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Follow the Gang Money: The Controller’s Report

July 27th, 2010 by Celeste Fremon


On Tuesday, City Controller Wendy Greuel released her audit
of the effectiveness of the city’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development programs—aka GRYD. (The report follows-up on former Controller Laura Chick’s 2008 report.)

Overall Ms. Greuel said that the programs had made a lot of progress and, in effect, laid down a promising foundation on which future progress may be built.

Her main criticism was that the city had spent $525,000 on an evaluation of the programs (with the cost of the ongoing eval rising as I type), but had gotten no real evaluation for that half million bucks plus.

As you will see when we begin our Follow-the-Gang-Money stories, we agree completely with Controller Gruel about the not getting much for the evaluation $$$.

But we have found that the problem goes a bit deeper. We have read the Urban Institute’s 60-page evaluation report very carefully.

And, yes, surely the controller is right: It is beyond maddening to find that, nearly 2-years in, we have no practical assessment of the city’s gang programs—particularly after all the promises made that, once the gang money was moved under the mayor’s umbrella, Priority One would be the twinned values of transparency and accountability.

However after a very thorough examination, we have found that the larger problem is not with the Urban Institute evaluators, who seem quite competent and professional. It is with the programs. The Urban Institute delivered a 60-page, $525 million NON-evaluation because—-there is not a whole lot to evaluate.

Details to come soon.

So stay tuned.


(NOTE: I’m still ensconced in a cabin on river in West Glacier, Montana, with a (gasp) dial up connection to the Web. This means the 24-hour-news cycle has slowed down to something like 72 hours. But, Matt Fleischer and I are on top of this gang money issue—among others. And there will be a lot of new stuff when I return—and likely sooner.)


Here’s the LA Times’ report on the Report.


NOTE # 2: The photo isn’t of the river in back of our house, but of nearby Lake McDonald.

Posted in Gangs, LA city government | 21 Comments »

21 Responses

  1. Pokey Says:

    Love the pic of th lake

  2. Rocky G Says:

    Depressing. All of this quibbling and hair splitting over every red cent that goes into a budget helping the poor, meanwhile when corporations ask for a bailout or private contract, it’s signed, sealed, and delivered, with little to no debate. I’m ashamed of this country.

  3. WTF Says:

    I agree with Rock G., why is Wendy Greuel concerned with the $525,000 spent on evaluating these programs?

    I have heard from financial experts that California is rich, rich, rich. So lets go out and spend, spend, spend !!!! The city of Bell employees understood this simple concept of not splitting hairs over every red cent !!!!

  4. Rocky G Says:

    We do it with corporations, WTF. Very little oversight to where that money goes. I don’t necessarily disagree with your concern as to how money is being spent on gang intervention, but why not be as vigilant when it comes to your tax dollars going right to corporations? Do you honestly think corporate bailouts are used ethically? Do you honestly think they don’t sock most of that money away when they’re supposed to use it to hire people? Do you honestly think private contractors use most of the tax dollars they get on public works and labor needed for it? You can’t be that naive.

  5. Answering The Question Says:

    Rob,
    I couldn’t agree with you more regarding corporate bailouts. The worst of which is GM.

    Now, who is it that supports these corporate bailouts and which cats are getting fat off of them?

  6. Rocky G Says:

    Politicians on both sides of the aisle support the bailouts, ATQ, Obama included. If it wasn’t for the fact that Republicans can’t produce a sane presidential candidate, Obama wouldn’t be getting my vote in 2012. As it stands, he’s the best of a horrible situation. If what you mean by fat cats is labor unions, I don’t mind unions benefiting from the bailouts, as that is what the bailouts should be for in the first place, creating jobs, living wage jobs, at that. So there’s no contradiction there from my end. My problem is with bailouts where the money only goes to the wealthy. As far as my first comment on this topic, I’ll say it again. I’m ashamed of a country that counts every penny that goes to the poor, while so easily parting with money that goes to those who don’t even need it. That’s just my personal feeling.

  7. Answering The Question Says:

    40% of GM is owned by the government.
    GM’s board of directors is appointed by Obama.
    They operate at a loss annually.
    They don’t have to be efficient, the Obama administration and the Democratically dominated congress/senate will bail them out in exchange for the support of the UAW.

    Obama’s “Hope and Change” has turned out to be “Bait and Switch”.

    Pelosi’s “Draining the Swamp” has turned out to be “Replacing the Rep. gators with Dem. gators”.

    Gitmo is still open. 50,000 troops are still in Iraq. We are amping up the war in Afghanistan, Obama’s very own “surge” if you will. General “BetrayUs”, GWB’s very own lead man is is charge. Congressional approval ratings are at an all time low. Unemployment is up after the stimulus package. Foreclosures are at an all time high.

