Southern California environment news and trends

Buscaino elected to LA Council with help of DWP's powerful union

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Chris Hall/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Los Angeles City Council Building

Independent committees spent more than half a million dollars toward helping Joe Buscaino take his city council seat. As Frank Stoltze points out this morning, Buscaino joins the growing ranks of city council members with close ties to the LAPD. (Actually being a sergeant counts.) 

It's worth remembering that Buscaino is closely connected to the DWP's union too. The Local 18 Water and Power Defense League Committee is the driving force behind Working Californians to Support Buscaino for City Council 2012. They poured in almost 190,000 of the 511,000 dollars "independently" spent in this election. And they were registered with the state in December by Brian D'Arcy. 

Buscaino, taking Janice Hahn's old seat, fashions himself a political outsider. "Folks were thirsting for a political outsider," he told the LA Weekly. "I'm hoping this campaign will inspire others and show that someone from the community can be successful in an election."


Recruiting the LADWP Ratepayer Advocate

Molly Peterson/KPCC

Hope Street Headquarters, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a hundred times since last year. We're just about to have a ratepayer advocate for the DWP, it's just around the corner. Well, according to what the citizens committee said back in December, it IS around the corner. They expect to have a name to announce this week or next, with committee and city council hearings to follow.

So what has happened since the last time we all paid attention to the Office of Public Accountability?

Well, the citizens committee has met at least a few times. It's sort of impossible to find their records on the city of L.A.'s website, but there aren't many anyway; state law allows them to meet in closed session to interview and consider hires for the job of ratepayer advocate. 

Sacramento-based headhunters Ralph Andersen and Associates consulted consumer groups, the Office of the Ratepayer Advocate at the CPUC, TURN (The Utility Reform Network), and Public Citizen. They talked to Bank of America, Caltech, McKinsey, Occidental, Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, the Central City Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and several public finance firms, among others.