LADWP sends lawyers, others to gripe about APCD budget


How much did it cost to send lawyers and staff to Bridgeport?

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power recently sent two attorneys, one staff person and outside consultants to Bridgeport to gripe about the Air Pollution Control District budget. They particularly criticized APCD’s expense of $25,000 for computers and an ATV to work at the Owens Dry Lake.

At the last Town Council meeting, Mammoth Town Councilman John Eastman brought up the DWP grumbling. Eastman now chairs the APCD Board. He said the DWP group complained about money they have spent to clean up the Owens Dry Lake and that 27% of their ratepayers are under the poverty level.

Eastman said he reminded the DWP lawyers that they are the ones spending all the money. He said that they had filed five lawsuits against APCD on the dry lake and lost all of the past suits. He also said because they violated a deadline on dry lake dust clean-up, they had to pay $6.5 million as a negotiated penalty. In comparison to all of that, Eastman indicated, a $25,000 necessary expenditure doesn’t look like much.

The LADWP group said the computers and ATV should’ve gone out to bid. APCD Director Ted Schade said the District has the right to designate sole sources for some equipment purchases if they justify it to their Board.

DWP also griped about the APCD attorney and said the Board should go out to bid for the cheapest lawyer! Schade said their attorney, Peter Hsaio  does cost $750 per hour but is one of the best environmental attorneys in the state and “has never lost a single issue with DWP.” Schade also pointed out that DWP hired six lawyers against the APCD’s one. Schade said, “They spend more than we do, and they have lost.”

The other LA complaint at that meeting was that they contend that Caltrans relocation of the old Highway in the 1950s destroyed vegetation and created the Keeler Dunes and blowing dust.

The bottom line of the LA-APCD encounter, according to Schade, was that LADWP objects to what he called the “general cost of government. They don’t want us to pay employee benefits, health care, office rent or gas.” Schade said, “They caused the dust problem, so they have to pay. In California,” he said, “the polluter pays.



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34 Responses to LADWP sends lawyers, others to gripe about APCD budget

  1. Tim March 26, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    I have never driven past that DWP building on the 110 freway late at night and seen the lights off.
    Who pays for that?

    • Desco March 26, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

      When that building was constructed electricity was dirt cheap and it was thought it always would be. They omitted the light switches to save money.

  2. Really? March 26, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    Huh….lights on in a big building at night in the city–that’s just nitpicking. Last I looked, most of the buildings in Los Angeles have lights on at night. Everyone pays for the lights to be on at night for every business that leaves them on. Not just DWP. I’m betting if you go by an Edison building at night, they will have lights on as well. Just sayin.

    • Tim March 26, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

      I thought it was nitpicking for DWP to complain about the computers and ATV in the article, this is why I picked at their lights. As for the buildings with lights on in downtown LA, yes, most buildings have some lights on. The difference with the DWP building is that every light on every floor is on 24 hours a day. That building is 16 stories high; I’ll bet the power wasted is $25,000 a month.
      DWP offers the best paying city jobs in LA; people get jobs with LA City just to transfer over. You are right though, worrying about minute waste with a concern whose assets and income total many billions of dollars is nit picking.
      Anyway, no worries, it’s just a blog where we get to explore ideas.

      • Benett Kessler March 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

        Yes, and how about that big moat around DWP headquarters!

        • Tim March 27, 2013 at 8:51 am #

          The backlash of displacing water and changing regional climates will be disasterous.
          Scientists have projected that by 2050, the average snowpack in the Sierra’s will decrease by 25%. Some experts have even predicted the Sierra snowpack will be virtually gone by the end of the century.

          Why aren’t we reading about scientific studies relating to the physics of natural water systems in which large mountains interact with low lying valley bodies of water?
          Money? We’re going to look pretty stupid with wheelbarrows full of money that wont buy a cup of fresh water.

          • Patterson March 28, 2013 at 4:18 am #


            Your claim regarding the affect of water diversion is completely false. If you had even a basic knowledge of hydrology you would know that snowpack levels are related to precipitation events which are driven by ocean evaporation and temperature levels.

            Even if the predicted reduction in snowpack you’re referring to occurs, it would be a result of climate change and it would have nothing to do with the water diversions below. Evapotranspiration of a adjacent desert region would have a very miniscule effect if any.

            Surely you would have reputable sources to back up your claims, care to provide them to us all to review?

