Though the initial launch of the website was bumpy, the sites are now updated far more frequently, the design is easier to use, and generally everything is far more useful to our readers.
But most importantly, we have affirmed and reaffirmed our commitment to our watchdog role this year, and will continue to fight on your behalf for the release of public information.
Reporter Melanie Hicken, in conjunction with two Los Angeles Times reporters, Jessica Garrison and David Zahniser, have done Glendale a tremendous service by bringing to light issues surrounding an affordable housing development company, Advanced Development & Investment Inc.
The stories, which ran in both the Glendale News-Press and Los Angeles Times, detail claims that ADI bilked the city out of millions of dollars in inflated construction costs. If true, this would be particularly galling, as the projects were designed help those with lower income. A reverse Robin Hood, if you will: stealing from the poor — in the form of overpriced and shoddy work — to give to the rich.
More troubling, many of ADI's subcontractors were major contributors to current and former City Council members who signed off on the affordable housing projects. Now, we have no evidence at this point of any quid pro quo, but if it is there, we will seek it out and find it.
We are also currently ensconced in two separate fights for public information, one in Burbank and the other in Glendale. In Burbank, we are waiting on an official response for our request for records related to "pay for performance" bonuses provided to more than 50% of eligible Burbank city employees. The city has promised us an answer by Jan. 7.