Supporters raise $267,000 for solar energy ballot measure

The campaign for a new solar energy ballot measure in Los Angeles has raised more than $267,000, nearly two-thirds of it from groups affiliated with the union that represents Department of Water and Power employees, according to a report released Wednesday.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18 provided $50,000 for the campaign supporting Measure B, a proposal on the March 3 ballot to add 400 megawatts of solar panels throughout Los Angeles by 2014.

The union’s national political arm, the IBEW Educational Committee, gave $75,000 to the solar campaign during the contribution period ending Dec. 31. And $45,000 came from a political committee sponsored by Working Californians, an advocacy group headed by two high-level IBEW officials.

If Measure B passes, all of the new solar panels would be owned by the DWP and installed by the utility’s employees.

Opponents of the measure said the contributions show that the union, not the public, would benefit from its passage. “The IBEW is making a significant investment in this campaign so they can secure a no-bid, exclusive monopolistic contract at the expense of the ratepayers,” said Measure B foe Jack Humphreville.


Backers of the solar plan say it will create good jobs and has support that extends beyond DWP employees to include groups such as the Coalition for Clean Air, the Sierra Club and the American Lung Assn.

“Measure B is supported by a broad coalition of environmental, health and labor organizations across Los Angeles,” said campaign spokeswoman Sarah Leonard.

Measure B was proposed by Working Californians, a group co-chaired by Brian D’Arcy, business manager of IBEW, Local 18, and Marvin Kropke, business manager of IBEW, Local 11 in Pasadena.

Both men are treasurers of the campaign.

Other donations include:

* $10,000 from state Controller John Chiang.

* $15,000 from Assemblyman John Perez (D-Los Angeles) the cousin of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who supports Measure B.

* $20,000 from Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Sylmar.