Los Angeles Councilwoman Laura Chick, running for city controller in the April 10 primary, is well-prepared by eight years on the council for a post that is taking on larger responsibilities and a higher political profile under the new City Charter. The Times endorses her candidacy.
The current controller, Rick Tuttle, has run the office professionally and capably through four terms but is now termed out. Chick has promised to build on Tuttle's accomplishments, which include a close watch on city officials' personal spending and detailed, often critical, financial audits of city departments.
Under the new charter, the controller's old bookkeeping and auditing responsibilities remain, but so-called performance audits are added and could be wide-ranging: Is trash, including street trash, being collected efficiently citywide? Is the Los Angeles Department of Airports getting too little for what it spends on consultants? Is the Harbor Department properly mitigating the impact of the Port of L.A. on surrounding neighborhoods? These are all inherently political performance questions, though certainly fair answers and recommendations can be reached.
Chick, who is chairman of the Council's Government Efficiency Committee, has a good grasp of the interplay between fiscal and political decisions. And though she is clearly running for this office because she is termed out on the City Council, she musters good enthusiasm for becoming controller. Her proposals include greater transparency and public access to city financial records as well as better collection of what is owed the city, such as private insurance repayments for emergency medical services.