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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

GPW's predictions for 2010

Goodbye 2009 - a year of political diamonds and rust.

As 2009 slips away, the writers at Griffith Park Wayist would like to share some of our predictions and prognostications for 2010 with our readers.

The State of California's internal budget situation will cause a social services crisis heretofore unseen. Counties and cities scramble to find ways to cover those losses while an unprecedented number of related non-profits disappear completely.

Meanwhile, the Federal government finally takes over the State's overcrowded prison system in 2010 when State government fails to reduce the prison population by almost the almost 50,000 the Feds are requiring.

Local activists fail to realize the importance of the new California Redistricting Committee and allow that group to form and present their first draft of the State's new districts, which is met by activists with helpless outrage.

Locally, as the City of Los Angeles' real budget deficit approaches nearly $1 billion:

While causing unimaginable chaos, E-RIP fails to bring any relief to 2009's bottom line, eventually hitting the books more than a year later than it was both needed and anticipated, in part due to the fact that no one is left in Personnel to process the retirements.

At least one local political blogger makes major local news this year, and not in a positive fashion. Another local political blogger not called Zuma Dogg runs for a major public office. Yet another local blogger throws up their hands, divests, and becomes a bag lady.

Special City programs with high-powered guardians become rabid yet untouchable internal thieves and bullies (Greuel's  Office of Public Safety), while others inexplicably continue to survive (LaBonge's Sister Cities program).

With a budget that ideally should be approaching $175 million, the Department of Recreation and Parks becomes the biggest victim of the Mayor's hatchet in 2010 as all non-self-sustaining recreation programs are unceremoniously cut, leaving the department to operate as a $75 million parks and golf course maintenance agency. Some excuse is manufactured to fire the department's GM when he attempts to fight for recreation in Los Angeles but the public - who is too bruised and battered themselves - completely and utterly fails to muster any outrage. The GM is replaced with a universally hated Yes-Man or Yes-Woman with a southern drawl and a cowboy hat.

The Los Angeles Times finally gives up its print edition for good, while the Daily News fares only slightly better. They are also forced to give up their City Hall offices. David Zahniser starts his own competing news blog and thoroughly kicks the Times' ass.

At least one Antonio Villaraigosa love child surfaces.

Beginning with some of the original NC movement leaders, Neighborhood Councils see the start of a mass exodus from a process so bogged down with certifiable lunatic soapboxers and bureaucratic garbage that absolutely nothing positive can be accomplished by then through their process. 

The Festival of Lights goes bye-bye.... crocodile tears all around.

Finally, as the year comes to a close, having been unable to fight the putrid cesspit that is business as usual in Los Angeles sucessfully, Paul Krekorian faces major opposition to re-election in CD2. This time, however, the activists in Sunland find themselves split internally and fighting much of the rest of the district as to who best to replace him.

Happy New Fresh Hell Year, everyone! WhooHoo!

Good Morning! from the US military

Good morning y'all!

F16s are making one hell of a noise circling over the northeast SFV this morning.... absolutely deafening, and well outside the usual. As Mulholland Terrace hints, it's probably a Rose Parade - Stephanie Edwards thing.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Start 2010 with a "three-garden" hike in GP

The Los Angeles Hiking Meet-Up group is hosting a hiking tour of the three iconic gardens in Griffith Park on January 3rd.  Well, two of the three and a part of the third, any rate: Amir's Garden, Dantes View, and a recent extension to Captain's Roost they're calling "Felix's Garden".  (Sadly, Captain's Roost still lies in ruins a full 2 1/2 years after the Griffith Park Fire.)

The hike starts Sunday January 3rd at 9:30am in the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round parking lot #2.

Hike level: Moderate (= 5 out of 10 max),  1250 feet gain /loss 6 miles roundtrip, slow uphill,  medium pace downhill

Kids are welcome if they're in shape for this hike, and dogs are welcome on-leash.

Contact Jose with the Hiking Meet-Up group for more information.

Manure funny business seems to be 'All in the Family'

Here in what's left of Los Angeles' horse-keeping areas, something decidedly Downtown-ish is smelling more than a little stinky.

On my block, trash pickup day is Monday and horse manure pickup day just happens to be on Tuesday, the very next day.

On Sunday everyone in the neighborhood gathers up the junk for the black, green, and blue barrels and totes the household refuse to the curb. Horse refuse, in the brown barrels, is supposed to be toted to the curb the next night. Since the pickup schedules are so close and there are bins of one color or another on the road all day Monday and Tuesday anyway, a lot of neighborhood folk "break the rules" and use their casual weekend time to collect and tote all of the material for disposal - black, green, blue, and brown - to the curb on Sunday. Cuts down somewhat on the two days straight of shuffling barrels back and forth, but only somewhat.

Sanitation then dutifully picks up the goods on the required days. Nothing unusual enough to gain attention there.

What is interesting about this is that, without fail, at just a few homes in the neighborhood, the Bureau of Sanitation picks up all four colors on Monday. It's very odd. Our place can have all four colors out on Monday AM and 99% of the time the barrels are collected on the scheduled dates: Monday for black, green, blue, and Tuesday for brown.

Yet week after week, very specific homes in the neighborhood have all of their barrels picked up on Monday. Time, energy, hassle are all reduced for these special people, and the curb appeal of their homes are increased.

One of those special homes is across the street from mine. This Monday, as our brown barrels sat out another night, I watched the neighbor take in all of theirs - including their now-empty brown barrels - and seriously wondered. What is so special about that house? Why is that one, as well as the one around the corner, receiving very different, if not what you could actually call special pickup service from the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation? I've been through their web site, and sure - you can ask for the occasional special collection - but not a consistent day change.

So what gives? What makes these two homes special from the rest of us with horses in the neighborhood? Then it hit me: the residents of those homes are City employees. One is an LAPD officer, and the other is an Animal Services officer. Ah... For some reason, two City employees that have horses, and hence have brown barrels, receive special services from the Bureau of Sanitation, consistently having all of their personal barrels picked up from their private homes on Monday.

