Showing posts with label Contacting City Hall and LA Sheriff's Dept.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Contacting City Hall and LA Sheriff's Dept.. Show all posts

July 7, 2014

Lakewood is correct in opposing a California Assembly resolution which seeks to eliminate the ability of cities to outsource services

The City of Lakewood is opposing this California Assembly resolution (also reprinted below as of this posting; House Resolution No. 29) which seeks to eliminate the ability of cities to outsource services, including law enforcement and fire. The problem of course is that those two services are just provided for other government bureaucracies (LASheriffs Dept.; LACoFire) so there is no threat to government unions. Don't fret Assembly Democrats. Now as for trash services and street sweeping etc, as the recent price increase in Lakewood suggests, we need to make sure there is full transparency at the city level for all services provided. Transparency heads off problems (like this Assembly resolution) but people at the city of Lakewood try their hardest to keep things "hidden" in plain view. ["oh you can always come into the clerk's office and ask to see a document"...yeah like voters have the time, energy and know how to do that...they can't even find time to vote!] All documents regarding outside contracting need to be posted on the city's website. How many times have we brought this up? What are you afraid of [Lakewood City Council] if someone sees an outside services contract? All those contracts should have a clause in them that says they are to be web posted as well as all documents that relate to the contract. Don't like that Mr. Contractor then don't contract with the city. Can you imagine how much Lakewood services would cost (i.e. taxes) if we had to pay government union level benefits and wages to all service providers? We are already paying outrageous sums to "grass cutters" for parks and center medians vs what private contractors would likely cost. This resolution is opposed by cities and of course supported by bloated over priced public unions who are bankrupting the state. This Assembly resolution needs to be And they way to do it is with more transparency.

Amended IN Assembly April 03, 2014 Amended IN Assembly March 13, 2014 CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION House Resolution No. 29

 Introduced by Assembly Member Gomez (Coauthors: Assembly Members Alejo, Ammiano, Atkins, Bloom, Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Buchanan, Campos, Chau, Chesbro, Dababneh, Dickinson, Fong, Frazier, Gatto, Gonzalez, Hall, Roger Hernández, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Lowenthal, Nazarian, Pan, John A. Pérez, Quirk, Rendon, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Skinner, Stone, Ting, Weber, Wieckowski, Williams, and Yamada)

 February 04, 2014 Relative to outsourcing public services.


WHEREAS, Public services and assets are the fabric that binds our communities together. They are also a ladder to the middle class; and WHEREAS, Faced with severe budget problems in the wake of the Great Recession, state and local governments across America are handing over control of public services and assets to corporations that promise to operate them better, faster, and cheaper; and WHEREAS, Outsourcing these services and assets often fails to keep these promises, and too often it undermines transparency, accountability, and shared prosperity and competition - the underpinnings of democracy itself; and WHEREAS, Outsourcing means that taxpayers have less say over how future tax dollars are spent and have no ability to vote out executives who make decisions that could harm the public interest; and WHEREAS, Outsourcing means taxpayers are often contractually limited to a single for-profit corporation; and WHEREAS, Outsourcing frequently means that wages and benefits for public service workers fall and the local economy suffers while corporate profits rise. The Center for American Progress Action Fund has found that of the 5.4 million people working for federal service contractors in 2008, an estimated 80 percent earned below the living wage for their city or region. For-profit corporations are three times more likely than the public sector to employ workers at poverty-threshold wages; and two million private sector employees working for federal contractors earn less than $12 an hour - too little to support a family. That is more low wage workers than are employed by McDonald’s and WalMart combined; and WHEREAS, Outsourcing means that taxpayers often no longer know how their tax dollars are being spent. Meetings and records that used to be open to the public can become proprietary information when corporations take over; and WHEREAS, The Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda is one model that may help ensure transparency, accountability, shared prosperity, and competition in the operation of public services and assets; and WHEREAS, Planks in the Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda would require governments to post information about their contracts online and require contractors to open their books to the public, ensure that governments have the capacity to adequately oversee contracts, to cancel contracts that fail to deliver on their promises, prohibit law breaking companies from getting government contracts, require contractors to pay their employees living wages and benefits, require competitive bidding on contracts that guarantee company profits at the expense of taxpayers; and WHEREAS, Recent polling shows that taxpayers oppose the outsourcing of public services and assets to for-profit companies and support these common sense controls to ensure that their interests are protected; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the Assembly opposes outsourcing of public services and assets, which harms transparency, accountability, shared prosperity, and competition, and supports processes that give public service workers the opportunity to develop their own plan on how to deliver cost-effective, high-quality services; and be it further Resolved, That the Assembly urges local officials to become familiar with the provisions of the Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda; and be it further Resolved, That the Assembly intends to introduce and advocate for responsible outsourcing legislation; and be it further Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | | Lakewood, CA A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ click here to receive LAAG posts by email

July 5, 2008

How to better your chances of getting results from City Hall

We get lots of complaints from readers about the lackluster response, if any, they receive from city hall and the Sheriff's. So we thought we would create a guide for the first time city hall "contacter". These are simple rules and if followed might get you somewhere. No guarantees but it sure will help when you use these rules and later follow up at a city council meeting on the staff's lack of response.

1. It is good to have a conversation with the city first about the issue. Try to be knowledgeable about the codes on line first before you call (if applicable) and make sure you talk to the right person and get their direct extension and full name (make sure the spelling is right).

2. Feel free to use the city's on line contact form here but have no way to track it from that system and it seems very unreliable. Many users have complained to LAAG that their so called "e" complaints "got lost".

3. If you want to use that system fine but we suggest either faxing in a letter with a summary of the conversation/complaint with the city employee after the call. The city's fax is (562)866-0505. Also if you have email use that. Get the full name and email of the person you contacted. Check the spelling. Also get the full name of the dept. head and cc them as well. Then also cc at least one council person and "" as that will make sure the request gets logged into their system via the general email system. I think all the on line complaint forms go to that address.

4. if you do not follow up the call promptly in writing I can pretty much guarantee that your "phone conversation" will be conveniently forgotten within 15 minutes as well as any responsibility of the city to follow up. You will also have no "proof" you ever made a complaint or what it was.

5. All these rules also apply doubly with the Sheriff's Department as they are even worse than city employees as far as follow up. All complaints to them must also be cc'd to the city safety people in charge of LASD so there is at least some political pressure for them to respond or take action.

6. LAAG can help route your request to the right people. Make sure you cc LAAG in your email by typing "Lakewood Accountability Action Group" in the "cc" or "to" line so that we can see the request and track the city's response or lack thereof (or lack of timeliness) with you as well. Email also helps by adding a date to the request for tracking. Also use a descriptive subject and add phone numbers and property addresses at issue. Add in the same info as you used on the Lakewood service form.

7. Always keep in mind that the less you contact city hall the happier they are. They get paid whether working on your problem or not. So quite frankly there is a lot of incentive to "loose" or ignore your request or to pacify you with some sort of a "don't bother us we are busy" type of "lip service" response, while of course being courteous. It is called the polite city brush off. Most who have dealt with the city know what I am taking about. They are also really good at not following through on anything that requires effort, thought or making people follow the law.

The main thing to remember is that city council people want to get re-elected. If they make city employees go out and enforce laws they will be unpopular and not get reelected. They don't care about the complainers just the people that get complained against.

This is why Lakewood does not enforce any codes at all. It is a so called "complaint driven system" which is unlike many "normal" cities who do things like actually enforce parking laws without resident complaints. But that is another story.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | | Lakewood, CA
A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™

click here to receive LAAG posts by email