LA Weekly posted an item headlined "Jose Huizar, Los Angeles City Councilman, Pressed To Explain $1.5 Million Missing from Eastside Pollution Control Fund," detailing how Huizar convinced his ill-informed City Council pals to snatch the cash -- and spend it on Huizar's pet projects, huge staff and "street repair."
Huizar got away with it by deflecting requests from media and bloggers under the California Public Records Act asking what he did with "CLARTS" fund for mitigating pollution from a huge garbage/recycling facility on the Eastside.
Now, in a Comment to the Weekly item, Carlos Morales, publisher of The Voice Community News, explains how Huizar keeps secret his questionable fiscal behavior:
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My name is Carlos Morales, Publisher and Editor of THE VOICE Community News. I have asked Councilman Huizar for this information various times in person and at several community meetings over the past two years.
Councilman Huizar has publically stated, "There is a "MISUNDERSTANDING and MISCONCEPTION of the expenditures and balance of this account" I have asked him publically at these meetings that if he acknowledges that there is a misconception, WHY would he not clarify it to his constituents and be transparent about this non-discretionary fund.
He has been sitting on this fund and being very quiet about it. The community as a whole was not even aware of this fund until we brought it to everyone's attention.
After being promised by him personally that he would give THE VOICE Community News the information we have been requesting and never received it, I finally made the official Public Records Act Request 10 Months ago.
Later on I found out that a DTLA newspaper called "THE [GARMENT AND] CITIZEN" (A DTLA Community Newspaper that is no longer in circulation) had also made a Public Records Act Request as well.
In September 2010, Councilman Huizar was requested to attend the El Sereno NC32 Neighborhood Council meeting per the request of NC32 and stakeholders to discuss the CLARTS FUND and associated expenditures.
Two weeks prior to the meeting Councilman Huizar requested to know which questions were going to be asked. The NC32 sent him 5 specific questions to answer regarding this fund.
ANA CUBAS showed up in his place and introduced herself as the highest ranking staff member and she was there because Councilman Huizar had another engagement to attend, however she was prepared to answer any questions regarding this CLARTS FUND.
In a very short summary - She did not even come close to answer any of the questions submitted in advance and the many other questions asked by the audience that evening.
Every one in that room was in [disbelief] and even many of the Huizar faithful were puzzled by the answers coming from Cubas and the excuses of why she could not answer any ONE question clearly and concisely.
Since then, La Opinion Spanish language Newspaper, LA TIMES and the LA WEEKLY are the recent media outlets now asking for this accountability.
In the La Opinion article Councilman Huizar refers to our publication "THE VOICE Community News" has been working with his opponents. This accusation is completely FALSE and UNTRUE!
We are a community publication that reports on news, resources, events and public safety issues that impacts the lives of the people who live in El Sereno, Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights.
2 Years ago when we began to asked about these funds, I did not know who was going to run against Councilman Huizar.
I began to meet the prospective candidates who wrote to THE VOICE this past summer to introduce themselves to me and stated that they were planning to run against the Councilman Huizar in CD-14.
I told each of them as well Councilman Huizar staff back in September that THE VOICE will be hosting a "Candidates Forum" as we did during the last election period four years ago. http://thevoicepub.com/yahoo_s...
(Councilman Huizar was the only candidate that did not show up. He accused THE VOICE for the same thing back then).
Every candidate who had contacted me over the summer has dropped out of the race for one reason or another, leaving Rudy Martinez as the sole candidate running against Huizar.
I have attended a meet a greet event for Councilman Huizar this past month and will attend one for Martinez in the coming month or two.
THE VOICE has not endorsed any candidate nor do we plan to.
THE VOICE will keep whomever is elected in office accountable to the stakeholders they serve. Regardless if it is Jose Huizar or Rudy Martinez, period!
Further reading from bloggers and media outing Huizar on the CLARTS scam:
At RonKayeLA.com, a post headlined "Huizar Under Fire as Eastside Council Race Heats Up."
The Garment and Citizen article, "Grassroots Growl: Show Us the Money. Huizar Won't Say on Clarts Fund."