GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009


Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
Send us your stories, ideas, and information. Insiders welcome - confidentiality guaranteed.



stories along The Way

Monday, March 31, 2014

RAP Commission vote on Crystal Springs ball fields is Wednesday

Update 4/2/14:

Long meeting, but easily passed by the Commission, unanimously.
Interesting that someone pointed out that putting active recreation for children within 500' of a freeway is against recommendations by the LA County Dept of Health. "No problem there", says the Commission with their vote. Personally, as someone who was once a child with asthma, I have to side with the LA County Dept. of Health. Enjoy deep-breathing those PM-2.5s, baseball kids.

Overall, it is worth noting that the comments and questions by the new Commissioners were not very legally, morally, or politically sophisticated, which is extremely disappointing.
 

Meanwhile, three four! of Tom LaBonge's current employees spoke in Public Comment in favor of the project, making a complete mockery of the process. Can you say 'conflict of interest'? I bet you can.

Looking forward to the lawsuit(s) about the weak EIR -- IF the community hasn't given up yet.

---



This Wednesday, the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners will be voting on whether to approve additional baseball fields into the heavily used Crystal Springs picnic area. The specifics of this issue have been discussed in a number of articles on this site - read here.

If you haven't yet weighed in on the Crystal Springs Picnic Area ball fields proposal yet, please email your comments to: 

RAP.Commissioners@LACity.org


You may use this header template to help direct your comments to this issue:

PUBLIC COMMENT

Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners meeting April 2, 2014

Board Report # 14-061 – proposed new baseball fields at Crystal Springs Picnic Area

Position: (AGAINST or FOR the project - state which you are)

Commission President Alvarez and honorable Recreation and Parks Commissioners,

Please......
.......your comments .....

Sincerely,

Monday, March 24, 2014

Grand-opening Thursday: First new LA Park Ranger Station in 35 years

The first new Park Ranger Station in Los Angeles in more than three decades opens this Thursday.

Now it would be nice if Los Angeles would actually allow Recreation and Parks to hire some full Park Rangers to man the station. Twelve Rangers are needed for reasonable coverage - they're allowing only 4 to be hired as of today.


Come on by for the grand opening and let the City know we want more Park Rangers!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

If the Public gives up

"The only way LaBonge gets to gut the picnic area is if the public gives up."

I hope the part of "the Public" who has the resources to file lawsuits on the EIR for this project understands this.

Screen shot of Mr. Abram's learned commentary to a CityWatch article regarding Tom LaBonge's proposed gutting of the Crystal Springs picnic area for more baseball fields:

Friends of Griffith Park baseball fields presser lacks

New press release from the Friends of Griffith Park opposing yet more ballfields in Crystal Springs is below.

It's pretty lightweight, quite honestly.  The loud, pro-Crystal Springs nuts claim incorrectly that those opposed to the project in Crystal Springs are NIMBYs who don't want ballfields anywhere in Griffith Park, period. 

A stronger, more strategic statement from the Friends -- themselves constant targets of the nuts in question -- would have included likely support for this project if it were located at Ferraro Fields which is in Griffith Park and far better suited to the use.

The Mayor's newly-appointed Recreation and Parks Commission appointees don't dare challenge this project and will easily pass Councilmember LaBonge's legacy project at their April 2nd meeting. Then, hopefully, come the lawsuits against an unresponsive and very weak EIR.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Yet more problems with new ballfields if built in Crystal Springs

This is from a public comment letter to Recreation and Parks Commissioners by a recently retired Park Ranger with nearly 3 decades on the job. Someone who spent almost every day on the job in Crystal Springs, where the Ranger Station is located.

Their concerns are not addressed in the EIR, and their concerns evaporate if this project is built in Ferraro.

These are those concerns:
The Crystal Springs Picnic areas are among the most heavily used areas in Griffith Park and are already filled to capacity on many weekends.

