[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
60°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 19
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]


Commentary by George Runner
| Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015
George Runner

George Runner

If a recent study to determine the safety of 29 state-owned buildings tells us anything, it’s that the state is a terrible landlord. In fact, it may be time for government to get out of the building-owning business.

It shouldn’t take an act of the Legislature to get the state agency in charge of building maintenance to do its job. Without last year’s successful legislative push by former Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, it’s highly unlikely the Department of General Services would have commissioned the study by Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum.

A key reason for Dickinson’s legislation was the troubled state Board of Equalization’s headquarters at 450 N St., located a few blocks away from the site of the new Sacramento Kings arena.

For years, the 24-story BOE tower has been plagued with water leaks, sewage leaks and mold. Since 2012, scaffolding has ominously surrounded the building to protect pedestrians and employees from falling glass. The repairs will cost an additional $40 million on top of the $60 million already expended.

The study identified 11 state-owned buildings in worse condition than the BOE building. The worst is the 51-year-old State Resources Building in downtown Sacramento, which holds more than 2,300 state workers. The building is in such poor shape that the report calls for $148 million in spending this year to address deferred maintenance and safety concerns.

Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters observes that, unlike state facilities, most privately owned office buildings in Sacramento – even older ones like the Citizen Hotel – are well-maintained in order to attract tenants.

BOE tower

BOE tower

In the short term, the study may spur some catch-up maintenance, but in the long run the same problems are likely to reappear because the study fails to diagnose why the state takes such poor care of its buildings.

Walters offers one possible explanation: “With captive tenants, no competition, no bottom line and uninterested political overseers, bureaucrats apparently felt no pressure to do their jobs correctly.”

Additionally, buildings are exempt from local building codes, inspections and enforcement mechanisms that cities use to crack down on deadbeat private property owners. Penalties range from fines to jail time. But not for government; the state gets to play by a different set of rules.

Finally, there just isn’t much incentive for politicians to spend money on buildings. Building maintenance isn’t a sexy issue, and it’s going to lose nearly every time when competing with popular programs for limited funds. Most lawmakers prefer to spend public dollars in ways that communicate they’re tackling major issues for the voters who elected them.

Case in point: Despite receiving billions in surplus revenue, the governor and Legislature chose not to tackle the state’s facility problems in the record $115 billion state budget approved in June.

The neglect of government-owned facilities isn’t a new or partisan issue. Democrat and Republican lawmakers are equally responsible for the poor condition of many state-owned buildings.

The federal government has problems managing its buildings, too. In 2012, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that 77,000 empty or underutilized buildings may cost taxpayers $1.7 billion a year. Although some steps were taken to address the problem, the GAO warned again this year that “the underlying challenges remain.”

Given its poor track record, the state ought to reconsider whether it should own buildings. Rather than build new buildings or try to repair existing ones, the state should lease the space it needs from private-sector firms who know how to take care of their property.

A government that does few things well should probably stick to doing a few things. And clearly taking care of buildings isn’t one of them.

 

 

George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a taxpayer advocate and elected member of the State Board of Equalization where he serves as Vice Chair. For more information, visit boe.ca.gov/Runner.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

14 Comments

  1. I love this: “A government that does few things well should probably stick to doing a few things.” Though not probably, absolutely!!

  2. Bradley says:

    Runner’s attack on government efficiency is laughable; he is also part of the problem in government. I question whether Runner read the independent report. Or, as seems obvious to one who had read the report, whether Runner ‘piggy-backed’ a SacBee report critical of the same institution he is part of. Scam artist STATE senator Runner (not even a real Senator) focuses on the negative, proposing a solution that force taxpayers to lease office space from private corporations with regard to state occupied space. The state would also lose its real estate assets. The long-term cost is pricey when compared to improving the existing system. Improving the existing system is a sensible solution a smart leader, not void of creative ideas, would propose. But I would expect no less from a coward who exploits a victim’s name to further his political self-interests. Runner’s Jessica’s Law is a failure. And much like the claim in this article, this clown continues to juggle his circus act. Runner relies on your ignorance.

  3. Cathy says:

    Bravo Bradley, I agree with you.

