15
Sat, Jun

LA City Council Proves It’s Corrupt

LA WATCHDOG

LA WATCHDOG - On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council addressed the four-year, $700 million increase in the Sewer Service Charge and the ballot measure for Ethics Commission Reform.  Unfortunately, the Councilmembers once again distinguished themselves, voted against transparency, and acted in their own best interests as well as those of our public sector unions, Angelenos be damned.  

Following up on Friday’s less than transparent meeting of the Katy Yaroslavsky led Energy and Environment Committee, the Paul Krekorian led City Council continued to ramrod the $700 million increase in the Sewer Service Charge through the City Council without any meaningful discussion of Sanitation’s management, operations, strategic plan, finances, or projections.  This will result in the doubling of our rates over the next four years, beginning with a 22% bump on October 1st.    

The City Council appears to be unwilling to review and analyze this massive rate increase.  It refused to obtain an independent opinion from the Office of Transparency and Accountability / Ratepayer Advocate even though this office has the necessary qualifications and has saved DWP Ratepayers more than $3 billion over the last decade. 

This “ram job” to quote Kevin de Leon makes you wonder what Sanitation and City Hall are trying to hide? Will this fee increase be used to cover the deficit caused by the budget busting labor contracts? Are there significant operating, regulatory, or legal problems?  

So much for transparency and the adverse impact on Angelenos. 

The City Council approved placing on the November ballot a measure for Ethics Commission Reform.  However, this was after deleting two good government reforms that were opposed by led by the politically powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and several of the City’s public sector unions.  

These included allowing the Ethics Commission to place measures directly on the ballot and the expansion of the Ethics Commission, claiming that these provisions limit transparency, accountability, and access.   

As the Los Angeles Times editorialized, “The Los Angeles City Council showed its true self-interested colors Tuesday when it gutted key reforms to reduce corruption in City Hall and strengthen independent ethics oversight. Bowing to special interests and unwilling to relinquish power, the council instead voted to put a watered-down package of ethics policies on the November ballot.” 

The City Council claims that it supports political reform and wants to restore Angelenos’ faith, trust, and confidence in the City Hall.  But by giving away the store to the public sector unions, the ensuing budget crisis and the Structural and Service Deficits, and now with approving a $700 million increase in our Sewer Service Charge without any meaningful review and analysis and the deletion of key ethics reforms, the Councilmembers are doing exactly the opposite. 

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at:  [email protected].)

 

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