L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe had nearly $10,000 worth of taxpayer-funded security work done to his home over the last three years, records obtained by the Weekly show.
Now, if you ask us, it's really no big deal. Supervisors, the five powerful politicians who each represent 2 million people and who rule over a $23 billion-plus annual budget, have their homes reviewed for security measures annually. As a matter of policy, the county covers the cost of their home security.
And in this case, some of that money was spent after a "perpetrator" was discovered in Knabe's driveway and after he received threatening messages in his mail, a spokeswoman told us.
Yet the Los Angeles Times over the last month has made a huge thing out of similar security improvements made to the home of fellow Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in the fall.
The paper's first of several stories on the matter put the taxpayer cost at $10,000 and noted that Ridley-Thomas had personal items such as air conditioning, a fridge and a television installed by county crews at the same time.
But two weeks after the October installation Ridley-Thomas reimbursed the county for the items and the installation, as he had agreed to do.
Subsequent Times stories hammered the politician for electrical wiring, wall installation and a trench that were part of the security upgrade - all things recommended by the county's experts.
A reasonable explanation for why the wiring, wall work and trench were needed can be found here.
It turned out Ridley-Thomas' upgrades - to a converted garage that had become his home office - were legit on paper and arguably within the parameters of what other supervisors have had done. Taxpayers were billed $6,239 (not the $10,000 figure originally cited by the Times) for the work and materials.
The paper has cast doubt on the improvements, however, via no less than six stories. Two reporters have been covering what we've come to call Garage-gate.
The Times itself acknowledged that fellow Supervisor Gloria Molina had $7,406.72 worth of taxpayer-covered security work done to her home in recent years.
And now there's Knabe.
Most of the work on his home was done in 2011, with a few hundred dollars spent after that, for a grand total of $9,775.86. That's, uh, carry the one, more than what was spent on Ridley-Thomas' place. (Actually it's more than $3,500 more).
We noticed among the Knabe-related receipts and invoices very controversial items related to - gasp! - wiring and electricity.
The Times continued to focus on Ridley-Thomas' garage as recently as Wednesday, when it published a story in the print edition that said the D.A.'s office was probing a complaint about the structure.
Interestingly, a county spokesman told us that the Times has had the same information we do - records about Knabe's own $9,775.86 security work - since Monday. Yet there's been nary a peep about this taxpayer-funded expense.
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