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Changes to County Government

May 28, 2000

The May 19 article, "Is More Better?" does a superb job in discussing the size of the Board of Supervisors. However, the idea that bigger government reduces cost is an oxymoron!

The 10 million residents of our county's 88 cities and 137 unincorporated communities have over 1,000 elected representatives. Our problem is not a shortage of politicians. It is the dysfunctional financing of local government. Since 1993, Sacramento has "hijacked" over 15 billion property tax dollars from California's 58 counties to balance the state's budget. Los Angeles County taxpayers lose $1 billion a year, which could be used to improve vital services and the quality of life. Even with the current state budget surplus, Sacramento remains deaf. The governor is only recommending $250 million for one time to local government. Los Angeles County's share would be $35 million.

Regarding term limits, representatives are already elected to a fixed term of office. Voters have the freedom of choice to reelect them or replace them. In my case, I defeated an entrenched incumbent who had also defeated an incumbent.

The proposal for a new, elected chief executive officer would create a powerful bureaucrat who would make unilateral decisions in private on issues that are currently made in public by the Board of Supervisors. The promise by board expansion promoters to "freeze" the supervisors' total budget is only an illusion. Every elected official needs deputies to oversee governmental departments. Without these deputies, there is no check or oversight on bureaucrats and their departments and no ability to assist a constituent who is caught in red tape.

MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH

L.A. County Supervisor

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