Update in Los Angeles CD 14 Race – CLARTS Funds used for staff salaries

January 14th, 2011 · 8 Comments

We have been following the Los Angeles CD 14 race because it is one of the most Latino districts in the City of Angels and because there are two prominent Latino candidates in the race. The issue with the CLARTS fund has been of interest to bloggers, reporters, and community activists because this particular district has been affected by blackout dates for emergency services, has a real need for road and park maintenance, and services like graffiti removal. I recently drove through this district, and I notice that like other parts of Los Angeles there is a real pothole problem, especially in light of the recent rain stroms. CLARTS funds certainly could be used for road maintenance. Actually, when the CLARTS fund was set up, one of the previous councilmembers, Nick Pacheco, stated that the fund was supposed to be used for (community services, assistance to non-profit organizations in the district, etc.). You can hear about the history of the fund here, explained by Pacheco:

But as revealed by the Los Angeles City Clerk, $1.04 million of the CLARTS fund money has been used to pay staff salaries. So instead of emergency services or pothole repair, the CLARTS fund cash has been used to augment the pay of Councilmember Huizar’s entourage, which has a noted reputation for high turnover. The documents released by the City can be found here, and there are quite a few of them to sift through, but notice how many transfers to “salaries as-needed” took place. At a time when many public employees have been taking furloughs and/or pay cuts, Councilmember Huizar has taken funds that could have been used for emergency services to pay his staff and it really isn’t clear if his staff had been out in the field performing the pothole repairs, graffiti removal and/or emergency response services. Perhaps someone from his office will resurface and let us know what the district gets for having the CLARTS fund support salaries instead of community amenities. The City of Los Angeles budget allocates $1 million per year for staff salaries, but this councilmember’s staff seems to require more than the usual amount allotted.

Worth noting is Councilmember Huizar’s office release of the accounting of these funds just for comparison sake, which basically says that $1.04 went to his operating budget.

So what are your thoughts on this issue? Should the CLARTS be used to augment staff salaries or should the funds be used for community repair and infrastructure type issues?

Tags: Government Accountability

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Robert // Jan 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    An election year is a time when an incumbents pulls out all the stops for constituent service and becomingn “high profile.” Jose is not immune from that type of action and he’s been in “campaign mode” since at least summer- the big events labelled, “Jose Huizar Presents….” (The money put into the Eagle Rock Music Festival last October was at least $30,000, maybe $35,000, I forget which one was stated by Julia Salazar, Exec. Director of the Center for the Arts, in sponsoring this part of the $140,000.00 total.)

    But Jose’s continued weaseling out on this topic inspires no confidence by any means among the public. The recent LA-32 neighborhold council meeting had his chief of staff, Ana Cubas, subbing in for the CM when he was expected to attend. A very useless presentation was given by her but at least this was one case of a politician’s actions being “transparent,” but not in a good way.

    CM Tom LaBonge got $100,000 of money transferred over to his office for a need to “provide services” to the district- and that means more staff to handle the constituents. At the same time it helps his re-election campaign efforts. No fooling us, Tom.

    Jose just seems to have done it on a grander scale. And why IS the turnover rate in his staff so high?

  • 2 Chicano future tense // Jan 16, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Politicians like this Councilmember Huizar are everywhere,they’re like a plague of locusts that eat everything in sight,and leave nothing behind.

    Why does La Raza keep electing such shameless rateros into office?

    I say any politician who is outed as a scheming little crook and who uses the taxpayers money to line their own pockets and feather their own nests,should be kicked out on the street like bums and even better thrown in jail for embezzling and stealing the people’s money.

    I say kick those damn crooks out on their asses!

    Stop listening and falling for their BS excuses and lies.That’s all they do is lie and connive.

    If La Raza is going to elect someone to office at least get someone honest in there!

  • 3 Amerinica // Jan 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Well, if this is not a motivator to elect new leadership, I will be very suprised!

  • 4 Vendido Future Tense // Jan 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Chicano Future Tense, just look at who the “handlers” are of these up and coming rising political “stars” in the Latino community. 100% of the people pulling the srtings on these vendidos are not Latinos. Their fundraisers and consultants – thus their motivation and agenda – are not Latino based.

    That is why we end up with knuckleheads like Fabian Nunez and Antonio Villaraigosa. That is why despite a dramatic increase in Latino politicians, our community still has the same school drop-out rates and low home and business owernship as generations before.

    These trained and groomed papi chulos are carefully recruited by the established power cartels. It is not hard to find whores to fill this power vacuum. Money gets pumped into their war chests – and we are talking $500,000 and up to start. The homegrown leader is virtually shut out and we end up with elections where 4,000 votes will get you a victory despite a 300,000+ constituency (cd 14).

    This isn’t democracy and the “liberals” or “progressives” or whatever other term these handlers use to defray attention to the fact that they are not Latino understand this very well.

    Until a movement comes around where these “vendido” candidates can be matched dollar for dollar, we will continue to end up with leaders of someone else’s making – not our own.

  • 5 Making a List and Checking it Twice! // Jan 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm

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  • 6 Chicano future tense // Jan 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    You hit the nail right on the head Hermano!

    It is refreshing to hear a Chicano telling it like it is,not pulling any punches.It’s a wonderful thing to behold.

    Chicanos who see through the scams and cons of electoral politics are considered dangerous “outsiders”..”trouble makers” whom establishment Latino opportunists,careerists, insiders most hate and fear.

    Why? because if the so called “revoltosos” have any influence, manage to educate even a significant percentage of the Raza -make them hip to the poverty pimps,the political whores and the phony social climbers.

    If they are successful even minimally in this effort they will have gone a long way in advancing self-determination and freedom for the Gente.

    Yes you are 100% right.We need to mobilize the grassroots,focus their righteous power,spirit and souls..self-reliance is self-determination when we will choose honest incorruptible people who we can trust to tell the truth and do the right thing.
    All we want is some honesty.

    I appreciate your poignant and insightful post.

  • 7 Anna // Jan 19, 2011 at 1:34 am

    It doesn’t matter who wins because you guys will never be happy. Your city councilman isn’t responsible for the dropout rate. He’s not a social worker.

    The dropout rate is high because the parents don’t place enough emphasis on education. If you want to change things start by getting rid of the TV. Make sure your kids learn how to speak English before they enter kindergarten. Take them to the library. Make sure they study for several hours every night. And stop feeding them fast food, Krispy Kreme, soda and other processed junk. Children can’t learn with chemicals and sugar flooding their system. Make sure the exercise at least one hour a day. THAT alone woud do more to change things than worrying about Huizar’s list.

  • 8 Ruben // Feb 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    hi all –
    all of you have insightful information … as a chicano who has lived in LA for all of my life am glad we have Latino representation in our local and state offices … but I like many of you, am tired of the lies and excuses they make when things aren’t going well…. just look at our assemblymembers (a lot Latinos) whom have bankrupted this state! also, why do we as Latinos only vote for Latinos whatever happened with voting for the most qualified person? i know of an executive director who along with our famous latina supervisor vote only for Latinos … what bullshit no wonder were in such a mess!

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