Thursday, March 31, 2005

DWP Employee exercises two minutes of free speech at the Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources Committee

A part time management professor and DWP employee spoke to the Commerce, Energy, and Natural Resources Committee today. Subsequently, Councilwoman Janice Hahn and Committee Chair Tony Cardenas made no comment and took no action other than to adjourn the meeting.

“My name is Daniel N. Shrader, I am an employee of the Department of Water and Power.

I can see the motivation for allowing the Empire contract and more importantly employee retaliation issues to slip under the rug. I am here to ask you to keep them on the agenda and to expand the scope of the motion.

With the exception of one manager, Mahmud Chaudhry, the management of Department of Water and Power has two policies: One, to do nothing and to hold on until their retirement. And two, to actively support Union interests at employee and citizen expense.

If you will notice, employees that speak out against mis-management and conflicts of interest are subject to management-orchestrated retaliation. I have submitted reports reflecting my findings to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. Assistant General Manager, Henry Martinez, told the Board that he would conduct an investigation and provide his findings in November of 2004. There was no legitimate investigation. Not one person other than the perpetrators cited in the report was contacted. The findings were swept under the rug and the perpetrators were promoted.

On November 9, 2004, I submitted the report and these issues to this committee. Your review of the Empire contract revealed that the Department did not tell you the truth about the matter. You admonished Henry Martinez on integrity. Your talk to Henry Martinez has had no noticeable effect to improve the situation at DWP. Employees are being retaliated against. The public is not best served by these conflicted interests.

You place considerable faith in General Manager, Ronald Deaton. He has been at the DWP for five months – One month less than James Hahn claims to have given Bernard Parks to clean up the LAPD before firing him. In that time, Mr. Deaton has not spoken to the employees, not presented a vision, not stopped management-orchestrated retaliation, nor directed employees in a new direction.

I will tell you that it takes considerable wherewithal to speak up about the problems at DWP. I would think that you would at least pursue the matter fully. The problem is so bad at DWP that only one single Assistant General Manager has shown the backbone to speak to the Mayor. His letter to the Mayor was reported in LA Weekly. It is no surprise that even he is met with silence from the Mayor and the City Council. Your silence and willingness to ignore what is happening at DWP speaks volumes about the conflicts of interest you too suffer.

The management, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, the City Council, the Mayor, and this committee are the persons charged with steering the events unraveling before us. The main topic of the Mayoral debate was integrity and trust. You found them lacking in Henry Martinez. I find that, too.

Managing a company is a lot like driving a car. You have to look out the windshield and adjust for what you see ahead, and here is the key, you need to take appropriate action to avoid the obstacles or suffer the inevitable collision. The DWP is definitely in trouble. Outside of Mahmud Chaudhry, I don’t see the management, the Board at DWP, the City Council or the Mayor taking appropriate action to address what we all see when we look out the windshield. Los Angeles cannot afford more corruption, mismanagement, and ineffectiveness.

Please do not shelve the motion to investigate the DWP conflict of interests, contract issues, and management-orchestrated
retaliation against employees.”

Serving two masters at DWP

Causes and effects of a manipulated and degraded merit system Posted by Hello

A steadily growing number of employees are speaking up about the management of the Department of Water and Power (DWP). If this growing employee concern does not seem particularly strange to you, you should consider the following.

DWP is a municipal utility operating in a monopoly outside the rigors of competitive market forces that require at minimum customer-focused and cost-effective performance to survive. DWP is in an industry rife with scandal, bankruptcy, and lost employee pensions (ENRON, SCE, PG&E). DWP is at the center of a City environment stained with allegations of corruption (James K. Hahn administration). DWP employees and management are subject to a working and political atmosphere controlled by a union commonly referred to as one of the most powerful and top organizational political donors. Many senior employees perceive DWP management as IBEW cronies exercising a bureaucratic patronage system, manipulating behind-the-scenes loopholes, political payoffs, and the using economic and physical intimidation against employees to gain power and influence and expand control over the entire organization.

Concerned citizens and civil servants should pull their heads out of the sand and demand a full accounting. What the hell is going on at the DWP? DWP contributes to the underlying cost of every single home and business in Los Angeles. Why aren’t politicians and citizens paying more attention to the DWP?

Notwithstanding the efforts of a few journalists, we can expect the Los Angeles Times to demonstrate its historical bias, understate advances, and allow short-term union gains to outweigh responsibility for prudent responsible personnel and infrastructure management contributing to a healthy environment and a cost-competitive infrastructure which can support long-term city prosperity.

Consider the mistakes citizens have made in the not-too-distant past. We stood by while politicians permitted the ripping out of Los Angeles’ transportation system – the historical red cars (street cars) – creating the modern noxious bus fumes and gridlock we have today. Think how much further ahead we would be if we had been more active and aware. Or perhaps, consider the political turmoil, graft, and corruption which led to the movie Chinatown. The saying, “history repeats itself,” is no less true today. Consider those civil servants who have been drawn under by personal greed, mob mentality, or group think and have lost track of their internal ethical compass and their obligation to the public. Consider those who tacitly supported the degradation of position requirements, supported questionable objectives, undermined the merit and personnel management systems, and ruined the careers of employees who properly executed their obligation to act in the public’s best interest and reported managerial malfeasance. It is just a matter of time, injustice, and neglect that is contributing to the systemic meltdown at DWP. Silence is probably the worst course of action to stem the demise of this 100 year old institution.

There is no question that it is every union’s objective to control the terms and conditions of labor. However, it should be with consent of the membership. The union’s rapid advancement into personnel and contract management through its influence over management ranks ensures conflicts of interest and opens the door to the lucrative but destructive business practice of corporate, municipal, and employee skimming. The practice is sometimes referred to as “public fraud,” “controlled extortion.” The potential for these crimes should be especially troubling to the citizens and to most of the workers at DWP in this environment. Unlike corporate officials who are bound to serve in the best interest of the public and (supposedly) held accountable to public scrutiny and recourse, unions do not have fiduciary obligations to the same extent. Unions are only accountable to their membership. Union membership input is subjugated to the will of union management. Employees should be highly concerned when their representatives institute new cascading monopolies that replace or overshadow existing institutional services such as administering medical insurance, dismantling corporate safety and training to establish their own union centers, directing employee pension plans, promoting disability rather than worker’s compensation, or using management influence to replace the 20 year employee assistance center with a union sponsored provider. These activities are dilutive and inherently in conflict with membership and employee interests.

If legal action is required to secure the third party services provided through the union, how do you go about suing your representative? The Union as an administrator of those services has considerable influence on service providers, you might think. But, in reality, the administrator is usually more interested in maintaining and maximizing the residual cash flows derived from the arrangement. Consider these two scenarios: If the union fails to deliver on its promises to you, you can’t go after the employer to defend your union-provided interests, can you? When, and if, you make it to court, you can be assured your union will not be providing for your legal fees. However, if you were suing your employer and your representative did not have a conflicting interest in the outcome, you could reasonably expect the union would act in accordance with its responsibility to represent you or provide for legal representation.

You should also consider the matter of prevailing cultural and societal bias in matters of juris prudence. When your union administers these programs the jury does not maintain the same bias toward you that it would have if it was your employer who failed to properly administer or provide the service. Effectively, by putting all your eggs in one basket, you are in a substantially less desirable position and have increased your level risk for relatively the same benefit. The same argument applies to union-controlled employee retirements, corporate contract awards and administration, rewriting of job qualifications and specifications, and the selection of incumbents through union third party ambassadors. The ideal situation is to separate providers, payers, administrators, and benefactors, ensuring against the almost unavoidable conflict of interest and monopoly situation.

