What is the True Reason Behind Glendale’s Power Outages/Failures
Over the past few weeks, Glendale City residents and businesses have suffered power outages and rolling blackouts. You should be asking, Why? Glendale has its own electric power generating plant, and residents and businesses pay high rates for that electricity and the service to deliver it.
Here is my answer to Why?
I see two reasons:
Reason #1…The Electric Utility Is Illegally Being Used As A “Cash Cow”
Each year, the City Council Members approve a budget and in it deliberately over charge the electric rate payers for service. (This is documented in City records and confirmed by two Court rulings.) And, guess what…that over charge in your utility billing doesn’t go to the utility!
The City transfers the budgeted overcharges (labeled by the City at the end of the year as “surplus” to disguise the actually budgeted money) to the City’s General Fund and uses that utility fee money like tax money to fund general government.
This is a violation of State Law, Proposition 26. (and a violation of the City’s own Charter.) Proposition 26 states the City can only charge what the service costs (in this case electricity) to provide…and, if the City deliberately overcharges, that is termed a “hidden” tax, not approved by the voters, and illegal.
No big deal you may say. Who cares where the City gets its money. Well, first of all, it’s against the law! And, consider, the rate payers who are paying it had no chance to vote on it as required by law (an unethical way to raise money without the voters knowledge or approval).
It also increases the cost of electricity to many who may not be able to financially afford it in their utility bill, and is simply falsely added into the “cost of electric service” by the City Council Members. (It is NOT a cost of the service, it is a hidden tax and used for general government!!)
OK, it still may be no big deal in your mind.
But, do you know that the overcharge and the transfer each year is in excess of $20 million? And, this has been going on for years.
Did you know that the electric utility has had to lay off City electric utility workers, defer maintenance, and hold off on capital improvements to make the transfers. (I won’t even go into the current problems and costs with the City’s Grayson Electric Generating Power Plant.)
In 2014, a respected law professor and member of the Glendale Coalition for Better Government, repeatedly went before the City Council, pointed out that Council Members were violating the law, and asked that they stop. In hopes of silencing the professor, he was eventually told by a Council Member: “If you don’t like what we are doing, sue us.”
The Coalition was therefore forced to file a law suit requesting the transfers stop and the transfer amounts be returned to the Utility. (That law suit has been ongoing in the courts for 6 years now!).
At the same time, the Utility Employees’ Electric Union, the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers (IBEW), filed a companion law suit challenging the LAY OFFS OF ALMOST TWO DOZEN WORKERS…the sole reason was to have the money to fund the illegal transfers to the General Fund.
Current outages: I read in the news that the current outages and rolling blackouts were caused by an equipment failure. Perhaps if the Utility was not being used as a cash cow and milked dry, the Utility would still have the MONEY AND THE MANPOWER to maintain the infrastructure and to perform the necessary upgrades??
Maybe if the utility was not sucked dry, these outages would not be happening and the rolling blackouts would not be necessary???
Reason #2…Unqualified Management Of The Utilities
In 2012, the Trained, Professionally Qualified Utility General Manager in charge of Glendale’s utilities, was forced to leave the position when it was discovered that he was diverting and using Utility money for his own personal use (A politically correct way to say he was stealing money from the rate payers).
That thief was replaced with Steve Zurn, at that time the Director of Public Works and a favorite of the City Council Members. OK, what’s wrong with that??
Well, to manage a large city’s dual utility (water and electric), wouldn’t you want a person qualified in water and electric generation, delivery, and maintenance?? Kind’a like the qualifications of the manager who was forced out??
Steve Zurn’s only qualifications at the time, as listed on the City web site were a degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Public Administration!! So, what qualified Steve Zurn to run Glendale’s Utilities??? Did he have the experience and/or formal education in utility management?
Please note, somebody likes him: Last year his salary and benefits totaled $378,000 !!
Would you place or hire a police chief who had never arrested anyone and whose only qualifications were degrees in Political Science and Public Administration?? How about a fire chief who never fought a fire?? Or how about a city attorney without a law degree or license?? If the answer is NO, I would not place or hire them, then why would City Council Members place a person to be the General Manager of the Utilities with no utility education or experience and pay him $378,000 when he is not qualified????
This is a mystery to me………..
Maybe, if we had a professional, experienced Utility General Manager we would have make decisions, better maintenance, and a utility plan to improve the system.
Have you noticed Steve Zurn appeared to be missing during all this electrical trouble?? People tell me he doesn’t even live in the City. He obviously isn’t here on the weekend or after hours. Maybe the City Council isn’t paying him enough??
Why is it that when avoidable problems, mistakes, and poor management occur, NO ONE IS HELD RESPONSIBLE????
Think about this while you are sitting in the dark and/or your hot house or business!!