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Mon, May

Newsom’s Coverup of Homeless Audit an Excellent Lesson for Angelenos

LA WATCHDOG

LA WATCHDOG - Would California voters have approved Proposition 1, Governor Newson’s $6.4 bond measure to build mental health facilities, if they had been privy to the findings of a damning audit by the California State Auditor that showed that the State “has not consistently tracked and evaluated the State’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness.”  In other words, the State has wasted a good portion of the $24 billion it spent over the last five years in its efforts to combat homelessness.   

Proposition 1 was approved by 50.2% of the 7.2 million voters, a margin of less than 30,000 voters.  Would this audit if it were released prior to the March election have resulted in more than 15,000 voters switching their votes.  Without a doubt, yes, and Proposition 1 would have been rejected by the voters. 

The release of this audit was originally scheduled for October, and then in February, but was finally released on April 9, over two months after ballots were mailed and a month after election day.  Again, there is no doubt in many minds that Newsom and his cronies manipulated the process, covering up this damning audit until the votes were counted. 

Now it is the City’s turn to have its homeless program audited. 

As a result of litigation filed by the LA. Alliance for Human Rights (a downtown based organization consisting of small business owners, residents, and social services providers) against the City because of LA’s lack of progress in addressing homelessness, Federal District Court Judge David O. Carter ordered a comprehensive audit of the City’s homeless programs.  This independent audit will be conducted by Alvarez and Marsal, a world class firm with “expertise in government efficiency, health and human services, and forensic accounting.” As a result, the City will not be able to control the process and be required to provide the necessary information on a timely basis, will not be able to edit the report but will be able to respond separately to its findings, and will not control the release of the audit. 

The audit is expected to be completed by Labor Day. This means that it will be available to the voters of both the County and the City prior to November elections where measures involving funding of homeless programs will most likely be on the ballot.  This may include an initiative sponsored by homeless industrial complex calling for an increase in the County’s Measure H sales tax to half a cent, up from a quarter of a cent, and for it to be permanent.  There is a high likelihood that the City may place a measure on the ballot to authorize another tranche of bonds for the construction of interim and permanent supportive housing. 

It would also be helpful if the City Controller updated Ron Galperin’s 2019 report, High Cost of Homeless Housing, prior to the November election so that voters have the necessary information to make an informed decision.   

Any ballot measures on the homeless situation requires an open and transparent process, unlike the State’s cover up of important information.  Thank you, Judge Carter.

(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].) 

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