THE PREVEN REPORT--In a July 17 CityWatch piece, we cited the following response given by Mayor Eric Garcetti to a question about 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.”
Our July 17th piece went on to suggest something the Mayor (who spent Sunday in New Hampshire campaigning for a local mayoral candidate) could 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, we explained, 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, and yet the public now finds itself in the dark; in fact, during the past month things have only gotten worse.
Not only is Mayor Garcetti continuing to block the posting of audio recordings of oversight committee meetings, he is also blocking the creation of any written progress reports regarding the bond measure’s operations.
At last week’s Prop HHH Civilian Oversight Committee meeting (attended by only four of the seven Committee members), all of the updates were oral, leaving no paper trail or any other way for the public to keep track of how its money is being deployed.
What is the Mayor’s strategy with regard to Prop HHH? Is he planning to persist in his refusal to post audio recordings of the Prop HHH Oversight Committee meetings? Is he planning to persist in his refusal to provide written progress reports of the bond measure’s operations?
Does he imagine that the country won't care about the issue? Does he imagine that he’ll never get asked about it on the Presidential campaign trail?
And what of the Oversight Committee members? If years or months from now they are asked—whether by a civil grand jury or a member of the press—why they allowed the Mayor to refuse to post audio recordings and/or written progress reports regarding Prop HHH, what will they say?
(Eric Preven and Joshua Preven are public advocates for better transparency in local government and are 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.)