Where’s all that neighborhood money going?

Where’s all that neighborhood money going?

An analysis of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program

Our own Leo Castaneda has been hard at work crunching numbers (in between his trips to Central and South America) to bring you our newest story and database about a special fund San Diego County Supervisors have used since 1998 — one which will most assuredly be doubled in size tomorrow by unanimous vote of the supervisors.

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What is it?

“The fund is called the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, and the supervisors all favor bumping it up from $5 million to $10 million, according to an inewsource tally of the board this month. If the increase is approved, each supervisor will have $2 million in what essentially are discretionary funds to distribute to nonprofits, cities and even county departments.”

The program has had its share of critics, who charge that the $10 million “is a publicly funded ‘slush fund’ for supervisors’ pet projects that can be used to help win them favor with constituents and get them re-elected.”

Leo took the entire history of grant data (more than 4,000 records) from the county and broke them down to find trends and patterns, even comparing the number of each supervisor’s grants to the years they were running for re-election.

Here’s one of the many things that stood out:

“The records show that 12 recipients got $1 million or more in grants from supervisors since the program began. Among those are three county departments, two capital investments within the county and one county library. That means half of the top 12 recipients of grants bestowed by the supervisors are the county itself.

With Joe Yerardi’s data-prowess, we’ve made all the grants searchable by supervisor and grant recipient.

No one has ever done this before — and that’s why we’re here.

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—Lorie Hearn
loriehearn@inewsource.org

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About Lorie Hearn:

Lorie Hearn is the founder and executive director of inewsource.