Last updateMon, 25 May 2015 2pm

LOS ANGELES Wednesday, May 27th 2015 4:49


  • WHO WE ARE-Nearly half of Los Angeles just gave itself a raise. Following a wave of state and local minimum-wage bills and initiatives, Los Angeles became one of the largest cities to dramatically raise its hourly base pay and join Seattle to hit the magic $15-an-hour demand pushed by labor and community groups nationwide. The City Council…
  • ​City Snookered by Westfield Billionaires

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In March of 2014, the Herb Wesson led City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approved a 25 year, $48 million giveaway to help the $28.5 billion Westfield Corporation finance its $250 million development, The Village at Westfield Topanga. (Photo) But this subsidy championed by Councilman Bob Blumenfield was hardly necessary as The Village…
  • Slick With Denial: ‘Self-Regulation’ and the Latest Oil Spill

    Judith Lewis Mernit
    HISTORY LESSONS IGNORED-On Wednesday, May 20, the day after a Santa Barbara County fire inspector discovered a stream of contaminated crude oil flowing onto a pristine segment of the Southern California coast, a group of researchers published a study linking the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to a mass die-off of bottlenose dolphins. The 46…
  • Scaremongering about the Patriot Act Sunset

    Jameel Jaffer
    FALSE CLAIMS EXPOSED-In a last-ditch effort to scare lawmakers into preserving unpopular and much-abused surveillance authorities, the Senate Republican leadership and some intelligence officials are warning that allowing Section 215 of the Patriot Act to sunset would compromise national security. (One particularly crass example from Senator…
  • Still the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave

    Ken Alpern
    ALPERN AT LARGE-It's been another year and another successful Flag Placement at the West Los Angeles National Cemetery. Crawling out of bed in the morning on a holiday weekend to show up bright and early for a show of American patriotism and respect to our veterans and fallen heroes, the region and nation saw yet again how the Boy Scouts, Girl…
  • Retaliation: VA Police Target Veterans

    Robert L. Rosebrock
    LOS ANGELES – Recently, I was interviewed by John Ismay, an Iraqi War Veteran who is the “Veterans and Military Issues Reporter” for Southern California Public Radio. We met at the Los Angeles VA to discuss the never-ending misappropriation of land at this largest VA in the nation, within our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans. We were…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…


  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…

ICYMI-Amy Schumer shows Dave her vagina

Remembering Ann Meara: 1929-2015

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before









Ratepayer Funded DWP is Not LAUSD’s Sugar Daddy

LA WATCHDOG - In light of the Department of Water and Power’s proposed rate increases and their impact on students, Dr. John Deasy, the Superintendant of Schools for the Los Angeles Unified School District, has requested that DWP “develop a discounted utility rate structure for educational institutions like LAUSD.” This would include both public and private educational organizations in order to comply with state law. Fortunately for Ratepayers, state law prohibits a separate rate structure for LAUSD.

In his undated letter to DWP General Manager Ron Nichols, Deasy said that LAUSD is DWP’s largest customer with estimated billings of $67 million for the 2011-12 fiscal year. Deasy also states that the projected rate increases of 5% to 6% a year would increase LAUSD’s costs by $3 to $4 million a year, putting an additional burden on LAUSD’s already strained $6.5 billion General Fund, “reducing educational resources and placing jobs for teachers, principals, librarians, and other support staff at risk.”

While LAUSD may perform a noble service, it should not receive any preferential treatment or terms unless they are available to all commercial and residential customers.  

Nor should residential or commercial Ratepayers be forced to subsidize the notoriously inefficient LAUSD.  This would result in an even greater increase in rates, a fact that conveniently alluded Deasy as did the total cost of this self serving request.  

And such an arrangement, no matter how well intentioned, is a precedent that has the potential to be a very expensive burden on DWP and the Ratepayers, further eroding the Ratepayers’ trust in DWP and City Hall.

It is easy to imagine one of our good hearted elected chuckleheads, starting with the Mayor, using the proposed LAUSD deal as a precedent to justify even more rate breaks for their cronies and other politically connected organizations.  

As it is, the City is already subsidizing LAUSD since the school system is not subject to the 10% City Utility Tax.  This will result in a savings for LAUSD of $6.7 million, a fair amount of change for our barely solvent City.

As a matter of interest, about 10% of the DWP’s power revenue base is exempt from the 10% City Utility, costing the City over $30 million a year.  

And Ratepayers are already doing more than their fair share as DWP is the largest single source of cash for the City’s General Fund.  In addition to the 10% City Utility Tax that raises more than $300 million a year, the Ratepayers are socked with an additional $250 million associated with the less than transparent 8% Power System Transfer Fee.  

This $550 million is augmented by “public benefits” of over $50 million, low income and lifeline subsidies for 300,000 customers that now cost over $60 million, and numerous pet projects for the Mayor and the Council Members.

DWP has also absorbed over 1,600 less than qualified City employees who arrived on DWP’s door step bearing unfunded pension liabilities of around $200 million.

And this does not even include the IBEW Labor Premium that is estimated to cost Ratepayers more than $250 million a year.  But this is only fair payback since Union Bo$$ d’Arcy has been a very generous contributor to the campaigns of Mayor Villaraigosa, Controller Wendy Greuel, and other local politicians.  

And any preferential treatment of LAUSD is inconsistent with the City Administrative Officer’s “full cost recovery” policy where the City’s Library Department and Department of Recreation and Parks are being squeezed to fund their share of the City’s DWP bill.

Even so, this proposed subsidy may be subject to Proposition 26, the Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees Act, which was approved by a majority of the voters in November.

This cynical, pull at our heart strings, poorly researched, and illegal scheme is just another stunt by the political establishment to raid DWP at the expense of the Ratepayers. It establishes a horrible precedent that has the potential to increase our power rates even more than the proposed 26% over the next two and a half years.

If the City Hall wants to subsidize LAUSD’s power bill, that is their decision.  But not on the Ratepayers’ dime! Any subsidy is the Taxpayers’ responsibility and must be approved by the voters.

(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: )


Vol 9 Issue 52
Pub: July 1, 2011