A strongly worded Times editorial today frames the exit of David Nahai as head of the Department of Water and Power in the context of a "larger struggle" for control of green initiatives at the agency. The main player vying for control is the DWP's largest union, about which the editorial says, "what's good for the DWP's 8,000 union electricians isn't necessarily what's good for its 1.4 million customers or for the environment. To his credit, Nahai seems to know that. We're not sure Villaraigosa does -- or if he cares."
On the subject of Nahai's generous departure package, the paper scoffs:
The DWP's stated justification for paying Nahai, who is leaving to join former President Clinton's Climate Initiative, nearly $82,000 by Dec. 31 is that his institutional knowledge is needed during the transition to a new chief. Left unmentioned is that the department's interim chief will be S. David Freeman, who was managing federal energy policy when Nahai was in grade school and ran the DWP from 1997 to 2001. The idea that Freeman needs advice from Nahai, who was criticized for his inexperience when he was appointed to head the DWP less than two years ago, is laughable.
DWP commission President Lee Alpert has been giving "differing answers," reports the LAT's David Zahniser, on how the Nahai deal came about — same with the mayor's office. The DWP activists aren't buying any of it: "There's nothing funny about this City Hall comedy," blogs Nahai nemesis Ron Kaye.