Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DWP Reform Hearing Tomorrow

The third in Garcetti's citywide series of hearings on DWP reform will continue Thursday, September 23 at 6 p.m. in South Los Angeles at the Constituent Service Center at 8475 S. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90044.

Garcetti is leading these hearings to obtain input from Los Angeles residents to help shape his plan to reform the DWP and other proposals to increase transparency and accountability at the agency. This joint hearing of the City Council's Rules and Energy and Environment committees is being held in partnership with Council President Pro Tempore Jan Perry (Chair of the Energy & Environment Committee) and Bernard Parks, in whose district the hearing is being held. The goal is to ensure the DWP puts its customers – the people of Los Angeles – first.

Garcetti believes DWP's top priority must be its customers, and that real DWP reform starts with an independent watchdog to enforce transparency and accountability at DWP. To make sure that happens, Garcetti feels strongly that DWP's customers -- the people of Los Angeles -- must have a seat at the table.

The hearing offers a chance for neighborhood residents, business owners, consumer advocates and experts to weigh-in on plans including Garcetti's Charter amendment that is proposed for the March 2011 ballot to establish an independent DWP watchdog who would serve as a ratepayer/customer advocate. Garcetti's Charter amendment measure would establish this office outside of the DWP or any political office. Garcetti chose to pursue a Charter amendment because only voters can change the Charter, protecting this independent watchdog from political or DWP interference.

Garcetti has also passed through the Council a proposed Charter amendment to ensure public scrutiny of the DWP budget and minimize the uncertainty the DWP can inject into the overall city budget process. His plan would require the DWP to publicly present its budget well in advance of the budget deadline and would change the current deadline that allows the DWP to pass its budget after the city passes its overall budget, as was the case this year.

Garcetti accelerated his DWP reform agenda after the agency demanded an up to 28% power rate increase this year, one which many regarded as unreasonable and unnecessary. The Council beat back that rate increase and a City audit later revealed that the DWP misled the public in justifying its call for the increase.