    • Bradley says:

      Thanks, Cathy. Notwithstanding the strange vibe from scam-artist politicians George and Sharon Runner, each person could put more thought into whom one votes into office. With no experience relating to the BOE’s ‘mission’ — and degrees from third-tier colleges — George Runner is not qualified (as explained above: it shows). The BOE’s mission “[I]s to serve the public through fair, effective, and efficient tax administration.” Yet Runner is using the BOE’s website in matter unrelated to its mission. How does Jessica’s Law relate to the BOE? Not only does George Runner overtly exploit taxpayer-funded resources for self-interests; but he also has the nerve to use the BOE’s website to propagate his wife’s interests (Sharon Runner has nothing to do with the BOE). Imagine how the Runners use/exploit OUR resources behind closed doors!! Two links: (1) http://www.boe.ca.gov/runner/newsreleases/RunnersOpposeCourtDecision03022015.htm (2) http://www.boe.ca.gov/runner/newsreleases/Runner_RespondsCDCR032615.htm

  4. Cynthia says:

    Ok Brad. I feel that you might have some good points. But how do you stop Sharon and George Runner when they are so good at creating hysteria so that they can get re-elected? People buy their balony like a fat kid in an Italian deli. If you haven’t noticed, this area is filled with crazy conservatives that hide behind the Bible and don’t even live by its teachings. They act clean, but have skeletons in their closets/thoughts and deny them. I get the same creeper vibe from the Runners… like they are projecting their psycho problems with their sex laws they like to scare people with. This same right-wing bloc has given us crazy nuts like Tim Donnelly. If you look Tim up, Tim Donnelly has a criminal record himself… from Michigan (he lies about his larceny conviction) to California. He even violated his probation for firing a gun. Yet the Santa Cruz DA was too weak to prosecute him. How do politicians get away with lies, fear-mongering, and double-standards yet gain votes? What can we do to fire the Runners?

  5. cool hand luke says:

    HA HA failed former politician Tim Donnelly! Actually Tim Donnelly was protected by San Bernardino County D.A. Michael Ramos. Mr. Ramos said, the Tim Donnelly probation violation “… matter is closed, and no further comment will be made. I will not allow our office to be used for political purposes.” D.A. Michael Ramos is a weak man for protecting fellow buffoon Donnelly. Had Donnelly not been someone with connections in his meth head district, he would be sent to the slammer where Tiny Tim belongs. Let’s see Donnelly’s criminal record: Tim Donnelly convicted of larceny (he hides this). Tim Donnelly convicted of trying to take a loaded gun into an airplane (he makes excuses for this, just like he blames Mexicans for his failed business). Tim Donnelly violates probation. Did any of you mention that Tim Donnelly also violated campaign finance laws? Look it up yourself. I think Donnelly’s political career is dead, which is why he is now relegated to a dying radio show that airs to prejudicial idiots!

  6. Bradley says:

    Actually, Donnelly is now fighting the mandatory childhood vaccination bill. Tim Donnelly is too stupid (or politically selfish) to realize he is putting other unimmunized children at risk. Tim Donnelly’s policies also risk the reintegration of debilitating diseases such as polio. What science has done to destroy what was once feared and widespread: the idiot Tim Donnelly wants to bring back — all because the cause fits into his hysteria-themed political career. BTW, Donnelly is now enlisting the help of B-list celebrities too! No joke.

  7. Brittany M. says:

    Tim Donnelly has B-list actor Rob Schneider’s support on all matters. Rob Schneider, the failed actor, aligns with Tim Donnelly, the failed politician. “Birds of the same feather flock together.” Tim Donnelly tried to get Jim Carrey’s support but Donnelly failed. Jim Carrey does not oppose use of vaccines. Tim Donnelly is not a smart man. Tim Donnelly is a dummy who preys on ignorant bigotry. I hope the hysteria he has created will be denounced by our children. I hope our children will look back and wonder how the hell people supported Tim Donnelly. Tim Donnelly has been wrong on every issue, creating more harm than good help. In sum, Tim Donnelly is a loser.

