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Real L.A. News from the Virtual World

Editor’s Note: The City Council today put off until Feb. 9 consideration of dismantling the CRA and reorganizing it as a non-profit. Mayor Villaraigosa and other big city mayors are lobbying Gov. Brown today to drop plans to abolish all CRAs.

Road Map to CRA Scandal – It’s in City Controller Audits from 2000 – 2006

Five City Controller audits since 2000 can help State Controller John Chiang’s effort to examine 18 Community Redevelopment Agencies — including LA’s — to see if they are worth the billions of dollars poured into them.

Here’s links to the audits website and to the CRA audits since 2000:

Community Redevelopment Agency Review of Capital Records Parking Transaction

Assessment of the Internal Control Process at the Community Redevelopment of the City of Los Angeles

Review of the Loan Underwriting Practices at the City of Los Angeles Redevelopment Agency

Financial and Compliance Audit of the Community Redevelopment Agency’s Disposition of Real Estate

Review of the Fiscal Year 2003-04 Internal Control Certification Program (ICCP) for the Community Redevelopment Agency

Follow-Up Audit of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)

Throw in Staples Center and LA Live along with the Vinegate, Kodak Theater, CIM Group deals, Hollywood and VIne apartments and the Grand Avenue Project and a pretty clear picture of abuse is as clear as the skies over LA after a heavy rain.

Then, there is the CRA’s trashing of Boyle Heights and the Eastside by importing the homeless, the mentally ill and the very poor into neighborhoods struggling with poverty.

Here’s a link to video of the CRA’s Eastside Adelante Public Advisory Committee voting Tuesday to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to abolish all CRAs as part of a plan to erase a $25 billion budget deficit and restore California to financial stability.

DWP.’s 2010 Water Management Plan: Will Lowered Supply Lead to Slower Growth?

By David Coffin, Westchester Parents

After decades of rosy water supply projections proclaiming practically limitless supply, the (DWP’s) new 2010 Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP) is coming to terms with a long overdue reality. Water supply hasn’t grown as expected and the water supply isn’t expected to grow substantially…

In recent years there has been a growing contradiction between ‘sufficient’ water supplies regularly cited by planning documents for new developments, and the city’s strong arm tactics to force residents into conserving.

Will the new 2010 Urban Water Management Plan’s reserved assessment offer us some relief from the aggressive development that came with the overstated assessments we have saw over the last decade?

The decision to provide water connections to new projects, thus manage growth is a political decision; and I might add that it’s not the result of any calculation that considers both supply and demand. With that in mind you won’t find any new verbiage in the plan that protects the community by linking development to water supply, real or projected.

If there is any relief in sight it will probably have to be the result of political pressure or a court decision.

With far lower projections in this latest plan it would not be unreasonable for residents to expect, even demand a moratorium on new developments. Water supply had dropped to dangerously low levels when projects were approved and built within the scope of the previous UWMP projections. The new UWMP has served notice; the margin of safety is gone.

Officials can’t keep ducking from reality and ignore the regions limits to water supply and then compound the problem by repeatedly approving new developments that consume more water.  It’s a one-way ticket to disaster.

(READ FULL STORY

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15 Responses to Real L.A. News from the Virtual World

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ron:
    Is there a form letter that people can download and send to the Governor and key legislators to show a ground swell of support for the abolishment of the Community Redevelopment Agency? This is the perfect way to channel the rising tide of unhappiness with the City of Los Angeles: Let’s cut off the money pipeline that feeds the voracious real estate developer corruption machine of Antonio Villaraigosa.
    The form letter should also briefly underline to voters who receive it through the City activist network that for decades the Redevelopment Agency has sucked taxes away from the City and tipped the City into insolvency. Even when the impact was known to Council members like Eric Garcetti, he and the others continued to hand massive subsidies to developers like AEG, Related Companies, Katorsky, and the other crooks in pin stripe suits.
    People are angry but they do not know quite what to do. Let’s give them something to do. Send a letter to the governor and send it on to everyone in your email contact list! That is grassroots activism needed to slay this dragon.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Call KFI they will love to do a story on the failures of our politicians and they get millions of listeners

  3. James McCuen says:

    @Anonymous on January 26, 2011 7:17 AM
    Call, write (snail mail), fax, email form:
    http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php
    (Call the office and ask for the fax number)
    Honorable Gov. Brown,
    I am writing in full support of your plan to abolish Redevelopment agencies statewide. That time is long over due and return property tax funds to critical services needed by my community.
    While wealthy developers, lawyers, and banking interests, and their beneficiaries, municipal politicans benefit from this corrupting influence of public funds, my community cannot afford the drain of taxpayer give aways and the mounting debt left in the trail of this juggernaught’s weight.
    Los Angeles is the Grand Daddy of all Redevelopment Agencies and I would encourage you to ask State Controller Chiang and Attorney General Harris to look at the blatent corrupt practices used at this Agency. The information is publicly available.
    I just want you to know that there are very many of us working-class Citizens who have your back.
    If I can be of help in any way, please let me know.
    Sincerely,
    The Little Guy

