SURPLUS PROPERTY RANGES FROM CAR TO CATTLE PROD
The Daily News of Los Angeles
Looking for a good deal on a late-model Ford Mustang, a slightly used laptop computer or 30 pounds of scissors?
Then head to Sacramento this weekend or log on to eBay for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s state “garage sale.”
In his effort to trim state spending, the Republican governor issued an executive order mandating the state dump all unnecessary assets – including office equipment, appliances, tools and restaurant equipment, thousands of scissors and nail clippers and even an electric cattle prod – much of which currently fills a 187,500-square-foot Sacramento warehouse at a monthly cost of $93,750 to taxpayers.
“Eliminating surplus property is just one way we can work together to clean out the cobwebs of government,” Schwarzenegger said Wednesday in a prepared statement. “I am calling on Californians to participate in this historic opportunity to help us eliminate the excess.”
The sale will take place Friday and Saturday at the state Department of General Services Surplus Property Warehouse in Sacramento. Most of the items came from state agencies and offices, while others were obtained through asset forfeitures.
It is a symbolic component of Schwarzenegger’s broad effort to bring cost and service efficiency to what he considers a bloated and mismanaged state government.
Earlier this month, the governor unveiled the California Performance Review, a 2,500-page report filled with suggestions for reorganizing and in some cases downsizing state government that if implemented would purportedly save taxpayers $32 billion over five years. The report is currently undergoing public scrutiny in a series of statewide hearings, with the next one scheduled for Friday in San Jose.
Consumer advocate Doug Heller of The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights in Santa Monica, said some of Schwarzenegger’s ideas for streamlining government might have merit. But he criticized the “behind-closed-doors” method the governor has employed to develop proposals like the California Performance Review.
“Democracy doesn’t happen behind closed doors and isn’t the most efficient structure, but it’s the best. That’s what makes government different than running a business,” Heller said. “I think Gov. Schwarzenegger has confused the
Fred Aguiar, Schwarzenegger’s secretary for the State and Consumer Services agency that oversees government property, took issue with that criticism. He said the governor’s goal is to stop wasteful spending and make the state more responsive to taxpayers, and added that there is nothing about that goal that is inconsistent with democratic government.
Schwarzenegger decided to hold a “garage sale” after Aguiar showed him photographs of the Department of General Services warehouse – which the former San Bernardino County supervisor discovered soon after the governor appointed him to his Cabinet.
“There were hundreds of large crates filled with government-owned goods that were just sitting here for years, gathering dust,” Aguiar said. “Everyone, every once in a while, has to clean out their garage.”
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
–The state’s Department of General Services will hold a “garage sale” of surplus property in Sacramento, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m.-noon Saturday. Available goods include office supplies and furniture, computer equipment, airplane engines, jewelry, basball cards, a forklift and a 1995 Ford Mustang with 48,000 miles on the odometer. Bids for some items can be made on the Internet at http://www.ebay.com, seller name: “californiagold2000.” For more information, log on to http://www.dgs.ca.gov
Contact the author David M. Drucker at: (916) 442-5096 or [email protected]