Now this is fascinating: the DWP has hired JPL consultants to determine if seismic activity has caused all the water main ruptures. And yet JPL admits they don't have measurements going back long enough to determine if any recent seismic shifts are aberrations. And then the DWP turns around and says, "the city's 7,200 miles of pipe aren't actually leaking more than usual -- in fact, the number of leaks, about 1,400 a year, is down from the past and represents a lower rate per mile of pipe than in other cities." Of course! That's why Freeman needs to bring in a couple of chronic rainmaker scientists at JPL--because nothing unusual is going on.
One thing JPL knows how to do: spend money. They are famous for it. But do you see a single dollar sign in that story? Of course not. Free publicity almost never includes a dollar sign. Would it have been too much to ask how much this is going to cost?
(Speaking of pressers, the LAUSD actually embargoed a press release yesterday for an event today. What on earth for? Because the press office won't work Saturdays? The school in question has already been open for a month.)
It's better on the inside of the paper: Richard Nemec, a hydro-trade writer after my own heart, on the Times Saturday op-ed page notes all the recent peculiarities surrounding the DWP appointment of Freeman: for instance, "Its oversight board called a special meeting Tuesday to deal with the changes, but held it in a Boyle Heights youth center away from the customary downtown boardroom. Although such meetings are public, they are usually also accessible through a teleconferencing hookup, but there was no such link this time." It was Riordan who first made the top DWP job a plum-picker rather than a public servant. It is indeed, as Neme says, time for LA to stop giving this job to fundraisers and political allies and look to real experts in the field. Our system is at risk; we were even obliged to close down a reservoir for carcinogenic contamination a year and a half ago. Freeman may qualify as both plum-picker and public servant now but his skill set may not be up to snuff with the new Department.
Your Saturday morning should include something about the DA's office choosing not to persecute Building and Safety's GM Andrew Adelman. But I'm guessing you already know that. Those theorists who said more recent rape case prosecution would suffer because of the resources the DA is obliged to devote to the thirty-two-year-old Polanski case may have had some merit after all.
Media corner: yes, it would seem the former fishwrap of record is ripe for criticism of local news coverage, printing DWP pressers in the middle of a crisis and settling for what UCLA and LAPD tell them in the bizarre UCLA slashing case. But instead, there are some old men around town teeing off again at the LA Weekly and especially at women with print jobs. I won't link to those stories nor name names because these guys simply grind old axes ad inf. and they've finally arrived at their own velvet coffins of choice. But you would think former scribes whose day jobs now are devoted to burying unseemly publicity about universities would actually root for people still practicing real journalism every now and then.