LA WATCHDOG - On March 26, Cynthia McClain-Hill, the President of the DWP Board of Commissioners, and Councilman Curren Price led the groundbreaking for the Senator Bill Greene Memorial Park at the corner of Figueroa and Slauson
This 20,000 square foot vacant lot, owned by the Department of Water and Power, will provide the local community with much needed open space, providing the neighbors with walking trails, lawns, trees, an outdoor amphitheater, and other amenities.
Under the agreement between DWP and the Department of Recreation and Parks, DWP will reimburse Rec & Parks $3.6 million for the design and construction of the park. DWP is also providing the land at no cost. Yet this property, located on the corner of two main drags and near a freeway exit, is worth millions.
While this park is a worthwhile addition to this under parked neighborhood, DWP’s mission does not include financing parks for Rec & Parks. To the contrary, Rec & Parks should purchase this valuable property at fair market value and be responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of the park.
As it is, Ratepayers are doing more than their fair share. They will contribute $657 million to the City’s coffers, consisting of the Power Revenue Transfer Tax ($229 million) and the 10% Electric Users Tax ($427 million). This does not include the cost of numerous other pet projects.
More than a few DWP employees have questioned this use of DWP and Ratepayer funds, but are hesitant to voice their concerns for fear of retaliation. And this fear is not unreasonable given past history.
This financing arrangement is not in the best interests of the Department or its Ratepayers. But we cannot expect senior management to oppose this deal that is a pet project of the Cynthia McClain-Hill, the micromanaging and politically ambitious President of the Board of Commissioners.
Evaluating the legitimacy of this transaction will test the independence of the newly appointed Inspector General, Sergio Perez. Will he investigate and report to the public on this pet project and the inappropriate use of Ratepayer money? Or will be kowtow to the politically appointed McClain-Hill? Will the Inspector General work to improve the accountability and transparency of the Department and begin the process of restoring Angelenos trust and confidence in our Department of Water and Power? Or will he be co-opted by the Board of Commissioners, the Department’s senior management, and City Hall?
Sergio Perez: The Not So Independent DWP Inspector General
April 14, 2022
DWP Is Not Curren Price’s Piggy Bank
September 2, 2021
(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].)