In a time of loss of service, rate-hikes, and impending E-RIP chaos, that City employees are receiving custom curbside services smells more than a little stinky to me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Contest to name newest Zoo baby

From KPCC:
LA zoo officials announce contest to name baby monkey
The surprise birth of a baby monkey at the Los Angeles Zoo has led to a contest to name the newborn primate, zoo officials said today.
The snowy white Kikuyu colobus monkey was born Nov. 27 to a mother who had been on contraceptives. Gender has yet to be determined, but officials said it weighed about a pound and was about eight inches long. Through Jan. 11, zoo visitors can enter a contest to name the baby monkey. Results will be announced Jan. 18, with the winner receiving a free behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo for up to six people.
Found in the forests of central Africa, adult Kikuyu colobus monkeys have black bodies trimmed with long white mantles. Infants are pure white when born but begin to grow black fur at around three and a half months. The zoo had put the mother on contraceptives to keep her from breeding because several zoos across North America already house the same species.

Jason Jacobs, the zoo's public relations director, explained "we don't want to be irresponsible and breed primates if we don't have a home for them.'' He called the birth "a nice surprise'' and added the zoo will keep the baby monkey for now. Kikuyu colobus monkeys live in highly cohesive social groups so the baby monkey is enjoying attention from its father, mother and another adult female. Their exhibit is located just past the zoo's Mahale Cafe. Visitors can also check out Reindeer Romp — an exhibit of what the zoo calls "Santa's reindeer'' — through Jan. 3, and the zoo's first-ever ice skating rink will be open through Jan. 10.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

GP Twitpic du jour

kwamwei took this twitpic of sunset in Griffith Park this week.

(LATimes) Jurupa Hills oak may be California's oldest plant

Jurupa Hills oak may be California's oldest plant

Researchers from UC Davis and UC Riverside say the 75-foot-wide Palmer's oak shrub has lived about 13,000 years despite inhospitable surroundings, regenerating itself with new shoots.

Jurupa Hills oak
Michael May, an undergraduate student at UC Davis, next to a clone of a Palmer's Oak in Riverside County. (Dan May)

By Thomas H. Maugh II
December 22, 2009  |  10:47p.m.

Nestled between two boulders on a low rise in the Jurupa Hills of Riverside County, a good 30 miles from its nearest living relative, lies the ultimate survivor -- an oak bush that researchers believe is 13,000 years old. That's 1,000 years older than a previously identified Palm Springs creosote bush that was thought to be the oldest plant in California, 8,000 years older than bristlecone pines and 10,000 years older than the redwoods. While it is one of the world's oldest living plants, it is probably not the oldest. That distinction may belong to a quaking aspen in Utah that is thought to be as old as 80,000 years or a holly in Tasmania that may be 43,000 years old. But the Jurupa oak, researchers reported Tuesday in the online journal PLoS One, is unusual in that it is well out of its normal environment, which would be high in the mountains. It took seed at its current location near the end of the last Ice Age, when the climate was cooler and wetter. As its brethren died out because of climatic change, it persisted. "If you planted a seedling there now, I doubt very much whether it would grow," said plant scientist Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra of UC Davis, lead author of the paper by UC Davis and UC Riverside scientists.

Because there are no other members of its species -- Quercus palmeri or Palmer's oak -- around to pollinate it, the shrub is infertile and grows clonally. When the trunk is destroyed by burning, new shoots pop up all around it from the roots. Over the millenniums, the Jurupa oak has spread until it is now more than 75 feet across. Genetic testing of individual stems shows that all are part of the same organism, Ross-Ibarra said. The researchers estimated the plant's age by measuring growth rings and the rate of its spread. Termites have destroyed dead wood, precluding the use of radiocarbon-dating to get a more precise age. Although the plant has survived since the Ice Age, its future is unclear. On one side of its hill are suburban backyards; on the other, off-roaders ride bikes and other vehicles. How long the oak can withstand encroachment is anyone's guess, Ross-Ibarra said. The scientists are talking to local officials about possible measures to protect it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fringe loonies as "news"

You know that the LA Times has completely lost it when they create a slide show of images in the news from around the world and include a bunch of role-playing SCA hobbits engaged in their pretend-time at Stonehenge as "news".

Shee... since when did dress-up Trek/Who fan-boy types become mainstream? Or  news,  for that matter?

Hey, how about this picture of Stonehenge on the winter solstice - free of kiddies playing dress-up - instead?

Or this one?


Happy drive-thru holiday everyone!

Hope you didn't breathe in too many hours of joyous carbon emissions!

adrianabidasio @Catchdizzy   ugh tell me about it! i'm trying to remain in the christmas spirit, but the griffith park light festival can seriously bite me.   about 10 hours ago from web

missashleeeyyy   Traffic in griffith park to see a light bueno!   about 10 hours ago from txt

omnilila   in line for griffith park lights for 1.25 hours.   about 10 hours ago from mobile web

MissBurks   Still in TRAFFIC at Griffith Park UGH. We just wanna see the light show!!! 2hrs strong uugghh @marlonwade thanks for take'n over the wheel   about 11 hours ago from UberTwitter

ShunnaJones   STILL waiting to experience Festival of Lights. Been in traffic to Griffith Park for 2 hrs. Should be called the Festival of Brake Lights!   about 11 hours ago from TwitterBerry

 MissBurks   TRAFFIC at Griffith Park UGH   about 12 hours ago from UberTwitter 


Fire safety during the holidays

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Unfortunate legacy looms for one of LA's finest

It's terrible to think that the death of firefighter Brent A. Lovrein is poised to become the bearer of a very sad legacy.  Unfortunately, through absolutely no fault of his own, that's where we are as 2009 slides to an ungraceful, quivering halt.

Think back almost a year ago to a fight to stop another DWP rate increase. In the middle of a heroic stand by the public in council chambers against the tyranny of more taxation without representation, Brent Lovrein was accidentally killed when a smoking DWP utility box exploded as he was cutting it open. City Council members and then-DWP GM David Nahai instantly took advantage of Lovrein's untimely death, and wielded it in the fight. They jumped all over the man's corpse, suddenly claiming that the large rate hike being fought over was really needed to repair the infrastructure that killed Lovrein.  As everyone with a soul gasped at the shocking shamelessness of the people they elected, their representatives then executed the coup de grace by shoving the vote through the gaping wound.

