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The Los Angeles City Council approved a motion on Aug. 11 introduced by Councilman David Ryu, 4th District, that will establish an inspector general’s office for land use and development. The proposed new entity, tentatively called the Office of Anti-Corruption and Transparency, or LA ACT, would have the power to oversee, investigate and subpoena city officials, with a focus on preventing corruption and increasing transparency on planning and land use decisions.
“It is beyond clear that we need more oversight in City Hall, and more accountability and transparency over planning and land use decisions,” Ryu said. “Cities across the U.S. have inspector generals that investigate and root out corruption before they become federal crimes. It’s time for an inspector general in Los Angeles.”
The motion, seconded by Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, cites a similar office in Chicago, which has 100 staff members investigating fraud, abuse and corruption. Details for the office are still being worked out. The proposed office could exist on its own or within the Controller’s Office or Ethics Department.
After the motion was approved by the City Council, the chief legislative analyst, city administrative officer and city attorney will report back on funding and the potential structure of the new Office of Anti-Corruption and Transparency. Ryu first introduced the motion on May 19 during an FBI and U.S. Department of Justice probe into corruption involving real estate development and the alleged abuse of land use power in Los Angeles. That probe has led to the arrest of Councilman Jose Huizar, 14th District, and former Councilman Mitch Englander, 12th District. Many others have pleaded guilty to charges that they were co-conspirators in a land use corruption scheme involving a city council member.
Ryu has also authored legislation to remove the power city council members have in interfering with specific development projects before the City Planning Commission. Last year, a ban, spearheaded by Ryu, on donations from developers with business before the city was signed into law.
For information, visit davidryu.lacity.org.
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