The ball field project would remove a large portion of the picnic grounds from public use. The circular road system that is there now replaced a cul de sac system which was abandoned in the 1970s because of severe traffic impacts. The ball field project would recreate the cul de sac system - it didn't work then and it won't work now due to severe traffic impacts.

The destruction of so many mature heritage trees is unthinkable.

In addition, the (Park) Ranger fire station is located in this area and this project will certainly impact emergency response times if it does not cause relocation of the facility. ...

But go ahead, Councilmember LaBonge - shove your legacy project into Crystal Springs anyway.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Van Griffith's opposition to locating new ballfields in Crystal Springs

As it stands now, Councilmember Tom LaBonge and his supporters are determined to go against much of the park-going public and displace hundreds of predominantly Latino families because he is unwilling to change the location of his own legacy project.

Worse yet,  LaBonge is willing to go against the wishes of the very family that gave Los Angeles both Griffith Park and the Griffith Observatory for the same reason.

How ugly is that?

Councilmember, put your project in Ferraro, where most people - including the Griffith Family - agree it should be.



Monday, March 3, 2014

Ballfields, Bandshell projects impacting Griffith Park to be voted on Wednesday

Update: these items are continued to the April 2nd Commission meeting. Keep sending in your public comment on these items. Link is below. 
---

On Wednesday March 5th April 2nd, the newly appointed Recreation and Parks Commission will be voting on two boutique projects from Councilmember Tom LaBonge to potentially be constructed in Griffith Park:
1. More ballfields at Crystal Springs picnic area, and

2. New Performing Arts Center (aka the Bandshell) in the Old Zoo picnic area.
If you haven't recently weighed in to the Recreation and Parks Commission on your opinion about these projects, you can do so by emailing the commission with your public comment here.


New Performing Arts Center:

This project is the baby of close LaBonge supporter and Symphony in the Glen director, Barbara Ferris. Ms. Ferris ran for the board of the Neighborhood Council Formerly Called Greater Griffith Park primarily to see this through, among other things.

The Old Zoo area is an active wildlife corridor. Per the Cultural Heritage designation for Griffith Park, this project is located within the Urban Wilderness boundary, where, ostensibly, construction is to be done only if absolutely necessary. Is this project necessary?


New Baseball fields:

Since we last discussed this project,  a number of things have become clear in recent weeks:
Pote Field on a normal day.
  • The Atwater alternative was never a serious alternative location.
  • The current predominant stakeholder group at Crystal Springs - the group who will be displaced by this project - is predominantly Latino families who are essentially picnicking, holding birthday parties, and other passive uses. Recently, the propaganda machine around this project has been at work claiming that this is not true.

    The propaganda machine is absolutely incorrect: ask anyone without a dog in the fight who actually visits Crystal Springs regularly on a nice day. I've been at Crystal Springs a couple hundred times over the past ten years for various reasons, and the consistent user group is definitely predominantly Latino families picnicking.  Most weekends, because it is so popular, Crystal Springs is completely impacted - finding any parking for anything in the area is insanely difficult.This project displaces a majority of these users, plain and simple.
  • A couple of weeks ago, LaBonge aide Carolyn Ramsay popped in to a Rec and Parks Commission subcommittee to discuss her boss's project, opening with (paraphrase): 'The Councilman has wanted this his whole life'.  And that right there constitutes the entire needs assessment on this project.
  • Finally, would the councilmember still want the project if it were at Ferraro Fields rather than Crystal Springs? Ferraro is also used by a predominantly Latino user group, but there is plenty of room to add ball fields without displacing anyone.

So why weren't the Ferraro Fields part of the EIR as an alternative site for this project? Why is Ferraro Fields verboten?

Two possible reasons flow out of all of the information and disinformation surrounding this project. One is that the area is already named for the late, great John Ferraro, so the "Tom LaBonge Ballfields at Ferraro Fields" ain't gonna cut it.

