Wednesday, June 15, 2005

LADWP: Email = involvement

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the City's Neighborhood Councils promising them "involvement" in the Department's decicionmaking process. Now the question remains, what does that mean?

The (Neighborhood Council) representatives said they believe new DWP General Manager Ron Deaton, who formerly was chief legislative analyst at City Hall, represents a fresh start at the utility, which has been plagued by a public relations overbilling scandal and critical audits by City Controller Laura Chick.

Deaton said a neighborhood council task force was briefed at least twice on the budget, and that he sent out an e-mail May 31 to the neighborhood councils concerning the need for a water rate hike -- a week before the proposed rate hikes were on the DWP commission's agenda.

Deaton said any proposed rate hike would include at least a 90-day review period by the councils, including the independent review. He suggested the review could be done annually.

"I think that's involvement," Deaton said in an interview.