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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Filming in the right spirit

The crew of Heroes set up for a holiday-appropriate shoot at Mineral Wells picnic area on Thursday, October 29. 



Friday, October 30, 2009

For the next 36 hours, hide your Silly String

Greetings on a gorgeous Friday!

For more information on any of the items below, please visit the Council District 4 website at: Remember to turn your clocks back one hour on Saturday night. Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1. The Los Angeles Fire Department recommends checking the batteries in your smoke detectors while changing your clocks.

- Last Friday, Councilmember LaBonge and many school and community leaders watched the John Marshall High School Barristers beat the Abraham Lincoln High School Tigers, 28-0, in the homecoming game on Marshall's brand new artificial turf football field. The Councilmember, a proud Marshall alum, was instrumental in the push to install the new track and field to replace facilities that were too small when the school first opened in 1931.

- On Saturday, more than 60 volunteers from the Gay For Good community service organization worked with Council Office staff, city parks personnel, TreePeople and the Hollywood United Methodist Church to help clean up, plant and restore the heavily used Runyon Canyon Park. Volunteers spent several hours sandbagging, mulching and repairing eroded surfaces around the park in preparation for the coming rainy season. The day concluded with the planting of a new tree in the field by the Fuller Gate entrance to the park. Thank you to everyone who participated - you are truly angels in the City of Angels.

- The public is welcome to see and touch the largest section of the Berlin Wall outside of its home city. It is on display now at 5900 West Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile. For more information on this fascinating commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, visit:

- Councilmember LaBonge will hold his fifth CD4 Schools Collaborative next Thursday, Nov. 5. These conferences bring together staff from city schools and City Hall to iron out solutions to issues that effect them both. Thank you to the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax for hosting this important event. For more information, email:

- The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is holding a public budget workshop on Saturday, November 21, 2009, at 9:30 AM at the LADWP headquarters,111 North Hope Street, CafeteriaConferenceCenter. LADWP officials will present information regarding the department's multi-year financial plans and the adopted budgets for the 2009/2010 fiscal year. This will be an excellent opportunity for you to learn about the current budget year and its challenges, and to provide your input directly to LADWP executive management.

Have a fun, safe Halloween weekend and continue to enjoy and love Los Angeles!

CBC Report on death of Taylor Mitchell by rare coyote attack

There are a lot of unanswered questions about what actually transpired leading up to a rare coyote attack that left a beautiful, young up-and-coming singer-songwriter dead at age 19.

From CBC News:

Listen to one of Taylor's songs here.

Legend of the Haunted Griffith Park Picnic Table

By Will Campbell

Minus the blood and gore and crushed corpses and police caution tape, not much has changed in 30 years. High up and deep within Griffith Park the scene remains otherwise no different from how it looked on the evening of October 31, 1976, when tragedy literally befell a young Hollywood couple, inconceivably crushed by a nearby tree that toppled over upon them while they made love upon a picnic table just off winding Mt. Hollywood Drive.

As lurid as it was inexplicable, the deaths of 22-year-old musician Rand Garrett and aspiring actress Nancy Jeanson, 20, were nonetheless a brief blip on the radars of local newscasts and newspapers, by and large laid to rest after their cremated remains were scattered upon the table and surroundings where the childhood sweethearts died in each others' arms.

Though their ashes have long since blown away, what hasn't been so quick to dissipate is the legend that has grown up around strange events and eerie occurrences  — especially around the anniversary of their demise — that witnesses claim began happening shortly after their deaths and purportedly continue to occur to this day, bolstering a belief that the anguished spirits of Rand and Nancy are wandering never too far away from the picnic table that simultaneously brought them together and tore them apart.

"People thought I was damn crazy," says retired city tree trimmer Morris Carl when he tried to explain what happened to him a few days after authorization had been given to clear the fallen tree and he was tapped for the duty. "I drove up there with a job to do and I aimed to do it. What I didn't figure on was getting scared out of my wits!"

Carl is quick to add that up to that day he never gave much thought to whether ghosts were real. "But from that point on I certainly don't give any thought that they aren't," he says.

According to the incident report he filed with his supervisor later that evening, Carl arrived at the site at 11:40 a.m. on November 7. He was to be joined by two other Bureau of Street Services Tree Division workers with a large truck and loader to remove the material later in the afternoon but until then he was charged with sawing up the branches and trunk of the large sycamore tree into more manageable pieces. Only a few minutes into it he wrote that was overcome with a strange sensation.

"In my statement I said that I felt funny. What happened was I'd sawed off the crown of the tree when from out of nowhere I got hit with these real strong chills so hard it was as if I was coming down with the fastest flu ever. I tried to shake it off and get back to work, but each time I'd fire up the saw and get near the tree I'd get real cold and hear this weird moaning and crying. So I'd stop the saw and listen and it would go away. But then I'd start her up again and it would come back. Finally I was freezing so bad I had to go to the truck and get my coat."

That's when Carl wrote that the fallen tree started shaking violently.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dumbing down of Los Angeles' Park Rangers green-lighted seems irresponsible for Recreation and Parks to start a new Interpretive program which prioritizes interpretive work at the expense of public safety and visitor services.
The Department of Recreation and Parks employs Park Rangers with law enforcement powers, and Park Rangers without police authority. Both categories of Rangers work together to patrol the City's regional parks, provide visitor assistance and directions, and naturalist services but most importantly work together to respond to fire, rescue and medical calls as part of the City's first responder network.
Rangers without police powers do not do law enforcement work but provide the full range of the other essential Ranger services. For example they provide about half of the staffing for the Ranger's eight pieces of fire fighting equipment
Recently the Department of Recreation and Parks announced that the Rangers without police powers, about half of the patrol force will be transferred from general patrol duty to a newly created "Interpretive Education Unit" effective November 8, 2009.
The Rangers operate with a skeleton crew due to budget cuts, and the impact of this change will mean that at times there will be no rangers on patrol duty to respond to emergency calls, or to help park visitors.
For example during the high winds and extreme fire danger this week, the non-law enforcement Rangers staffed the Ranger's fire engines; without these Rangers the fire engines would not have been staffed.
The Department of Recreation and Parks states that the non-law enforcement Rangers will still be available for emergency duty, but the assignment to this "Interpretive Unit" and hours of work will preclude their routine or rapid response to emergencies. In essence they will be out of the public safety business.
During these times of lean budgets, when they cannot afford to hire more Rangers it seems irresponsible for Recreation and Parks to start a new Interpretive program which prioritizes interpretive work at the expense of public safety and visitor services.

-Someone who knows

Station over Marek

On a hill just above Kagel Canyon, a year's regrowth from the Marek Fire is dwarfed by an entire mountain completely charred by the Station Fire. Looking accross Little Tujunga Canyon toward historic Gold Creek Station as the sun sets, an incredibly lucky homestead lies at the center of a rare green patch between the two devastating fires.

