Advocating for the future

Denied the full rate hike that it sought from an irate city council last year, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power acceded to pressure to create a position for a “rate payer advocate.” The fear among conservationists was that the council and advocate would then thwart future rate hikes needed to replace leaking pipes, for conservation and a shift to alternative energy. One and a half general managers later (one was interim), the LADWP is now staging public workshops to explain to the public why it needs to invest now for water and power security later. The graphic above comes from a PowerPoint that accompanies the DWP meeting schedule. The first meeting, in Van Nuys, is scheduled for this Wednesday from 6.30-9pm at the Marvin Braude Constituent Center. Click here for background and here for the full workshop schedule.

UPDATE 6/15/11: The Los Angeles Times reports today

The Dry Garden: Old tiers, new layout

Don't understand the water price tier system of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power? Cheer up. Neither does the department's graphic artist. The tier shown on this dummy bill created to promote the new bill is wrong. If I understand it, and I'm not sure that I do, a Tier 1 allotment for a hot climate area would be 24 HCFs/mo or higher. It's still a better-looking bill that makes water use more clear. The real shame is that the prices are so low, too low to discourage pools and lawns or to raise enough money to step up replacement of aging city water mains. Click on the image above to be taken to this week's Dry Garden column in the Los Angeles Times, which looks at the bill.

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Phantom boxing with faceless bureaucrats

The Los Angeles Times reports today that the Mayor is lashing out at “unidentified high-level bureaucrats” within the city’s Department of Water and Power.

It is these mandarin civil servants, we are to believe, who are to blame for thwarting reform, for the mixed messaging about our City finances and for failure of clean energy initiatives.

Did he mention how they run around at night and purposefully cause water main breaks?

Unqualified? You’re hired

UPDATE WEDNESDAY APRIL 21, 2010: New interim LADWP general manager Austin Beutner will guest on KCRW’s “Which Way LA?” tonight at 7.27pm. Click here for details.

For those who missed today’s article in the Los Angeles Times about the appointment of First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner as interim head of the Department of Water and Power, here’s the best line. “With this appointment, Beutner becomes the DWP’s ninth general manager in the last 10 years.”

Whatever one thought of Beutner’s two predecessors, H. David Nahai, or S. David Freeman, both men knew water and Freeman also understood power.

Beutner, described by a local public radio affiliate as a former Wall Street trader, knows neither, prompting the blog Griffith Park Wayist to ask, “Will he look at the safety of the City’s water supply as a risk-v.-return proposition?” LA Observed business columnist Mark Lacter put it this way: “While Beutner has

Western datebook: Meet the commissars

STEPPING out of the Kremlin gates tomorrow to give presentations at the G2 Gallery in Venice on their glorious accomplishments will be Jonathan Parfrey, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power board commissioner, and director of LADWP Water Resources Thomas Erb. Some of my best vague acquaintances work for the DWP, but if you think that the Kremlin reference is unfair, try searching Erb’s name on the DWP website and you get exactly one result. For a background article on Parfrey from the LA Times’ best city hall reporter David Zahniser, click here. For a recent story on DWP plans to cover the dry lake bed of Owens Valley with a solar farm, here. To find proof of the department’s much publicized commitment to removing water-hungry and energy-wasting turf, look at the lawn surrounds of its substations. It’s rumored that former general manger David Nahai looks positively

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