Zahniser and Orlov Hit Villaraigosa's Sneaky Solar Blob

Can Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Measure B, the massive solar panel installation project on the March 3 ballot that is certain to pass because Los Angeles voters have no idea what it really is, get any sleazier?

Today, the estimable Dave Z writes in the soon-to-be gone California Section of the L.A. Times that Villaraigosa's friend David Nahai, who the mayor named chief of the DWP amidst rumblings that Nahai is unqualified, dug into the costs of Measure B nearly a year ago. Yet Nahai has continually told voters he hasn't had time to estimate the cost. Dave Z acquired the docs that show Nahai probably has had the staggering cost numbers in hand since February of 2008, but is insisting he doesn't know.

Now, City Councilman Geig Smith is saying

he's sorry he got the bum's rush from Villaraigosa and Nahai, who pushed the often bumbling, deer-in-the-headlights Los Angeles City Council into putting the solar project on the ballot before any of them had a clue what it entails. It gets more twisted: Read Rick Orlov's fascinating Saturday tipster story in the economically decimated Daily News.

Orlov got a leaked audit saying the DWP is badly mismanaged and that the vague solar measure on the March 3 ballot could cost twice what Villaraigosa and Nahai want voters to believe. That $2.5 billion or $3 billion cost would be paid by far higher electricity bills for everyone living in L.A.

Voters won't be told this by Nahai or Villaraigosa. Only diggers like Zahniser, Orlov and LA Weekly freelancer Daniel Heimpel are getting these facts out.

There are ways to do solar intelligently, so that it creates fairly efficient energy, mostly using big solar farms. Measure B does not do that. It will cost L.A. dwellers about twice as much per kilowatt over a solar farm, and up to seven times per kilowatt over a wind farm. Why are Nahai and Villaraigosa peddling this route? We'll have a report about why next week in L.A. Weekly.


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