Apr 262021

Screenshot taken 2-7-2021, Harkey should hire a social media consultant asap

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At best, Diane Harkey is completely clueless and has no self-awareness. She got herself elected Chairman of the Board of Equalization while it was in the midst of a scandal. Perhaps she felt empowered that a Judge let her out of community property in the Dan Harkey scandal before her divorce so she needed a replacement scandal?

The California Board of Equalization got blown up in 2017. It has had a long, sordid history of corruption. Diane becoming chair of it gave the partisan liberal democrats in the legislature the motivation to actually do something about its’ corruption for sure, but Harkey spoke out publicly against reforming the Board of Equalization!!!


“Overall the collecting, the assessing and distribution of taxes and fees is accurate. I think they do a good job,” Harkey said to The Times. “I think the current structure of the BOE is really very good.”

What in God’s green earth was that!?

The turmoil at the agency reached a boiling point April 13 when Gov. Jerry Brown signaled he had seen enough finger-pointing. Brown took away the board’s power to hire and approve contracts, and requested that state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra launch an investigation of the many “serious problems” identified in a recent Department of Finance audit.

“The report uncovered issues of inappropriate interference by the board that undermines its ability to carry out its core mission: the collection and administration of sales and use taxes and other revenues,” Brown wrote in a letter to Becerra.

Oh man, there it is again, blaming others.

Even the building the agency was based in has spent years in disrepair. The elected board members once had main offices on the 23rd floor of the Board of Equalization headquarters in Sacramento, but they were moved out in 2007 to make room for repair work amid safety concerns. The high-rise has a history of toxic mold, dodgy elevators, leaky pipes and shedding parts that include a glass panel that fell eight floors onto the sidewalk below. Officials estimate $40 million in repairs are needed.

The synergy between this and the failed business of Dan Harkey is staggering as I read reports about state of the failed developments that precipitated the $12.5 Million Dollar judgement. Mr. Harkey got himself sued/sanctioned by a couple of jurisdictions related to that caper.

The departure of the board members from a building where 1,800 of the agency’s workers remain has also been a point of controversy. There are currently nine lawsuits against the Board of Equalization by employees who have remained in the dilapidated headquarters. Those legal challenges and lawsuits settled with 30 other plaintiffs allege the building is making workers sick and is a health and safety risk, according to Anthony M. Perez Jr., an attorney for employees who have sued.

The state says the building is safe. Perez said that claim is wrong and hypocritical.

“When the BOE Board members became aware of the mold, they high-tailed it out of the headquarters building to a safe working environment,” Perez said in one of the lawsuits.

Beyond this embarrassment, Diane Harkey got blown up by the auditor for having her fingers in the cookie jar:

Horton, a Democrat from Inglewood, and current Board Chairwoman Diane Harkey, a Republican from Dana Point, are facing heat from the report, which questioned conferences held in their districts staffed in part with employees from the other offices.

The report said employees were reassigned from the tax auditing positions to supplement the district staffs of board members in a way that violated state rules requiring notification and approval by managers.

“Certain board member practices have intervened in administrative activities and created inconsistencies in operations,” the report said.

Although each board member receives dedicated staff and $1.5-million office budgets, the report found some board members routinely supplement their staff, taking employees whose jobs were to collect taxes and transferring them from the main office to help board members reach out to constituents.

For example, a conference last November in Harkey’s district called “Connecting Women to Power” brought in 98 board employees usually assigned to tax audit and compliance work, whose monthly salaries range from $2,384 to $8,450. The employees performed duties including “registration, parking lot duty, and break area facilitation,” the report said, adding the redirection was requested by someone on Harkey’s staff.

Yee and others said the conferences held by other board members are improper because they are promotion tools used to elevate their profiles with constituents.

Now, get ready for the usual from Diane Harkey:

Harkey concedes that there has been a perfect storm of controversies, but she maintains that the problems are being addressed, and said she thinks the current structure can be made to work.

“There have obviously been some breakdowns in policy. I think there has probably been some board member overreach as well as some laxness on the part of the staff,” Harkey said. “I think nobody is totally guilty and nobody is totally innocent.”

Oh dear Lord. How can someone who sees Bill Brough clearly be this selectively stupid. Was it the paycheck (now that she was divorced from Dan and in theory did not have access to his money)? Was it the title?

Harkey said the agency is already taking steps to address problems identified in audits, but acknowledged “fractures” in the board, and a rank-and-file staff that she described as “pretty demoralized.”

The agency has been hampered by an outdated, 40-year-old computer system and turnover among senior staff.

Let that last line sink in. Broken, dilapidated buildings, misappropriation of funds and an outdated 40 year old computer system? Mike Levin only used a portion of this against Diane Harkey in 2018. However, events that went on between 2013 and 2018 got very short shift by Levin and the DCCC. As we continue, we are going to finish the job and tell the rest of the story.

Diane Harkey’s political career has been beset by a series of awful decisions, drama and scandal. She has also distinguished herself, always having an answer and a scapegoat for everything.

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