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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Park pic of the day

The most excellent Tesla coil at the Griffith Observatory doing its thing.
Twitpic'd by johnstrauss - dude - that is an excellent photo!

Where would science fiction be without the Tesla coil?


Major tree planting at Mineral Wells raises questions

Overnight, between 40 and 50 oak trees were mysteriously planted  throughout the Mineral Wells picnic area in Griffith Park early last week.

Mineral Wells picnic area is a heavily utilized picnic area on the north-east side of the park. It is located in a Very High Severity Fire Zone. Barbecues are not allowed there between April 1st and November 1st each year due to the fire danger and frequency of fires in the area.

During this time of fiscal difficulty and major layoffs in the parks maintenance workers, the additional trees don't make much sense. More trees mean more maintenance work, more water use, and more forestation in this heavily utilized high-fire-hazard area.

It is doubtful that the fire experts -- the LAFD or the Park Ranger fire corps -- were consulted in this major forestation project. Someone probably just did it. Other sightings at Crystal Springs picnic area this week indicate that someone just did it throughout Griffith Park, too.

Ultimately, this may not seem like a big deal, but it is indicative of some of the really poor planning and management happening throughout Los Angeles's parks system. Either that, or it indicates a complete inability to control certain members of the City government when they want instant gratification.

Whichever it it, these kinds of "improvements" only create issues that will eventually have to be dealt with, costing taxpayers -- you and me, as well as the health of the local environment  in the long run.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Views from the Verdugos

Images taken yesterday during a little three hour hiking trip in our local Verdugo mountains.

Click images to view full size.

Griffith Park at dusk as seen from the Verdugos.

Pink Currant bearing fruit.

Blue Ceanothus in bloom at dusk.

Verdugo Motorway with Station Fire hills in the background.

Multiples of y = a cosh(x/a), better known as a catenary, span Whiting Woods.

Downtown Los Angeles at dusk.

Monday, March 29, 2010

First-time homebuyer -- and totally screwed

Housing in Los Angeles is a challenge, putting it mildly. I've been a renter the entire two decades I've been here, mainly because I've never been in a financial situation that made purchasing realistic. SWF, one average income and no savings when I first landed in LA makes it pretty hard to purchase a home with the housing bubble insanity. So I've been renting.

During the first four years I was here, it was renters' hell. I moved five different times, mainly due to exciting living conditions like: mold in the walls, cigarette smoke from the neighbor's unit venting into mine, jet exhaust leaving an exciting black sludge all over my home, freaky landlord from outer space, and other fun things.

Finally, I landed in the northeast San Fernando Valley and found a reasonable place. Hell-hot, dusty, but quiet. Twelve years later, I'm still a renter, but the hot, dusty house has become my home now and the neighborhood is my community. Folks like Joe B. and the Sunland-Tujunga crowd are my peeps. I could certainly do worse.

Suddenly, I am presented with an opportunity to purchase the home I've been renting in one way or another for more than a decade. Hurray! But I must hurry - the time frame to purchase is short.

I really hadn't been planning to purchase, so I don't have much saved and the opportunity caught me completely by surprise. But this is my home. So what to do?

My well-meaning friends say to me "Why don't you go to those first-time buyer seminars and get one of those great deals?"

Those great deals?  Yeah - okay. Good idea.  They're all over the news, those great deals.



So I went to The Seminar.

What has it gotten me?  Well, I've learned that a lot of really great programs are out there. Four in particular.

And I qualify for absolutely none of them.

My home is 1 1/2 blocks outside CD 7, so I don't qualify for the City of Los Angeles's East Valley Home Ownership Program. No one from outside CD 6 or 7 need apply to this program. That means I cannot apply for what is basically a free $75,000 no-interest loan for a down payment.

My home is 2 blocks outside of an area that qualifies for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program run by the City of Los Angeles. That means I cannot apply for what is basically another free $75,000 no-interest loan for a down payment.

I make 20% more than the low income purchase assistance program run by the City, and they've canceled the median income City program that I would have qualified for... That also means I cannot apply for what is a third $75,000 no-interest loan for a down payment.

My home is a quarter mile from the City-County boundary. No homes in Los Angeles City qualify for the kick-ass 0% interest, $10,000 down payment HERO program that the County and State are offering.

Maybe I'll still get the tax credit. The County offers a 15% tax credit, the City has a 15% program, too but it may already be out of funding.  The Feds extended their tax credit offer of $8,000, but this ends next month. So I'll likely miss out on that, too.

This leaves me scrambling for cash, trying not to ask anyone for any help 'cause it isn't really appropriate, and fighting to try to keep what has become my home, while a few blocks away, some of my neighbors are walking away with 0% loans, $75,000 down payments, and tax credits, plus far lower monthly payments than I am facing.

And I am left wondering just how is it exactly that my wonderful elected officials are really helping me.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Richard Alarcon: Looking out for your best interests

Is Richard Alarcon looking out for your best interests, or is his tenure at CD 7 a reign of terror?

If you follow the links in the below excerpt from Alarcon's most recent e-mail blast, you will see that Councilman Alarcon has invented his own budget survey and that he is not directing his CD 7 denizens to the Mayor's official budget survey. The Mayor's survey is still open for business, by the way.

Such a rogue.

You can also follow the Zorro Marxist's escapades on Twitter, too.  En guarde! 

------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As you know, our country is experiencing one of the toughest economic times since the Great Depression.  Unemployment is over 13% in Los Angeles, block after block we see homes that are "for sale by bank" and we are all feeling the pinch in our own wallets.

As a Councilmember, I am faced daily with the realities of our slowed economy and a budget deficit of over $200 million dollars - with a projected shortfall of over $400 million dollars next year.

As we move forward in our budget process, I want your input on what services are of priority to you and ideas you have for increasing revenue to the City.  That is why I created a BUDGET SURVEY.  I hope you will take a moment to answer a few questions and give me your ideas on how to balance our budget.  The hard fact is, we will not get through this economic recession without eliminations of positions and cuts to service.  As we move forward, your continued input and engagement on the budget issues are welcomed and appreciated.

