L.A. City Council Votes to Begin Process of Creating Transparency Office | KCET
L.A. City Council Votes to Begin Process of Creating Transparency Office
The Los Angeles City Council voted today to initiate the process of establishing an Office of Anti-Corruption and Transparency, which would oversee, investigate and subpoena city officials.
The council voted to also establish an Inspector General for Land Use and Development, whose position would focus on preventing corruption and increasing transparency on land use and planning decisions, according to Councilman David Ryu, who introduced both proposals.The motion cites similar offices in other cities, like the Inspector General's Office in Chicago, which has 100 staff members investigating potential fraud, abuse and corruption, Ryu said.
More on LA City Hall Probe
"It is beyond clear that we need more oversight in City Hall and more accountability and transparency over planning and land use decisions,'' he said. "Cities across the U.S. have inspector generals that investigate and root out corruption before they become federal crimes. It's time for an inspector general in Los Angeles.''
The proposed office could exist on its own or within the city Controller's Office or Ethics Department, Ryu said. The number of fraud investigators in the City Controller's Office has been reduced in the Los Angeles budget from four in 2008 to one, which is "far too low,'' Ryu said in a letter to the council's Budget and Finance Committee.
City staff will now report back to the council on the feasibility, funding and structure of such an office in City Hall. Ryu said his motion was first introduced amid a sweeping FBI and Department of Justice probe into corruption around real estate development and the abuse of land use power in Los Angeles. That probe led to the arrests of suspended Councilman Jose Huizar and former Councilman Mitch Englander.
Huizar pleaded not guilty last week to federal charges alleging he ran a $1.5 million pay-to-play scheme in which developers were shaken down for cash bribes and campaign donations in exchange for his help getting high-rise
projects through the city's approval process.
On July 7, Englander pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge for obstructing an investigation into whether he took cash, escort services and other gifts from a businessman involved in major development projects in the city. Ryu has also filed motions to remove the power City Council members have to interfere in specific development projects before the City Planning Commission.
Connect with KCET
The burgeoning youth climate movement is poised to help create a new Democratic coalition that centers climate policy and pushes the party to take bold action.
Sneak into The Autry's galleries to catch an intimate acoustic performance by Guatemalan American singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno as part of the museum's "Best of Los Angeles" series.
Black voters could in many ways be the decisive eco-voters of the most high stakes election in American history.
Nine parents of Los Angeles Unified children filed a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging that distance learning plans are inadequate and violate students' rights to a basic public education. It also alleges minorities are disproportionately impacted.
- 1 of 358
- next ›
Take a rare behind-the-scenes look inside the busiest fire station in the country, where firefighters act as both primary care providers and emergency responders for the nearly 5,000 people living on Skid Row.
In 2019, California, one of the nation’s most secretive states when it comes to police files, put SB1421 into effect. But a year into the new transparency law, journalists and the public are realizing that the law may not be as transparent as expected.
State and local regulators are overwhelmed and outgunned when it comes to closing down California’s poisonous pot pipeline.
Parents are willing to spend thousands to get the competitive edge in the college admissions process, but at what cost? Socal Connected takes a revealing look at the high stakes world of the for-profit education consultant business.
Socal Connected looks at what happened to LA Jets’ Obea Moore and the current state of youth track and field today.
- 1 of 54
- next ›