Patt Morrison for March 1, 2011

March 8th Measures I & J take aim at powerful Department of Water and Power

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KPCC

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Two measures on the March 8th ballot take aim at reigning in the powerful Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which nearly unhinged City Hall last year by threatening to withhold $73.5 million in surplus from the city’s budget until the city council approved an increase in electricity rates. Measure J would prevent the DWP from using that surplus as a bargaining chip; Measure I would create a ratepayer advocate to independently assess the utility’s water and power rates. There are no formidable opponents of Measure J, but opponents of Measure I from the business community argue a ratepayer advocate position duplicates oversight that already exists at the municipal level and leaves too many details to be tied up by the city council post-election. The council argues that even though its current members unanimously opposed last year’s rate hike, a future city council may not take the same position. That outcome could become more likely if city council candidate Forescee Hogan-Rowles, a former DWP board member heavily backed by the union representing DWP workers, unseats Bernard Parks in Tuesday’s election. Does Measure I, as Council President Eric Garcetti puts it, “prevent the DWP from putting a gun to the head of L.A.” or are there too many unknowns?

Guests:

Stuart Waldman, President of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), a Southern California business advocacy group

Eric Garcetti, City Council president and councilman representing the 13th district; wrote both measures himself


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