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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Why again a "jogging trail" at Mulholland Fountain?

Blogger Petra called it back in February.  Spending DWP money on a very small jogging path LaBonge claimed was for the seniors across the street made no sense.

Jogging Path for Seniors:

LaBonge has some money, so he's gonna build that jogging path for the seniors even if they have to cross one of the busiest intersections in all of Los Angeles to get there. Even if there's more room on the other side of the street - where the senior citizen's center is actually located - for a bigger, better path. He's throwing in some native plants to appease greenies, too.

Whipping that crystal ball out again, we're thinking Avon's Walk for Breast Cancer is probably the real target user group. The Mulholland Fountain makes for mighty nice high profile photo ops. --


And from today's LaBonge CD 4 Newsletter, the confirmation:
- The Relay for Life Griffith Park Community, which is chaired by Mrs. LaBonge, is looking for volunteers to work short shifts at the event on Saturday, June 5 - Sunday, June 6. The Relay for Life Griffith Park Community will be held at the Mulholland Fountain, at Los Feliz Boulevard and Riverside Drive 

For more info on the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, please click here: http://www.relayforlife.org/relay/. If you'd like to volunteer, email Brigid LaBonge at: Relaygpc@gmail.com 


As Mulholland Terrace said, "It's Labonge's park. We just watch him - and the missus -  play with it."

Monday, April 26, 2010

[Sierra Club] Above the City of Angels

This important article from the Sierra Club outlines the extensive impacts we Angelenos are having on the beautiful San Gabriel mountains, as well as the community's fight to have the San Gabriels named a National Recreation Area - a protection that would bring funding and resources to help protect this precious resource.

These same impacts affect Los Angeles's larger regional City parks, too, including Griffith Park, Hansen Dam, O'Melveny Park, Sepulveda Basin, etc. There are lessons to be learned and strategies to be developed by all agencies that protect these vital resources if they are to survive and thrive.

From the Sierra Club.
------------

Above the City of Angels
Retreat, reverie, and a skull or two in L.A.'s mountains
By Brendan Buhler

The mountains that Angelenos love—the sheer high-desert backdrop that defines the boundaries of their megalopolis and offers them a wild escape that's nearer and more varied than any other in the country—are trying to kill them. Or is it the other way around? It can be hard to tell in a relationship as complicated as that between the citizens of Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mountains. Consider the most recent development in their 230-year-old union: Heavy rains in early February caused a catch basin to fill and mudslides to sweep down the mountains and into a neighborhood of La Canada Flintridge, damaging 43 homes and 25 cars.

The suburban culs-de-sac share space with the catch basin, a structure best thought of as an empty, perforated dam, built to capture the mud, rocks, and trees that people expect to come sliding down the mountainside. It was overwhelmed when a 10-ton boulder tumbled and blocked a key drain, which soon caused a 35-mile-per-hour tide of mud and bowling ball-size rocks to sweep into the streets, tossing and crumpling cars like tinfoil toys. The mud filled houses like they were cake molds. If you had been standing in the kitchen of one of those houses, you would have been chest-deep in what geologists call debris flow—a fast-moving mix of water, rocks, dirt, and detritus—except, of course, you would not have been standing. You would most likely have been killed. Fortunately, no one was.

The La Canada Flintridge slide was nature's payback for the largest wildfire in the modern history of Los Angeles County. The Station Fire rampaged through the San Gabriels from the end of summer until mid-fall 2009, burning 160,000 acres. Investigators believe the fire was intentionally set alongside Angeles Crest Highway. (A vast majority of California wildfires are started by humans, either by accident or as acts of arson. Of the 20 largest fires in the recorded history of the state, only 7 had natural causes.)

Nonlocals hear about the San Gabriels only when they're ablaze or falling on people. But when they're doing neither, they are much more interesting: an untamed wilderness coexisting with one of the world's largest metropolises, a safety valve for the psyches of 18 million jangled humans. The 1,000-plus-square-mile Angeles National Forest, which encompasses the mountain range, is where hikers and campers find solitude within 30 miles of the country's second-most-populated region. It's where children learn about nature, snowboarders carve, those without air conditioning seek relief, hunters and fishermen bag prey, off-roaders crack axles, motorcyclists experiment with asphalt skin grafts, gun lovers practice the rhythms of pop-pop-pop, and the religious test their faith by being baptized in the waters of a canyon sometimes called "Diaper Alley." And that's just what's legal; it doesn't include the potential of finding (or becoming) a bullet-punctured human skull.

