Stimulus free-for-all: Los Angeles gets screwed by California Energy Commission

Lots of outrage being expressed today about how badly the City of Los Angeles just got stiffed by the California Energy Commission in Sacramento, which is handing out loads of goodies --$110.3 million -- in the form of federal stimulus money for energy efficiency programs.

Isn't it just a little humorous that California state Senator Alex Padilla of Pacoima and state Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes of Sylmar are baffled and angry that relatively well-run governments like the City of Sacramento won heaps more cash than our not-quite-bankruptcy-teetering Los Angeles City Hall, where "disarray" is now a generous description?

Here's the real question, which is asked in a more polite form by Paul Hatfield at CityWatch:

First, take a look at the stimulus awards, which you can download yourself right here.  Then ask: isn't it plain that the overlords in Sacramento do not trust the government groups in Southern California, probably trusting the Los Angeles City Council least of all for its months of budget shenanigans?

The counties in the greater Bay Area got $10.75 million for a major retrofitting program, the greater Sacramento area got  $19.96 million for a home performance energy-efficiency upgrading program and a big bunch of rural counties together got $16.5 million to help  moderate income people use sustainable technologies.

The Los Angeles politicians, weighted down by big, backward-looking entities like the Department of Water and Power, and frequently given bad advice on infrastructure needs by flailing bureaucracies like the Southern California Association of Governments, could not compete against more nimble government groups in other parts of California.

Maybe we were lucky to get the $4.6 million we did.

When you have leaders from Sonoma County throwing around phrases like "incorporating best practices" and Los Angeles leaders clearly not yet grasping what that phrase means, did L.A. really have a chance at much of that $110.3 million stimulus booty?


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