A spate of public corruption resignations has hit Los Angeles, with longtime county sheriff Lee Baca stepping down amidst accusations regarding jail brutality, hiring of personal friends, and inclusion in the sheriff’s department of criminal rejects from other departments. Eighteen of Baca’s deputies have been charged federally. Baca may remain with the Sheriff’s Department as a deputy sheriff, despite the fact that he is 71 years old.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power general manager Ron Nichols announced his own resignation on Thursday after failing to show how two nonprofit trusts created with the DWP’s biggest union blew $40 million dollars over the last decade. Nichols has not explained where the money went, even though he oversaw the nonprofit slush funds. Nichols also was in charge of a $162 million computerized billions system, which sent tens of thousands of inaccurate bills to customers, and grabbed cash from people’s bank accounts erroneously.
Nichols’ resignation follows a history of huge turnover at the DWP, where there have been six general managers over the last five years. Nichols is also leaving thanks to the fact that his union buddies supporter Wendy Gruel over current LA mayor Eric Garcetti in the 2012 race.
A major study by the Los Angeles 2020 Commission recently found the city falling into a state of decline, with traffic, poverty, and a “crisis of leadership and direction.”