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Is the Headworks Reservoir (Pet) Project Another Example of Corruption?

LA WATCHDOG - Last Thursday at the CD 4 Community Leadership Meeting, Council Member Tom LaBonge confirmed in no uncertain terms that he and Eric Garcetti made the unilateral decision to proceed with the Headworks Reservoir Project.

This project, located just off of Forest Lawn Drive between Griffith Park and the Ventura Freeway, consists of two underground reservoirs, a four megawatt hydroelectric power plant, and $10 million of landscaping to cover the buried reservoirs.

But is the Headworks Reservoir Project in the best interests of our Department of Water and Power and its Ratepayers, especially now that the estimated cost is $319.1 million, almost 40% higher than the previously disclosed cost of $230 million?

Or are there more cost effective alternatives for meeting the state and federal water quality and safety regulations for open reservoirs?

For example, did DWP properly consider a floating cover for the Ivanhoe Reservoir, or an Ultraviolet Treatment Facility or a Filtration Plant for the Silver Lake Reservoir Complex?

Or was DWP unduly pressured by LaBonge and Garcetti to proceed with the Headworks Reservoir Project to preserve the million dollar views of Silver Lake residents?

And how does the Headworks Reservoir Project fit with the $573.7 million River Supply Conduit projects?  And how many pet projects (such as pedestrian paths in Griffith Park) are buried in these projects and being financed by the Ratepayers?

Rather than proceeding with the Headworks Reservoir (Pet) Project, DWP needs to educate the Ratepayers as to why the significantly more expensive alternative was selected and why we, the Ratepayers, must shoulder the burden of preserving the million dollar views of the politically well connected residents of Silver Lake.

And if the big spenders, LaBonge and Garcetti, decide to proceed with the high priced Headworks Reservoir (Pet) Project, they should establish a special assessment district so the residents of Silver Lake foot the incremental cost of more than $250 million.

Of course, if this added expense was on Silver Lake’s dime, maybe the residents would have a slightly different perspective.

The political interference of LaBonge and Garcetti is just another example of our Elected Elite using our Department of Water and Power as its own personal candy store.

In Sunday’s Los Angeles Times, columnist Steve Lopez used the IBEW Labor Premium as a prime example of political corruption in our City.

In particular, the super secretive Executive Employee Relations Committee (the “EERC”), under the leadership of Mayor Villaraigosa and then Council President Garcetti, approved an 11% to 19% wage increase for the IBEW membership as other City workers were being laid off or furloughed.  As a result, DWP workers are paid 40% more than other city employees.

Of course, this is understandable as Villaraigosa and Garcetti, as well as Wendy Greuel and Controller wannabe Dennis Zine, are beholden to campaign funding Union Bo$$ d’Arcy, the public be damned business manager of the IBEW, the DWP’s domineering union.

[As an aside, Bernard Parks and Jan Perry, former members of the EERC along with Villaraigosa, Garcetti, and Zine, are not beneficiaries of Union Bo$$ d’Arcy’s campaign cash.  To the contrary, Union Bo$$ d’Arcy was a very generous contributor to Park’s totally unqualified opponent in his recent reelection and definitely will not be supporting Perry in the upcoming race for Mayor because of her stalwart support of the Ratepayers Advocate.]  

Lopez’s column, LA Catching Up to Chicago in Sleaze, is just another warning that all the “dirty deeds” by City Hall are going to make LA the most corrupt city in country, surpassing Chicago.

So is the Headworks Reservoir (Pet) Project another form of corruption?  You bet it is and it is time to end what Steve Lopez calls these “dirty deeds,” whether it is the Headworks Reservoir (Pet) Project, the $250 million a year IBEW Labor Premium, the LA River, or dumping 1,600 unneeded City employees onto the DWP payroll.

Ratepayers and all Angelenos must demand that profligate Council Members LaBonge and Garcetti, globetrotting Mayor Villaraigosa, City Council President Herb Wesson of Harold and Belle’s fame, and Jose Huizar, the inexperienced and beleaguered Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee that oversees DWP, and the other members of their self serving City Hall cabal keep their money grubbing mitts off of DWP’s cash.

Rather, let the pros at DWP run the business and do their job of keeping the lights on and the water flowing.

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler -- He can be reached at:   lajack@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) –cw



Vol. 10 Issue 17

Pub:  Feb 28, 2012