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Monday, October 29, 2007

Villaraigosa taps Nahai to lead DWP


In a move that will surprise no one, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will announce today the selection of former DWP Board President, H. David Nahai to replace Ron Deaton as DWP General Manager.

Nahai, a staunch "FRIEND OF ANTONIO", will become the highest paid department manager at over $300,000 a year. Still some in the City Council would like to conduct a national search for the best qualified candidate, as stated by Councilwoman Jan Perry.
Yet, the selection of Nahai will be greeted by the "GREEN COMMUNITY" with glee. Nahai's past work with the water board and his agenda of pursuing a "GREENER DWP" will give the Mayor a "GREEN COVER" to engender continuing support from the "ECO COMMUNITY".

Nahai, a lawyer by training, will have his hands full, in attempting to right the nation's largest public utility. After all, this is the agency that pays $100 to plant a tree, faced a blistering attack from LA Times Steve Lopez when his power went out, and where employees are over paid and under work.

Will Nahai be the right person for DWP ? One thing for sure, Nahai and Villaraigosa will have some "quality discussions" at many fine restaurants in the near future. Just wondering who will pick up the tab ?
What role did "FRIENDS OF ANTONIO", Keith Brackpool and Ari Swiller, play in the selection of Nahai ??

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

One less person running for CD5!

October 29, 2007 8:42 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Can you say "conflict of interest"? Look what his law firm does.

October 29, 2007 8:49 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This will be a disaster. It will be like when Mayor Riordan picked his chief of staff and former CLA, Bill McCarley, to head DWP. I don't think he ever got around to pulling off his big deal with Enron. This is no place for amateurs. Contrarary to what CM Reyes thinks, being a commissioner doesn't come anywhere close to qualifying a person to run a major untility and understand the complexities of the business. His campaign comtributions bought him a position on the commission, but they shouldn't buy his this position.

October 29, 2007 9:00 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Daily News Op-Ed today. Great timing Eric! Is this a set-up for or against Nahai?

DWP fails city again after 2006 warnings
Article Last Updated: 10/28/2007 08:32:33 PM PDT

SUPPLYING water and power to the people who live and work in Los Angeles may be the most important service the city provides. Without power, our economy comes to a halt and our families suffer. This summer, when blackouts caused families to go without this basic service for days, our Department of Water and Power failed us.

While checking on Silver Lake residents one evening during the blackouts, I met Daisy, a proud Angeleno who has lived in the area for 20 years. Daisy had just returned home from surgery, and was taking the last few days of summer to rest and recover when the lights when out. Daisy and her neighbors were without power over a four-day period, suffering through intense heat without air conditioning while their food spoiled and their patience ran thin. Neighbors called DWP to get an idea of when the power would return - all to no avail.

The simple fact that the department could not provide Daisy and her neighbors with this most basic service is just plain wrong.

These blackouts were symptoms of a power infrastructure that has gone a generation with little investment, compounded by a significant increase in our demand for power. Despite the warnings of 2006, the DWP insisted that those outages were a "once-in-a-century" event, and that the department was ready for what was expected to be an even hotter 2007. When the heat returned, we saw that they were wrong.

The DWP is now asking for a rate increase that it would invest in improvements to our crumbling infrastructure, which would help the department ensure it remains a reliable source of power. This increase should only be supported if it is accompanied by measures to hold the department accountable to its customers.

Creating a more reliable department begins with upgrading our infrastructure. To make sure that these upgrades happen effectively, the City Council must demand that the department's management show they have a plan that addresses two key questions:

How do they intend to maintain and replace infrastructure and equipment - from transformers to transmission lines - at a pace that will ensure we keep our lights on?

How do they intend to eliminate the backlog of infrastructure improvements created by 30 years of neglect?

The DWP must also identify the funding and staffing resources necessary to implement its plan. An already understaffed department faces serious challenges in the years ahead, as nearly 40percent of the work force will become eligible for retirement in the next five years.

Upgrading our infrastructure is critical to our ability to keep our lights on, but it is not the only element. Power outages - whether caused by intense heat, earthquakes, or some other disaster - will happen. The department must be prepared with an efficient and rapid response at all times. The DWP needs an emergency customer-service plan in place to tell customers when their power will come back on.

Finally, promoting energy-efficiency measures that make use of modern-day technology and push us to conserve power is an important part of the reliability equation. We should explore programs that will provide incentives to customers to save energy during high demand periods.

Power in the 21st century needs to be reliable. The power outages of 2006 and 2007 demonstrated that DWP has a long way to go in order to keep pace with modern needs. We're not prepared to flip the switch on rate increases until we can be assured that the money will be spent wisely.

Eric Garcetti is president of the Los Angeles City Council.

October 29, 2007 9:22 AM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

I hope Eric makes the same statement about the City of Los Angeles, as well. They claim they will not be able to provide basic city services like police, fire and trash removal (among other services) if that new phone tax isn't passed.

but, yeah...DWP, too. thanks eric.

