Golden Hill CDC Late to Submit Audit for MAD Funds

For the second straight year, the Greater Golden Hill Community Development Corporation has failed to submit Golden Hill maintenance assessment district audits to the City on time.

The audit was due last December. Now, eight months later, there is still no sign of audit and Golden Hill residents are beginning to grow irate over the management of their MAD. The complaints, however, are not new. The feud between those residents who oppose CDC's handling of the MAD, and the CDC has lasted for years.

Today, city councilmembers discussed whether to renew the contract for Golden Hill. Before they did so, they heard from Golden Hill residents and from CDC board members.

"Do not award contracts until the audits are provided," said Golden Hill resident Barbara Houlton. "Many community organizations have asked for the audit. But, it has never been made public."

Paul Broadway, the new president of the Greater Golden Hill CDC admitted to financial issues within the organization during public comment, at least at first he did.

"I've only been here for four months. We are trying to untangle ourselves and get out of a bad situation that happened through an overestimation of revenue. Some monies were inappropriately spent," admitted Broadway.

Later, councilmember Todd Gloria asked Broadway to clarify.

"I didn't mean to say that," said Broadway. "It was actually our fiscal partners, where [restricted] funds were used. The MAD funds were never in jeopardy."

After some discussion, councilmembers decided to delay renewing the contract until the CDC submits the audit. Broadway, however, said the audit will be completed in less than 30 days.

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the Golden Hilll MAD is a disaster. I live in Golden Hill. It costs me money and does NOTHING that I want.

Finally! I can hardly believe my eyes: The council actually DELAYED a decision pending an audit from the CDC!!! This seemingly small step is a HUGE victory for all of us residential Davids who have been asking the GGH-CDC and City Goliaths for audits and appropriate management of the ill-begotten MAD since its "passage" 4 summers ago. The CDC has gone through about 4 executive directors during that same amount of time; the legitimately elected MAD oversight board representing both zones and diverse types of owned property, was disbanded by the CDC board; there were problems with the landscape company paid with MAD funds; disagreements about expenditures for planters; any maintenance seems to be solely in business/commercial areas; and now there's some talk (not confirmed as of today) by the South Park Business Association of collecting trash from businesses paid for by the MAD. Guess who ultimately pays? All of us residential taxpayers who are taxed without any elected representation. I am hopeful the Council sees the light.

As for talk about commercial trash collection for some South Park businesses, I emailed Ben Verdugo, program manager for the MAD. This was his response:

"The Clean, Green and Safe Program will NOT provide commercial trash pickup for South Park businesses – Especially when the majority of assessments that fund this district are from residential properties. We provide services that benefit the whole community of Greater Golden Hill, not just those who are on the major thoroughfares."


Bright lights form new attitudes. From the South Park Business Group minutes, July 12 posting (quote):

"MAD – Additional Pots ready to go but city needs to finalize approval first. Thanks to them for steam cleaning the benches and trashcans for the Old House Fair. Ben Verdugo ... available to answer questions. Can they pick up our trash?! From message from Ben Verdugo after the meeting: Working on the feasibility of commercial trash collection, per everybody’s concern at the meeting yesterday morning. I will keep you posted.”

And yes, I guess the MAD supports the Old House Fair too.

One speaker pointed out that quite a few residents are assessed too much but that city staff member Luis Ojeda refuses to consider any downward adjustments. Todd Gloria asked Ojeda if that were true, and he said no. No attempt was made to gain evidence that supported or contradicted the claim. But it will come out!

Thank you for keeping people informed about what goes on in city council, and how our Golden Hill MAD is handled. We need to know. In its four years of existence, the GHMAD has done nothing for us though we are forced to pay them for its "services" to us.

"The illegally formed Golden Hill MAD should cease all activity and expenditure immediately. The court ruled that the city has no business taking money from us, for a MAD that THEY voted in for us. The Golden Hill homeowners did not approve this MAD, nor is it even just that the city asks us to pay a second time for services that our property taxes already cover. The MAD's unethical attachment to our property tax bills further shows it for what it is: a naked end-run around Proposition 13 - and the law. The city has shown no respect whatsoever for the rule of law. They thumb their noses at the courts like petulant children, with the lame delaying tactics of their groundless appeal. They are willfully working against our best interest - ruling us, not representing us!

Further, the MAD funds have been mis-appropriated by the CDC (e.g., spent on their own marketing with flyers and billboards), in direct violation of the approved budget in the Engineer’s Report on which the MAD was formed. If the court decision weren't reason enough, these actions are certainly grounds for shutting the operation down immediately, and refunding the money to the homeowners." (helping a friend who couldn't get posted),

I and my neighbors are still mad as hell that the City forced this MAD upon us. It has been poorly run and mishandled, and we feel robbed. Get the CDC out of our money. Get the City to refund our misappropriated dollars and dissolve the MAD!!!

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