Fox News takes on LADWP
Fox News featured a news story critical of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) recent publicity event featuring the use of black shade balls to cover L.A. drinking reservoirs, ostensibly to “curb evaporation losses.”
The news channel ran a feature, “L.A. ‘black ball’ reservoir rollout potential ‘disaster’ in the making, say experts,” that questioned just how good the balls were for the environment.
LADWP promptly responded with a press release critical of the Fox News story. The press release stated that black shade balls these have been in use since 2008. And although the experts used on the Fox News story claimed that “black was the wrong color [for the balls], since it would create more heat and thus promote the bacteria growth they would supposedly prevent and also speed up evaporation,” the Department asserted that “while the ‘Carbon Black’ coating—which is safe for drinking water and designed to absorb the UV rays that create the unwanted carcinogen bromate in the water—does absorb heat on the top of the balls … the air inside the balls acts as insulation to keep it cool.”
In fact, the utility finds that water is actually cooler leaving the reservoir than going in. As for bacterial growth or chemical leaching, the LADWP maintains the balls are made of plastic that is safe and that, “Our water quality monitoring is vigorous and we constantly track for any abnormalities.”
Information highway detour
County residents enthusiastically greeted the news that Inyo County might soon have its Board of Supervisors’ Meetings online for streaming or website viewing. On July 28 the Supervisors approved a Request for Proposal to contract out for a service to do just that, thanks to a grant from the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (GBUAPCD) for $60,000. Apparently that progressive idea encountered a roadblock and will take a detour.
Currently cable viewers get a fixed-CCTV camera view of the Supervisors from the front with the same fixed-CCTV camera view showing the back of speakers’ heads while standing at a podium. The video/audio feed is often abysmal, and sometimes the system is not even on.
Neither the County nor Suddenlink take any responsibility for the current set-up and problems that have been ongoing for years. The County Administrator Kevin Carunchio says “It is Suddenlink’s responsibility.” Suddenlink says “It is the County’s problem.”
The County did seek to solve the set-up problems with an ambitious plan including high definition cameras, microphones, and video switchers to switch between speakers, all of which would create a streaming audio/video feed on the internet.
Unfortunately only one company responded to the proposal, according to County Information Services Director Brandon Shults—and at a bid twice the $60,000 grant amount. So Shults and his staff are working with the County CAO to look into how County Information Services can achieve the goal of providing the public online access to Board of Supervisor meetings in-house.