In this newsletter you'll find information on policy initiatives I'm working on, community events and news and other important information.  I hope you will continue to contact me and my office about upcoming events, ideas you have to help improve our communities or with concerns that we can help address.


Yours truly,
Richard Alarc√≥n 
Councilmember, District Seven 

PS: You can now follow me on Twitter (@Richard_Alarcon) and on Facebook.  This is another great way to keep up with what's going on in CD 7.

Where is the outrage?

The DWP union gets pay raises for its employees. Meanwhile 4,000 City employees providing constituent services at recreation centers, parks, libraries, day care, and art programs are laid off.  And the #1 and #2 administrators at DWP are crooks previously fired by Riordan yet rehired by Villaraigosa to get the deed done.

Can you simply absorb paying another 1/3 to 1/2 more on your DWP bill?

Do you even care?

Where is your outrage?


From D-Zahn at the Times.
-------

DWP plans 37% rate hike over four years to cover cost increases

The L.A. utility's managers unveiled the plan 
as the council's Energy and Environment Committee 
debated the mayor's proposal to boost rates to pay for renewable energy.
Transmission lines
Transmission towers at the foothills of the Inyo Mountains near the Owens Valley town of Lone Pine. (Brian Vander Brug, Los Angeles Times / January 12, 2010)
By David Zahniser
March 26, 2010

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is planning to boost the electricity bills of its customers by 37% over the next four years as part of its effort to cover steadily rising costs.


Officials with the city utility divulged their plans Thursday as the City Council's Energy and Environment Committee debated Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan for boosting rates to help pay for renewable energy. Villaraigosa is seeking a 21% increase over the next year. That effort will be followed by other rate hikes by 2014, however.

"That's an extraordinary burden on our homeowners and businesses," said Councilman Paul Krekorian, who called the four-year plan "unacceptable."

The numbers were provided as the council committee reviewed the first of four rate hikes planned by Villaraigosa, which would increase residential electric bills by 9% to 28%. The panel postponed a vote until Tuesday, the same day that the full council is now scheduled to decide whether to uphold the first increase or send it back to the DWP board for revision.

Thursday's meeting took place an hour after former Vice President Al Gore appeared with Villaraigosa via satellite in support of the mayor's plan, which would help the mayor meet his goal of ensuring that the DWP secures at least 20% of its energy from renewable sources by Dec. 31.

Villaraigosa has warned that the DWP would renege on a promise to have the utility send $73 million to the city's troubled general fund, which pays for basic services, if the first increase is not approved by March 31. That money is enough to pay for 1,000 jobs in a year when the city is pondering layoffs.

Read the rest at the LA Times.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

[Ron Kaye LA] Fire these men!

Fire These Men or Not One Cent More for DWP

David Freeman and Raman Raj -- agents of the IBEW, far more than public servants -- were fired once before from top jobs at the Department of Water and Power and must be fired again before the City Council gives them even one cent in rate increases.

They have both been accused of lying and deceit this week by Tony Cardenas, who has suddenly emerged as the City Council's lone voice standing up for the public interest with penetrating questions and passionate statements of principle:


Both Freeman and Raj were put into the No.1 and No. 2 jobs at the DWP by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- a failed leader who has engineered spectacular raises for already overpaid IBEW members under contracts that run from 2005 to 2014.

Read the rest at Ron Kaye LA.

SHS: Save the Hollywood Sign

There are only three weeks left for the Trust for Public Land to come up with the $12.5 million to purchase Cahuenga Peak from a group of Chicago extortionists bent on bilking Los Angeles and Tom LaBonge for every penny they can get their hands on. Their original price was $21 million, so we suppose you could consider the current $12.5 million price a steal. Lucky us.

Where is the fundraising effort at so far?

Total collected to date: $9.5 million.  Time remaining: 3 weeks (April 14th)

Three weeks - three million dollars.

Come on parks folks - Save the Pood! Give till it hurts! Click here to give online.



Note to the BBC and whoever else is publishing this press release:

The Hollywood sign is not in Beverly Hills. Not even close. It is in Los Angeles. Unless you live in the UK. To those folks, all of California is just one big happy Hollywood-TVLand neighborhood.

Waving a big hi-ya neighbor! to our homies in Humboldt County! How's the weather in the 'pood?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Birthday to CD 2 Councilman Paul Krekorian

"Best wishes to my favorite Grass-Roots Councilman"
For the sake of privacy, we will not disclose the age of our "birthday boy" (Obamacare may ration care in his advance age :) ).
But in genuine "Red Spot Fashion", I like to wish my favorite "Liberal Democrat Refugee from Sacramento", a most joyest birthday.
As "Joe B." will agree with, Conservatives and Liberals can set aside their "political give and takes" and share in the genuine moment of friendship.
Thus, in honor of City Councilman Paul Krekorian's Birthday, I call upon the "BUTTHUGGERS R US" franchise in Sunland-Tujunga, to ofer a "two for one special" on the purchese of new under garments at its new S.T. location.
After all, is it CD 2 that has two councilmans residing in its boundries??
In addition, maybe Councilman Krekorian will suspend Sales Tax, on this special day. ( maybe I am exceeding my expectations/dreams).
Best of wishes to Paul, Tamar and the Krekorian Family.
Scott Johnson in CD 14
Your thoughts........

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tony V utters the "B" word

Threat threat threat, goes the Mayor. Although, we do like the idea of the "B" word because the decisions these city leaders are making are not proving to be terribly educated, enlightened, or show any real plan for fiscal recovery.

In the meantime, as I am editing this, council is discussing whether to assert control over this rate increase. They likely will do so, only to later pass the rate increase themselves since they do need the funds.

Can you afford to pay much more for your DWP bill?