October 29, 2007 9:36 AM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:


Villaraigosa has chosen David Nahai to lead an unprecedented effort to modernize the nation's largest municipal utility and reduce its contribution to global warming.

Nahai will be charged with implementing an ambitious effort that is centered on a renewable energy agenda to increase sustainability, a modernization plan to ensure the reliability of safe water and electricity, and a fiscal accountability program to protect the ratepayers.

October 29, 2007 9:39 AM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

Red Spot...that's political code talk for, "lots of spending".

Things like, "reduce its contribution to global warming" is code for spend money on speculative niche technologies because you work for Hilary Clinton and have to push that agenda. Zuma Cramer Dogg says stock up on speculative energy technologies now...some big folks have a lot invested in these technologies -- and you can't make money if you aren't using it.

So Nahai is Villar's guy to make sure the spending floodgates are open wide and flowing fast and hard.

And I guess Eric was just sent out to rally the masses to call for all of this spending.


October 29, 2007 9:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

So I guess he'll be stepping down from the law firm now, right? Seems like it would be a conflict of interest for him to hold both positions? Maybe he already resigned from his law firm. Can someone clarify?

Nahai is president of a Century City law firm specializing in real estate, transactional matters and litigation. He also serves on the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.

October 29, 2007 9:55 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

We need these DWP rate hikes because as you know DWP has failed us and needs their Fred Flintstone technology to be upgraded to the Homer Simpson era.

And I'm afraid if we don't vote "yes" for this DWP rate increase people like Shirley, or whatever that lady's name was...oh yeah Daisy...people like Daisy will be left in the dark heat after surgery on a diurnal basis and all hell will break loose on the streets of Los Angeles. And people say, "Gee, We just gave the union workers a 25% increase; bulky item fee; solid waste fee; trash collection fees; all the other fees; phone modernization tax; possible gang tax; other taxes that may be put on the ballot; and now 9% increase on DWP bill...how is anyone supposed to live in this City anymore Eric?

And I say, I know it's going to be rough...but you should see all the leeches the Mayor and Council has feeding off the city's coffers.

It's like on giant anvil...and it doesn't seem like the mayor or anyone else will be cleaning up their act -- and the addict needs to feed the machine to keep it rolling -- so I will reluctantly vote "yes" on this increase, because it's a matter of public safety in this emergency time.

(And then insert the "global warming solutions" speech that you hope additional money goes to. And remember to buy more "environmental" stocks.

October 29, 2007 10:06 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

How do you resign from a firm you own? Oh yeah, let other family have it. LOL


October 29, 2007 10:09 AM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Remember this "FRIEND OF ANTONIO" ??

Keith Brackpool is a co-founder of Cadiz Inc. and has served as a member of Cadiz' Board of Directors since September 1986 and as President and Chief Executive Officer since December 1991. Mr. Brackpool assumed the role of Chairman of the Board of Cadiz in 2001. Mr. Brackpool has extensive expertise in Western water policy. He was appointed by former California Governor Gray Davis to co-chair his Agriculture and Water Transition Task Force and also served on the Governor’s Commission on Building for the 21st Century, a diverse panel that developed long-term policy proposals to meet the state’s future water, housing, technology and transportation needs. In addition to his position at Cadiz Inc., since 1989, Mr. Brackpool has been a principal of 1334 Partners L.P., a partnership that owns commercial real estate. Previously, Mr. Brackpool served as director and chief executive officer of North American Operations for Albert Fisher Group, a multi-billion dollar food company.

October 29, 2007 10:14 AM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

LA City Workers Win Historic Agreement

LA City unions representing over 22,000 city workers, SEIU Local 721 has won guaranteed raises -- that with compounding -- will reach a MINIMUM of 25.2% over the next five years. [Aw, HELL YEAH...not to rub it in Daily News and LAzy Times...but why was Zuma Dogg so right, and you were so wrong -- with your inaccurate City Council sources saying only 13%. You should sublease Zuma Dogg's Bat Computer so you could be right a month in advance, instead of being wrong.

In just the first eight and a half months after the ratification vote, city workers will receive higher raises than in the last three years combined. [Oh good! They'll need the raise to pay for all the new City taxes, fees and hikes.]

full article

October 29, 2007 10:16 AM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Is L.A.'s mayor after the Mojave's water?
by Judith Lewis
February 6, 2006 9:02 AM
David Zahniser of Copley News Service has done some careful math to suggest that if L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gets his way, the new head of the Metropolitan Water District will resurrect a project by Santa Monica-based Cadiz, Inc. for a groundwater-depleting, infrastructure-intensive water storage facility in the sensitive Mojave Desert.

