12/13/2011 by Richard Raya
Duplicate land use plans illustrate need for transparent, accountable government
You know the system is broken when the city and school district begin developing the same piece of land, but for different purposes. And, in Los Angeles, this is exactly what happened.
The Los Angeles Times reported this week that the City of Los Angeles spent $600,000 on a new park before it figured out that a new school was slated to be built on the same lot. For their part, LAUSD officials say they did “exhaustive research into potential school sites” but didn’t seem to notice people building a park.
"Sad," said Robert Garcia, executive director of the City Project, which advocates for more parks in low-income neighborhoods. "This shows that government doesn't work in L.A. … in a rational world, people would coordinate."
The California Forward Government Performance and Accountability Act (GPAA) intends to bring exactly this rational approach to local government, so that cities coordinate with schools, and schools coordinate with the county, via a Community Action Plan. The idea is that all of our local governments are part of the same continuum of services, and they work best when they collaborate toward common goals. These goals and a collaborative plan would be documented in the Community Action Plan for public review and accountability.
With the GPAA, not only would local governments be able to leverage dwindling resources, they would also provide better services. In cases like the Vernon Branch Library Park, this is all the public wants to see.
To read the full LA Times story, click here.
Richard Raya is CA Fwd Policy Director