'Lucky' is the operative word. Many of the people who lost their homes in the Sky Terrace mobile home park during the Marek Fire still haven't received any significant aid because the inferno was not officially declared an "emergency" by any level of government.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in the Great White North hits close to home

Pretty shocking story out of Toronto after the recent local outpouring of grief over the poor, defenseless coyotes in Griffith Park.  Just to reiterate: Coyotes are wild animals, people. They're not dogs. They're talented predators. Never feed them!
Coyotes kill woman on hike in Canadian park

TORONTO — Two coyotes attacked a Canadian woman while she was hiking alone in a national park in eastern Canada, and authorities said she died Wednesday of her injuries. The victim was identified as Taylor Mitchell, 19, a promising singer-songwriter from Toronto who was touring her new album on the East Coast. She was hiking solo on a trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia on Tuesday when the attack occurred. She was airlifted to a Halifax hospital in critical condition and died Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Coyotes, which also are known as prairie wolves, are found from Central America to the United States and Canada. Wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft said coyote attacks are extremely rare because the animals are usually shy. Bancroft, a retired biologist with Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources, said it’s possible the coyotes thought Mitchell was a deer or other prey. “It’s very unusual and is not likely to be repeated,” Bancroft said. “We shouldn’t assume that coyotes are suddenly going to become the big bad wolf.” Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Brigdit Leger said other hikers heard Mitchell’s screams for help on Tuesday and called emergency police dispatchers. Police who were in the area reached the scene quickly and shot one of the animals, apparently wounding it. But the wounded animal and a companion coyote managed to get away. Paul Maynard of Emergency Health Services said Mitchell already was in critical condition when paramedics arrived on the scene and had multiple bite wounds over her entire body. “She was losing a considerable amount of blood from the wounds,” he said. An official with Parks Canada said they blocked the entrance to the trail where Mitchell was attacked and were trying to find the animals to determine what prompted such an unusual attack. “There’s been some reports of aggressive animals, so it’s not unknown,” said Helene Robichaud, the park’s superintendent. “But we certainly never have had anything so dramatic and tragic.”

Mitchell was an up-and-coming folk and country musician who was nominated for a 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award in the Young Performer of the Year category. “Words can’t begin to express the sadness and tragedy of losing such a sweet, compassionate, vibrant, and phenomenally talented young woman,” Lisa Weitz, Mitchell’s manager, said in an e-mail. “She just turned 19 two months ago, and was so excited about the future.”

On the Net:  Taylor Mitchell’s Web site:

Future of the San Gabriels meeting - short notice

Don't ya just love it when you get these meeting "notices" with no real notice?  This important meeting is tonight!  More information is available in this earlier article, but the gist is that the National Parks Service is considering thinking of making what is basically the Station Fire burn area a National Recreation Area (NRA). An NRA would better protect the San Gabriel Mountains back country, improve water quality, connect communities to the mountains and improve recreational access with a new urban parks and trails system.

Get there if you can and vote for an NRA for the San Gabriels!

The National Park Service is conducting a “special resource study” 
of portions of the San Gabriel River watershed and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Many people missed the initial public meetings because of the Station Fire. If you didn't get a chance to attend one of the earlier public meetings, please join us on:

Wednesday, October 28
7pm to 9pm
Northeast Valley City Hall Auditorium
7747 Foothill Blvd, Tujunga, CA 91042

Read up on Alternatives A, B and C and then come tell the National Park Service (NPS) what you think of their alternatives for the Angeles National Forest.  For more info, go to:

Ashes to Dust

Ash Exposed

Ash from the Station Fire blows off the entire south face of Mt. Lukens above Sunland-Tujunga yesterday, completely obscuring the view of La Crescenta in the distance above Foothill Blvd and the 210 freeway.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Living on the Urban-Wildland Interface

The Theodore Payne Foundation is one of our favorite places to purchase native plants, and they have one of the best plant galleries around on their web site.... so how can you go wrong with an important public presentation sponsored by them?  You can't.

Oh yeah- there are some guys who know a little something about the Urban-Wildland Interface talking at it this presentation, too.  Didn't we have a little local issue related to the U-WI around Southern California just recently? Hard to remember. Anyway, we highly suggest the following public forum:

Southern California Wildfires: 
Protecting Our Homes and the Natural Environment

A special event with Richard W. Halsey and Jon E. Keeley

Co-Sponsored by the Theodore Payne Foundation and the City of Glendale Public Works Department

On Saturday, November 7, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., the Theodore Payne Foundation and The City of Glendale Public Works Department will present an important and timely lecture that is free to the public --  Southern California Wildfires: Protecting our Homes and the Natural Environment. Richard W. Halsey and Jon E. Keeley, Ph.D., two of the region's most respected experts on fire, local ecology and post-fire regeneration, will present science- and research-based information about wildfires and how to best adapt one's home environment.

Richard W. Halsey is the Director of the California Chaparral Institute, a nonprofit research and educational organization focusing on the ecology of California's shrubland plant communities, wildland fire, and how Mediterranean-type ecosystems have helped shape human culture. He has given more than 300 presentations over the past five years concerning chaparral ecology, how communities can adapt to fire-prone environments, and the importance of nature education. Mr. Halsey taught biology for over thirty years in both public and private schools and was honored as Teacher of the Year for San Diego City Schools in 1991.Mr. Halsey earned undergraduate degrees from the University of California in environmental studies and anthropology. During graduate work he received teaching credentials in life, physical and social science and a Master's degree in education. He has also been trained as a Type II wildland firefighter. The second edition of his book, Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California, was awarded the 2008 Best Nonfiction-Local Interest Book by the San Diego Book Awards Association.

Dr. Keeley is a Research Ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, stationed at Sequoia National Park. He earned his Ph.D. in botany and ecology from the University of Georgia in 1977. He also holds a Master's degree in biology from San Diego State University. Prior to this appointment in Sequoia National Park, Dr. Keeley served one year in Washington, D.C. as director of the ecology program for the National Science Foundation. A professor of biology at Occidental College for 20 years, Dr. Keeley has over 250 publications in national and international scientific journals and books. His research has focused on ecological impacts of wildfires as well as other aspects of plant ecology, including rare plants, rare habitats such as vernal pools, and plant physiology. In 1985 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a Fellow of the Southern California Academy of Sciences and an Honorary Lifetime Member of the California Botanical Society. He has served on the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning Environmental Review Board, the State of California Natural Communities Conservation Program (NCCP) Board of Scientific Advisors.

Clark Magnet High School Auditorium
4747 New York Avenue
La Crescenta, CA 91214

November 7, 2009, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Migratory visitors to LA River threatened at sea

Thousands of west coat migratory birds are being threatened by an unprecedented plankton bloom off the Oregon coast. Many of the birds at risk migrate all along the West Coast, stopping along the Los Angeles River next to Griffith Park where we're lucky to have some of the best bird watching around.

Unusually warm and turbulent seas have caused a normal-occurring  phytoplankton called Akashiwo Sanguinea to be carried to the surface near the Oregon coast at levels well above normal ambient measurements, reaching millions per liter in the hardest hit areas. The byproduct of this bloom is an algae foam that basically acts like a detergent and strips the oils from bird feathers. The result is that water-based birds lose both their buoyancy and oily weatherproofing, often drowning or dying of exposure.

