Los Angeles Governance of the Department of Water and Power, Measure K (March 2011)

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A City of Los Angeles Governance of the Department of Water and Power, Measure K ballot question was considered for, but ultimately did not qualify for, the March 8, 2011 ballot for voters in the City of Los Angeles.[1]

A 10-1 majority of the city council voted to put it on the ballot in early December 2010, but Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vetoed their resolution. A vote to override his veto did not take place.

The ballot question, if it had gone on the ballot and been approved, would have:

  • Given the Los Angeles City Council the ability to remove the DWP's general manager and commission members by a two-thirds vote
  • If the mayor were to decide to remove the DWP's general manager or any commission members, the city council would be able to override that mayoral decision by a two-thirds vote.

The City Council was in favor of two other DWP reforms on the March ballot. One creates a position of ratepayer advocate and another requires the utility to propose its budget earlier in the year.[1]

The DWP is the nation's largest municipally owned utility.


City Councilwoman Jan Perry was the lead author of Measure K. The proposal is said to have come about "in the wake of a bitter dispute between the utility and City Council over rate hikes."[1]


  • Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opposed Measure K. He did not want it to go on the March 8 ballot, and vetoed a city council resolution to put it on the ballot. In a message explaining his veto, Villaraigosa's office said, "While the governance structure of the DWP and ther city departments may very well need reform, the mayor... believes that amending the city's management structure should not be done in a piecemeal fashion."[1]
  • The editorial board of the Los Angeles Daily News was opposed to Measure K, saying, "If anything, giving the council the power to fire DWP's leadership will make the general manager and commission even more political. And that will only exacerbate public distrust of the utility."[2]

Management turmoil

Since Villaraigosa took office in 2005, the DWP has had five general managers. In mid-December 2010, Villaraigosa announced his pick for a sixth general manager. His choice is Ron Nichols. Nichols currently holds the post of managing director of the energy practice of Navigant Consulting Inc. Nichols does not have any pre-existing political ties to Villaraigosa and is said to be the "first [appointee to the DWP's top spot] in three years to lack previous political ties to the mayor."[3]

Path to the ballot

  • The 11-member Los Angeles City Council voted 10-1 to put the DWP reform measure on the March 8, 2011 ballot on December 7, 2010.[1]
  • Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vetoed the council's decision to put it on the ballot.
  • On December 10, city council member Dennis Zine, after having previously voted to place the measure on the ballot, announced that he would not vote to override Villaraigosa's veto.[4]
  • Primary supporter Jan Perry told the press that she was aware of another city council member who, like Zine, was not going to vote to override. She declined to identify that city council member to the press.

External links


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