LA WATCHDOG - “The City Controller is the taxpayers' watchdog and the City's chief auditor and accountant.
The Controller's job is to investigate and publicly report problems with City departments, increase governmental efficiency, and save taxpayer money by improving operations, conduct financial and performance audits of all city departments, offices, and programs, monitor and report on all matters relating to the City's fiscal health, keep the City's official financial records, and supervise all expenditures of the City.” Mayor’s Proposed Budget 2022-23
The corruption scandals that have plagued Los Angeles City Hall and the Department of Water and Power have resulted in the lack of trust and confidence in City Hall and our elected officials. The United States Attorney’s Office has indicted eight persons in connection “pay-to-play” schemes involving former City Councilman Jose Huizar. Former Councilman Mitch Englander is now out of jail while Councilman Mark-Ridley-Thomas is awaiting trial on bribery charges. The FBI is also continuing its criminal investigation of City Hall.
Four people associated with the Department of Water and Power have pleaded guilty to corruption, including its former General Manager David Wright and a Thomas Peters, a City attorney.
We need a Controller who has experience in rooting out corruption, malfeasance, and inefficiencies in the City of Los Angeles. And the only candidate for Controller who has the relevant experience is David “Ty” Vahedi. According to his website, Vahedi, an accountant and a lawyer, has conducted over 350 civil and criminal audits for various government agencies.
Rather go on about Vahedi, I will refer you to Paul Hatfield’s CityWatch article, Vahedi Is A Natural To Replace Galperin that discusses why Hatfield is endorsing Vahedi.
There are two candidates who do not deserve our vote, Paul Koretz and Kenneth Mejia.
During Koretz’ three terms in office, he has given away the store to the public sector unions. In 2019, as head of the Personnel Committee and a member of the five-person Executive Employee Relations Committee that is charged with overseeing labor relations, the City entered into budget busting labor agreements that blew a $1.5 billion hole in the City’s balanced budget for the next four years. He then tried to cover up the damage by holding less than transparent hearings of his Personnel Committee.
As head of the Personnel Committee. Koretz has also refused to follow up on the recommendation of the LA 2020 Commission to form a Pension Commission that would provide Angelenos with a better understanding of the City’s two pension plans and also make recommendations to make the plans more sustainable over the long term.
Koretz also lacks independence as he is a City Hall insider. He has a massive and incurable conflict of interest because eleven members of the City Council have endorsed his candidacy. And yet these are the same people who Angelenos do not trust.
The same conflict of interest also applies to numerous of the City’s public sector unions who have endorsed Koretz.
Kenneth Mejia is not qualified to be our Controller despite the inexplicable endorsement by the Los Angeles Times. He does not have the experience to manage the Controller’s office and its 160 staffers. He has also demonstrated poor judgement as shown by his calling Joe Biden a racist and a rapist as outlined in a Times article published two days after the paper’s endorsement of his candidacy.
David Vahedi deserves our vote. He is independent of City Hall and has the investigative experience and auditing skills to expose systemic corruption, malfeasance, and inefficiencies at City Hall.
Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. He can be reached at: [email protected].)