Article by D-Zahn at the former fishwrap of record.
-----

Villaraigosa warns of bankruptcy if L.A. City Council blocks electricity rate hike
     Facing resistance from the City Council over his renewable-energy plans, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has warned that any attempt to overturn higher electricity rates approved last week by the Department of Water and Power board would throw the city’s finances into disarray, causing it to run out of money in the next four months. In a briefing paper sent to council members Monday night, Villaraigosa’s office said the DWP would renege on a promise to transfer $73 million to the city’s general fund budget if its rate proposal is rejected.
     Such a move would cause the general fund, which pays for public safety, libraries and other basic services, to “run out of cash” before the end of the fiscal year on June 30, Villaraigosa’s briefing paper said. “Council rejection of the DWP board’s action [to increase rates] would be the most immediate and direct route to bankruptcy the city could pursue,” the report said. The council is scheduled to decide on Tuesday whether to conduct its own review of the DWP increase. Villaraigosa’s appointees on the DWP board voted last week to approve the first of four rate hikes between now and April 2011.Once all four increases are in place, households across the city will see electricity cost increases ranging from 9% to 28%, depending on where they live and how much power they consume. Businesses would experience increases in their bills of 21% to 22%, according to the utility.
     Councilman Herb Wesson criticized Villaraigosa for using the possibility of bankruptcy to build support for his plan for installing solar panels. “I don’t think you hold people hostage that way,” he said. The DWP was scheduled to provide at least $220 million to the general fund for the 2009-10 fiscal year. So far, however, the utility has sent only a portion of that money. Last week, DWP Interim General Manager S. David Freeman warned that the utility would think twice about sending the rest of the money to the city’s budget accounts if the rate hikes are rejected. At the same time, Freeman said that if the hikes were approved, his agency would come up with an extra $20 million in budget contributions by reducing its travel costs and other expenditures. Once all of the rate hikes are in place, the city budget would see an additional $38.4 million per year, the mayor’s office said. Without the planned increases, the general fund would lose out on $93 million and have trouble paying its bills, Villaraigosa warned council members. “Failure to meet basic obligations would send the city into a financial tailspin, leading to further downgrades and an inability to borrow to meet future financial obligations,” his report said.
-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Mayor's Budget Survey results

"Tell us (politicians) what we can take from you (citizens)" - the 2010 Edition  - is essentially over, and preliminary results are in.

Here are two results that we at GPWist who believe in healthy, strong neighborhoods can't quite stop chuckling at.... it's not exactly the result the Mayor wanted.

Looks like the majority of the rest of the City also believe in healthy, strong neighborhoods.

Antonio must simply hate the fact that parks and libraries are charter-mandated, charter-protected, and charter-funded.

The full results are here, if you can stomach the hypocrisy of the entire process.

Monday, March 22, 2010

GGPNC election results are in

GGPNC election results are now available here.

The Los Feliz Forward slate was successful by approximately 300 votes in each district.

Now come the election challenges.

LA Marathon in Silverlake



Leave it to friend-of-the-blog WildBell to set a video camera up on his roof and record the LA Marathon as it ebbed and flowed through Silverlake on Sunday.

Morning tidbits

Tom LaBonge and his election friends?

Rumor has it that the Mayor's layoff list of an additional 3,000 City employees is due out this week. If the insanity caused by trying to lay off 1,000 employees is any indication, stay tuned for a complete and utter meltdown of City Hall leadership shortly after the list is released.


City councilmembers are making noise about reviewing the Mayor's bogus Carbon Reduction Surcharge to your DWP bill.  Expect lots of indignant smoke-blowing followed ultimately by a unanimous passage of the rate hike.... cause they need the cash. Bad.


Just a reminder - rattlesnake season is full-on in Griffith Park, and any other park where a self-respecting snake might have a food supply and enough territory to subsist. Rattlesnake bites are now being regularly reported by local veterinary offices. Keep your kids and dogs out of all long grass, and keep your eyes peeled everywhere else.


Speaking of snakes in the grass, eyewitnesses state that the CORBA-LaBonge backed slate "Los Feliz Forward" bussed in kids to vote in the GGPNC election this past Saturday in a school bus someone must have paid for. Wonder who?  Also according to eyewitnesses, Los Feliz Forward set up a confusing, if not outright fraudulent "Information Booth" just outside the no-electioneering perimeter, and funneled voters inside.

One voter confided to GPWist just how angry and misleading she found this action to be. She entered the faux general information booth assuming it was general information on the entire election and instead found herself on the receiving end of what she called "the hard sell" for Los Feliz Forward.


Move over Canada - we in the U.S. of A. have apparently achieved National Healthcare. Or so I'm told. Looking forward to seeing just how this works in practice, and what effect it has on the next national election. Like most everyone who is not a politician or in the medical field, I'm kinda tired of hearing all the verbal blah-blah-blah about it. Now DO somthing, so we can see what it is you are actually doing.


Ron Kaye has the ERIP midterm report up on his blog listing the employment class and retirement pension amount for the almost 1200 employees processed through the Early Retirement plan as of Feb 28th.  Average annual retirement pension payout is $52,000.  One item caught our park-sensitive eye:

SR PARK RANGER I, II
11/01/09
$2,680.39 monthly
$32,164.68 annual

Seriously - retiring Senior Park Rangers are making $20,000 less than the average? What is wrong with this picture?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Park pic of the day


A baby beechey ground squirrel makes his first trip out of his Griffith Park nest on St. Patrick's Day.

Click image to view full size.

Send us your Griffith Park images:  GriffithParkWayist@gmail.com

Big bloom is on at Amir's Garden



The big bloom is underway at Amir's Garden in Griffith Park and should be going for the next week. If you needed an excuse to get out to the park, here it is!

Click on the ice plants to view them in full glory.

Directions to Amir's Garden can be found on the web site.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mountain bike lobby in bed with LaBonge in GGPNC election

Councilman Tom LaBonge has  sunk to an all-time new low in his effort to control the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council election.

LaBonge through his support of Los Feliz Forward is now in bed and spooning with CORBA - the mountain bike lobby who is trying to put mountain bikes on Griffith Park trails. 

CORBA is hustling to get out the vote for Los Feliz Forward, the LaBonge-backed slate running in tomorrow's election.

Remember CORBA and what they, along with IMBA, want to do on Griffith Park trails?

Here's a refresher:


Tom LaBonge has previously sworn up, down and sideways that he is against mountain bikes off-trail in Griffith Park. Quote: "...over my dead body" or similar. Until now, apparently.

