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LA WATCHDOG--The State has mandated that Department of Water and Power transition to Clean Energy by 2045.  At the same time, there will be increased demands on the Power System because of the transition to electric vehicles and the electrification of the building sector, all part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo above: Saddle Ridge fire.) 

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LA WATCHDOG--On Tuesday, December 3rd, Councilwoman Nury Martinez was elected President of the Los Angeles City Council, effective January 5th.

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LA WATCHDOG--While the $1.4 billion budget crisis is top of mind at City Hall, there is lots going on beneath the surface, fueled by term limits, political ambitions, and allegations of corruption. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President Herb Wesson, and Councilmen Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian knew well in advance that the new labor agreements would blow a $1.4 billion hole in the City’s budget over the next five years.  And now they are trying to ignore and coverup the fiasco they created. 

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LA WATCHDOG--On June 30, the City budget was balanced.  The City was also projecting a budget surplus in each of the next four years, topping out at $78 million in 2024. 

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LA WATCHDOG--“When Garcetti became mayor, he pledged to get “back to basics.”  There should be nothing more basic than balancing the budget.” Los Angeles Times Editorial, November 10, 2019 

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LA WATCHDOG--The City of Los Angeles has the legal obligation to ensure that its financial statements are “true and complete in all material respects.” 

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LA WATCHDOG--According to the Sacramento Bee, Mayor Eric Garcetti strongly supports the Split Roll ballot measure that would value business properties at market value as opposed to the current practice under Proposition 13 which assesses the value based on the purchase price (plus 2% a year appreciation).

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LA WATCHDOG--We have been critical of our Department of Water and Power, in large part because City Hall views the Ratepayers as an ATM to finance its operations and pet projects. 

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LA WATCHDOG--When Mayor Eric Garcetti presented his “balanced” budget on April 18, the Four Year Budget Outlook prepared by Richard Llewellyn, the City Administrative Officer, showed that the City would generate a surplus in each of the next four years, topping out at $78 million in 2024.  The four-year cumulative surplus was $200 million. 

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LA WATCHDOG--“It’s more than just climate change.  It’s about dog-eat-dog capitalism meeting climate change. It’s about corporate greed meeting climate change.

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LA WATCHDOG-“Wesson intends to bring the bank proposal back to the ballot again after the idea has been fleshed out so voters can approve the final concept.”  Los Angeles Times editorial of September 20, 2018. 

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LA WATCHDOG--In June, City Council President and wannabe County Supervisor Herb Wesson sponsored a motion instructing the Chief Legislative Analyst to “draft a motion to include in the City of Los Angeles’ 2019-20 State Legislative Program SUPPORT for any effort to amend State law to grant counties the authority to seek voter approval of a tax on personal income above $1,000,000 per year as a means to fund additional homeless housing construction.” 

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LA WATCHDOG--Angelenos are wondering when the next shoe is going to drop in the pay-to-play scandal resulting from the November FBI raid on Councilman Jose Huizar’s offices and home and the subsequent search warrants issued on, among others, Councilman Curren Price, Deron Williams, Council President Herb Wesson’s Chief of Staff, and Ray Chan, the former General Manager of Building and Safety and a former Deputy Mayor for Mayor Eric Garcetti.  

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LA WATCHDOG--On Thursday, the incompetence of wannabe mayor City Attorney Mike Feuer was on full display as the City dropped its ill-conceived lawsuit against Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the consultant to the Department of Water and Power in its botched rollout of customer billing system in 2013.

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LA WATCHDOG--On Tuesday, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved the expansion of the Feed-in-Tariff program by 300 megawatts, contrary to the recommendation of the Ratepayers Advocate. 

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LA WATCHDOG--It has been almost eight months since Mayor Eric Garcetti unilaterally announced that the Department of Water and Power would phase out the three gas-fired coastal generating stations (Haynes, Harbor, and Scattergood).  

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LA WATCHDOG-The former Durant Library has been repurposed into the Gardner Street Women’s Bridge Housing Center, a 30-bed facility that will provide temporary housing for homeless women in Hollywood. 

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LA WATCHDOG--On Thursday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the Department of Water and Power will “create an Office of Inspector General as part of his DWP reform agenda to improve accountability and transparency at the utility.”

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LA WATCHDOG--Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners was a waste of time as little of substance was discussed, especially with respect to the approval of the multibillion dollar Eland Solar and Battery Energy Storage Projects.  

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LA WATCHDOG-On Thursday afternoon, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the Department of Water and Power will create an Office of Inspector General to improve accountability and transparency at the Department.  (See below).  