The other is much more unfortunate: Who is being displaced at Crystal Springs? Who is the dominant stakeholder group at Ferraro Fields - a stakeholder group that would not be displaced but would remain if the project was moved there?  The potential implication is ugly, but cannot be ignored.


The new Recreation and Parks Commission will likely pass both these boutique projects through for the outgoing Councilmember LaBonge and his close supporter, but the public record - and the questions - will remain.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tell City Hall: "Optimum Investment" Park Ranger option is the only reasonable option

Update 2/10/14:  At the APHAR Committee meeting, Recreation and Parks reported that they are putting just four new Rangers into the 2014-15 budget and no mention of a Chief Ranger.  Three positions are already open due to retirements so Rec and Parks is in reality adding just one new Park Ranger in their 2014-15 budget if nothing changes.

Meanwhile, the preponderance of the public comment both sent in via email and in person requested that the APHAR Committee choose the Optimum Investment option. The APHAR Committee made no recommendation but asked for a report-back from the CAO (who just loves Rec and Parks) on the cost of each option in 60 days, which is only a week or so before Recreation and Parks submits their budget for 2014-15.
---


The Dept of Recreation and Parks has released their final report on the current status of the Park Ranger Division.  The City Council's Arts Parks Health Aging and River Committee will be discussing this report Monday at 2pm in Room 1060 at City Hall.  (agenda item 7)
If you've kept up with any of the information about our City of Los Angeles Park Rangers published here and at Mayor Sam over the years, you won't be surprised that the situation is bleak.  Citywide, just twenty-one Park Rangers are left in the City, and more than half of them are grandfathered-in as non-peace officers -- an artifact left over from a crippling union agreement more than a decade ago.  There is no Chief Ranger in spite of the position being required by California POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training), who oversees peace officer agencies and training in this state.

The final Park Ranger status report being presented on Monday provides three different tiers of investment that City Council could select that would bring the Park Ranger Division back to a level of health and effectiveness:  
  • Optimum Investment
  • Modest Investment
  • Minimum Investment
Only the Optimum Investment will cover all of our larger Regional parks including Hansen Dam Recreational Area, which has a new Ranger Station and no Rangers. The cost of the Optimum Investment is just four times the current barely-breathing cost of the Park Ranger Division.


Is the Optimum Investment Option worth it?

When initially created in 2005, the Office of Public Safety had a budget of $21-$25 million, the vast majority of which (they often whined) was devoted directly to parks.  Meaning - as Park Ranger replacements.

Hansen Dam Ranger Station - nobody home.
Creating OPS saved the City $200,000 - $900,000, said the CAO. Within a few years, OPS had already added $7 million more to their budget, and I wrote about in my first article for the Mayor Sam blog. More additional funding demands followed and were granted.

Again, OPS's budget was mostly for patrolling parks, as they constantly reminded anyone listening. 

The Park Ranger position historically grew directly from the day-to-day needs in our parks. Park Rangers do 80% more job duties than Office of Public Safety officers.

Park Rangers are professional peace officers, fire fighters, wildlife managers, naturalists, and environmental managers. There is a reason that LA Park Rangers are often hired out of the department to become Emergency Management coordinators all across the City:  Rangers are professional multi-disciplinarians, giving them a broad world view other single-disciplined professionals do not have.

So in comparison, OPS at it's peak (optimum?) had a budget of over $34 million* , most of which was for parks.  Their officers did only 20% of the job duties Parks Rangers do for our parks.  Our City Council and Mayor felt this was worth investing in.

Park Rangers do 80% more for parks and the Optimum Investment option is $17 million** -- half the cost of OPS.

The analysis is pretty clear.

City Council should do the right thing: choose the Optimum Investment option.



Make your voice heard!

You can demand the Optimum Investment option by attending the Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee meeting this Monday at 2pm in Room 1060, or by emailing the City Clerk with your public comment before Monday.