When we didn't think he could go any lower, this really is an all-time new low in LaBonge's tenure as representative for CD 4.  If it is inadvertent, LaBonge needs to distance himself from CORBA and Los Feliz Forward right now. 

Assuming karma is real and the councilman fails to distance himself from Los Feliz Forward and CORBA, this screw-up should come back to haunt LaBonge every waking moment during his re-election attempt next March.

What's it gonna be, Tom?


Well, if it isn't obvious by now, anyone who truly cares about Griffith Park needs to get out the vote for the real pro-park candidates.
  • DISTRICT A:  Laura Howe    and   Jeff Gardner
  • DISTRICT B:  David Uebersax       and   John F. John 
  • DISTRICT C:                     - no endorsements -  
  • DISTRICT D:  Sara Latier Napier   and   Tom Wilson
  • DISTRICT E:  Charley Mims           and   James McEwen
All users of Griffith Park are stakeholders in the GGPNC and are therefore eligible to vote.

Polls are open from 10 am until 4 pm

Hollywood Lutheran Church
1733 North New Hampshire  
(just North of Hollywood Blvd.)  
Los Angeles, CA 90027
--------------------------------------------------
From: CORBA eNews <corbanews@gmail.com>
Subject: Griffith Park Neighborhood Council Elections
Date: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 9:24 PM

This coming weekend, on March 20th the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council will be holding elections for their 10 available seats. The other nine seats are appointed by those elected (the highest proportion of appointed seats of any Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles, and one of the reasons change has been so difficult to make). Anyone who is a Griffith Park stakeholder is eligible to vote. That includes anyone at least 13 years old who lives or works near, or visits Griffith Park. You’ll be required to declare your eligibility by making a written affirmation that you are a stakeholder, i.e. somebody who uses or would use Griffith Park. You don’t have to be registered to vote.

As many CORBA members and other off-road cycling advocates know, all of our past dealings with GGPNC and other groups with an interest in Griffith Park have been met with a complete anti-mountain bike sentiment that verged on hostility. In many ways the management of Griffith Park, LA park system’s crown jewel, has affected the management of every other park in the City and bicycles remain banned in all LA City Parks.

The current GGPNC lacks transparency and is vehemently opposed to new ideas or any compromise. While it may not lead to any immediate gains or concessions for mountain bikers, change is good, and it starts with making your voice heard by voting. There is one group who, according to their candidate statements and web site, are also frustrated with the lack of forward thinking and openness to new ideas for Griffith Park. That group calls themselves Los Feliz Forward (http://www.losfelizforward.org). They are running as a ticket on a platform of openness, change, and moving forward, ideas which CORBA welcomes.

We encourages anyone who has an interest in Griffith Park to visit the GGPNC web site and the Los Feliz Forward web site to evaluate the candidates’ statements, and vote in the neighborhood council elections. Polling will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 20th, 2010, at Hollywood Lutheran Church, 1733 N. New Hampshire, just north of Hollywood Boulevard. Get out and vote!

GPWist endorses the real pro-park candidates in Saturday's GGPNC election

Griffith Park Wayist is proud to endorse the following real  pro-park candidates for tomorrow's Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council election.
  • DISTRICT A:  Laura Howe    and   Jeff Gardner
  • (District A  contains Griffith Park)
  • DISTRICT B:  David Uebersax       and   John F. John 
  • DISTRICT C:                     - no endorsements -  
  • DISTRICT D:  Sara Latier Napier   and   Tom Wilson
  • DISTRICT E:  Charley Mims           and   James McEwen
To a person, these individuals have always fought the good fight on behalf of our park and our community. They're also terribly brave to step up in light of the ugliness brought forth by certain individuals.

PRO-PARK
VOTING INFORMATION

Vote pro-park! 
All users of Griffith Park are stakeholders in the GGPNC and are therefore eligible to vote.

Vote for two candidates per district.

Polls are open from 10 am until 4 pm
Saturday March 20th.

LOCATION
Hollywood Lutheran Church
1733 North New Hampshire (just North of Hollywood Blvd.)  

View Larger Map

Print out this article and take it with you when you go to vote tomorrow.
Bring your friends, too.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Carbon Reduction Surcharge is pure horse sh--

We knew Ron Kaye would say it, but we absolutely must chime in:

The Mayor's Carbon Reduction Surcharge announced yesterday  is pure, unadulterated  horse shit.


Without the surcharge, the Bank of DWP, as PetraFried likes to call it, is fresh out of dough to launder and return to the City's cash-strapped General Fund come May 2010.

Simple as that.


Pretty clever to use the word "reduction" before the word "surcharge", though. Which of the Mayor's 173 personal staffers thought that one up? Tony should keep that one.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cut and Paste Brief on the Los Angeles Political Scene from CD 14

" City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, on the right, coming to Northeast LA"
Thanks to my compadres at the "Friends of the Southwest Museum", for the postcard, promoting the visitation by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.
The City Attorney will hold his first community meeting in Northeast Los Angeles, tomorrow
Tuesday March 16, 2010, from 6-8 PM at the Highland Hall, located at 104 N. Avenue 56 in Highland Park.
Trutanich will discuss an variety of topics and take questions from audience members, as noted.
For those who comment here at the Wayist on the actions of the City Attorney, this would be a good time to state your opinions in person.
BTW, most interesting post on Trutanich at the "City Hall Insider" this past weekend, with retort photoshop of LA Observed editorial cartoon.
Your Thoughts.............

Park pic of the day

Twitpic of a different age of barbarism, thankfully gone,  from VeronicaMM

LAPD "combatting" lewd conduct in parks? Yeah - right.

Image taken in Harbor Regional park, Los Angeles.

Last Friday, LAPD held a news conference to tout their lewd conduct arrests in parks for last year.

Compared to the magnitude of the problem, the stats aren't very impressive, putting it mildly.

Arrests: 90, up roughly a dozen from the same period the previous year
Parks:   3, including Griffith Park, Elysian Park, and Sycamore Grove park

Erm.....  (Ben Stein - Clear-Eyes voice)    wow.

As someone who actively supports safe, clean, healthy parks in Los Angeles, I'm trying not to laugh out loud at this. Or cry.