Best estimates are placing the loss of birds at around 1000, but getting any kind of an accurate count is difficult unless the victims are carried to shore. The avian death toll is expected to go much much higher and a number of environmental and academic groups are calling for volunteers to help mitigate the crisis as best possible.

No one has quite dared to say it yet, but we all know what probably lies behind the unusually warm ocean conditions of late. If true, this catastrophe is just one of many to come.

As the Audubon's blog pointed out, since they are migratory, these birds are our birds. The Wildlife Center of the North Coast is asking for cash donations to purchase fish to feed the birds, along with good used towels, large dog kennels to carry birds and bleach, as well as experienced volunteers. If you would like to help out, please contact the center  at or via mail:

Wildlife Center of the North Coast 
P.O. Box 1232 
Astoria, OR 9710

Here's the source article, from The Oregonian fish wrap by way of and the Audubon's blog:

Foam from ocean algae bloom killing thousands of birds

By Lynne Terry, The Oregonian
bird in foam.jpg
View full size  P. CHILTON/Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team
A red-throated Loon, covered in foam, lies in the sand near the Klipsan beach approach on the northern end of the Long Beach Peninsula. The bird was still alive when this photo was taken.

A slimy foam churning up from the ocean has killed thousands seabirds and washed many others ashore, stripped of their waterproofing and struggling for life. The birds have been clobbered by an unusual algae bloom stretching from the northern Oregon coast to the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. "This is huge," said Julia Parrish, a marine biologist and professor at the University of Washington who leads a seabird monitoring group. "It's the largest mortality event of its kind on the West Coast that we know of."

The culprit is a single-cell algae or phytoplankton called Akashiwo sanguinea.  Though the algae has multiplied off the coast of California before, killing hundreds of seabirds, the phenomenon has not been seen in Oregon and Washington and has never occurred on the West Coast to this extent, Parrish said. "We're getting counts of up to a million cells per liter of water," she said. "Think about that. That's pretty dense." Marine biologists said it is not clear why the algae are multiplying, though they do flourish in warm weather. Recent storms could have contributed to the problem, with crashing waves breaking them up. The algae get whipped by the surf into something akin to a sticky soap which looks like the top of a root beer float. The foam can be deadly to seabirds because it washes off the natural oils that keep them waterproofed. Without that protection, they get cold, wet, eventually dying of hypothermia.  When they wash ashore, they are covered in foam.

"It looks like they're lying in a sea of bubble bath," said Greg Schirato,  regional wildlife program manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He said thousands had died. This algal  bloom, unlike the toxins produced by blue-green algae, poses no threat to humans or pets. But the bloom could kill fish by clogging their gills, said Zachary Forster,  phytoplankton specialist at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "We haven't seen any instances of that," Forster said. The first seabird die-off in the Northwest occurred in mid-September, with swarms of dead and dying birds washing up on beaches around Kalaloch  on the Olympic Peninsula. At least a thousand scoters or sea ducks, were killed, Parrish said. "Then it subsided and we thought it was over, but it started up again," she said. This time Oregon was hit as well.

On Tuesday, birds flooded ashore on the Long Beach peninsula and on beaches as far south as Cannon Beach, prompting an outpouring of calls to the Wildlife Center of the North Coast near Astoria. The center, the only wildlife rehabilitation facility serving the northern Oregon and Washington coasts, is working around the clock treating more than 500 birds. "We're in an emergency crisis mode," said Dr. Virginia Huang,  president of the center's board. Not only are volunteers retrieving struggling birds in northern Oregon and Long Beach, but officials from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are also trucking them in from the Olympic Peninsula. Barbara Linnett, a volunteer at the wildlife center, said the majority of seabirds that have poured in are Common Murres, Common Loons, Red-throated Loons and grebes. The center feeds them vitamins and fluids to hydrate them, then puts them in shallow pools of water. Swimming in clean water -- and preening -- helps the seabirds rebuild their waterproofing. Linnett hopes some of the birds can be released in a few days. In the meantime, marine biologists from Oregon, Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service are watching conditions closely, hoping that this was a freak event. The last time it occurred was in 2007 in Monterey Bay, when hundreds of seabirds were killed. "That event enabled us to figure out what is happening here," Parrish said.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Glazed and Confused

Greetings on a beautiful Friday afternoon!

For more information on any of the items here, please visit the Council District 4 website:

- Councilmember LaBonge is proud to dedicate the beautiful new track and field at his alma mater, John Marshall High School today. The dedication ceremony begins at 5 p.m., just before the Barristers face the Lincoln High School Tigers in the Homecoming football game at 6 p.m. The Marshall track was short when the school opened in 1931; grading and irrigation problems on the football field's end zones caused frequent problems for players. Councilmember LaBonge has been wanting to see this facility standardized for 40 years. Please join him for a pre-event tour at 4 p.m. See the attached flier.

- Tom voted to support the Wilshire subway project after being sworn in as a temporary METRO board member yesterday. He filled in for Councilmember Jose Huizar who was unable to attend. The board re-affirmed its plan to apply for federal funding for the Subway to the Sea, which will provide a much-needed link between the Westside and the rest of the Metro system, via a Wilshire Boulevard subway line. If Metro, a County agency, receives federal funding for this project, the subway could be completed in as little as ten years.

- The Los Angeles Police Department's new headquarters will be open to the public for tours tomorrow. The new building is directly across the street from City Hall at the 100 West First Street, Downtown. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief William Bratton will lead opening day ceremonies at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the LAPD website:

- The public is welcome to see and touch the largest section of the Berlin Wall outside of its home city. It is on display now at 5900 West Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile.

- Councilmember LaBonge is happy to co-sponsor nature education programs at four Silver Lake elementary schools through the Wildwoods Foundation. Thank you to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council for matching CD4's $1,000 donation for the Full Circle program, which teaches fifth graders about the parallels between nature and human behavior. For more information on the Full Circle program, visit the Wildwoods Foundation website:

- Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help John Marshall High School seniors with their college applications. Organizers at the school were overwhelmed by the positive response from LaBonge News readers. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of the students and the entire community.

Have a great weekend and continue to enjoy and love Los Angeles.

Environmental impact of Station Fire hits City parks

The Pasadena Star News has been on top of some important environmental news of late. Today they report on the US Fish and Wildlife Service's efforts to support a very endangered frog whose critical habitat was severely impacted by the Station Fire. The fire also damaged the habitat of the Santa Ana Sucker, a fish found in the Big Tujunga portion of Hansen Dam Recreational Area.  Hansen Dam is a City of Los Angeles Regional Park and at 1400 acres it the third largest City park behind Griffith Park and Sepulveda Basin. Debris flows from this winter's predicted El Nino rains threaten to completely destroy the habitat of both the Santa Ana Sucker and the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog.

