We have a serious problem in Los Angeles where the power lines are holding up the power poles. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Kevin James’ Initial Plan on LA’s Infrastructure:
1. Conduct a Comprehensive DWP Audit. I will order a top to bottom, across the board, comprehensive, independent and complete audit of the DWP. This audit will be conducted by an outside, independent, and well-respected auditing firm that has not received campaign contributions or other related funding from the DWP or any union servicing the DWP. Ratepayers should not be forced to pay significant rate increases without knowing with certainty where their hard-earned money is going. The DWP has not approached the public in a credible and honest way in recent years. For example, they misrepresented the true costs of their "Measure B" solar plan [http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/19/local/me-solar19 ] and they played games with the ratepayers regarding the Energy Cost Adjustment Factor surcharge [http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=7328427 ]. This mismanagement will end with my election. There are numerous other DWP matters of mismanagement that warrant such a comprehensive audit. And, by the way, I would make sure that copies of the audit are provided to the U.S. Attorney's Office, District Attorney's Office and City Attorney's office.
2. Readjust DWP Surplus Funds Transfer. We must begin the process of weaning the City's General Fund budget off of the DWP Power Revenue Fund "surpluses." This money, paid by DWP ratepayers, should be used to pay for numerous DWP-related infrastructure projects in need (e.g., replacing tens of thousands of power poles and lines, transformers, and 90,000 broken or leaky cast-iron pipes). If there is $300 million every year in "surplus" money, then why has our infrastructure been neglected for so many years? The DWP and existing City Hall leadership want to raise your rates significantly, yet they continue to hand hundreds of millions of dollars in your ratepayer funds over to the City Council to spend through the City's General Fund budget. This process must come to an end - and soon. As we saw in 2009 and 2010, this process enables DWP brass to wield excessive control over decision-making in City Hall. In order to cover for the absence in the General Fund of the DWP surplus funds, we must prioritize a plan for long-term fiscal solvency for the City, including further pension reform.
3. Prioritize street and sidewalk repairs. Our City streets are the second worst in the nation. Shockingly, 63% of all of the City's streets are rated as "poor" by Federal Highway Administration data. The same data shows that the average urban motorist in Los Angeles spends $746 annually in automobile maintenance due to LA's poor roads. The poor condition of our roads also diminishes road safety for drivers, bikers and pedestrians.
The state of the City's sidewalks is not any better. The reported wait for sidewalk repairs varies anywhere from 15 years to 75 years. The City wants to burden homeowners with the cost of sidewalk repairs and to shoulder homeowners with liabilities resulting from damaged sidewalks. I will make sure that homeowners are not burdened with the added responsibility of repairing the City’s sidewalks outside of their homes.
I will make street and sidewalk repairs a top priority. To do so, we must prioritize a plan for long-term fiscal solvency for the City, including collection of a significant portion of the City's more than $500 million in non-tax receivables, hundreds of millions more in tax collections, and other available funding sources that have been ignored by the mismanagement of current City leadership. Furthermore, new technologies enable us to do more in this area with less money. Two technologies that are particularly promising are "full depth reclamation" and "pervious concrete." Full depth reclamation is simply the recycling of roads in place – it is a proven cost saving method of road repair. The City of Santa Ana was recently able to rehabilitate 80 miles of asphalt streets over 3 years at about half the cost by using full depth reclamation compared to the traditional methods of removal and replacement. Pervious concrete is simply concrete that allows water and air to pass through it. Pervious concrete reduces storm water runoff and recharges the underground water supply. One of the most timely benefits of the use of pervious concrete in Los Angeles is the prevention of tree trunk "heaving." Pervious concrete allows the tree trunks to get the water and air they need so the tree trunks will not "heave" through the sidewalks.
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