So how has this rate hike improved DWP infrastructure today?  Water main breaks occur almost daily across the City, and there's been no discernable increase in the upkeep or replacement of DWP's decrepit infrastructure.  Lovrein's death wasn't for nothing, then.

As for the individuals who shamefully used this incident to raise our DWP bills to the point that they are approaching the size of mortgage payments? Nahai the Undertaker is gone - replaced by his predecessor, Ross Perot, and a fat consultants' contract on the taxpayer's dime, while six of the councilpersons involved are thankfully up for re election in 2011 - that's six who were responsible for doing this to us, and to Brent Lovrein and his family (Paul Krekorian being the exception.)

Let's vote their sadistic asses out of office as fast as possible. Then maybe they can try to pay their own bloated DWP bills with a normal person's income for a change.

The final report on Lovrein's death was recently published on NIOSH  indicating that more training is needed for firefighters in unique situations such as Lovrein faced that day.

GP Light Festival: "Dat shit was backed up 2 Glendale"

Just one of the many reasons that the Holiday Light Festival in Griffith Park is an Eco-Moron Award winner:

Diskedo   Tried 2watch da Light shw @ Griffith park last nite! Didn't! Dat shit was backed up 2 Glendale ! We ll hit it up again 2night wish us luck
about 4 hours ago from Tweetie

Cathyroxx    Ok so I went to see lights on Griffith park & it was a complete of my precious time lol we got stuck on traffic for 2 hours just 2 see...
about 13 hours ago from Twitterrific

Totaltrafficla   Griffith Park 5S is slow 134 to Los Feliz. 5N is slow 2 to Glendale Blvd slowing is due to Griffith Park Observatory Christmas lights
about 14 hours ago from web

OzzyFavela   Griffith Park Christmas Lights here we come. Can't wait, but traffic is horrible.
about 14 hours ago from web

Get used to it

The view from Foothill Blvd in Sunland this morning.

The irony is that Sunland-Tujunga came into existence as a community for those suffering from lung diseases like tuberculosis and asthma. From the images, this looks like the last place those folks are going to want to be for the next couple of years.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jogging path plan leads to possible landmark destruction

LA Shares inhabits the old children's theatre building behind the Mulholland Fountain on the corner of Los Feliz and Riverside Drive. The same architect that designed the Transamerica  pyramid in San Francisco as well as the LA Zoo and LAX supposedly designed this little gem in 1960 -- a gentleman named William L. Pereira. Although the inside has been re purposed as a warehouse for charities to use, this is still a historic building in Los Angeles.

Last Tuesday, Tom LaBonge held a quiet little meeting for a hand-picked group of his friends. In it, he spelled out his development plans for Griffith Park in 2010.

One of those innocuous sounding little plans - if you don't look too closly - involves creating a 600 yard "jogging path" for seniors around the Mulholland Fountain. LaBonge says this path will be built in the spirit of the 2.5 mile (4267 yard) Silverlake jogging path.  Yes, that's 600 yards vs. 4267 yards.  Of course, said seniors will need a new, safe way to cross the street from the temporary senior center behind Friendship Auditorium to get to the new workout path, which means a new crosswalk on one of the busiest, most dangerous intersections in the City.

This begs the question - why isn't LaBonge building his walkway on the Friendship Auditorium / senior center side of the street? Plenty of room for a longer jogging path there. No having to cross a dangerous old intersection. Plus, Mulholland Fountain is a favorite for wedding photos and professional photo shoots. Stuffing a jogging path into the area cannot help but impact that activity.

What is this really about, then? Previously, LaBonge had hinted at tearing down the historic LA Shares building and putting up a brand-new super-special senior citizens center in its place. This in spite of the fact that the DWP owns most of the property, and in spite of the fact that the building is a historic gem. Before that, LaBonge had offered to sacrifice the LA Shares site as the alternate for putting the Los Angeles Children's Museum redux there. That white elephant ended up at Hansen Dam. Funny, but it just seems like LaBonge is always finding a reason to tear down that little historic building, isn't he? Hm.

Well, the councilman is up for re-election in a year, and senior citizens vote.  Doesn't take a genius to follow this 600 yard path of eventual destruction, now does it?

More about LA Shares from
Sharing, Caring, Reusing. Repeat.

by Leon Kaye

Imagine that you are a school teacher or a non-profit, and you rarely have the budget for school supplies or office equipment. Suppose you own a business that either is relocating, or you have excess inventory for which you see no other choice but disposal. Finally, you are the administrator in City Hall struggling with rapidly-filling landfills.  

and this is just the beginning . . . Have I got the model organization for you. On Riverside Drive, at the edge of Griffith Park, stands a former warehouse where teachers and non-profit organizations' employees await an opportunity unique to Los Angeles.  I happened to visit last Wednesday afternoon, where about 30 teachers patiently waited.  Each of them sported a sticker--one of four colors.  Every 5 minutes or so, someone would walk out, call a color, and the teachers would line up, slowly file through a door, and was then handled a clipboard. What followed was amazing.

items and items everywhereWelcome to LA SHARES.  Boxes of binders stacked to the ceiling.  Envelopes.  Printer labels.  Reams of papers.  Pens, pencils, erasures.  Staplers, 3-hole punches.  I even saw cleaning and beauty products.  And piles of construction paper and art supplies. These teachers were spending the afternoon at LA SHARES, a non-profit materials reuse program.  LA SHARES works with businesses to obtain new and used office supplies and other materials, and then distributes them to schools and non-profits that desperately need them.  While serving the needs of the community, LA SHARES is also a great demonstration of inventory control and database management.  And while recycling should just be a natural reflex of ours, remember that recycling involves hauling and reprocessing materials--which involves energy consumption.  Rather than sending such materials downstream, why not move unwanted goods upstream and let someone who needs them use them?