There are places in Griffith Park where you could arrest 90 in one week if you worked it. Like shooting fish in a barrel. A particular small canyon between Victory Blvd and Live Steamers does that kind of illicit business over the weekend if authorities don't make a show of their presence a few times a day.

The vast majority of participants in this illegal behavior are males engaging males. They often travel quite a ways for a shag in the bushes with an anonymous male friend in Los Angeles parks.

Witness John Stolpe - an upstanding Long Beach PD captain and then-candidate for mayor of Long Beach who was caught literally with his pants down roughly 2 feet away from another male in this very canyon a couple years ago. He ran from the park ranger, who after a struggle was able to arrest Stolpe.

Stolpe's wife, a high-powered City of Long Beach attorney literally got him off in court, so technically he's innocent.

Same way O.J. Simpson is innocent.

You can thank the LA City Attorney's office for letting this clown get off, by the way. They utterly failed to respond to the case, instead allowing the defense to go on the offense with Long Beach PD "character witnesses" and then pursuing a "character assassination" strategy, propping up Stolpe and attacking the park ranger - one of the City's finest - who made the arrest. The City attorney sat around with his thumbs up his ass, letting people previously ticketed by the park ranger to exact revenge.

With what was effectively no response from the City, Stolpe's lawyers pulled it out. So to speak.

When you have a police officer lying to his wife and 8-year old son while committing felonies (lying about not being a police officer, resisting arrest), it is a complete perversion of justice. The City Attorney's total lack of any due diligence in paying attention to who the defendant was, realizing a vigorous bullshit defense was coming, and responding appropriately is also a complete perversion of justice.

If this had been the LAPD's case, and not the LA City Park Rangers, you can well imagine the City Attorney may have been just a teeny-tiny bit more interested.... ya think? But that in itself is a different problem.


Sex in parks is illegal. The activity creates health hazards, emotional trauma to youth witnessing the behavior, and attracts criminal behavior. Lewd conduct suspects are the number one cause of fires in Griffith Park ('cause after sex in the park bushes, you just gotta light one up) - and they do. A lot.

It does take time and resources to effectively address lewd conduct since the perpetrators must be caught in the act.

The LAPD, City Attorney, and City Council need to pull their heads out and truly apply themselves to addressing the problem.

More Park Rangers - not less - would be a good start.

After all, Park Rangers can arrest these creeps, and they can fight the fires the creeps set afterward, too. Can't say that about the LAPD.


-------------------------------
Read Ranger Gord's summary of how John Stolpe explained his presence in Griffith Park on a weekday around 1 pm in the bushes, and his actions following discovery by a "man in a uniform" from the bottom the web page.

Try not to laugh too hard.
Ranger Gord's Condensed Version of Stolpe's Story
While Stolpe was out on a hike he saw two men masturbating. Stolpe told the men that they shouldn't be masturbating in public and one man zipped up and left. The other man zipped up listened to Stolpe lecture him on proper behavior when out in public. Suddenly, some guy wearing a uniform with a badge and carrying a radio, baton, and pepper spray jumped out of the dense brush and said "lewd conduct, head toward the street."
After noticing that he was not wearing a gun, Stolpe decided that this man was not a police officer. Stolpe figured that it would be pointless to tell this uniform man that he is a police officer who had just stopped some men from masturbating in public. Stolpe started walking down the trail towards the uniform man, but the trail was so steep Stolpe was unable to controll his speed and accidently ran past him. The crazed uniform man then pushed Stolpe to the ground and pepper sprayed him. Stolpe, scared for his life, tried to get up and run away, but the crazed uniform man pushed him down again, hit him with a police baton, and sprayed more pepper spray. Stolpe tried to get up again, but uniform man knocked him to the ground, hit him with the baton and then stomped on him. After all this, Stolpes (sic) somehow escaped from the uniform man by running up a hill and hiding in the brush.
After a long time, Stolpe heard a helicopter and the sounds of people searching the park. Stolpes may have thought that the masterbater had called the police to report that a crazed uniform man was attacking hikers in the park. Stolpes noticed that some of the searchers were wearing guns. At this point, Stolpes may have realized that these people were police officers, just like they have back at Stolpes job in Long Beach. At some point Stolpes must have decided that the uniform man was some sort of police officer that was trying to arrest him for some unknown reason. Stolpes announced, "I'm coming out now because there's going to be more witnesses to the arrest and I'm not going (to get another) beating." Stolpes then came out and surrendered to the people dressed like police officers. Stolpes may not have been completely convinced that these were real police, because he decides he should not reveal that he is a police officer and that he has a car parked in the park. Perhaps he thought that if they found out he was a police officer that had a car, then they could steal his gun and badge and then they could give it to the uniform man so that he would look like a police officer.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Canned Ham, dressed for action

Info from the guy who is up for re-election next March


- Help Tom and the Trust for Public Land save Cahuenga Peak and preserve the pristine natural hillside just west of the Hollywood sign. For more information, visit: www.savehollywoodland.org

-Silver Lake residents, please note that the DWP will begin installation of a major water line in your neighborhood next week. That means that West Silver Lake Drive will be temporarily close between Rowena Ave. and Angus St. This portion of the project is scheduled to take approximately five months.

-Please join Tom as we clean up North Hollywood tomorrow Saturday, March 13, 2010, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Meet at the NoHo BID office at 5026 Lankershim Blvd.