Issues of wildlife, critical habitat, and management in these large City parks are an important area where the Department of Recreation and Parks needs to improve their responsiveness. Given the City's current financial crisis, it is going to be up to the public and outside organizations with the proper expertise (and no hidden agendas) to help the DRP enact and support these activities if any improvement is to be made in the next few years.

Unless the general public steps up to the plate, nothing will change.

The Pasadena Star News story references the BAER Reports we previously mentioned were underway to study the Station Fire's environmental impact on the San Gabriels and surrounding communities. A number of those reports have been drafted and are available at the US Forest Service's BAER web page.

Here is the story:

Rare tadpoles rescued from Station Fire burn zone

By Emma Gallegos, Staff Writer

An adult mountain yellow-legged frog along Little Rock Creek in the Angeles National Forest. Monday, August 11, 2003. (SGVN/Staff photo by Bernardo Alps)

In a slippery, slimy rescue mission, federal workers this month scooped up and relocated 106 rare tadpoles to save them from possible fallout from the Station Fire. When the Station Fire rolled through the mountains this August, it burned Devil's Canyon, a prime habitat for the yellow-legged frog, which is on the federal endangered species list. So workers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service caught them and sent them to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, which recently formed a partnership with wildlife service. The Station Fire's effects could be particularly devastating for the small population of rare frogs that makes its home in the creeks and rivers of the San Gabriel Valley Mountains, said federal officials. The fire singed vegetation along banks where the frogs live and reduced the population of streamside insects the frogs feast on, like beetles, ants and flies, but scientists are especially worried about what could happen to the tadpoles when a winter storm blows through the Angeles National Forest. "Right now we're concerned that if there are heavy rains or even average rains, there could be a significant incidence of debris flows," said Stephanie Weagley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Mudslides caused by rain storms could wipe out the streams where the frogs live and choke them with ash, she said.

Thirty full-grown frogs will remaining in Devil's Canyon - a tributary of the west fork of the San Gabriel River. The tadpoles will stay at the zoo in Fresno at least until next spring, when scientists will reassess how the mountain yellow-legged frog's home has recovered, Weagley said. The mountain yellow-legged frog wasn't the only animal - nor the only endangered animal - threatened by the Station Fire. A team of federal scientists visited the Angeles National Forest in September to create a Burned Area Report (BAER) and assess how the Station Fire affected the wildlife, the geology, the water quality and even the historic sites. The report focused on four federally-protected species that make their home there including the frog: a fish called the unarmored threespine stickleback, the Arroyo toad and the Santa Ana suckerfish. This isn't the first time that a federal agency has stepped in to protect the federally-endangered frog. For the last four years, the U.S. Forest Service has closed off 1,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains from hikers, while scientists tried to figure out how humans were affecting the frogs.
(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4444

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bikers verses Conservatives: winner-take-all

At the same time as the Sidecar Rally is taking place, the Tea Party Express takes over Pad D at Crystal Springs within throwing distance of the rally.

So it's free-spirit bikers verses conservative politics in a winner-take-all match at Park Center on the 25th. Could be fun!

Think I'll bring a camera, some medical-use ganja and a Kevlar vest to the festivities.

Off-road vehicle parks planned for LA County

Speaking of wheels and spin, where exactly was this "Well-publicized public input at every step" actually publicized?

From the Pasadena Star News:

Off-road vehicle advocates work to smooth path to future parks

By Daniel Tedford
10/20/2009 01:47:32 PM PDT

After 25 years of spinning its wheels, the county is trying to back off the accelerator and get a little traction on an effort to build small off-road parks all over the county. Since the 1980s, the county has been trying build more parks, including smaller parks in urban areas. But efforts have been mired in fights over land use with environmentalists, bicyclists, horse riders and other opponents. The subject is so touchy, the county's lead agent on the project is leery to talk about it. "The last think I want to do is stick my foot in my mouth and set this thing back another 25 years," said Robert Ettleman, an off-highway vehicle and trails park planner with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.

At the San Gabriel Canyon Off Highway Vehicle area on Highway 39, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009. (Staff Photo by Eric Reed/SVCITY)

Ettleman for the last month has been holding meetings where he pitched guidelines for opening new parks, including meetings this month in Azusa and Rowland Heights. Ideally, the plan would create small off-road parks all over the county. "The reality is we would want one (urban park) in every community because just one of these would be overwhelmed," said Paul Slavik, who sits on the advisory committee for the county's parks and recreation as well as being a commissioner for the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division for the state' department of parks and recreation. Bringing parks into the city is one thing everyone can agree on.

While off roaders see a little mud play in the wilderness as a good time, members of the Sierra Club see it motor-powered habitat destruction. Putting parks in new wilderness areas is out of the question for many environmental advocates. "It is locating it in sensitive habitat itself that is the primary concern," said George Barnes, the California Sierra Club co-chair of the off-road vehicle task force. He agrees that the county needs some sort of guidelines for acceptable off-road parks. If not, people will off road illegally. "If you don't have parks, then the vehicles should be banned outright," he said.

Right now, riders have to venture outside of Los Angeles County for most recreation activity, usually hours away to San Bernardino County deserts and other areas. That is despite the fact 14-to-15 percent of people in Los Angeles County are licensed riders of off-highway vehicles and the population is increasing, according to Department of Motor Vehicle statistics. Issues with management and proper designs have turned off environmentalists to OHV parks in the past, Barnes said. But the county's latest efforts signal a turn in the right direction, Barnes said. "In general, I think Los Angeles County's approach is a good one," Barnes said. "Well-publicized public input at every step." Advocates know that without a shift in public perception toward such parks, it will be difficult to get a project started. "You are never going to get a park, especially in a urban area, without involving the community," Slavik said.

Christmas Bird Count needs YOU

Plans are well underway for this winter's county-wide Bird Count, and Griffith Park's participation needs your help. The 2010 count is scheduled throughout the county on January 3rd.

The Christmas Bird Count has taken place since the 1930s and is a source for some of the best historical bird count data in our area. We can't think of a better way to start the new year!

Dan Cooper, of Cooper Ecological Monitoring Inc is organizing this winter's count and is looking for coordinators.  Cooper was instrumental in the completion of a Griffith Park Wildlife study after the 2007 Griffith Park Fire, and is currently involved in the Griffith Park Natural History Survey.

Please go to Dan's web site for more information on how to volunteer as well as bird lists, and maps of the count area.

Image of a Rufus-sided Towhee from the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory.

Sidecars in the Park

And now for a little bit of fun in the park, it's the Griffith Park Sidecar Rally. This event was shut down early last year due to some bad behavior by a few participants. Hopefully the organizers have the kinks worked out this year....

Griffith Park
October 25, 2009
Sunday 9 A.M. - 3 P.M. Come Early!
Lot 2, Merry-Go-Round  (see map)
Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Learn all about sidecars and see some of
all the best and most unusual sidecars
in the world at this years

Griffith Park Sidecar Rally.
For Information call (818) 780-5542 ask for Doug Bingham

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Person of Interest being questioned about Station Fire

From the LA Times:

Suspect wanted for questioning in Station fire charged with setting smaller blaze

October 19, 2009 | 2:27 pm

A suspect wanted for questioning in the Station fire has been arrested and charged with setting a small fire near Angeles Crest Highway, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said today. Babatunsin Olukunle, a 25-year-old Nigerian national, was arrested Thursday in Lancaster, said Sheriff's Lt. Liam Gallagher. "We are going to talk to him about the Station fire, but we're not going to list him as a suspect [in that fire] just yet," Gallagher said.