Be certain you write on your comment that it is for two different files:

1. APHAR Committee meeting 2/10/14 - Agenda Item 7, and
2. Council File 12-0899-S1


* = not including indirect costs. Indirect costs are roughly an additional 45%
** = including indirect costs.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Final EIR on Crystal Springs project is out

... and page 23 says it all:  NO PROJECT has by far the least amount of impact to the area.  But that's not an option since the intent is to create an impact, of course.

I would like to see the same score sheet with Ferraro Soccer Fields as an alternative. Ferraro - the best solution to this project - was intentionally left out.

Meanwhile, the newly-seated Recreation and Parks Commission will have the final say sometime in March. Lynn Alvarez is the new President of the commission. Although easily confirmed to the commission, Mrs. Blumenfield was not selected president right away as was rumored to be imminent around the water cooler.

Link to full EIR is here. 


Friday, January 10, 2014

Hearing Monday on Blumenfield, 2 others for Rec & Parks Commission

Update 1/13/14: After talking up partnerships, all three were easily moved forward. City Council hearing is tomorrow.

Interesting part of the conversation was that there was major discussion about safety in parks. Griffith and Runyon are such jewels in the city, why is that? The answer wasn't said, but it is easy: Park Rangers patrol Griffith and respond to Runyon regularly. 

----

The City Council's Arts Parks Health Aging and River Committee will hold a hearing on the appointment of three new Recreation and Parks Commissioners this Monday.

The three are:
  • Ms. Misty M. Sanford
  • Ms. Iris Zuniga
  • Ms. Kafi D. Blumenfield
Blumenfield is the wife of current City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield.  Garcetti's office states that they do not see a conflict of interest here. If that is actually true, then why is this fact not included in the bio they presented for Blumenfield?

Link to the Mayor's bio for Sanford is here.
Link to an Ethic Commission letter regarding Sanford is here.

Link to the Mayor's bio for Zuniga is here.

Link to the Mayor's bio for Blumenfield is here.
There is no Ethics Commission letter for Blumenfield.

Compare the Mayor's bio to the .pdf from the Liberty Hill Foundation below. (Bob Blumenfield was elected to City Council last July and left the State Assembly for the job.)


Arts Parks chair Mitch O'Farrell was Garcetti's chief of staff before being elected to City Council last July, so expect Blumenfield and the other two appointments to pass through this hearing easily. Nonetheless, public comment is always a good thing so send in yours.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sunland-Tujunga NC wants more Park Rangers








































Items 6 & 7 passed unanimously last night.

CF #12-0899-S1 should be going back to Arts, Parks sometime this month.

Hansen Dam Ranger Station
Nobody home


It's reassuring to see that the Park Ranger program is not just a single park phenomenon, and that a single council office can no longer control this Citywide conversation.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Full circle: Griffith Vision Plan loaded with pet projects

UPDATE 1-8-14:

The Commission passed the document as a "Vision" for Griffith Park after a very long discussion as to whether LaBonge's last-minute pet project capital additions now force the document to undergo full CEQA before a vote by the Commission. The Commission reiterated the vote was on a "Vision" and that they were not declaring this a Specific plan or General plan or any other kind of plan.

The Commission also instructed Rec and Parks to return the image of P-22 to the cover of the document.

--------

Tomorrow, at the final meeting of the majority of the board, the Recreation and Parks Commission will vote to approve a new Griffith Park Vision Plan.

This process was originally initiated by an angry public fighting commercialization of the park. Unfortunately, it is painfully clear that the process has again been entirely co-opted by the exact same City Councilmember and is filled with his pet projects.

The very first published article here on Wayist was a July 2009 story about this issue :
According to a letter sent to Master Plan Working Group (GPMPWG) members, the new draft Griffith Park Master Plan is being downgraded to a simple "vision" for the park. Insiders know that this is not a move by the Department of Recreation and Parks (DRP), but is clearly at the behest of Councilman Tom LaBonge. The GPMPWG is expected to review the major edits by the department and LaBonge, and provide a final edit in just two weeks.