The MWD struck down the Cadiz deal in 2002 partially on the grounds that it would violate the Desert Protection Act. But Assemblyman Richard Katz, whom Villaraigosa favors for the top MWD slot, has been chatting up his students and others about the possible merits of the project. What's more, Cadiz has been suing for breach of contract, and the four board members, appointed by former Mayor James Hahn, who voted against settling have been replaced by Villaraigosa. And then:

Since 1999, Villaraigosa has received at least $61,450 in campaign contributions from Cadiz, its executives and its board of directors, according to Ethics Commission reports. Villaraigosa worked for Cadiz as a consultant in 2001 and 2002, and the company's president, Keith Brackpool, has been one of the mayor's close friends, a political fund-raiser who directed $25,000 toward Villaraigosa's inaugural ball, which raised money for after-school programs.
It's a not an airtight case -- Villaraigosa's office denies any plans to resuscitate the project -- but Zahniser raises some pretty good questions. There's no doubt among environmentalists that Cadiz would drive the already troubled bighorn sheep to the brink of extirpation from the desert, as the groundwater mining would deplete the seeps and springs upon which they depend. And then there's the threat the project poses to the desert tortoise, desert air quality and the pristine open space of the Mojave National Preserve. On top of that, at water costs nearly 50 percent higher than the going rate, it's probably a bad deal.

Then again, bringing up the Cadiz issue could be one way of blocking intense lobbying efforts by Villaraigosa and Katz himself. But this is something watch.


October 29, 2007 10:19 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Can someone please explain to me why this guy is paid $300,000 I think more then the Chief of Police? Who decides on their salaries and are we the public entitled to weigh in. Doesn't the DWP transfer millions of dollars into the city's general fund each year? If that's true then why are the rates going up AGAIN???

October 29, 2007 10:31 AM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

What: The “Green Path” Project


L.A. Times Staff Writer

Highlighting the environmental pitfalls or harnessing "green" energy, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's push to import nonpolluting power to Los Angeles could require building power lines and transmission towers through a national forest, two desert wildlife preserves and a rustic hamlet used in countless westerns. According to the Los Angeles

Department of Water and Power, the 85-mile-long "Green Path" energy corridor designed to bring solar, geothermal and nuclear power from southeastern California and Arizona would slice across the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve north of Palm Springs, Pioneertown near Yucca Valley, Pipes Canyon Wilderness Preserve and a comer of the San Bernardino National Forest before crossing over the Cajon Pass and connecting with existing power lines in Hesperia. More than a dozen preservation and community groups have condemned the mayor and DWP for a plan that they say would destroy priceless vistas, natural areas and wildlife corridors. (see maps

October 29, 2007 10:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If they make any more transmission lines, they should put them under the ground. Just a small way to avoid fires from spontaneous lighn ing

October 29, 2007 12:07 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I thought this was Red Spot's thread; why do you keep inserting yourself, ZD?

Go do your own and wait for people to post to it. Get a deck of cards and learn to play solitaire.

Nahai has great experience in water, not as much in power, but he's been running the place as Chair of the Commission now for months and knows what he's doing.

Why trash him before he's done anything?

You guys really need to get over the fact that Antonio is the present and future Mayor of Los Angeles, and you're not.

(Except for ZD, of course, who is senior advisor to the Mayor, the Council and all other elected and appointed officials.)

October 29, 2007 12:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Keith Brackpool knows water.

October 29, 2007 12:34 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

12:29 The real question should be what experience does Nahai have in managing an organization with thousands of employees and a multi-billion dollar budget. You think running a 10 person law firm qualifies?

October 29, 2007 1:42 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Ghost writing 101,

"The budget also includes 768 new positions to address staffing shortfalls and makes an unprecedented investment in energy conservation and efficiency programs."

"Villaraigosa has chosen David Nahai to lead an unprecedented effort to modernize the nation's largest municipal utility and reduce its contribution to global warming."

Did Nahai write his own Op-ed for the Times ? Or was it created in the "THIRD FLOOR SPIN CHAMBER" ?

October 29, 2007 1:47 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

David is smart, straight and works hard. In addition, he has great experience in water and power.

I know it is hard, but give him a little time to get his hands around he problem; he will be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

October 29, 2007 2:10 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

And you are basing this on him being a volunteer commissioner? What's his real-world MANAGEMENT experience?

October 29, 2007 2:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Now why didn't they hire from the ranks of Deaton's people who obviously know the inside of DWP better then this guy. The photo of him looks very scary. I would not want to be left in a room alone with him. is he Muslim? Why is Antonio hiring all these foreign people? And can someone post the Latinos in top position w/him.

October 29, 2007 2:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


Did you REALLY just ask if he was Muslim?

Get off the internet and move back to Kansas ya idiot.

October 29, 2007 2:30 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Iranian Jew for the quota counters.

October 29, 2007 2:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Should have let Perry have her way and do a national search for a black female.

Hey, hear Gloria Jeffs is out of a job and she don't know the job as usual, but she fits the hire profile.

Too bad they didn't nab her on the rebound instead. Always better to get someone from out of town no one knows and who comes with attitude, and can't work with anyone here who knows the ropes and the town. You guys are banging your drums over ?

October 29, 2007 4:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why would we let an arab like David Nahai run a public utility in Los Angeles. We are waging a war on terrorism and now we hand over the keys to an arab.