  8. SHULTZ says:

    Googled Tim Donnelly and saw his “Hispanic Insurgency” speech in which the fear-monger compares Latinos to terrorists. I also saw articles of him demonizing college kids for non-violent, first-time crimes. Does this Loser (capital “L”) Tim Donnelly use the weak to build mob mentality? What’s striking is he tried to court the Latin vote for his failed bid to become Governor. Burned that bridge forever! Another thing: Tim Donnelly claims to protect people from government (i.e. his vaccine petition) but yet he oppresses the rights of Hispanic immigrants -and- young first-time/non-violent offender college kids caught up in the criminal justice system! Yet Tim Donnelly has an extensive criminal record himself [1. larceny; 2. loaded gun into airport security; 3. probation violation (counts when he was protected by DA Ramos); 4. campaign finance violation]? I feel sorry for the guy’s many kids, as Donnelly supports them as an intolerant hypocrite. Now what are George & Sharon Runner hiding? Just my thoughts . . .

  9. kay m. says:

    Brittany, Tim Donnelly is a loser who ran from his troubles in Michigan. He acts tough; but Donnelly cannot take responsibility for his past crimes and convictions (instead he has made excuses). Tim Donnelly left the University of Michigan after less than one year because he couldn’t ‘hack it.’ I have a coworker who went to school with Donnelly (Donnelly transferred to UC Irvine, which is much lower-ranked than Michigan — especially then). At UCI, my colleague — who also majored in Political Science — described Donnelly as not very bright, as according to him Donnelly barely passed tests in the classes they took together. My coworker, who is a very nice man (and ironically a Republican), could not stand Donnelly even then; he described him as “arrogant” and “obnoxious.” About 30 years later, it’s only gotten worse. As for the Runners, they might not be as inflammatory as Donnelly. But like Donnelly, the Runners exploit fear and ignorance to gain votes. The shame is that the average person buys it.

  10. Bradley says:

    Kay, George “Coward” Runner proudly proclaims the following on his Twitter: “Author of Amber Alert and Blue Alert & co-author of Jessica’s Law.” George and Sharon Runner exploit these laws to their advantage. Of course, the child-protection theme fits well into the narrative of their business. Has anyone mentioned the Runners own a private school for children? Perhaps these laws buy credibility so that enrollment at the Runner’s private school increase. Consequently, the Runners can increase tuition to reflect demand. I wonder if the Runners include Statistics as part of the curriculum. Because if they did, statistics would prove Jessica’s Law more harmful to society. As you said, people tend to buy whatever political B.S. is said. And the Runners are very good at B.S. We can do good by not re-electing the Runners; they are scam artists playing us for fools!

  11. Sam says:

    I went to Desert Christian School in the 1990s for 4th and 5th grade. George Runner and Sharon Runner were only concerned of collecting tuition. I went to a good public school before Desert Christian School and scored in the 90+ percentile on the SAT 9. Desert Christian School was exempt from standardized tests. While at Desert Christian School, I was given near perfect grades. When I left Desert Christian School, I no longer scored high on the SAT 9. I felt I lost years of learning. Not until 7th grade did I start scoring well again. Desert Christian School pushes a sick god over science. Evolution and sex are sins in the Runner’s school. Teachers were not subject qualified. They even had the janitor teaching math! Check out the Yelp reviews (especially the hidden ones). The negative reviews for Desert Christian Schools are spot on! The Runners are shaming kids into becoming emotionally troubled adults.. perhaps one day perversely being subject to Jessica’s Law. If there is a God, the Runners will get KARMA.

  12. lynn says:

    maybe this couple got so much riding on the laws they wrote? if they admit the laws they wrote are failed then they admit that they are failures and who would vote for failed politicians except family & friends of theirs? they (sharon & george) have too much riding on their bad laws. their bad laws define their careers so their vested interest is to paint them as good. what annoys me is that george runner writes in spanish on twitter to appeal to mexicans & hispanics. yet he is not looking out for hispanics. no republican does. republicans just pander to hispanics without real concern. they just want the vote! that’s why i think george and sharon will one day no longer be politicians: they are fakers who pretend to like hispanics by writing spanish on twitter when they barely speak any! runners = fakers