    So, what has changed? One thing and one thing only. Obama has secured the backing of the UAW and is using the American taxpayer’s money to do it.

    There’s your “Hope and Change”.

  8. Answering The Question Says:

    Rob,
    I can’t help but feel if Mayor Villaraigosa was letting everybody else in the city go broke but making fat cat deals to secure the backing of the LAPD union you would be upset.
    As you should be.
    Come to think of it, haven’t you voiced your displeasure with the LAPD union in the past?

  9. Rocky G Says:

    Who’s Rob? I’m Rocky G. From what I hear, Rob’s been banned from this site. :)

    Anyhow, I agree with some of what you say about Obama, although I have to say your “hope and change turned out to be bait and switch” phrase reeks of republican hyperbole. There’s nothing wrong with seeing Obama’s wrongs, but if you think the Republican Party or the tea party is the answer, you’re crazier than any Obama supporter who fell for hope and change. Hope and change is a better goal than continued Reaganomics and open hatred.

    Gitmo being open? I believe he should close it, but I find it disingenuous of the right to criticize him for keeping it open when they want it open ideologically. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. He closes Gitmo, he’s a far left hippie who can’t be trusted. He keeps it open, he’s a promise breaker. With an obvious double standard like that in his most vocal and deep pocketed critics, can you blame him for riding the fence? It’s called politics, both parties do it.

    Same disagreement regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. He pulls troops, he’s a lefty wimp. He keeps them there, he broke a promise. Playing politics with the lives of our troops is the worst thing he’s doing. But his opposition in ’12, a Republican like Palin, is going to do the same. Like I said, Obama is the best of a bad situation, in my opinion.

    Congressional approval at an all time low? I didn’t know we were discussing congress. It sounds like you’re just going down the list of the republican talking points.

    Unemployment and foreclosures have increased on Obama’s watch, but if that is going to be used as an argument that Democrats are ineffective, it should be noted that unemployment and foreclosures increased drastically on Bush’s watch as well.

    Oh, and I just love this:

    “So, what has changed? One thing and one thing only. Obama has secured the backing of the UAW and is using the American taxpayer’s money to do it.

    There’s your “Hope and Change”.”

    Send that to Rush Limbaugh, he might give you a job.

  10. Answering The Question Says:

    A few problems Rob,,,uh,, Rocky.

    He said he would close Gitmo.

    He said he would bring the troops home.

    He said he would end corporate bailouts.

    The reason I brought up the congressional ratings was to express that he can do whatever he wants basically. His party has control of both the House and Senate. They are not doing what they said they would do. I won’t keep making excuses for them. I’ll leave that to you.
    You do that enough for any 100 people.

  11. Rocky G Says:

    I agree regarding Obama’s broken promises. It angers me, too. Like I said earlier, if it wasn’t for the fact that the Republican party is clearly incapable of producing a sane candidate, Obama wouldn’t be getting my vote in 2012. I’m not happy with him. But unless Superman flies out of the sky and runs for president in 2012, Obama is still the best thing going, in my opinion, even with his broken promises. I’ll take Obama’s broken promises over Sarah Palin KEEPING her promises.

    A Democratic congress and senate does not mean Obama can do whatever he wants. A lot of Democrats in both the senate and congress are conservative Democrats, whose constituents are fiscally conservative and even in some cases socially conservative as well. There’s still a lot of “dixie crats” in the south. I don’t know where you got the idea that Obama could do whatever he wants because there’s a democratic majority in the house and senate, but it obviously wasn’t from paying attention to the modern day political climate in America.

    And, I offer no excuses for any individual person’s actions. I leave that to them, actually. But I will offer an excuse for an outcome that a person had no control over, because Obama is being blamed for a lot of things that aren’t his fault.

  12. Answering The Question Says:

    A Democratic congress and senate does not mean Obama can do whatever he wants.

    So then. Exactly how many off these conservative “dixiecrats” voted against the healthcare bill?

  13. Answering The Question Says:

    To keep you from having to look it up, I’ll save you some time. 0….none….nada…not one….zilch

    It was a party line vote right down the line. Those “blue dog” dixiecrats fell right into line. Of course, he had to promise Ben Nelson of Nebraska that residents of Nebraska wouldn’t have to pay their 100 MILLION share of it. He had to buy Mary Landrieu’s vote for 300 MILLION. But hey, he got it done.

    Democrats used their super majority to enact Obama’s #1 priority, which was getting the healthcare bill passed.

