Accounting for the Ditch

April 27, 2010 at 1:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Those of you who have followed Lincolnite for a while know that I’ve long been critical of the Antelope Valley Project. I like parts of the project—and someday I may even learn to love the project as a whole—but certain aspects of the AVP have bugged me. Add to that list: the lack of accountability for taxpayer dollars, costing us millions extra. That’s not acceptable, particularly since many of the factors that led to waste—such as the complications associated with getting many different government partners to play nicely with one another—were eminently foreseeable.

I’m particularly dissatisfied with the response from Joint Antelope Valley Authority Chairman Glenn Johnson and Mayor Chris Beutler. Their public comments in reaction to the audit seem dismissive. Mayor Beutler said, “Leadership demands that we don’t abandon progress simply because we can’t achieve perfection.” Don’t give us that load of baloney, Mayor. Nobody is talking about “perfection” here (though that sure would be nice!). We expect and demand responsibility and accountability, both of which were obviously lacking at various points in the project. Quit conjuring “nobody’s perfect” straw men and instead tell us how you’re going to fix the things that need to be fixed. That, Mayor Beutler, is leadership.

In other AVP news, the roadway from P to Vine is due to open in early May. At least the project continues to move forward.

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The Comments

JT April 27, 2010 at 2:32pm

So are we thinking the accounting lapses were due to laziness, corruption, ineptitude? I didn’t get a real good sense of it from the article. The progress in our area, 18th & O, looks pretty good. They are working the rears off on the waterway crossing O St.

Mr. Wilson April 27, 2010 at 2:42pm

My impression is that we’re looking at what can generally (and perhaps charitably) be described as “honest mistakes” and “unwise decisions” rather than corruption. Frankly, it’s stuff that probably shouldn’t be too surprising on a project this large. That doesn’t make any of it acceptable, of course.

Dave K April 27, 2010 at 5:27pm

In light of this, I think we should build an arena that 1) costs twice as much and 2) will be run by someone for whom ‘perfection’ is not required when dealing with several hundred million taxpayer dollars. 

That is one of the more absurd things I’ve heard from a local elected official, and that’s saying a lot.  He would be better off not saying anything, especially considering the arena vote is right around the corner. But I’m sure the pro-arena propaganda machine will swallow and digest this inconvenient truth about publicly-run projects without much more than a whimper.

Stacy April 27, 2010 at 7:42pm

You said it better than I could.  See, I see the AVP and the Arena as pet projects, and when it comes to pet projects, protocol doesn’t seem to ever matter and repercussions are never forthcoming.  I guess we can come back in about 2 years and say “I told you so…” though I’m not fond of being a “told you so” kinda gal.

Blaine April 28, 2010 at 12:46am

...Johnson said the original $175 million price tag was a “good planning estimate.” With inflation, the $175 million would be $276 million today, he said, and by that accounting, the project is under budget.[end quote]

Using the below inflation calculators (and a few others I checked come within +/- 2 mil), I show $175 mil in 1999 as $228.6 mil today, which is damn far off from $276 mil…

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