Los Angeles Utility Ratepayers to IBEW Local 18 – Where's Our $40 Million?

IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18) Union Boss d’Arcy is planning a massive demonstration at 11 a.m. on Tuesday [6-17-2014] in front of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s downtown headquarters to protest City’s Hall’s “assault on collective bargaining” and “war on workers” and is urging other unions throughout the City to support his call to arms.

But this so called assault is nothing more than a diversion from the real issue: the lack of transparency of the Joint Safety and Training Institutes and the failure of Union Boss d’Arcy to disclose how over $40 million of Ratepayer money has been spent over the last fourteen years.

Union Boss d’Arcy’s failure to comply with Controller Ron Galperin’s subpoena for the financial records of these two nonprofit Institutes has also raised the issue of corruption as Angelenos are wondering what is he hiding from the Ratepayers, the media, and the voters.

While the stated purpose of these two Institutes was to fund IBEW Local 18’s efforts to improve the safety and training of workers of our Department of Water and Power, the real purpose was to absorb IBEW salaries and overhead as its revenue from membership dues was hit as a result of the downsizing of the Department’s work force in 2000.  This diversion of Ratepayer money allowed Union Boss d’Arcy to continue to pour money into his political slush fund through which he was able to buy considerable influence with Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council.

This political swat is evident as our City Council has been on the sidelines since September when Los Angeles Times reporter Jack Dolan exposed in a front page article the shenanigans involving the two Institutes and their utter lack of transparency and accountability.

But the City Council’s silence is not unsurprising as at least ten of its fifteen members have benefitted from Union Boss d’Arcy’s campaign contributions.

So it is no surprise that the voters do not trust the City Council and why a simple majority of voters would not have approved the half cent increase in our sales tax to a job killing 9 ½ %, to say nothing about the two-thirds needed to approve this new levy.

And it is no surprise that Mayor Eric Garcetti decided not to endorse the increase in our sales tax that was designed to repair the one third of our streets that are in a failed or near failed condition.  After all, why would he want to damage his reputation and credibility by endorsing a losing proposition supported by a City Council that does not have the trust, confidence, and respect of the voters?

And why would the other City unions want to tarnish their reputations and join in this bogus protest of the decidedly labor friendly City Hall when the less than transparent Union Boss d’Arcy may have attracted the attention of the District Attorney and even the Internal Revenue Service?

If the Herb Wesson led City Council and the Energy and Environment Committee chaired by Felipe Fuentes want to begin the long process of earning our trust, confidence, and respect, they must also answer the same question we have for Union Boss d’Arcy.

Where’s our $40 million?

About the Author:  Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee,  the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. This article originally appeared in CityWatch and is republished here with permission from the author.

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