Opinion Readers React
Readers React

Water main break is a symptom of a sick L.A., readers say

DWP unions, stingy taxpayers: Readers find a lot to blame for the water main break near UCLA
Is Tuesday's water main rupture a sign of a much larger civic ill in Los Angeles?

When about 20 million gallons of water deluged parts of the UCLA campus Tuesday after a water main break in Westwood, readers took it as a cue to flood The Times with letters describing how the accident is a symptom of a larger civic ill.

What readers couldn't agree on was exactly what that sickness might be. Several pointed fingers at the L.A. Department of Water and Power's union, whose business manager refuses to let the city audit two ratepayer-funded nonprofits that have spent $40 million over the last decade. Others lamented our collective unwillingness to pay for badly overdue infrastructure improvements.

Those disagreements aside, the general belief among the more than three dozen letter writers is that L.A.'s infrastructure is ailing, and there's little hope for a cure.

Joann Duray of Playa del Rey says it's time for L.A.'s political leaders to make the city pay for repairs:

Los Angeles' infrastructure is failing; taxes must be increased to replace it faster.

This should not be a "political issue"; it should be a "practical issue." Why should the residents of L.A. be responsible for repairing the damage caused by pipe failures rather than having their taxes increased to pay to replace the aging infrastructure? How is it that, as evidenced by his comments in The Times, City Council President Herb Wesson doesn't understand that water rates must be increased to cover the costs?

It's better to pay upfront for new water lines rather than spending millions to mop up the damage caused by deterioration. The mayor and City Council ought to secure the funding that is needed to stop Los Angeles from further deterioration.

Santa Monica resident Philip Schwartz calls on the city to lean on the DWP union:

With regard to the DWP's apparent inability to finance the replacement of century-old infrastructure, and Councilman Paul Koretz's observation that, as The Times put it, "there was only so much more money that ratepayers — or the city — could pony up to replace pipes," allow me to suggest at least a down payment on the necessary work.

Why not have the City Council appropriate the roughly $40 million spent by the nonprofits overseen in part by DWP union boss Brian D'Arcy? I feel confident that these funds could be applied to this much more urgent use.

Perhaps spending this money on repairs would even engender a bit more trust in the DWP to do its job.

Venice resident Mark Ryavec, a former legislative analyst for Los Angeles, blames union-warped priorities:

Of course there are no funds to replace L.A.'s crumbling water infrastructure. DWP employees rent the City Council members with political donations and campaign help in exchange for much higher pay and benefits than other city workers receive. And then the union rips off millions of dollars for some Joint Training Institute.

The physical corruption of L.A.'s pipes was preceded by years of moral corruption of elected officials.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • With UCLA flood, L.A. pays the price for a geyser of neglect
    With UCLA flood, L.A. pays the price for a geyser of neglect

    If Los Angeles leaders needed any reminders about the city's aging infrastructure and the ever-increasing backlog of maintenance, they got it Tuesday in the form of a 30-foot geyser spouting from Sunset Boulevard. The rupture of a 90-year-old water main sent more than 20 million gallons into...

  • Body cameras on police: Too '1984'?
    Body cameras on police: Too '1984'?

    To the editor: I am deeply troubled by the idea of Los Angeles Police Department officers wearing body cameras. ("Have a full and open debate on rules for LAPD body cameras," Editorial, Dec. 17)

  • Want to go to war? Consider Vietnam first

    To the editor: I served in Vietnam starting when I was 18; at 19 I was one of the war's youngest veterans. Your article cites all the social programs Lyndon Johnson championed along with his decision to send American boys to fight a war that he had previously said "Asian boys" should be...

  • Killing coyotes is cruel to coyotes and taxpayers

    To the editor: Seal Beach officials chose not to follow the advice of coyote experts and instead proceed with a trapping and gassing program. Four coyotes were randomly trapped and killed — not because they actually attacked pets, but simply because they were coyotes. Seal Beach played...

  • Hollywood's new honcho: Kim Jong Un

    To the editor: Historically, in order to greenlight a motion picture, one had to work his or her way up past the reader, the lower-level development executive and finally to the decision-maker. Along the way might have been the approval of a censor. ("Attackers win a round over Sony's...

  • They're the Parthenon Marbles, not 'Elgin Marbles'

    To the editor: I cringe when read the Parthenon Marbles referred to as the Elgin Marbles. Those magnificent sculptures never belonged to the man who took them from Greece and in truth do not belong to the British Museum. ("At Russia museum, Elgin Marbles statue is cast in a political light,"...

  • Lift the embargo, but don't destroy Cuba's heritage
    Lift the embargo, but don't destroy Cuba's heritage

    To the editor: News of the U.S. government opening talks with Cuba on normalizing relations and ending the 54-year embargo is long past due; indeed, it recalls Ronald Reagan's "blue jeans and Coca-Cola" strategy in prying open the Iron Curtain that kept much of Europe under communism until...

  • Don't let North Korea have the final say on 'The Interview'
    Don't let North Korea have the final say on 'The Interview'

    You might have heard there's a film out there so offensive to North Korea's dictator that hackers connected to his regime spooked a major Hollywood studio into scrubbing the movie's Christmas Day release.

Comments
Loading