Ryu Vows to Reform Allocation of Office Discretionary Funds to put Neighborhoods First: No More Secret “Slush Funds”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 14, 2015

Ryu Vows to Reform Allocation of Office Discretionary Funds to put Neighborhoods First:  No More Secret “Slush Funds”

Ryu cites need for increased transparency and community input in disbursing taxpayer funds

Los Angeles, CA – Today, David Ryu, candidate for L.A. City Council District 4, announced in a letter and email to CD4 neighborhood council presidents and community leaders that if elected he will reform practices that have effectively converted CD4 discretionary funds into “secret slush funds for the Council Member.”  Instead, Ryu will refocus the funds on their originally intended purpose: projects benefitting the district and its neighborhoods.

As part of his reform, Ryu has committed to seeking community input on how CD4 discretionary funds should be used, and to making full public disclosure of all such expenditures. Ryu will also establish a “CD4 Discretionary Funds Taskforce” consisting of neighborhood council and community leaders.  The Taskforce will work with Ryu and his staff to identify, review and prioritize projects worthy of council office discretionary funding. 

Ryu issued the following statement in support of his decision:

“Changes in our discretionary funds process are long overdue.  These funds disburse tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars a year.  Our district’s share of this money should not be spent secretly, arbitrarily or wastefully.  We need full transparency and accountability, and we need to put neighborhoods first.

For too long discretionary funds have been treated as a Council Member’s personal ‘slush funds,’ with their uses closely guarded and protected by City Hall insiders. Instead of being used to pad staff salaries or bankroll pet personal projects, they should be used for the benefit of the community.

Under the leadership and guidance of my District 4 Discretionary Funds Taskforce, I want to follow the example of the council districts that use their discretionary funds more appropriately and effectively:  to fix streets—not throw parties and finance photo-ops.”

Council offices receive discretionary funding in several ways.  AB 1290 funds, for example, derive from property taxes collected in redevelopment areas within their districts. Other accounts capture portions of revenue from sales of public property in their respective districts, franchising fees from oil pipelines, and transportation ads placed on city bus shelters.

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