The forest is heavily trafficked, underfunded in its upkeep, and remote in its steepness, a landscape that John Muir—who knew of such things—called "ruggedly, thornily savage." Muir continued: "Not even in the Sierra have I ever made the acquaintance of mountains more rigidly inaccessible," yet "down in the dells, you may find gardens filled with the fairest flowers, that any child would love, and unapproachable linns lined with lilies and ferns, where the ousel builds its mossy hut and sings in chorus with the white falling water."

Read the rest at the Sierra Club newsletter site.

The Peak: officially saved

The Trust for Public Land has announced that the $12.5 million needed to Save the Peak is in hand. Hurray!

There is a 9am news conference with the insufferable Tom LeBong and the Governator on the subject. snore

Someone should ask LeBong point-blank how the Chicago extortionists ended up with land that was offered to the City before the extortionists bought it. Just how did that happen, Tommy? And how much money will you spend and how many City resources will you waste throwing a big party for yourself and your performing ego?
Also.

No matter. Chicago robs Los Angeles blind, but the park is made whole.

From the Trust for Public Land:
--------------

Cahuenga Peak Saved!






We Did It!

It's a perfect ending to a Hollywood story. Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner stepped forward with a $900,000 donation, triggering the $500,000 match from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and Aileen Getty and pushing our Save the Peak campaign across the $12.5 million finish line. Get the full scoop here.

While the deal closed with a large gift, it was the supersized efforts of a generous and energetic community of supporters that made the campaign possible. It's people like you who helped us save Cahuenga Peak, and we are very grateful.

But Wait--There's More

Stay tuned--we have not yet begun to celebrate! Plans are in the works for a special event next month, but the details are under wraps for now.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Preserving a Landmark


When you think of Los Angeles, what comes to mind? Perhaps it's the glitz and glamor of southern California living. Perhaps it's the Santa Monica Pier, or Grauman's Chinese Theatre. For many of us though, our visions of Los Angeles are those of the Hollywood Sign and the surrounding land that is Griffith Park. Finding nature amongst the high rise buildings and lights in Los Angeles can be difficult. While there are obvious exceptions to this statement, Griffith Park is in a league of its own. Spanning 4,000+ acres in the middle of Los Angeles, it is a true gem for those who enjoy hiking, city views, sightseeing, and relaxing in nature. As the largest municipal park in the US, preservation of Griffith Park in all of its natural glory is imperative.

As many of you already know, today, Griffith Park and the Hollywood Sign are at a crossroads. In 2002, a 138-acre parcel of land (known as Cahuenga Peak) surrounding the sign was purchased from the Howard Hughes estate by a group of Chicago investors. Since then, the land has been zoned for the development of luxury homes, a plan that threatens the future of the sign and the preservation of nature for which the nearby Griffith Park stands. Accessibility to Cahuenga Peak and the surrounding area for hikers and tourists will no longer be available and the land around the sign that has previously remained untouched in its natural state will be used to develop property in an area not intended for development.

However, there is still hope for the Hollywood Sign and its surrounding territory. In an effort to prevent this development from taking place, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), thousands of Los Angeles residents, and a number of high profile organizations and people in support of the land's preservation have rallied together to save Cahuenga Peak. $12,500,000 is necessary to preserve the land for the city and incorporate it into Griffith Park. The TPL has already raised a little over $11,000,000 and Aileen Getty and The Tiffany & Co. Foundation have pledged to donate $500,000 if the Los Angeles and California communities can come up with the additional $1,000,000 needed.

The deadline for the TPL to raise $12,500,000 is April 30th. With only a week left to raise the funds, it is now up to the Los Angeles community to join forces and save one of the few areas of undeveloped land left in the city. Los Angeles without the Hollywood Sign is like Las Vegas without casinos, or Paris sans the Eiffel Tower. This land was intended to be used for viewing and admiration of the City of Angels, without which Los Angeles loses its identity.

There are several ways you can help to save the Hollywood Sign and the surrounding land for Griffith Park. Texting the word LAND to the number 50555 will result in a $5 donation on your behalf. If you want to donate more than $5, you can do so at this website dedicated to saving Cahuenga Peak. Now more than ever it is time for the City of Los Angeles to step up and save the land its residents are so fortunate to enjoy and preserve this iconic Los Angeles landmark and its surrounding corner of nature for future generations to enjoy as we already have.