Olukunle was caught tending a small fire near Marker 36 of the Angeles Crest Highway in the early afternoon of Aug. 20, six days before the start of the Station fire, the largest brush fire in L.A. County history. The fire burned for almost two months and scorched more than 250 square miles. The Station fire probe became a homicide investigation after two firefighters died when their truck fell 800 feet into a ravine as they tried to find an escape route from the flames for fellow firefighters. L.A. County and the state have offered a $150,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the arsonist. The Station fire destroyed dozens of structures. Investigators believe a substance found near the fire’s point of origin helped spread the deadly blaze and it has emerged as a key piece of evidence in the arson probe, a source told The Times. The source would not identify the substance but said it was found in the brush off Angeles Crest Highway, walking distance from the turnoff that is at the center of the arson probe.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Burned fire hose frames a turnout on the Angeles Crest Highway where fire investigators believe an arson ignited the massive Station fire. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Parks, Green Spaces Protect Your Health

Parks, Green Spaces Protect Your Health

Study Shows People Living Near Parks Less Likely to Have Depression

By Salynn Boyles, WebMD Health News

Oct. 14, 2009 -- There is more evidence that living near parks, woods, or other green spaces may improve your mental and physical health. Close proximity to green spaces was associated with less depression, anxiety, and other health problems in a newly published study. The relationship was strongest for children and people with low incomes. The research is not the first to suggest that green spaces help keep people healthy, but it is the first to assess their impact on specific health conditions. Investigators in the Netherlands examined patient health records from medical practices throughout the country. Using postal codes, they were also able to determine the percentage of green space existing within about 2 miles of each patient's home. "The strongest associations we saw between green space and health occurred within a 1 kilometer [0.6 mile] radius of the home," study researcher Jolanda Maas, PhD, of Amsterdam's VU University tells WebMD.

Biggest Impact on Anxiety, Depression

The study included data on the prevalence of 24 different health conditions treated over the course of a year among about 350,000 patients seen at 96 practices. For 15 of the 24 conditions, the annual prevalence was lower among patients living in the greenest areas, even after the researchers controlled for factors known to influence health. Among the other major findings:
  • The impact was greatest for mental health conditions. Compared to people living in areas with the least green spaces, those living in areas with the most were a third less likely to have anxiety disorders that required treatment and roughly one-fifth less likely to receive treatment for depression.
  • Among the physical health conditions, the apparent protective benefits of living in greener areas appeared strongest for respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, and upper respiratory infections.
  • A much weaker association was seen for other common health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Surprisingly, greater access to green spaces appeared to have no impact on health of people living in the most urban neighborhoods included in the study. The researchers speculate that this might be because green spaces in poor, highly urban areas may not be used as much because they are perceived as unsafe.

Green Spaces Reduce Stress, Encourage Exercise

Earlier studies suggest green spaces in primarily urban areas improve health by lowering stress and encouraging exercise. "There is a huge body of research showing that having access to green spaces is psychologically beneficial," says urban naturalist Mike Houck, who is executive director of the Urban Greenspace Institute in Portland, Ore. When Houck began his career in 1980, urban planners often told him there was no place for nature within the city limits. "They told me my job was to protect the natural areas outside the city and that everything within was essentially up for grabs," he tells WebMD. "It has taken 30 years, but attitudes have definitely changed." So much so that two major health insurance providers in Portland, Ore. were active in persuading voters to pass a $227 million bond in 2006 dedicated to acquiring new green spaces. "That was the first time they had ever endorsed a bond measure, but they understood its importance," he says. "It is inconceivable to me that a person out for a walk or a bicycle ride or a kayak trip does not benefit both physically and mentally."

Monday, October 19, 2009

GGPNC meeting Tuesday - get involved!

GGPNC Board Meeting - 7pm October 20, 2009
Start: 10/20/2009 7:00 pm 

Board Meetings are held the 3rd Tuesday of each month at:

The Los Feliz Community Police Center (2nd floor of Citibank)
1965 N. Hillhurst Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90027

The Agenda for the Monthly Board meeting is posted about three day prior to the meeting and copied below.

1. Call to Order; Quorum Check
2. Public Comments on Non-Agenda Items; Public Announcements (2 mins. each)
3. Reports: Public Officials and City Staff
4. Treasurer’s Report (5 mins.)
A. Board Resolution authorizing new Treasurer for Funding requests.
Resolution: The Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council Board has elected David Uebersax as Treasurer on September 15, 2009, and with the appropriate training and funding forms completed, transfers authority to submit Demand Warrants and fulfill approved funding transactions as appropriate with the petty cash account, as well as the credit card issued to be administered on in accordance with the GGPNC bylawas and within the guidelines set forth by the City of Los Angeles and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.
B. Treasurer’s Report. Brief status report on current items, and discussion of follow up for 2009-2010 budget as approved, to include updated rollover fund total and other proposed budget items to be represented with further detail for approval.
5. Executive Committee Report (15 mins.)
A. Consideration of items for proposed action on grievance filed by Dana Cremin; discussion and action as appropriate.
B. Discussion of appropriate fees for copying ggpnc documents/materials as requested by interested stakeholders.
6. Approval of Minutes from May, June, July, August and September, 2009 Board Meetings

Committee Reports
7. Education Committee
A. Request for $5,000 for Big Blue M Project at Marshall High School as part of matching grant of $10,000 from LA Beautification Grant. Discussion and action.
B. Request for letter to be written to Mr. Cortines, LAUSD to keep fourth vice-principal at King Middle School. Mr Mark Jolley has been of great assistance to us and the school needs the consistency of a vp that has been there for 6 years, needs the continituity in the process of going from year-round to traditional school year and the perpetuation of good community relationships. Discussion and action. 

8. Parks River and Open Space Committee

A. Update on coyote killings controversy in Griffith Park. Discussion of circumstances leading to the euthanizations, and proposed remedies including possible action on a Community Impact Statement of support for LaBonge City Council Motion 09-2327 drafted in response to the euthanizations. 

B. Update on community and CD4 response to possible changes in duties and reassignments within the Recreation and Parks Department's Park Ranger Division. 

C. Update on final plan for the LADWP 2009 Light Festival in Griffith Park, including public comment and GGPNC opinion poll results. 

