The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s most powerful union went into contract negotiations late last year convinced its workers deserved more money. For three years, the union’s 9,000 members had gone without raises, even as other city workers won pay increases.
All politics are local. That’s long-proven dogma. One gleaming example involves the Los Angeles River. The L.A. River is a key negotiation point in legislative talks to create a state water and parks bond proposal.
Four years ago, Los Angeles’ elected officials wrested major financial concessions from the Department of Water and Power’s biggest and most powerful employee union, persuading those workers to go three years without raises.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who campaigned four years ago as someone who would stand up for Department of Water and Power ratepayers, is pushing a proposal to give six raises within five years to more than 9,000 workers at the utility.
Amidst concerns about elevated levels of hexavalent chromium in the South Los Angeles city of Paramount, public health officials and state regulators are testing for the carcinogen and other toxics in the soil and inside homes in community hot spots.
Rainy seasons over the last two years were the driest in downtown Los Angeles since record-keeping began in 1877, and forecasters now say the El Niño that had been predicted to bring some relief may not materialize.
As an annual deadline looms for Los Angeles to pay nearly $4 million to a controversial pair of Department of Water and Power affiliates, one city leader announced his refusal to sign the checks and another sued to have a court-appointed receiver take over the nonprofits.
Los Angeles city leaders are suing to have a court-appointed receiver take control of two controversial nonprofits affiliated with the Department of Water and Power whose managers have refused to show what they’ve done with more than $40 million of public money.
The decision to drain most water features at Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades this summer may not be going over well with some visitors, but the organization says thousands of gallons a day have been saved as a result.
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by Gary Polakovic:
It’s been 40 years since the June 20, 1974, opening of “Chinatown,” the fictionalized drama about power, corruption and what is arguably L.A.’s most crucial resource: water. The iconic film was Hollywood’s make-believe version of an undying reality: In L.A., you have to follow the water.
On Tuesday, some of Los Angeles County’s most prominent labor and community leaders were out demonstrating in support of a troubling idea: that the public has no right to know how public money is spent. Transparency, apparently, is not so important in Los Angeles government.
The dispute between top Los Angeles officials and one of the city’s most powerful labor leaders intensified Tuesday when Department of Water and Power union boss Brian D’Arcy warned that the city was asking for “trouble” if money is withheld from two controversial nonprofits he co-manages.
From the California Department of Water Resources (DWR):
“The water level in Castaic Lake in northern Los Angeles County continues to fall during California’s drought and is now too low for boaters to use the lake’s west boat ramp.
“The lake provides recreational activities for Southern California and, as a key component of the State Water Project (SWP), serves as a reservoir for water that’s distributed to nearby local communities.”
“Glowing from the approval of a $1 billion revitalization plan, Los Angeles City Council members proclaimed Wednesday L.A. River Day, hailing its pending rebirth and the possible return of endangered steelhead trout.”
“The decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with a more expansive remake of a stretch of Los Angeles River creates a historic opportunity: It allows the city to reorient itself away from 20th century development patterns and toward a greener and more habitable urban future.”
“Federal officials gave a major boost Wednesday to the city’s plans to turn the Los Angeles River into an urban oasis for recreation and an inviting locale for new commercial and residential development.”