  13. Bradley says:

    After reading Sam’s comment, I researched/read Yelp.com reviews of Desert Christian School (including the many ‘hidden’ reviews). I am appalled to the negative reviews. One Yelp reviewer said Desert Christian Schools should be sued for “malpractice.” Another review echoed Sam’s claim that a janitor taught math. I am guessing George Runner and Sharon Runner’s school figured they can save money by delegating education to the janitor? Another Yelp review said that he/she was sent into collections for unpaid tuition! Seems like George Runner and Sharon Runner care more of tuition income than families and children (though they campaign otherwise). These politicians are first-degree hypocrites and scam artists. They are self-serving, selfish people who are not honest. George Runner and Sharon Runner mislead, as we’ve seen from this article and its comments. Only as ONE can we replace these clowns who write laws heavy on emotion, void of evidence supporting efficacy. The more we dig, the more we don’t like.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017
It was 10 years ago this fall semester that we opened the Canyon Country Campus on Sierra Highway. We are celebrating a decade of academic excellence and community impact. What a difference a decade makes.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
The Trump budget proposes decreasing funding to the Department of the Interior by $1.5 billion. Trump is calling for more drilling in national parks and monuments. He plans to open BLM land to drilling and fracking.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
We are quickly approaching the culmination of the year-long celebration of our city’s 30th anniversary. It is truly a time to celebrate all the hard work, dedication, perseverance and passion that took our City from being a tiny portion of Los Angeles County to the thriving third largest city in the county.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
This month marks an exciting milestone for the premier arts and entertainment district in Santa Clarita.
Friday, Sep 29, 2017
Kaepernick has never spoken of personally experiencing any negative interactions with the police. Appearances are he had a pretty nice life provided by people with white skin while living in a country that presented him with obvious, mind-boggling opportunities.
Thursday, Sep 28, 2017
Despite its close proximity to the city of Barstow, Rainbow Basin remains virtually undiscovered. It is well worth a visit. Visitors to the area can find scenic opportunities for hiking, rock scrambling, camping, photography, sightseeing and horseback riding.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The upcoming 10-year anniversary of the Buckweed Fires offers Santa Clarita residents a reminder of the ever-present fire danger in Los Angeles County, as blazes ravage the northern half of the state, as well.
County, City Officials Reflect on 10-Year Anniversary of Buckweed Fires
Dreamation Craft Guild will be hosting a boutique at Canyon High School, Nov. 18, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. to benefit the family of John Phippen, the Santa Clarita resident who was killed in the Las Vegas shooting.
Nov. 18: Holiday Marketplace Benefiting John Phippen Family
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]
The fall 2017 Star Party at College of the Canyons' Canyon Country campus on Friday, Oct. 27 will focus on the pathways to space exploration that exist for star-gazers who are captivated by the many mysteries of the universe.
Oct. 27: Star Party at COC Canyon Country Campus
Determined to transform the deeply troubled Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to consider an independent entity that would provide guidance, oversight and accountability.
Supes Consider Entity for Probation Reform Guidance, Oversight, Accountability
Alexia Cina of Canyon Country was arrested Wednesday in connection with the death of a mother of six children in a head-on crash on Golden Valley Road on October 6.
Woman Charged with Manslaughter, DUI in Death of Mother of 6
The 22nd annual Santa Clarita Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, November 5, 2017, following the Santa Clarita Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday.
Nov. 4-5: 22nd Annual Santa Clarita Marathon Events
The Los Angeles Dodgers jumped to a 3-0 lead in the best of seven series following Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field.
Dodgers Out to Sweep Cubs in NLCS Game 4
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's 2017 Medal of Valor Awards were held Tuesday in Los Angeles, and SCV Sheriff's Station Deputy Dmitry Barkon was recognized for his bravery and heroic actions.
SCV Sheriff’s Deputy Dmitry Barkon Earns Medal of Valor
Now is the time for all good college-bound high school seniors to join the 'Race to Submit' applications for FAFSA and CADAA grants to help cover college expenses.
High School Seniors: ‘Race to Submit’ is on for 2018 College Financial Aid
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies interrupted a smash-and-grab burglary on The Old Road early Friday morning, arresting one suspect and seeking two alleged accomplices still at large.
SCV Deputies Catch Window-Smash Burglars in the Act
Pukúu Cultural Community Services, founded in 1971 by members of the local Fernandeno-Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, will host its 13th Annual scholarship gala fundraiser, "Night with the Stars," in Sunland on Saturday, November 4 starting at 6 p.m.
