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Times community college investigation unearths shameful waste

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  • Times community college investigation unearths shameful waste

    "It's just sad."

    That's what East Los Angeles College student George Escobar had to say as we looked in the direction of a new clock tower that was built crooked and had to be fixed at an additional cost of $157,000.

    Sad, outrageous, scandalous, shameful. You could pick any of those words, or all of them, to describe the waste and abuse documented in a weeklong Times series about the Los Angeles Community College District's $5.7-billion building program.

    Reporters Gale Holland, Michael Finnegan and others have been turning over rocks for a year and a half, looking at how billions in tax dollars from voter-approved bond measures are being spent, and worms might be crawling up your legs as you read this.

    Near the formerly crooked clock tower on the East L.A. campus, heating and cooling equipment was installed upside-down. A ramp for the disabled was too steep for wheelchairs. Bonehead moves like that drove construction costs from $28 million to $43 million.

    Sure, there have been solidly built, badly needed projects, too. But the new health center at Valley College had bad plumbing, cracked floors, loose ceiling panels and leaky windows.

    At West Los Angeles College, $39 million was spent on buildings that couldn't be completed when money ran out.

    At Valley College, a theater was renovated for $3.4 million and then scheduled for demolition when officials decided to build a new one.

    At L.A. City College, $1.8 million was spent on an architectural design for a fitness center, but the school president decided instead to build the center on the other side of campus, so architects were paid $1.9 million for a new design.

    Throughout this debacle, costs were often doubled because the district hired workers whose job was to hire workers. The bill for that kind of nonsense was in the millions.

    It was a feast. A picnic.

    And the following will not surprise you:

    Contractors and labor unions donated to district trustees. Contractors and labor unions got jobs.

    Contractors and labor unions donated to support bond measures. Contractors and labor unions got jobs.

    Like vultures, some of the most politically connected players in L.A. swooped in and got fat contracts despite past investigations into their dealings. One player who got a piece of the action pleaded guilty last December to a misdemeanor conflict-of-interest charge involving jobs in another school district — Los Angeles Unified.

    As for the genius the college district hired to keep an eye on how the $5.4 billion got spent — Larry Eisenberg — you know you're in trouble when your oversight guy approves funds for a video biography of himself, complete with childhood photos and a soundtrack.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...2941157.column

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,4909175.story
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

  • #2
    I read the article and it made me sick as to the absolute waste of money..... Building a sports track on top of a parking structure....But of course 99% of the taxpayers will never read or hear of this waste of their money....
    Retired LASD

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    • #3
      Let's not even ask if women-owned and minority-owned firms were given first priority for all these contracts, no matter if their bids were higher than other firms....it would be too much to bear.
      "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

      Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

      Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

      Comment


      • #4
        They wasted on purpose, to use all the bond money so then they could ask for more.

        I find it funny that in years where govts have an area of surplus in their budget they have to hurry to spend it or else they can't allocate as much money to that area in the next budget. IDIOTS, and we wonder why so many city and county govts are beyond broke.
        Originally Posted by VegasMetro
        maybe it’s me but I think a six pack and midget porn makes for good times?????

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        • #5
          I think it ironic that Democrats ridiculed Meg Whitman's statement that she wanted to run government more like a business. One of the biggest problems with government is that it does not plan for the future, and has a compulsion to spend immediately all the money it can get its hands on. It even makes future commitments without adequately considering the future ability to pay for them. (In other words, government "budgets" much like a lot of individuals.)
          Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kieth M. View Post
            Let's not even ask if women-owned and minority-owned firms were given first priority for all these contracts, no matter if their bids were higher than other firms....it would be too much to bear.
            That is only one of the many ways in which government places social policy ahead of accomplishing its primary objectives.

            The women and minority business requirement is generally worked around by in essence paying a member of the preferred group to lend her or his name to the contracting group, as a result of which the preference does not even accomplish its goal. Furthermore, in those instances where small or start-up businesses are used, they often are essentially insolvent, so there is no recourse if the work is done improperly.
            Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
            Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DAL View Post
              I think it ironic that Democrats ridiculed Meg Whitman's statement that she wanted to run government more like a business.
              Didn't they ridicule Arnold Schwarzenegger when he said the same thing? How'd that work out?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Seventy2002 View Post
                Didn't they ridicule Arnold Schwarzenegger when he said the same thing? How'd that work out?
                Arnold gave in to the Democrats, who convinced voters to reject the reforms he tried to institute early in his first term.
                Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DAL View Post
                  Arnold gave in to the Democrats, who convinced voters to reject the reforms he tried to institute early in his first term.
                  Well, I don't follow California politics that closely, but this article says he "came into office with a window of opportunity to achieve most anything his heart desired" but "failed to seize the opportunity".

                  Too bad.

                  Comment

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