Why Paul Supported New DWP Rates
The following is a personal note from Councilmember Paul Krekorian:
As you know, the City Council recently approved an increase in the DWP's power rates. After extensive scrutiny for nearly a year, I supported the increase, and I'm writing to let you know why.
When the DWP last came before the Council with a rate proposal in 2010, I helped lead the effort to defeat it. When the Council developed an alternative proposal to increase the rates, I fought against that one as well, largely because the public had been left out of the discussion.
As a result of that experience, several of us on the Council insisted on the creation of an independent ratepayer advocate, which was approved by the voters in 2011. Those of us who had opposed the rate increase made clear that no future proposed increase would be considered until and unless the independent ratepayer advocate analyzed the proposal and the public was fully informed about the justification for the proposal.
The current proposal has met those tests. First, the Office of Public Accountability is now up and running, and its Ratepayer Advocate thoroughly vetted this rate hike proposal, in stark contrast with previous practices. The Ratepayer Advocate's review, analysis and conclusions have given the public, and me, an increased level of confidence that these new rates are justified and appropriate given the current infrastructure investment needs of the DWP.
Second, the Department's own actions have shown a significant improvement in transparency and public engagement. The DWP's new General Manager, Ron Nichols, has held 80 public meetings across the city with homeowners, business owners, neighborhood councils and more to engage in an open and honest public discourse about the Department's future and how the proposed rate structure impacts system reliability.
Third, the Department faces a long list of unfunded mandates imposed by state and federal law that will require wholesale changes in the way power is generated. These mandates, combined with the advanced age of much of the DWP's system, will require the Department to replace most of the infrastructure it developed over the last century in the next decade.
The Department simply could not maintain its solvency while undertaking such massive investments without modifying the rate structure. With the new rates, on the other hand, the Department will be able to make important upgrades to ensure system reliability, avoid blackouts and brownouts, improve environmental conditions, and reduce demand through efficiency and conservation.
When implemented, DWP's new electrical rates will still be lower than the rates of municipal utilities in surrounding cities like Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale, and they will be much lower than rates charged by investor-owned utilities such as Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric. On average, homeowners will see their bills increase by no more than about $1.57 per month in the first year, and $2.08 in the second year.
I'm very concerned about any increase in any costs to residents and small businesses in Los Angeles, who are already struggling in this difficult economy. If this increase could have been avoided or postponed, I would have urged the Council to do so, just as I did in 2010. In this case, though, the critical infrastructure needs of the Department, the important benefits to customers, and the relatively modest amount of the increase, made clear to me and to the Ratepayer Advocate that the only responsible decision was to approve the proposal.
I look forward to answering any more questions you may have.
Very truly yours,
Councilmember, Second District
In Wake of Tragedies, Increased Safety MeasuresSpeed trailer on Magnolia Avenue
STUDIO CITY - Following the recent fiery car accident on Ventura Boulevard that tragically resulted in the deaths of three adults, the office of Councilmember Paul Krekorian is continuing to work closely with the LAPD Valley Traffic to cut down on dangerous speeding in Studio City and beyond. On Sept. 9, three died when their speeding car crashed into a local pizzeria, which subsequently caught on fire as a result of the accident. With an uptick in speeding incidents throughout the Valley - some with fatal consequences - the office of the Councilmember has taken steps to increase public safety efforts surrounding the issue. As a result, a speed trailer will be set up on Ventura Boulevard near Tujunga Avenue to address speed safety concerns. Previously, the Councilmember's office secured a speed trailer on Magnolia Boulevard near Ben Avenue, where two women were fatally electrocuted trying to save a car crash victim who may have been speeding down the Valley Village street. Another speed trailer has also been set up on Riverside Drive and Oakwood Avenue where speeding has been a general concern of residents. "As a society, we have to say enough is enough," Councilmember Paul Krekorian said. "My office will do everything it can to encourage safe driving, but the drivers who put lives at risk throughout the San Fernando Valley have to slow down and realize that there are horrific consequences to speeding and recklessness." In addition to speed trailers, Councilmember Krekorian is also participating in a Driver Safety Fair slated on Oct. 20 at Notre Dame High School. The event, put on by the Conor Lynch Foundation, will feature interactive opportunities for teens, parents and families to learn about the most dangerous driving situations and how to avoid them. You can find more information about the drive safety fair in our previous article here.Neighborhood Council Elections - The Results are in! Councilmember voting in his neighborhood council election SOUTH EAST VALLEY - Ballots have been cast, the votes tallied, and the numbers are in for the 2012 neighborhood council elections in the San Fernando Valley.
According to EmpowerLA, more than 800 residents voted in this year's neighborhood council elections in North Hollywood, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys and Studio City. Councilmember Paul Krekorian, a Studio City resident, was among the voters at his local neighborhood council.
