23. Elaine Howle
State Auditor Elaine Howle speaks unpleasant truths. That’s pretty much her job description. A sample of her most recent: California has 12% of the nation’s population, but 28% of the nation’s homeless and 51% of the nation’s unsheltered homeless. And, local governments have issued less than a fifth of the permits needed for low-income housing. Howle reports to the Democrat-controlled Joint Legislative Audit Committee, which authorizes her audits, but she also has a sort of rotating portfolio to regularly audit state agencies. Nobody likes an auditor, and for those in state government, Howle is one of the reasons why. In recent years, she has taken her stick to whack the University of California, the Board of Registered Nursing, the Economic Development Department (a target-rich environment), mobile home park inspections, workers comp fraud, and much, much more. Last year she finished up work on the selection process by screening 30,000 applicants for California’s 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission, the final results of which will be seen in next year’s elections.
Updated Aug. 25, 2o21