Southern California -- this just in

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You're paying for $50k cars for county employees

July 11, 2008 |  3:39 pm

Pimp_my_ride Talk about pimping your ride. According to a story in the Daily News, dozens of L.A. County officials drive the kind of luxury cars the rest of us have to fake a test-drive in order to enjoy:

At a time when many Los Angeles County residents are grappling with the squeeze of an economic downturn, dozens of top county government officials are tooling around in "unjustified luxury vehicles" costing taxpayers as much as $50,000 each.

More than 1,400 county workers are given take-home cars, even though some don't have official authorization to drive them, and at least 30 employees aren't paying the required taxes on the vehicles.

Meanwhile, county employees were involved in 1,852 accidents in their take-home vehicles over the past few years -- with 830 accidents in 2005-06 alone that cost taxpayers $6.7 million.

The info comes from a grand jury report. The city's response?

"We are meeting with the CEO next week to go over all the recommendations by the grand jury and then we'll develop a response to those recommendations," Auditor-Controller Wendy Watanabe said.

Almost makes you want to run for office. The full story is here.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo: Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times