Since the document is a vision of a broad based group of community members and developed through a lengthy and very public process, the document certainly qualifies as a true Master Plan. It's a good guess that the attack on the process is being driven by the councilmember since the document does not represent the vision of Tom LaBonge and his developer friends. LaBonge tried to force destination restaurants, pleasure piers, and cable cars into the previous version of the Master Plan. LaBonge's version was resoundingly hated and panned by the public at large.

After nearly 7 8 years, the almost comical reality is that you don't have to read past page 5 of the new version to see that things have sadly come full circle: the very same man has inserted more of his controversial pet legacy projects into this Vision Plan at the 11th hour. Some are as ridiculous as a permanent "Griffith Park Movie Night", some as illegal as building new, unnecessary construction in the Urban Wilderness area (per the historic monument designation.)

The document's cover was also recently changed by someone, adding to the ironic amusement. P-22, the famous Griffith park Mountain Lion, was recently removed from the images.

Now, although the plan boldly proclaims itself as "VISION PLAN FOR GRIFFITH PARK -- AN URBAN WILDERNESS IDENTITY", all of the pictures are of carnival-like rides and the built sections of the park, mocking the overall vision itself.

The Commission will easily pass this nonsense tomorrow as their going-away present to LaBonge.


The one saving grace, if you can believe it, is that this is a Vision Plan and not a Master Plan. The difference?  Supposedly, there are no capital projects in a Vision Plan.

So what happens to the pet capital projects inserted into the Vision Plan by LaBonge? Hopefully, they simply rot.


Blumenfield appointment is plain old nepotism


noun: nepotism
1. the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, esp. by giving them jobs.
synonyms:favoritism, preferential treatment, the old boy network, looking after one's own, bias, partiality, partisanship
Well, we scooped everyone yesterday on the Blumenfield appointment and no one even bothered to give us the hat tip, even though we shared.  Gotta love our media friends.

nah - we still luv ya anyway.

Meanwhile Mrs. Blumenfield's non-profit friends - including the Mayor's wife - are on the defensive. They should be, because this appointment is self-indulgent and embarrassing.

Nothing personal to Mrs. Blumenfield, but:
  1. She is the wife of a sitting Councilmember which is definitely a conflict of interest, and 

  2. She comes from the world of non-profits and will return to that world when she is done. No non-profit administrator in their right mind would ever even potentially cross a politician who may fund them in the future. So she's a guaranteed Yes Man.
As one of our commenters pointed out, with all of the high level professional talent among parks friend and supporters in this huge town, the Mayor's wife's friend is his choice.  Can you say "nepotism"?

How embarrassing for Los Angeles. And sad for what's left of our parks. It doesn't matter if it's been done before. Nepotism is nepotism.



Reverse hat tips (no hard feelings):

http://www.scpr.org/blogs/politics/2014/01/06/15540/mayor-appoints-councilman-s-wife-to-board-of-recre/

http://www.dailynews.com/government-and-politics/20140106/la-mayor-eric-garcetti-names-councilman-bob-blumenfields-wife-kafi-to-panel

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sanders out, Blumenfield in at Rec and Parks Commission

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners is about to change.  Significantly.

Commission President Barry Sanders and 2 other commissioners are out. The new nominee for commission president is Kafi D. Blumenfield, recently of the Liberty Hill Foundation. And yes, she is the wife of current City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield (CD 3).

Read Ms. Blumenfield's bio here.

Wednesday is President Sanders' last commission meeting, as well as Commissioners Jerome Stanley and Jill Werner. Blumenfield's confirmation hearing at City Council should be soon. If history is any indication, she'll be confirmed easily. Her husband will certainly vote for her.


Love him or hate him, the man with the bowtie did provide significant political mojo in keeping the Dept. of Recreation and Parks roughly in one piece while City Hall was raiding it to the tune of $155 million since 2007.

With her current credentials, can Blumenfield successfully fight for the department at this top political level? If so, will she? Or will her tenure be simply about using the platform to push the focus of her recent work ("social change"). Since she's married to a current City Councilmember, I think we likely know the answer.