          • Jeremiah's ego March 28, 2013 at 8:32 am #

            Anybody that I come across defending the corrupt entity in LADWP, the initial thought that comes to mind is they either work for, had worked for, a dependent of those who works for, somebody within the good ol boy circle, or one in denial and or “all due respect” plain ignorance!
            Let me explain myself, I say that because beyond all belief systems we are bound to Natures Natural laws. “Life grows where water flows” is one of the most basic and logical sayings when it comes to the necessity of water. Just think patterson, award winning crops once grew here, the habitats that have been drained and depleted is world of difference if we were to understand the perspective of what the valley was 100 years ago!
            Just think Patterson if we do have a reduction of snow pack/precipitation in the future will LADWP’s water demands still come first?

          • Tim March 28, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

            I do not have knowledge of hydrology; however I am trained in other earth sciences and quite capable of sound deductive reasoning. I tested my theory by finding data that would validate my suspicions. I was recently poking around on line and came across some California Energy Commission information that pointed me to studies on the earth cooling climate change effects of irrigation in the San Joaquin valley and other parts of California. Now these studies don’t take into account any cooling that fog produced by a full Owens Lake would cause. I contacted California Energy Commission and asked if they had any data on climate change relating to the emptying of Owens Lake and they did not. They were however interested in the theory.
            I realize that the snow pack reference was a reach on my part. I do not feel though that it is a reach to claim that the Eastern Sierra Owens Valley area contains ecosystems where contrasting climates interact to sustain water production through earth phenomenon.

            I come from circles where it is commonly claimed that a participant in a discussion is not qualified to provide reliable data based on lack of specific education. I realize that this is a public forum and do not expect you to identify yourself personally. I would appreciate it though if you would at least in a general way validate your implied experience as a hydrologist.
            Here are the links to articles that prove surface water displacement changes the environment.




            Respectfully, Thank you for asking.
            Let’s keep the discussion going.

          • Benett Kessler March 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

            Re: anecdotal information – I have talked to many in the Owens Valley, long-timers, who believe that the drying up of the Owens Valley has
            changed snowfall. In past decades, Inyo has experienced major snowfall in the valley – 3 feet or more. Hasn’t been that way for some time.
            The laymen’s impression – less water in the valley, less evaporation, less condensation and precipitation. This is not scientific, just how
            residents feel about it.
            Benett Kessler

          • Jeremiah's ego March 28, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

            Nice Job Tim,

            I just can’t get past people defending DWP, “It’s like okay, you must benefit in someway to think or believe that LADWP influence in the valley isn’t overall a bad one”
            LADWP’s reference “the greatest good for the greatest number of people” quote is just a divide and conquer quote that is just another prime example of the moral hazards that run rampant in this current society (where people can actually gain off of others the misery and the destruction of a environment!).

          • Tim March 28, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

            Patterson, I notice that the source articles use nearly the same language as you, you said:
            “Evapotranspiration of a adjacent desert region would have a very miniscule effect if any.
            The authors of the scientific study said it a bit differntly, here is what they said:
            “Based on the model results, irrigated agriculture has likely influenced local climate through increased evapotranspiration—especially in the summer—leading to reduced maximum and mean surface air temperature.
            Additionally, I notice that you refer to the Owens Valley as a desert which is not entirely accurate. I believe that pre aqueduct, the region supported large riparian forests, standing ground water, and the 100 square mile Owens Lake. This does not sound like any desert I have ever been to.

          • Patterson March 28, 2013 at 5:55 pm #


            I am not defending LADWP in the manner that you have depicted. I simply pointed out Tim’s misconceptions regarding the snowpack. And I’m surely not denying that LADWP has taken the water out of the OV. That is all.


            In the case of the Owens Valley, precipitation in the Sierras is primarily driven by coastal and oceanic activity. Such activity produces the local precipitation events.

            Bodies of water and plants in the valley would produce both evaporation and evapotranspiration. However, the effects of these processes within the valley would have a very miniscule effect on bringing precipitation to the Sierras. Whether you consider the lush pre-LADWP state of the valley or the current state, neither of these valley states have a noticeable affect on snowpack. Again, I am only referring to snowpack.

            You need to realize the relative volumes of water that are involved in producing substantial precipitation capable of affecting snowpack. For example, the size of the Pacific Ocean in comparison to a water rich Owens Valley (pre-LADWP) is extremely massive. Consequently, precipitation production from even a full Owens Lake would be less than 1% of that which the Ocean would produce. I hope you follow what I’m trying to say.

            I am an international grad student currently studying Civil-Environmental engineering at a leading university in Sydney, Australia. My experience in hydrology has been subject and research based. However, I have close ties to the Owens Valley and have researched its history pertaining to hydrology in great detail.

            I follow the local media outlets in the Valley and realize that by simply pointing out Tim’s misconception, I’m inevitably seen as a proponent of LADWP. I have not indicated any bias through my responses and have merely pointed to proper hydrology.