In any case, management and employee apparent lack of concern, both at a corporate and personal level, is especially troubling. How do employees hold their representatives accountable in this circuitous and unscrupulous culture?

Essentially DWP is suffering from a failed deregulation. DWP missed the market forces that would have ensured cost-effective performance and purging of incompetent unresponsive leadership. Consequently, within the environment described in the second paragraph of this expose, Mayoral appointments to the Board and DWP management do not reflect a concern for market-driven performance. They provide inferior corporate leadership because they reflect the Mayor’s need to support his union affiliation. And these appointments have in turn led to the expansion of new high-level positions, job titles, job descriptions, with reduced qualifications and the appointment of 2nd and 3rd rate managers, further degrading the utility. Over the course of the Mayor’s term, management has not been held to account. Over a very short period of time, employees and management have become subject to the whims of the union representatives who have found it more lucrative to secure positions in management by manipulating meritocracy. And for those employees who have expectations of promotional opportunities based on an equal opportunity, good faith, and fair evaluation of individual qualifications, performance, and merit, it is the ultimate morale buster and conflict of interest because it undermines the individual, the organization, the core tenets of the merit system, as well as the institution and its value to society.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Enough already

Don't they know they are supposed to stop when we blow the whistle? Posted by Hello

It is a wonder that the main stream news has not covered the extent to which the DWP has been mismanaged and undermined. It seems Mayor James Kenneth Hahn has appointed a Blue Ribbon Board and General Manager Ron Deaton to assure strict adherance to the status quo.

March 4, 2005 News; The lid comes off by JEFFREY ANDERSON

February 28, 2005 Los Angeles mayor's administration dogged by corruption probes by

February 11, 2005 Tony Cardenas hammers DWP on integrity by Civil Action Press

February 4, 2005 News: End of Empire by Jeffrey Anderson

November 12, 2004 News; Tapping pension funds by Jeffrey Anderson

November 5, 2004 Features: The Rise of Empire by Jeffrey Anderson

October 22, 2004 Edison Says Safety Data Were Rigged (Los Angeles Times)
Edison Says Safety Data Were Rigged (Los Angeles Times)

October 1, 2004 News: Dirty Laundry by Jeffrey Anderson

September 16, 2004 Letter to Honorable Mayor James Kenneth Hahn by Mahmud Chaudhry

August 13, 2004 News: Out of the darkness by Jeffrey Anderson

August 13, 2004 Letters: Letters to the Editor: Whistleblowing by Daniel N. Shrader

July 23, 2004 Features: The Black Avenger by Jeffrey Anderson

July 23, 2004 Features: DWP’s Public Relations Boomerang by Robert Greene

July 23, 2004 Features: Who Will Stop This? by Christine Pelisek

April 30, 2004 News: Money in the lake by William J. Kelly

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

LA Observed covered the Mayoral Debate

LA Observed covered the Mayoral Debate in “Who do you trust?

Regarding Monday night's political theater-slash-debate at CSUN, the print reporters pretty much agreed:

Times: "Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn and his challenger, Antonio Villaraigosa, tangled over trust and leadership Monday night in a scrappy debate dominated by the question of which candidate has the integrity to run City Hall."

Daily News: "Focusing the Los Angeles mayoral election on the issue of public trust, Mayor James Hahn and Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa accused each other Monday of failing to take responsibility and for breaking promises to the public."

Associated Press: "The two candidates for mayor relentlessly attacked each other Monday in their first televised debate, wrangling over issues from trust to traffic in caustic, sometimes personal terms."

Business Journal: "Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and challenger Antonio Villaraigosa came out swinging in their first mayoral debate, each saying the other couldn’t be trusted to run Los Angeles."

Daily Breeze: "The two candidates for Los Angeles mayor moved the issue of trust center-stage at their first one-on-one debate Monday, with each saying that voters cannot rely on the other to follow through on their public promises and policy commitments."

More at “Who do you trust?

Monday, March 28, 2005

A Wash of Weasel Words

Weasel Words Posted by Hello

Anyone acknowledge, comment on, or deny Chaudhry's letter? Strange (or should we say "normal") not a word about it from Mayor Hahn, City Council, or Villaraigosa, huh?

Did you notice the Villaraigosa weasel words when asked if Villaraigosa thought corruption existed in the Hahn administration? Tough question. Hard to say yes when you are part of the problem. If Villaraigosa said yes, then we would have had to ask: Why didn't you do anything about it?

Instead Villaraigosa stated the problem wasn't the corruption. The problem was the "corruption investigation." Here we go again... Blame the messenger. Actually the real problem is the Los Angeles Times has never been very good at covering politics -- too biased. How about a story on City mis-management?

The debate was a battle of words. No honorable deeds, actions, or legitimate efforts during either of their terms. Just empty meaningless words that stand in contradiction to both of their terms in office -- words like: "building trust," "honesty," "integrity," "working for the citizens."

The truth only came out when they spoke about the other. Is this the best we can offer Los Angeles?

Sound all too familiar?

Shut up and get to work! Posted by Hello

This article from Pepperdine just rings too true for many employees caught in the middle of the political turmoil raging at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Has Deaton done anything to bring reform to the DWP? Absolutely not! Deaton has had the same six months James Hahn gave Bernanrd Parks to clean up the Los Angeles Police Department before he was sacked. Since Deaton, the most powerful man in LA politics has done nothing except bolster the status quo, we must assume we have it all wrong. Like all Hahn's prior appointments, we must assume actions speak louder than words. Deaton was put there to protect the status quo. Promote those bullies! The management mantra has become, "The Union is running the show. Don't make any waves. Two more years and I am outta here."

Are Workplace Bullies Sabotaging Your Ability to Compete?
Learn to identify and extinguish problem behavior
Linnea B. McCord, J.D., M.B.A
John Richardson, D.Min, M.B.A.

Application: innovation, performance, and healthy communication flourish in a "bully-free" environment.

To succeed in this economic environment, organizations must be able to inspire all levels of employees to be innovative or risk being overtaken by more nimble and creative competitors. In a hyper-competitive global economy, where competition is no longer limited by geography or industry, new formidable competitors can arise seemingly overnight.1 In such an environment, one of the surest ways for an organization to fail is to tolerate workplace bullying. Bullies not only stifle productivity and innovation throughout the organization, they most often target an organization's best employees, because it is precisely those employees who are the most threatening to bullies. As a result, enterprises are robbed of their most important asset in today's competitive economic environment - precious human capital.

The problem with workplace bullying is that many bullies are hard to identify because they operate surreptitiously under the guise of being civil and cooperative. Although workplace bullying is being discussed more than ever before, and there may eventually be specific legislation outlawing such behavior, organizations cannot afford to wait for new laws to eradicate the bullies in their midst. In order to survive, organizations must root out workplace bullying before it squelches their employees' creativity and productivity, or even drives out their best employees, thus fatally impacting an organization's ability to compete in this new era. The purpose of this article is to review current research on workplace bullying, to help organizations learn how to identify bullies, and to suggest ways that an organization can eliminate this workplace toxin.

