Los Angeles: The City of Fees and Conflicts of Interest
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The City of Los Angeles has created a new job one councilman says will require somebody "willing to be gutsy and make enemies in City Hall." Will the Inspector General of Collections also make enemies of people and companies who owe some $541 million in unpaid taxes, fees and traffic tickets? Also, one of Mayor Villaraigosa's high-level employees is under investigation for conflicts of interest. On our broadcast of today's To the Point, after three years, prosecutors are just beginning to look at the ongoing housing crisis from Wall Street to California.
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City Housing Commissioner Faces Scrutiny for Alleged Conflicts ()
District Attorney Steve Cooley is investigating possible conflicts of interest on the part of the chairwoman of LA Mayor Villaraigosa's housing commission, which grants roughly a billion dollars in federal rent subsidies to needy families. Beatriz Stotzer also works for developers of low income housing, which receive the subsidies in the form of Section 8 vouchers. She is the president of one such developer, which manages apartments where two of her sons live. The story was first uncovered by CBS2 News, where David Goldstein is an investigative reporter.
Note: We contacted Ms. Stotzer's office, but she did not respond to requests for an interview.)
- David Goldstein: KCBS/KCAL Television
Los Angeles: The City of Fees ()
The City of Los Angeles has furloughed some workers, laid off others and cut services to get rid of a deficit once set at $450 million. At the same time, it's failed to collect some $541 million in unpaid debt. Billing problems have turned up in audits by the elected City Controller, Wendy Greuel, and now the City Council has created a new job, Inspector General of Collections. We hear from Greuel and from the only council member to vote against the new position, Dennis Zine from the San Fernando Valley.
- Wendy Greuel: Los Angeles City Controller, @Wendy_Greuel
- Dennis Zine: Los Angeles City Councilman, @dennispzine
Defense Department Eyes SoCal for Big Bomber Contract ()
Defense contractors used to dominate the economy in Southern California, but in recent years they've moved operations to other states. Now, as Congress and the Obama Administration talk of reducing Pentagon spending, another big project may be in store for the Mojave Desert. W.J. Hennigan reports for the Los Angeles Times.
Three Years Later, the Housing Crisis Continues ()
Three years after the housing market began to collapse banks own more than a million homes due to foreclosures, with another million on the verge of repossession this year and millions more in years to come. Economists call it a "glut" that's extending the housing crisis and pushing down prices. In several states, attorneys general say they're trying to rebuild public confidence in the home loan industry by going after banks and lenders for fraud. Could criminal convictions restore public confidence or is it already too late?
- Michael Troncoso: California Attorney General's Mortgage Fraud Strike Force
- Mark Calabria: Cato Institute
- Joshua Rosner: 'Reckless Endangerment'
- Matt Taibbi: Rolling Stone, @mtaibbi
Which Way L.A.? is made possible in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, which supports study and research into policy issues of the Los Angeles region.
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