DWP has sought and gotten massive rate increases that sent water and power bills soaring higher than many people’s mortgage payments.

The DWP outrage doesn’t end there. The city illegally transferred $130 million in “surplus” water revenue to the general fund and never paid ratepayers back and it increased the transfer to the general fund from “surplus” power revenue from 5 to 8 percent — a tax that comes on top of the 10 percent DWP utility tax on every bill.

Back in the spring, the mayor tried to take it a step further by seeking a 28 percent increase in electricity rates and the ever obedient DWP Commission and department leadership manufactured phony numbers to justify withholding $73 million in surplus revenue transfers to get the rate hike approved.

It was a blatant attempt at extortion that failed because for once the Council was so afraid of the wrath of the people that they stood up to the power of the DWP, settling for a mere 5 percent rate hike.

Measure J on its face is a clumsy attempt to set dates and timelines and procedures in the stone of the City Charter to prevent this kind of fiasco from happening again.

In reality, it is a power grab that is so full of loopholes and gobbledygook language it won’t achieve anything.

You cannot write rules to make elected officials responsible. You have to elect responsible people to office to achieve openness, honesty, accountability and good government.

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4 Responses to Voter Fraud, Part Three: The Neverending Scandal of the DWP

  1. Anonymous says:

    We have no leaders in our once Great City. Huizar whimped out not only rate payer advocate but taking control of the corrupt DWP commissioners trying to persuade his losers on council maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all. Zine hired a DV Violence fool who is an arrogant ass Jimmy Blackman. Zine flip flops on too much doesn’t have a brain. Zine named a rec center after himself. Alarcon get the orange jump suit ready to put on when he goes to jail for Voter Fraud. Garcetti in bed with developers just like Perry and others. The Vine project blew his cover. Perry needs to stop with the fast food bullshit and at least pretend she’s not in the pocket of AEG. Janice Hahn is the imbecile KFI says she is. She was caught on tape paying off gangsters. Cardenas is a lost cause. Major anger managment issues and hates cops. Named a rec center after his parents. Why? Reyes is part of the Mexican Mafia thug mentality along with others. His district like Huizar’s looks like Tijuana. Parks pretends to be a conservative reformer, but when it counted he whimped out and pretended not to be in the building for DWP vote on jurisdiction. Greig Smith is always asleep at the wheel. Rosendahl still grandstanding on gay issue as if anyone cares. Sometimes shows guts more then the straight men on council. LaBonge is just a screwball clown. The fact he failed to honor Veterans with a simple Ribbon on Hollywood sign shows lack of American patriotism like rest of council. NEED I SAY MORE. A bunch of morons and losers with no conscience or sense of “What’s right for the people”

  2. Anonymous says:

    “They haven’t been able to hire a competent professional to run the DWP in more than a decade.”
    That’s your Clean Sweep LA buddy Riordan’s fault. For changing the Charter and giving the mayor the power to fire any GM he doesn’t like which is why DWP’s GM position has been a revolving door. Measure K is a step in the right direction, attempting to clean up Riordan’s mess by introducing a check against the Mayor and his ability to appoint puppets to the Commission and GM position.
    “The DWP outrage doesn’t end there. The city illegally transferred $130 million in “surplus” water revenue to the general fund and never paid ratepayers back and it increased the transfer to the general fund from “surplus” power revenue from 5 to 8 percent — a tax that comes on top of the 10 percent DWP utility tax on every bill.
    Back in the spring, the mayor tried to take it a step further by seeking a 28 percent increase in electricity rates and the ever obedient DWP Commission and department leadership manufactured phony numbers to justify withholding $73 million in surplus revenue transfers to get the rate hike approved.”
    So you’re against surplus power revenue being transferred to the General Fund as a doubletax, but then you attack the Commission for withholding that doubletax last summer. Make up your damn mind. When your buddy Patsaouras threatened to sue DWP for not putting that doubletax in the General Fund, suddenly all your complaining about DWP being used as a cashcow evaporated. You’re playing both sides of the fence here. No consistency whatsoever

  3. Anonymous says:

    Here is my observation of the City Council. The two most dangerous people are Garcetti who looks clean but is anything but that. Just see his lips move so fast without the rest of his angelic face, like a painting – Mona Lisa – talking. The second is Ed Reyes who is dismissed as a fool, which he is, but controls PLUM and so badly wants to pretend that he is a real planner that he is screwing the whole city.

  4. The process is a disgrace. For 100 days, we had hearings around town. But the Council waited until the last minute, running around with last minute changes that nobody understood. This matter should have been in front of the council in early October, not November.
    And no doubt that the Council and Our Dear 11% Termed Out Mayor caved when Boss D’Arcy started barking at the last minute.
    But D’Darcy has lost three of the his last four elections: Measure B, Jackie Weiss, and Downtown Chris Essel. Only Wendy won which may explain her silence.

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