Here's how LA SHARES works:  A school or non-profit visits the agency's web site and creates an online profile.  Once LA SHARES vets and registers them, the organizations can outline a wish list and their "top 20 needs."  LA SHARES' staff matches their needs to what businesses have donated, and through its customized database, the agency strives to match its inventory with what various schools and non-profits have requested.  Where the real magic happens is when LA SHARES distributes big ticket items such as shelves, video systems, and furniture.  As such items roll in, LA SHARES' staff matches them to the organizations' various requests.  Registered organizations can then view these items on LA SHARES' web site, view the dimensions, know how many people are needed to haul the items away, what size of car or truck is critical for transporting the items, and where the items are located.

LA SHARES is a win-win proposition all the way around.  Businesses don't have to deal with bulk trash fees, and can gain a tax write off.  The City of Los Angeles has less trash going to its landfills.  And teachers and non-profit administrators have access to quality materials.  While LA SHARES says it accepts new and used items, 99% of what I saw in its Griffith Park Reuse Center looked new to me--and many of those items are expensive at art supply stores and office superstores.  The teachers with whom I spoke on Wednesday were wide-eyed, beaming, and thrilled.  With budget cuts hammering the schools, teachers often pay for supplies out of their own pockets--yet many of them don't quite spend enough to get any tax break from the IRS.  They kept telling me, "I'm amazed," "This is overwhelming," "I didn't expect this," "How come I didn't know about this."  They followed the simple rules:  respect the maximum amount of each item that can be taken, list them on a clipboard so LA SHARES' staff can manage its inventory, and write a thank you note to the donors.  Teachers could take as much as they want . . . and as the minutes passed, the piles outside kept mounting.

Bert Ball, LA SHARES' Executive Director, sowed the roots of LA SHARES in 1991.  Appalled at the waste that movie sets generated, he believed that there had to be a way of salvaging all these materials, reducing waste while giving the studios a tax deduction.  Ball's idea then spread to local businesses, and partnering with the City of LA, LA SHARES prevents millions of pounds of materials from ending up in landfills, has supplied over 2500 organizations with $80 million worth of supplies, and received inventory from 1000 companies.  Ball and La Shan Branham, LA SHARES' meticulous Chief of Staff, keep LA SHARES humming with its dispensing of supplies year round, rotating the opportunities among Los Angeles' 15 city council districts. Learn how your company can donate to LA SHARES.  The site also has a great commercial you can view as well!

As far as we know there is no other city that has a program that can match LA's scope.  If you know of one, we'd love to hear about it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fresh holiday freeway hell near GP from your friends at CalTrans

Nightly Closures for the Arroyo Seco Parkway Improvement Project

There will be NO CLOSURES from Thursday, December 24, at 6 a.m. through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 27.

Los Angeles — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the following ramps, lanes and connectors of the Pasadena Freeway (also known as the Arroyo Seco Parkway, or SR-110) and the Golden State Freeway (I-5) as part of the Arroyo Seco Parkway Improvement Project. Please note that no two consecutive on-ramps or off-ramps will be closed at the same time. Closure times are approximate and subject to change.

Northbound Pasadena Freeway (SR-110) Closures
Sunday, December 20, through 6 a.m. on Thursday, December 24

-- San Fernando Road On-Ramp: 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Avenue 26 On-Ramp: 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Avenue 43 On-Ramp: 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Avenue 43 Off-Ramp: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Avenue 52 On-Ramp: 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Avenue 52 Off-Ramp: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Via Marisol On-Ramp: 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Via Marisol Off-Ramp: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Avenue 60 On-Ramp: 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Avenue 60 Off-Ramp: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Marmion Way Off-Ramp: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Bridewell Street Off-Ramp: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

-- Up to two lanes of Northbound SR-110 from I-5 to Glenarm Street: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Golden State Freeway (I-5) Closures
Sunday, December 20, through 6 a.m. on Thursday, December 24

-- Up to two lanes of the Southbound I-5 Connector to Northbound SR-110: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
-- Up to two lanes of the Northbound I-5 Connector to Northbound SR-110: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

This project involves replacing the existing metal beam and temporary barriers with decorative concrete barriers that reflect the stonework architecture seen throughout the surrounding communities. Historic reproduction lighting will also be installed. Project benefits include improved safety for motorists, reduced maintenance costs, improved appearance of the historic highway, and protection for Caltrans maintenance workers The $17-million project is expected to be completed in spring 2011. The contractor is Cooper/Myers. Project and closure updates will be announced as they occur. For more information about the project, click here

Date: December 17, 2009
Dist. 7: Los Angeles and Ventura Counties
Contact: Judy Gish or Kelly Markham
Phone: (213) 897-3487, (213) 897-0303

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Autry making good on threat to close SW Museum

“To Whom It May Concern,
I have been both a member and a volunteer/docent with the Southwest Museum since 1985. Last Saturday, 12/12/2009, the docents had their annual holiday gathering at the museum. John Gray made a surprise appearance, and announced to our group that the Southwest Museum site at Mt. Washington would be closing to the general public. The reason he gave was that they needed space for artifact restoration and conservation. He said that after 12/31/2009, the bookstore area will be closed and used to do work on the bead-work portion of the collection. Any public events now taking place at the museum will cease. Museum access will be given only to museum members…–for example, the monthly tours of the building. It was unclear whether the NELA art openings would be open to the public or members only (the next show is 1/23/2010). No public annoucement would be made regarding either the closing of the store or the site itself.
With this action, the Southwest Museum is now officially a storehouse and conservation site, nothing more. Mr. Gray stated that it would not open again for at least three years and perhaps longer pending need. He stated the future plan for the site was still to create a cultural center, exhibition space and education facilities. This was the plan that came out of the public meetings held in 2006 by the The Human Rights Commission of L.A. Since there is no contractual obligation to move forward with this plan after negotiations ended last fall with the city, the Autry’s word becomes its sole binding agreement for the future of the site. With the miscommunication and lack of transparency about the future of the Southwest Museum since the initial agreement was signed back in 2003, it is difficult to believe that the Autry will honor its previous agreement. This latest action shows clearly that the Autry’s long-term commitment to Southwest Museum is questionable and doubtful. The closing of the site to the general public is contary to both the wishes of the community at large and the L.A. City Council.
Michael Wyman
SWM Docent”


Autry Returns Scarce State Funding Secured for SW Museum
by Nicole Possert  

Autry's Decision to a Complete Closure of the Southwest Museum Shuts Off All Public Access to the First Museum in LA;

Autry Returns Scarce State Funding Secured for Southwest Museum Statement from Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition

LOS ANGELES (December 16, 2009) The revelation that Autry intends to quietly completely close the Southwest Museum to the general public on December 31st is the latest proof of Autry's continued disrespect to our community, to the City of Los Angeles and to the history of the Southwest, said Nicole Possert, Chairperson for the Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition.

