Last updateThu, 02 Jul 2015 6pm

LOS ANGELES Friday, July 3rd 2015 11:58


The Declaration of Independence Meant Something Different to America’s Not So Independent Slaves

Amy Goodman
WHO WE ARE-“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” asked Frederick Douglass (photo above) of the crowd gathered at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, NY, on July 5, 1852. “I answer,” he continued, “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which lie is the constant victim. To him,…

Trumping Trump: Shun the Donald, Boycott His Palos Verdes Golf Course

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-I believe that it's really Donald Trump's hair. I seem to be unique in this belief. It's nice to be unique in some way, but what bothers me is that I have also been nearly unique, until now, in arguing that Trump should be shunned and boycotted. But times change. It's been a traumatic week both for Donald Trump and for the…

LA’s Sidewalks: Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The City of Los Angeles is expected to spend $1.4 billion over the next 30 years to repair our sidewalks pursuant to a Settlement Agreement involving the Willits class action lawsuit that alleged that the City was not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. While the yet to be disclosed Settlement Agreement appears to…

Is It Really a Golden State or Is It Just One of Those Hollywood Illusions?

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-Is Los Angeles really part of a Golden State or is it a place to remember as you move to greener pastures? I pose this question following my recent visit to Chicago and other cities east of the Rockies. My travels to the east coast were part of my reserve LAPD duty. I was part of the group of LAPD Reserve Officers escorting the…

Want to Save The Bullet Train, Governor … Get Better Bullet Points!

Ken Alpern
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-George W. Bush had Iraq. Barack Obama has ObamaCare. And Jerry Brown has HIS bullet train. Not OUR bullet train, mind you, but HIS bullet train. And like Iraq, and like ObamaCare, the bullet train that was meant to help all of us, and which was promoted with great fanfare and wonderful intentions, has to survive the test of…

LA: Hit-and-Run Capital of the World May Be Getting an Alert System

Damien Newton
LA’S STREETS - After last week’s warning that CA Assemblymember Mike Gatto’s legislation to create a “Yellow Alert” system was imperiled by Senate Transportation and Housing Committee staff and the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) objections, there was a feeling of a looming showdown before today’s committee hearing. Assembly Bill 8 would create…

LA’s Citywide Sign Ordinance: By, For and Of Special Interests

Barbara Broide
IRATE PRIVATE CITIZEN’S OPEN LETTER-I write this letter not as a representative of my local homeowners association or neighborhood council, both of which have come out in support of the sign ordinance that limits new signage to sign districts in specified commercially zoned areas and who seek enforcement of and the issuance of citations to signs…

Now Is the Time For True Courage

Abby Zimet
FURTHER-Britanny 'Bree' Newsome - the filmmaker, organizer, activist and aspiring Super-Woman who memorably, determinedly climbed the flagpole at South Carolina's capitol to remove the Confederate flag - has spoken out for the first time about her feat, which she views "both as an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power…

When Did the American Civil War Really End and … Did Shenandoah Really Save the Whales?

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE - When did the American Civil War end? Could it really have been late June or early November of 1865? April 9, 1865 is the date widely accepted, and for good reason: it marked the surrender of General Lee’s army at Appomattox, Virginia. It was a foregone conclusion that other field commands would quickly follow suit. In fact, they did,…


  • 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…

Sun Jul 05, 2015 @ 5:00PM - 09:00PM
Twilight in the Garden: Little Tokyo Concert Series
Thu Jul 16, 2015 @12:00AM
LA Equality Awards RSVP
Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth

Fail! Fail! Americans don’t know why we celebrate the 4th of July

Awwww! Tornado separates dog and owner … dog waits!









LA Must Move Beyond Coal Now! To Save Money, Protect Health, Create Jobs!

ENERGY PRIORITIES - Last week on this site, Jack Humphreville assailed a forward-thinking proposal to redirect LADWP customer bills away from an out-of-state, dirty, dangerous and increasingly expensive coal-fired power plant and toward job-creating and money-saving local clean energy. (Link)
Tossing around unverified cost estimates and poorly rationalized arguments, Mr. Humphreville’s misguided and short-sighted stubbornness would keep Los Angeles tied to coal through the rest of this decade, putting customers at risk of paying more than we have to and limiting job growth here in LA.

Los Angeles currently relies on out-of-state coal-fired power for roughly 40% of our electricity – more than we get from any other source.  Getting power from coal is damaging to public health, the environment and DWP customer’s pocketbooks.  As LADWP maps out where it will get power from in coming years, there is an opportunity to protect customers from avoidable rate increases and to create jobs in Los Angeles by wisely investing in energy-saving measures and sustainable energy sources.  

As has been previously pointed out on CityWatch, the cost of dirty energy is rising across the nation, which means that continued dependence on dirty fuels will cause our customer bills to continue to increase.

When power rates were considered last year, we saw an excellent example of how our pocketbooks are put at risk by fossil fuels.  Our reliance on increasingly expensive fossil fuels was one of the primary reasons that LADWP fell into debt (and was thus requesting a rate increase).  

Even worse, a report commissioned by Councilmember Jan Perry found that our continued reliance on dirty energy was also going to create financial troubles for us all going forward. From PA Consulting’s February 2010 ECAF report:

The current undercollection in the ECAF account is approximately $125 million. This undercollection resulted from the cap on ECAF changes that failed to allow rates to keep up with rising costs. The majority of the current undercollection resulted from a sharp increase in natural gas prices that was experienced in 2008.

Put another way, the reason LADWP ran up its debt and went looking to customers for a rate increase was over dependence on fossil fuels.

Looking ahead to assess future financial risk, the Councilmember Perry-commissioned PA Consulting report had the following to say:

Coal prices are projected to increase substantially over the next five years, especially at IPP. This has a very strong impact on ECAF costs. While these prices are strongly influenced by market forces, minimizing the extent of these increases should be a major strategic focus of the Department.

So, let’s review. Looking back, our over-dependence on fossil fuels was the primary reason the utility fell into debt. Looking ahead, our reliance on out-of-state and increasingly expensive coal is projected to have a “very strong” impact on rates.

The Navajo Generating Station, due to its ignominious status as one of the largest sources of smog pollution in the country, is facing a ruling by the EPA to mandate upwards of $700 million in pollution controls. This same ruling at SCE’s neighboring Four Corners plant was enough to send the investor owned utility running from the plant, and should likewise inform LADWP’s outlook for its ownership status at NGS.  

Rather than shipping more money out of Los Angeles to keep a dirty and increasingly expensive coal plant open, LADWP should invest that same money – your money – in local clean energy resources that will create needed jobs right here in Los Angeles.  

The longer we wait to do what needs to be done and move beyond coal, the more expensive coal power will become and the less valuable our stake in Navajo Generating Station will be.

Los Angeles cannot afford to keep wasting money on dirty, dangerous and increasingly expensive coal-fired power.  Change can be scary to some, but a change in how we get power in LA is necessary if we are going to save money and put people to work.  

Find out more about the effort to move Los Angeles beyond coal at

(Evan Gillespie is the Beyond Coal Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club. Reach him at Twitter: -cw

Tags: coal, coal fired power, fossil fuels, smog, LADWP, Jack Humphreville, ECAF, Jan Perry, energy, DWP rates, jobs

Vol 9 Issue 80
Pub: Oct 7, 2011