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LA WATCHDOG-On Friday, former LA City Councilman Mitchell Englander “agreed to plead guilty to a federal criminal charge stemming from his obstruction of a public corruption investigation related to his acceptance of gifts - including cash, hotel rooms and expensive meals - from a businessman during trips to Las Vegas and palm Springs in 2017.” 

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LA WATCHDOG--Mayor Eric Garcetti will submit his Proposed Budget for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2020 to the City Council on or before April 20 as required by the City Charter.

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LA WATCHDOG--In November of 2018, the FBI and IRS raided the offices and house of Jose Huizar in connection with its investigation of pay-to-play corruption at City Hall. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The impact of the coronavirus on the City’s already precarious finances has yet to be determined, but there is little doubt that it will cause a materially change in the City’s budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2020.

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LA WATCHDOG--“One day, hopefully, sooner or later, we’ll knock down the new coronavirus that’s got people rattled.  But there is no vaccine for the virus that infects City Hall.”  Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2020 

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LA WATCHDOG--On Monday, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that he is running for Mayor and creating a fund-raising committee even though the March 2022 primary is two years away. 

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REVIEW--Over the next month, CityWatch will run a series of articles on the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System (“LACERS”), a $17.7 billion fund created in 1937 to prefund pension and post-retirement medical benefits for the City’s current and retired civilian employees.

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LA WATCHDOG--In November of 2018, 56% of the City’s voters rejected Charter Amendment B that would have allowed the City to establish a municipal bank despite the measure being endorsed by 170 organizations and members of the political establishment, including Mayor Eric Garcetti and 12 members of the City Council, including then City Council President Herb Wesson, the prime mover of this ballot measure. 

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LA WATCHDOG--“Any unanticipated economic stress in the future would put L.A. in a far more precarious financial situation.” Ron Galperin, March 2, 2020, Revenue Finance Report

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LA WATCHDOG--“When Garcetti became mayor in 2013, he pledged to get “back to basics.” There should be nothing more basic than balancing the budget.” Los Angeles Times, November 10, 2019 

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LA WATCHDOG--We are being “bloomberged” by the educational-industrial complex that is spending an estimated $10 million (if not more) to convince us to vote for Super Tuesday’s Proposition 13, the $15 billion bond measure to fund the repair, modernization, and construction of facilities for K-12 schools, preschools, community colleges, and universities. But Super Tuesday’s Proposition 13 is not in our best interests. 

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LA WATCHDOG--There are rumors emanating from the Mayor’s office and the Los Angeles City Council that they are considering placing on the ballot a new tax or bond measure to finance the City’s homeless initiatives, now that the $1.2 billion in Measure HHH funds has been fully allocated. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Last week, Mayor Eric Garcetti launched LA’s “Decade of Action” to fight the climate crisis by issuing a 2,600 word Executive Directive, “LA’s Green New Deal: Leading by Example,” where he “laid out his vision for a carbon neutral Los Angeles and a firm commitment for environmental justice and equity.” 

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LA WATCHDOG--While it is not easy to say no to State’s nine million public school and higher education students, it is easy to say no to the educational-industrial complex that is expected to spend over $10 million to buy our approval of a ballot measure authorizing the issuance of $15 billion of general obligation bonds.  

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LA WATCHDOG--While most of the attention on Super Tuesday (March 3) will be on the Democratic Presidential candidates, there are three “down ballot” races that will have a direct impact on the lives of the residents of both the City and County of Los Angeles. 

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LA WATCHDOG--“At the heart of LA politics is a hardened political operation fueled by an elaborate pay-to-play system where businesses and developers pay money to get their projects approved by the city.  The way the Garcetti machine operates often looks like Tammany Hall in Ray-Bans: sleek, stylish, and sophisticated, but at its root it’s a machine that leverages power for money.” 

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LA WATCHDOG-Jan Perry has literally earned our votes for Supervisor because her successful efforts to increase the transparency and accountability of the Department of Water and Power that resulted in savings of hundreds of millions of dollars for Ratepayers. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The following letter of January 13, 2020 to Mayor Eric Garcetti from Dan Schnur outlines his preliminary findings on establishing an Office of Inspector General for the Department of Water and Power. 

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LA WATCHDOG--At her first meeting as President of the Los Angeles City Council, Nury Martinez discussed her Families First agenda that is based in no small part to her experiences as the daughter of hard working immigrants from the Free and Sovereign State of Zacatecas who valued family, education, and a better life for their children. 

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LA WATCHDOG--In a September 27th op-ed article in the Los Angeles Times, Harold Meyerson called for “a new legal order that again breaks big money’s hold on the way we make laws.” 

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LA WATCHDOG--County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and former State Senator Kevin de Leon are candidates for separate seats on the Los Angeles City Council.  Both are interested in succeeding Eric Garcetti as the Mayor of Los Angeles.

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LA WATCHDOG--Paul Koretz announced that he wants to be our next Controller.  He cites his familiarity with the City’s budget, his focus on fiscal responsibility, his passion for efficiency, and his thirty years in politics. 

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LA WATCHDOG--In April, Mayor Eric Garcetti submitted his “balanced” budget to the City Council.  He also claimed that the City had eliminated the Structural Deficit.  

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LA WATCHDOG--The number one priority of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is to keep the lights on and the water flowing. 

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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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