Sunday, October 31, 2004

Hahn's quick fix,1413,200~20951~2504220,00.html?search=filter

Mayor's bureaucratic shuffle poses a challenge for the council
Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn has a problem. Actually, with ongoing criminal investigations of his administration and a grueling re-election campaign in front of him, he has many problems, but the biggest one at the moment is the Department of Water and Power.
For years, city officials have used the DWP as their personal piggy bank, a practice Hahn has made his specialty. But after pushing through an unpopular 11 percent hike in water rates, the DWP is under newfound scrutiny. People are asking questions about the way it spends their money, about the vacuum of leadership at the top, about the politicized commission that oversees it.
Creative as ever, Hahn has found a solution - the city's one and only bureaucratic genius, Ron Deaton.
Deaton, the city's chief legislative analyst, has for more than a decade been the city's most powerful political figure while making the inner workings of City Hall impervious to anyone on the outside.
Now Hahn wants him to work his magic over at the DWP. Deaton's mission would be tricky: Cook the books so that the utility can continue to ratchet up rates and funnel more money into the city's general fund while concealing the waste and bureaucratic decadence that might enrage the public.
Of course, should Deaton head over to the DWP, who would take over his old job of running City Hall?
Hahn seems to have a plan for that one, too. Term-limited City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski has been campaigning for the job. Having shepherded the mayor's bogus $11 billion LAX "modernization" plan through the council, she's proved herself a loyal soldier - loyal, that is, to Hahn's business-as-usual.
What remains to be seen is whether the City Council plays along and approves his changes. To do so would prove that the council is as much part of the problem as the mayor, Deaton and Miscikowski. All three have spent almost their entire adult lives on the city's payroll protecting and serving the insider culture at the expense of the city itself.
We'll soon will see whether the council stands with these three and the generation of failed leadership they represent, or whether it stands with the people and the hopes for a greater Los Angeles for tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

City adviser Deaton tapped to lead DWP or else,1413,200~20954~2498756,00.html

By Rick Orlov and James Nash Staff Writers

In a major City Hall shake-up, Mayor James Hahn on Thursday nominated one of the most powerful city figures -- Chief Legislative Analyst Ron Deaton -- to take over as head of the Department of Water and Power.
Hahn told the City Council he is nominating Deaton to take over for David Wiggs, who advised the mayor he is resigning from his $311,362-a-year job as the DWP's general manager as he recuperates from cancer. Deaton, who earns $286,724 a year now, has for nearly two decades wielded enormous power over city affairs as the City Council's adviser.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Dirty Laundry

DWP’s deep cultural problems get a public airing, but who will fix them?by Jeffrey Anderson

A procession of Department of Water and Power employees seized the floor and railed against harassment and retaliation recently at a Board of Commissioners meeting, causing jaws to drop and commissioners to avert their eyes. Ordinarily the board conducts the DWP’s weighty business in a dispassionate manner, sparing little time for discussion about mistreatment of its workers, but this meeting featured a whiff of the DWP’s dirty laundry being aired out.