Tough Call for City Workers: Pay a Little Now to Get a Lot Later
Today is the final day for most of the city’s civilian work force, members of the City Coalition of Unions, to decide whether to pay 4 percent of their salary for what is now lifetime health care fully paid by taxpayers.
The deal union negotiators and city officials have come up with would lift the $1,190 per month cap on the city’s contribution, requiring the city to pay the full cost of rising health care premiums (Health Subsidy Ordinance.pdf).
In the short term, the city frees up $69 million this year to help erase the nearly $500 million deficit — a problem the mayor has proposed solving for the most part with another round of one-time solutions, and bookkeeping tricks.
How Lobbyists Help Antonio Pay Fines for Ethical Misconduct
Here’s an excerpt of a letter sent out to help raise the money to pay the $42,000 in fines imposed on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, his six-figure legal bills, even to support his lavish lifestyle:
“We opened legal defense funds on behalf of the Mayor to pay the
penalties and his legal bills. Of course, we cannot accept donations
from lobbyists or lobbying firms registered with the City, or from MTA
contractors. But I was hoping that you might help us raise funds from
other sources. The maximum contribution for an individual or entity is
$4,000 (that breaks down to $3,000 for the legal defense funds and
$1,000 for the Mayor’s “Officeholder Account.”) A couple with a joint
account can double that an amount if both people sign the form.”
Lobbyists may not be able to contribute but the letter itself came from a lobbyist shaking down his clients to show how much they love the mayor and continued access to him for favors.
In some jurisdictions, this is called bribery. In L.A., it’s called business as usual. Jack Humphreville has the full story at CityWatchLA.
Foot-Dragging on DWP Rate Payer Advocate and Feed-in Tariffs
Rick Orlov in the Daily News captures the City Council’s snail’s pace effort to create the long-promised and voter-approved creation of the Rate Payer Advocate to protect the public from more unjustified DWP rate hikes.
Under the headline “DWP watchdog plan inches forward,” Orlov reports the City Council is still “trying to sort out how to get started” and :”how to create the citizens commission
that will hire the first executive director of the DWP’s new Office of
They also have to decide how that director will be hired – and fired.”
For his part, DWP GM Ron Nichols is taking the first timid steps to implementing a long-sought feed-in tariff that would pay residents and businesses a premium, even a profit, for all the energy they produce from rooftop solar installations.
While this has been done all over the world with great success, the IBEW has opposed the feed-in tariff and Nichols is cautiously hoping to start a small pilot program by the end of this year.
He has figured out the only question is, and has been, how much to reimburse for solar: “The most important thing appears to be the pricing,
what we pay back for the power that is generated,” Nichols said. “We
want it high enough to encourage people to install solar panels, but we
also want it to be realistic to reflect how the market will change.”