What the hell is wrong with the people of Los Angeles, we just hand over the city to mexicans and arabs.

October 29, 2007 4:18 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

wet spot at 2:38: Persians and Jews don't fall INTO quota categories on either count, as anyone who'd have a claim to gasing about politics knows.

Persians are considered white for lack of a separate category, and Jews these days are an "overrepresented" group too smart for their own good, so they're discriminated against if at all. Sort of back to the old days which should make you happy.

For employment, however, Asians and Indian Asians "count" but not for admission to UC, because they've gotten too smart as a group, too.

Iraqis and Iranians and Egyptians are all "scary Muslims" who don't have a separate category from white. Guess they could coin the "scary Muslim Middle Easterner," as a separate group.

Only Latinos, blacks, AmerIndians, Samoans, Asian tribals like Laotians and Hmong, and some groups that historically don't do well in school or higher education get special preference.

Makes a lot of sense, don't it?


October 29, 2007 4:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

4:18: Yeah, it's all them Arab Jews blowin' things up just aks Mos Def and yo black dudes who knowed for a long time, this whole thing a big fat conspiracy by The MAN using the local Arab Jews for their dirty work. To make the real white man and the brothas look bad, and separate the brothas from they Muslim brothas, know what I's sayin?

So if you be thinkin this Nihai guy be blowing up shit in his new job, like while he's out inspectin' new pipes and all that shit, you call city hall and my homies in Janice office, and tell her the wassup.

Course far as I know he ain't blowed up nothin in Century City or them fancy hills where he live, but you can never trust them Arabs and if they be Arab Jews, just more sneaky, know what I'm sayin?

October 29, 2007 4:29 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

What about the most qualified American ?

October 29, 2007 4:31 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

'What about the most qualified American ?"

The lowest rated American is a college educated white woman over 50. Most women over 50 are considered overqualified

Every other factor is considered
Male (White)
Male (Black)
Female (Black)
Female (White)

Ages 30 to 50.

October 29, 2007 5:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Here's an idea: Let's get Nahai to agree in advance not to hit up the City for a "severance" package if he is employed less than five years.

This should be true for all department heads.

October 29, 2007 6:42 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Connect the dots,

Mayor's inner circle gives, takes.

By Duke Helfand
Los Angeles Times
February 17, 2007

An active fundraiser

No one outside the administration is more important to the tree initiative than Swiller, a onetime campaign aide to President Clinton and a former executive with billionaire Ron Burkle's investment firm, Yucaipa Cos., (which also employed Villaraigosa as a consultant after he lost the 2001 mayor's race).

Swiller, one of Villaraigosa's most active fundraisers, is now trying to tap private donors for about half of the tree campaign's $70-million price tag — and that gives him a significant say about its direction. Swiller was one of the first people to air concerns recently about the project's slow pace and understaffing, prompting Villaraigosa to shuffle the management and name a full-time executive director.

Swiller is a partner in Renewable Resources Group, a private company that promotes the use of alternative energy — an objective that dovetails with Villaraigosa's goal of increasing the amount of renewable energy sources in the DWP's power mix.

Swiller said he co-founded Renewable Resources in 2003, before Villaraigosa decided to run for mayor a second time. Still, he acknowledged that the city could one day be a customer for his firm, whose website declares that its "expertise is at the nexus of politics, finances + renewable resources."

"I feel comfortable that I was doing this before he was elected. I'm committed to it personally," Swiller said. "I feel deeply that these energy issues are important not only to the city but to the country."

October 29, 2007 6:58 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Now connect Swiller, Brackpool, Clinton...

October 29, 2007 7:50 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:


add in some water bond money.

October 29, 2007 8:02 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Ari Swiller, another "FRIEND OF ANTONIO".

Among the advisers are two figures whose presence is viewed by some Villaraigosa loyalists as a risk to the mayor’s media image. Keith Brackpool is the head of Santa Monica–based Cadiz Inc., which for a decade has been trying to extract and sell groundwater from beneath the Mojave Desert. Brackpool’s service as an adviser on water issues to Governor Gray Davis provoked criticism. He is described by Villaraigosa aides as a trusted friend—and by the L.A. Times as "urbane and well-tailored…[with] the engaging wit of an after-dinner raconteur." Villaraigosa worked as a consultant for Cadiz after leaving the assembly, which makes some of the mayor’s pro-environment supporters wary.

Longtime Democratic Party fund-raiser Ari Swiller helped stock the Villaraigosa campaign’s bank accounts, especially with contributions from out-of-state donors. Swiller’s desire to gain a major role in the new administration raises the specter of Troy Edwards, the fund-raiser and deputy mayor who resigned under a cloud and whose name was invoked throughout the last campaign to bash Hahn over ethics questions.

October 29, 2007 8:12 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Where's Mirthala??

