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Archived: Choosing Chick Is Governor’s Best Decision In a Long Time

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced last week that he has appointed Los Angeles’ outgoing city controller to oversee the state’s share of federal stimulus funds.

He couldn’t have selected anyone more dedicated or more capable for the job than Laura Chick.
In her near eight years as city controller, Chick has boldly and efficiently watched over the city’s treasury, a job that has too often been ignored by other city officials.

While not always embraced by city officials and departments heads, her audits have raised important questions about how money is spent and wasted in the City of Angels. Chick has raised the role of city controller to a new height of fiscal oversight, and has inspired reforms that we can only hope will not be lost when she leaves office later this month.

Sending Chick to Sacramento to watch over stimulus spending is a smart move, one that is sure to inspire some much needed confidence from state taxpayers who have watched the legislative budget debacle, years of unfettered spending and waste, and less than admirable leadership send the state into a budget crisis never before seen.

Stimulus dollars must be used wisely and as intended. They should not be used to spark a new round of spending that will continue after the revenue is gone. Rather, the money should be used to fund one-time, long neglected infrastructure projects, true job creation and an expansion of the state’s long-term revenue through an improved economy. Funds should also  be used to offset shortfalls in some services, as provided for in the stimulus legislation, on a temporary basis.

As California’s “Stimulus Czar” (we can dream, can’t we?) Chick should insure that funds are not wasted on layer upon layer of bureaucratic red tape that often serves no good purpose other than keeping someone in a job. Streamlined efficiencies should be put in place.

We urge Chick to be sure that proper notification is provided to all potential contract bidders, and that small, minority and women business owners are included in the awarding of contracts.

As has been repeated frequently in recent weeks, small businesses employ more than 50 percent of all workers in this country. In Los Angeles, and California, small minority-owned businesses have been the engine of economic growth, even in a down economy.

Governor, we salute your choice, it couldn’t have come at a better time.