Reporting Ron Jones
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Shorty after 9-11, lawmakers approved the commemorative plate to help victims’ families and anti-terrorism efforts.
They’ve raised a lot of money.
“Approximately $15 million has been raised through sales and renewals of the program,” Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Mike Marando said.
The inscription reads “We will never forget” but it appears Gov. Schwarzenegger and Gov. Brown quickly did. They raided $3 million of those 9-11 commemorative dollars to help fix the state’s budget deficit.
Can they do that?
“In statute the governor does have the authority to borrow funds from these types of programs,” Marando said.
Part of the $15 million was supposed to go toward scholarships for the children of California victims, but only a small fraction has and not a dollar has gone to scholarships since 2005.
But the DMV kept pulling on the heart strings of its customers by advertising on their website that donated money would continue to help the education of 9-11 children.
“We’ve since corrected the problem since last week,” Marando said.
“False advertisement is false advertisement, no matter who you are,” Sacramento resident Ken Fury said.
But not all the false advertisement is cleaned up. To this day there are still printed brochures promising to help the 9-11 kids.
“We’re in the process of looking to get those papers replaced,” Marando said
As far as the $3 million 9-11 dollars raided by Brown and Schwarzenegger?
“These particular loans will be repaid,” Marando said.
But a spokeswoman for the governor on Tuesday said there are no immediate plans to repay that money. Gov. Brown did order an audit of the commemorative license plate program after an Associated Press report raised issues with how the $250 million has been spent. The 9-11 plates are one of 10 the state offers.
Marando was asked if the DMV owed license plate customers an apology.
“For one sense we do apologize for the misrepresentation on our website,” he said.