THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE
Published: 29 July 2012 06:10 PM

The race for a Riverside-centered congressional seat took to the highways and byways last week.

Democrat Mark Takano lashed out at Republicans following a day of GOP attacks against the Riverside Community College Board trustee, including a roving anti-Takano billboard.

The truck-mounted billboard criticized Takano for his stance on health care. Later in the day the National Republican Congressional Campaign held a conference call with reporters to bash Takano and promote their candidate, Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione.

During the call, NRCC Deputy Political Director Brock McLeary touted Tavaglione’s advantage in cash on hand (he leads Takano by roughly $200,000 in that department)

Takano issued a statement that slammed Tavaglione and Republicans for “lies and distortions” and waging “a negative, dishonest effort that ignores the issues local families face every day.”

Takano and Tavaglione are running to represent the 41st Congressional District, which includes Riverside, Moreno Valley, Perris and Jurupa Valley.

AUDITS ABOUND

As officials in San Bernardino grappled with whether to seek bankruptcy protection, it became known this month that the city is being audited by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

San Bernardino gets federal funds through the agency’s community block grant funding program. And while city officials have admitted to routinely borrowing from restricted fund accounts to shore up its general fund, Jim Morris, chief of staff to the mayor, said HUD funds were not among those tapped.

Morris said he had no reason to think the audit was anything other than a periodic review conducted by the agency. But a review of the HUD Office of Inspector General’s audit would appear to indicate there is no such thing.

“We identify audits through discussions with program officials, the public, and Congress; conducting audits; and reviewing proposed legislation, regulations, and other HUD issuances,” an excerpt of the plan reads. “We also conduct audits that HUD and Congress request, as well as those identified from our hotline.”

A spokeswoman from the Inspector General’s office say audits can vary widely in length, but typically take six to nine months to complete.

HUD is not the only outside agency looking into the city’s finances. The California Department of Finance is auditing the city’s use of Economic Development Agency funding it has provided, according to a report to the council last week from interim City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller and Finance Director Jason Simpson.

They told the council that they anticipate other state and federal agencies may also initiate audits and the city “welcomes these reviews and looks forward to the findings to help put the city’s financial house in order.”

LONDON WATCHING

Labor Day is the traditional start for legislative and congressional campaigns on the November ballot. But some candidates are already hitting the airwaves.

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