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Tuesday, July 8, 2008 | Will Carless has done an outstanding job of investigative journalism regarding the secretive and excessive ladling out of dubious bonuses and other financial compensation at Southeastern Economic Development Corp. I have a few questions about how this can happen in the way it apparently has:

1. How is it possible that Carolyn Smith and an agency like the SEDC, which gets its funding from taxpayer dollars, can possibly contend that how she spreads around the bucks is, effectively, none of our business?

2. Why are the SEDC board members allowing Ms. Smith to get away with such a “mind your own business” attitude and practice?

3. Likewise, why is the City Council, as the city’s Redevelopment Agency, allowing Ms. Smith to snub their requests for salary and compensation details? In Carless’ article, Council Member Ben Hueso is quoted as conceding that the council members have been told to basically buzz off. Haven’t at least five of the council members n Scott Peters, Toni Atkins, Brian Maienschein, Donna Frye and Jim Madaffer — who were deemed “negligent” for not performing their fiduciary duties in the city employee pension scandal, learned their lesson about taking such a hands-off, “oh, well” stance when it comes to managing taxpayer dollars?

If Ms. Smith is unwilling to give a detailed accounting of how and where taxpayer dollars are going at SEDC, then I think it’s well past time for the district attorney or the U.S. attorney’s office to step in and “help” Ms. Smith with the task. These kinds of financial shenanigans must stop!

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