    That’s turned out to be a big problem for BHO. You see, there is currently not one poll that shows the majority of Americans are in favor of the healthcare bill.
    Here are the numbers: Source:
    Real Clear Politics
    The RCP average for the poll shows the numbers at 37.3% supporting the bill, while 51% oppose it.
    Couple that with all the other problems he’s got and that’s why his overall job approval ratings are in the tank. His biggest achievement to date flies in the face of what the majority of Americans want.

    People (mostly independents, the ones that got him elected) expected him to do what he said he would, and do it ethically. He hasn’t.

    The old coach sucked. The new coach said he would make us a good team again. It isn’t happening and people are recognizing it.

    You can only say: “Yeah well, the old coach was worse” for so long. People, including me, want results.
    It’s more of the same from BHO. And things are getting worse, not better.

  14. Answering The Question Says:

    Maxine Waters? Her ethics violation? She funnels 12 mil to a bank that her husband sits on the board of directors.
    I suppose her defense will be she didn’t realize it was a conflict of interest. Of course, Barney Frank claims he told her to stay out of it, that she could get in trouble.

    The gators have changed. The swamp’s still infested.

  15. WTF Says:

    ATQ,
    Maxine Waters has been in politics a long time, she is only interested in taking care of the poo folks of South Central, she would never, never, never violate any ethics rules. Only rich white people would steal from the public, when will you understand !!!!!

    It’s always the pinche gabachos fault !!!!!

  16. Rocky G Says:

    ATQ,

    You said that Obama can do whatever he wants because he has a Democratic majority in the house and senate. That might be the single most uninformed view on politics I’ve ever read on any blog. I’m not joking. Some Democrats have more conservative constituencies than others. A lot of votes are outright for sale, or trade. “What will you do for me”, so to speak. Are you honestly naive enough to think that congresspeople and senators vote out of their conscience? They rarely do, and that goes for both parties. Have you heard of interest groups and lobbyists? Do you think K Street exists because Republicans are just going to vote in lockstep for conservative bills and Democrats for liberal bills?

    Regarding the health care bill, same thing. Obama spent his entire first year in office wheeling and dealing to get that bill. Who knows what went on behind closed doors? And, the bill sucks. I’m one of the people who doesn’t support it. And the reason why I, and a lot of people, dont’ support it is because it’s way too business friendly. It is not a bill for the people, it’s so blatantly obvious that it’s in the best interest of business it might as well have the logos of its corporate sponsors in the health insurance industry right on the front page.

    “BHO”, a term republican and tea party hacks commonly refer to Obama as. Emphasizes “Hussein”. Thinly veiled racism. An attempt to scare white Americans out of voting for him. I’d try another strategy because this one already failed in ’08, btw.

    The only way Republicans are going to beat Obama is if they run a sane candidate. So far, no signs of it. “Don’t elect the Kenyan Born Arab who pals around with terrorists” is not going to work. Had a better chance of working in ’08. The further removed we are from 9/11, the less Republicans can play on the fear of Arab sounding names to win elections.

    Re: Maxine Waters. Of course it seems like she only cares about South Central…IT’S HER DISTRICT! Why should she care any more about some white Democratic district in the south than Zell Miller did about South Central? Why do black people have to be the most wholesome people on the face of the earth while whites are celebrated for being aggressive and cunning?

  17. Rocky G Says:

    WTF, I have never met anyone who thinks that only white people steal from minorities, so I just can’t sympathize with your complaint.

  18. Answering The Question Says:

    I use BHO like I use GWB. Your racism references are incredibly boring and childish. You might as well say:
    “Oh shit, you got me there; yeah well you’re a racist”.
    The fact of the matter is, the guy is not producing and the American people see it.
    Myself included.

  19. Answering The Question Says:

    I don’t know where you got the idea that Obama could do whatever he wants because there’s a democratic majority in the house and senate
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    I got that from the results of the Senate vote on healthcare. ALL 60 Democratic Senators voted for it, making it filibuster proof. The facts speak for themselves. No amount of pontification can chage that.

    That might be the single most uninformed view on politics I’ve ever read on any blog.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    lol. Keep on keepin on. Can’t debate points of fact? Call the other guy misinformed. Or better yet, a racist. Incredibly boorish and transparent as a showroom windshield.

  20. Answering The Question Says:

    Emphasizes “Hussein”.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    No. bHo would emphasize Hussein. lol. 3 letters is shorter than 5 when I’m in a hurry.

    Do you see a bogeyman everywhere you look?

  21. Answering The Question Says:

    Jobs picture dims as unemployment claims rise (AP)

    AP – The economy is looking bleaker as new applications for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level in almost six months.
    ************************************************
    So much for the stimulus package.

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