Former City Controller Laura Chick, actor/environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. and former City Councilman Nate Holden hope to pour water on the city’s November ballot measure aimed at changing how the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is governed.
Chick, Begley and Holden are among the members of Neighborhoods Against DWP Power Grab, which is fighting Los Angeles Charter Amendment RRR. Opponents say the measure will give DWP officials and the board overseeing the utility too much power, and makes the utility less transparent and accountable to voters.
Also on the committee are UCI law professor Erwin Chemerinsky, William D. Smart Jr. of the Fix L.A. Coalition, and National Organization for Women California President Jerilyn Stapleton.
In an official argument opposing the measure, the committee takes issue with provisions they believe would give the DWP oversight board more authority to set rate increases and decide on more expensive contracts.
“The DWP needs serious overhaul and reform, but this reckless proposal takes us backwards and does not reflect the good-government changes that ratepayers want and need,” according to their statement.
DWP ratepayer advocate Fred Pickel, who serves as the utility’s independent watchdog, was tasked with writing the official argument in favor the measure. He was not immediately available to respond to the committee’s formation and official argument.
The ballot measure was backed by the City Council and DWP officials who have said it will improve the way the public utility is run. Specifically, the measure would change the process for how contracts are awarded and rates are set, as well as increase the citizen board overseeing the department from five to seven members. The measure would also allow for changes in the future to allow the hiring of DWP workers to depart from existing civil service and collective bargaining rules.
–City News Service
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