Tuesday, February 19, 2008

News from CityWatch www.citywatchla.com

DWP GM to NC OSC Panel: Advocacy Not Your Job
Breaking News
By Ken Draper

The Neighborhood Council DWP/MOU Oversight Committee has spent much of the last eight months in an attack and accusatory mode regarding proposed DWP rate increases and the accuracy of the Department’s claims. The Memorandum of Understanding oversight panel found itself on the receiving end on Friday.

In a letter to the DWP/MOU Oversight Committee Chair, new LADWP GM, H. David Nahai, charges the committee with overstepping its MOU responsibilities and says they have been less than factual in their claim that 74 neighborhood councils unanimously approved a resolution requesting that the department delay rate increases pending an overdue Industrial, Economic and Administrative (IEA) survey.

In his February 12 letter to Soledad Garcia, Chair of the Oversight Committee, Nahai reminds her that the “MOU Oversight Committee, as provided for in the MOU and agreed to by LADWP and ALL 74 neighborhood council signatures, was never intended to be, nor is authorized to function as and advocacy group.”

“The role of the MOU OSC,” he says, “is to ensure that the LADWP is following the spirit of the MOU.”

The general manager also accused the NC committee of playing loose with the facts: “The language in the (MOU OSC) resolution would lead the reader to believe that 74 neighborhood councils have voiced their support for it when in fact that is not the case.”

And, Nahai’s was not the only complaint on this subject. Jeffrey Jacobberger, who drafted the original NC/DWP MOU and currently serves on the Mid City WEST Community Council Board, put his objections in and e-memo to Garcia: “I appreciate all the work that the OSC has put into this. However, all of the OSC e-mails give the impression that opposition is unanimous. It is not. The Mid City West Community Council voted to support the proposed rate increase because we believe the infrastructure upgrades are necessary, and won't be free. I had thought that the whole point of having a group collect responses from NCs (whether it be the OSC, LANCC or anything else) would be that they collect and report ALL of the responses from member NCs, not just the responses they like.”

LADWP’s Nahai also reminded the MOU Oversight Committee that agreement requires the department to be notified in advance and given a chance to present its position whenever an NC or neighborhood council committee agendizes an official action. He notes that the DWP was not notified or invited to the meeting where the Committee voted on the Resolution.

Garcia’s announcement following the Nahai letter, said that she had received the letter and would respond “as soon as you all (neighborhood councils) have received it and are apprised of the circumstances.” She asked councils to refrain from responding individually until “I have the opportunity to respond first.”

The DWP rate action proposals … along with GM Nahai’s responses to the Energy Committee’s questions … are due back in the Budget and Finance and Energy and Environment Committees soon. However, no date has yet been set.

INFO—To read the Memorandum of Understanding and the sections referred to by H. David Nahai, visit www.ladwp.com.

The General Manager’s complete letter to the MOU Oversight Committee and the OSC's Resolution at http://www.citywatchla.com/images/miscellaneous/dwp_gm_letter.pdf. _