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Ratepayers Are the Beast’s Feast

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LA WATCHDOG - Ratepayers of the Department of Water and Power are being ripped off for over $1 billion* a year by our Elected Elite and their cronies that occupy the barnyard known as City Hall.  But snagging almost 25% of our hard earned money that we send to DWP every other month does not appear to satisfy the appetite of the Spring Street beast. 

As Our Dear 11% Mayor was doing his victory tour around town, he touted the environmental benefits and increased safety associated with the conversion of 141,089 street lights to light emitting diodes.  However, he failed to mention that this $57 million LED program was funded in large part by eight year loans from DWP. 

 

Of course, the Ratepayers should be thankful that the City did not force DWP to buy the street lights, pay for their upkeep, and, at the same time, provide free power, as is essentially the case with the City’s fire hydrants. 

On June 19, the DWP’s politically appointed Board of Commissioners once again raided the wallets of the Ratepayers by approving a $3.2 million contribution to Elysian Reservoir and Park Enhancement Fund. This was part of the settlement with the local community for installing a covered reservoir as opposed to a buried reservoir that would have cost Ratepayers an additional $85 million. 

This amount does not include an additional $12.5 million that was extorted out of the DWP by the pliant Board of Commissioners as part of the politically mandated appeasement process.  

The Board of Commissioners also approved another deal with Recreation and Parks where DWP would spend a maximum of $15 million over the next five years to fund water efficiency improvements in the City’s parks.  While water conservation is right up there with apple pie and motherhood, DWP should not be required to fund these improvements in a manner that is not available to all DWP customers. Furthermore, this new burden on Ratepayers may be in violation of Proposition 26 (The Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees Act) that was passed by the California voters in November of 2010. 

This Board of Commissioners also gave the go ahead to fund the construction of the $43 million La Kretz Innovation Campus located in the “CleanTech Corridor” that borders the Los Angeles River in LA’s downtown Arts District.  This facility, a majority of which is being funded by DWP, will demonstrate DWP’s “commitment to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water conservation” by “housing a synergistic mix of cleantech tenants,” creating an “ecosystem that supports innovation, deployment, and commercialization of clean technologies.” 

But when did DWP decide to enter the highly risky venture capital business? 

In reality, this “visionary and innovative” investment is just another hare brained scheme hatched by The Mayor Who Broke LA, where he and his fiscally irresponsible pals on the City Council are using Other People’s Money to push their own political agendas, regardless of the cost to Ratepayers. 

The big spenders on the Board of Commissioners also decided to ignore the advice of the Ratepayers Advocate to suspend the current solar energy Feed In Tariff program, even though the total excess cost associated with this overly generous program relative to other renewables will slam Ratepayers with an additional $250 million in rate increases over the next 20 years.  

The Commissioners even had the audacity to say that the additional cost was a reasonable price to pay to promote the local development of the solar power industry. These economic geniuses refused to recognize that this gift to the promoters of solar energy and the politically powerful environmental lobby will have a negative impact on the City’s economy and business unfriendly reputation. 

Since January, the Board of Commissioners, the Mayor, and the City Council have saddled the Ratepayers with another $1 billion burden associated with the elimination of coal at the Navajo Generating Station and the Intermountain Power Plant and the unanticipated increase in purchased water from the Metropolitan Water District caused by excessive environmental mandates and low snowfall in the Owens Valley and the Eastern Sierras.  

This billion does not even include the costs associated with the Feed In Tariff boondoggle, the street lights, Recreation and Parks, and the risky venture capital investment. 

Mayor-Elect Eric Garcetti and the newly constituted City Council need to realize that the Ratepayers are at a breaking point as rates are projected to double over the next ten years.  They truly believe they are being screwed by the City Hall kleptocracy which continues to pick their pockets while City employees are living high off the hog.  

Ratepayers are not afraid to express their opinions, especially at the ballot box where they rejected both Wendy Greuel and Proposition A, the permanent half cent increase in our sales tax. 

Eric, you have been warned. 

 

(* The over $1 billion rip off consists of the $250 million transfer fee/tax from the Power System to City’s General Fund; the $300 million from the 10% City Utility Tax; the $250 million IBEW Labor Premium (not including the impact of restrictive work rules); pet projects such as Griffith and Elysian Parks and the Silver Lake Reservoir; and the dumping of surplus City employees (and their unfunded pension liabilities) on DWP.)

 

(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: [email protected]. Hear Jack every Tuesday morning at 6:20 on McIntyre in the Morning, KABC Radio 790.)
-cw
 

 

 

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 11 Issue 51

Pub: June 25, 2013

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