A ballot measure that would restructure the governance and operation of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power garnered significant support but was still too close to call in early returns late Tuesday.
As of 9:30 p.m., the measure had garnered 50.78 percent of the vote with 3 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office. It needs a simple majority to pass.
Charter Amendment RRR would give the nation’s largest municipal utility more power over contracts and hiring in an effort to reduce red tape while expanding the size of the board of DWP commissioners from five to seven members. It would increase the budget amount for the utility’s Office of Public Accountability by about $1.2 million annually and convert the residential billing cycle from every two months to every month.
Advocates, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, argued that the amendment is needed to increase oversight, transparency and streamline operations of the DWP.
“As an advocate for our ratepayers, I supported Measure RRR as a sensible reform package that would help bring DWP into the 21st century,” Garcetti said in a statement. “Regardless of the final results, I remain committed to finding ways to equip our utility with the tools it needs to face today’s challenges.”
Opponents contend that the measure would take away voters’ decision-making authority and accountability over the utility by enabling bureaucrats to run the department and determine rate hikes.
“Instead of taking responsibility for overseeing a well-managed DWP, L.A.’s elected officials are trying to toss their power to a group of unelected bureaucrats who are utterly unaccountable to the public,” wrote Laura Chick, a former L.A. city controller and councilwoman, in a recent guest editorial in the Daily News.
For updated results on the race, go to www.dailynews.com.