The City Council achieved Wednesday what even its harshest critics might have thought impossible: They endorsed unanimously the lying, cheating, stealing and failings of the Department of Water and Power.
They talked in high-minded terms of accountability but were as one in their commitment to never hold anyone accountable.
It’s hard to imagine how they could in the same moment behave so shamefully, so impervious to disgrace, and so shamelessly, bringing so much disgrace upon themselves.
It was no easy feat given the fact that the issue before them was such a simple one: Should they in the interests of accountability ask voters in March to give them the power to remove DWP commissioners and general managers on a two-thirds vote.
The issue has bounced around for weeks through a series of contradictory votes but when it came to a showdown there were only seven votes in support of taking on the responsibility of holding the liars, cheats, thieves and failures at the DWP accountable.
They made a mockery of themselves even as they mocked the public with their vote.
That weasels and weaklings like Herb Wesson and Dennis Zine flip-flopped on their recent votes to put the measure on the ballot was hardly surprising.
But there was Paul Krekorian mustering all of eloquence and lawyerly skill to prove that when the showdown comes, he is simply better endowed with the talent to perform acts of intellectual contortion than his colleagues.
The LA Times put it this way: “Councilman Paul Krekorian previously voted for the measure multiple
times, and on Wednesday he described the DWP as an agency that had been ‘running amok.’ But he nonetheless voted against overturning the mayoral
veto, saying the goal was to ‘depoliticize’ the DWP.”
The Daily News reported that “Krekorian said he believes a separate measure “I think the one thing that everyone can agree upon in recent
going before voters to create an Office of Public Accountability at the
DWP will help accomplish what critics want to see.”
years is that the DWP has been running amok,” Krekorian said. “The DWP
has demonstrated a degree of arrogance of power that has frustrated us
“I think the one thing that everyone can agree upon in recent
How it would actually be implemented, if voters approve it, will be totally under the control of the mayor, Council and (mis)managers at the DWP — the same people responsible for the destruction of the DWP’s credibility, its annual 180 degree swings in policies, its mammoth rate increase, its management chaos.
These are the same people who have robbed the utility of hundreds of millions of dollars desperately needed to fix its outdated infrastructure by raising its transfer of “surplus” revenue from 4 to 8 percent on top of the 10 percent utility tax.
These are the same people who signed off on 6 percent pay hikes to DWP workers in good times and 4 percent in hard times.– money that goes into the pockets of the nation’s highest paid utility workers and into the treasury of their union, the IBEW, so it can channeled back into the political campaigns of the very same politicians
These are the same people who are prepared to impose massive water and power rate hikes and add-on rate hikes that will send the bills to customers soaring for years to come.
Throughout the six years of the DWP fiasco under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, they have had every chance to hold him accountable for what has gone wrong, to hold commissioners and management accountable.
They had their last chance Wednesday when First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, who has filled the DWP General Manager’s role on a part-time basis for eight months, was up for another two-month extension.
He didn’t deign to come down from on high so they summoned him to the Council Chambers. He took his own good time getting there and sat smiling and oblivious as they squirmed about whether to dare to ask him a question.
Finally, Jan Perry, asked about the process of selecting a new DWP general manager — the sixth in six years, 10th in 10 years. He answered succinctly, skipping over all the top utility executives who turned down the job, and then they voted 15-0 to approve Beutner’s extension, learning only that he tips his barber $10 a haircut.
Does anyone in their right mind think that DWP GM nominee Ron Nichols or the next appointee to the DWP Commission will face anything but a charade of questioning when they come before the Council after they knuckled under to the mayor’s arm-twisting and IBEW boss Brian D’Arcy’s bullying?
There only goals are self-preservation and the preservation of a system of government that has failed miserably.
After the dismal DWP theater, they discussed how to put our lives in jeopardy by cutting police and fire services even as deals were being cut in background to further slash core services like parks and libraries and subsidize luxury hotels and a luxury football stadium and pump millions into poverty pimp programs.
We deserve what we get if we don’t send them a loud and clear message in the March 8 election that we’re not going to take in anymore and be complicit in their crimes against the city.