Mr. Mayor … If You Really Want to Help the Homeless

THE PREVEN REPORT--Here’s what Mayor Eric Garcetti had to say when asked in a recent KPCC radio interview how he manages to balance career planning with fulfilling his current role as Mayor of Los Angeles: 


"I do it by not spending a lot of time thinking about myself and my career but refocusing every day on people and their needs. I really at the end of the day don’t lie in bed thinking about what office I’m going to run for. I hear the homeless man with mental health challenges outside my window who walks there every block [sic], every night on my block, and what I can do to better serve him.” 

Here’s something the Mayor can do to better serve that homeless man with mental challenges whom he hears outside his window every night:  

Stop refusing to post audio recordings of Prop HHH Oversight Committee meetings. 

Prop HHH, you will remember, is the $1.2 billion homelessness-reduction bond measure which passed in November 2016.  

A big selling point of the measure was that there would be rigorous oversight of its operations. Not only would there be an Administrative Oversight Committee (comprised of three members, two appointed by the Mayor, one by the City Council) but also a Civilian Oversight Committee (comprised of seven members, four appointed by the Mayor, three by the City Council).   

Those oversight committees were created, and they have met several times, but for some reason the Mayor won’t allow audio recordings of those meetings to be posted online. 

As it stands, in order to hear the audio recording of a Prop HHH oversight committee meeting, a member of the public has to make a special request. If that request is approved, a single copy of the audio recording will be provided to that particular member of the public. 

Every other member of the public interested in hearing the audio will have to make his or her own special request. 

Why not just post the audio recordings online, so that every member of the public can listen to it if he or she wants to?  

Wouldn’t such a policy be more in the spirit of civilian oversight? Wouldn’t it be more in the spirit of helping that homeless man outside the Mayor’s window? 

We think so.


(Eric Preven and Joshua Preven are public advocates for better transparency in local government and occasional contributors to CityWatch. A piece they wrote for CityWatch "It’s Time to End LA’s Secret Meetings: What Do City Council Members and LA’s County Supervisors Have to Hide?" won  the LA Press Club award for Online Political Commentary.)