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Business leaders decry plan to raise DWP rates

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to boost rates at the Department of Water and Power has drawn an outcry from business leaders who fear that his promise to create "green jobs" will be accomplished at the expense of their own workers

Villaraigosa's proposed hikes of up to 22% for firms, which in part would further his renewable energy goals, stun the leaders, who had been delighted with his recent promise to focus on the economy.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to boost rates at the Department of Water and Power has drawn an outcry from business leaders who fear that his promise to create "green jobs" will be accomplished at the expense of their own workers.

As he pushes the City Council to approve rate increases of up to 22% for businesses, Villaraigosa's clean-air ambitions have run head-first into his job goals -- and his promise to treat L.A.-based companies with extra care.

Villaraigosa delighted business leaders two months ago when he hired a retired investment banker as his new "jobs czar" and offered to refocus his administration on the economy. That goodwill has largely evaporated in recent weeks, with executives warning that they may have to deal with the rate hikes by laying off workers.

The environmentally friendly positions envisioned by the mayor are "not more important than the jobs that need to be preserved and supported now," said Glen Berryhill, vice president of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Villaraigosa's proposed hikes of up to 22% for firms, which in part would further his renewable energy goals, stun the leaders, who had been delighted with his recent promise to focus on the economy.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to boost rates at the Department of Water and Power has drawn an outcry from business leaders who fear that his promise to create "green jobs" will be accomplished at the expense of their own workers.

As he pushes the City Council to approve rate increases of up to 22% for businesses, Villaraigosa's clean-air ambitions have run head-first into his job goals -- and his promise to treat L.A.-based companies with extra care.

Villaraigosa delighted business leaders two months ago when he hired a retired investment banker as his new "jobs czar" and offered to refocus his administration on the economy. That goodwill has largely evaporated in recent weeks, with executives warning that they may have to deal with the rate hikes by laying off workers.

The environmentally friendly positions envisioned by the mayor are "not more important than the jobs that need to be preserved and supported now," said Glen Berryhill, vice president of property management for Thomas Properties Group.

"You don't want to risk the jobs you have for the jobs you might have in the future," said Carol Schatz, president and chief executive of the Central City Assn., a downtown business group.

Chief Deputy Mayor Jay Carson and Villaraigosa's deputy chief of staff, Matt Szabo, attempted some damage control on Monday, acknowledging to dozens of business leaders that they should have consulted with them more about the plan.

Meanwhile, the mayor plans to continue his campaign for the rate increases Thursday by conducting a news conference along with former Vice President Al Gore via satellite from Nashville.

An hour later, a City Council committee will begin reviewing the plan, which would also boost electricity rates for households by 9% to 28%.

Mayoral spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said she sees no conflict between Villaraigosa's jobs promises and his renewable energy plan, which she estimated would result in the installation of thousands of solar panels, creating 16,000 jobs in that field.

An additional 1,600 positions would be for DWP "green doctors," who would tell residents whether their homes could be more energy-efficient, she said.

That concept has won the support of Councilman Richard Alarcon, who said that, as Los Angeles shifts to a green economy, some businesses will need to make "bottom-line decisions" about whether they can continue to operate. "There are going to be more businesses that will not succeed. But if they don't succeed, we want it to be for the right reasons -- because we are moving the economy in the right direction," he said.


Source: http://articles.latimes.com...

MAR 26 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/25398-business-leaders-decry-plan-to-raise-dwp-rates
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