Increased Rates! No Ratepayer Advocate!
- 27 May 2011
- Written by Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG - On Saturday, June 4, the Energy and Environment Committee of the City Council and the Board of Water and Power Commissioners will hold a joint meeting to hear a presentation by Ron Nichols, the new General Manager of our Department of Water and Power, about the 2011-12 Budget, the Department’s five year operational and financial plan, and the proposed multiyear rate increases needed to support the on-going operations of both the Water and Power Systems.As part of this process, the City Council has retained the well versed and highly qualified PA Consulting Group, a private firm whose principals have an intimate knowledge of the water and power utility industry, DWP, its operations and finances, and the surrounding political environment.
In the past, PA Consulting authored the chartered mandated Industrial, Economic, and Administrative Survey of February 2009 and analyzed the revenue requirements of the Energy Cost Adjustment Factor during the ECAF Fiasco in April 2010.
But where is our Ratepayer Advocate?
On March 8, 2011, 78% of the voters approved Measure I that authorized the Office of Public Accountability and the Ratepayer Advocate, to be effective July 1.
But what is the status of the implementation of Measure I, especially now that water and power rate increases will be announced in eight days? Where is the Citizens Commission that is to select the Executive Director of the Office of Public Accountability?
Unfortunately, the process of selecting a Citizens Committee, an Executive Director of the Office of Public Accountability, and a Ratepayers Advocate is bogged down in the bowels of City Hall because of the corrupting power of the campaign funding Union Bo$$ Brian D’Arcy, the shadowy public-be-damned business manager of the IBEW, the DWP’s domineering union.
But rather than succumbing to the pressures of Bo$$ D’Arcy, Eric Garcetti, the City Council President and likely candidate for Mayor, needs to get with the program and step up to the plate and represent the underrepresented Ratepayers.
These are the same voters who not only supported Measure I, but defeated Measure B, the bogus Solar Initiative, in March 2009 despite the massive campaign contributions by Bo$$ D’Arcy, Mayor Villaraigosa, and his self serving cronies.
This is the same Bo$$ D’Arcy who supported Jack Weiss for City Attorney, Christine Essel for Council District 2, and Forescee Hogan-Rowles for Council District 8, all losers to lesser funded candidates. His only recent winner was Controller Wendy Greuel, an announced candidate for Mayor in 2013, who ran against two underfunded, unknown political novices.
Of course, Union Bo$$ D’Arcy’s support of Antonio Villaraigosa in his 2005 race for Mayor has resulted in major league benefits as witnessed by the over the top wage increases for the IBEW.
Subsequent to the ECAF Fiasco, Ratepayers interests have been supported by Jan Perry, the head of the Energy and Environment Committee; Greig Smith; Bernard Parks; Paul Krekorian, Paul Koretz, and Tony Cardenas, all members of the E & E Committee; and Bill Rosendahl. All seven Council Members supported greater transparency and accountability.
On the other hand, Garcetti, Congressional candidate Hahn, wannabe Controller Zine, Wesson, Alarcon, Reyes, and Huizar voted to water down Measure I and/or vetoed the ballot measure that would have allowed the City Council to remove the DWP General Manager or any Commissioner with a two-thirds vote.
The underrepresented Ratepayers have demanded a well funded, empowered, and truly independent Ratepayers Advocate to help understand the proposed multiyear rate increases, which, along with the increases in the sewer frees, are going to have a significant impact on their wallets.
The City, DWP, and Ratepayers need an open and transparent process to help begin to restore trust and confidence in the City. The DWP and the Energy and Environment Committee have made significant progress. Now is the time for the City Council to stand up for the Ratepayers.
Vol 9 Issue 42
Pub: May 27, 2011