DWP ‘Doomed... with pay’
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power dries up employee advancement opportunities, and shuts down morale
Bias, hatred, inequity, injustice: All words derived from a term that is representative of a socioeconomic norm in today’s society—discrimination.
Seven years ago, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) spent $3.3 million settling employee accusations that the organization allowed racial discrimination and interfered in government efforts to investigate complaints. The emotionally damaged workers Augustine Serna, a Latino; and Kenneth Carter, a Caucasian— jointly filed a lawsuit against DWP alleging that the agency, through once fired and now re-hired Assistant General Manager Raman Raj and others, were “treating them like dogs in the workplace” because they both had African-American wives.
The allegations by both employees prompted the DWP to hire an outside law firm, which concluded that Raj had discouraged employee complaints of mistreatment. The firm recommended that he resign for the good of the agency, and Raj was forced out three months later.
But, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa seemingly ignored the past allegations of discrimination, and rehired Raj, 58, last December as the utility’s second in command, running the department in the absence of General Manager H. David Nahai.
In a recent televised DWP commission meeting, Nick Pastsaouras, President of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners leaked a comment oozing with discriminatory juices.
“The nominee of the Democratic Party is African-American. A woman came close to getting a nomination, but your gonna spend over a hundred-thousand dollars on teaching employees to deal with diversity, that’s an anachronism. We’re past the sins of the past.”
In a recent interview, DWP Commissioner Forescee Hogan-Rowles voiced that was shocked at Pastsaouras’s wayward statement, claiming that she would now have to re-evaluate the organization’s progression from a civil rights stand point.
“We have to define diversity as we mean it and we have to go back and figure out what the department really means, because I thought I knew until that comment was made. It threw me because I was thinking that we were making headway. I didn’t think it meant we needed to abandon anything,” Hogan-Rowles said.
Speaking Wednesday at a press conference at Crenshaw Boulevard near Stocker Street, community activists including Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyers Guild, actor Harry Lennix, (pictured) Rev. Meri Ka Ra of KRST Unity Center of African Spiritual Science, as well as writer and KPFK radio show host Michael Slate, accused the Los Angeles Police Department of utilizing illegal and intimidating tactics to prevent promotion of the premier of the movie “BA Speaks: Revolution-Nothing Less.”
A group called the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in county jails is calling on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to look into the feasibility of permanent civilian oversight of the county jails. A town hall meeting is set for today, March 14, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 1006 East 28th St., in Los Angeles. Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas reportedly will be in attendance.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—For a fifth year in a row, Los Angeles had more energy-saving commercial buildings than anywhere else in the country, according to a ranking released today by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The buildings carry the “Energy Star” seal, which apply to energy efficient appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, but also to buildings such as schools, offices and retailers that typically use 35 percent less energy than a typical building and emit 35 less greenhouse gases.
The Lupus Foundation of America has sent out its Purple Bus to take awareness about one of the world’s more mysterious diseases to the Los Angeles-area public. Starting today, Jan. 10, the bus will be on tour in key locations until Sunday. The public is urged to come out and learn about the disease, which affects women of color primarily.
The space orbiter Endeavour last weekend zigged and zagged its way around trees, light posts, and under power lines before arriving at the California Science Center many hours behind schedule. But some residents were thrilled by the delay, because it gave many more of them time to see the space shuttle up close and personal. The delays did cause a bit of shuffling around in the schedules of planned events such as the dance presentation at Crenshaw and Martin Luther King boulevards created by Debbie Allen and featuring a variety of performers from the community.