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Times, Daily News op-eds surrender to DWP interests

Cabazon, 3.27.11

I was out of town on the weekend. Of course, while I was away, Saturday was the day that the LA Times chose to deliver a complimentary hardcopy "Los Angeles Times Select" to my doorstep, to let any prospective tagger or worse who passed by know that I was gone. The paper sat mulching the drought-tolerant blue fescue all through Saturday night and Sunday. Thanks, wasteful idiots. The paper went straight into the recycle bin late Sunday night.

But delivering unwanted tree-killing print is not half as bad as watching both local newspapers sell ordinary citizens down the DWP's tapped-out rivers.

In this piece, Jim Newton at the Times has simply become an extension of Joe Ramallo's PR department at the DWP.

More than one person has told me that former news-hound Newton is way to obsequious towards the rich and powerful to be a decent opinion writer, and in a Beutner-cuddling column like this, giving S. David Freeman a chance to cry on his shoulder, you see exactly what they mean.

"What is fundamentally misguided, however, is the assumption that Los Angeles residents are getting a raw deal on rates, at least when it comes to electricity," Newton says.

It's the exact same thing the agency's PR department says.

Mr. Newton, we the people OWN this utility and have for decades. Our electricity rates could be half of what they are if we didn't have crooks running the Department and the average salary for a line worker wasn't in six figures.

But while the former fishwrap of record became an extension of the power side of the DWP for the day and Newton was busy celebrating former agency chief S. David Freeman, former agency chief H. David Nahai had to drop this piece on California's water system into the Daily News. A little more tethered to reality than Newton's, Nahai with Gretchen McClain end up urging rate hikes anyway, these on the water side rather than the power side.

So there you have it this morning, classic advocacy journalism at both local papers--on behalf of the City's richest, most belligerent, most corrupt agency, and against ordinary DWP ratepayers. Please don't leave these City Hall-cuddling newspapers on my drought-tolerant blue fescue anymore.