Over a month ago, Rick Orlov said that the DWP reform movement has left the station, and that the Mayor ain't on board. He was stating the obvious and then further guessed that the Mayor would veto the City Council effort to make the DWP chair answer to Council. The Mayor did just that.
Today the Orlov Daily News editorialized on DWP reform. The editorial, which failed to mention how Dick Riordan's charter reform was the unwitting catalyst for the ruin of the agency, was almost even weaker than the Mayor's office on reform. In a nutshell, it says that
...a better option would be to give the DWP general manager a set term, perhaps three years or five years, that can be renewed or not renewed by the mayor. The mayor should also have an escape clause, whereby he can fire the general manager before the end of the term with 10 votes of the City Council. This would allow the mayor and the council to get rid of a truly incompetent general manager.&c.
We are experiencing a capitulation to the status quo at nearly every level: Council, Mayor, citizen, media. Everyone has the same diagnosis, except for the Mayor: something is really wrong with the DWP. Everyone also has a solution: but because there is no consensus, nobody has the ability to make it happen.
Everybody except the Mayor knows that the best solution for the short term would be to fire Austin Beutner and to fire Raman Raj, and to install someone with enough power to take down or weaken chronic city-dealbreaker Brian D'Arcy. This will not happen because the Mayor needs political friends and in fact installed both Beutner and Raj himself, and both are subordinate to D'Arcy's will at the DWP. In fact, Mayors in perpetuity will need political friends at the DWP, and as long as they have the ability to keep a friend staffed at the top of the agency, the Daily News's solution will remain patently absurd. It would accomplish nothing at all for perpetuity. It is ridiculous and ill-conceived.
No, we already have the best alternative solution in pocket, and that is to give Council a stake in DWP management. It is precisely because Dick Riordan (who earned the moniker "Idiot Dick" only over the past five years, when, as a doddering, drooling old man resembling an idiot, he selfishly went to national media to try to force LA into a bankruptcy, even costing the City a bond rating position) consolidated full power with the Mayor's office that we are in the catastrophic state we are in with regard to our once-proud utility.
We now need to undo what Idiot Dick did, and undo it as completely as possible. Let's hope for ten votes and real DWP reform.