Group Formally Challenges Accuracy of East LA Fiscal Study

By EGP News Report

Proponents of an effort to make unincorporated East Los Angeles a city, on Monday filed a request for a State Controller review of a study conducted to determine the area’s financial capacity to sustain itself as an independent city.

ELARA, the East Los Angeles Residents Association, hopes Controller John Chiang’s office will perform a “forensic audit” of the Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis (CFA), the group’s president, Benjamin Cardenas told EGP on Tuesday. ELARA feels the study is based on countywide formulas and estimates that do not reflect the area’s true feasibility.

View of Downtown LA from City Terrace in Unincorporated East Los Angeles. Photo by Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou

“This has been a fact finding mission for four years, we are trying to honor signatures of people who signed petition authorizing the CFA,” Cardenas told EGP.

“The county doesn’t want to honor any of our requests … they’ve ignored every request we submitted,” Cardenas said. “The county is not interested in finding a long-term economic recovery plan for East LA…”

ELARA wants Los Angeles County to continue to finance the area’s libraries and Belvedere Park as a regional park, two of their suggestions aimed at reducing the large deficit calculated in the CFA. They also asked that additional monies not previously reflected in the CFA, including what they believe is an overstated cost for Sheriffs Department services, be accounted for in the study. But, according to Cardenas, the county has said they are in no position to honor those requests.

“The CFA took at face-value the data that was presented… Our options and solutions were not only ignored by the consultant, but are now also being ignored by county,” he said.

Read this story in SPANISH: Grupo Reta la Exactitud del Estudio Fiscal del Este de LA 

Cardenas told EGP that ELARA hopes East Los Angeles residents will get the opportunity to vote on incorporation since it appears the county is not willing to put together an economic recovery plan for unincorporated East LA—the 10th largest population in the county.

ELARA’s request for the review will delay the Los Angeles Local Agency Formation Commission’s (LA LAFCO) public hearing on East Los Angeles’ incorporation, to January 11, 2012, according to LAFCO Executive Officer Paul Novak. The review is anticipated to take 45-days, however, the date could be moved again if the review takes longer, he said.

The State Controller’s office has received the request for the review, confirmed Chiang’s spokesperson, Jacob Roper. Controller Chiang supported the initial signature drive to require the CFA, but there will be no bias in the review, said Roper.

“Any review by this office would only look at the merits of the financial audit,” he said.
ELARA has paid the $25,000 deposit required to start the review.

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October 20, 2011  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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