GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Krekorian, Zine & Hahn To Decide On NC Emergency Bins

If you're an NC member who believes in local empowerment and happen to be hanging around City Hall on Wednesday afternoon at 2p, you might want to check out the ongoing inter-city services controversy on NC emergency preparedness bins being discussed by the L.A. City Council's Education, Neighborhood and Whatnot Committee.
Better yet, you might want to take two minutes out of your busy holiday to offer public comment. Something like, "Yeah, I think when the Big One hits, we should have 20-foot emergency supply bins for CERT 3 qualified community members to use to help out LAFD and LAPD. I don't care who digs me out of the rubble as long as somebody digs me out."
The backstory involves me, so if my part in it appears rather bloviated to you, it's only because I'm angling to get one of those cool 2010 inkjet Certificates of Recognition from the mayor or, really, any elected willing to give me one for my tireless, selfless and anonymous commitment to the public good.
The story: several years ago, I was the first president of a shiny new NC in Lake Balboa. My job was to chair the board meetings and find ways to support our stakeholders in District 6 (and eight blocks of District 12). In our first year, we were given $50, 000 to make our community a better place to live. Only thing is, our boardmembers acted like it was their own money. They wouldn't spend a dime on anybody. They were tighter than a pair of bike shorts on Rush Limbaugh (not my line, I stole it, but it's funny). This board turned down money for scout troops, the Red Cross, a couple requests from LAPD, homeless shelters, orphans, widows...
After the first year, I think we had spent a whole $2,500 and had actually succeeded in making our community more miserable. The only committee that had anything going on was chaired by Linda Pruett. If memory serves me correctly it was called the... (snaps fingers) oh yes, the "Emergency Preparedness Committee."
Unlike many of the NC board mannequins who had done nothing more than serve as placeholders for empty space, Linda had spent the first year organizing first aid, CPR and CERT trainings. She had a wish list for emergency preparedness supply bins. I was no longer on the board, but my wish list included spending our unspent balance before it got taken away by the city. So I wrote a proposal for two EP bins to be placed in our district and presented it as a resolution to the Lake Balboa NC. Turns out, it was a great night to present it because the board had taken a beating on some land use issue and was finally ready to do something nice. They adopted the resolution. Price tag: $50,000.
Fast forward a couple years, Linda was now on her way to having the most CERT-trained community in Los Angeles and had purchased the bins ($10,000), filled one with $20,000 worth of supplies and was ready to take the second order while several other NCs had followed suit and were planning their own bins based on her model when she received a letter from DONE.
DONE said "don't."
A city attorney, Tom Griego -- no longer around according to my sources -- had expressed the city's default liability screed (seriously, do these guys work for us or the insurance companies?) and DONE followed up without question.
That was in late 2009.
Since then, one EP bin has sat locked and full and one has sat empty.
$20,000 has continued to roll over in anticipation of the day when it can be used to save lives in our community.
The city has effectively said, "Don't worry about emergency preparedness, we got this," while cutting back on funding for, well, everything.
Smith and Zine have a proposal for DONE to study the EP bin idea. I love and respect Greig Smith, but I think it might be better if the L.A. City Council's Education, Neighborhood and Whatnot Committee conducts its own study on how to get this done -- instead of DONE. This is an issue for leaders, not lackeys.