The Los Angeles City Council had better hurry up and put something called the Green Energy-Good Jobs Initiative on the March 3 ballot, or we will never, ever have solar power in this city. There's no time to see where the plan fits into an as-yet-unseen comprehensive solar plan. There's no time to wonder why its chief sponsors are labor unions. There's no time to ask why the leader of the city-owned Department of Water and Power took this initiative to the City Council over the heads of his commissioners.
At least that's the message that has emerged from council chambers over the last two weeks, after this initiative to install city-owned solar panels on Los Angeles rooftops materialized. Boosters argue that, for goodness' sake, we just have to get this thing on the ballot by today's artificial deadline, and then we'll have plenty of time to answer everyone's questions.
This rush to the ballot has the scent of swindle about it. Council members and a smattering of environmentalists speak about the plan with happy words, but through gritted teeth. That's because, just out of view, their arms are being twisted.
The plan put together by Working Californians -- headed by Brian D'Arcy, business manager of the union representing DWP electricians, and Marvin Kropke, business manager of another International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union that does a great deal of city contracting -- theoretically could form part of an acceptable proposal to expand Los Angeles' supply of solar power. Instead, it does little to advance energy supply and much to reveal who's pulling the strings in Los Angeles.