At Issue: How Are Taxpayer Funds Being Used to Support City Events Run by Non Profits?
On March 5 the city council discussed an item brought forth by Mayor Al Robles to audit the Citizens Cultural Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization that partners with the city on events including the Jazz Festival, the Women’s Health Conference and more.
The city’s staff report states that “events staged and organized by the Foundation are large and highly intertwined with the City’s resources.” Because of this statement, Carson Accountability & Transparency submitted a letter making the case for an accounting of public resources, cash and in-kind, expended to support these activities.
Mayor Robles noted the City of Carson has “provided tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Cultural Foundation” and that the Foundation itself makes donations to other entities.
The audit would seek to clarify how what city resources have gone towards supporting the activities of these non-profits.
CAT believes an accounting of public taxpayer funds used to support the Cultural Arts Foundation, and all non-profit entities receiving public funds, is proper and necessary to accountability and issued a letter supporting these principles.
Councilmember Dear called for the City to be “fair across the board” and not targeting any one entity. “If it is a concern for one it may be a concern for others, said Dear.”
The item was then continued to the March 19 council meeting to be broader and include an audit of “cash and in kind contributions to non-profit organizations that help sponsor community events.”
The council ultimately voted 2-1 to proceed with a broader audit of non-profits, who would have to voluntarily comply with the city’s request. Mayor Pro Tem Hicks voted against the audit, while Councilmember Davis Holmes abstained. Councilmember Dear was absent due to illness.