Looks like City Council stealing from our City parks just got a whole lot easier.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

CAO Miguel Santana's magical powers

Since 2007, City CAO Miguel Santana has been a shameless thief on the taxpayers' dime.

Santana is wholly duplicitous with two incarnations of the City Council and two mayors in taking hundreds of millions of dollars.  Dollars specifically legislated for libraries and parks by none other than The People of Los AngelesMoney meant for libraries and parks.

Santana's been shamelessly taking it from our kids and using it to balance his City budgets, filling the budget holes of other departments and covering an obscene pension fund deficit.

No doubt about it. Santana simply hates our children.


But man oh man -- he must love his job. It has great perks!

Better than almost all other City administrators, that's for sure. Better than some electeds, too.

Allegedly, Miguel Santana has a City car that uses City gas. One of those dark Crown Vics with an e-plate. He drives it back and forth from home saving lots of his gas money on the taxpayers' dime.

Allegedly, Santana also gets a $500 car allowance too. It's supposed to be one or the other. But hey - if you are the Magic Money Guy, you can give yourself both, I guess.


Recently, Santana allegedly had his City car impounded and towed on Hill Street. Wonder why? There must be a story there.

But hey - no problem for the Magic Money Guy!

Santana allegedly made a call to the disgraced former General Manager of the Dept of Transportation, Jaime DeLa Vega, and Santana's City car was then magically returned to him. The towing and impound fees magically disappeared.


CAO Santana has had other well-publicized problems magically disappear.

Allegedly getting drunk at a political function and getting arrested for DUI magically disappeared. 

CAO Santana must have magical powers. After all, he steals from kids and double-dips, and he still has his job.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Comments on the "Crystal Springs Baseball Fields" proposal due Dec 17.

Folks, please weigh in on this project and it's suitability or lack of suitability to this location.

Read the Draft Environmental Impact Report  [DEIR] for this proposed project here.

Then submit your comments one of these ways:
  1. Directly via e-mail to  Maria Martin  at  maria.martin@lacity.org   with the SUBJECT LINE: Griffith Park Crystal Springs - Draft EIR

  2. By writing to:  City of Los Angeles, Public Works, Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Management Group, 1149 S. Broadway, 6th Floor, Mail Stop 939, Los Angeles, CA 90015-2213
Someone may want to comment on the fact that the DEIR only has three choices:  two at Crystal Springs, and one at Atwater, and that a better location that is clearly missing from the DEIR is the Ferraro site where there is easily room for realignment to include this project - plus the location would greatly benefit from related upgrades.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Alternate Atwater site for "Crystal Springs Ballfields" project is the clear "Win-Win" choice.

Should the construction of brand new baseball fields displace thousands of daily picnickers and permanently destroy heritage trees at Crystal Springs?

Certainly not, when there is a perfectly reasonable alternative.


That's not the case, however,  if you listen to the cacophony thrown up by Councilmember Tom LaBonge and his supposedly unbiased proxies, some of whom currently dominate the board of what used to be the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council and have their own personal pet projects pending in Griffith Park.

No one really knows why the councilmember has set his sights on Crystal Springs. I sure don't.  Why on earth is LaBonge determined to willfully disenfranchise thousands of families of predominantly Hispanic descent who rely on and heavily utilize the Crystal Springs picnic area, and have done so for half a century?

There is a perfectly reasonable alternative site for the proposed project that does not result in the permanent loss of heritage trees and that does not wholesale displace an entire large, historic user group at the picnic area. The alternative site on the Atwater side of the park should be chosen, rather than forcing the construction of additional ballfields at Crystal Springs for what are highly questionable reasons.

FoGP has a pretty clear and reasonable description of why the alternative is the best choice for all interests here.



The alternative Atwater site is a win for both the councilmember and friends, and the thousands of families that likely have little to no idea this project is in the works - or what may be decided largely without their input about Crystal Springs: a place that has been a family tradition each weekend for generations.

