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LOS ANGELES Tuesday, December 1st 2015 9:15

Wait ‘til You See the Fat Wallets and Special Interests Supporting Union Bo$$ d’Arcy and Council Boss Wesson’s Tax Increase

LA WATCHDOG - The best reason to vote NO on Proposition A is that Boston Frankie (aka Frank McCourt, the beloved real estate mogul and, thankfully, the former owner of the Dodgers) is a contributor to Herb Wesson’s Yes on A campaign fund that is financing the misleading media blitz supporting the PERMANENT half cent increase in our sales tax to a staggering 9½%. 

As of Monday morning, Herb’s sleazy slush fund had raised $1.3 million.  Additional shakedowns of City Hall ring kissers over the next week are expected to swell the resources of Herb’s piggy bank to over $2 million.  

The increase in the already highly regressive sales tax is expected to raise $215 million a year and $15 billion over the next 30 years.  

But that is just the tip of the iceberg if you analyze the goals of the many contributors who are seeking special treatment from the Herb Wesson led City Council. 

About half the cash that has rolled into Herb’s sleazy slush fund is from real estate developers who are always seeking preferential treatment for their projects, regardless of the consequences on the surrounding communities. 

Contributors include AEG, the Denver based conglomerate behind Farmers Field, LA Live, and Staples; Chicago based JMB Realty, the outfit that is scheming to develop an oversized 37 story office building in traffic congested Century City; and Alan Casden, the Beverly Hills campaign money laundering apartment mogul that is proposing a mixed use monstrosity at Pico and Sepulveda that is vehemently opposed by the traffic clogged community. 

There are also a number of contributors from the business community, including our friends from the billboard industry who are threatening to sue the City for $100 million; parking lot operators who have numerous issues involving the City; investment bankers looking for hefty underwriting and asset management fees; the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad which is dependent on the City owned Port of Los Angeles; and Republic Services, a trash hauler which is looking to benefit from the scandalous Exclusive Trash Franchise program that was jammed through the City Council as a favor to the Teamsters Union in return for its generous campaign contributions.     

Over 25% of the contributions are from the City’s public labor unions (and their supporters) who are looking for this additional revenue stream to fund higher salaries and benefits to say nothing of even more restrictive work rules that will stymie budget, pension, and work place reform. 

Contributors include the Los Angeles Police Protective League; the United Firefighters of Los Angeles; the Engineers and Architects; the American Federation of Federal, State, County, and Municipal Employees; IBEW Local 11; and, at the top of the list at $100,000, the Service Employees International Union 721 which represents over 10,000 civilian employees. 

But the City’s favor bank and coffers are not the only targets for special interests loaded with cash as campaign funding IBEW Union Bo$$ Brian d’Arcy has his eyes on the Department of Water and Power’s piggy bank and Ratepayers wallets to finance even higher salaries when the IBEW’s existing contract expires in October of 2014.  

Union Bo$$ d’Arcy is also trying to bury any meaningful review and analysis of the $250 million IBEW Labor Premium, the significantly higher wages enjoyed by DWP employees compared to other regional utilities, the very restrictive work rules that result in overstaffing and the inability to outsource noncore services, and the proposal to benchmark DWP’s operational efficiency with other regional utilities.   

These abuses were disclosed - much to the dismay of the Bo$$, the Mayor, the Controller, and IBEW allies on the City Council - in PA Consulting’s August 23, 2012 report relating to the two year power rate increase of 11.2%.  

The City Council has also requested information on these issues, but the report is already two months late and subject to considerable political pressure.  

Also off bounds is the review and analysis of DWP’s pension plan, it’s very generous benefits, its unfunded liability of $2.3 billion (76% funded), the ever increasing pension contributions, and the reliance on an overly optimistic investment rate assumption of 7.75%. 

And nowhere is there any discussion about reforming the DWP and how Ratepayers are getting ripped off for over $750 million a year: the $250 million IBEW Labor Premium, the $250 million Transfer Fee / Tax from the Power System to the General Fund, the cost of absorbing 1,600 City employees that were dumped on DWP, and the numerous pet projects.  

The IBEW is expected to blow about $2 million in the upcoming election next week, including expenditures to date of $1.7 million on behalf of Wendy Greuel. 

Another $100,000 is being spent on behalf of three candidates for the City Council, all of whom support increasing our sales tax to 9½%: former SEIU employee and expense account abuser Gil Cedillo in Council District 1; carpetbagger State Senator Curren Price in Jan Perry’s district; and the inexperienced John Choi, a former Director for the County Federation of Labor, in Eric Garcetti’s district. 

In deciding how to vote on Proposition A, follow the cash. And in this case, the goals of those special interests bearing cash are not in the best interest of the City and the citizens of Los Angeles. 

Nor are the goals of campaign funding IBEW Union Bo$$ in the Ratepayers best interests. 

So on Election Day, we can send a message to the occupants of City Hall and the professional politicians running for office on the Union Bo$$ d’Arcy ticket that we will no longer tolerate the plundering of our Department of Water and Power.   

Wendy Greuel, Gil Cedillo, Curren Price, and John Choi have not earned your vote. 

And we can also demand budget, pension, and work place reform by voting NO on Proposition A, the PERMANENT half cent increase in our sales tax to a job killer 9 ½ %, one of the highest rates in the nation.


(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee,  the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler Classifieds -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at: lajack@gmail.com)




Vol 11 Issue 18

Pub: Mar 1, 2013