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LA WATCHDOG--On Tuesday, September 10, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners will once again consider approving the Clean Grid LA – Eland Solar and Battery Energy Storage Projects

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LA WATCHDOG--On Wednesday afternoon, the Personnel Committee of the City Council “considered” and “submitted to Council for its consideration” new labor contracts with the three unions representing the police, the engineers and architects, and command officers. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The 2019 Assessment Roll for the 790,556 properties in the City of Los Angeles rose to a record $653 billion, an increase of $42 billion, or 6.8%, from 2018. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The lack of transparency concerning the economics of the new labor contracts for the City’s civilian workforce is nothing short of a cover up orchestrated by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council President Herb Wesson.

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LA WATCHDOG--On Friday, August 9, the Los Angeles City Council will approve 21 Memorandums of Understanding for the Coalition of City Unions (the “Coalition”) without any public comment.  These MOUs will cost the City $300 million over the three-year life of the contracts (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021).  

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LA WATCHDOG--A public bank is a vehicle for politicians to divert legislatively designated funds into a blind pool to fund noneconomic pet projects and loans to politically connected, uncreditworthy borrowers.  This will result in losses that will have an adverse impact on the bank’s ability to continue as a going concern and on the government’s credit rating.  

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LA WATCHDOG--Our Department of Water and Power has been front and center ever since the FBI raided its offices and those of City Attorney Mike Feuer looking for evidence of “bribery, kickbacks, extortion, mail fraud, and money laundering” in connection with the fraudulent settlement of the class action lawsuit involving the botched rollout the Department’s customer billing system. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The description of existing litigation in the agenda of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners that is to be discussed in closed session (behind closed doors) meets the minimum requirements of the 1953 Brown Act. 

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LA WATCHDOG--On Tuesday, agents from the FBI raided the office of the Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer; the Department of Water and Power, including the office of now former General Manager David Wright and that of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners; and other locations connected to DWP. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (“ILWU”) and the Pacific Maritime Association (“PMA”), an organization that represents the Pacific Coast maritime industry, have entered into an agreement that will allow APM Terminals, a subsidiary of Maersk, the giant Danish shipping company, to proceed with its $1.3 million infrastructure improvement program that will allow APM to operate efficient driverless electric cargo handlers. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The self-righteous and power hungry State legislators from San Francisco are cooking up legislation that will strip local control from City Hall.

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LA WATCHDOG--On Thursday, July 11, the Board of Harbor Commissioners once again voted 3 to 2 to deny the appeal by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (“ILWU”) of its decision to allow APM Terminals, a subsidiary of the giant Danish shipping company, Maersk, to proceed with an environmentally friendly $1.5 million infrastructure improvement plan to its multibillion operating marine terminal. 

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LA WATCHDOG--On July 9, the members of the Board of Administration of the Los Angeles City Employees Retirement Systems (“LACERS”) unanimously approved the expenditure of $7,500 to send Board President Cynthia Ruiz to Paris, France to attend the Principles in Responsible Investment in Person 2019 conference. 

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LA WATCHDOG--On Friday, June 28, the Los Angeles City Council, as expected, voted to assert jurisdiction over a recent decision by the Board of Harbor Commissioners

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LA WATCHDOG--The following is a summary of my remarks on Budget Day, Saturday, June 29, at City Hall to more than 250 Angelenos that packed the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

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LA WATCHDOG--On Friday, June 28, the Los Angeles City Council will consider a motion by Councilman Joe Buscaino to assert jurisdiction over a decision by the Board of Harbor Commissioners to approve a minor construction permit that would allow Maersk, the world’s largest shipper of cargo containers, and its subsidiary, APM Terminals, to install electric charging stations, wi-fi antenna poles, and traffic barriers in its 484 acre facility.   

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LA WATCHDOG--On Friday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the that Marty Adams will replace David Wright as the General Manager of our Department of Water and Power on October 1. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Last week was not a good one for Mayor Garcetti.  

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LA WATCHDOG--On Tuesday, 54% of the voters rejected Measure EE, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s $500 million parcel tax. 

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LA WATCHDOG--On May 16, the Federal Rail Administration (“FRA”) terminated its agreement to provide $929 million to the California High-Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”) because, among many other failures, the CHSRA has been unable to make reasonable progress in completing the Bullet Train from Union Station in Los Angeles to the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco.

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LA WATCHDOG--“This has to be about congestion relief, not revenue.” Mayor Eric Garcetti. 

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LA WATCHDOG--On Friday, the Los Angeles Unified School District sent an unsolicited email to the parents of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District that contained a link to highly partisan video supporting Measure EE, the $500 million parcel tax. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The special election for the $500 million parcel tax that will benefit the Los Angeles Unified School District is a little more than three weeks away.  As a result, we will be bombarded by mailers and advertisements urging us to reject or support Measure EE, inappropriately named the “Quality Teacher, Class Size Reduction, and Local School Safety Measure.”  

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