9. Outreach Committee
A. Request from LA City re: 2010 Census
B. Report on upcoming election timelines. Discussion and possible action.
10. Planning, Zoning and Historic Preservation Committee

A. 2223 Nottingham Ave. Request to retain recently constructed over-height walls and hedges in required front yard setback. Committee recommends opposition. 
B. Ruen Pair Thai Restaurant, 5257 Hollywood Blvd. Request to sell beer and wine at existing restaurant until 2 a.m. Committee recommends non-opposition provided service not extend beyond 11 p.m., permission cease upon change of ownership and other conditions accepted by applicant.  
C. 2208 Catalina (4821 Los Feliz Boulevard) request to build 345 foot, 7 ft. high wall set back 5 ft. from property lines on Catalina and Los Feliz with higher pedestrian and automobile gates. Committee recommends opposition. Applicant has indicated he may reconsider proposal and ask for subsequent review by committee.)
11. Cultural Committee
A. Request for support from Hollywood Remembers, Inc., for production expenses of its annual World AIDS Day observance on Sunday November 29: "Red Ribbon" by Joe Lawrence, directed by Jerry Craig. (see supporting information, page 3)
12. Other Comments and Announcements
13. Adjourn

Saturday, October 17, 2009

LaBonge renames part of Atwater Village by royal decree

There's no news like old news. Too bad nothing has changed and the councilman still insults the good people of Atwater Village with his childish insistence on using his own pet name for their community.

From FriendsofAtwaterVillage:

Councilmember Tom LaBonge (CD4) Renames Section of North Atwater Village Without Community Input or Support

Councilmember Tom Labonge (CD4) has continually and deliberately ignored established City policy and has arbitrarily renamed a section of North Atwater Village as “River Glen” despite community input.

The area referred to as “River Glen" by Labonge covers Atwater Village’s northern industrial park. Unlike the rest of Atwater Village which is in CD 13, the area referred to is within CD4, Tom Labonge’s district. It lies south of San Fernando Road between Doran Street and Goodwin Avenue and borders the City of Glendale and the Los Angeles River. It is primarily industrial, with very few residences.

In early 2003 Councilmember Labonge first proposed changing the name of this section of Atwater Village to “River Glen”. The Councilmember argued that it would be appropriate to rename that area in order to give it its own identity to help in the future beautification and revitalization efforts. Interestingly enough, in the 6 years since Labonge’s proposed the name change the area has received neither any beautification or revitalization efforts. However, within the past few months, Labonge has offered to the Department of Sanitation the former site of Levitz Furniture (5375 W San Fernando Rd) to be used as a “waste (garbage) to energy” plant which doesn’t seem to fall into either the beautification or revitalization categories.

Labonge’s original proposal to rename the area received stiff opposition from residents and civic leaders who, at that time, were in the process of forming the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council and strengthening the integrity of the community’s boundaries and identity. By March 14, 2003 Labonge’s motion to rename this area to “River Glen” was withdrawn from the L.A. City Council (Council File: 02-2792) and no vote was ever taken. Consequently, this area is still named and known as “North Atwater Village” to the residents of Atwater Village.

Nevertheless, unknown to most of the Atwater Village community, Councilmember Labonge and his staff continue to this day to refer to Atwater Village’s industrial park in North Atwater as “River Glen” The references to “River Glen” can be found on the Los Angeles River Revitalization Plan and other City documents. Somehow, Labonge has managed to insert the name “River Glen” to CD4’s interactive map ( which consequently partitions Atwater Village’s industrial park and equestrian area in North Atwater Village from the reset of Atwater Village.

In light of Labonge's continued use of "River Glen" some in Atwater Village wonder what needs to be done to stop him from arbitrarily changing the name of a vital part of North Atwater and removing it from our village.

Friday, October 16, 2009

2009 Holiday Light Festival goes half-green!

Dear Friend of Griffith Park,

Thank you for registering your opinion about changes you would like to see in the annual LADWP Light Festival in Griffith Park. The combined input of the 125 responses we received has had a powerful effect.

This year, for the first time, there will be more walking nights than driving nights.

1. Last year's festival was 1/3 people power, 2/3 engines. This year there will be 15 non-driving nights vs.13 driving nights.
2. Last year's festival deployed buses on walking nights to shuttle visitors from parking lots far from the walking route. This year the LADWP will discontinue the buses and direct visitors to the Zoo parking lot, saving $$$ and lowering pollution.
3. Last year's festival prohibited bicycles except for a single Bike Night. Although the LADWP did not accede to the request that bikes enjoy nightly access, this year it will make extra bike racks available at both ends of the light display.

Another significant change...this year's event will be ten days shorter, beginning on December 3 instead of Thanksgiving week.

Incremental progress is being made towards a combustion-engine free Light Festival. Whether you sent a letter or an e-mail, advocated in person or petitioned, we thank you. As we go forward, there are several ways to continue to promote reform...walk this year's fest and document it, send positive feedback to the LADWP for the changes it has made (contact info following), and please e-mail me or the GGPNC if you have other ideas.

The breakdown of the survey and the official LADWP announcement of 2009 Light Festival dates are copied below.

Thanks again for your advocacy,
Bernadette Soter
Parks, River and Open Space Committee (PROS)
Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council (GGPNC)  

The GGPNC received approximately 125 opinions. Here is the breakdown

- 105 respondents preferred an engine-free festival with all walking and bicycling nights
- 6 respondents preferred a festival with some walking and some driving nights
- 1 respondent preferred a festival with all driving nights
- 7 respondents felt that the festival should be moved from Griffith Park to another setting
- 7 respondents felt that the festival should be discontinued entirely

Curbed LA article on new LA Zoo elephant exhibit

You may wonder why we reprint articles wholesale here.  Over time, sources move or remove old articles causing simple links to expire. This material is important in the context of Griffith Park and we don't want to lose it.

We credit everything and put in the proper links. This article is from today's Curbed LA. Please visit their blog.

Amid Lawsuit, LA Zoo Elephant Habitat Goes Forward

Friday, October 16, 2009
by Adrian Glick Kudler

But how is LA Zoo construction doing in this recession? Quite well, it turns out, as work continues on the zoo's contentious Pachyderm Forest, which has been in a jeopardy a few times, including last December when the City Council's Budget and Finance Committee voted to stop work on the exhibit. The full City Council turned that decision around a couple months later. Now zoo rep Jason Jacobs tells Curbed the last phase of construction is more than a third done, and the zoo is projecting an opening in November 2010. But there's still a lawsuit pending that charges Los Angeles Zoo with abusing elephants. Last month, a judge ruled that a trial in that case could go forward, the Los Angeles Times reported. For their part, the zoo's website says, "an independent review of our elephant program conducted by the City Administrative Officer in 2005 reported that the care and management of elephants currently provided by the Zoo meets the highest standards."

The new space will be made up of three connected yards on more than six acres (which is more than seven times the size of the current space, says the zoo's website).

Elephants will enjoy "waterfalls for washing and playing, waterholes for bathing, a variety of natural surfaces for walking and standing that will promote foot and joint care, and natural topographic and planted environments." Visitors will enter through one of "five distinct asian-inspired gateways" and learn about the threats to Asian Elephants in Thailand, Cambodia, India, and China. The architect is Portico Group, who also designed the zoo's China Golden Monkey exhibit.

