Readers React

DWP owes ratepayers an explanation of nonprofits' spending

To the editor: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power General Manager Marcie Edwards' response to the city audit, asserting that it was "littered with accusatory innuendo and peppered with contradictory statements," was a slough-off job and not a rebuttal of the innuendo and contradictory statements. ("DWP trusts paid for steak dinners, trips to Hawaii, Las Vegas, audits find," April 30)

The DWP is a public entity, and Edwards must answer City Controller Ron Galperin's findings that two union

trusts co-run by DWP apparently misused hundreds of thousands of dollars in ratepayer money. Otherwise, she has no ground to stand on.

Public utilities have to answer to the people they serve.

H.K. Rahlfs, Irvine

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To the editor: The DWP claims that it spends "more than $117 million a year on safety and training programs." I'd like to see an audit on that, as the number is fantastic.

Yet, despite this enormous outlay, the city is donating $4 million a year to two nonprofits to explore more training and safety, and the grossly overpaid administrators of these entities ($220,000 annually) cannot even decide on reasonable expenditures, such that $11 million has accumulated while they rack up expense account bills that corporate CEOs would envy.

Meanwhile, our streets are broken, the needy go without services and our elected officials have to go to court to get a modicum of empirical information about these circumstances.

On a regular basis, Los Angeles seems to go out of its way to give the appearance of being little better than a Third World banana republic, corrupt and pugnaciously contemptuous of its citizenry.

Mitch Paradise, Los Angeles

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To the editor: One would have expected that the ratepayer-funded nonprofit Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute, which were set up ostensibly to serve DWP workers, would have been proud to state their accomplishments and how they had spent the money they received.

Instead, the head of the workers' union, Brian D'Arcy, refused to discuss what the nonprofits had done and even went so far as to say that it was none of anyone's business how they allocated the funds they received.

Now we learn that it takes five administrators — each earning about $220,000 a year, plus lavish expense accounts — to run these organizations. The impression is that the only purpose these institutes serve is one of providing very lucrative pay to a few individuals, and that any training or safety benefit that occurs is incidental.

The institutes' tax-exempt status should be revoked and ratepayer funding for them should be terminated.

David Michels, Encino

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