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Web Feature | SoCal Val

A City Councilman's View of the DWP

The Price of Power, about the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, is perhaps the most intense story I've worked on in my 22 years at KCET. Delving into the DWP is like entering a maze of numbers. Layer onto that the emotions sparked by the city budget crisis, layoffs for thousands of workers, raises for the DWP union and rate hikes for customers.

I thought you'd like to see how one city council person defended his vote in favor of the DWP raise in December. Here's an excerpt from my interview with Bill Rosendahl. His reasons were very much like those of his colleagues.

You might also be interested in a short interview I did with Brian D'Arcy, head of the powerful union that represents most of the workers at the DWP.

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what bullsh*t.. how many people do you think would quit if they did not get a raise and what makes you think they would get hired by another company? i am sure there would be a line up to back fill these jobs at a much lower wage.. quit BSing the troops over here.

Wow, I hope to see Bill Rosendahl at the "Mayor's Ball" and I will ask him to dance with me. I expect to be swept off my feet just like the dance I saw that he did with this reporter on KCET.

His answers were all over the place and didn't make sense, just like the Mayor's reasoning when he claimed that by taking money from DWP for a European trip, he didn't hurt the budget. This despite the fact that taxpayers are also ratepayers and the City takes a cash stream from DWP.

Let's try to get back to reality that is sorely lacking at the City, State, and National level regarding finances - One that most working class people understand. There is a finite amount of money even though we kid ourselves at the National level with these massive borrowing (Ross Perot where are you when we need you?).

All Bill Rosendahl and his colleagues see is a cash cow from DWP in the form of transfers to the City and, in some cases, campaign contributions from its Union. In reality, when you cut expenses such as not granting the most recent raise to Managers at DWP, more money is left for any of the following:

1. Renewable Energy.
2. Transfers to the City.
3. Less or No Increase to the Ratepayers/Taxpayers/Citizens.

Mr. Rosendahl makes absolutely no sense - he talks about Proprietary Departments - Harbor, Airport, DWP - and lumps them together.

Wake up Mr. Rosendahl, your colleagues have just authorized the layoff of 4,000 employees who make anywhere from 50% to 80% of what DWP workers make. If you didn't grant Managers and others such a big raise, you could have booked the savings on future pension costs which would help alleviate the financial burden on DWP and ultimately the Citizen-owners and you could transfer more cash milk from DWP.