Hat tip for HS image to Flying Jim.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dantes View of hell


Dante's View engulfed by the inferno during the 2007 Griffith Park fire.
Just a little reminder that fire season is right around the corner. This year promises to be a bad one with all the extra brush growth from spring rains. Without our firefighting park rangers patrolling the parks, the outlook is not a good one.

If park rangers aren't patrolling the parks, where exactly are they?

Ten public officer park rangers have been pulled from park patrol, and are now paid to do effectively nothing. Some are rumored to be using "on duty" time to catch up on their tv viewing. Meanwhile a popular chief park ranger with 30 years experience is sitting in an office downtown, having been moved there by Recreation and Parks with no substantiated reason for having done so. Three of the four remaining senior peace officer park rangers took E-RIP to escape unqualified management, and will not be replaced.

That's eleven qualified park rangers who have been removed from patrol duty, and three veterans chased out of the department. Why?

The Department has no good answer for either. Regarding the ten public officers, the department's only direct public comment answering the question has been that '...the parks are too dangerous for (public officers) to patrol'.*

That's a huge admission, saying that City parks are too dangerous for even park rangers. A darned scary statement, too, given that public officers are a class in the CA Penal Code (sections 830.7, 831) that, although not full peace officers, have a certain level of enforcement ability and the knowledge and training to carry it out. The public officer park rangers'  MOU with the department states explicitly that they can and do perform patrol duties.

The park ranger buck stops with the department's general manager - Jon Kirk Mukri. Drop him a line  - JonKirk.Mukri(at)lacity.org - and ask why. See what reason/excuse you're fed. Then post it here in comments so the public can dissect the baloney.



*Assistant GM Kevin Regan to the Sepulveda WASC Committee (October 2009)

Ranger images hat tip to:  Daylife.com/Getty Images  and MikesPhotos.us

Monday, April 19, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meet the Neighbor

Photo provided by Marsha Perloff. Taken by her neighbor in Haines Canyon area of Tujunga. Cat was in backyard not afraid of lights, camera, or human. Since the Station Fire they are traveling a bit closer into town. This one appears to be young judging by paw size.
Keep your pets inside at night!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reform LA holds first meeting this Saturday

Time to put up or shut up, ladies and gentlemen.

The group organizing to find, fund, and promote candidates in next March's CD 2,4,6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 elections is meeting at  9:45 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) at the Hollywood Community Center, 6501 Fountain Ave.

According to Ron Kaye, REFORM LA's goal is to "...develop strategies to recruit credible candidates and form a political action committee for the elections...", something that should have been done earlier.

Send City Hall a message - show up and help get this effort moving. You can bet a few spies will be there, too.

Friday in the City

Darryl Gates has passed away from cancer at the age of 83. Thus passes one of the icons of Very Interesting Times in Los Angeles.

Westside White Guy at LA Observed doesn't have much nice to say about a great profile of Ron Kaye by Neon Tommy that ran yesterday. We read the profile, thought it did the-Ron-we-know justice, and wonder what Kevin's problem is this week [tm]. Nah, we don't really care what Kevin's problem is. We do like his in-house cartoonist, tho'.

The Mayor's "budget", such as it is, comes out next week. In anticipation of getting clobbered by a mayor no longer in bed with them, the local unions have published their own solution: $432 million in savings that don't destroy parks, libraries and the other things that make our neighborhoods livable. The $432 mill just about matches the anticipated deficit, too. Sounds good, but make up your own mind - read the whole document here, and OurLA's summary here.

Dick Alarcon and his daughter/Public Works commissioner stick it to the environment, the people, the County, open space, and the rule of law yesterday with a little help from the Mayor's hand-picked Planning Commission. Will there ever be a day in LA when cronyism isn't in charge? Yup - the day City Commissioners are elected by the people.

As MT pointed out yesterday, murder in Los Angeles is up up up. Meanwhile, with the E-RIPping this week of two of the last few remaining peace officer park rangers in Los Angeles, coupled with Rec and Parks' pulling of ten public officer park rangers from field work that they are fully qualified to perform (why?), expect crime in our parks to go up up up, too.

Oh yeah. More mayoral appointees approved the same DWP rate hike yesterday that they turned down just last week, costing the loss of a bond rating in the process. Assholes, the lot.