How to Identify Bullying Behavior

Recent commentators have used different ways to describe bullying behavior, but they agree that a bully is only interested in maintaining his or her power and control.2 Because bullies are cowards and are driven by deep-seated insecurities and fears of inadequacy, they intentionally wage a covert war against an organization's best employees - those who are highly-skilled, intelligent, creative, ethical, able to work well with others, and independent (who refuse to be subservient or controlled by others).3 Bullies can act alone or in groups.4 Bullying behavior can exist at any level of an organization. Bullies can be superiors, subordinates, co-workers and colleagues.5

Some bullies are obvious - they throw things, slam doors, engage in angry tirades, and are insulting and rude. Others, however, are much more subtle. While appearing to be acting reasonably and courteously on the surface, in reality they are engaging in vicious and fabricated character assassination, petty humiliations and small interferences, any one of which might be insignificant in itself, but taken together over a period of time, poison the working environment for the targeted individuals.6

Bullying is not about being "tough" or insisting on high standards.7 It is "abusive disrespect."8 In Dr. Hornstein's view bullies fall into 3 character types:

Only interested in power and control and protecting their turf. They try to make others feel less powerful. Can act DIRECTLY (e.g. insulting and/or rude words or gestures, [or tones] or INDIRECTLY ( e.g. orchestrating battles and watching others disembowel each other).

Suffer from low self-esteem so belittle targeted persons (can be obvious or subtle put-downs).

Interested only in themselves. Easily threatened and vindictive. Experts at lying, deceiving and betraying. Take credit for the work of others. Never take responsibility for their own "errors."

Source: Dr. Harvey Hornstein; Brutal Bosses and Their Prey: How to Identify and Overcome Abuse in the Workplace.9

Bullying is not about a "clash of personalities," a "misunderstanding," or "miscommunication."10 According to two psychologists who have conducted surveys on bullying, (1) bullies use surprise and secrecy to gain leverage over those targeted,11 (2) they are never interested in meeting someone else halfway so trying to negotiate with a bully is useless,12 (3) they routinely practice psychological violence against specific individuals whom they intentionally try to harm which is devastating to the targeted person's emotional stability "and can last a long time."13 According to the Namies, this psychological violence can take many characteristic forms:

The Constant Critic:
"[P]ut-downs, insults, belittling comments, name-calling." Constantly criticizes the targeted person's competence. Glares at the targeted person or deliberately avoids eye contact when the targeted person speaks. "[N]egatively reacts to the targeted person's contributions with sighs, frowns or the "just sucked a lemon look." "[B]lames the targeted person for fabricated errors." "Makes unreasonable demands for work with impossible deadlines."

The Two-Headed Snake:
Pretends to be nice while sabotaging the targeted person - one minute vicious, the next minute supportive and encouraging. Ensures that the targeted person doesn't have the necessary resources to do the work. Makes nasty, rude or hostile remarks to the targeted person privately; puts on friendly face in public. Steals credit for work done by the targeted person.Says one thing to the targeted person and something completely different behind the targeted person's back. Will "kiss up the ladder and attack those below."

The Gatekeeper:
Purposefully cuts the targeted person out of the communication loop. Ignores the targeted individual or gives that person the "silent treatment." Models isolation or exclusion of the targeted person for others.

The Screaming Mimi:
Poisons the workplace with angry outbursts. Intimidates through gestures.Purposefully interrupts the targeted person during meetings and conversations. Discounts/denies the targeted person's thoughts or feelings.

Source: Gary and Ruth Namie; The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job.14

According to the Namie's research: (1) "Bullies are inadequate, defective and poorly developed people. Targets are empathetic, just and fair people,"15 (2) "Bullies start all conflict and trouble. Targets react."16 (3) "Targets don't deserve or want what they get. Bullies are liars and cowards,"17 and (4) "Good employers purge bullies. Bad ones promote them."18

Identifying "Group Bullying" Behavior: "Mobbing"

Mobbing19 (group bullying) occurs where one bully, "[t]hrough innuendo, rumors, and public discrediting"…, creates a hostile environment for the targeted person and, "gathers others to willingly, or unwillingly, participate in continuous malevolent actions to force a person out of [a job or] the workplace."20 When the mobbing behavior finally does result in resignation, termination, or early retirement from a job or the workplace, the targeted person is portrayed as being at fault and "voluntarily" leaving.21 Mobbing in an organization is like cancer in that, "beginning with one malignant cell, it can spread quickly, destroying vital elements of the organization."22

Bullying Results in Real Physical and Emotional Injury

All of the authors agree that bullying behavior leads to real and serious physical and emotional problems for the individuals they target, including but not limited to damage to their self-esteem and confidence, anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, insomnia, exhaustion, poor concentration, and substance abuse.23

How to Eliminate Bullies From Your Organization

Since bullies are often skilled at hiding their actions behind a veil of overt friendliness, helpfulness and cooperation, organizations must establish processes and procedures to uncover their actions. An accidental bully, when confronted with his or her behavior, will quickly apologize and the behavior never happens again.24 An intentional bully denies that the behavior is occurring and continues to repeat it.25

Bullies are driven by their own fears and insecurities, therefore they rarely can be cured, but their behavior can be controlled or eradicated. Eradicating bullying behavior from an organization starts at the top because it is the head of any organization that sets the tone for whether bullying behavior will be accepted.26 An organization reflects the values, attitudes, and actions of its leadership. Leaders who ignore, or otherwise allow, these destructive behavior patterns to occur, are eroding the health of their organizations and opening the door for some of their best talent to escape from this upsetting and counterproductive environment.

To eradicate bullying, employers should:

  • Establish an anti-bullying policy27 defining what bullying is and giving some common sense descriptions of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors at work. Included in such a policy should be a statement that the organization supports the right of all employees to work in an environment free from bullying. This will give targeted individuals a context and a constructive way to confront the bullying tactics.
  • Conduct climate surveys28 to uncover bullying behavior, provided that these surveys are sent to a neutral-third party for review and confidentiality is guaranteed. Unless this is done, respondents will not feel free to express their true feelings.
  • Establish reporting, investigation and mediation processes, guaranteeing those who avail themselves of these processes that there will be no retaliation against them.29 Because bullying is often duplicitous and slippery to detect, it can be risky for others to complain. This is especially true when bullying has become part of an organizational culture. Rather than fight the "mob," many talented people move on to a healthier workplace. Therefore, a clear statement and enforcement of an anti-retaliation policy is essential.
  • Train all employees to ensure that everyone is aware of his and her responsibility to conduct themselves in a professional, civil, and businesslike manner.30 Top management reinforcement of the "zero-tolerance for bullying behavior" at new employee orientation sessions can help. Employees should be taught how to recognize the first signs of the bullying/mobbing process.31

  • Current Legal Protections Against Bullying

    The American legal system has been hesitant to legislate manners or civility in the workplace (outside of the civil rights laws) but this attitude might soon change because of the new requirements for success in a hyper-competitive global economy.32 As the problem becomes more recognized and acknowledged, legal remedies will no doubt be found.33 They may take the form of new laws directly addressing the issue, perhaps through the inclusion of those who are bullied as a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This has been the preferred avenue in the past for workers seeking relief for discrimination-related unfavorable treatment in the workplace. This Act, among other things, permits relief for protected classes based on a "hostile work environment" theory. A "hostile work environment" means the workplace is permeated with "discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult" so severe or pervasive "that it alter(s) the conditions of the victim's employment and create(s) an abusive working environment."34

    Even under current law, employers should be especially vigilant to make sure that individuals targeted by the bullies are not members of protected classes who might be able to establish claims against the employer under existing discrimination laws. Federal courts have not yet extended the hostile workplace doctrine to prohibit workplace bullying conduct based on characteristics other than those specifically enumerated in Title VII, but history suggests that there will be an expansion of protection to those who suffer this type of workplace harassment.35

    In the meantime, the preferred avenue for workers seeking relief for abusive treatment in the workplace has been the state common law tort claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Although currently such workplace-related claims might be difficult to win, those who practice, condone, or accept bullying behavior should not take much comfort in that. After all, the tobacco companies were able to successfully defend themselves against claims for years until the tide recently turned, resulting in numerous and staggering multi-billion dollar verdicts against the tobacco companies.

