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October 18, 2007 - With the billions of dollars of state funds spent in recent years or available for expenditure (from existing bond funds) for land acquisitions for resource conservation purposes, it is important that the purchase price of these acquisitions be supported by a sound appraisal process. However, our review found that the quality and objectivity of state resource-related appraisals are impeded by both a lack of comprehensive standards and insufficient independence of the appraisal function from the land-acquiring agencies. We also found that limits on the public disclosure of appraisal-related information make public and legislative oversight of resource acquisitions difficult. In this report, we make several recommendations to improve the appraisal function for resource acquisitions, ultimately to protect taxpayers from being overcharged in these transactions.
October 4, 2007 - Presented to Assembly Special Committte on Water Hon. Lois Wolk, Chair
March 28, 2007 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources
March 27, 2007 - To promote conservation of its natural resources, the state has created a number of conservancies to acquire and protect undeveloped land within specific geographic regions. In 2000, the Legislature created one such conservancy for the Baldwin Hills area of the Los Angeles Basin, which is scheduled to sunset on January 1, 2008. As statute requires, this report reviews the conservancy’s progress and considers the merits of extending the conservancy’s sunset date. We find that, generally, the conservancy has operated in a manner consistent with its statutory role, and while the conservancy has made progress, more remains to be done to meet statutory objectives. We recommend extending the conservancy’s sunset date by five years, preceded by a sunset review of its performance and its relevance at this later time to the state’s overall conservation goals.
March 26, 2007 - Presented to Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection and Energy
March 26, 2007 - Presented to Assembly Natural Resources Committee and Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources
March 15, 2007 - Presented to The Environmental Justice Advisory Committee on Implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006
March 13, 2007 - Presented to Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife
March 13, 2007 - Presented to Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water
March 7, 2007 - Presented to Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources
March 6, 2007 - Presented to Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife
March 5, 2007 - Presented to Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 2
February 27, 2007 - Presented to Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water
February 21, 2007 - On numerous occasions, the Legislature has stressed the fundamental role that management of data—including permitting, enforcement, and water quality—plays in assisting the State Water Resources Control Board carry out its mission. Legislative oversight of the board’s information technology (IT) projects is critical, as we find that the board has been developing information technology systems outside of the budget process and that the board lacks an up-to-date strategic plan to guide its IT activity. We make a number of recommendations to provide the necessary oversight.
February 21, 2007 - The budget proposes $473.6 million across eight state agencies for the CALFED Bay-Delta Program in 2007-08. We recommend tying the use of performance measures (currently under development) to the budget process, and raise concerns about a number of CALFED’s budget proposals. Specifically, we find that the funding proposal for the South Delta Improvements program is premature, matching funds are lacking to allow the surface storage feasibility study work to practically proceed, and that the budget inappropriately proposes bond funds to replace water user funding contributions that have run out to support a conservation planning effort that benefits the water users.