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Robbing the Public under the Color of Law: DWP Rate Hikes and AEG Giveaways

Editor’s Note: DWP officials will hold a workshop Wednesday night from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the DWP cafeteria at 111 N. Hope St. and promises an open discussion of its rate hike plans with the community.

With the new fiscal year under way and the formalities of celebrating liberty, equality and justice out of the way, the City Council went back to work Tuesday calling on the Washington to end all ways and give the money to the cities and states which really know how to spend it.

Their work done just 34 minutes after they were called to order, the nation’s highest paid city officials adjourned and headed to the beach, presumably.
In contrast, dozens of volunteer community activists who could have been at the beach spent four hours in the sweltering heat in Hollywood learning about the city’s problems and trying to find solutions.
First, the citizen advocacy committee on the Department of Water and Power voted to call on the City Council and DWP officials to back off on plans to impose utility rate hikes in excess of 20 percent until the Office of Public Accountability is in place and able to conduct independent studies of what it is planned and why it costs so much. Immediately afterward, the LA Neighborhood Council Coalition endorsed the delay unanimously.
You might remember how after years of public demands for some protection from abuses by the discredited DWP and the mayor’s rate hike fiasco in spring 2010, the Council moved forward on creating the Rate Payer Advocate with independence, broad powers and a budget of at least $4 million.
Unfortunately, that great democrat Eric Garcetti exercised his authority as Council President to water down the RPA dramatically with a little political sleight-of-hand and abuse of power so funding was slashed by 75 percent, authority was limited and the misleadingly named Office of Public Accountability took the place of the Rate Payer Advocate. 

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Still, the public overwhelmingly approved the Charter Amendment creating the OPA although Garcetti has yet to act on appointing the committee of citizens who will hire the agency’s executive director.
Showing he is far too reasonable considering who he is dealing with, Jack Humphreville, head of the DWP Advocacy Committee, wrote on CityWatchLA today that a small, short-term increase might be justified while the OPA is getting organized 
Rather
than a rush to judgment, especially since the proposed rate increases involves
billions of Ratepayer dollars, the Energy and Environmental Committee should
recommend that DWP consider a one year increase that would cover the
Department’s Basic Needs and Strategic Investments.”

Neighborhood activists were less charitable with regards to plans to run roughshod over common sense and democratic processes to approve a deal with AEG to tear down half the Convention Center rebuild it at public expense when they construct an NFL stadium.on city land and two parking garages while reaping all the profits from naming rights, digital billboard advertising up against the freeways and Convention Center operations. 

Some of the tax revenue will go to pay off the city’s $750 million in debt on the Convention Center while the rest will go into the bank account of Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz who has set up a dummy corporation in Delaware to run this deal outside of California law.

The city’s share for paying salaries, benefits, running parks, libraries, fire and police service is zero, zilch, nothing.

LANCC voted unanimously to oppose the deal as it is constituted now — an important gesture since AEG, one of the heaviest contributors to local politicians, has set a July 31 deadline for approval of the deal as they have proposed it.

Grreg Nelson, who was chief of staff to then Councilman Joel Wachs when he heroicially stood up to AEG and got the massive subsidies for Staples Center reduced, wrote a devastating report on City Watch on the anti-democratic processes being used by the Council with support from the City Attorney’s Office.

“UNLOCKING THE CLOSED-DOORS ATTITUDE – If you cherish democracy
and the public’s involvement in government’s decision-making process, be
glad that you missed the meetings of the City Council’s Ad Hoc
Committee on the Proposal Downtown Stadium and Events Center.
The committee was formed shortly after the Anschutz Entertainment Group
announced plans to build a football stadium next to the Convention
Center and Staples Center,” Nelson began..  

“The first red flag was when
Councilmember Jan Perry was named as chair.  That’s not a knock against
Perry personally, but the stadium is being proposed for her district so
it’s reasonable to assume that the interests of the city as a whole and
the city budget would take a back seat to an opportunity to erect a
shiny new building in her backyard.

“The conduct of the first
meeting several weeks ago, and last week’s second meeting would have
made any democracy geek run away screaming.