    At a minimum, the bullies themselves could be sued individually for their own intentional tortious conduct. An employer would be liable for the intentional tortious acts of its employees if it knows of the bad acts and takes no action to terminate those acts or discipline the employee who is committing those bad acts. Punitive damages are available for tortious acts committed maliciously or oppressively.

    However, the issue of bullying should not be addressed simply as a way to avoid lawsuits or other negative reactions. Creating a "bully-free" environment is a proactive step that should be taken to improve the company's strategic position in today's highly-competitive global economy. By creating a "bully-free" environment, an organization can create a culture of respect in which innovation, performance, and healthy communication can flourish. To become a top performer in any industry, an organization must be able to recognize and rid itself of this performance and talent-robbing behavior or risk losing their single most important competitive asset - their talented employees. Eradicating bullying is not "nice to do,' it's a "must do." The survival of the organization in the 21st century depends on it.


    1. Gary Hamel, Leading the Revolution, Harvard Business School Press, 2000, p. 5-6.
    2. See, e.g. Dr. Harvey Hornstein, Brutal Bosses and Their Prey: How to Identify and Overcome Abuse in the Workplace, Riverhead Books, 1996, at 51 ; Gary and Ruth Namie, The Bully at Work , What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job, Sourcebooks, Inc. 2000, at 13, 69-70.
    3. The Bully at Work, 2000, at 14, 38- 46, 82, Noa Davenport, Ruth Distler Schwartz, Gail Pursell Elliott, Mobbing: Emotional Abuse In the Workplace, Civil Society Publishing, 1999, at 58.
    4. Mobbing, supra note 3.
    5. Id.
    6. The Bully at Work, supra note 2, at 3-4. "Unchecked...bullying quickly escalates into a hostile, poisoned workplace where everyone suffers. If ignored long enough, the entire organization is placed at risk, facing preventable trauma or litigation." Id. at 4; Mobbing, supra note 3, at 20.
    7. Brutal Bosses, supra note 2, at 10.
    8. Id. at 4.
    9. Id. at 50-60.
    10. The Bully at Work , supra note 2 at p. 73.
    11. Id. at xi.
    12. Id. If allowed to continue, the targeted person's personality "gets trampled, bent out of recognition even" to the targeted person. Id. at 5.
    13. Id. at 5.
    14. Id. at 19-33. This is not an exhaustive list - only some examples of bullying behavior. Id.
    15. Id. at 14.
    16. Id. at 18.
    17. Id. at 5.
    18. Id. at 33.
    19. Id at 20. "….Co-workers, colleagues, superiors and subordinates attack their dignity, integrity and competence, repeatedly, over a number of weeks, months, or years. At the end, they resign, voluntarily or involuntarily, are terminated, or forced into early retirement. This is mobbing- workplace expulsion through emotional abuse." Id. "Because the organization ignores, condones or even instigates the behavior, it can be said that the victim, seemingly helpless against the powerful and many, is indeed "mobbed". The result is always injury - physical and mental distress or illness and social misery and, most often, expulsion from the workplace." Id. at 40.
    20. Id. at 33. Mobbing is a household word in some European countries. Laws against mobbing behavior have been enacted in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Germany and have been proposed in the UK and Australia. Id. at 26-27.
    21. Mobbing, supra note 3, at 41. The hallmark of mobbing behavior is an initial unresolved conflict that is preventing the targeted person from accomplishing his or her job in the most effective way. The targeted person tries with good intent to resolve the situation in a constructive way, never realizing that the people he or she is dealing with have already decided to get rid of him or her, which is "revealed in attacks of various sorts: humiliation, ridicule, stigmatization, ostracism, exclusion and isolation." Id. at 159. This leads the targeted person to suffer "self-doubt," "…confusion, tension, anger and depression." Id. These unresolved conflicts intensify and are magnified until the targeted person is suffering severe emotional distress. The more the targeted person attempts to find recourse the more those who are doing the mobbing create reasons why the issue cannot be resolved. Id. at 160. Because those doing the mobbing have no intention of resolving the conflict, the conflict escalates until it is virtually unmanageable. The targeted person becomes very ill or depressed, work suffers and it is only a matter of time before the targeted person is terminated, resigns or retires. Id. The expulsion of the targeted person was predetermined by those doing the mobbing from the very start and there was nothing the targeted person could have done to resolve the issue (therein lies the "crazy-making"). Id. at 159.
    22. Id. at 34.
    23. See, The Bully at Work, pp. 60-61, Mobbing, pp. 90-95, Brutal Bosses and Their Prey, pp. 74- 77, for a more comprehensive list of physical and emotional consequences for the targeted person.
    24. Bully at Work, supra note 2, at 17.
    25. Mobbing, supra note 3, at 23.
    26. Id. at 132.
    27. Mobbing, p. 144.
    28. Id. at 155.
    29. Id. at p. 142.
    30. Id. at p. 143.
    31. Id.
    32. See, e.g., Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs., Inc., 523 U.S. 75, 80-81 (1998).
    33. See e.g. David C. Yamada, The Phenomenon of "Workplace Bullying" and the Need for Status - Blind Hostile Work Environment Protection," GEORGETOWN LAW J. Mar. 2000.
    34. Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc., 510 U.S. at 22.; see also Rogers v. EEOC, 454 F.2d 234 (5th Circuit 1971).
    35. Mobbing, supra note 3, at 21 citing work by Dr. Carroll Brodsky who defined harassment as "behavior that 'involves repeated and persistent attempts by one person to torment, wear down, frustrate, or get a reaction from another. It is behavior that persistently provokes, pressures, frightens, intimidates..." Id. at 22.

    The more things change the more they remain the same.

    Here are some reprints for times past. After perusing ask yourself, has anything changed? Without any hesitation the answer is absolutely, positively, resoundingly, "NO! It hasn't changed." As a matter of fact it has gone from bad to worse. And the worst part about it, your choice will make no difference because Hahn or Villaraigosa represent the exact same power base, the same ideologies, and the same oligarchy that has been running Los Angeles.

    Daily Trojan - Opinions Issue: 4/21/04
    Hahn's naive act wearing thin
    By Peter J. Spalding

    Mayor James K. Hahn is shocked, shocked to find that there's corruption in this town. In the last few weeks, Hahn's administration has been egged with criminal probes, federal subpoenas and resignations among high-level staff and many other things.

    Through it all, the mayor has kept up a steady stream of bureaucratic bluster. "Questions are being raised about how we do business at City Hall," he said Monday during his annual State of the City speech. "To me, ethics isn't optional, and I won't tolerate unethical behavior in my office or anywhere in City Hall." Of course, that sort of rhetoric is par for the course.

    Hahn is up for re-election next year, and his rivals have already started their campaigns, so naturally, he has to say things like that. But frankly, if he was surprised about all these shakedowns, then he must not have been paying attention. Los Angeles government is not known for its ethics, and over the years, we've had more scandals than we can count. Some of these stories are actually entertaining. For example, back in the day, there was a lot of scuttlebutt over some shady deals during the construction of the Owens Valley aqueduct. Hollywood decided to make a movie based on the issue, and it became the film noir classic "Chinatown." Audiences were delighted when Jack Nicholson got his nose sliced open, Faye Dunaway seduced him, and Dunaway's husband mysteriously drowned in the middle of the night.