In 2003, Autry merged with the Southwest Museum with the stated intent to save the Southwest Museum institution.  In the ensuing seven years, Autry has done just the opposite. It has not complied with the legal merger agreement and Autry's pattern of contrarian actions proves that they never intended to stay and continue to operate the first museum in Los Angeles. This is the last stab in Autry's death by a 1,000 cuts" strategy to kill the first museum in Los Angeles and take for themselves the priceless Southwest Museum Collection, continued Possert. "Wake up Los Angeles." Our history is unnecessarily going away.

This news piles on top of more negative news and a financial red-flag alert. Autry recently returned scarce grant funds to the State of California for over $160,000 to waterproof the historic tunnel entrance to the Southwest Museum  the entryway with unique dioramas used by schoolchildren coming by bus and visitors using public transportation (Southwest Museum Metro Gold station and Metro Bus lines are immediately adjacent). The Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition had originally supported that grant request and is alarmed by Autry's actions of disinvestment in the promised rehabilitation of the Southwest Museum and our community. "In light of Autry's financial condition, this is a strange and illogical way to be a responsible steward and uphold their fiduciary responsibilities to the merger,"concluded Possert.

The Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition has watched, warned and worked to prevent this from occurring. Self-labeled IMBY's (In My Back Yard), the Coalition has worked to keep the Southwest Museum a key museum destination for Los Angeles. It has proposed various win-win solutions including a modest expansion of the Mt. Washington site for more exhibition space, supported Autry's artifact conservation efforts and fundraising activities for the rehabilitation of the Southwest Museum and Casa de Adobe. Each time, Autry rejected the Coalition's attempts at support and solutions.

Councilmember Jose Huizar's office has been working with City staff to review funding options to keep the Southwest Museum open and requested a meeting with Autry to discuss any financing options. The Coalition strongly urges the Autry to meet with Councilmember Huizar and actively secure a solution to re-open the Southwest Museum as a museum to the public, as promised. There is a trigger option, soon expiring on the Southwest Museum, allowing the Autry board to begin selling off parts or all of the priceless Collection, including the two historic museums - the Casa de Adobe and the Southwest Museum.

The Autry letter returning grant funds and highlights of Autry's actions counter to the intent of the 2003 merger will be detailed and available on the front page of the Coalition's website.  

Breaking: a Disney passes - prepare for 'the tribute project'

Roy E Disney passed away today. 

Why do we at GPWayist really care?  Because you can absolutely - positively anticipate a new Tom LaBonge "tribute project" in Griffith Park to commemorate the life of Walt's nephew.... after all, the nephew obviously had so much to do with Walt sitting near the old carosel in Griffith Park and envisioning Disneyland, didn't he? Sure he did!

What form LaBonge's imagineering might take for the park tribute is unknown, so it's poll-time:

What tribute to Roy E Disney will Tom LaBonge try to put in Griffith Park? free polls

Debs Park events this weekend

Debs Park is closer to Griffith than you probably realize. It is a beautiful member of the City's regional parks group. Check it out if you haven't.

Nature Together: 

December 18, 3:30-4:30 pm
Free Program at the Audubon Center at Debs Park

Explore Nature Together on this easy hike for children, age 2-5 and their parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles. Nature Together is a mix of play, exploration, singing, and movement in the wilds of Debs Park! Nature Together is conducted in Spanish and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Saturday December 19 (1:00 - 3:00 pm)
Holidays with Audubon FREE Program

Help celebrate the holiday season! Local artist Leo Limón will be on hand all day to help guide our creative spirits. Learn how to make papel picado (cut paper) banners as well as wreaths and garlands using materials from our natural environment. Refreshments will be served. We will have a bake sale to benefit our summer day camp program. All Ages Welcome.

Audubon Center at Debs Park
4700 North Griffin Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90031
(323) 221-2255

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Doin sumthin with Huell Howser

After Huell appeared on Sunday's Simpsons episode, LAist  reminds us of what watching Huell Howser will be like once marijuana sales are legalized in Los Angeles.

Huell is the only guy we know who hangs up on Tom LaBonge. Pass the cheetos!

Lookin for dude booty in Griffith Park

From Twitter two days ago:

KevinTheFighter   Here's a grown man just hanging out in cold ass Griffith Park. Why? Probably looking for dude booty...smh...

Bad news is that Kevin is probably correct. Lewd conduct, or "booty call",  is not something anyone should be going to any of our City parks to find. In fact, it shouldn't be on a top-100 list of reasons to go to a park. But in Los Angeles, it is nearly epidemic.  

Hey you park booty-seekers:  get a damn hotel room like everybody else and keep your shit biohazard out of the parks that we, and our children, play in.

Too bad KevinThe Fighter didn't get the guy's license plate. The guy's S.O./wife would probably like to know what he's been up to during those long lunches.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Quote of the Day

Best Practices and Common Sense rarely intersect.

-overheard at City Hall last week

Sunday, December 13, 2009

When I grow up, I wanna be Brent Bishop

Meet the most extreme enviro clean-up guy ever: Brent Bishop! Park garbage wrangler of no less than the top of Mount Everest! This guy takes the prize for the coolest, most extreme trash picker-upper EVER.  Dude, you so totally rule! When I grow up, I wanna be you.

Now that I'm done with the hero worship, let's talk a little about trash clean-up. It's usually the easiest of public service projects you can do in a park, neighborhood, or just about anywhere you roam.