If you can stomach the manufactured hysteria and questionable testimony that will no doubt be unveiled by LaBonge's propaganda machine (lord these folks are noisy... and relentless), I hope you will bring your rationale mind and come to the EIR Presentation Meeting  - a meeting dubbed 'do or die' by LaBonge's proxies at the local paper - which takes place this Wednesday.

Read the draft EIR first - especially the discussion of the alternatives. Then come to the meeting and point out that the alternate Atwater site represents a win-win proposition for both sides. 

Let's hope the councilmember who ostensibly represents all people of CD 4 will have an epiphany on this when rational minds speak up.


EIR Presentation Meeting info:
A public workshop and hearing will be held, beginning at 5:30, on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, at the Witherbee Auditorium of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

Please use the Children’s Discovery Center entrance.

Those who cannot attend the meeting but want to go on record may submit their comments directly via e-mail to: Maria Martin maria.martin@lacity.org  with the SUBJECT LINE: Griffith Park Crystal Springs - Draft EIR

Or write to City of Los Angeles, Public Works, Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Management Group, 1149 S. Broadway, 6th Floor, Mail Stop 939, Los Angeles, CA 90015-2213.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Just Give

A friend found this in their email in-box yesterday. They have no idea what/why, and neither do I after reading it.
Sent: Tue, Nov 5, 2013 12:01 pm
Subject: RSVP Today for Private Reception with Councilmember Tom LaBonge Nov. 12!

Dear Friend,

Please join Councilmember Tom LaBonge at a private reception next Tuesday November 12, 2013.

Who: Councilmember Tom LaBonge
When: Tuesday November 12, 2013 from 6:00-7:30pm
Where: Lucy's El Adobe - 5536 Melrose Ave Los Angeles, CA 90004
Suggested Contribution: $5,000 (raise), $1,000 per couple

If you are interested in attending please RSVP to me, Stephanie Daily Smith, at dailysmith@gmail.com or call (310) 497-8162.

I hope that you can join us!
Regards,
Stephanie Daily Smith

Smith was a campaign staffer for Garcetti, but that race is pretty much over now. Best guess: LaBonge staffer Ramsey's run for CD 4.

I won't be spending $5,000 to find out for certain what this is about, but if you do - drop us a line and let us know.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Micromanagement of a Legacy

What can you say about an agenda for a two-hour board(sic) meeting that has more than 70 different agenda items? Besides WTF, that is.

An agenda like this is clearly symptomatic of something.

    panic comes to mind first.  

    obsession, second.  

    who actually manages the parks? third.

And finally:  

     doesn't the Councilmember have an entire council district to be worrying about?


This last is a very good question, and in this particular case, it is getting asked a lot lately. The answer is apparently not, if Steve Lopez's puffy 'Boss For A Day' piece is any indication.

Los Angeles' city councilmembers are the highest paid among key cities in this entire country. It would probably be best if they worried about the big stuff that affects their 280,000 constituents rather than micromanaging their perceived legacy.

There's plenty of big stuff that needs addressing across Los Angeles right now to keep any councilmember very very busy.


-----------------------------------------
Griffith Park Resource Board Meeting
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
5:00 – 7:00 PM


Welcome, Introductions and Review of Meeting Notes

Report on Active Capital Improvements:
•Report on status of Griffith Park Superintendent
•Legislative Report [Council Motions]
•Status of Griffith Park Water System
•Status of Griffith Park Southern Water Recycling Project
•Status of Walking Path Trail from Greek Theatre to Observatory
•Status of Los Angeles Park Rangers Program
•Status of Implementing Circulating Passenger Van for Observatory
•Status of Increasing DASH Service from Metro Stop
•Status of Transportation Pilot Program for Access to GP via Beachwood Cyn
•Status of LADOT Zoo Drive Signal/Traffic Study