-Follow the green lights to celebrate St. Patrick's Day at LA Live on Wednesday, March 17th, 11a to 3 p.m. Join Tom for a Ken O'Malley and the Twilight Lords concert and many other festivities at the Nokia Plaza, 11th and Figueroa downtown. For more information, visit: www.tomlabonge.com

- Wilshire area residents, Metro is holding a community meeting about the optional Wilshire/Crenshaw station for the future Westside Subway Extension. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 17, 6PM - 8PM, at the Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90010. For more information, please click here: http://www.simplesend.com/simple/textlink.asp?NewsletterID=44093&SI=2668622&E=carolyn.ramsay@lacity.org&S=408&N=44093&Format=HTML

-Be counted! Easy-to-understand census forms are scheduled to be mailed next week. Please fill them out and return them so that Los Angeles receives the federal funding it is due. For more information visit: http://www.lacounts2010.org/

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

Cut and Paste Brief on the Los Angeles Political Scene from CD 14

"Does Assemblyman Kevin de Leon support union busters/ scabs??"
Shout out to Assemblyman Kevin de Leon, maybe you should change the title of your "Woman of the Year Award" to "Community Vendida of the Year" and are you being a "vendido" in supporting "connected non-profits", over unionize Recreation and Parks employees?
Remember back to 2008 when you anointed the "Hillary Clinton" of the Northeast Democrats and charter member of the fraudulent "Southwest Society of Vendidos y Vendidas" of the Southwest Museum, Carol Jacques with the "Woman of the Year" honor? While she may have been an "rainmaker" in terms of raising money for your political aspirations, she was reguiled by many in the community for her steadfast support of the Autry/Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa/ Councilman Jose Huizar plan, to loot the priceless Native-American treasures of the Southwest Museum.
Now two years later, you bestowed your annual honor on long-time political operative and current Legacy LA Executive Director Maria "Lou" Calanche, who is the point person for Mayor Villaraigosa/ USC's plan to remake the supposed neighborhood of her upbringing. I say supposed because she can't figure out whether she grew up in Ramona Gardens Housing Project or somewhere else nearby. ** (BTW, thanks to Sandra Torres for the clarification on Calanche's true childhood resident).
Calanche, who has worked for the likes of former Councilman/ Assemblyman Richard Alatorre, USC, East Los Angeles College and was a three-time loser for political office, was recruited by Legacy LA founder Jenny Krusoe to push the "Legacy Trojan Horse Agenda" on her community. with approval of Councilman Huizar and Mayor Villaraigosa.
Recently, as noted in a previous post at Mayor Sam, Calanche's Legacy LA employees have been openly competing with the Ramona Gardens and Hazard Park Recreation Centers, to recruit youth for their similar programs that they run out of the Hazard Park Armory. Further, Calanche associate "Monique" is working for both Hazard Park and Legacy LA, an obvious conflict of interest, that has been ignored due to "politics".
It should be noted that in the past, Calanche has "express her disdain" with Recreation and Parks and has told the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council, that they plan to conduct "recreation programs" in El Sereno, Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights in the future. Could we call this a sneak preview on how recreation programs will be dispensed in a "new Rec. and Parks"??
One should also note that a major source of Legacy LA's funding at this time, comes from Gang Reduction, Youth Development contracts, that are control by the Mayor's GRYD Office, formerly under the direction of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's Chief of Staff Jeff Carr. While Rec and Parks employees face layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts, non-profits like Legacy LA are exempt from cuts.
There is also a troubling incident that took place at Hazard Park in the Spring of 2009, where a Rec. and Park employee vehicle was vandalize and spray painted with racist comments and threats. some are speculating that this was done to force the employee out of Hazard Park for enforcing department policies and procedures, that ran counter to the interest of allies connected to Legacy LA. Sadly, the employee with the department fearing for the person's safety, did transfare to another facility.
Thus, for Assemblyman Kevin de Leon, who was a former union organizer, hopefully he will remember that hundreds of Rec and Parks employees, many who work within his district, could use his support in this historic budgetary crisis. But if he chooses to support "connected non-profits such as Legacy LA, over the union employees of Rec. and Parks, for "political motives" (ie. supporting Assembly Speaker John Perez cousin Mayor Antonio Villaragosa/ USC's plans for the Biotech Research Corridor near Hazard Park/ Ramona Gardens), then unions should reconsider their support of de Leon's State Senate aspirations.
After all, being a "Scab" is something you do not want on your liberal, progressive political resume Kevin.
Your thoughts................

First pink slip gets Hahn's goat


The first pink slip in the City's layoff process was handed out earlier this week to one Kristen Heather, curator of the Point Fermin lighthouse museum.

Heather is an at-will employee and therefore has no union protection. Same as most non-Union folks.

It's not exactly surprising, then, that she's just the first of the 1,000 getting the chop if they can't achieve a transfer to a position not paid for out of the City's General Fund. It's not rocket-science.


Nonetheless, Janice Hahn is furious over Heather's pink slip and is sabre-rattling like all get-out. Hahn railed against the heinous act in City Council this past Wednesday, insisting she was shocked and stunned that Heather received her two-week notice.

We're not really sure why Hahn should be surprised. After all, Hahn voted for the 1,000 layoffs. She voted for the 4,000 layoffs, too.

The real deal is that Hahn is likely embarrassed that she had sent letters to some employees in San Pedro slated for layoffs -- including Heather, allegedly a relative of Hahn's -- telling them their jobs were safe.

In retaliation for the embarrassment, Hahn then fired off two new council motions ( 1   2 ) designed to control the department who had the audacity to follow the City Council and Mayor's directive: the Department of Recreation and Parks.  Koretz and LaBonge signed on to the retaliatory legislation, both seeing the opportunity to wield department-level control over pet parks projects in their districts, including which favored non-profits and for-profits in public-private-partnerships are allowed to take over recreation programming.

Hahn must envision herself a professional in all respects since she's running for lieutenant governor, potentially representing the entire State of California. Yet in dealing with the effects of funding and position cuts to City parks and recreation, Hahn has been hyper-focused on the fact that Recreation and Parks "frustrated her" when she tried to hire a herd of goats to keep the weeds down in a San Pedro park.

That was five years ago, yet with the City facing one of the greatest financial crises of all time and in need of real leadership, when Hahn is addressing Recreation and Park's particular situation within the City's on-going budget crisis, all she wants to discuss is goats.

Now Hahn is attempting to control through legislation what core services the Department of Recreation and Parks can provide. 

Silly us, but it sure seems like a pretty bad idea to allow the people who created the budget crisis gain detailed - better word is micromanaging - control of how departments manage the few dollars left to them. Especially when those people continue to define professional interactions based on goats.
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Additional 3pm

A commenter makes a great point regarding Hahn's unhappiness about this particular pink slip. Hahn has been demanding that regular City employees be moved to non-General Funded positions. At-will workers are different altogether, they're always at risk.

