Controller Laura Chick named top state watchdog
City Controller Laura Chick — the one standout among LA elected officials over the last eight years — has been promoted to General, Inspector General of the State of California by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Chick will act as an independent auditor overseeing California’s $50 billion share of federal stimulus funding, according to the Sacramento Bee. She will take up the post by the end of the month and her top deputy, Rushmore Cervantes, will fill her LA post until Controller-elect Wendy Greuel takes office in July.
“I am proud to announce this first-in-the-nation position that will make
sure the funds we receive from the Recovery Act are used with
accountability and transparency to stimulate our economy and create
jobs,” Schwarzenegger said in prepared remarks.
Long Beach vs. LA: Water Conservation vs. Water Rate Hikes
Long Beach’s Water Department reports LA County’s second city set yet another record for conservation, reaching a 10-year low consumption
in March, 14 percent below the city’s 10-year average
for the month.
Eighteen months ago, the Long Beach
Board of Water Commissioners issued a Declaration of Imminent Water Shortage and activated the City’s Emergency Water Supply Shortage Plan.
While LA belatedly has imposed modest conservation measures as justification for significant water rate hikes, Long Beach reached out to the community and has gotten such strong support that hits 10-year lows all but a couple of months in the last year and a half.
“Long Beach implemented extraordinary
conservation measures long before people were talking about weather conditions
or the drought,” according to Kevin Wattier, General Manager of
the Long Beach Water Department. ”Southern California faces
a structural imbalance between its water supplies and its water demands,
even in normal years, and every Southern Californian needs to heed the
Governor’s call to reduce their water consumption by 20 percent.”
Uncivil funding for LA Civic Park exposed
The LA Weekly tears apart funding for the planned LA Civic Park centerpiece of the Grand Avenue luxury hotel and shopping center and finds that $27.1 million in state bond money intended to provide housing for the homeless and battered women is being ripped off to pay exorbitant costs for the park.
Related Cos, which has missed deadline after deadline to start building the Grand Avenue complex, was supposed to pay the full $56 million cost of what is mostly “paved spaces that lend themselves more to organized sponsor-driven events than to picnicking or playing Frisbee,” reporter Tibby Rothman reports.
The cost of the 16-acre park has soared to $5 million an acre so the city-county authority came up with a way to make the needy make up the difference.
Rothman asks: “Why are politicians pushing what is arguably the most expensive 16-acre
park ever built here on public land, located nowhere near park-poor
neighborhoods teeming with children?”
Urban critic Joel Kotkin, a Chapman University fellow, offered an answer and his own questions.
“There is no mechanism
anymore for the public to question these things because it’s all an
inside deal. You don’t have legislators who are going to question it
because they’re all part of the same machine.”
“How come we don’t have $50 million
for parks in South Central Los Angeles or the Valley? Has anyone
noticed why we don’t have parks or only have crummy parks where people
Another question is how does this square with slashing fund for park programs all over the city and increasing fees for youth sports programs?