          • Tim March 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

            Patterson, thank you for your courteous reply.
            You said: “ Bodies of water and plants in the valley would produce both evaporation and evapotranspiration. However, the effects of these processes within the valley would have a very miniscule effect on bringing precipitation to the Sierras.”
            If you have reputable sources to back up your claims, would you please provide them to us all to review?
            I would also like to note that my theories and data were more in support of temperature changes compounded year over year.
            Evidence through first hand accounts and recorded snowfall for the Owens Valley suggest that year over year water removal has continually raised the temperature and decreased snow, most noticeably on the valley floor. If this climate change isn’t at least partially due to the displacement of water, then what caused it?
            I do not know whether or not you are aware of this, there was also a very large lake in the San Joaquin Valley called Buena Vista or Tulare Lake.
            This lake, the largest west of the Mississippi, started shrinking in the 1850’s with gold rush population growth and the diversion of the San Joaquin River for agriculture.

            I am sure that no one instance of mans interference with the environment has caused our current water crisis. However, I believe that to claim the effect of displacing large bodies of water as miniscule is unreasonable. For example; to substantiate your claim would you also say that the importation of water to Los Angeles also caused a miniscule climate change in that region?

            Also, are you aware that there is a current crisis in Nevada in which local citizens in a remote rural area are fighting exportation of their water? Their tag line is No Owens Valley.


            All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

            Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788 – 1860)

  3. chris March 26, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    So, if “…LADWP objects to the general costs of government…”, what in the heck do they think they are? A charity? Huh?

  4. MJA March 26, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    Way to go John and Ted,


  5. Philip Anaya March 27, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    Litigation and mitigation and a headquarters on Hope Street. The DWP has caused all sorts of disruptions and turmoils to keep the lights on, the water coming out of the tap, to grow a dysfunctional and a unsustainable City and maintain a power elite. Now their act has become whimpering and whining like a spoiled five year old child who is told to clean up his room, to eat his broccoli, “it’s good for ya”. The mind set and the legacy being enacted leaves a continued trail of discreditable history wherever they play their hand.
    It is good and necessary these days for events to occur that directly confront the DWP with the consequences of their failed stewardship of being the largest municipal utility in the nation. Regulators and the Courts are doing their jobs well. Although it is never easy to succesfully litigate with such a huge entity, the mismanaged DWP sure seems to find a way to make it happen over and over again. Will they ever learn?

  6. Eastern Sierra Local March 27, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Quiet interesting comments from LADWP. They say that 27% of their ratepayers are below the poverty line….but the City of LA’s per capita income is $27,811/yr and the poverty rate is 17%; whereas in Inyo County per capita income is $19,639/yr and the poverty rate is 13%.
    They’re griping about GBAPCD spending money on lawyers yet they are the ones suing…..imagine is LA actually just finished the work they committed to do in the first place they wouldn’t need lawyers.

  7. Ted March 27, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    Really? LADWP wants to micromanage THE GBAPCD? DWP employees enjoy some of the best wages and benefits in the state; they should think about that when they mention the poverty level in LA. DWP is embarrassingly close to being called a whiner.

  8. Mark March 27, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    “sole sources for some equipment purchases”

    I would like to hear the reason for circumventing the competitive bid process on computers and the ATV.

    Of course all should realize DWP is masterful in circumventing the competitive biding process themselves.

    • Benett Kessler March 27, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      Ted Schade pointed out that APCD has used Honda ATVs for years, has stocked parts for them, does their own service on them. The Dell
      computers function with the District’s air monitors. They have had to justify not going out for bid with the APCD board.
      Benett Kessler

      • Mark March 27, 2013 at 11:26 am #

        Sounds reasonable to me. I’m sure they could get several Honda dealers to bid on the quad. Probably holds true with the computers too.

    • Reality Check March 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

      There is only one ATV dealer in the two counties. Where else would they buy an ATV and have it serviced and repaired if it broke?

      Simple decision.

      • Mark March 28, 2013 at 7:20 am #

        Ted said they service the ATV themselves. I must say that absolutely anything you can buy in Inyo or Mono Counties you can by somewhere else for less.

        You can buy a Honda or a Ford from any dealer in the Country and have it serviced locally.

        I should also mention this is exactly why 3M’s car dealership idea would never work.

        Is there anything sold in the Eastern Sierra that you can’t get for less somewhere else?

  9. Trouble March 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    There are two dealers in Mammoth and one in Bishop that I know of. All different brands.

