I don’t know what it is about doctors this year.
There’s a medical doctor running for president with no clue as to how to conduct policy.
Then there is this PhD who does not understand the basics of advocacy.
One’s a brain surgeon; the other needs one.
You can have the best education from the finest school, but it still does not prepare you to engage or inspire people; to create a path for others to willingly follow.
Dr. Fred Pickel, who holds the office of Ratepayer Advocate, with a charge to represent the best interests of DWP’s customers, has only managed to please DWP’s management. DWP general manager, Marcie Edwards, even quoted him in defense of the rate increases coming our way.
Pickel is lost in the weeds and has missed the key driver of the rate increase – the over $1 billion that has been pulled from the utility’s surplus, funds that could have gone a long way to rebuild infrastructure….and the continuance of the transfer, which will assure the need for rate increases in the future.
Adding salt to our wounds, he has been silent over the 10% tax we will pay on the increases.
It is not as if this penalty has been under the radar.
Jack Humphreyville has pounded away on it. His latest article in Citywatch is just his latest take on the subject.
Austin Beutner (former Deputy Mayor and ex-Interim DWP Manager – unfortunately, he did not serve long enough to make a difference) and Mickey Kantor (co-chair of the 2020 Commission charged with identifying reform measures for the city) expressed their strong reservations against taxing the higher revenue which will flow from the rate increases. As they pointed out, none of the tax will be devoted to improving the DWP’s infrastructure and customer service.
An excellent op-ed appeared in the LA Times back in August which said as much, too.
Dr. Pickel may have studied engineering, but he apparently never learned to read.
By avoiding a very public position on the tax, he has shown himself to be an overpaid bureaucrat ($237,000 per year) doing the bidding of the mayor and City Council, whose primary objective is to use the rate increases to embellish the general fund.
There is another culprit in this sad state of affairs – the Neighborhood Councils’ DWP Advocacy Group.
Its failure as a group to take Pickel to task for ignoring the issue and failing to ignite the ire of the public to this travesty is inexcusable. Individual NCs need to step up and insist that their own so-called advocates confront Pickel with his failure to deal with the elephant in the room.
And it’s a charging elephant.