It didn’t take long for the message in my commentary last week to resonate through L.A. County and the Department of Public Works (DPW). Once it was pointed out that the DPWs Landscape Maintenance District (LMD) was in breach of the contract and essentially was taking the LMD fees but not supplying the contracted services, action was taken quickly. By last Wednesday, crews were out on Stevenson Ranch Parkway and county signage has gone up notifying residents to expect some lane closures and possible delays.

It’s sad that pressure had to be ratcheted up in order for the community to get the services that they have been paying for but not receiving for the last two years. The service must be and has to be supplied based on the contract and if that is not happening than the Stevenson Ranch Community Association (HOA) should be doing its job in managing the LMD contract by making sure the work is being done. That didn’t happen for the last eighteen months plus until my commentary took the matter up a few notches here on this widely read community site.

Now that work is starting, it needs to be monitored to see how long it takes to be completed. The HOA should keep on top of the drought tolerant plants being installed on the parkway mediums and make sure that the rest of the community common areas are being addressed as well. It must be documented to absolutely be sure that the LMD fees are being spent in accordance with the terms of the contract.

Further, the HOA should stop spending association money on wasteful signs and instead initiate an audit of the LMD. As a resident, I for one would like to see where the LMD fees have been spent for fiscal 2015 and 2016, because little work has been done, which brought us to this point.

This entire landscaping debacle is a microcosm of what is wrong with government—it is wasteful and inefficient at best and criminal at worst. The fact that the LMD has been allowed to bamboozle the Stevenson Ranch community with a web of excuses is simply wrong—it is immoral that the LMD fees have been syphoned off over the last two years with little to show for it other than a deteriorating community esthetic. This situation warrants a full investigation and a change out of the leadership at the LMD, which is in dire need of competent managers.

The landscaping in the community must be restored to its prior level of excellence and it needs to be done in a timely matter. It’s really that simple. If the LMD can’t accomplish that mission in that next several months than they truly don’t deserve to continue with the contract. Another SCV community HOA has already dropped the DPW LMD and taken over control of their landscaping, Stevenson Ranch should start looking at doing the same.

Dave Bossert—commentary

Dave Bossert is a community volunteer who serves on a number of boards and councils. He is an award winning artist, filmmaker, and the author. His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.