Thursday, October 29, 2009

DWP is going to be collecting more from you, but why?

Here is more from a Tuesday entry on Ron Kaye's blog that you can examine to see that the DWP collects and has been collecting for years, loads of money. "DWP Calling: Your Money or Your Life (Or Why We Need to Know Where Our Money Goes)," By Ron Kaye on October 27, 2009.

You might have sensed that part about collecting loads of money from you, but did you ever wonder WHERE it went? All that money was collected as a public utility only have it passed along to the "General Fund" of the city to use as it pleases. Instead, they could have been using it to improve service and maintain facilities and infrastructure.

The DWP collected so much money that the City Council had simply used it as a regular supplier of cash, not really doing much for the utility's customers of water and electricity. Remember, too, that this is a monopoly, the only game in town, and you really have no choice when it comes to sellers of water and electricity. It's all DWP and only DWP when it comes to getting electricity or water.

Check the numbers and see the added note at the beginnig of the October 27 blog posting that reflects the City Council meeting's outcome. The DWP requested approval for bonds for applying to DWP improvement on Tuesday, October 28, 2009. Bonds are the way that money is obtained. Actually it is borrowed to pay for things such as government projects. They are very expensive and the amount used comes from selling them to investors who will get paid back, usually from more taxes imposed upon the publie. The High Speed Rail to San Francisco sounded cool and I
am sure many voted to approve the project because of that, but it won't be ready for many years, while the costs to cover the bond repayment begins to mount fairly promptly.

That approval by the City Council, often colorfully referred to by many critics as the "City Clowncil," is mentioned in the linked posting and repeated below:

Editor's Note: The City Council, after a lengthy debate about Google
vs. Microsoft email products, unanimously approved both the water and power bond plans of DWP without debate, setting the stage for further rate increases. Google email won unanimous approval to be City Hall's email.

The DWP has a history of actions that cause most reasonable people from wondering, "Who's in charge here, anyway?" This ranges from the breast feeding classes for employees paid for at the work site by the DWP when the health insurance already provides this benefit, to the payments for an outside Public Relations company when an in-house ability already exists and when there is no other competing utility because DWP is a monopoly. All these came at hefty prices and the PR problem was corrected finally but it shows that they need serious watching.

By the way, David Nahai, ex-GM, resigned earlier this month and is getting paid as a "consultant" to answer emails and phone calls "during business hours" at just under $150,000 for the time left this year. Nahai was solidly behind the breast feeding expenditure. That was back when Nahai and the IBEW (union) were more in agreement than when Nahai left. Ron Kaye's blog gives a lot more of the details for dozens of the city politicians' activities that are not what they should be doing for the public and the voters.