Jump To (click on time after video has loaded)
07:45 David Freeman
38:27 Utility Rates to Double
39:44 Mar Vista NC
For the first time ever, the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs (PBI) is hosting a special green lecture on Thursday, November 12th with Interim L.A.D.W.P. General Manager, S. David Freeman.
Often referred to as the "Green Cowboy" for his years of leadership on environmental issues, Mr. Freeman will be speaking on "The Emerald City: The Green Agenda and Public Policy." This will be Freeman's first major address since assuming his new responsibilities. His remarks immediately follow the PBI's 17th Annual California Policy Issues Conference entitled "Building a Green and Inclusive California: An Infrastructure for the 21st Century."
The theme and title of the 2009 Pat Brown Institute’s California Policy Issues Conference is “Building a Green and Inclusive California: An Infrastructure for the 21st Century.” The day-long policy gathering will provide an opportune setting for experts across the sectors and audience members alike to explore the relationship between infrastructure and green development.
In its current usage, the term “green” implies that a service, product or technology is sustainable, which points to its economic and environmental viability and social relevance. As such, the issue of equity remains central to any discussion of sustainable growth. California is well positioned to provide national and international leadership in sustainability by focusing on strategic investment in traditional and new infrastructures that will improve its economic and environmental condition, while ensuring that “green jobs” and “green development” are enjoyed by all Californians equitably. It is in the interest of California to capitalize on this opportunity in order to secure the state’s future and specifically Californians’ quality of life given the economic downturn and lack of available revenue resources.
The following is an dditorial of Mr Freeman's presentation by LAJack
Note to New DWP Czar Freeman: Ratepayers are Not Your Personal Punching Bag
By Jack Humphreville
In response to a question by Steve Twinning, a well respected Certified Public Accountant and a long time member of the Bel Air Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council, as to whether power rates were going to double over the next five years, Department of Water and Power Interim General Manager David Freeman told the assembled audience at the Pat Brown Institute that our power rates would increase “close to 50% over the next decade.”
This is the first time that David Freeman has given the public specific guidelines as to how much our power rates are going to increase in connection with the Mayor’s goal of ‘No Coal by 2020’, ‘40% Renewals by 2020’, and ‘60% carbon free by 2020’. He also implied that our water rates are going to increase by 33% when he stated that we would only get 1.5 gallons for a penny, not the two gallons as is the current situation. And not to miss an opportunity, Freeman quipped that it sure was a lot cheaper than bottled water.
David Freeman also quoted Thomas Jefferson: “Democracy does not work unless the people are educated.”
For openers, Mr. Freeman, the Ratepayers are in favor of clean energy. It is your job to educate Ratepayers, not to vilify them by calling them “well meaning” representatives from the Neighborhood Councils or a “screaming minority of bellyachers” who “yell and scream and point fingers” at the “unnecessary rate increases and bloated bureaucracy.”
Remember, this same “ragtag group of fringe activists” was at the forefront of the majority of voters that REJECTED Measure B!
Comments such as “DWP is no longer a punching bag. I am in charge and your 15 minutes of DWP demagoguery is up!” may get a couple of chuckles from your audience, but they are not helping educate the public.
The Ratepayers, the ‘special Interest group’ that pays the bills in this tough economy, are not your personal punching bag. Nor are our “bought or rented” elected officials your personal punching bag. To the contrary, you are the public’s servant.
Ratepayers want and have a right to complete transparency.
They want to believe in their DWP, a complex organization with a budget that exceeds the General Fund. And that is why a strong Independent Ratepayers Advocate is so important for the DWP, so that our DWP can begin to reestablish its credibility with the public, the Ratepayers, the business community, and the City Council.
So rather than playing cutesy with the people who pay the DWP bill, I suggest you support a strong Independent Ratepayers Advocate. It is not surprising that a majority of the City Council have signed three motions for a Ratepayers Advocate and that three more have publicly endorsed the Ratepayers Advocate.
Ratepayers have the right to know about their rates.
On the one hand, DWP claims it is efficient because its rates are substantially lower than Edison. On the other hand, people have argued that our rates should be even lower since DWP is a tax free entity that can issue tax exempt bonds, has a huge coal fired component, and has not funded $7 billion to $10 billion of pension liabilities, deferred maintenance, and investments in information technology.
Of course, these factors are offset in part by the IBEW LABOR PREMIUM.
David Freeman also said, “It is my job to make the rate increases as little as possible.”
If that is the case, why not bid out all the work associated with the 400 megawatts of In Basin Solar Power?
As we learned during Measure B, the DWP does not have the management capability or the planning mechanisms and resources to take on this “extremely risky” program.
Nor do the DWP construction work crews have the necessary experience and skills. As a result, the project would cost “much more” than budget, which implies massive cost overruns, nothing new to DWP.
The EXTRA cost associated with not having fixed price contracts with bonded private contractors and their skilled and experienced Building Trade workers is expected to be between $1 billion and $2 billion, which amounts will more than DOUBLE when you factor in interest expense, the 8% power transfer fee, and the 10% City Utility Tax.
Our rates will increase by 10% or more because of these EXTRA costs, not including the impact of the basic costs of solar power.
In addition, an Open Economic System that supports LA’s burgeoning solar industry will create many more high paying jobs than the Closed System envisioned by the IBEW and the DWP Board of Commissioners. Will DWP contract for work outside of Los Angeles or even on private buildings in Los Angeles?
In March, voters rejected Measure B. DWP, the Board of Commissioners, and the Mayor need to respect the voters and their wallets, especially in this tough economy. We do not want our DWP bills to exceed our mortgage payments.
Now that you are “In Charge,” make good things happen this Holiday Season.
Take the easy road: support the Independent Ratepayers Advocate and the Open System for In Basin Solar Power. There surely would be a lot less ‘bellyaching’ from the ‘screaming minority’.
(Jack Humphreville is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler recycler.com.)
Vol 7 Issue 95
Pub: Nov 20, 2009