At a time when Los Angeles is running a major structural deficit, it is time to reexamine the idea of having a Little Hoover Commission look at how every dollar is spent in this city. Laura Chick has already gotten off to an excellent start in this and - as the below article shows - LA County also desperately needs its own fiscal watchdog.
County Aims Anti-Terrorism Cash at Some Unusual Targets By Charles Ornstein Times Staff Writer
March 6, 2006
Los Angeles County has spent at least $2 million in taxpayer dollars intended to prepare for bioterrorism on buffing up the health department's image, responding to unrelated health scourges and buying questionable supplies and services, a Times review has found.
When public health officials couldn't round up enough volunteers to take part in a smallpox vaccination drill, for instance, they turned to actors from an old Hollywood standby: Central Casting.
To hire extras to play the role of patients in the half-day drill, the county's Department of Health Services in 2004 paid the aptly named firm $57,045.
That's not counting what the department ponied up to thank the paid actors and volunteers: $10,000 for gift certificates, $13,600 for pens, digital thermometers and bags to hold the gifts, and thousands more for food and transportation.
And that is only the start.