White supremist rally at City Hall, too. Looks like it's gonna be a long, hot summer in the City this year. Seems eerily familiar, like we're working on a flashback to the Darryl Gates' LAPD era. Full circle.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Park pic of the day




















Spot the squirrel in this Griffith Park pic.

More time, challenge grant for Save The Hollywood Sign campaign

Petra was wondering where the challenge grant for the Cahuenga Peak campaign was. And here it is. Also.

Shocker.... with a wry grin.

Give till it hurts.
-----

More Time, More Support, to Save Cahuenga Peak

 
LOS ANGELES - The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Los Angeles City Council Member Tom LaBonge today announced they have 16 more days and a $500,000 challenge grant to raise the final $1 million needed to save the view of the famous Hollywood Sign by preserving 138 acres of land behind the sign. Aileen Getty and The Tiffany & Co. Foundation said today they will join to make a $500,000 matching grant to challenge the California community to close the gap. Ms. Getty and the Tiffany Foundation, both of whom had each previously donated $1 million to the campaign, will make their gifts if TPL raises an additional $1 million.

From this point on, every donation, from bake sales to on line contributions to lead level gifts, will be matched $1 to $2 until we raise the final million."
                                     
-Tiffany and Co Foundation
"We need to raise a total of $12.5 million and today, we're at $11 million," said Will Rogers, TPL President. "Our deadline was originally set for today, April 14, but thanks to the cooperation of the landowners, we now have until April 30. The challenge grant is designed to inspire California donors to take part in this campaign." "We're grateful to have a little more time to reach our goal, and we're going to get there," Councilmember LaBonge said. "Thank you to everyone who is helping us preserve this pristine hillside for the future of Los Angeles."

Aileen Getty, a long time Hollywood resident, has supported this project since early on in the campaign. "I'm proud to support TPL's efforts in conserving this magical place and hope that this challenge will inspire others in LA to help us close the gap. From this point on, every donation, from bake sales to on line contributions to lead level gifts, will be matched $1 to $2 until we raise the final million."

"With the matching gift from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, we reassert its mission to preserve our natural heritage and important landmarks," said Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and CEO of Tifffany & Co. "We wholeheartedly support The Trust for Public Land, our partners in the Campaign to Save Cahuenga Peak, and I am confident that this historic site will remain a wildlife habitat and the home of a great American icon." There has been a groundswell of support in Los Angeles, including residents who held bake sales, rallies, and a concert on the Sunset Strip. Hollywood leaders donated $3.1 million, including major donations from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, CBS Corporation, The Entertainment Industry Foundation, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, the Lucasfilm Foundation, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Steven Spielberg, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Time Warner Inc., and The Walt Disney Company Foundation. Other Hollywood contributors include Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and Norman Lear.

In addition, the artists from the new online entertainment show "If I Can Dream" will step out as the next generation of Hollywood to spread the word, and lend their voices to the campaign. The weekly show, created by Simon Fuller and carried on Hulu, has championed the cause to its global online audience, which includes fans in 180 countries. The artists on "If I Can Dream" recognize the Hollywood Sign as a symbol of the hopes and dreams of everyone who dreams of "making it" in Hollywood. The Carl W. Johnson Foundation has contributed $100,000. "The Carl W. Johnson Foundation is thrilled to partner with The Trust for Public Land to help Save Cahuenga Peak. Parks and open space are important for the health and well being of all the people of Los Angeles, and we are proud to be a financial supporter in the effort," said Wallace Franson, President of the Foundation.

Individuals may donate online at www.savehollywoodland.org. Or they may donate via text message. To donate via text, text the word LAND to the number 50555 to give $5. Standard messaging and data rates may apply. On Facebook, more than 25,000 have signed up as fans and Kimpton Hotels, a long-time corporate supporter of TPL, offered to donate $1 for every fan who also became a Facebook fan of Kimpton. On April 15, 2009, TPL signed an option to buy the 138 acres behind, and to the left, of the "H" in the sign, stretching west to Cahuenga Peak. When TPL buys the land, it will be added to the city of Los Angeles and added to Griffith Park.

