Another Green $$$ Boondoggle

John Seiler:

It’s too bad their editorial page still is clueless, but the L.A. Times’ news section has been running some great stuff about the vast waste in California governments at all levels. They’ve been printing a six-part series on the fathomless waste from a $5.7 billion L.A. Community College bond.

I recommend reading all six, which are listed here. (For each, click on the “Single Page” tab to avoid the annoying division of the stories into numerous pages.)

The last in the series, Part 6, ran today and was a doozy. A “green energy plan” from the bond proved to be a waste of $10 million. They would have generated more “green” energy by just burning the taxpayers’ money, like the Joker did in that last Batman movie (picture above).

The Times writes:

As head of a $5.7-billion, taxpayer-funded program to rebuild the college campuses, [Larry] Eisenberg commanded attention. But his plan for energy independence was seriously flawed.

He overestimated how much power the colleges could generate. He underestimated the cost. And he poured millions of dollars into designs for projects that proved so impractical or unpopular they were never built….

lans for large-scale wind power collided with the reality that prevailing winds at nearly all the campuses are too weak to generate much electricity. To date, a single wind turbine has been installed, as a demonstration project. It spins too slowly in average winds to power a 60-watt light bulb.

Well, at least it’s not killing birds, as eco-windmills do, which in turn generates a rat problem.

Eisenberg, the district’s executive director of facilities planning and development, conceded some mistakes but voiced no regrets. He cast himself as an environmental visionary and predicted that the college system would eventually achieve energy independence. “Somebody needs to be first,” he said. “If the great explorers really had a map and knew where they were going, maybe we wouldn’t have the result we have today.”

Explorers? What?

Anyway, the project certainly benefited one person: Eisenberg himself. He’s the director of facilities planning and development. Although the Times article noted that he filed for personal bankruptcy in 1995, it didn’t mention his salary.

I found it on the LACCD Web site. (Search for “director, facilities plan & dev”). It’s from $10,790.24 to $13,367.22 a month. That’s 129482.88 to $160,406.64 a year. This is his eighth year at LACCD, so he’s probably toward the higher end of that scale.

And he’ll be getting one of those nice, fat pensions of more than $100,000 a year, plus a hefty medical care package.

The other district bosses who blew millions also get similar pay-and-benefits packages.

This, in microcosm, is the reason why government at all levels is bankrupt: federal, state and local.

We don’t need a $12 billion tax increase to close California budget’s gap, as Gov. Brown is insisting. We need to cut waste at all levels.

And let’s stop enacting bonds — of any kind. Pay-as-you go is the way to go. No more debt. No more deficits. No more tax increases.

March 7, 2011

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