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Angeles County | Gardena

Mayor Outlines Plans to Resolve Problems

January 07, 1998

Though several financial and management problems plagued Gardena during 1997, city officials are devising a comprehensive plan to put the city back on track in 1998, Gardena Mayor Don Dear said during his annual state of the city address Tuesday.

"1997 has been a difficult year for Gardena," said Dear, addressing more than 150 members of the business community during a luncheon at the Normandie Casino. "We're making progress, but not without a struggle."

Over the last year Gardena faced a multitude of problems. City Manager Ken Landau became the subject of an investigation in the district attorney's office, which was looking into Landau's travel expenses and his hiring of a detective who Dear alleged was investigating city officials.

Landau was placed on administrative leave in October. The investigation has not been completed, officials say.

Additionally, several "ill-conceived projects left the city with an unacceptable level of long-term debt" and a current deficit of $3.7 million, Dear said. A first-time home buyers program was not self-sufficient and a city-owned insurance company had to be refinanced, which will cost the city an estimated $1.5 million annually for the next 28 years.

Dear said Acting City Manager Mitchell Lansdell has been directed to prepare a one-year budget and long-term deficit-reduction plan to balance the budget by June 1999. He said the City Council also hopes to implement a proposed economic development plan by March 1.

"Much of the Gardena establishment were wrong," Dear said. "Wrong in supporting bad projects and poor decisions. . . . We must balance the budget and reduce our debt. These are not political positions, they are statements of fact."

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