Anonymous said...
Look, Janice. This is the way it works:
Non-union at-will hourly worker being paid from non-General Fund source makes way for qualified union employee transferred from General-Funded position.
THAT IS WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN ASKING FOR ALL ALONG.
You got what you wanted, and your cousin got diced in the cross fire. Oh well.
March 12, 2010 2:34 PM

Additional 3/18/10

Janice Hahn's office states Heather is not related to Hahn.

According to our sources, Heather is related to Hahn by marriage. We will continue to investigate this aspect of the story.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chukar chukker






















Subtitle: Polo is for the birds.

Not exactly the Partridge Family - a murder of crows takes over the California Polo Club yesterday.

Click image for high-res version.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cut and Paste Briefs on the Los Angeles Political Scene from CD 14

"Mayor NarcissusVillar celebrates while others grieve"
Would it be beneath Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to use the budget crisis at City Hall, to settle "old political scores" against perceived political opponents? Thus, could those acts of political retributions lead to the death of innocent Angelinos?
If you find my opening premise repugnant, then I argue that you really don't know the inner workings of the man born "Antonio Ramon Villar" who is now Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
It is no secret to those "in the know" within the Los Angeles political community, that Mayor Villaraigosa exhibits an vindictive streak to those who dare impede his pursuit of furthering the "cause of self".
The list is long of those who have face the "wrath of Villar", former Mayor James Hahn, SEIU's Julie Butcher, State Senator Gil Cedillo, his father, former CD 14 Councilman Nick Pacheco, Mothers of East Los Angeles, the Ramona Gardens Community, the McOsker Brothers, Corina Raigosa, Talkshow Host Doug McIntyre, Kevin James and more.
Not wanting to be an addition to this list, may be why that the City Council walked on egg shells and thus were mutual partners with the Mayor during his first term in office. But with his political star now dimming to "black hole status" the "collective fifteen within the horseshoe" are now doing their best to avoid being suck in to vast darkness that is the fail policy and governance efforts of the current Mayor.
But as Ron Kaye opined in his excellent post regarding the new "policy bully of the third floor" Chief of Staff Jeff Carr, the acts of political retributions will not be ceasing anytime soon.
Speculation is rampant that the current Fire Department "brownouts" are part of an strategy to punish the leadership of United Firefighters of Los Angeles Local 112, in regards to their outspoken retorts of the Mayor's wishes for contract concessions and cutbacks in fire services.
Local 112 President Pat McOsker and his brother Tim. who was former Mayor James Hahn's Chief of Staff, are veterans of past political fueds with the Villaraigosa Machine. Thus, Local 112 President McOsker is once again in another political fight to safeguard the interest of his union members.
But in a moment of budget crisis unseen in recent history, the leaderships of all the various factions affected by the decisions made at 200 Spring Street, would be well served to view the KABC Channel 7 video that highlighted the emotional testimony of El Sereno resident Luis Gonzalez who father suffer a fatal heart attack on Febuary 23.
In his heart-wrenching comments before the City Council yesterday, Gonzalez describe the nine plus minutes it took for paramedics to respond to the innitial 911 call. Station 16's paramedic squad, which was the closest to his father's location, was not in use due to the "brownouts" cutbacks.
One can accept that in the execution of normal political discourse, there will always be some sort of "political pay back" as part of the dialog. But in this budget crisis the act of "settling a political score" may had just taken a deadly turn.
OTHER NEWS:
** Happen to catch Mayor Antonio Viilaraigosa on KABC 790 AM with morning host Peter Tilden this morning. It would be worth the effort to link to the pod cast just to refresh the memory on what a political bumbler sounds like early in the AM.
** How would Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa "Chief of Bullies" Jeff Carr measure up to Chicago-trained President Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel?
** From the Chief Justice of the United States, "Scene at the State of the Union Very Troubl;ing". But then bullies arenorm for the Democratic Party.
** Link here to view the initial press release by the Hillside Village Property Owners Association Protest at Station 16 in El Sereno.
** Los Angeles Times Columnist Steve Lopez talks to city employees about taking paycuts.
** Recreation and Parks General Manager Jon Mukri and cast, come up with proposal to increase revenues from city owned golf courses which would save some Rec. and Parks jobs.
Your thoughts........

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cut and Paste Briefs from CD 14

"Autry National Center President John Gray has left the building"
In what can only be describe as a victory for grass-roots activism, Autry National Center President John L. Gray has announced his resignation/ retirement from the western-theme museum.
Activists in both the Mt. Washington and Griffith Park communities were surprised by this announcement, but in hindsight, even an loyal Autry stalwart such as Gray could read the "political tea leaves" and determine that the Autry National Center's "expansionist vision" would never become reality in the current political environment.
Speculation by one member of the "Friends of the Southwest Museum" coalition, centers on the recent proposal by CD 14 Councilman Jose Huizar to make million in loans and grants available to the Autry, for rehabilitation of the Southwest Museum, thus insuring a viable museum on the slopes of Mt. Washington.
But in an recent meeting of the Autry Board of Trustees and Jackie Autry, they turned down the proposal by Councilman Huizar. This in retrospect could have help make easier the decision by Gray to tender his resignation/ retirement to the Autry.
Gray for his part, could not resist taking an swipe at Southwest Museum preservationists,
"My largest challenge was dealing with people who didn't understand the role of the museum and didn't appreciate it", Gray said. "As a result, the process of saving the Southwest and working on working on expansion plans were never discussed in terms of cultural institutions. It simply became politics".
The politics that were part of the Autry Expansion/ Southwest abandonment desires, included the hiring of such unsavory political entities such as Latham & Watkins and the convicted criminal Steve Sugerman, who on the behalf of their Autry client, attempted to usurp transparent political processes.
In addition, one cannot overlook the cost of political favors, by the likes of Mayor Villaraigosa and Councilman Jose Huizar to the cast of "community vendidos y vendidas" that constituted the fraudulent "Southwest Society". Whether it was the giveaway of the Hazard Park Armory to Jenny Krusoe, committee appointments for Carol Jacques and favors directed to Eliot Sekuler. The true cost of the Mayor and Councilman Huizar's attempt to force the Autry agenda down the throats of open space and Southwest Museum preservationists, may have long-term political ramifications starting in 2011.
In retrospect, while the battle to preserve Griffith Park and the Southwest Museum is not over by any means, the efforts and unity of preservationists in this saga, deserve the proper kudos of praise.
OTHER NEWS:
** The traveling roadshow featuring the City Council Budget Committee, made its schedule stop last evening, in the El Sereno neighborhood of CD 14. For host Councilman Jose Huizar, this was an evening that he may want to expunge from his political memory.
First, Budget Committee attendees were given copies of the latest issue of the Voice Newspaper, which called into question Councilman's Huizar use of discretionary funds. Then speaker after speaker spoke negativly about issues within the district, whether it was fire services cutbacks, contracting out recreation services, or the general disdain for the current political leadership at City Hall, This was not the positive image that "Team Huizar" wanted to present for the evening.
Then there was the political drama, with 2011 repercussions, taking place right in front of the Councilman. Seated with Public Works Commissioner Cynthia Ruiz, was an prominant local businessperson, who is entertaining thoughts about future political aspirations. Judging by the tone of activists within the meeting room, any possible candidate that may want to challenge the incumbent Huizar in 2011, would be met with an open mind.
But the most poignant moment of the evening was the emotional testimony of a greiving son, who painfully retold the story of waiting with his father nine plus minutes for a paramedic, only to see his father pass away.
If one needed to be reminded of the serious ramifications of the budget crisis at City Hall, this moment would of jarred you back to reality, but then if you were listening to Councilman Huizar, the cutbacks/ brownouts of fire services is "only an reallocation of resourses".
Your thoughts..................