"This is grassroots neighborhood empowerment at its best," Councilmember Krekorian said. "It's so important to vote in every election at every level of government, including at the local level where neighborhood councils have such a big impact on the community."
We thank all the candidates for running and congratulate those who won.
------------------------------ Councilmember Tours Businesses of the Arts District NORTH HOLLYWOOD - On Sept. 27, Councilmember Paul Krekorian had the opportunity to tour some of the art galleries, theaters and CM Krekorian with Producing Director Kevin Bailey, of the Avery Schreiber Theatre
businesses that make up the NoHo Arts District, a new portion of Council District 2 the Councilmember now represents. Among the places the Councilmember and his staff visited were the Avery Schreiber Theatre, Bow and Truss Restaurant, the Noho Performing Arts Center, the Cella Gallery, the Federal Bar, in addition to a tour of the Art Institute facilities.
Community Seeks to Beautify Neighborhood Streets
NORTH HOLLYWOOD - The intersection of Laurel Canyon and Sherman Way is a step closer to getting a facelift. With the help of the office of Councilmember Paul Krekorian, the North-North Hollywood Neighborhood Watch group is working to create "a new direction" for the intersection.
Recently, the watch group submitted a proposal to the Office of Community Beautification as part of its 2012-2013 Keep Los Angeles Beautiful grant program to fund new community improvement project. The competitive matching grant is awarded to community groups that fund neighborhood beautification projects.
Upon approval, the North Hollywood Neighborhood Watch group aims transform the North Hollywood intersection from its current trash, debris and weeds ridden state and improve the appearance of medians.
In an effort to beautify and improve all communities of Council District 2, the office of Councilmember Krekorian works with neighborhood groups and stakeholders to identify and improve community spaces. Using city resources and grant funding, the community can tackle those particular projects in a variety of ways.
------------------------------ Community, School Join Forces to Clean Up Roscoe Elementary School Parents, students and local officials volunteer to clean up Roscoe Elementary. Photo courtesy of the office of LAUSD Board Member Nury Martinez
SUN VALLEY - More than 30 parents, students and local officials worked side-by-side Sept. 22 to clean up discarded leaves, trash, and debris near Roscoe Elementary in a unified effort to improve conditions near the Sun Valley school.
The event, which transformed a garbage-strewn sidewalk into a more passable walkway, was organized by the elementary school's parents, Principal Gonsalo Garay, LAUSD Boardmember Nury Martinez's office and the office of Councilmember Paul Krekorian. Fifty bags of trash were collected during the Saturday morning clean-up, renewing optimism about one day building an outdoor classroom in the vicinity.
The office of the Councilmember, with the help of the North Hollywood based non-profit New Directions for Youth, helped secure 50 rakes, brooms, shovels, trash bags and gloves for the clean-up effort.
"With budget cuts decimating the city's ability to pay for basic services, my office has worked to find creative solutions that have helped each part of our district," Councilmember Paul Krekorian said. "I'm elated we were able to help students and parents at Roscoe Elementary achieve a cleaner and safer educational environment, joining with our community partners for the greater good of our neighborhood."
Council Honors Deaf Advocates
Deaf West Theatre board members Melanie Vansell and Jeff Lenham
CITY HALL - The Los Angeles City Council last week honored Southern California's most accomplished advocates for the hard of hearing. Each member of the council picked an honoree from their district with Councilmember Paul Krekorian tapping Ed Waterstreet, founder and artistic director of the Deaf West Theatre in the NoHo Arts District.
Since its founding more than two decades ago, Waterstreet has grown the theater from a borrowed space in Hollywood to one of the most renowned deaf theaters in the country now housed in an art-deco, 49-seat complex in North Hollywood.
A graduate of Gallaudet University and a longtime member of the National Theatre of the Deaf, Waterstreet moved to Los Angeles 21 years ago with his wife. Immediately, he was surprised at the lack of cultural opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Beginning with only one chair, one desk and a typewriter in an office space shared with and donated by the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood, Ed established a permanent sign language theater to, as their mission statement says, "create, share and preserve a legacy of deaf culture through the medium of Sign Language Theatre."
Today, Deaf West Theater owns the most theater production awards of any deaf theater in the nation and was the first intimate theater company in the history of the Los Angeles Stage Ovation Awards to win both Best Play (A Streetcar Named Desire) and Best Musical (Oliver!) in the same year (2000).
"Ed and the playhouse he has built from scratch has been a standard bearer of quality theater since its inception 21 years ago," Councilmember Paul Krekorian said. "Through his efforts and those of his board, the Deaf West Theater has grown into a showcase for deaf and hard of hearing actors in Los Angeles and the entire country."
Deaf West Theatre board members Melanie Vansell and Jeff Lenham accepted the award on behalf of Ed, who was out of town during the ceremony.