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Why Government Robs You Blind: Because It Can — They Make and Enforce the Laws and Frighten You into Submission

Between pass-throughs and rate hikes and surcharges and transfers to other uses, you might have noticed your bills for water and power have been soaring for years.

You ain’t seen nothing yet — utilities are the certain cash cow for government at all levels, a reservoir of money that can be used just about anyway your elected officials want if they are lucky enough to operate their own water and/or power systems like the (a web address that makes clear it’s a business, not a government agency).

What with the Colorado River supply evaporated and the Owens Valley in revolt against being dried out for the benefit of LA and the state incapable of resolving the endless water wars between north and south, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is your broker, your advocate, your protector.

Not an honest one to be sure but it’s all you got to be confident that when you turn the tap, water of a heavily chemicalized nature will flow.

This is a desert after all and if you were down to your last drop of the precious fluid, you would pay just anything for it.

That’s the viewpoint adopted by public and private agencies increasingly in recent years to drive up your water rates dramatically with even sharper increases on the table and planned for years to come with the likelihood that more of your water will come from recycled what you flush down the the toilet and other reuses that require even more chemical treatment.

Now the MWD like the LADWP and other water agencies have decided to squeeze every cent they can from you under threat that you will be left high and dry if you don’t pay up.

Of course, you know nothing about this.

MWD is as obscure as a critically important public agency could be. It supplies most of the water to nearly 20 million people who are represented by political appointees from six counties of Southern California.

The MWD is awash in your money. Here’s the annual percentage increases imposed  since 2008: 6%, 14%, 20%, 7.5%, 7.5%, 5% and 5% more come Jan. 1.

Wow, you might say, water is getting really expensive. But that isn’t the case. The main problem is you are using less water even in these dry times when rainfall and snowpack are low.

The MWD supplied 2.26 million acre feet of water in 2008, 2.16 million in 2009, dropping to 1.77 million in 2010 and staying in that range with 1.70 million acre feet anticipated this year and next.

It is the charges to cities and water companies that have soared while the MWD budget itself has remained more or less the same at $1.8 billion a year.

What has changed is the reserve fund, the rainy day water fund to deal with the unforeseen.

The 7.5% rate hike in 2012 produced a surplus of $97 million but that didn’t stop the MWD Board — dominated by LA and its satellite cities sort of like the Soviet Union and its satellite countries — from rejecting calls for a modest 3 % hike this year, imposing a 5 % increase instead.

The result is a windfall surplus of $217 million in the 12 months ending June 30 and a reserve fund so awash in cash that it has $549 million in the bank — $75 million more than it is allowed to have in reserve by its own rules and state law despite metrics on debt, costs and infrastructure needs that are as healthy as they have ever been.

So why does the MWD want to hoard even more money by changing the rules they made and sticking to a 5% rate increase that will add even more money?

And why does the LADWP which fought for nearly 50 years to eliminate property taxes as a major source of revenue rather than water sales now want  to slug homeowners and businesses with increased charges when LA has by far the highest property valuations?

It’s politics, all part of a back room deal you’re not supposed to know anything about, part of a grand scheme being hatched in smokeless rooms by the governor, legislators and power brokers in our cities and counties.

All they want is your money anyway they can get it even as in this case they don’t even know what to do with it.

Only one major organization is fighting this, the San Diego County Water Authority, whose paid “Get the Facts” advertisement outlining its long war over MWD policies is in the upper right hand corner of this page.

You can read the letter they sent to MWD officials here (2013-0605_MWD Board Items 8-1 and 8-2-1) and you can read the MWD board’s motions here (06112013 BOD 8-1 B-L-1) and here (06112013 BOD 8-2 B-L-1).

What San Diego wants is to have the $75 million in surplus charges returned to the agencies — all of which are seeking higher and higher rates for water as well as power — and could use the money to reduce the burden on their ratepayers.

It would mean a 21 percent refund or nearly $16 million to LA, nearly 22 percent or more than $16 million to San Diego that has long-standing grievance over MWD’s unfair  charges for transferring its water supply from the desert and relative amounts to all the cities and agencies that rely on MWD that offers no serious explanation of why it wants to hoard the public’s money. Here’s the chart:



This entry was posted in City Hall, DWP, Glendale-Burbank, Hot Topics, Los Angeles and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Why Government Robs You Blind: Because It Can — They Make and Enforce the Laws and Frighten You into Submission

