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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  1. Tylerle13
    Tylerle13 7 March, 2011, 00:10

    San Francisco is basically doing the same thing right now. They are blowing all kinds of money “Greening” all of their school campuses. Despite the fact that our state is in such bad shape that our gov wants an additional $70 Billion from tax payers, SF somehow has millions of dollars to blow on their feel good projects that will never offset the cost of implementation.

    Their credit cards need to be shredded. When these people are are given a blank check they take it as permission for them to open their own imaginarium to dream up as many crazy ideas as they possibly can. I dont know how many times they have to fail before someone steps and put an end to this madness.

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  2. David in Irvine
    David in Irvine 8 March, 2011, 10:55

    Here’s the LAT’s endorsement (in part) of bond Measure J for Comm. college “classroom technology” upgrades, Oct. 3 2008:
    “Los Angeles’ community colleges are an underappreciated treasure of this region. They are the door through which our immigrant culture enters the American workforce — the educator of nurses and firefighters, and professionals of all types. What’s more, in contrast to L.A.’s public schools, the Los Angeles Community College District is a responsibly run system with a record of fiscal and educational success.”

    From an LAT news story, March 2, 2011: “The nine-campus district has long been criticized for its poor graduation rates and the low number of students transferring to four-year universities.”

    Here’s hoping the editorial page starts reading the rest of the paper soon!

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