One of the best reasons we can find for considering splitting California into six separate states is Orange County’s need to have its freeway work responsible to Caltrans. South California wouldn’t have a Sacramento.
Last Friday’s Caltrans document dump alerted us to their plans for two toll lanes they want built on the I-405 with our locally-collected Measure M money plus funds they admit they don’t have.
Let’s have a look at OCTA’s “partner’s” record. A simple Google search for ‘caltrans abuses’ found plenty of evidence of why these folks (and their friends at SCAG) ought to be run out of town:
January 19, 2011: California state auditor releases report on waste and fraud
Link to the 2011 Audit: Investigations of Improper Activities by State Employees
May 20, 1986: Caltrans Targets Wide Abuse of Overtime Claims
April 3, 2013 via Sen. Joel Anderson (36th District): Latest Audit Report Proves Gross Mismanagement Continues at Caltrans. His summary:
Investigations and media reports over the past three years have documented the following abuse and mismanagement at Caltrans:
- Caltrans employees average an annual salary over $100,000 yet California ranks 48th in the nation in state highway performance and cost-effectiveness
- Handing out 40 percent pay hikes over the last three years;
- Running up highway project costs (due primarily to pay hikes) by over $300 million;
- Withholding budget information from the Governor, Legislature and public;
- Keeping 1,500 Caltrans employees on payroll even though their jobs cannot be justified;
- Ordering new vehicles when unused fleets sit gathering dust;
- Billing taxpayers for junkets, including one to the exclusive Palm Desert resort
Republished in Fox & Hounds: Latest Audit Report Proves Mismanagement Continues at Caltrans
October 26, 2009: Caltrans spends millions on idle vehicles
December 21, 2009: Caltrans confirms number of new but idle vehicles
December 12, 2013: Former CalTrans manager admits to stealing from taxpayers
And not to be forgotten, Caltrans’ greatest debacle of all — California’s answer to the Big Dig: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/23/1272034/-More-Bad-News-For-The-New-SF-Bay-Bridge-Due-to-CALTRANS-Rampant-Corruption
August 1, 2014 (SF Chron): Caltrans muzzled Bay Bridge critics, report says
August 1, 2014 (SacBee): Senate report: Caltrans ‘gagged and banished’ Bay Bridge critics. Bullets:
• Bridge managers “attempted to keep many serious allegations quiet … part of an institutionalized, if not malicious, lack of transparency in the project.”
• “(T)op managers ultimately punished dissidents by either dissolving their contracts or transferring them to other assignments.”
• After falling behind the required schedule due to problems of its own making, the Chinese contractor was paid hundreds of millions in public dollars to induce faster work.
• Cracking problems might extend to the span’s iconic tower.
With this record, if Caltrans had any of their own money (i.e. not ours), we’d bet OCDA Rackauckas could shake them down for it — he’s good at that.
We should also remember that Caltrans’ ex-CEO and Assistant Master of the Universe, Will Kempton, was hired with great fanfare (even tho plenty of Caltrans’ corruption and incompetence occurred on his watch), and for a pile of money, to run the OCTA when his predecessor, Arthur Leahy (father of the fortunately unbuilt Centerline and the glacially-slow Minneapolis’ Hiawatha light rail) blew the Agency off to build his trains for LA Metro. There’s no telling how badly the corrupt Kempton poisoned the well at OCTA during his brief tenure and before he was shown the door.
Even the feckless Greg Winterbottom and the OCTA Board can look at the four videos on top of this list and get an idea of the corrupt den of thieves they’re dealing with — why don’t they start with inviting Ryan Chamberlain, Caltrans’ latest marionette on that dais, OFF their Board.