Fans of smoking and showering — not necessarily at the same time — should be nervous today, as the L.A. City Council considers a ban on outdoor smoking and a DWP funding request tied to a plan that will increase our water rates.

If passed, the ordinance drafted by the City Attorney's office would prohibit smokers from lighting up at outdoor eating areas, says the L.A. Times. It would also be illegal to smoke within 40 feet of mobile taco trucks.

The law, which was introduced last year and has been amended and debated since then, would not apply to bars and nightclubs with outdoor areas. One issue vexing officials has been the question of who would enforce the rule, says the Times.

Also on the City Council agenda today is a request from the Department Water Power to borrow $1.57 billion over the next two years to help pay for a capital improvements program. That program, which calls for a 50% increase in power revenue over the next five years, will send our water rates shooting through the roof, warns political watchdog Ron Kaye.

If the City Council ok's the funds today, it will only boost taxpayers' demands for a DWP ratepayer advocate who would protect consumers from excessive rate hikes.

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