“Closely following the
Stadium Builder’s Guidebook, the agendas for each meeting weren’t made
public until the last minute, something that a committee chair would do
if the goal were to ensure that the gallery would be filled only with
insiders.

“Weeks before last Thursday’s meeting, the stadium
developer was telling people which day the meeting would be held, but
the agenda wasn’t posted until 24 hours before the 9:30 a.m. start time
at City Hall.  See the pattern?”


Nelson traces the back-room games and then concludes:

“At the end of last week’s meeting, Perry wanted the committee to meet
behind closed doors for a while.  It wasn’t clear what the discussion
would be about, but the Chief Legislative Analyst said that the
negotiating team needed guidance on two or three issues regarding
development of the Environmental Impact Report.

“he deputy city
attorney explained that if it were to meet secretly its conclusions
would have to be affirmed by the City Council.  Seemingly shocked at the
prospect of other elected officials being a part of the process, she
dropped the idea.  It isn’t clear who answered the CLA’s questions.

“Before
the meeting ended, Perry took a verbal shot, but not by name, at
Councilman Bill Rosendahl for daring to ask questions about the
proposal, suggesting that the ad hoc committee follow the Brown Act, and
holding all of its discussions in public.  Radical!

“Perry criticized those who were ‘grandstanding.

“If
it’s grandstanding to ask the kind of questions that are reasonable to
expect from elected officials trying to ensure that the city gets the
best deal possible, then Rosendahl is guilty.

“But at least he
wasn’t standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the developer as the project
and the plan for a taxpayers’ subsidy was announced, tossing around
footballs and waving pom-poms for the cameras.”…….

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17 Responses to Robbing the Public under the Color of Law: DWP Rate Hikes and AEG Giveaways

  1. Anonymous says:

    People – please represent your neighborhood and
    go to the meeting tomorrow night or find someone who will be able. We must defend ourselves.
    Ron Kaye gets all the facts and is not a liar.

  2. By all means show up for the DWP meeting on Wednesday night at 6:30 PM at DWP. Remember, it is your money.
    Yours truly,
    Reasonable Jack

  3. OCbear says:

    I am glad these criminals at AEG are being outed. Hopefully we can stop this stadium in demographically challenged downtown LA (no habla espanol). I think we can support the stadium in Grand Crossing, which, even though it is in LA County, has a very Orange County feel to it. No gang bangers, hoodlums carrying boom boxes, etc.

  4. Anonymous says:

    To the Bigoted OCbear – Take the Stadium. I only wish it was in Orange County so that they could eat all the taxpayer’s losses.

  5. Wayne from Encino says:

    WE NEED A CUT IN THE TRASH FEES, A CUT IN THE WATER RATES AS WE’RE SWIMMING IN WATER RESERVES, AND GIVEN THE CUT IN OIL PRICES, A CUT IN DWP ELECTRIC FEES!
    It’s illegal, isn’t it to move forward with RATE INCREASES WITHOUT THE RATEPAYER DUDE IN OFFICE, SINCE THE VOTERS AMENDED THE CITY CHARTER FOR THAT FUNCTION?
    As for a report that Humphreyville endorsed a “small increase” PENDING the ratepayer advocate’s selection: That’s like Europe when they voted for Hitler to have “A SMALL PART OF” Czechoslovakia while Der Fuhrer worked out the details of the Sudetenland! Give Garcetti one penny now, he’ll take it to 20% by Dec 1. 2011!
    SHAME SHAME SHAME ON YOU JACK! DWP DOESN’T NEED ONE DAMN DIME OF INCREASES NOW OR EVER!
    It’s that damn TRANSFER they give away to Garcetti that makes them “broke.”
    Add the Trash fees ($36/month) the “SSC” or Sewer Service Charge, then the “City Utility tax of 10%” and the “Power ECAF” which DOUBLES TIER 1 ELECTRIC RATES AND WELL OVER 1/2 OF THE BILL YOU GET IS ALL GRAFT!
    Show Up Wed nite and say HELL NO!
    Then, if you have a Pool, drain the Son of a Bitch, and watch your bill go WAY THE HELL DOWN!
    Then let the lawn go brown!
    Then use box fans in the home and keep that Central Air OFF.
    If 10% of DWP Customers did that, DWP would be brought down! You’d see customer’s getting the bill and saying “Hey, my bill is 60% more than my actual USAGE!!!!”
    Starve the DWP MONSTER! VOTE WITH YOUR UTILITY USE: hell No, AND SAY hell NO!
    People in L.A. are being CRUSHED FINANCIALLY for just using water and some electricity in their own OVERTAXED HOME!
    But en masse, you need to tell these bastards on the DWP Board FACTS: BRING YOUR BILL AND THAT IS THE STORY RIGHT THERE.
    Okay Mr. Jack? Jesus!