Right now the zoo only has one elephant, 23-year-old Billy (the one activists wanted released), who will be moving into one of the completed parts of the Pachyderm Forest soon. The zoo plans to bring in one more male and three females for breeding (What's with one lady out?). Jacobs says these elephants will be ones already in the U.S.

What did they do to Reggie?

Canned Ham subtext

Greetings on a Friday!

For more information on any of the items below - or to see photos from Tom's events this week - please visit the Council District 4 website:

- Tom helped unveil the largest piece of the Berlin Wall outside of Berlin today in the Museum District on Wilshire Blvd. The thirty-foot piece of wall is available for public viewing at any time at 5900 Wilshire Blvd. in anticipation of ceremonies to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of this infamous Cold War symbol. The 20th anniversary event will be held on Nov. 8, 2009 at the same location. For more information, visit:

- You're invited to tour the new Marshall High School track and field with Tom next Friday, Oct. 23 at 4 p.m. School officials will hold a dedication ceremony beginning at 5 p.m. Councilmember LaBonge worked with LAUSD officials for years to identify funding for this much-needed project. See the attached flier for more information.

- Third Street School students learned about pedestrian safety today as part of a citywide Safe Paths to School program.

- Councilmembers LaBonge and Wesson pulled on their work gloves and tossed out a few abandoned mattresses on Thursday to demonstrate a coordinated effort to keep the streets of Koreatown clear of bulky item refuse. If you would like a city crew to pick up a bulky item for disposal, please fill out the form at this link:

Have a great weekend and continue to enjoy and love Los Angeles!

Image from the LA Weekly "Tom LaBonge's Griffith Park Body Language"

RIP: The Station Fire

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune is reporting that the Station Fire is officially out six weeks after it was started by an arsonist still at-large.

The controversy regarding the first three days of luke-warm firefighting response to the monster is still going strong.

Did the Feds cause it?
Were they trying to burn out permitted cabins? Illegal pot farms?
Was it simply due to incompetency?  Apathy?

Meanwhile, people who lost their homes are left without hope and are purposefully being bypassed by utilities repair.

The plot sickens.

Audubon Center at Debs Park has power to spare. Why isn't anyone buying?

We'll let the Audubon explain, but suffice it to say that the problem rests once again with your elected officials, the Department of Water and Power, and the ridiculous political strength of the DWP's employee union: IBEW.

If you don't believe us, just go back and research the truth behind the infamous Measure B solar power initiative, and the entities it actually fooled into supporting it, like the local Sierra Club. You should know that their political director is a local politico with ties to the political machine in this town.

To wit:

Susana Reyes
Los Angeles County Political Director, Sierra Club
H.R. Director at DWP

Nauseating, yes?  Read on to find out why the DWP has a right to waste or ignore unused green power.
Audubon View
By John Flicker
The Debs Park Audubon Center in East Los Angeles is one of those rare commercial buildings that operates off the grid, powered entirely by solar electricity. Our rooftop solar panels are designed to generate enough electricity even in times of low sunlight, which means that at other times they generate excess amounts. We would like to hook up to the grid and sell that power for other customers to use. Unfortunately, there are no local laws to encourage utilities to pay us for it.
California has some of the nation’s most progressive laws promoting clean power. Yet utilities give us only a credit for our clean electricity. That could offset the cost of other electricity we buy from them, but since we don’t buy any, the credit is worthless. Plus, the credit’s value primarily reflects the cost of cheap electricity, not the actual cost of generating clean solar power. So even if we could use their credits, it wouldn’t repay our investment. Thousands of other green entrepreneurs face similar obstacles. They want to be part of the solution to global warming by installing solar panels on their roofs and in their backyards, but local utility regulations are unfriendly and make doing so unaffordable.
Investors in large renewable-energy facilities aren’t much better off. They qualify for what’s called an investment or a production tax credit, a federal subsidy that offsets some of renewable power’s additional cost. But the credit is unreliable because Congress must renew it regularly, and that’s the point when opponents hold it hostage for whatever they want in return. Plus, the credit is not large enough to make most solar electricity profitable.
Even with increased efficiency, demand for electricity will likely grow. Coal-fired power plants are now the largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions. More than 100 new ones are in the process of being permitted in the United States. If they are built, they will spew emissions for more than half a century, making it nearly impossible to prevent global warming’s worst consequences. Our challenge is giving the marketplace the incentives it needs to produce enough clean electricity to make coal plants unnecessary. Fortunately, we know how to unleash private industry to produce clean electricity—pay them for it.

Germany figured this out and enacted “feed-in tariff” laws in 1991 that required utilities to buy solar power from homes and businesses at a price that often produces a return on the investment they make to install their solar systems. The results have been stunning. Germany, hardly known for sunlight, now boasts more than half the world’s solar power capacity. And it happened quickly. By distributing its generating capacity to where people live and work, Germany avoided the delays often associated with siting large, centralized facilities and building transmission lines to carry electricity from remote locations. To learn the basics on how feed-in tariffs work, see our special pullout, “Clean Break.”

Clean electricity does cost more, and utilities pass that cost on to consumers. In Germany the increase seems manageable. In fact, feed-in tariffs have produced a modest $4-per-month rise in the average household electricity bill, and in the long term that cost is expected to decline with increased volume and innovation. Most people understand that clean electricity costs more to produce. But many are reluctant to embrace approaches they’ll have to pay for in advance through higher taxes or utility fees so their money can be used as incentives for someone to produce more clean electricity later. With feed-in tariffs, consumers pay only for the clean electricity they use, when they use it. They aren’t asked to pay in advance and to trust that government or utilities will deliver later.

Six states, including California, are now considering feed-in tariff laws that would require utilities to pay people for producing clean electricity. If California gets such a law on the books, the Debs Park Audubon Center and thousands of other green entrepreneurs can become part of the solution to clean electricity. To find out how you can help fight global warming, go to

LAPD investigating dogs at dog parks?

If this sounds like a questionable rumor, it is. However, since we have a dog park in Griffith Park, we are publishing this as an FYI. Act or react accordingly.

Keep copies of your dog's license in your car!

Here is a msg from Officer David Ham of LAPD, he is the Senior Lead Officer for the park and vicinity (of the Sepulveda Basin Dog Park): Just wanted to give you a heads up and to please pass it on to all your friends to avoid any problems. The Dept of Animal Regulation will be working with LAPD to check dog licenses and proper documents including dog vaccine. This is mainly to address the complaints of un-neutered dogs and vicious dogs that visit our dog parks . If documents are not in order the violators will be cited and in some cases the dogs will be held by Animal Reg. This will be done shortly so please advise your friends and visitors of the park to keep a copy of the dogs lic and vaccines in their car.

lezle stein
Dog Training & Behavior Specialist
Handle With Care Dog Training
L.A. City Council Spay & Neuter Advisory Committee
Director of Animal Welfare/ Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council
Downtown Dog Rescue

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fish and Game kills bear under questionable circumstances

Recently, Griffith Park had a first-hand encounter with the California Department of Fish and Game, and their policies with respect to wildlife. In the case of the hand-fed coyotes at Griffith, eight animals were culled when they did not pass the 'fear of humans' test.

