A critical examination of the TOAV’s ‘Transparency Report‘ (September 22, 2015)

Comments at a Town Council meeting

My name is Greg Raven, and I live here in Apple Valley.

The August 11th Transparency Report is defective in several ways. In fact, it demonstrates such a level of either incompetence or deceit that whoever compiled the report should be fired, and whoever accepted the report as valid should be deeply embarrassed.

Page 2 of the attendant Powerpoint presentation says in part that the report was created at the Council’s request, To demonstrate transparency in the Town’s acquisition efforts of Ranchos. Yet by page 5 of the Powerpoint presentation, we see that there are several categories of other expenditures included, which tells us that this report is not responsive to the Council’s request.

Page 4 of the Powerpoint presentation reads in part, No expenditures have occurred during the month of July. Apparently, that excludes payments to El Dorado Broadcasters, and presumably to any other payees the Town doesn’t want to disclose.

Page 18 of the Powerpoint presentation shows a stack of 17 boxes. The Transparency Report assures us that these are actually 22 boxes, which were turned over as part of a public records request. In fact, the requestor received neither 17 nor 22 boxes, but 21 boxes, which demonstrates that the person or persons who compiled this report can’t count.

Turning to the Report itself, we see that there is an amount budgeted for the acquisition effort, but somehow there seems to have been no vote on this budget, and neither does this category appear in either the proposed or adopted Town budgets for fiscal year 2015-2016.

Also in the Report, we see an attached Request Log for public records for 2015. Among these are several requests for public records that have nothing to do with the Ranchos acquisition, but rather seem to be requests made by persons on the Town’s enemies list. This includes me, because I called to ask when a document, which was presented at a Town meeting, would be available on the Town’s website, as they normally are. That phone call supposedly cost the Town $40, even though it was not a formal public records request, and that same document eventually appeared on both of the Town’s websites, as it should have.

Next, if we total up the costs shown for preparing responses to the public records requests, we find that it is different from the total derived from page 1 of the Schedule of expenditure details. This is yet another demonstration that those in the Town’s finance department either can’t add, or can’t transfer numbers from one page to another without becoming flummoxed.

Finally, when we look at the total given for preparing responses to the public records requests, we see the reason it had to be fraudulently inflated: The sum needed to be larger than the contract for the Town’s PR firm, so that the Town council members have a pretext for expressing shock at how much money is being spent, when they are not the ones spending it. Why the Town government needs a PR firm to convince residents of the wisdom of a decision the Town council says it has yet to reach, is a discussion for another day.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.

Addendum:

I wish I’d spotted this before, but at the April 28th, 2015, Special Presentation by the Town of Apple Valley regarding the hostile takeover, Council Member Art Bishop asked if the PowerPoint presentation from that meeting would be available. He was told it would be. Thus, I was not the one who requested it, that would have been Council Member Bishop. I was just calling to find out if it was available yet, and where it might be found. In their haste to smear those on their enemies list, Town staff attributed this request to me, and reported that I was responsible for having cost the Town for producing this file on-line.