    Unfortunately, the current controversy isn't nearly so diverting. City commissioners have allegedly told contractors to make campaign contributions, or else the contractors will lose airport and harbor work. Alas, there are no private eyes prowling around dark alleys, and there aren't even any shootings.

    This scandal is about bureaucrats who shuffle paperwork and write checks. As a result, it hasn't captured the public's attention, at least not in a big way. It's just business as usual. Anyone who deals with City Hall on a regular basis - myself included - has known for a long time that we have the best government that money can buy.

    If you want to get something done, all you've got to do is slip a bigwig some dough, and voila! Your problem is solved. It's not like Chicago, where you have to be a Democrat in order to buy clout. And it's not like New York, where you have to be Irish, Italian, Jewish or some combination of the three. Here in Los Angeles, we practice equal-opportunity corruption, without regard to party lines or ethnicity. It's the American way.

    Of course, we've set up ethics rules, but they only exist for decoration because nobody pays much attention to them. Every few months, the city ethics commission wags its finger at some high-power figure. The accused official promptly apologizes and says it was an honest mistake, and he promises to never ever do it again, cross his heart and hope to die. Then he gets a slap on the wrist and goes on his merry way. By the time the next election rolls around, the voters have forgotten that it ever happened. Hahn knows this as well as anyone - or rather, he should. He has spent his career working in our local government; in that time, he has served as city attorney and several other posts. What's more, his father was the late Kenneth Hahn, who was a legendary figure on the local political scene. And to top it all off, his sister Janice is a city councilwoman. In other words, our mayor knows this town like the back of his hand. He knows where the skeletons are buried, and he knows how to sidestep the landmines. There is no way that he could have been blissfully unaware of corruption, either in his own administration or anywhere else.

    Then again, it could be that his administration is on autopilot. Hahn is rarely in the limelight, and he hasn't spearheaded any major initiatives. Ironically, in the three years he's been in office, his biggest victory came when he upheld the status quo. The San Fernando Valley wanted to secede from the city, and Hahn helped defeat the measure. In that case, he did the right thing, but that was two years ago, and he hasn't shown any leadership since. At the moment, he is trying to push through an airport renovation plan that nobody seems to like. In all likelihood, the plan probably won't pass, or if it does pass, it will be changed drastically. By this time next year, the mayoral campaign will be in full swing, and chances are that Hahn will have nothing to show for his time in office. If he does want to get re-elected, he needs to step up and fix things, instead of timidly insisting that he was unaware of any corruption.

    Voters won't buy hot air, and City Hall insiders won't buy it either. If Hahn wants to clear his name, he needs to stop talking about it, get off his keister and get to the bottom of this issue."

    Peter J. Spalding's column, "Life in L.A.," runs on Wednesday. To comment on this article, call (213) 740-5665 or e-mail

    The status quo is a testament to the efforts of both Hahn and Villaraigosa. Two peas in the same pod. During this month, we can expect a lot of finger pointing from two of the highest caliber scoundrels and ne'er-do-wells. Both of them have established a long tradition of high-times, bad politics, and mismanagement for Los Angeles.

    This election, like all the other Hahn appointments, is like getting a new sewer pipe, "New pipe. Same crap." To wit, after The Lid Comes Off and all the alleged corruption and scandelous contract mismanagement at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), Hahn appointed "the most powerful man in Los Angeles politics," Ronald Deaton, to clean things up and loosen Brian D'Arcy's grip on the city's utility. It has been five months since his appointment. Be patient, he's working on it, they say. What Hahn has really done and done well is protect the status quo. And he put his best man to keep it that way. Except for Assistant General Manager Mahmud Chaudhry who is trying to protect the public's interests in a clearly articulated letter to the mayor, the incumbants are doing nothing. Deaton is singing the same tune like all the other managers at DWP, "Stay quiet a couple more years and I can get my retirement." The union has its next legion of cronies already in line to take their place. It is a disgusting example of malfeasance. Deaton hasn't even cleared his throat to whisper, "Shape up."

    We would have thought Chaudhry’s letter to Mayor Hahn would have brought the house down. But it didn't. The Los Angeles Times was quiet, consistent with their same abject reporting of city mismanagement. Of course, no one expected any objection out of the Mayor or the City Council. Los Angeles is turning out to be the the movie set for "High Plains Drifter." However, there are no drifters coming to town. Most of them with any wherewithal are leaving.

    This election is a choice between two mischievious brothers. Their claim to the throne: countless instances of city mismanagement, scandels, cronyism, and corruption that essentially degrade the city and all its departments and rob the public of their potential. They know each other so well, don't they? Most of it is very well deserved.

    If we re-elect Hahn, it will mean status quo by "popular demand." Never mind that it has been the lowest election turnout in history. If we elect Villaraigosa, it will mean the staus quo with a new name plate, but without the "popular demand" endorsement. Consequently, here is the endorsement we've all been waiting for... Buy new name plates.

    Thursday, March 17, 2005

    Re-inked jimmy-rigged ballots

    Jimmy-rigged Posted by Hello

    Anybody with a third grade education ought to know you don’t mess with someone’s ballot. It’s up there with cutting school and forging an absence slip.

    It is hard to believe that these Mayor James Hahn appointed officials do the things they do. I guess the question is, why not? Other than being appalled, we don’t do anything about it anyway. Regularly, under Mayor James Hahn, officials take the benefit of the doubt before we have a chance to give it to them. In practice, it has become cliché: Officials commit the ethical violation. Play dumb. Make light of the violation – No big deal. Make up a completely lame excuse. The newspapers report it. We don’t do anything about it. And they continue to reap the benefits. They don’t seem the least embarrassed, ashamed, or frustrated.

    If you were pulled over for speeding, do you think the cop would stop writing because you said your foot slipped and you didn’t think it was a big deal. Do you think the officer would entertain a blue ribbon committee of your appointed associates? Do you think the officer would like to listen to your attorney? Absolutely not! So why aren’t we doing anything about this? It seems we are purposefully not policing this stuff. It seems no one cares.

    Should we take a lesson and accept this is the way it going to be in Los Angeles? The message we are clearly sending is get the goods while the getting is good. The citizens really made a mistake in allowing the mayor to reform the Los Angeles City Charter. It is obvious the Charter has given the Mayor too much power. It gives new meaning to the saying, "Power corrupts and, absolute power corrupts absolutely." It seems Charter reform has fostered a new white collar gang in town that we should really be more concerned about.

    It appalls me to read articles like “L.A. re-inked votes City clerk ordered election workers to fill in faintly marked ballots” by Troy Anderson and Rick Orlov in Saturday’s, March 12, 2005, Daily News.

    “Without informing mayoral challengers or anybody else, Los Angeles City Clerk Frank Martinez ordered election workers Tuesday [election] night to use blue highlighter pens to re-ink thousands of voters' ballots that had "bubbles" partially or faintly filled in,” the Daily News reported.

    Frank Martinez is another in a long list of questionable Hahn appointees that seem to all come up severely short in the integrity department. Mayor James Hahn appointed Martinez last September. Martinez defended what he did, saying he was following secretary of state-approved procedures to mark over incompletely filled out bubbles to make sure the InkaVote machines counted them. Malarkey! Any moron with an ounce of concern for public opinion would have let the machine kick them out, set them aside and identify them for the public before tampering with the evidence.

    I am sure Martinez saw the Florida recount fiasco and knows that recounting requires a number of officials from both sides of the aisle. So the effort to quickly “fix” the ballots is reason enough to demand a complete recount. Not to mention, I see no noticeable ideology difference between Hahn and Villaraigosa so the marking and the focus had to be directed against Hertzberg. By eliminating Hertzberg, the unions in this town are assuring themselves of a “no lose” election.