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

[LA Times] Hopping to it to preserve the rare mountain yellow-legged frog

More about our very endangered golden froggy friends.
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Hopping to it to preserve the rare mountain yellow-legged frog
Researchers' efforts to increase the California amphibian's numbers include replicating hibernation.
By Louis Sahagun
March 5, 2010 | 6:26 a.m.

Some like it hot. Apparently, the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog is not among them. The 3-inch-long amphibians much prefer it cold as melting snow. So conservationists at the San Diego Zoo have placed two dozen of the nearly extinct frogs in refrigerators they joshingly refer to as "Valentine's Day retreats" in hopes the amphibians will emerge with the urge. To mate, that is. The big chill at the zoo's Institute for Conservation Research represents one of the most ambitious wildlife reintroduction experiments in the nation. If it is successful, the frogs could produce upward of 6,000 tadpoles next month -- all of them scheduled for a spring homecoming in a remote San Jacinto Mountains stream from which they have been absent for a decade. Scientists hope many of those tadpoles will mature and produce new generations in the wild, paving the way for the Rana muscosa population to reestablish residency in Southern California and grow exponentially.

"Will it work? We think so," said Jeffrey Lemm, a zoo research coordinator. "A month from now, there could be tubs of tadpoles all over the place. Eventually, we may have thousands of adult frogs in self-sustaining populations for the first time in half a century." Mountain yellow-legged frogs thrived for thousands of years in hundreds of streams cascading down the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains. Since the 1960s, the species has been decimated by an array of threats: fires, mudslides, pesticides, fungal infections, loss of habitat as a result of development, and the appetites of nonnative trout, bullfrogs and crayfish. Today, fewer than 200 of their descendants are believed to exist in nine isolated wild populations, including a group in the San Gabriel Mountains' Devils Canyon that survived last year's devastating Station fire. Their minuscule, scattered population gives mountain yellow-legged frogs the distinction of being one of the most endangered amphibians on the planet. The most intimate details of their mating behavior are the focus of a master's thesis project being conducted at the institute by research technician Frank Santana.

In their native habitat, the frogs flock to streams gushing with spring snowmelt. Males announce their availability for amphibian amour with a low-pitched underwater bark. Parental discretion is advised for what follows: "A male gets a good grip of a female with his forearms, and the female, if she's in the mood, let's him," Santana said. "Then the male thrusts his whole body to stimulate the release of her eggs. The female goes into contractions as both arch their backs to line up their cloacae." Sperm and eggs are released simultaneously. Tadpoles emerge from the eggs about three weeks later. In the wild, only 3% to 5% mature into adult frogs. "In the laboratory, the hard work comes when we've got a bazillion 2-millimeter-long tadpoles on our hands in need of daily water changes, and meals of frozen lettuce and fish food," Santana said.

The zoo's recovery program was launched in the summer of 2006, with 82 tadpoles rescued from a drying creek in the San Bernardino National Forest. Two years later, institute researchers discovered a clutch of 200 eggs in one of their tanks. However, the frogs were younger than is typical for breeding and only a handful of the eggs were fertile. The institute became the first to breed a yellow-legged frog in captivity when one of those eggs produced a tadpole that matured into a still-surviving adult. Now the institute has 61 frogs, including the 16 females in the refrigerator -- each one of them, Lemm said, "looking nice and healthy and bulging with 200 to 300 eggs." All the tadpoles produced in the laboratory will be reintroduced into a mountain stream that U.S. Geological Survey biologists have determined is free of predators.

The recovery effort has been funded by the California Department of Transportation to mitigate for emergency work to stabilize a slope near the frog's habitat on California 330 in the San Bernardino Mountains. It is part of an ongoing collaborative effort of government and nonprofit partners to increase the number of frogs in native habitat and in captive breeding programs. The Fresno Chaffee Zoo recently received about 100 tadpoles rescued last summer from the Station fire area. The Los Angeles Zoo and the Living Desert in Palm Desert will each get 10 adult frogs for captive breeding purposes. In the meantime, federal wildlife authorities are developing measures to reduce the effect of human activities in areas where the yellow-legged frog is still found and may be reintroduced. That includes a remote stretch of Tahquitz Creek in the San Jacinto Wilderness near Idyllwild, where two yellow-legged frogs were discovered last year.

"A few years ago, there wasn't even a captive breeding program for these frogs," Santana said. "Now, we are hoping to reestablish populations by mimicking their natural cycles. For these frogs, that means winter hibernation, spring thaw and lots of tadpoles. Hopefully."