From Walter Moore
Former Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles --

Foxes & Henhouses: Don't hand the City Council the DWP checkbook

April 9, 2010

The City Council thinks you’ve never heard the one about foxes guarding henhouses.

The City Council actually thinks you’re gullible enough to hand them the DWP’s checkbook, ostensibly to avoid "emergencies" like they one they miraculously "solved" today by conveniently finding an extra $30 million lying around in a desk drawer or wherever it supposedly was.

You should give them a big fat "no" on this one, or they will raise your taxes -- by raising your DWP rates -- without getting the two- thirds voter approval required under the California Constitution.

As shown in one of my previous essays, we, the people of Los Angeles paid over $2.7 billion last year to the DWP for power; the utility made a profit of more than $356 million; and its profit margin far exceeds that of private utility companies.

The DWP, moreover, is sitting on nearly $1 billion cash -- all of which came from you and me. That amounts to $250 for each of the four million men, women and children in this city.

Plus, don’t forget the tax you pay the City on your utility bill.

Last year, we paid the Spring Street Gang $668 million in utility taxes.

Wow. Add it up,and you get $3.368 billion, which is $842 for every single person -- including all those little pre-schoolers, elementary school students and others whose load is falling disproportionately on your shoulders because the entire matrix of rates is a giant rob-Peter- to-pay-Paul scheme.

If you give the City Council the power to raise your rates and transfer money to the general fund, they WILL use it, and you WILL be sorry. Adding insult to injury, you would even have to pay additional taxes for your additional bills -- a tax on your tax.

You know what would be a terrific DWP reform? We should reduce the DWP rates, rather than continuing to over-charge ourselves; we should prohibit any and all "transfers" of revenues from the DWP to the City; and if City Hall wants to raise our utility tax, then the Mayor and City Council should first obtain approval from two-thirds of the voters, in accordance with our Constitutional rights.

Bottom line: power to the people, not the politicians.

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