If you've ever wondered about your neighbor's pickup truck having a city seal on its doors, you have only to turn to L.A. Controller Laura Chick's latest cry of outrage to learn of the expanding armada of city cars that are parked in employees' driveways. Chick's audit charges that "a total of 1,131 vehicles, with
a purchase cost of approximately $27 million, are authorized for home-garaging."
"Home-garaging" -- that would be your neighbor's pickup. It would also
be your other neighbor's Prius, for L.A. has increasingly been
purchasing more fuel efficient -- but more expensive -- hyrbrids to
replace the gas gluttons in the fleet, such as Crown Vics, Highlander
SUVs and LeSabres.
The Chick lit on take-home cars, with its conclusion that "the
and, we're sure, later on TV. However, it's a recurring story that reliably
stokes anger but then fades away. The last time the flag was raised on
this issue was two years ago when City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's wife
crashed a city-owned SUV she had no business sitting in, let alone
driving. Then everyone suddenly got interested about all those city cars and who was driving them. Interested for a while, anyway.
Almost exactly a year ago, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed saving money
by cutting most of the 229 cars in City Hall's executive car pool, but
ran into green arguments by City Council members that if city execs (themselves included) and off-duty cops gave up their fleet hybrids, these drivers would
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just climb into their own SUVs and do more damage to the environment.
Chick's audit does not propose a way to concile the two side of this
debate, which means it will probably vanish as a topic by the next news