  1. MWD has its HQ off the 110 freeway and Alameda (next to the Union Station.) There’s a small plaque that says “Metropolitan Water District Headquaters.” Of course there’s no parking for the public and the public can only find it walking around the Union Station complex. San Diego has been doing a great job fighting the thievery going on. MWD isn’t the only water source for L.A.—there are 3 others. The Supreme Court allowed Colorado River water to go to Arizona as California attempted to grab a much larger share of it. If you go to the 8 freeway east towards Yuma, Az, you’ll see farmers growing hay and barley in 120 degree heat WITH ALL THE WATER THEY NEED!!! Imperial County grabs this water and it gets ducted to the farmers, and the same to Riverside Co. for all their farmers and the golf courses. We are awash in water—RON’S RIGHT ON–WE’RE CONSERVING SO MUCH WATER, THAT THEY HAVE TO INCREASE THE RATES TO KEEP THE PROFIT MARGINS UP IN THE CITIES!!! I’ve cut my usage 40% since 2008 and my monthly bill went down 20% despite the increased THIEVERY. Funny thing happened recently, though. I increased my usage the past 4 months, yet my bill WAS LESS than it was 3 years ago at the increased usage. Maybe if everyone uses more, we get a rate cut? The late Terry Anderson of the KRLA “Terry Anderson Show” use to be proud—he’d leave the water on in the bathroom and the air conditioner on all day “So I use far more energy and water and leave less for the illegals!” Anderson believed the conservation movement was a sham and only for allowing increased population density of illegal aliens in L.A. County. Wouldn’t you love a Wall St. Journal analysis of that theory???

  2. Pingback: Why Government Robs You Blind: Because It Can — They Make and Enforce the Laws and Frighten You into Submission | The Truth about The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

  3. anonymous says:

    I see the government costs impacting us in other ways. Pension costs has reduced some staff to skeletal levels. Why are so many mental patients out on the streets not getting care? I hear “they” cannot staff the numbers so they are turned out. Why can’t they be staffed? My guess is pensions/benefits outweigh government’s ability to accommodate the numbers in need. This may increase as the population grows and the means to support that number diminishes.

    • Scott Zwartz says:

      Don’t you see some disconnect between your attack on pensions and your desire to hire more people to take care of the mentally ill? We once had a system where extremely low paid and sadistic people guarded the mentally ill in prisons which we called “hospitals.” Why do you an to bring back that system?

  4. Rita-of-Sunland says:

    Thank Gawd most of my “precious fluid” is distilled.

  5. Ron Johnson says:

    Every day, I see a river of whining on the blogs, as to all the ways The People are getting REAMED up the wazoo. Yet, all you sad sheep do, is cry in each others’ beer glass. Is there any organized group of People, who take ACTion, aside from whining like helpless losers? There are things EACH and EVERY one of you can do, to CREATE REAL HISTORIC CHANGE. I’ve heard of people doing that, in L.A., before.

    • ex valley says:

      Change? In LA? Are you joking?

      Nope, things never change. Just whining.

    • Many of these “whiners” are also activists who face the city council, attend public forums where elected officials attend and make our complaints known. We fight for what ever media attention we can get. We are not supported by unions or other special interest groups, so it is a huge uphill fight, especially in a city where 80% of the registered voters do not cast a ballot.

      Ron, what do you do?

      • ex valley says:

        You are wasting your time because you never do the right thing when it matters. Instead of fighting the machine you are fighting each other. You can’t even agree on a preferred candidate. Remember when Ron said vote perry or Kevin James. It made no sense because perry is part of the machine. Why’d you want her?

        And when very few people vote, it should be a piece of cake to get your candidate elected. Provided you unite behind one. But your political correctness held you back in 2009 and whatever other reasons this year.

        You could only win by a grass roots, door to door campaign united.

        • El Quixotian says:

          And…Kevin was the preferred candidate, with his endorsement of Garcetti all part of infiltration? Was his presence at the back of the room while Mitch and Eric covered all the focus-group-tested talking points at CSUN last night just a ruse…he was just waiting for an opportunity to slip into a anteroom and don the mask and white hat?

          Did he ever have a chance, kemo sabe? Was he just shooting blanks…shifting a few votes here and there as a decoy, while the Bunker Hill Gang fought over who was going to ride lead now that the last front man hightailed it outta here. Or was this just another lost term, where any could-be challengers looked at the cards on the table and decided not to ante up (like 2009, where a would-be Carusader could easily see the vault was already empty (globally, nationally, and statewide)…resurrection unlikely, with the tombstone being chiseled away, just like streets and sidewalks and overall structural dereliction.

          Or did James’ showing actually give us something to aim at. Maybe Galperin’s victory presents another shot in the dark. If either is disingenuous, with ulterior motives, they should be called out on it (like Nuch was?), but it still represents progress.

          Paul is as correct as you often are…fact is, it takes a lot of little silver bullets.

          That door to door mindset has to also be applied in every corral, and the worst mistake it do discourage others from venturing into the arena.

          Come on…we know you’re silently rooting for those of us you’ve left behind! (Btw, just wondering…are you by any chance the prolific blogger who used to go by West Valle Dave, or is he still out here somewhere?)