October 29, 2007 8:31 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

So, we have AV with control of the $LAUSD, $pension fund, $DWP, huge amounts of "gray" money being raised for things like the school board and 1M trees, direct big-money ties to the Clinton camp, and more. (wouldn't it be interesting to do an audit of all of those non-profits and campaigns to see how much was skimmed off the top for other campaigns)

All the while, we are stuck in development-created traffic (from big-money contributors), we get illegal phone taxes and a DWP "rate increase" that only serves to maintain the surplus pumped into the City coffers.

Now THAT'S leadership. The problem is that we all deserve it until we actually make one of these con-artists suffer at the polls.

October 29, 2007 8:38 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Ari Swiller cont.

Ari Swiller

Ari Swiller founded The Renewable Resources Group (RRG), a Los Angeles-based firm specializing in renewable and alternative energy projects. RRG provides a full range of project development and strategic advisory services relating to all aspects of sustainable and renewable power and water, and alternative fuel transportation, including: financing, permitting, and regulatory and political issues. Prior to founding RRG, Mr. Swiller was a principal in The Yucaipa Companies, a private equity firm also based in Los Angeles, managing several billion dollars. Mr. Swiller’s responsibilities included raising Yucaipa’s Private Equity funds, strategic investment planning, public relations, community affairs, and philanthropy. In addition, Mr. Swiller managed the firm’s board of advisors, which includes former President Bill Clinton and former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. Mr. Swiller served as Vice President of External Affairs at Ralphs (a Yucaipa portfolio company now merged into Kroger) and Executive Director of the Ralphs/Food4Less Foundation. Mr. Swiller is a board member of the Chrysalis Foundation, The Los Angeles Conservation Corps, and the L.A. Urban League Capital Campaign. Mr. Swiller received a B.A. from Cornell University.

October 29, 2007 9:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I vote fo Mr. S. David Freeman to take the job. Or at least to be the DWP Board president.

October 29, 2007 9:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Yes, but what about this:
from: http://www.westerndev.com/

"WDS analyzes and develops water conservation, banking, and transfer projects as an investor, partner and consultant to private equity funds and public agencies. Because we manage our own assets, WDS has a unique understanding and ability to advise others regarding opportunities, risks, political factors, legal structures, permitting, technical issues, schedules and costs.

WDS is not an engineering company. WDS is a team of developers that knows the issues, the process, the players, the opportunities and the risks. WDS analyzes and manages projects in-house and outsources detailed engineering work to consultants such as Bookman-Edmonston, Boyle Engineering, Jones & Stokes, Geomatrix, Layne Christensen, Quad Knopf, URS Corporation and others. This allows WDS to remain financially efficient while accessing detailed expertise only where and when it is needed.

WDS is a Renewable Resources Group Company"

and this...

"The Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. Nationwide
WDS is partnered with BNSF to catalogue, prioritize and market 124 years of water rights, land and equipment at over 800 locations throughout the western United States. WDS manages over 40 transactions and is working regularly with water agencies in AZ, CA, CO, MT, NM, OR, TX, WA regarding over 100,000 AF of surface water, groundwater and storage rights."

and it all starts to come together... from the L.A. Times...

"Group's Voter Registration Is Questioned
Hahn's campaign accuses nonprofit organization of
working for Villaraigosa by refusing to sign up supporters of the mayor.
Mayor James K. Hahn's campaign on Friday charged that a nonprofit organization that ran a recent voter-registration drive aimed at Latinos refused to sign up some who said they planned to support the incumbent.
The Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, which says it registered 12,235 Latinos, also received a boost from challenger Antonio Villaraigosa when he appeared at a fundraising golf tournament. And one of Villaraigosa's top fundraisers helped raise money for the voter-registration drive.
"I've heard a number of cases where it appears Southwest is crossing the line and advocating for our opponent," Hahn strategist Kam Kuwata said. "There needs to be a thorough investigation to see if they are abiding by the rules governing nonprofits."
Antonio Gonzalez, the group's president, disputed Kuwata's charges. "It's utter, complete baloney," he said.
He said volunteers on the registration drive went through extensive training that included instructions not to ask voters whom they planned to support in the mayoral election.
The dispute arose less than two weeks before the May 17 election as both Hahn and Villaraigosa traveled the city to shore up support among key segments of the population.
The Southwest voter drive, Gonzalez said, could increase the Latino slice of the electorate to 27% or more. "These are strong numbers that bode well for the Latino community and the role it will play in Los Angeles area politics."
The group's registration drive cost $125,000, much of which was raised through an April 1 golf tournament at which Villaraigosa appeared. State Sen. Richard Alarcon, who is backing Villaraigosa, bought $800 worth of tickets. And Villaraigosa fundraiser Ari Swiller confirmed that he raised "tens of thousands of dollars for the drive."
Swiller said he has been raising money for similar projects for years, even before Villaraigosa became a candidate. And he said he consulted with an attorney who advised it was OK for him to raise money for the project and Villaraigosa's campaign.

