CalWatchdog Morning Read – December 16

  • Report: State building modernization plan lacks oversight, behind schedule
  • Feds launch investigation into O.C. snitch scandal
  • Loophole emerges in Prop. 54 transparency measure
  • O.C. desal plant to test state’s environmental laws
  • Online review protection law goes into effect 

Good morning! TGIF. 

The $1.3 billion first phase of a project to build and modernize 11 state office buildings lacks adequate accountability and oversight and is behind schedule, according to a new report

The report, released by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office on Wednesday, identified three areas of concern. First, LAO writes the administration’s strategy “lacks basic information necessary to determine its merits, including its costs, benefits, and potential alternative approaches.” 

Second, the LAO noted the administration’s insistence on using a particular funding process that allows “the administration to establish and fund projects without legislative approval” greatly reduces legislative oversight. 

The LAO also called the construction and renovation plan “ambitious,” adding it was already behind schedule and that it is likely to become increasingly more expensive.

CalWatchdog has more. 

In other news:

  • “The U.S. Department of Justice launched a civil rights investigation of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Department on Thursday over allegations that prosecutors and deputies withhold evidence and use jailhouse informants to illegally obtain confessions,” reports The Orange County Register

  • “California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 54 last month, commanding the Legislature to be less sneaky by requiring 72 hours of public exposure for measures before their final votes. … The rules’ potential loophole is that they don’t require a 72-hour wait before a bill’s first floor vote in its first house by defining a bill’s “final form” – the words of Proposition 54 – as the version presented for a floor vote in the second house.” The Sacramento Bee has more. 

  • “Poseidon Water hopes to help quench Orange County’s thirst, but first the company’s proposed desalination project must slake a thirst of its own. … But if Poseidon has its way, the $1-billion desalter it wants to build next door will simply take over use of the power station’s old intake pipe, which reaches roughly a quarter-mile into the ocean and is big enough for a tractor-trailer to drive through. Whether regulators allow Poseidon to do that will be the first major test of new state rules,” reports the Los Angeles Times.  

  • “A bill that makes it easier for people to leave reviews on websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor without fear of being sued by businesses for sharing their opinion has become law,” writes The San Diego Union-Tribune


  • Gone till December.

Gov. Brown:

  • No public events announced.

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