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    News

    Oink! LB Earns Mention In "Piglet" Book Issued by Citizens Against Gov't Waste & Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation, Citing Wasteful City Hall Car Pgms


    (Sept. 28, 2003, posted 7:40 p.m.) -- LB City Hall has earned an unflattering mention in the "Piglet" hook, which cites examples of wasteful CA government spending, issued by Citizens Against Government Waste in conjunction with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation.

    The publication, which focuses mainly on wasteful state spending, gives LB the following mention:

    Jason Gewirtz of the Long Beach Press Telegram (March 31, 2003) reported that "Long Beach’s Fleet Services Bureau routinely charged $73 to wash city-owned cars driven by City Council members." The fleet bureau has also been known to charge more than $100 for gasoline and simple safety check procedures. Long Beach’s 1,900 vehicle fleet and expensive perks don’t account for the city’s entire $90 million deficit, but it does shed some light on how taxpayers are being taken for a ride.

    In January 2003, in an article comparing the cost of Councilmembers' office spending, LBReport.com reported the comparative cost of car or car allowance taken by eight of nine incumbent Councilmembers. The Council car/allowance perk was cited as a sort point by taxpayers in City Hall's "Voice Your Choice" survey.

    Councilmembers take either a flat auto allowance ($450 per month, amounts to $5,400 per year) for costs of driving on city business (or can seek reimbursement at .31/mile) or drive a city-owned car from the city's taxpayer purchased and maintained fleet. Four Councilmembers (Lowenthal, Baker, Richardson & Webb) and the Mayor drive city fleet cars; four (Colonna, Kell, Uranga & Lerch) take monthly allowances; Carroll takes neither but a staffer gets mileage reimbursement.

    The PT subsequently did an in-depth series in which Mr. Gewirtz reported in detail on Councilmembers' cars and the larger issue of City Hall's fleet services bureau in articles spanning multiple days.

    As reported by LBReport.com, Councilwoman Laura Richardson has switched to a less costly city vehicle.

    On Sept. 16, 2003, Councilmembers adopted City Hall's FY 04 spending plan without serious debate on the car/allowance perk...leaving the taxpayer-paid item in their budget.

    On the state level, the CA Piglet Book recommends $5.1 billion in cost reductions, which range from cutting $2.5 billion in waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in the Medi-Cal program to eliminating $200 million in overpayments in the food stamp program. It states in its introduction:

    ...The people of California have had enough of legislators, elected and appointed officials misusing and abusing their hard earned dollars. Mismanagement, waste and fraud have become so rampant that the only alternative many Californians see is recalling the governor on the single stated grounds of 'gross fiscal mismanagement.''

    In fact, Governor Davis’s fiscal ineptitude has earned him the very first California Golden Fleece Award from the Pacific Research Institute. According to the Institute’s website, "the California Golden Fleece Awards are given for spending programs or regulations that violate common-sense principles of responsible government, would be considered wasteful by people of varying political philosophies, and are well documented."

    As the California Piglet Book shows, Governor Davis has clearly earned such notoriety. However, a state does not allow a $12 billion surplus to be squandered away into an unprecedented $38 billion deficit only by the work of a governor...[P]oliticians and bureaucrats, whose increasing wages are financed by the same taxpayers that pay for the programs they are supposedly running, have wasted billions of taxpayers’ dollars over the last year..."

    Citizens Against Government Waste identifies itself as "a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government."

    The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation, which devotes itself to tax policy and public education on tax issues, is the affiliated foundation of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, CA's largest taxpayer advocacy organization.

    The CA Piglet Report is posted on the Citizens Against Government Waste's web site at www.cagw.org.


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