“A day after signing off on a new agreement that delays raises for Department of Water and Power employees and cuts compensation for new hires, Mayor Eric Garcetti again took aim at the utility workers’ pay and perks.”
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by Karin Klein:
“With no rain on the horizon, it’s pretty safe to call 2013 the driest year on record in Los Angeles. The 2013-14 rainy season is off to an unpromising start. And though we know that the beginning of the season doesn’t tell us much — February tends to be the rainiest month — the bottom line is that we need rain. We need it bad.
“And the record for arid weather doesn’t belong to Los Angeles alone.
From the Los Angeles Daily News, in a commentary by Conner Everts and Adam Scow:
“Los Angeles water ratepayers and taxpayers beware. We are facing the prospect of spending billions of dollars on a massive twin-tunnels project that could further degrade the San Francisco Bay-Delta, a source of L.A. drinking water.
“The state Department of Toxic Substances Control has issued an emergency order directing a Vernon battery recycler to clean up lead and other metals that have been deposited near the Exide Technologies plant.
“In a letter released Wednesday, the agency said dust and soil samples with metals in concentrations at or near hazardous waste levels have been found near the facility and must be cleaned up by Jan. 31.
“The public has a right to know how public money is spent. That’s a fundamental, common-sense premise of our government. Tell that to Brian D’Arcy. D’Arcy is the business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, which represents Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employees.”
“The politically powerful head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s largest union has refused to cooperate with a city audit of two nonprofit trusts established to improve relations between management and labor at the city-owned utility.”
“Survivors of the sudden collapse of the Baldwin Hills Reservoir dam gathered Saturday in a grassy valley to commemorate the disaster that sent 150 million gallons of Los Angeles drinking water cascading into their homes 50 years ago.
“Hundreds filed into what is now Upper Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, where the earthen edge of the 66-foot-deep reservoir — holding 292 million gallons — ruptured Dec.
From the Los Angeles Times Framework blog, in a post by Scott Harrison:
“In a Dec. 11, 2003, Los Angeles Times article, reporter Bob Pool wrote about the Dec. 14, 1963, Baldwin Hills Dam collapse:
“The Baldwin Hills Dam collapsed with the fury of a thousand cloudbursts, sending a 50-foot wall of water down Cloverdale Avenue and slamming into homes and cars on Dec. 14, 1963. … It foreshadowed the end of urban-area earthen dams as a major element of the Department of Water and Power’s water-storage system.
“A Los Angeles City Council panel voted Monday to let the Department of Water and Power scale back the cost of hiring away workers from other city agencies, despite objections from workers outside the DWP.
“The council’s Budget and Finance Committee unanimously recommended an end to the DWP’s practice of absorbing longtime pension costs of workers who transfer from other departments.
“Something bad has been in the water at Los Angeles International Airport for the last several weeks.
“With the city in the midst of a sweeping $2-billion transformation of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, airlines that use the facility’s old and new gates have been unable to replenish their aircraft with drinking water because of contamination in the building’s plumbing.”
“A coalition of Los Angeles employee unions is challenging key provisions of a labor agreement struck by political leaders and employees at the city’s giant water and power utility, potentially jeopardizing hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for ratepayers over the next four years.”
“Los Angeles officials missed signs in a geological report that suggest a $200-million residential and commercial development now under construction in Hollywood might be located above an earthquake fault, according to city records and interviews.
“After funneling $40 million in ratepayer money to two vaguely defined and publicly unaccountable nonprofits over the past 10 years, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners on Tuesday finally said: No more. …
“Frustrated by their struggle to learn how two Los Angeles Department of Water and Power nonprofit institutes spent more than $40 million of ratepayers’ money, commissioners of the publicly owned utility voted Tuesday to cut off funding to the organizations and asked the city controller to perform a sweeping audit of the accounts.
“The two organizations, the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute, are co-run by DWP General Manger Ron Nichols and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 business manager Brian D’Arcy.”
From the Los Angeles Times, in a column by Steve Lopez:
“Any time you’re dealing with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, whether you’re trying to understand your bill or figure out how the place is run, it can be a bit of an Alice in Wonderland experience.