(Editor’s Note: Living in Los Angeles is a day-to-day experiment requiring patience and improvisational skills. So does governing this sprawling metropolis of 3.8 million people. The city’s next mayor, however, cannot be satisfied with merely coping with issues as they arise, but must be able to look forward and anticipate and define the city’s needs for the next four years. To this end we’ve asked writers to share their thoughts about what lies ahead – and around the corner – for Los Angeles.)
Going green may be all the rage. But get into the weeds and you may lose a few people. Take energy efficiency. Yes, it’ll save you money, create good jobs (if done right) and help us preserve the planet. But walk into a party and start talking about window caulking, attic insulation and compact fluorescent bulbs, and you may soon find yourself alone in a corner.
On Monday, September 17, RePower LA will be joined by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council members, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power general manager Ron Nichols, and others at the site of a South L.A. home undergoing an energy efficiency upgrade.
City leaders are now touting the programs, initially proposed by the RePower LA coalition, which are upgrading small business facilities and the homes of those struggling in the current economy. The customers reduce their energy use and save money, L.A. reduces its reliance on dirty coal-fired power plants, and members of our hardest-hit communities are able to access good career path jobs through the Utility Pre-Craft Trainee program of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18.
With such win-win-win potential, it is good to see LADWP and city leaders embracing energy efficiency as a central pillar of L.A.’s future.
John Hariel has an electric personality – perfectly appropriate for a man who is helping to wire Los Angeles.
A general foreman with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 11, Hariel – known to everyone as Big John – has spent the last two decades building L.A.’s infrastructure. He’s a natural leader blessed with an entrepreneurial mind, an activist heart and the body of a Mac truck.
Big John has deliberately reached out to women and men from disadvantaged communities, mentoring them to become strong leaders, parents and citizens. Frying Pan News recently got a chance to talk with members of his wonderfully eclectic electrician crew, all of whom are working on the Martin Luther King Jr. hospital renovation in Watts, which is covered by a project labor agreement and local hire agreement. The team included several women electricians and members from all ethnic backgrounds, reflecting the impressive diversity of L.A.’s construction workforce.
RePower LA’s proposal “appears to be one of those rare public policy ideas that generates not only broad, but enthusiastic support from the electorate. Voters appreciate that it not only creates needed jobs, opportunities with union benefits, but it does so while cleaning our air, reducing electricity bills for 10,000 homes and businesses a year, and lowering electricity generating costs for generations