The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will soon have a citizen watchdog and municipal libraries will not be forced to close their doors an extra day each week after city voters cast ballots in favor of both ballot propositions in the March 8 special election.
A plurality of voters supported the DWP proposition, which won with 77 percent of the vote. Measure I paves the way for the creation of a new Office of Accountability, which would act as a watchdog for the public with respect to utility rates and also include an executive director, as well as a change in how the DWP board of directors is chosen.
The ballot recommendation calls for the authorization of an executive director for the Office of Accountability, who would be appointed by a nine-member citizens commission. The commission would consist of appointees from the mayor, the City Council and neighborhood councils, who would each choose three members.
The City Council supported the ballot proposition and there was no organized opposition.
Although it was an off-year election, Mar Vista resident Chuck Ray was confident that Measure I would pass.
“The Department of Water and Power is the largest public utility in the nation, and it’s about time that we grew up and put in the necessary oversight so that ratepayers can feel comfortable that their money is being well spent,” Ray, who helped spearhead the drive to get Measure I on the ballot, asserted.
Measure L, the library funding initiative, passed with 63 percent of the vote. The initiative calls for reassigning funds from the city’s general operating budget to the library system.
The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce opposed the initiative, but the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce backed it.
Other successful propositions that were on the ballot included taxation of medical marijuana facilities – Measure M – which passed with 59 percent, and Measure G, which requires sworn police and fire personnel hired after July 1 to contribute a portion of their salary to pay for their health care in their retirement, with 74 percent.
Measure O, which would have taxed oil production, lost narrowly, 51 percent in favor to 48.9 percent opposed.