DWP adds to in-house work crews

first_imgWhile DWP board members said the settlement was a fair compromise to get crucial water infrastructure upgrades moving, some community members were troubled that the utility will continue to use pricey DWP crews. “If these differentials are this substantial, it is absolutely idiotic to contract in-house,” said Jack Humpreville, who testified at the hearing. “Outside house, if properly monitored, makes much more financial sense to ratepayers and taxpayers of Los Angeles.” Under the settlement, DWP will add a third, 20-person crew to help build trunk lines. IBEW agreed to not challenge the hiring of outside contractors for 13 major water system construction projects. DWP officials have estimated the upcoming trunk line projects will cost $737 million over the next decade, but could have cost as much as $1.3 billion if all were completed by in-house crews. Neighborhood council activist Brady Westwater said the agreement was passed with little public notice, no community input and no disclosure of how much it will cost ratepayers. Despite concerns that DWP crews nearly double the cost of major pipeline construction projects, the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a deal to expand the number of in-house crews. The deal, approved without discussion, marked a compromise with the DWP union to allow the Department of Water and Power to contract out more pipeline work without union challenge. The settlement ends a stalemate with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18, which had sought to limit the use of outside construction contractors to build trunk lines, the massive pipes that carry water to smaller lines. DWP managers wanted to use private contractors for the work after comparisons showed in-house crews roughly doubled both the cost and time of trunk line projects. “How can you say there is no fiscal impact when there is one?” Westwater said. “We don’t know what they’re doing. When they hide something like this, it’s real hard to know what they’re doing.” But DWP Board President David Nahai said the settlement was a compromise that will add staff but also allow the utility to save money with outside contractors. “To add a third crew, which gives the department a certain amount of in-house capability, and to contract all of the rest of the work, should not be something that raises eyebrows,” Nahai said. “We’re trying to make sure we act in a way that’s wise, fiscally.” But Councilman Greig Smith said city leaders know DWP employees are among the highest paid in the city at the same time they have refused to challenge IBEW over issues of pay and efficiency. “Any time we do anything over there with their personnel, it is going to cost more. There are too many people over there and over here that are afraid to stand up to that union,” he said. Also Tuesday, the DWP board agreed to pay $2.1 million a year to the Joint Training Institute, a facility in Sun Valley run by the IBEW and co-managed by the DWP. The institute was created by the union and DWP in 2002 to provide employee training and education. The DWP contributed $6 million through 2004, and the new agreement will provide continued funding. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Telling secrets an art

first_img160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Maryl Kunkel stared at the blank notecard. For three days, she searched for the courage to give voice to her secret, a fear she has about her relationship, and how it affects her family. Finally, after much introspection, she wrote it down. And felt remarkably better. Her confession is one of dozens in Cal Secrets, a UC-Berkeley exhibit featuring anonymous secrets written by students. Its goal is to reveal buried fears, regrets and wishes in the hope of promoting healing and connecting the community. Inspired by the immensely popular PostSecret.com, it features a range of admissions, from “I play Sudoku during lectures” to this haunting revelation: “Sometimes I have this nagging feeling that I’m not good enough. Actually, that’s most of the time.” Kunkel calls the process liberating. “You have your secret out there, and no one knows it’s you, but you’re able to get it off your chest,” she says. “That’s the first step to self-discovery.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Some call it a step; others, a catharsis. Be it silly, sexual, dark or wistful, what was once a private piece of information reserved for only the closest of confidants is now community property in the hyper-personal online world. In many ways, the experience of online releasing and relating is the new group therapy. Grouphug.us has collected nearly a half-million confessions since its launch four years ago. Visitors to Absolution- Online.com can confess their sins, Catholic-style. And those who divulge secrets on DailyConfession.com must brace themselves for responses in the Talk Back section. Greg Fox, a former Walt Disney producer, started DailyConfession.com in 2000. Fox now receives hundreds of anonymous confessions a day – from abuse and adultery to flushing the toilet with your foot – for a grand total of 300,000. While there’s value in writing down emotions, the repercussions can be damaging – especially when the form is YouTube or MySpace, which is packed with photos and other identifiers – says Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The millions who’ve participated in the PostSecret.com project may disagree. Founder and Cal alum Frank Warren, a suburban father and medical document supplier, passed out postcards to people asking them to jot down a secret, decorate it, and send it in. Three years later, the postcards are still coming. He’s received nearly 200,000 pop art renditions of scandalous confessions (“I have been planning my husband’s funeral for 24 years”), tragic revelations (“My mom put me on my first diet when I was 6”) and goofy admissions (“I pee in the shower”). The last is the most common confession.last_img read more