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The California State Auditor is out with a report citing charges by the executive officer of the State Lands Commission that San Diego officials allegedly used unspecified state funds in improper ways.

The report, released yesterday, says that bad management of state lands has cost taxpayers millions of dollars, adding:

“The commission appears to have taken a reactive approach to carrying out its oversight responsibilities of granted lands by only responding to allegations of improper use of funds rather than proactively identifying and preventing misuse through periodic monitoring.

“According to the commission’s executive officer, in the past, the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Diego, as well as Orange County, were alleged to have improperly used funds generated from granted lands.”

“For example, in the case of Los Angeles, the executive officer indicated that the commission was alerted to the potential misuse of public trust funds by the Steamship Association of Southern California, which alleged that the city of Los Angeles was using funds generated by the Port of Los Angeles for projects unrelated to the port.”

In a response to the auditor’s recommendation that the commission “establish a monitoring program to ensure that the funds generated from granted lands are expended in accordance with the public trust,” the lands commission staff says:

“There are more than 300 statutes granting public trust lands to approximately 85 local governments throughout the State. These statutory trust grants include some of the State’s most important major contributors to the local, state and national economies, including the Ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and San Diego.

“The Commission currently has one staff position assigned to overseeing the management of these state lands and revenues by these local entities.”

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