The DWP Can Suck My Hydrant

DON OCHACHER ASKED WHY HIS HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION WAS BILLED
$2,555 A YEAR FOR ‘FIRE SERVICE.’ THE ANSWER: IT’S A MASSIVE
DWP RIPOFF OF RATEPAYERS WITH PRIVATE HYDRANTS.

By Steve Silkin

PART 1: THE NEWS

THE LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT of Water and Power has been charging property owners with private hydrants at least $7.5 million a year for “fire service” which in fact is nothing of the sort, and in exchange for that money does absolutely nothing: zero, nada, zilch.

Additionally, when ratepayers with hydrants on private property call to ask about the charges and services, phone representatives have recently said the utility tests service to hydrants—a blatant lie because the city’s Fire Department does that.

To make this whole sordid case even more revolting, DWP does not pass along any portion of the revenue to the Fire Department, not the least dime, while the utility pays the firefighters $5 for each hydrant tested on sidewalks and other public property.

By best estimates, DWP charges property owners $2,555 for each hydrant, and there may be more than 3,000 private hydrants in the city. This insanely rampant thievery now totals at least $100 million, because it’s been going on for at least 14 years.

Continue reading “The DWP Can Suck My Hydrant”

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Republicans vs. Trump: What Would the French Do?

THE FRENCH HAVE CHANGED THE MAKEUP OF THEIR POLITICAL PARTIES AND FORMED ALLIANCES AMONG ENEMIES MANY TIMES. DEMOCRATS SHOULD MERGE WITH ANTI-TRUMP REPUBLICANS TODAY AND CLINTON SHOULD OFFER THE VEEP SPOT TO RYAN. THAT’LL TEACH THE TEA PARTY THE MEANING OF MAJORITY RULE.

By Steve Silkin

WHILE EXAMINING the past week in U.S. politics, I realized that many people in both major parties are ready for a dramatic, monumental overhaul. Most people think a change of the proportion I’m suggesting can’t be done. But look at France.

The French do not get mired down in their history, even though they’re so proud of it. They have had five constitutions, unencumbered by any phobias about tearing one up and starting over. Then doing it again—and again. (As in: “Mon dieu, the last one was bad, but this one is even worse.” Plus, after the Nov. 13 Islamic terrorist attacks, they went into a back room and rewrote two paragraphs of the current one. The changes were ratified a few days later. The little controversy that erupted over that died out within a week.)

French political parties have formed, split, merged, unmerged, died and come back to life more times than I can count during the past 40 years. On the right, Jacques Chirac and Valery Giscard d’Estaing split into the RPR and the UDF in 1976. Francois Mitterrand in 1981 co-opted the Communists by merging them into his Socialist government. The country had been riddled by strikes. He named Communist ministers to the departments where the labor unrest was most crippling—transportation, health care, industry. Who were they going to strike against? Themselves?

Continue reading “Republicans vs. Trump: What Would the French Do?”