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My Sunday Column: The Trouble with Harry — Persistent Activist Gets the Attention of City Officials

Let’s have a big round of applause for retired law professor Harry Zavos.

Citing the state Constitution and a lawsuit won by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, he got Glendale officials three years ago to stop transferring “surplus” water revenue to the city’s General Fund.

Score one for Harry.

Then, he began a crusade to end the transfer of what this year is $21 million in electricity revenues to the General Fund — money that is desperately needed to maintain basic city services at a time when Glendale, like nearly every government agency in California, is facing huge budget deficits.

Doggedly persistent, one-pointed like a pit bull, Zavos pushed city officials to the wall, claiming the transfer amounted to a tax requiring voter approval under the state’s Proposition 26 and violated the City Charter’s rules for Glendale Water & Power financial operations.

Finally, City Atty. Mike Garcia and Senior Assistant City Atty. Christine Godinez issued a 16-page legal opinion backed by a 40-slide PowerPoint presentation that came before the Glendale Water & Power Commission three weeks ago. It should properly be called the “Zavos Report.”

Score two for Harry.


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One Response to My Sunday Column: The Trouble with Harry — Persistent Activist Gets the Attention of City Officials

  1. Teddy says:

    “He asked questions that deserved to be asked, and now that he’s got the answers, it’s time to start moving forward,” Ochoa said. “Hopefully, a Charter amendment will resolve the issue once and for all. We have spent way too much time and money shadowboxing this issue.”

    It isn’t easy to achieve what Zavos has, and it isn’t going to be any easier to take a “see you in court” stance and find the money for lawyers and other costs associated with suing the city to find out who’s right about the law.

    So a word of advice, Harry: Declare victory, and start drafting changes to the Charter that would satisfy what you want to see, and get Glendale moving on to dealing with all the other problems that need attention.”

    Not only is Harry Zavos very, very wise, he knows how to explaain so that
    the rest of us can understand. Thank you for sharing what you have learned
    and how about a 10 for each of you.

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