Be cool like Brent Bishop - carry a garbage bag with you when you hike and some simple graffiti cover-up or removal tools. You'll be shocked where you find human crap that needs removal.

From the University of Washington magazine:

Clean Climb

Mountain Climber Brent Bishop was so horrified to see Mount Everest covered with garbage, he decided to clean it up

By Derek Belt

At the top of the world, where the jagged peaks and snow-covered slopes of Mount Everest hug even the highest of clouds, garbage besets the brilliance. Empty oxygen bottles. Shredded nylon tents. Solid waste from decades of climbing expeditions once spoiled the long haul up, rendering the world's tallest mountain a giant junkyard in the sky. Brent Bishop, '93, grew up in a climbing family and knew Mount Everest was dirty. At 27 years old, he was determined to do something about it.

    View a gallery of Brent Bishop's Mount Everest photos.

"It was a real symbol," Bishop says. "If we can't keep the highest mountain in the world clean, what hope is there for other areas?" Bishop's M.B.A. program at the University of Washington tackled cutting-edge environmental management issues and inspired him to create the Buy Back Program, which pays Sherpas—local climbers employed by mountaineering expeditions as guides—a few extra dollars to bring used oxygen bottles and other trash down the mountain to Base Camp. Whereas earlier attempts to clean Everest's highest camps had cost a fortune, the Buy Back Program was practical and put the onus on individual expeditions to participate. Using this technique for the first time in 1994, Bishop's five-man crew removed more than 5,000 pounds of rubbish. "Other teams started adopting this practice as well, and the collective consciousness on the mountain began to change," says Bishop, now 43. "It really showed you can be a very focused and dedicated climber—and be an environmentalist at the same time."

One of America's most accomplished climbers and half of the country's first father-and-son team to both summit Mount Everest (his father summited in 1963), Bishop has contributed to cleanup efforts throughout the Himalayas. But his pioneering work on Mount Everest has garnered international acclaim. Each member of the '94 team, including the late Scott Fischer, who died tragically on the mountain in 1996, was presented with the David R. Brower Award for environmental achievement by the American Alpine Club. In 2003, Bishop was awarded the Lowell Thomas Medal by The Explorers Club in recognition of his ongoing environmental work. Today, the Buy Back Program keeps Everest clean. It has been instrumental in removing 25,000 pounds of trash and nearly 1,500 used oxygen bottles from the mountain's highest camps, including the last camp before the summit—the magnificent South Col at 25,938 feet. It also imbedded in the international climbing community a sense of environmental stewardship. "If you can make economic incentive and environmental concern work together, then it's a win-win situation," says Bishop, who lives in Seattle with his two children—both climbers—and who serves as a business development consultant and motivational speaker. "I went back to Everest in 2002," Bishop adds, "and there were no old oxygen bottles left to be brought down. The mountain looks amazing."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bike rider attacked on Ballona Creek bike path

Attack report for Ballona Creek bike path

Report from Don Hayashi published on the BikePaths Yahoo group.

FYI A teenager tried to punch me off my bike on Friday 12/4/09 about 2 pm. He was walking West bound on the Ballona Creek bike path when I approached him East bound on the bridge where Centinella Creek meets Ballona. Since he was in my lane I started to go to my left to pass him when he yelled something lunged at me and took a swing at my head. I was able to swerve and duck out of the way. I stopped a safe distance away and tried to figure out what the hell had just happened. He stopped and motioned me to come over. When he started to walk away I called LAPD. As far as I can tell he was trying to mug me.

One thing I found out: *LAPD is totally dependent on street addresses or cross streets to dispatch cars. The fact that I was on the bike path made me invisible to the computer system. They dispatched a car to a cross street that was no where near where the attack took place.

That bridge is the same place where two kids tried to mug me several years ago. It is also the place where a guy got shot about two years ago.I still think it is safer to ride that bike path than the streets. I'm including a link for a map of the location.

Be careful out there.

*highlights the needs for agencies like Park Rangers who are intimately knowledgeable about locations within their patrol areas and who do not need physical addresses but use landmarks to respond to a call.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Feral cat nonprofit scoffs at order to halt TNR, disses enviro process

Via blog The Birdchaser, GPW reported that last Friday, the City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services was ordered by court to stop all "TNR" -- Trap-Neuter-Return activities related to feral cats until the required environmental impact studies have been carried out. Our headline read:

Wild animals in LA win one ...for the time being

Looks like ...for the time being ended pretty darn quickly. Community groups from outside California are already calling for their feral cat activists to ignore, fight, and diss the court decision. Alley Cat Allies sent this mass email out to their supporters the evening of December 8th --
From: Alley Cat Allies []
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 6:05 PM
Subject: Los Angeles Alert: Judge Rule In Local Case Affecting TNR


December 8, 2009
Despite Setback, No Change to Private Trap-Neuter-Return Activity

Dear (....), 

I want to let you know of a recent court case in Los Angeles, and to assure you that its impact is limited. Late last week, a California trial judge suspended the City of Los Angeles' support for Trap-Neuter-Return for feral cats. The ruling requires an unnecessary environmental review before the city can restart its support. We strongly disagree with this decision, and we are encouraging the city to appeal.

I want to reassure you that the judge's decision only relates to the city government-it does not affect any Trap-Neuter-Return or feral cat care performed by private individuals or groups. But it would prevent individuals and groups from using city-funded vouchers to spay or neuter feral cats. The suspension is the result of a lawsuit brought under a California law that requires environmental reviews before some government projects can go forward. But this law was intended to apply to activities like highway construction, not Trap-Neuter-Return. Trap-Neuter-Return is a lifesaving program that benefits feral cats and the public by ending the cycle of breeding and improving the cats' health. Studies agree that Trap-Neuter-Return is beneficial for the entire community.

If the city ends its support for Trap-Neuter-Return, more cats will be pushed into animal shelters, where they will be killed. We are certain that in a city as progressive as Los Angeles, residents would prefer their taxes be used for neutering cats, not killing them. We are monitoring this situation, and we will keep you updated on any further developments.