Grants Reports:
•Fern Dell Tongva/Gabrielino Tribe Recognition & Amenities -$50,000
•Fern Dell/Black Oak Storm Drain & Resurfacing Project -$150,000
•Merry-Go-Round Restoration - $10,000
•Travel Town - $20,000
•Travel Town Gift Shop (from NBC Universal) - $50,000
•Zoo (from NBC Universal) - $50,000
•Griffith Park Pool Extended Hours - $12,500
•Holiday Lights Festival at Zoo - $100,000
•Symphony in the Glen - $5,000
•PAVA - $5,000
•Independent Shakespeare Company - $2,500
•Holiday Family Film Event at Merry-Go-Round - $1,500
•Merry-Go-Round Anniversary - $500

Report on the Recreation and Parks Projects
•Status of Griffith Park Vision Plan
•Crystal Springs Youth Sports Baseball Fields
•Travel Town mobile gift shop/Travel Town Train Pavilion West
•Adult fitness equipment at Park Central
•Permanent stage at Old Zoo
•Griffith Park road improvements
•Griffith Park signage
•Griffith Park Recreation Center play area improvements
•Griffith Park historic pool restoration (proposed)
•Griffith Park Recreation Center soccer field electrical rehabilitation

Report on Griffith Park Land Acquisitions:
•Cahuenga Peak
•Mt. Lee Area
•Forest Lawn
•Lake Hollywood parcels A, B and C

•Other sites:
Report from the Autry National Center
Report from the Los Angeles Zoo
Report from Griffith Observatory
Report on the LADWP Projects
•Aqueduct Centennial Garden at Mulholland Memorial Fountain
•Headworks Reservoir
•Griffith Park South Recycled Water Project
•River Supply ConduitUpdate

Report on the Los Angeles River & Bridge Projects:
•Alternative 20
•Glendale-Hyperion Viaduct Improvement Project
•LaKretz Crossing
•Riverside Drive

Report on Public Works Projects:
•Mt. Lee Drive
Mt. Lee Communications Center

Report on Griffith Park Events
•Special Events
•Holiday Light Festival at Zoo
•Holiday Family Film Night
•Haunted Hayride
•Arts and
Culture
•Symphony at the Glen
•Eek at the Greek
•International Shakespeare

Report on Public Safety
•Park Rangers
•LAPD Report - Lock ItHide It Keep It
•LAFD Report

Report on Griffith Park Office of Councilmember LaBonge’s Volunteer Projects
•PAVA - Weekly
•UCLA Day of Service
•Immaculate Heart Earthcare Day
•CD4 Cleanups in all areas of the park

Adjourn

Friday, October 18, 2013

GP Resources "Board" to meet on Oct 30

Almost hilarious because there is no such board - it does not exist, period. 

But what it is is Tom LaBonge putting City employees through his dog and pony show as he tells you all of his wonderful plans for Griffith Park before time's up.

Want to know what he's up to? See you there.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

LA Commons hosting historic Amir's Garden tour this Sunday

As part of their Found LA series, LA Commons is hosting a historic tour of Amir's Garden this Sunday from 11:30 am to 1pm.

The tour will be led by myself and one of our best Park Rangers. Bring your lunch, expect freebies and a nice fall tour of a very historic Iconic Garden in Griffith Park - Amir's Garden.

See you there. RSVP at this link.

See other Found LA events across the City at this link.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ranger Leadership missing from Arts Parks Health Aging and River report request

Update 10-8-13

Councilmember Fuentes just added a friendly amendment requiring study of the impact of not having a fully-qualified Chief Park Ranger.

The motion passed 14-0.


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There is clearly something integral missing from the APHAR report requesting a comprehensive update from Recreation and Parks on the challenges currently facing the Park Ranger Division:

CHIEF

PARK

RANGER


This will be voted on in City Council on October 8th.

Do you think any of our City Councilmembers will care enough to catch this major missing piece and correct it? Or will lack of proper qualified leadership continue to threaten the very existence of the Park Ranger Division?