  4. Draft Letter to Gov and Legislature says:

    Dear Governor Brown and Legislators:
    I want to go on record to applaud the courage of Governor Brown to propose the elimination of Community Redevelopment Agencies in California. Unfortunately, for many cities, the CRAs have become little more than a vehicle for transferring wealth from communities to wealthy real estate developers who have lobbied City officials for this perverse form of welfare for the rich.
    We can do better.
    Right now, our police, fire, schools, and public infrastructure lie in shambles because millions of dollars taken from these basic services are being funneled and concentrated into the CRAs. Access to CRA funding is at the whim of the CRA Board of Directors who are either appointed by elected officials, or are themselves elected officials of smaller cities. As a result, the expenditure of CRA funds are political and widely perceived to be a waste of taxpayer funds.
    I observed what the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles tried to do on January 14, 2010. In response to the Governor’s announcement that CRA funds already legally committed would not be taken to help balance the state budget, the City of Los Angeles, at an illegally called public meeting, moved to tie up CRA tax increment funds totaling $930 million.
    These moves were not intended to look out for the financial interests of the people of this State or of the City of Los Angeles. These moves were undertaken to fraudulently squirrel away money to protect greedy and wealthy real estate developers who benefit from the CRA gravy train.
    It is time that the Legislature pull the switch and direct CRA tax increment back into our general fund coffers instead of allowing it to be frittered awsy on questionable redevelopment projects for which there is no empirical evidence showing a positive impact.
    I stand with the Governor and those members of the Legislature ready to take dramatic and decisive action to end the structural deficit of this State by moving to abolish CRAs and put the money back were it belongs — serving the people in meeting their everyday needs.
    Most sincerely,

  5. Bob says:

    Of course the Capitol Records Parking Lot Audit needs to be included in the 1601 N Vine Project File for Controller Chiang.

  6. Anonymous says:

    California controller wants more authority, money to investigate fraud by cities; do you support that idea?
    I say GIVE IT TO HIM

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good for Jerry Brown. Who knew he had it in him to be tough. Today at his meeting with the Mayors he emphatically told them the money for CRA “Its not there.” Sounds like he’s not backing down and he needs our support. How do we contact his person here in LA to say we will back him up

  8. Anonymous says:

    OMG!!! Look at the salaries of all the CRA employees. All making way over $100,000
    http://www.crala.org/internet-site/Jobs_Contracting/upload/CRA_Salaries.pdf

  9. Sandy Sand says:

    So far he seems to be standing strong on this one, the CRA.
    Let’s see if he has the stomach to cut off another tax payer ripoff arm…all the state commissions and commissioners who make 100K a year to meet a few times a year and do mostly nothing while they hold down other real jobs.
    About the water problem: Have they (the DWP and all others involved) never heard of desalination plants? Easy to build and far cheaper than any other method of supplying water to the thirsty southwest. The DWP, by the way, has money set aside to do just that, but for whatever their reasons, they won’t, just like they drag their heels and stall on hooking up all their customers who’ve installed solar panels.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Re OMG! cra salares. The list dated 08/10 with 3/4 of the staff receiving six figure salaries is not updated to include the Jan 1st 2011 step increase for everyone of 2.5%. Another 2.5% raise is due July 1st. The last two increases of their union contract are called step increases but are just cost of living increaes for all. Their union contract AFSME/SEUI gave staff a 25% raise over 4 years.
    Also, to be noted is that CRA is rapidly promoting staff from within and plan to fill 6 or more jobs from the outside. This is a purposeful move to commit more monies that the Governor supposedly cannot touch.
    In Dec 2009, 44 staff were given a luxurious retirement package: 2 yrs extra service credit with PERS, $25,000-$40,000 bonuses, and health benefits, etc. CRA was so over staffed that the loss of these positions shouldn’t be noticed.
    One Project Mgr who received $30,000 plus bonus, approx. $120,000 PERS retirement plus social security and deferred compensation payments, immediately went to work as a consultlant for a cra consultant in her previous project area…in essence is still receving payments from CRA/LA.
    This is not an unsual practice.
    The people feeding off of the CRA is endless.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Some cra staff who retire don’t bother to be paid through a consultant; but are paid directly by the CRA. They are even hired to remain in their current position for a year or so as a consultant or temp while also receiving all the retiree benefits.
    It will be difficult if not impossible for the State auditor to find all the abusive CRA practices. There will be a lot of I don’t knows, missing documents, untruths, etc. CRA/LA makes up its own flexible rules,regulations and policies as needed.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The CRA salary schedule is literally shocking.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thank God for talk shows like John and Ken of KFI that smeared the hell out of the CRA salaries last night on their show. Keep up the good work. These corrupt assholes pretend they are actually ethical just like the clowns on council. Every day more and more corruption and stupidity from the Council members is coming out. KFI reported yesterday after Gov Brown had his meeting with all the Mayors has decided to AUDIT all the CRA’s. :)

  14. Dan Bassett says:

    No more CRA gravy trains. It has been a taxpayer giveaway for much too long in LA. Trust me, when I had a serious violations-issue regarding one of CRA’s favorite Hollywood developers, CRA wanted to turn a blind eye to their violations lest have their development giveaway-deal get sidetracked. So Hollywood gets screwed on our quality of life and Callifornia lost out on huge tax revenues that should have been retained. And don’t think small developers are getting the same breaks that pension-fund-fueled-politically-connected-developers are getting. They are not.
    I’m impressed that Brown is willing to dismantle a government agency that is overly vulnerable to political and corrupting influences.

  15. Anonymous says:

    No more CRA gravy trains. It has been a taxpayer giveaway for much too long in LA. Trust me, when I had a serious violations-issue regarding one of CRA’s favorite Hollywood developers, CRA wanted to turn a blind eye to their violations lest have their development giveaway-deal get sidetracked. So Hollywood gets screwed on our quality of life and Callifornia lost out on huge tax revenues that should have been retained. And don’t think small developers are getting the same breaks that pension-fund-fueled-politically-connected-developers are getting. They are not. I’m impressed that Brown is willing to dismantle a government agency that is overly vulnerable to political and corrupting influences.

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