Sincerely, Becky Robinson President

Alley Cat Allies | 7920 Norfolk Avenue, Suite 600, Bethesda, MD 20814-2525

Dear Becky -- You are completely incorrect in stating that environmental reviews are only intended for activities like highway construction. Environmental reviews address all impacts to the whole environment by an activity.

Feral cat populations definitely impact wildlife where they exist. Mitigating that impact must be included in best practices. Ideally, this mitigation should be one of the by products of a significant, rigorous environmental impact study. Mitigation lies at the heart of the lawsuit ruled upon last Friday and brought by various environmental groups seeking a more comprehensive set of actions to address the problem.  It would probably be best if you look at the bigger picture, the one that lies just beyond your myopic view, and try to be part of the solution rather than the problem.  -GPW

Perhaps they don't have environmental impacts back in Bethesda. Or birds.

Breaking: another "suspicious object" closes Griffith Park

Breaking News:

Yet another suspicious, bomb-like object closed Griffith Park this morning.

A maintenance worker found the object next to a traffic control signal near the main entrance to the park at Riverside Drive and Los Feliz.  A massive response ensued, including LAPD bomb squad units.

The object that caused thousands of taxpayer dollars and man-hours to be dispatched to the park?

No - not a geocache this time. A golf ball with a nail through it. Uh huh. You read it right. A piece of plastic was attached on the other side. Sounds like someone hammered a nail through a golf ball and used the plastic to hold the ball in place while they were hitting the nail.

Those things are dangerous as hell! Call the bomb squad!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

20,000 attend service for Lakewood officers

An estimated 20,000 attended the memorial for four Lakewood, WA officers ambushed and killed November 29 by a career criminal who often referred to himself as Jesus and who was once pardoned by then-Governor Mike Huckabee.

Murdered as they sat doing paperwork in a coffee shop were Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42. The memorial took place this morning at the Tacoma Dome.

The sea of red are RCMP officers attending the service.

KNX ran an opinion piece today regarding the major role Maurice Clemmons' family played in prior knowledge of, and assisting in the ambush, murders and Clemmon's subsequent escape. Seven of those individuals are now in custody, while Clemmons himself was fatally shot while attempting to kill a Seattle police officer two days later.

Photos are AP photos; an extensive AP slide show can be seen here.

Park pic du jour

From markgrowden's twit pics ...location somewhere in Griffith Park.

GPWayist endorses Paul Krekorian in today's CD2 election

Today is the special election to fill the City Council seat vacated by Wendy Gruel who became City Controller earlier this year. This is a subject that is not directly park related, but that certainly affects the future of all of Los Angeles' parks as the budget deficit downtown enters a new phase of ugly and parks funding is once again on the City chopping block.

This particular campaign has been one of the ugliest in recent memory. For a boatload of reasons, Griffith Park Wayist is endorsing Paul Krekorian for Council District Two. The Daily News endorses Krekorian, while a City Hall-entrenched LA Times publishes fluff on their rational for supporting opponent Chris Essel.

Probably the most important reason of all to support Paul is that Tom LaBonge supports Essel which should be enough to have any friend of Griffith Park running to vote for Krekorian whether they live in the district or not!

In all seriousness now, Mayor Sam does a great job of laying out the black and white as to why Krekorian is the clear choice (which is why we didn't do it here):

Summation: Why Paul Krekorian Over Chris Essel (Mayor Sam)

For just some of the sordid related details, read:

The Million-Dollar Question: Why Is Chris Essel So Important to the City Hall Political Machine? (Ron Kaye LA)
Outside groups shatter spending record in L.A. City Council race (LA Times)
Wiesenthal Center Weighs In On CD2 Negative Mailers (Village to Village)

GPWayist urges everyone to get out and vote - we citizens of Los Angeles have no darned business complaining about things if we don't participate in the political process, ugly as it can be at times.

And when it's over and you don't know what to do with the 20 million Essel campaign mailers you received in your mailbox, we suggest taking Paul's advice. It's good for the environment, and great for your mental state!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Orographic Big-T

Big Tujunga Wash at sunset today.

Orographic clouds obscure much of the hills above Sunland to the left. Ebey Canyon runs behind the ridge entering Bit Tujunga to the right. The clouds cleared in the failing light a few moments later, revealing snow on the peak above Haines Canyon (far left)

Both Haines Canyon and Ebey Canyon were under mandatory evacuation orders today.

Wild animals in LA win one ...for the time being

Southern California has a huge problem with irresponsible pet owners, the many results of which include the huge feral cat population and the untimely euthanization of far too many unwanted cats and dogs.

Feral cat populations impact the native species who the cats call prey wherever feral colonies occur. The Department of Animal Services has taken the path of least resistance in the issue, finding it easier to let the feral cat activists keep their feral populations after spay or neutering them than to worry about the impacted wild animals who don't have much of a voice, if any, in the discussion.

Today they had a voice in court. It's pretty clear that the City's best practice for the feral cat population going forward must include all environmental impacts in its methodology, including impacts on local wildlife. Hopefully the City will now get a clue.

This article comes from the new blog (well, new to us anyway) called The BirdChaser.


Birds 1, Feral Cats 0--Court Orders LA To Stop Controversial Feral Cat Program

The songbirds of Los Angeles may get a reprieve from feral cat predation. Six conservation groups won a lawsuit on Friday against the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Animal Services to stop the practice of encouraging feral cat colonies until the legally required environmental impact reviews are performed.

The Los Angeles Superior Court found that the City of Los Angeles had been “secretly and unofficially” promoting “Trap-Neuter-Return,” a controversial program to allow feral cats to run free, even while the Department of Animal Services promised to conduct an environmental review of the program. The Court ordered the City to stop implementing TNR. The plaintiffs, The Urban Wildlands Group, Endangered Habitats League, Los Angeles Audubon Society, Palos Verdes/South Bay Audubon Society, Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society, and the American Bird Conservancy, sued the City in June 2008 to ensure that the controversial program to sanction and maintain feral cat colonies was not implemented before a full and public environmental analysis.