Villaraigosa, who had raised $1.7 million more than Hahn through the end of April, canceled two fundraisers in the Sacramento area this weekend. "We need the councilman to spend 100% of his time in L.A. ," said Ace Smith, Villaraigosa's campaign manager. "It's that simple."
Among the high-profile guests who had been expected at the Villaraigosa fundraiser outside Sacramento on Saturday were Willie Brown, the former mayor of San Francisco and longtime Democratic Assembly speaker; Republican consultant Bob White, a former top advisor to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; and Jim Brulte, the former GOP leader of the state Senate.
Villaraigosa's fundraising has come under scrutiny after the district attorney launched an investigation into whether $47,000 from Florida contributors was laundered.
Kuwata said Friday that he had heard that volunteers on the Southwest registration drive, which ended Monday, did not help register people who said they planned to vote for Hahn."

October 29, 2007 9:41 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

S. David Freeman?

Great choice. But I am sure that you are aware of the fact that he was Ari Swiller's partner in RRG.

But why should that stop him from being Chair?

Nah, they need him at the Port of LA where he is greening it big time.

That's a success story that you won't read about on this blog with all the MAV haters spinning away.

October 30, 2007 1:39 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Excuse me but isn't this discrimination? People in the valley CHOSE to live there knowing the weather in the summer is hotter then other areas. However, with global warming its just as hot in other parts of the city. This is outrageous. I don't think any other city discriminates against the poor this way.

DWP plan would give Valley a rate break

October 30, 2007 5:57 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

funny, nahai donated to Perry, and she's the one questioning his appt

02/13/05 H. David Nahai
(Attorney, Nahai, Land)
Beverly Hills, CA 90210 Jan Perry
Council Member - CD9
1262279 - Jan Perry Re-election Committee A - Monetary Contribution Received
(IND - Individual)
[Period: 01/23/05-02/19/05]
$500.00 [Election: 03/08/05]

02/02/03 H. David Nahai
(Attorney, Nahai Law Corp.)
Beverly Hills, CA 90210 Antonio R. Villaraigosa
Council Member - CD14
1250526 - Villaraigosa for Council A - Monetary Contribution Received
(IND - Individual)
[Period: 01/19/03-02/15/03]
$100.00 [Election: 03/05/03]

04/01/05 Hamid David Nahai
(Attorney, Hamid David Nahai)
Beverly Hills, CA 90210 Antonio Villaraigosa
1275257 - Villaraigosa for Mayor 2005 - GENERAL A - Monetary Contribution Received
(IND - Individual)
[Period: 01/01/05-04/02/05]
$1,000.00 [Election: 05/17/05]

October 30, 2007 12:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why should an inexperienced outsider/ insider get the same money as Deaton?

How about $250K for being Villar's figurehead and another $10k for every $1 million he shaves off the rate payor bills.

Nahai could start easy by getting rid of all the dead wood, mayor and union cronies in the management ranks.

By the way, if Eric Garcetti was so concerned with ethics, why doesn't he point out that there is no real check and balance between the Board and the management. I mean they are on the same team, patting each other on the back, all equal and qualified in Villar's blind eye.

They all have arm and a leg invested in a aging infrastructure and declining level of service at an ever increasing rate -- status quo.

Vision this: New faces same old script. It will be a hit [and run]! Promise transparency and never get around to it (again). Don't hold your breath.

Other than flash in the pan, nothing from the mayor's office has done anything remarkable at DWP -- McCarley, Freeman, Wiggs, Deaton...
Oh, wait... Put maintenance on the back burner, fire engineers, hire engineers, give raises, more raises (etc.), plant trees without water, use overtime to put up temporary lights each year so citizens can enjoy idling cars, put up solar panels but never talk about the actual price to contribution ratio, buy green technology, run it through the faulty infrastructure, and reorganize... New face in the driver's seat... here we go again. Lot's more reorganizing... Need more cronies!

October 30, 2007 9:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Nedd more money. Keep the money commin'

October 30, 2007 9:42 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Every city in America and in the world for that matter has an electrical system. Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is probably the only company that pays its custodians, clerical, and support workers three times the median wage for comparable work.
What the Daily News is clearly pointing to is that we don't mind feeding the dog even when he is too fat but, we object to overfeeding the greedy over-protective fleas and parasites that DWP management has allowed to get out of control. The systemic infestation is reflected in dysfunctional management, low employee morale, low productivity, overtime, and increasing costs.
Face it. Big dams and hydro-electric plants are a thing of the past. Any citizen can install solar cells. It is just a matter of time. Don't rush your eventual unemployment by pricing yourselves out of the market too soon.

October 30, 2007 10:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

MEChA and its Imprint on California Politics

MEChA, which stands for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (Chicano Student Movement of Atzlan), is a student organization that was born in 1969 in California and has spread to college campuses all over the nation. One of their main stated aims is to assist young members of the Hispanic community in entering higher education, a worthy goal. Other aspects of its philosophy are more controversial and strike many as divisive in the extreme.

