California currently has a $25 billion deficit. It also is the only state without a central database to track spending. Some documents are kept only on paper, not online.
So our friends at Open The Books filed 442 separate Freedom of Information Act requests in California last year. It took a subpoena, a court case, and hundreds of hours but they now have a complete line-by-line spending report.
Now we know some of the things the state and its local government units have been hiding.
In a satire worthy of the movie “Beverly Hills Cop,” the assistant police chief of that wealthy LA enclave made $716,284 in 2021, even though only 30 percent of that was in regular income. The rest was mostly compensation for unused leave.
Another 100 California municipal employees took home $439,000 or more in annual wages last year. The top 10 include two fire captains in Los Angeles and a load dispatcher at the LA Department of Water & Power. And that’s not counting the benefits, which include the almost certain odds that none of them will be laid off. Most of them worked for local governments in and around San Francisco.