          Let’s keep an watch out on the horizon, and stand strong with folks we see eye to eye with, as we populate our posse. But most of all, keep the faith, so we can give a wink to the one who we see in the mirror…and make sure we take the chance to thank ‘em!

    • Scott Zwartz says:

      When there are groups like SaveHollywood.Org, Eastwood Coalition, Hollywoodians Encouraging Logical Planning, and Fix The City, Inc., they never find people like you there to help.

      There are some people who devote hundreds of thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours each year and then there are the”Ron Johnsons” of the world.

  6. Teddy says:

    Ron Johnson What are those capabilities? You seem aware of them. Please share.
    Thank you.

  7. anonymous says:

    Oh, now Lindsey wants to stay at LAWA after having been rejected twice in applying for new jobs. Garcetti should fire her before the new Controller makes headlines in auditing LAWA. Lindsey is corrupt to the core.

  8. Ron Johnson says:

    paul, i just searched you on google. i read what you offer. if i am referring to anyone, it’s you.

    • So, what do you do to push back against the city?
      If you have a couple of hundred thousand dollars on hand, please send it to me and I will happily step up my activities.

      • anonymous says:

        It requires a power that transcends money to,
        as you say, push back against the city.
        One must resist the seductive song of being
        a “community leader”, a “team player”,
        “in with the in-crowd” etc. Liberate yourself.
        Be indifferent to flattery, approvals, rewards.
        Apparatchik-bureaucrats cower when confronted
        by the courage-mind-soul of a liberated man…

      • anonymous says:

        So…you need “a couple of hundred thousand dollars” ?
        What a waste of your efforts and other people’s money.
        Money to corruption is like fresh blood to vampires.

  9. Good Point on Kevin—the MACHINE got more than they wanted: They got KRLA to run Kevin off the air for running for mayor while on the air as an employee of Salem Communications, which owns KRLA. Now, KRLA won’t put a local and live show on the air, its all pre-recorded crap now. Then they got Kevin to endorse a MACHINE rat over another horrid MACHINE rat! In L.A. it’s basically 3 choices: Sell out, Move, or withdraw from the frey. There is no right to vote, in reality, for anyone who can stop the crap Downtown. Corporations and Associations buy, package, fund, and run ALL of L.A.’s candidates and stuff them down the throats of the 9% who show up to vote. Only a Supreme Court decision declaring this process UNCONSTITUTIONAL (which is a 5-4 decision today) will begin a long struggle to return elections to ONE PERSON ONE VOTE vs. Buy all elected officials, screw the People.
    Next Week in Massachusetts, a Republican Latino is trying to gain Kerry’s old senate seat over a machine Leftist. He’s 1 point down. And the MACHINE has poured 10 million bucks into the special election to hold this seat. This is INSANITY and must be ended.

  10. anonymous says:

    How many “activists” (whiners) complained, protested, resisted or
    filed suit against the Redistricting Commissioners last year…hmmm? Too few!
    Your domain was secured…so why complain if someone else is abused.
    You were content, safe, special, not part of those distant abuses…silly you.
    A corrupt people do not care about corrupt politicians
    and corrupt politicians do not care about organized crime.
    Be prepared to suffer until the next redistricting.

    • I saw hundreds of activists at the redistricting meeting in my neck of the woods. 99% spoke against the plan or some of its elements. The press was there, too.

      The bottom line is the average citizens need money and available time to fight back. Without these, we must rely on communications, preferably mainstream media, with blogs directed at specific groups. Realistically, that is as much as most people can do.

      The best strategy would be wake up some of the 80% who do not vote and make them see what is going on under their noses. The person who can figure out how to do that will rule the world.

  11. Anonymous says:

    As someone who is a deeply involved observer of LA politics, I would list only a handful of organizations and smart people who have made a difference to our conversation here. Ron Kaye; Jack Humphreville; Paul Hatfield & Citywatch that allows a forum to discuss local issues. If you don’t follow these guys then you are clueless about what is happening in this city. They have done more to inform the local citizenry than your major dailies and most “leaders”, some in the guise of Neighborhood Councils. I respect them all and am grateful for the thankless work they do.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “Los Angeles Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti has named a former community organizer as the first hire of his new administration, designating longtime council aide Ana Guerrero as his chief of staff.

    Guerrero, 42, has been working for Garcetti since 2001, serving first as his organizing director and the last five years as his chief of staff. She is the daughter of migrant farmworkers and has been a single mother who for nearly a year was receiving public assistance, including food stamps.”

    This city is doomed. Get ready to pay for Garcetti’s new Department of Immigrants ie. illegals.

  13. Jesus! The Food Stamp Queen as Chief of Staff? Kevin James should of gotten that job for getting Eric elected. I’m going to try to get the City to throw my ballot out—I should have joined the 81% and not bothered to vote at all!

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