Rather than use my own or others' characterizations of MEChA's philosophy, let me quote from their national webpage (nationalmecha.org):

"MEChA is a student organization that promotes higher education, cultura and historia (culture and history) . MEChA was founded on the principles of self-determination for the liberation of our people. We believe that political involvement and education is the avenue for change in our society.

Each word in MEChA symbolizes a great concept in terms of la causa (the cause). Movimiento (Movement) means that the organization is dedicated to the movement to gain self determination for our people. Estudiantil (Student as adjective) identifies the organization as a student group for we are part of our Raza's (race's) future. At the heart of the name is the use of the identity: Chicano. At first seen as a negative word, now taken for a badge of honor. In adopting their new identity, the students committed themselves to return to the barrios, colonias (neighborhoods/districts), or campos (fields) and together, struggle against the forces that oppress our gente (people). Lastly, the affirmation that we are indigenous people to this land by placing our movement in Aztlan, the homeland of all peoples from Anahuak.

On campuses across Aztlan. MEChA and Mechistas are often the only groups on campus Raza and non-Raza (Race and non-Race) alike that seek to open the doors of higher education para nuestras comunidades (for our communities) and strive for a society free of imperialism, racism, sexism, and homophobia. An inspirational statement in El Plan Santa Barbara that speaks to these notes:

"MEChA must bring to the mind of every young Chicana and Chicano that the liberation of her/his people from prejudice and oppression is in her/his hands and this responsibility is greater than personal achievement and more meaningful than degrees, especially if they are earned at the expense of her/his identity and cultural integrity. MEChA, then, is more than a name; it is a spirit of unity, of sisterhood and brotherhood, and a resolve to undertake a struggle for liberation in a society where justice is but a word. MEChA is a means to an end" (El Plan de Santa Barbara).

* (Translations of Spanish words in parentheses are added by me).
The motto for MEChA is as follows: Por la Raza todo. Fuera de la Raza nada -For the race everything. (For those) outside of the race-nothing-Not exactly a motto designed to inspire confidence in MEChA's desire to promote harmony.
Aztlan is an Amer-Indian term referring to the present-day southwest area of the US. According to MEChA, this area is illegally occupied by the US. El Plan de Santa Barbara refers to the plan of action that was part of the 1969 beginnings of MEChA at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

As you can see, the language is right out of the 1960s, but still appears on MEChA's website today. Divisive? You make the call. Critics of MEChA claim that the organization still believes that the US southwest should revert back to Mexico and that MEChA is in fact, a racist organization that sets back efforts to assimilate recent Latin immigrants and promote harmony between ethnic groups. MEChA, of course denies the racism charges and stresses its present-day efforts to promote higher education among Hispanic youth. Of course, MEChA supports the cause of illegal aliens in the US.

One interesting sidelight is the prominance in California politics of many of MECha's former members. Many of the state's leading Democratic politicians belonged to the organization during their collegiate years. This has caused many critics to question the commitment of these figures to represent all of their constituents.

California's most visible former Mechista is LA Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who was a MEChA ;eader while attending UCLA. After UCLA, he attended the "People's Law School", which Frontpage Magazine referred to as "a factory for the manufacture of radical leftist lawyers" (See Frontpage 9-10-2003/License to Kill by Lowell Ponte) Prior to becoming mayor, Villaraigosa was speaker of the lower house of the California legislature and later LA city councilman. Until the recent disclosure of the break-up of his marriage and affair with Telemundo reporter, Mirthala Salinas, Villaraigosa had attracted the most attention as mayor by openly supporting the city's massive illegal alien population, appearing at many of their marches and proclaiming on one occasion, "We clean your toilets!". Under Villaraigosa's stewardship, LA is one of several "sanctuary cities" around the US-that is- cities that will not cooperate with immigration authorities and will not allow their police to inquire about immigration status when they come into contact with suspects.

Until the recent love scandal broke, Villaraigosa had been considered a leading candidate to become governor-and then go on to national office.

In statewide politics, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez is probably the most prominent former Mechista. Nunez was previously the political director of the LA County Federation of Labor and later the head of government relations for LA Unified School District. As the Democratic Party's top legislator, Nunez has been a vocal supporter for the measure that would have allowed illegal aliens to obtain California drivers licenses. In the 1990s, he led protests against Proposition 187 passed by California voters that would have denied benefits to illegal aliens. In one protest in October 1994, which was organized by Nunez and his colleague, Juan Jose Gutierrez, protesters waved Mexican flags and displayed an American flag with 13 stars. Governor Wilson was called a "pig", and "Anglos" were called upon to go back to Europe. Nunez's opponents, to this day, consider him a "Reconquista" (one who favors the return of the southwest to Mexico.)