  10. Steve March 28, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    And this is the 100 hundred year anniversary of the LA Aqueduct opening. So way to go DWP with the good PR.
    Last time I read that DWP has spent over 1.3 Billion dollars fixing the Owens Lake. Millions of dollars a year in operation cost. And they bitch about the difference a bid would make on 25,000 dollars, maybe 2 or 3 thousand at best.
    Maybe the new mayor will take this on.

    • Desert Tortoise March 28, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

      DWP is under a great deal of pressure from the City Council and ratepayers to keep utility rates in LA down, while at the same time LA has to make major changes in it’s water distribution system to meet the most recent clean water regulations. That big open air reservoir alongside I-5 just below the Hwy 14 interchange, for example, has to be covered. Since the beginning LA filtered it’s water before it entered the old Upper San Fernando Reservoir, and from there was distributed to other city reservoirs and into the water mains. With current regulations, filtered water can no longer be stored in open air reservoirs. To be legal LA would either have to build a big filtration plant below the reservoir, or cover the whole reservoir. LA County covered their reservoir up there (you don’t even know it’s there unless you know where to look). LA has had to build a bunch of underground storage adjacent it’s other reservoirs to meet the new laws. They also have a reservoir that has sat empty since the 1971 Sylmar quake that may yet be rebuilt to the latest standards and pressed back into service.
      LA uses less water today than it did in 1980, though it has 1 million more residents, and their per capita water use is far lower than that of the Owens Valley. In fact for people living in a desert we waste water hand over fist because it is cheaper than it is south of the San Gabriels. We complain about LA up here, but our per capita water use is almost double LAs.

      • Benett Kessler March 29, 2013 at 7:33 am #

        Not sure what your source is, but I can tell you personally it takes a lot more water to keep trees and plants alive when the groundwater is 40 to 100 feet lower than it used to be.
        Benett Kessler

  11. Reality Check March 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Who is the dealer in Mammoth? Mammoth Power Sports (Polaris) closed a couple years ago.

  12. Philip Anaya March 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Thanks for the excellent post Tim. The links you have provided are beyond my expertise but this knowledge is a gift to anyone interested in water and what the results of a dwindling supply of this precious substance in the Owens Valley really means.

    This link is helpful to envision what the loss of the surface waters of the Owens River and Lake means. Along with the loss of the evaporation from the surface waters there is a loss of evapotranspiration from plants that would be growing, no local condensation and no cloud development, no sublimination or desublimination of fog and dews, I have no idea about the effect of local percipitaion development on the prevailing stormfronts we receive and most certainly there would be some effect that a super computer might be able to model. For sure any increased local percipitation would increase infiltration of the groundwaters and seepage and springs and streams to recharge the River and the Lake . Take away the water from the River and Lake and there is no longer a water cycle occuring in the Owens Valley and no kind words for the LADWP

    • Tim March 28, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

      Nice illustration Philip, Thank you! I think it would be doubly interesting to contact the author of the chart requesting elaboration which could include compounded dynamics of the Eastern Sierra watershed.

      • Tim March 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

        Author at USGS contacted.
        Thanks for the link Philip.

  13. Philip Anaya March 29, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    . As you know “Percipitation is a product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls with gravity. This rain, sleet, snow or hail occurs when a local portion of the atmosphere becomes saturated. Two processes, possibly acting together can lead to air becoming saturated: cooling the air and/or adding water vapor to the air.” the prerequiste for percipitation.
    When water evaporates from a source there is both cooling of the air and the surface of the source and an increase in water vapor. The view that there is not an effect on percipitation in the Sierras should be clearly researched not to advance any poltical/power agenda, but rather to advance our understanding of the varied dynamics that are in play that may help literally to save the entire planet.
    The consequences of men’s decisions and the effect upon the environment are much apparent here in the Eastern Sierra. The disruptions in the water cycle ,the changes to the fauna even in the last 25 years are documented and are real. The data and the knowledge of precipitation are not so apparent maybe, but you have to agree that the export of water, of hundreds of thousands of acre feet every year for nearly 100 years has had an increasing debilitating effect upon everything here that is nature, percipitation included.

  14. Tim March 29, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Good points Philip; till now most of the global warming discussion has been focused on green house gasses and not the displacement of water in regions effecting high elevation snow production.
    Green house gasses appear to be a complicated scenario in a situation with a potentially simple additional cause.
    I am very disappointed in how this discussion with Patterson has gone so far. He has asked me to cite references yet fails to produce them himself thus far, I hope he is working on it and hasn’t given up. He has also not directly addressed my data or theories. Additionally, I am confused that he can’t see the coloration between the cooling and heating of the valley and snow production.
    I am afraid this may be a lost cause as human greed appears to trump common sense.


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