The groups decided legal action was necessary after their investigation revealed that the City had been unofficially implementing a so-called “Trap-Neuter-Return” program and the City repeatedly declined their request to stop implementing the program until environmental review was performed.

Although the City insisted that no such program existed, the Court concurred with the conservation groups and concluded in its Friday ruling that, “implementation of the program is pervasive, albeit ‘informal and unspoken.’”

“Our goal was to see that the City follows the California Environmental Quality Act by thoroughly assessing the program’s impacts on the environment and considering alternatives and mitigation measures before making specific programmatic decisions,” said Babak Naficy, attorney for plaintiffs. “Feral cats have a range of impacts to wildlife, human health, and water quality in our cities. The impacts of institutionalizing the maintenance of feral cat colonies through TNR should be discussed in an open, public process before any such program is implemented,” Naficy said.

The Los Angeles Superior Court found that the City of Los Angeles had been “secretly and unofficially” promoting “Trap-Neuter-Return”

In June 2005, the Los Angeles Board of Animal Services Commissioners adopted TNR as the “preferred method of dealing with feral cat populations as its official policy.” Thereafter, the Board directed the General Manager to prepare an analysis of the program under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This analysis was never completed but the Department implemented major portions of the program anyway.

The Department issued coupons for free or discounted spay/neuter procedures for feral cats being returned to neighborhoods and open spaces, including parks and wildlife areas. It also began refusing to accept trapped feral cats or to issue permits to residents to trap feral cats. The Department assisted outside organizations that performed TNR by donating public space, advertising their services, and referring the public to their TNR programs. The Department even encouraged and assisted in establishing new feral cat colonies at City-owned properties.

Read the rest of the story at BirdChaser.

Breaking: LA River rescues near Griffith Park

Hat tip to Atwater Village Newbie for info on CBS 2 breaking news on an ongoing LA River rescue between Griffith Park and Atwater Village with video.


Another river rescue in the same location @ 4pm. This guy didn't want to be rescued initially because he didn't want to leave his bicycle behind.

....and Common Sense takes another sucker-punch to the mid section!

Twitpic du jour

hett15 took this twitpic while hiking in Griffith Park yesterday.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Skies over Griffith Park

jliberson took this image today of the skies over Griffith Park as the storm moves in.

Scout project adds much needed steps to popular path

Despite a fire on the other side of the canyon, a popular path in Amir's Garden successfully had some major improvements completely yesterday courtesy of a dedicated Scout troop. A number of stairs were designed and installed on the steep path which has been used for decades but was never an official garden trail. Over the years the slope had become highly eroded from foot traffic.

Scout Jose Gonzalez led his troop and garden volunteers in the project with the goal of not only stabilizing the slope and making it easier to walk up for hikers, but to create erosion control measures, too.

The park fire - an electrical fire in an exhibit building surrounded by brush at the LA Zoo which broke out at approximately 9:20am - threatened to halt the project almost as soon as it began, but once fire fighters and an LA County Fire water tanker hit the fire hard it was back to work for the scouts.

By successfully completing this project, Jose Gonzalez also earned his Eagle Scout badge. Way to go, Jose!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stranded hiker rescued today

At approximately 4pm this afternoon, Park Rangers responded to a call about a stranded person on a cliff face just north of Dante's View in Griffith Park.

Park Rangers located the idiot  victim  where they had no earthly business being  on a cliff face 50' below the garden and escorted the LAFD to the scene where the Park Rangers and the LAFD then engaged in a joint rescue operation, air lifting the Darwin awards candidate  person to safety.

Thankfully there were no injuries to either the person or the rescuers, but Common Sense sure took a beating.

Construction plan threatens Reagan Ranch site at Malibu Creek State Park

An Appeal to the Equestrian Community and the Public
by Ted Fulton,
GWP guest author

Local politicians, State and National Park Service officials recently gathered for a fund raiser to build an RV park along famously scenic Mulholland Highway in the Santa Monica Mountains. The scenic spot chosen for the development was a historic ranch once owned by Ronald and Nancy Reagan which became part of Malibu Creek State Park in 1974. The focus of the 7-acre RV park will be equestrian camping and will therefore have horse corrals and manure dumpsters.  It has been suggested that this is an appropriate use of the  president’s former ranch, and the project has been named the Ronald Reagan Equestrian Campground.

I respectfully suggest that this plan is flawed. The addition of RV parking, numerous paved camping sites, and other infrastructure buildings will forever alter the scenic views and the integrity of this historic ranch. The state’s plan calls for massing vegetation along Mulholland Highway to “protect the view.” Massing vegetation at this site will block the view and be a significant fire hazard. Day-use facilities already exist at the park for equestrians.

If there is public demand to build a new larger facility on public land, nearby King Gillette Ranch is a far superior location and provides identical access to equestrian trails in the area.  King Gillette Ranch is physically larger making it easier to disguise the project preserving the scenic view from Mulholland (a state designated scenic highway). A large stable screened by vegetation already exists on Gillette Ranch. Gillette Ranch is accessed via a major traffic artery (Malibu Canyon/Las Virgenes Road)  as opposed to the Reagan Ranch which is not. The larger size of Gillette Ranch also offers a greater buffer between the campground and nearby homes in the event of wildfire.

Public comment is invited at

 GPW says...  Once an RV park is built on the Reagan Ranch site, irreparable harm will be done to the historic property. However, the needs of the community should be addressed. Therefore, there must be a lot more discussion as to whether the Ranch site itself is the very best location for the RV park, or if nearby land would be just as trail accessible for the site of the RV park, while simultaneously saving a historic California state treasure.  Seems pretty obvious to us which is the best solution - another nearby location makes more sense.

Your comments on whether or not the Ronald Reagan Ranch at Malibu Creek State Park is the appropriate location for this RV park should also go to Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky via his web site as well as to Ted's site. 

The way it should be

If the City Council insists on wasting money and dirty coal-generated energy with a cheesy, unoriginal lights show that is easily dwarfed year after year by neighborhood displays, then the least you can do is to restrict it to green transportation and healthy viewing.

From today's LA Times slide show of last night's festival debut. See the rest of the slide show here.