Cross-posted at

Remember back when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told us he was tripling the trash fee and going to put all that money in a lockbox and use it solely to hire cops to make us safe on the streets and in our houses?

He never mentioned his “full cost recovery” policy applied only to homeowners except for the 60,000 who were getting the trash picked up free.

Remember when the state got rid of public access TV and the mayor promised to put $10 million of the $25 million they get from cable franchise taxes into a special account that would used to run Channel 35 and restore our opportunity to provide our own shows about important issues to the public?

He never mentioned he was going to use most of the money to run other departments and that he had no intention of ever restoring public access.

Nor did he bother to tell us that he was going to take all the rollover funds in Neighborhood Council accounts and put it into the general fund along with every other cent that piled up in all the dozens of other “special” accounts and do the same as his mismanagement of the city’s financial affairs reached the crisis point.

So when the mayor tells you he’s going to create a lockbox for his “carbon surcharge” to replace coal power plants with clean solar and wind power, only a fool or an environmentalist would believe him.

There is no such thing as a lockbox or a special fund the way City Hall does business. In their desperation, they have made a mockery of their own processes and destroyed the integrity of nearly every special from the money set aside for new community art centers, to libraries, to parks through one deceit or another.

City Hall cannot be trusted. Look at the record and the truth of that statement is indisputable.

How so many from Al Gore to Arnold Schwarzenegger, from Mary Nichols to the Sierra Club, can be so ill-informed or so indifferent to the public interests as to buy into the mayor’s plan to double and triple electricity rates starting with increases of 20 to 30 percent this year is a sad commentary on the depths of political corruption of our time.

Knowing Antonio as well as they do, and we do, do they really think he came up with his costly green energy plan all by himself late one night after downing a couple of $1,000 bottles of cabernet his friends bought him?

No, the carbon surcharge and the virtually unlimited and unscrutinized increases in the Energy Cost Adjustment Factor that lumps together all kinds of DWP costs is nothing but the bastard son of Measure B that voters rejected a year ago.

Measure B was the clumsy handiwork of Brian D’Arcy, bully boss of the IBEW, who is the No.1 reason that LA has lagged so far behind other utilities in going green, relies for nearly its power on labor-intensive (i.e. IBEW labor) coal-burning plants and is paying a huge premium to buy renewable energy at premium prices on the open market.

D’Arcy got his grossly overpaid members 6 percent raises from the mayor in good times and now are getting up to 4 percent raises in tough (and deflationary) times. In return, he is the No. 1 financial backer of the mayor , Controller Wendy Greuel and nearly everybody else at City Hall.

So who do you think came up with this new attempt to soak the public for billions of dollars in the name of green energy, in the name of getting rid of cheap coal power, when there isn’t even a remote plan in the bowels of the DWP to achieve either goal?

The best informed among us point to no one other than D’Arcy and they say his motives are anything but environmentally friendly.

At is issue is plans by the Air Resources Board under Mary Nichols, the governor’s appointee as chair, to implement the four-year-old AB32 legislation intended to roll back carbon emissions in the state to 1990 levels.

On July 1, Nichols intends to announce drastic measures she swears will create more jobs than they kill, eventually, to pressure utilities and every business in the state to invest heavily in green technologies and efficiency measures.

The costs, of course, will be passed on to people like us, the consumers, the ordinary folks, the taxpayers and ratepayers who go to work every day and try to make ends meet even as our wages and benefits shrink and we or our spouses lose jobs or live in fear of losing jobs.

The issue of AB32’s implementation already is a big element in Meg Whitman’s campaign for governor and will explode in importance come summer. There is a rational, methodical and value-based way to achieve its goals but not in Mary Nichols’ or the environmental movements’ minds.

“No matter what it costs” — that’s the Sierra Club’s motto. Because, you know, the end of the world is coming, the end of the world is coming, and we’re supposed to repent our sins and starve to death because it could happen a century, or 10 centuries, or sometime in the long away future.

I, for one, don’t doubt that 7 billion people and hyper-consumerism, particularly by Americans, has caused terrible damage to the planet and great changes are needed.

But if they put it to a vote, nearly everyone would be on the side of protecting their own jobs and their current standard of living versus the if-come-maybe of what will be the consequences some day.

Brian D’Arcy most of all takes that view: To hell with everything else as long as his workers have jobs and more of them are created and their wages keep going up and up along with the union money he needs to control City Hall.

For D’Arcy the dream goal is the ECAF becoming carte blanche for the DWP to control 
of rate increases without sharing any plans or facing any oversight. And if the public gets mad, as they have, and scares the City Council into intervening, as it has, and AB32 implementation gets stalled, it’s all the better.

And that’s the crime in all this.

We could move forward without destroying jobs, bankrupting or chasing away good jobs, overtaxing the public in the middle of the Great Depression, the Sequel, reduce consumption and replace dirty coal with cleaner energy sources.

It’s what nearly everyone wants. But not the people who have power and influence.

They want to profit handsomely from it or serve some ideological belief that makes them feel superior. As bad as the corruption of our environment is, the corruption of political environment is worse and more deadly for the human spirit.

Frankly, I’d rather to choke on CO2 than let these people get away with what they are trying to do. Of course, I’m a heavy smoker and never thought I’d live forever.