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Pirates at the Port (of Los Angeles)

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The growth of the Port of Los Angeles and its ability to maintain and create good paying jobs and its market share of imported cargo are under siege by external market forces as well as the demand by the San Pedro and Wilmington communities to finance $400 million of public benefits over the next ten years. The Harbor Department, one…

Why I Support 'No Gays Allowed'

C.J. Prince
GUEST WORDS-Last week, a Tennessee retailer made headlines when he took the whole we-won't-bake-cakes-for-gay-weddings thing to the next level. In response to last week's Supreme Court marriage ruling, Jeff Amyx, owner of Amyx Hardware, taped a "No Gays Allowed" sign to his storefront window. Amyx, who is also a Baptist minister, explained to WATE…

Never on Sunday

Paul Hatfield
GREEK VOTE, A PERSPECTIVE-According to the lyrics from the memorable theme to Never on Sunday (enjoy the trailer), it is OK to kiss in Greece except for Sunday. However, on this past Sunday, July 5th, Greek voters invited the EU to kiss them. I need not mention the part of the anatomy, though. Contrary to some extreme views, this does not mean the…

LA Transpo Slowed to a Crawl by Outdated and Ignored Laws

Ken Alpern
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-Reform of the City Charter or its Bylaws is almost certainly in order, but it's no secret that the City of LA … for all its hype about being for "sustainable living" and being "environmentally-friendly" … is burdened by a host of either outdated laws (which encourage inappropriate overdevelopment) or ignored laws (which are…

You’ll Never Guess Why I love Los Angeles

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-I remember the first time I went on a vacation outside of Mexico. We went to Los Angeles when I was 6 years old. I didn’t have to wonder why my dad choose Los Angeles, he knew I wanted to go to Disneyland and meet Mickey Mouse. That first trip we took that summer made me fell in love with this City. Los Angeles has everything a…

Unsolicited Advice for New LA Councilmember David Ryu

Joe Linton
GUEST COMMENTARY-Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu. Photo via ryuforcouncil.com It’s July. That means a new budget year for government agencies, where there is some turnover: some new faces, new officers, and new committees. LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is the new chair of the Metro Board of Directors, replacing LA Mayor Eric…

LA Working on Plan to Plaster the City with Digital Billboards

Adrian Glick Kudler
GUEST WORDS-People in Los Angeles love digital billboards!! We can't get enough of them! Give us more!!! Oh, thank god, the LA City Council is ON IT. Lawsuits have tragically darkened so many of those blinky, flashy ads, but yesterday the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee voted to bring them back big time. They want to…

The Persuaders: California Hospital Association

Bill Raden
CAPITAL AND MAIN SPECIAL REPORT-The nurses who showed up at state Senator Richard Pan’s Capitol office in May were furious. They had been assured by Pan, a Democrat from Sacramento, that he would be on their side when it came time to vote on Senate Bill 346, a charity care measure aimed at providing transparency to the state’s currently murky…

Vacations are a Necessity…Not a Luxury

Denyse Selesnick
Since most of the readers of CityWatch are “high achievers” you have undoubtedly faced the situation where you feel you can’t afford to take a vacation right now because of a million different reasons. Many of these boil down to one…without your presence things will fall apart. Really, they are just excuses … not reasons! Getting away from your…


  • Costco: Free Range Liars!

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS POLITICS-Eight years ago grocery retailer Costco (COST) pledged to transition out of using eggs from chickens in small cages to cage free…
  • 10 Things Over-Thinkers Are Tired Of Over-Thinking

    Lindsay Holmes
    WELLNESS-While writing this intro, I deleted the first paragraph approximately six times. My thoughts ranged from "Just get to the point already" to…
  • Can Procrastination Give You a Heart Attack?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-A study posted in the journal of behavioral medicine linked procrastination with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Specifically…

Thu Jul 16, 2015 @12:00AM
LA Equality Awards RSVP
Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth

One More Time! Grateful Dead say goodbye.

USA World Cup Soccer win … sealed with a kiss









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 -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at:    lajack@gmail.com )


Vol 9 Issue 52
Pub: July 1, 2011