    How many experts do we need to scratch and sniff? The Daily News quoted expert Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, "I've never heard of anything like this before. It's unprecedented. You don't tamper with the ballots. You want to have the ballots in the same condition when they were deposited into the ballot box and you never want to touch ballots in terms of putting a mark on them. It's shocking."

    Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, Conny McCormack, can't understand why Martinez decided to delay the count for hours and direct more than 200 election [City] workers to examine each ballot individually to make sure the ink mark was highly visible. McCormack said, "We have counted more than 5 million ballots on the InkaVote system since 2003-04 and we have shared our experience with them and everything has been fine. The machines read even the smallest amount of ink. So we are puzzled and frankly surprised at their decision to hand-count every ballot. It's certainly not our procedure and there was no need to do it. We had no pre-knowledge that they were going to do this."

    County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich criticized Martinez's actions, suggesting that "questionable activities such as this undermine the integrity of the process and voter confidence."

    Then true to form, the Hahn appointee flawlessly executes the hokey lame excuse which has brought fame and fortune to the Hahn administration and disgust to the rest of us…

    Martinez defended his decision, claiming it was legal [It really irks me when they use the word “legal” like it is a high standard. Any less, it would be criminal, wouldn’t it?] and he wanted to ensure every ballot was counted. "It might have been out of an overabundance of caution on our part since it was our first time using the InkaVote system," Martinez said. "Just like with pulling chads, we have guidelines for what we do to overmark ballots. "It was done in a public process and the ballots are available for review. We are confident that process was accurate and ensured every proper vote was counted."

    Add a little plausible deniability and some condescending innocence… Hahn indicated he was unaware of Martinez's action but noted he took extra precautions on his own ballot. "I held it up and it didn't look like it had marked the spots well enough, so I put the ballot back in the machine and really pushed it in to make the marks." Hahn added that the county used InkaVote in November and "there didn't seem to be a problem."

    Then there is the emphatically couched rhetoric which in effect begrudgingly condones the unacceptable behavior.
    We didn’t know…
    We are definitely concerned…
    They shouldn’t have done that…
    Everything is okay… We’ll accept the “jimmy-rigged” results…
    Next time we’ll add some assurances so we slip public scrutiny.”

    Parke Skelton, Villaraigosa's campaign consultant, said he was not aware of the use of the blue highlighters and would have insisted that all the campaigns have observers present if he had known.

    "If I was Bob Hertzberg, I'd want to go in and look at those ballots," Skelton said. "A decision like this should be made in broad daylight. It seems unusual to me they would make a unilateral decision to re-ink ballots before a problem has been demonstrated.

    "I think it's rather unusual that they would go in and do that without there being any indication that there is a problem and without it being done in an extremely public way."

    Then the problem is sent to the City Attorney’s Office for laundering…
    Send it to the City Attorney’s Office for a review. Are you kidding? Rocky Delgadillo spends over a million to run unapposed. Why? Because he is part of the oligarchy running this town and he is feather bedding for bigger things.

    It should be clear from Laura Chick's firing of Dan Carver, a former Federal investigator who got too close to a hot trail leading to the City Attorney’s Office. Let’s get something straight, lawyers can’t distinguish right from wrong, they get big bucks just to defend their position. The City’s position is Hahn’s position. Honor among thieves, so to speak.

    The Secretary of State's Office said inquiries should be directed to the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office because laws governing Los Angeles city elections are enforced at the local level. This is one of the big problems with a City Charter is that we exempt ourselves from much needed State regulatory scrutiny. Our governing boards are jimmy-rigged and locally greased. It is a shame that we have to go outside the City to get a feeling of legitimacy.

    City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's office had yet to receive a complaint but is prepared to look at any improprieties, a spokesman said. [Like the City Attorney’s Office is going to do any good. Recall the City Attorney’s Office represents the City’s scoundrels.]

    "Our understanding is that election supervisors oversaw all aspects of it to make sure that the voters' intent was carried out," Frank Mateljan said. "We have not received any formal complaints and would act immediately [to sanction the results] if there is a problem."

    Apparently citizens do have a choice. They can fight this corruption or leave. It seems they are taking flight. Josh Grossberg of the Daily Breeze reports that a third of the residents in Los Angeles surveyed by the Public Policy Institute of California say they want to move out of Los Angeles, up more than 20 percent from 2003. The survey reveals the county's 10 million residents are "stunningly unhappy with some key indicators of quality of life and paints a picture of growing concern for any chance of long-term recovery."

    The number of residents who plan to leave the county almost doubled in two years. A similar survey in 2003 found that 17 percent of residents did not see themselves staying in the county. The number is now 33 percent.

    In fact, more people in the city of Los Angeles say they plan to leave than the 26 percent who voted in the recent mayoral election, said Mark Baldassare, the survey's director.

    "It seems they plan to vote with their feet," he said.

    And until we clean up the mess we have watched Hahn and his bureaucrats create, we can watch increasing numbers of our better-healed employers leave Los Angeles. And with them, they take our jobs and futures.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2005

    Social Security Bait and Switch Shuffle

    Fixed Straight Percentage Fair Contribution Posted by Hello

    Not so fast with the bait and switch Social Security Shuffle. Let’s look at Social Security again a little more carefully.

    Employers withhold about 7 percent of wages on those employees that earn less than $90,000.00 a year. Employers then match that withholding with 7 percent and send it off to the Feds in Washington to pay for social security.

    Now before we run off half cocked and trash Social Security, let’s look see what the problems with the current system might be.

    One easily identifiable problem is that the system is not structured to help those Social Security is purported to help. The system was designed to help citizens beyond employable age. When politicians tell us that 10 workers used to pay for each person on Social Security the red light should have come on. Anytime you structure a system that takes advantage of others, it is exploitation and sooner or later it is doomed to fail. Think about it. Do we really want to design a retirement system that must encumber 10 other citizens to pay for each retiree?

    In actuality the system is even more exploitive than that. Although the Social Security System is purported to be a graduated system, meaning that the wealthy pay more than the poor, it really is just the opposite. The 7 percent paid by you and your employer caps out at $90,000. What that means in real terms is that a citizen that earns $90,000 or less, pays 7 percent. A citizen earning$90,000 a year pays $6,300, into Social Security. It also means a citizen earning $1 million a year also pays $6,300.

    In essence what that means is every year:
    Each citizen earning $10,000.00 pays $700 into Social Security.
    Each citizen earning $50,000.00 pays $3,500 into Social Security.
    Each citizen earning $90,000.00 pays $6,300 into Social Security.
    Each citizen earning $1,000,000.00 pays $6,300 into Social Security.
    Each citizen earning $10,000,000.00 pays $6,300 into Social Security.

    It becomes very clear that those in power structured a system that has the relatively poor burdened with paying the majority of the Social Security. While those most able to pay for Social Security and earning more than $90,000.00 have their contribution capped at $6,300. A citizen making $1 million a year pays less than 1 percent into Social Security. It makes me angry when our representatives, which incidentally most all make over a $1 million a year, want to toss the system into the dust bin because they might have to pay their full 7 percent share to keep the system going.

    Supposedly, these representatives or at least their forefathers were purportedly looking out for our best interests. They designed a system that limited their liability and had the young poor fund the old poor. Well, we have a suggestion to fix the part of the Social Security system that is broken.

