Pet project

first_imgMore than three years ago, everyone in town who has any common sense – even some public officials – warned that the Department of Water and Power was making a big mistake to lend $1.87 million to a Hawaiian electric-scooter company. Very big. At the time, DWP officials backed by then-Mayor James Hahn gave an unsecured loan to the company – Personal Electric Transports, or PET, Inc. in Kailua – for a scheme to develop electric scooters and rechargeable-battery stations, then sell them in the Third World. What this had to do with providing power or water to Los Angeles ratepayers was exactly nothing. The deal was essentially a payoff to the union that represents most DWP workers, which wanted the deal for reasons all its own. Based on this alone, the deal was approved. It was the ultimate pet project. And now that the company is on the verge of bankruptcy with nothing to show for three years or an investment of nearly $2 million, city ratepayers will get stuck cleaning up the mess. There’s little joy in crowing about being right all along. It would be so much more satisfying to be wrong – for just once – about the fundamental deviousness of city officials and their willingness to pass out public money like party favors. Although the scooter scandal itself is small potatoes in the legacy of scandals from the imperious utility, it illustrates all the more why the reform demanded by the new DWP commission, headed by Nick Patsaouras, is so necessary. The DWP is a public agency. It’s about time that it was run as such. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant160Want 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

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