In the following KTLA report, a black bear who does not sound to have been hand-fed was shot by Fish and Game for what appears to be no discernible reason from the article. More information will be forthcoming when we have more.

Residents Outraged After Bear is Shot and Killed

(Courtesy: Erin Ellwood, Ojai resident)
OJAI -- Some residents in Ojai are outraged after a large black bear was euthanized after it climbed a tree and wandered through a residential neighborhood. The 400 pound bear was spotted in a tree in the 200 block of E. Aliso Street early Saturday morning where it stayed all day. Officials believe it was the same bear who was spotted wandering through the neighborhood a day earlier.

Deputies from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department's Ojai station responded to the scene, contacted state Department of Fish and Game wardens and stood by to monitor the bear, sheriff's officials said. Members of the Fish and Game department arrived on the scene late in the afternoon after being contacted by the Sheriff's department. Officials initially planned to close some local streets and herd the bear about five blocks to an open lot, from which it could head back to the mountains. But, they decided the animal posed a safety hazard when it didn't come down from the tree by nightfall.

Fish and Game policy mandates that any animal deemed a threat to public safety be euthanized, officials said. At about 10 p.m. Saturday, a warden shot the animal twice with a tranquilizer dart meant to immobilize it, and once the animal was on the ground, officials loaded it into a pickup truck, drove it out of town, and euthanized it.

Residents who live nearby say they feel betrayed by officials who initially said they would allow the bear to return to the wild. A makeshift memorial, adorned with flowers, has been set up where the animal fell.


Charred Deukmejian Wilderness Park braces for storm

Weather reports from this afternoon are saying that the storm will dump less rain than expected.... are you surprised?

Meanwhile, what is left of beautiful Deukmejian Wilderness Park (City of Glendale) braces for the worst. Deukmejian has so much in common with our larger City regional parks. Seeing it this way is hard to take.

From the LA Times:

Naturalists prepare for mudslides at Glendale's Deukmejian Park

October 13, 2009

Glendale park naturalists are expecting some mudslides this evening in Deukmejian Park, which was badly burned in the Station fire, as heavy rains are expected to drench Southern California.

“I’m sure we’re going to get some mudflow out there tonight and tomorrow,” said Eric Grossman, a naturalist who has worked at the 712-acre park for 14 years."We always get mudflow out of the park when it rains because of the area.” Yet the Station fire that started in August in the Angeles National Forest and spread to foothill communities, including Glendale, caused a “complete burn” said Russ Hauck, a senior park naturalist who has worked for the city for 17 years. “There is no vegetation left to hold back any soil," Hauck said. "In a normal rain year, we have slides. Now we have rain without the benefit of vegetation. “We’re anticipating that we’ll definitely get some sort of slide.”

The last time the park was seriously burned was in 1975 during the Mills fire, making the ash level from the Station fire considerable, Grossman said. “We’ve never experienced this much damage in the park, so we’ll just have to see," he said. "Now we’re looking at a completely different scenario. We’re looking at hillsides that no longer have vegetation.”

Another concern is the historic Le Mesnager Barn, a stone structure at the center of open space in the park. Built between 1914 and 1918, the stone has withstood the most damaging disasters the area has seen, including a 1934 flood and mudslides in 1978 that followed the Mills fire.

-- Baxter Holmes

Park Ranger Division changes memo

Background information:

Last Monday, the Department of Recreation and Parks put out the following memo to the Park Ranger Division and to the unions related to the Division.

On Tuesday, the park-going public learned of this memo and its related changes to the Park Rangers at the Los Angeles City Council's Arts Parks Health and Aging Committee meeting.  At the time, the community members who attended the committee which is chaired by Councilman Tom LaBonge reacted very strongly.

You can listen to that reaction here.  The pertinent agenda items are 2, 3, and 4 although item 1 is where the memo and contents became known.
Park Ranger Memo

editorial: Plain talk on LA's Park Rangers


It is about time that the Department of Recreation and Parks define what the Park Rangers should do - but more importantly it is also time for Recreation and Parks to listen to the park users who are in the parks every day.  The need for public services should drive the the focus of the Ranger Division - not politics.

What the people have said, over and over again is that they want Rangers to continue to be jacks of all trades, with the emphasis on park safety. They want them to continue fighting fires and searching for lost persons, doing the "quality of life" law enforcement, helping visitors with directions, information and other assistance, managing park resources and providing interpretive services, but as time permits.

There is healthy discussion within the Ranger Division as to what the role should be, especially considering that the Rangers do everything from A to Z in the parks. Those who know about the Ranger profession know that this has always been an ongoing debate not only in the City of LA but in the State Park Rangers, National Park Service and other agencies.

The need for public services should drive the the focus of the Ranger Division - not politics.

In general there is agreement in the ranks of the City Rangers that Rangers should remain generalists - performing public assistance, fire and rescue work, park management, interpretive and some level of law enforcement. Over the years and to date LAPD has done a sorry job of making the parks safe - they have too much on their plate to focus on the parks on a regular, consistent basis. The Office of Public Safety serves too many masters and has never taken ownership of the park problems in any meaningful way. In addition the entrenched lack of responsiveness and lack of a public service ethic in the OPS organization really gets in the way of providing the same level of service formerly provided by rangers. Both agencies seem unable to detect trends and respond appropriately, and seem to dismiss the "quality of life" problems while constantly searching for that big arrest.

This is not the first time that this issue has come up - there have been at least three prior attempts to relieve Rangers of their security duties. At one point the duties were turned over to security officers then LAPD, twice. All three failed miserably  (where are the 100 LAPD officers who were assigned directly to the parks in the late 1980s?)  Each time the bulk of law enforcement responsibility returned to the Rangers.

So what is the answer? In this time of fiscal crises, the Rangers should remain generalists, if only as a cost saving/efficiency matter. Although interpretive services are a core Ranger duty, direct visitor services and public safety need to be the priority. A volunteer/interpretive program would go a long way towards being able to expand the interpretive program at low cost.

The proposed transfer of half the field Rangers to a newly created interpretive unit is irresponsible considering that this action will result in no Rangers on duty at times, and no or limited Ranger staff available to respond to fires, medical calls, rescues, visitor assistance, etc.

....did anyone from Recreation and Parks ask the Fire Department if they were OK with no Park Rangers on duty?

This proposal seems to be poorly thought out. Since Rangers are an integral part of the delivery of public safety services in the parks, did anyone from Recreation and Parks ask the Fire Department if they were OK with no Rangers on duty? Did anyone think about the impact of this proposal on the mutual aid agreement with LAFD for Ranger-staffed fire fighting equipment? Did anyone cosult with OPS and ask if they were ready to take on the miriad of visitor assistance calls (directions, park information, battery jumps, lockouts etc) when no Rangers are on duty?

Unfortunately there is plenty of law enforcement work to go around and any reasonable person would agree that the heavy-duty stuff should be handled by LAPD or GSD - but, there is no indication that either of these agencies is willing or able to step up to the plate.

Longtime Park Employee