    According to the 2003 U.S. Census data and some simple extrapolation, approximately 216 million citizens that earn less than $90,000 make some $3.2 trillion and contribute 7 percent of their income, $225 million, into Social Security. Correspondingly, each employer contributes a matching 7 percent for a total of $450 million. Now to that figure, imagine a straight 7 percent applied across the board, rich and poor alike, and add the amount not being paid by those earning over $90,000. That and the corresponding employer contribution would add $373 million a year to Social Security, almost doubling the existing Social Security bank roll.

    See table above then check it out for yourself at:
    Contribution and Benefit Base
    Contribution and Benefit Base Calculation

    President Bush is having a difficult time selling his new Social Security plan for a reason. James Madison really identified the problem when he said, "All men having power ought to be mistrusted."

    The Social Security System that we have had is a sad example of the exemptions the powerful make for themselves. We figured out why the plan isn’t working. Those that earn between $90,000 and $4.5 billion are not paying 7 percent. They pay $6,300. Percent is a relative tax. 7 percent is relatively as painful to the poor as it is to the rich. The benefit of Social Security may be inconsequential to the rich. However, Social Security received by the poor can make a difference in obtaining food or shelter. Why don’t we just fix the part of the system that is broke? Here is the fix: Everyone pay their fair share, 7 percent, and let’s move on to something else.

    Monday, March 14, 2005

    Use of city employment and facilities for private gain

    “Persons in the public service shall not use, for private gain or advantage, their city time or the city’s facilities, equipment or supplies, nor shall they use or attempt to use their position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions for themselves or others.”
    ~ Adopted by City Council Resolution, August 23, 1979

    Thank you Jeffrey Anderson of LA Weekly for saying the things that must be said about the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and by placing Assistant General Manager Mahmud Chaudhry’s letter into the hands of the public.

    On one hand, you may think that the situation of which Chaudhry speaks is mere folly. On the other hand, you may want to look a little more closely to the goings on at the Department of Water and Power (DWP).

    The public should be aware the extent of IBEW influence on the DWP, its revenue streams and the employees we entrust to protect this resource. It used to be that the extent of union influence was limited to a management permitted bulletin board on which to post union business, employees which elected to belong to a union, and there was no question that employees considered their public service a priority in decision making and in seeking advancement within the company. How things have changed.

    IBEW influence in company decisions since deregulation is everywhere. IBEW membership is not mandatory but the dues now are. Dues for all but about 4 percent of DWP employees are collected automatically for IBEW. In rough numbers, estimate that the average employee pays $80 per two-week pay period or about $2,080 per year to IBEW. With 8,000 employees, membership dues amount to about $16 million.

    In most companies management is responsible for the training of its employees. Not so at the DWP. DWP has transferred about $6 million to IBEW for development of the Joint Training Institute (JTI).

    In most companies management is responsible for employee safety, too. Again, DWP management has entered into an agreement with IBEW to provide safety training the arrangement is obfuscated in legal and political terms. Essentially, the arrangement is DWP puts lots of money under the control of IBEW. The training facility is provided by DWP. Food is provided by DWP. Employees are provided by DWP. Training is contracted out. And DWP employees generally find that being involved and supporting the JSI is a career engendering move.

    In general, the JSI is a marketing dream. It is not so much for safety since the accident and injury rate has not changed. The accident and injury rate is still double the national average for multiple utilities. But, consider that the benefit (the money and access to employees) far outweighs the risk which the DWP still owns. Like other companies, DWP, not the union, is responsible for on-the-job accidents and injuries. If an employee is hurt on the job, a worker’s compensation claim is levied against the firm not the union. Consequently DWP management has given the union a risk free benefit and touted it as a good deal. The conflict does not stop there however. If the training received is substandard or insufficient, does the union honor its fiduciary duty to represent its membership or does it stand with management and blame the employee? Considering the closed shop environment, dues are not an issue. Management does not want to admit it entered into a conflicted arrangement. The union does not want to jeopardize control of substantial flows of DWP funds, employee access, and another promotional path into management. The union sides with management against the employee to protect the arrangement. Consequently, the safety lesson subject matter, that accidents are a result of the underlying procedures and practices which management controls, must be overlooked to protect the labor-management arrangement.

    These things are the tip of the iceberg and quite the dilemma at DWP. To improve the numbers, training classes now emphasize injury and illness recording techniques. Instructors teach supervisors how to record accidents so they reflect “better” numbers. The same DWP management in charge of the Worker’s Compensation office is also in charge of Corporate Safety and a partner at JSI. Consequently, the Worker’s Compensation arm of DWP is litigating the majority of cases through its offices and the City Attorney. This reduces the number of employees making worker’s compensation claims but it increases the number of disability claims against the employee’s retirement plan. The number of claims remains constant but the significant difference here is that disability claims do not reflect management performance as do increases in worker’s compensation claims.

    Now that this discussion of union influence has led to the door step of the $6 billion employee retirement plan, consider that the retirement board members used to be comprised of accountants and financial who-saids of the greatest magnitude who actually knew what they were doing. Now, after using their access to DWP employees and mail and call campaigns, union stalwarts now sit on the board in control of employee funds. This is maybe in conflict with the number one rule of financial strategists and long-term investors – never put all of your eggs in one basket.

    Now these influences may cause you some stress but not to worry. DWP management has opened the Employee Assistance Program up for competitive bid. The major contender against the existing EAP provider is none other than, you guessed it, a subsidiary of the IBEW medical plan. Do you suppose that all these claims have become a liability? One way that DWP management has found to make them go away is to contract away from the only establishment that really has an understanding of the true psychological toll on DWP employees.

    Now, if you don’t mind, review the first paragraph out of the DWP Code of Ethics and tell me – Is DWP management in violation?

    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Treetop Yodeler has his say

    Obviously there is much more that can be said and done by voters in response to the LA Weekly story, “The Lid Comes Off” by Jeffrey Anderson. It is revealing of the ugly environment that has become the signature of this city’s administration. We are inclined to post the feedback received from whistleblowers as it describes the passion burning in the trenches. And it provides incite into the wasteful manipulation and mismanagement of relatively helpless human capital.

    Treetop Yodeler, you have been posted per your request. Your post follows.

    Please post on Civil Action Press.

    Flipping DWP's Lid? Is Mo Chaudhry out of the closet and into the dog house? Is arfing in the offing? A golden handshake? Or brass boot?

    A recent article in the LA Weekly may put a smile on some faces, and serve as a laxative to others. Rumor suggests it has propagated internally, from one DWP computer to another. And what buzz? Although costing more than a Martin Luther King holiday in lost productivity, and terabytes of server storage, does it really engender hope for change?

    The Lid Comes Off and Jeffrey Anderson keeps probing. Is there a mini Pulitzer Prize in his future? Does he have connections to DWP insiders? To City Hall insiders? Do you have info, and feel compelled to call him privately to share or fax the goods? Would he say no to more good stuff?

    The actual memo, a pdf copy, is of special interest. A gold mine for some, a manure pit for others?

    "The DWP has become a fox-run henhouse of epic proportion," Chaudhry writes. "The union now runs the department. They blur the line between bargaining and criminal extortion."

    Imagine sending such a memo to the "Honorable James Kenneth Hahn." (Does that title make sense?) A memo citing serious, endemic, egregious, regenerative, criminal problems.

    Sending an appeal for remedy and change? Sending it directly to the perpetrator, the "Honorable James Kenneth Hahn?"

    Rocket science here? Unless one is out of touch, of low IQ, a union stalwart, a denier of truth, making a pact with the devil, or perhaps listening to yet more lies, spin, half truths and clichés from IBEW leadership, does anyone think Mo's memo contains any real "news"? How long have DWP employees privately discussed the evil empire, relentless Taliban style management, and reveled in the occasional firing off an RPG-like memo aimed toward City Hall/DWP?