Nov. 4: Local Tribe Honors 3, Celebrates Native American Heritage Month
California's Attorney General today filed a motion to compel the federal government to follow the law and pay the subsidies that millions of Americans rely on to lower the out-of-pocket costs in their insurance plans.
California AG Fights to Keep ACA Cost-Sharing Subsidies
Santa Clarita business owners are encouraged to take the city's broadband feasibility study online survey and participate in the next phase of the study -- in-person focus groups scheduled for October 30.
Oct. 30: Focus Groups in Next Phase of City Broadband Study
The $17 billion "California WaterFix" project reached a tipping point Tuesday after a Silicon Valley water district voted against Gov. Jerry Brown’s approach in favor of a less expensive, scaled-back version.
Silicon Valley Water Board Wants Delta Tunnels Downsized
Maryama, a band led by CalArts alumna Maryama Mirbagheri (Music MFA 17), was recently nominated for a 2017 Hollywood Music in Media Award in the World Music category.
Maryama Nominated for Hollywood Music in Media Award
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, in response to President Trump’s recent decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, has declared Oct. 16-20 "DACA Advocacy Week."
California Community Colleges Ramp Up DACA Advocacy
COC and the Hart District will host the 2017 College & Career Fair in the college’s Honor Grove on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Oct. 21: 2017 College and Career Fair at COC
The College of the Canyons Art Gallery will showcase the work of Los Angeles-based painter Sheldon Figoten in a one-person exhibition of new paintings, “Light Fields,” opening Saturday, Oct. 28.
Oct. 28: Sheldon Figoten ‘Light Fields’ at COC Art Gallery
The Santa Clarita Artists Association held its 28th Annual Art Classic fine arts competition at William S. Hart Park's Hart Hall in Newhall on October 14.
Santa Clarita Artists Association Names Winners in 2017 Art Classic
Here is the Castaic-Val Verde Crime Information & Public Safety report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for September 25 through October 1.
Crime Blotter: Arson, Burglary, Theft in Castaic-Val Verde
California and New Mexico launched a fresh challenge Tuesday against the Trump administration’s repeal of higher royalty payments to states for oil, gas and coal leases on public lands.
California, New Mexico Challenge White House Favors to Oil, Gas, Coal
Here is the Stevenson Ranch (Zone 3) Crime Information & Public Safety report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for the week of October 2 to October 8.
Crime Blotter: Burglary, Petty Theft in Stevenson Ranch
Here is the Canyon Country East (Zone 8) Crime Information and Public Safety report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for September 24 through October 8, 2017.
Crime Blotter: Vehicle Theft, Burglary in Canyon Country East
1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]
CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP), the professional producing arm of California Institute of the Arts, opens Fantômas: Revenge of the Image at Wuzhen Theatre Festival in Wuzhen, China, on Oct. 19.
Oct. 19: CalArts’ Fantomas: Revenge of the Image Premieres in China
The CSUN women's golf team fired rounds of 306-309 and is in fourth place, just eight shots off the pace at the Pat Lesser Harbottle Seattle University Invitational at the Tacoma Country and Golf Club in Tacoma, WA.
CSUN Just Eight Shots Off Pace At Washington Invitational
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Recreation, Community Services, Arts and Open Spaces Director Rick Gould announces retirement. Plus, the Board of Supervisors approve mental health care improvements. Check out these stories and more tonight on SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Tuesday, October 17, 2017
The Advanced Technology Presentation about "Careers in the Making...Design, Engineering, Fabrication and More..." in celebration of National Manufacturing Day was a huge success.
SCV Students Gain Knowledge, Advice at National Manufacturing Day
A local company is expanding its footprint in the Santa Clarita Valley to accommodate business growth and another is relocating a division of its company from Sylmar.
Accurate Freight Systems Expands, Leases Space at IAC Commerce Center
The Domestic Violence Center (DVC) of Santa Clarita Valley is accepting applications for Adopt-a-Family 2017.
DVC of SCV Currently Accepting Adopt-a-Family 2017 Applications
Major Impact Theater, founded by Jill Garson and Shawnda Davis in 2014, is a non-profit theater group that specially adapts plays for performance by adults with disabilities in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Nov. 4: Major Impact Theater Presents Blunderland
California State University, Northridge will make history on Thursday, Oct. 26, by becoming the first California State University with a Sustainability Center.
Oct. 26: CSUN to Open Sustainability Center
Registration for the Purple Walk of Strength is now open.
Oct. 21: Purple Walk of Strength to Benefit Domestic Violence Center
Raising a child is a demanding job for any parent, especially when supportive resources seem to be elusive or nonexistent.
Oct. 22: CSUN Hosts Special Needs Resource Fair