Sat, Jan

When Will Jan Perry Challenge the Meter Maid?

PERSPECTIVE - Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel is also known as the Pothole Queen. I agree – except the reason should not be for her filling them, but by not addressing the mismanagement associated with creating them.
She has not done much to address the city’s infrastructure needs since her days of following street repair crews, slinging asphalt and tamping it down in a publicity stunt. These days, Greuel’s moniker should be Meter Maid.
I’m not referring to parking meters. I’m talking about the ones that track your electric and water usage; the ones that figure into the calculation of your ever-rising DWP bills. 
When she ran for City Controller, Greuel received $250,000 in support from IBEW 18, the union representing the most highly compensated employees in a city known for its generosity to public employees. 
Apparently, that was the down payment for her loyalty.
The stakes are higher in this year’s mayoral race. Garcetti has the dough to give her a run for the money. Jan Perry has enough cash to make some noise. Kevin James is squeezing 150% out of his donations. His superior performance in various forums has earned him some positive publicity.
But fear not, IBEW local 18 will help fund a media blitz on Greuel’s behalf…..and a candidate doesn’t get something for nothing when backed by a powerful public union. One thing is for certain, ratepayers will continue to receive increases – all the more reason for City Hall to practice restraint and roll back utility employee wages and benefits.
It will not happen if Greuel is elected. She is owned and operated by the IBEW. There should be a line for her on your monthly statement.
That brings me to Jan Perry.
Perry has promoted herself as the ratepayers’ friend, suspicious of the DWP and its union. She does have a history of pushing back against rate increases and for insisting on greater transparency. 
Nevertheless, she has been anything but vocal on the subject during the campaign. If anything, Kevin James has claimed the spotlight on reform in general. 
Perry now has a great opening to hit Greuel hard and perhaps earn some credibility in the Valley. She needs to expose Greuel as the champion for the DWP.
Garcetti took a swipe at Greuel at the Sherman Oaks HOA candidates forum the other night. As reported by Dakota Smith of the Los Angeles Daily News: “I do believe that if people spend a lot of money on you in an election, they aren’t doing it just because they love you. They want something from you.” 
Garcetti’s remark was prompted by a question from James.   It was the equivalent of a volleyball set and spike, reminiscent of Misty May and Kerri Walsh
Apparently not much noise from Perry.
What the IBEW wants is continued support for lucrative compensation deals, which will add to an already challenged cost structure for the DWP.
There is still a large undecided slice of the voter pie in this election. It will take some trench warfare to earn a piece of it. That means seizing opportunities. Greuel has left herself open on a subject that impacts the wallets of the ratepayers.
Time is running out for Perry. She is in a virtual tie with James…and he just might pull away from her despite having much less cash. She has to go to the mat to stay relevant in the race, if not her political career.
(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and serves as Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council Valley Village.  He blogs at Village to Village, contributes to CityWatch and can be reached at: [email protected]) –cw
Vol 11 Issue 6
Pub: Jan 18, 2013