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 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

Does DWP Deserve a Rate Increase?

LA WATCHDOG - Our Department of Water and Power is proposing to increase power rates over the next two years by 11%.  And DWP is also asking for another 5% increase in our water rates, which combined with the Water Quality increase in February, will approximate a 15% bump in water rates.
These rate increases will be used in part to fund DWP’s reliability programs that are necessary to keep the lights on and the water flowing.  

Needless to say, we do not want DWP’s water and power infrastructure to be in the condition of our streets, the second worst in the nation, courtesy of The Transportation Mayor and the City Council who have diverted money from our infrastructure to fund the $1.3 billion escalation in personnel costs during the profligate Villaraigosa era.

The rate increases will also fund numerous, very expensive environmental mandates, including, but certainly not limited to, the Renewable Portfolio Standards (33% renewable energy by 2020), Once Thru Cooling, AB 32 and the resulting Cap & Trade provisions involving carbon emissions, the Safe Water Drinking Act, and dust mitigation in the Owens Valley.

But should the Ratepayers have to foot the bill for the political follies and pet projects of the Mayor and City Council?

Just last week, Councilmember Ed Reyes stood before the DWP Board of Commissioners and essentially threatened to delay any rate increases because he did not approve of the considered decision of the DWP’s management to support the $25 million floating cover alternative for the Elysian Reservoir as opposed to his pet project, a $110 million concrete covered buried reservoir.

Ratepayers should be thankful that DWP resisted considerable political pressure and made the proper decision to support the floating cover that saved us $85 million.  

Nevertheless, the politically appointed Board of Commissioners, after scheming in the back room to overcome this potentially illegal expenditure, approved an additional set aside of $12.5 million for city parks. This payoff was in addition to $3.2 million of DWP recommended enhancements to Elysian Park.

Ratepayers throughout the City are also going to be socked for about $25 million a year to finance the excesses associated with the troubled $319 million Headworks Reservoir Project, an Eric Garcetti / Tom LaBonge pet project designed to preserve the million dollar views of the politically connected Silver Lake residents.

The Los Angeles River Ecosystem is yet another pet project where DWP will be bullied into spending many more millions of Ratepayer money in addition to the millions spent to date on the LA River, all in the name of “economic development” according to former General Manager Ron Deaton.

As for the Power System, a rate increase may not be necessary since the $250 million associated with the beloved 8% Transfer Fee to the City’s General Fund may be illegal as a result of Proposition 26 (The Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees Act) that was passed by California voters in November of 2010.

There are numerous questions that need to be answered before this $500 million increase in our water and power rates is approved.  

Why is the proposed increase of 11% in our electricity rates so much lower than the 25% rate increase that was requested in June?

Why is the proposed increase of 15% (including the February Water Quality hike) in our water rates so much lower than the 22% requested in June?

How efficient are DWP’s operations?

Is DWP overstaffed as a result of absorbing 1,600 City employees that cost in excess of $200 million a year?  

When will DWP institute benchmarking as recommended in the last two charter mandated Industrial, Economic, and Administrative Surveys so the Department can compare its operations to other regional utilities?

Why should Ratepayers be socked with an additional $800 million for the early phase out of the Arizona based, coal fired Navajo Generating Station, especially since the facility will continue operating for many more years?

How is DWP going to address the IBEW Labor Premium and its Cadillac medical plans that cost Ratepayers at least $250 million a year?  And that does not even include the costs associated with overly restrictive work rules?

What are rates going to be in 2021 when 33% of DWP’s energy will be from high cost sources of renewable energy?   

Does DWP need the money?  Yes.  But DWP does not deserve to be reimbursed for pet projects of City Hall and their well financed lobbyists.  That is the City’s responsibility.

Our Department of Water and Power and the Ratepayers’ wallets are not City Hall’s candy store.  

(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)
–cw

Tags: Jack Humphreville, LA Watchdog, LADWP, DWP, Ratepayers, Ratepayer Advocate









CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 34
Pub: Apr 27, 2012

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