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What Recession? L.A. Mayor Wants An Extra $2.50 A Month From You

The Europe-jetting, soap-opera acting, Oscar partying mayor of Los Angeles thinks you haven't pitched in enough cash to city coffers, because it's not what your mayor can do for you, but what what you can do for Mayor V.

That's right, Antonio Villaraigosa is backing a plan that would have Department of Water and Power customers pay an extra $2.50 a month so the city's richest department can develop alternative-energy sources. Now, if you read between the lines, and you know we do here at LA Weekly world headquarters, this would seem like a return to Prop. B, a citywide ballot initiative to spend as much as $3.6 billion on solar energy in the city.

The measure was backed by Villaraigosa as a job builder, but it was rejected by voters. The new surcharge reintroduces the idea of having the city power grid rely partly on solar -- at your expense (and, after you already rejected the idea).

Critics and/or conspiracy theorists who would like to see nothing more than the mayor and City Council run out of town argued that Prop. B was a intended as a make-work, sweetheart prize for one of the mayor's favorite constituencies (the electricians union).

The Los Angeles Times editorialized that Prop. B was a power grab by the City Council, a measure with a "disingenuous campaign" with "outrageous attempts to make voters equate this measure with the city's entire solar energy program."

While voters turned the bond measure down, the DWP states that 64 percent of the customers it polled would still support a "carbon surcharge" to get the city off of coal-based power.

But now? When the city faces a $212 million deficit, less cops on the streets and a reduction in services? When L.A. has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation? When potholes rattle our cars daily? Now's the time to ask people for $2.50 extra a month so City Hall can get more solar panels (and more jobs for its unions)?

Sometimes we wonder what planet City Hall leaders live on. After all, the same people who think it's the right time to pick your pocket are the same folks who gave DWP workers a RAISE just last December, with full knowledge that the city was headed for a deficit meltdown.

Do city leaders live on another planet? Are they that arrogant? Or, as we tend to think, do they just not give a damn about the average Angeleno?