Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court speaks on the recent FBI raid of the LA DWP offices and how consumers are being left behind.
"When City Hall and the City Attorney cannot clean up their own DWP mess, this is what happens, the FBI has to do it. These raids are almost certainly related to what appears to be a fraud on the court and ratepayers in the DWP billing error case that led to tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money spent on contracts to a company controlled by the city’s outside attorney in the case who has already taken the Fifth Amendment.
The court documents have already proven with witnesses under oath that there was fraud on the ratepayers and the Court, the only question is how high the fraud goes and how much it costs. The FBI warrants will protect evidence and make sure that prosecutors know if the head of the DWP Commission Mel Levine and City Attorney Mike Feuer, both of whom were fingered in depositions on being in on fraud, were in fact aware of the conspiracy to defraud the court and the DWP ratepayers.
These warrants are the result of the Mayor and City Council turning a blind eye to corruption at DWP and in the City Attorney’s office that has been well documented over the last few months in sworn testimony in the Superior Court of Los Angeles."
In a letter to Governor Newsom, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker called on the Governor to freeze all new oil and gas well permits until a top-to-bottom ethics review is completed, all conflicted regulators within DOGGR are removed, and the Administration can guarantee regulatory decisions are based on public safety, not pecuniary gain.
“For too long the health of our community has suffered from dirty oil wells at the Inglewood oil field,” said Deborah Weinrauch, a resident of Culver City. “We cannot afford to keep having more drilling and fracking. In order to protect our health we need Governor Newsom to stop issuing new permits.”
A review of state conflict of interest forms shows that eight regulators managing the state’s oil and gas well approval and inspection process have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the oil companies they regulate.
“Oil regulators should not be invested in the same oil companies that they regulate,” Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance wrote in a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, calling for the removal of Gutierrez and other DOGGR officials with conflicts, and an immediate freeze on new well approval. “These conflicts and approvals reveal a biased department where oil well permitting is on automatic pilot. We ask that you immediately remove all the conflicted managers in the agency and begin a top-to-bottom ethics review. During this review, you should freeze all new oil and gas well permits until you can guarantee that decisions are made based on public safety, not pecuniary gain.”
The gas tax kicks in on July 1st in California and is expected to generate $50 billion for repairs to roads and infrastructure. Consumer Watchdog President argues that these repairs should be paid for by the excess profits of oil refiners that have been gouging Californians for decades.
This recycling center, closing June 15th, is the last redemption center west of the 405, serving 200,000 people on LA's Westside.
40% of the recycling centers in the state have closed in recent years due to economic distress and the failure of state regulators and lawmakers to provide adequate funding for redemption centers where consumers return their bottles and cans.
Consumer Watchdog and recycling advocates are calling on the state to provide relief to the recycling centers to help consumers get their 5 cent and 10 cent bottle deposits returned.
Consumer Watchdog's Liza Tucker explains California's CRV system and the broken in-store deposit system. An audit of California stores showed that 66% are refusing to take back bottle deposits and provide redemption, creating a huge impediment to a successful recycling program. The system of recycling in California needs to be reexamined and manufacturers need to be held accountable for their part in creating waste.
An audit by Consumer Watchdog of stores that are supposed to accept recyclables and refund bottle deposits shows that 66% of stores refused to do so. California's recycling system is not as effective as one might think and is in dire need of reassessment.