    Are there better places to send such a memo, Mo? Like to the FBI? Regarding racketeering, controlled extortion, interfering with/sabotaging a pubic utility, bribery and payoffs? Illegal contracting with public funds across state lines (Joint Safety Institute/Joint Training Institute)? Unreported income. Kickbacks from JSI trainers to union stalwarts, to habitués, and to sons of habitués?

    Send memos to the Los Angeles County Grand Jury? Misfeasance, Malfeasance?

    Bottom line, nice try Mo. Love you for it. Know you must sleep better at night. But hope you sent the letter, and hard evidence elsewhere too, wear a wire, and honestly testify for the rest of you life on every deposition and trial, civil or criminal, until justice is truly served. And watch your back, and get a remote starter for your car.

    And who else will be either brave enough or foolish enough to follow your example Mo. Do the others really have a conscience? How well do they sleep at night? Can they just go to hell?

    But really, in two weeks, will the bathroom gossip disappear, and nothing really change? Unless someone goes to jail, will anyone really be motivated to change their henhouse ways?

    Treetop Yodeler


    Your comments?

    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    Civil Action Press Endorsement


    Monday, March 07, 2005

    LAs Cannery Row

    John Steinbeck has some words of wisdom for this election.

    "It has always seemed strange to me that the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding, and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits which we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meaness, egotism, and self interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second."

    -- John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

    This time, in this election, let us not reward the traits we detest! Vote for the things we admire. At least settle for nothing less than integrity, honesty, and openness in our new mayor.

    May LA be blessed with a new direction.

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    Wanted Mayor. Must have spine. Inquire within.

    Core job duties: Must demonstrate signs of spine Posted by Hello

    The news article (<>) in LA Weekly about the letter Assistant General Manager Mohamud Chaudhry wrote to Mayor James Hahn identifying Local 18 corrupted management, is a breath of fresh air.

    Please know that many employees have had their careers ruined dealing with this problem on a daily basis. The problem is not isolated or confined to the upper levels of management. It is throughout the organization. It is reflected in the many confidential settlements and cases quickly moving around the union and DWP managers and toward the courts.

    The City's attorneys say under their breath that they know it is happening, but that they are helpless to change it. It has become an endless queue of cases straight from hell to maintain the status quo. They say it goes with the territory, sometimes it becomes a very ugly job. All are suffering as a result. It gives reason for City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's $1 million dollar unopposed campaign for re-election.

    Many employees have spoken to the Board, to city officials, and to General Managers about these problems only to be ignored and set aside. The actions of officials seem to favor advancing union corruption.

    Chaudhry’s letter is an indication that employees actions have not been in vain. DWP will continue to falter until the problem is resolved. Employees are tired of the bullying and are demonstrating very clearly that they are willing to stand up and be counted. For that we are thankful for Chaudhry’s letter and demonstration of leadership.

    What we hope is that the citizens of Los Angeles recognize that Mayor James Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa have failed to provide good leadership and to defend the public trust by their lack of action and willingness to turn a blind eye toward subversive union activities.

    As a performance benchmark recall that Mayor Richard Riordan and DWP General Manager William McCarley reduced DWP staff by some 4 thousand employees in approximately 1 year to meet deregulation. And during that 1 year period there was an orderly exodus plan with no disruptions in service. Under General Manager S. David Freeman, DWP downsizing paid off a $ 7 billion debt.

    Compare the same circumstances under James Hahn. DWP has been relieved of deregulation but has had an endless parade of General Managers, a hand-picked Board, an increasing managerial staff, a mire of corruption, increasing overtime and decreasing productivity, contracts gone wild, disruptions in service, Federal investigations, and personnel issues being shunned by management and union officials and overflowing into City Council meetings. DWP is now demanding rate increases by some 18 percent!

    Civil Action Press has concluded that James Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa have demonstrated that they are ineffective and are part if not all of the problem. So we ask the remaining candidates what will they commit to do to rid the DWP of this dysfunctional union and crony tyranny.

    Your comments are welcome.

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005

    Excuse me, your cover is blown

    Excuse me, your cover is blown. Posted by Hello

    Managers leaving the DWP during the buyout said this would happen...

    Still, DWP employees are suffering retaliation at the hands of illegitimate managers and Union bosses. We thank Jeffrey Anderson for his article “The Lid Comes Off: Secret memo to Mayor Hahn lays blame for DWP’s woes on union control.”

    Civil Action Press salutes the growing number of brave individuals stepping forward to voice their concerns against this overwhelming dysfunctional management regime at DWP. Hopefully readers realize that for Hahn to allow this entrenchment he has had to have condoned it from the start. Further, citizens should be asking why Hahn has sat on Assistant General Manager Chaudhry's memo since September.

    Villaraigosa is no new Union player here either. He sat in the Council Chambers and listened to lines of DWP employees complain. It does not look good for the council members not to have taken action. In fairness to Councilmen Bernard Parks and Tony Cardenas, they both have acted to bring about a motion to investigate allegations of employee retaliation in the Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Albeit, their actions seem like token gestures in the grand scheme of things.

    Bob Hertzberg has made a good start asking for Board resignations. But let’s face it. It is only a start. And it might be just campaign rhetoric. The reports from the troops are that D'Arcy and company are well entrenched and even better fortified. The organization is riddled with cronies.

    Walter Moore has been hollering corruption from the start. Maybe a hokey Republican is what we need.

    Alarcon (accented o) ... Should we join the employees and sue?

    The scores of ill-gotten appointments and promotions for cronies need to be undone and set right. The administrative manual of the DWP sets forth the appropriate corrective action. The fact that Rock Delgadillo has spent over a $1 million to run unopposed seems more of an effort to distance himself from the City Attorney's Office involvement in defending corrupt managers and these retaliatory personnel actions than a run for mayor. It should be fairly obvious by now that the City Attorney's Office and the attorneys in DWP management can't distinguish right from wrong.

    So which mayoral candidate has the backbone and the wherewithal to issue the pink slips?

    Please, your comments are encouraged.

    When employees and managers stand up to be counted, there is no reason to keep the status quo

    The sink holes are not confined to the streets. Sink holes are appearing throughout the city organization. They represent the rift between Civil Servants on one side and Union stalwarts and the Mayor’s cronies on the other. The morass has risen to the level of brinkmanship under the Hahn administration. What is good for Hahn is not in the best interests of the citizens of Los Angeles, DWP "rate payers," or in the best interest of the employees at DWP. Review the following posts:

    Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    What is Good for Gander is not Good for the Goose

    Tuesday, March 01, 2005
    Los Angeles faces legal bills in grand jury probe of city hall
    Some city officials begin the reimbursement process for attorney fees they were charged for being witnesses in a corruption case.
    By David Zahniser

    When lowly City employees are subject to investigation and personnel actions as a consequence of their actions, the City Attorney’s Office does not provide legal representation. They pay for their own representation. However, when managers go awry it seems they have access to not only City attorneys but contracted $500 an hour attorneys. Is there something wrong with that?

    If the City Attorney’s office can see the conflict of interest in representing them themselves, why can’t they see the conflict in providing the offenders with representation? It seems clear in each of the city’s confidential settlement that City employees obtained and paid for their own attorneys.

    So why is the city footing the bill for Board members and city managers that are involved in alleged scandalous behavior? It is not good for the city. And the practice works to encourage conflicting interests and behavior and actions which are contrary to the city’s best interest.