Originally Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2008
With Los Angeles City politicians (Mayor, City Council) trying to figure out some ways to "belt tighten" their way out of a $600-$700 budget deficit over the next year, I thought now would be a good time to post this article originally posted 8/27/07 on this new blog. We Need To Put Pressure On Politicians To Stop Wasting The Money Earmarked To FIX THE PROBLEMS!
Why Solve City Problems When City Officials Are Making Money Off The Problem?
by Zuma Dogg
If you are able to think like this, you may have a future as Mayor, Councilmember, elected official or Gravy Train Riding Crony (How to think like a successful elected politician):
First of all, if there is no apparent problem, create one. There is no money to be spent or to be made unless you are raising and spending money. So find a problem, because where there is a problem, there is a solution. And the solution will have to involve new money. (Yea!)
But, a lot of times, there are creative solutions that don’t cost a lot of money, or no money at all. Now THAT’S a real problem for a politician. Make sure you don’t let any of THOSE solutions get out there. So remember, if you want to model a powerful elected official in the City of Los Angeles, like a mayor or councilmember, if you are able to find a problem that needs fixing, but it won’t take a lot of new money to throw at the problem; don’t waste your time. You won’t be able to generate any interest. And you won’t be able to generate any money for you and your cronies.
So once you filter out the non-profitable problems that do not require the infusion of new money, and you have selected a warm and fuzzy City problem (like kids, homeless, affordable housing, seniors, crime reduction, etc.) that you can put a good spin on – you are ready to start hiring consultants, lobbyists, cronies, friends, relatives, whoever else you can use to drive up total cost. And oh yeah, you will need plenty of contractors. (The more the better!)
And at the same time you are ready to start asking for the new money needed to fix this important new problem that needs the full attention and resources of the City. Perhaps there is some bond money available, you can raise taxes, subsidize, create new taxes, invent new fees, and solicit money from the private sector. (But it almost always comes from the public revenue sources.)
Now you have a ballgame! A win-win situation. Except for the pueblos who end up losing by paying for it. Because now that you have money being thrown at the problem, you wanna make sure they don’t stop throwing it. And one way to make sure the problem never gets solved is to siphon enough money off the top so there isn’t enough to get the job done.
Then, they come back and ask for (and get) more money to keep the gravy train rollin’ down the shady non-profit highway!
IF ZUMA DOGG WAS MAYOR, he would put together a City, County and State task force and start solving these problems immediately. One of the problems is that there is too much finger pointing, and blame-deflection instead of simply stamping out the fire and fixing the problem. ZD is of the belief all the right answers are out there in the community and inside the City, County and State departments. There is just too much bureaucracy, and too many people surfing the wave of public funds for their own financial enhancement.
IT WILL TAKE PUBLIC PRESSURE TO CUT BACK ON THIS. AND THE PEOPLE WOULD LIKE JANICE HAHN OR SOMEONE TO CALL FOR A TASK FORCE.
First of all, we need to question the inventory of some of these affordable housing construction projects. ZD hears it’s an open secret with at least one (certain) citywide construction company that the city gave a bunch of money to for redevelopment, not only about the lazy-ass, shabby work; but looting the materials purchased by the housing authority for these public work projects and they end up on other people’s private jobs.
MAY THE PEOPLE OF LOS ANGELES SUGGEST AN INVENTORY CHECK OF THESE AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS THE CITY IS GIVING MONEY TO?
The issue needs a Federal investigation because the local jurisdiction may be compromised at the City and State level.
We want to start seeing some accountability with all of this public money. Because you can’t seem to fix the traffic, schools, homeless problem, crime or anything else. That’s because inappropriately excessive amount of the money makes it into people’s pockets and the rest is wasted through bureaucracy, fraud, waste and abuse.
I KNOW THE POLITICIANS AREN’T GOING TO JUMP OFF THE GRAVY TRAIN, JUST YET. SO LET’S START ATTACKING THE FRAUD, WASTE AND ABUSE WITH THE MONEY THAT IS LEFT OVER! (That’s a good middle-ground starting point. And who knows, if you are able to improve the efficiency with the rest of the money that you don’t pilfer, maybe THAT will be enough to start seeing a noticeable improvement.)
These public-private shell game schemes are getting more and more complicated. (See Grand Ave Project where even the CRA spokesperson says, “The most complicated deal in every aspect. Bureaucratic? Yes.”) And as the depth of shadiness gets deeper and deeper; accountability and transparency gets shadier and shadier. It’s getting harder to what is happening in the darkness on the edge of town where it all goes down.
And if the mainstream media would shine a little light on this darkness, I think they would recognize a lot of familiar faces. Again, it will probably take a FEDERAL INVESTIGATION to fix this local problem, that is quickly becoming a NATIONAL problem.