  6. SCE says:

    Fuel prices for DWP mainly consist of Natural Gas Costs and Coal Cost (based on DWP’s contractual arrangements.
    Just because oil prices have gone down, doesn’t mean that the fuel supply for DWP’s power generation follows.
    Also, DWP should be forthcoming about their full costs since they are supposed to release that information for the ECAF adjustment.

  7. Noel Weiss says:

    AB 811 & AB 474. . . . . .
    Let’s roll. . . . .
    Noel Weiss

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank god we have the voice of reason on our side. Without these type of blogs and articles from Ron, Jack and others we would never know the truth since the media protects the corrupt politicians. Jan Perry needs to be outed as a corrupt in bed with AEG developers. Remember she pushed the whimps on council to give AEG a free pass on their billboards even though they didn’t have permits. Copy these stories and blast them out to all your group emails. People won’t read these corrupt stories or see them in the media. Its up to us to start DEFENDING ourselves since we have the Mexican Mafia inside City Hall and a bunch of bafoons who have no guts, leadership, morals, ethics. How embarrassing these are the idiots Prince William and Kate will be introduced to this weekend. I cringe just thinking about how embarrassing they all are.

  9. Anonymous says:

    @SCE, if Wayne from Encino wants to believe DWP burns oil, let him. It will make for a good laugh at the workshop.
    And we all know that since Encino is below the poverty line, having some of the lowest electricity and water rates in the nation is AN ATROCITY!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    WTF???? Let’s see how long little Mitch Englander votes against the pack. He was the only one who made sense stating city council shouldn’t get involved in Fed matters and he’s right. These clowns can’t even take care of their own city and consistently make motions on other matters. The only Veteran on council is Rosendahl. “”City Council called Tuesday for the federal government to end its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying money for those foreign wars should be invested instead in cities and other domestic needs.

  11. Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous on July 6, 2011 7:35 AM
    The real question is where will Mitch Englander stand on DWP/IBEW? Will he pull a Rosendahl by going against them, but leave the room before a vote?
    Or will he make up later since he would love to have funds from the money train.

  12. SCE says:

    @Anonymous on July 6, 2011 7:31 AM
    Even though Wayne from Encino may not have the full picture on fuel supplies to DWP, we need people like him. He is intelligent and has been at City Council meetings when no one else was present, especially when they pulled fast ones.

  13. Anonymous says:

    One in Five L.A. Department of Water and Power Workers Makes a Six Figure Salary
    Great story in LA Weekly. I’ve been saying it for a long time about these salaries. They haven’t laid off one person and now they want to raise OUR RATES????

  14. Anonymous says:

    While at the event, lock the doors and don’t allow them to leave.. until they meet the people’s demands.

  15. Anonymous says:

    DWP should layoff people, starting with the employees that they were forced to take from the city. Those employees will be sent back to the city and force the council to deal with them and not pretend they actually saved any jobs.

  16. Angel1975 says:

    I wish I could have attended this. Would anyone happen to know any video link uploaded on the net of this meeting? hair removal cream reviews

  17. Esther Levy says:

    I’m afraid the DWP will use the proposed rate increases to build an osmosis plant located at the Japanese Garden- Tillman Water Reclamation Plant area, even though other less intrusive areas are available. They will be tearing down good buildings and building others, which will prevent the Japanese Garden from being available to the public. I think the Garden is an asset to the community, and it should be protected.
    Any idea what can be done?

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