Letter to the Editor: Resist Tampering … Vote ‘No’ On Utility Charter Amendments

By KEVIN HOLSAPPLE
Los Alamos

I’m voting “no” on the charter amendment questions pertaining to proposed changes in governance of the LA County Utilities Department.

I have had long experience as a customer and constituent dealing with both the County government and Council as well as with the Department of Public Utilities. During those many years I represented a private, non-profit organization that was both one of the biggest property tax payers in the County as well as one of the bigger utility customers.

I have never been an employee of the County or the Utilities Department, I have never been a politician, nor am I a cheerleader for the Utility Department. Like most organizations, I think the Utility Department has plenty of room for improvement, but I see no connection between the proposed charter amendments and making improvements.

I read the election materials published by the County and the logic of the proponents’ argument seems to be about their notion of ideal representative democracy rather than about improving effectiveness of the utilities operation. I respect their views and concerns, but I disagree that idealism and hypothetical concerns are what are important in deciding how to vote on this proposal. 

I am basing my “no” vote on the practical observation, over a long period of time, that the Utilities operations of the County as overseen under the current charter provisions are consistently more effective than are the general operations of the County as overseen by the County Council. Why should we increase the authority of and control by the less effective group? The proponents have not made any convincing argument that the proposed charter changes will improve the effectiveness of our utility enterprise. 

I think we should say “no” to their proposal to tamper with the system.

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