Cruz Bustamante, who served as Lt. Governor under the disasterous administration of Grey Davis, was also a MEChA member in the 1970s at Fresno State. When Davis was recalled by voters due to his gross ineptitude, Bustamante unsuccessfully ran to succeed him, losing to current governor, Arnold Schwartzenegger. A career political technocrat, who bounces from one position to another, Bustamante's campaigns have been controversial for campaign finance irregularities, i.e. diverting campaign funds into other causes, such as defeating Ward Connerly's Racial Privacy Initiative. Bustamante, not surprisingly, is a strong supporter of racial preferences. He did have one slip-up a couple of years back when, speaking before a group of African-Americans, he let slip the N-word, immediately offering profuse apologies. Did that end his political career? Hardly. He is, after all, a liberal Democrat. Those stories don't have legs, as they say in the news media.

State Senator Gil Cedillo, who represents East Los Angeles, was a MECha activist at UCLA in the 1970s. Like Villaraigosa, he followed UCLA by attending the aforementioned "People's Law School". Cedillo is derisively referred to by many as "One Bill Gil", a reference to his continuing promulgation of legislation that would give drivers licenses to illegal aliens.

Another former Mechista is Joe Baca, member of the US House of Representatives from the Inland Empire area around Riverside and San Bernadino (Rialto). Previously, he was a California state senator. Not long ago, he made headlines by referring to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) as a "whore". This all evolved in connection with strife within the Latino Caucus in Congress as well as Sanchez's criticism of Baca's use of campaign funds.

One point I would like to make here is this: MEChA would deny that they are a racist organization. They would state that their main purpose is to facilitate and assist other young Hispanics in obtaining a higher education, as I said, a worthy goal. Yet, they should realize that many are troubled by the fiery rhetoric of their motto and the questionable language on their website. Also troubling is the langauge emenating from their founding in 1969 and the "Santa Barbara Plan". It implies that they are promoting separatism from mainstream American society. Let me quote further from their national website (nationalmecha.org):

"The Mexican-American (Hispanic) is a person who lacks respect for his/her cultural and ethnic heritage. Unsure of her/himself, she/he seeks assimilation as a way out of her/his 'degraded' social status. Consequently, she/he remains politically ineffective. In contrast, Chicanismo reflects self-respect and pride on one's ethnic and cutural background. Thus, the Chicana/o acts with confidence and with a range of alternatives in the political world. She/he is capable of developing an effective ideology through action" (El Plan de Santa Barbara).

Is this what MEChA still thinks today? Or is this just a slogan from the past? I would hope that the latter is the case.

Now for a little personal imput: I am not Mexican-American nor Hispanic. I am a 62 year old, white Anglo who grew up and went to school with Mexican-Americans in West Los Angeles. This term, Chicano, I recall well from my teenage years. It was a street word for Mexican-Americans- a term many Mexican-Americans still reject. Unfortunately, it became trendy in the universities during the 1960s, and today, some universitities still have what they call "Chicano Studies Departments". My wife is a (legal) Mexican immigrant who came to this country with her family about 40 years ago. I myself speak Spanish, and we have done everything we could to raise our children to speak Spanish and, while being Americans, not to ignore their Mexican heritage. But it comes down to this: While the Mexican influence has always been a part of the fabric of southern California and, indeed, the southwest, this is still the United States and the language that everyone needs to know is English. If there are voices in the Mexican-American community that encourage people to reject their American heritage, to not assimilate with other Americans-including other ethnic groups, then they are doing a huge disservice to their community. Whether we are succeeding or not, our goal should be to accept immigrants from wherever and encourage them to assimilate and become Americans. It should not matter whether their skin is white, black, yellow or brown-we are Americans. More than ever, we Americans need to stand together against the forces that wish to destroy all of us. The politics of ethnicity and the so-called community leaders who practice it are wrong. They are only dividing us all.

As to the above-mentioned political leaders, all of whom are Democrats, there is no record of any of them repudiating their past membership in MEChA nor any of the language that MEChA has used or still uses. They insist that in their political lives, they are representing all of their constituents, but none of them (that I am aware of) have publically stated that MEChA's language is intemporate or out of date.

As for MEChA, if your goal is to help other Hispanics obtain higher education, I am with you on that. If, on the other hand, your goal is to drive a wedge between Hispanics and other ethnic groups and further, to achieve some sort of "reconquista" of the southwestern United States back to Mexico, then you are dead wrong. You would not only be hurting our country, but your community even more so because you are creating an impediment to assimilation. Any Mexican-American family that wants to teach their children Spanish and about the Mexican culture is always free to do so, but that is a personal decision. This is the United States, and we are made up of many ethnic groups. Our task is to come together.

by Gary Fouse

October 31, 2007 12:52 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

That stuff about MEChA is scary.

Ever think that DWP has been run into the ground for years to make what ever the Mayor's appoint does look good?

October 31, 2007 5:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Are you suggesting that the MEChA's are uniting with the Iranian's to take over? Villar and Hamid D. Nahai?

That is sick!(?)

October 31, 2007 5:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

October 30, 2007 12:20 PM

I hate to say it, but Councilwomen Perry is just acting out a drama. Remember, this is Hollywood! Let’s see if she will be the lone NO vote when Mr. Nahi comes before City Council for confirmation.

October 31, 2007 10:45 PM  

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