The land was originally purchased by industrialist Howard Hughes in 1940, to build a home for actress Ginger Rogers. But the relationship between the two fell apart and after Hughes died, his estate sold the property in 2002 to a group of Chicago investors. They put the property on the market two years ago for $22 million. It is zoned to build four luxury homes. Besides TPL, Tiffany and Ms. Getty, other partners include the Hollywood Sign Trust, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the Los Angeles Parks Foundation, and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

Visit www.tpl.org

Monday, April 12, 2010

Perfection

Zenyatta relaxing after winning the Apple Blossom this weekend to tie Cigar and Citation for most consecutive victories in major open stakes competition (16 for 16).  But unlike Cigar and Citation, Zenyatta is undefeated and essentially unchallenged. Still waiting for the Rachel Alexandra camp to show up for the party.

Like Zenyatta? A close relative, even as horses go, is up for sale in June.

Twitpic by francesjkaron

Saturday, April 10, 2010

[Zev's blog] What's killing Malibu Creek's steelhead?

What’s killing Malibu Creek’s steelhead




Twice in recent summers, Malibu Creek’s fledging population of endangered steelhead have been decimated, leaving the experts baffled and saddened. In 2006, hundreds of the fish turned yellow and died after a heat wave that was accompanied by a foul-smelling black layer of rotting algae and bacteria in the stream bed. The ooze earned a nickname: Malibu Muck. By early 2008, the population of juvenile steelhead managed to edge toward 3,000 again, giving biologists hope that the fish were making a strong comeback. But last year, the die-offs returned with a vengeance. Steelhead, as well as the hardy carp, crayfish and others, died en masse. The Malibu Muck was back, too. This time, the baby steelhead didn’t turn yellow but the population in the creek still plummeted from about 1,300 to just 200 young fish. In the bad years, “everything was dying,” says conservation biologist Rosi Dagit. “And we really had absolutely no clue why.”

Last week, Dagit and other conservation biologists waded into the creek to look for answers, launching the most comprehensive water quality study ever undertaken in the crucial Santa Monica Mountains watershed.
Standing waist deep in Malibu Creek, Steve Williams and Kevin Jonz carefully slid a high-tech measuring device called a sonde inside a plastic housing and dipped it into the algae-green water. They anchored the two-foot cylinder to the creek bed with a steel fence post and then fastened the contraption to a willow thicket with a stout metal chain. In all, five sondes were installed—four in Malibu Creek and one in nearby Topanga Creek. The devices will gather six vital measures of water quality every 30 minutes, around the clock, from April to October. The thousands of data points on water temperature, clarity, pH, algae levels, conductivity and oxygen levels will provide scientists with a full view of the changes in water quality over an entire season, from the high flows of spring to the slack low water of late summer and fall.

Read the rest at Zev Yaroslavsky's blog.

Krekorian to hold forum on restaurant murders

For our Valley Village readers.
-----------------

Councilmember Paul Krekorian to Hold Town Hall Forum
LAPD deputy chiefs Kirk J. Albanese and David R. Doan also set to attend

LOS ANGELESIn response to the killing of four at a Valley Village restaurant last week, Councilmember Paul Krekorian will hold a town hall forum in the neighborhood to address concerns and update residents about the investigation.

Along with Krekorian, LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk J. Albanese - head of the San Fernando Valley Division, and Deputy Chief David R. Doan - chief of detectives, will give residents up-to-date information about the case. Neighborhood leaders are also set to appear.

On April 3, 2010, Nerses Galstyan allegedly killed four people during what police believe was a dispute in the Hot Spot Mediterranean Restaurant on Riverside Drive. 


While detectives have maintained that the incident was not a random act, that the community should not be fearful of more violence, tensions have run high since the shootings.

Who: Councilmember Paul Krekorian
LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk J. Albanese, head of the San Fernando Valley Division; Deputy Chief David R. Doan, chief of detectives
Valley Village community leaders

What: Town Hall Update on Valley Village shootings

Where: Colfax Elementary School Auditorium, 11724 Addison St., North Hollywood, CA 91607 at 7 p.m.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Final fundraising strategy, outlook weak for Hollywood Sign effort

The Trust for Public Land has put out the call for the final push to raise the last $3 million needed to purchase Cahuenga Peak and save it from development. There's five days left. That's just $667,000 per day they need to raise to rescue this project if you believe their press:
The Real Wildlife of Hollywood...

...live high above the bustle of the city below. Local hikers know that the best reality show in Los Angeles is a green carpet affair starring the charismatic critters that thrive among the native plants on Cahuenga Peak, home of the Hollywood Sign. This production has been running for eons, but cancellation may be looming on the (currently unspoiled) horizon. We have until April 14, 2010, to raise the final $3 million of the $12.5 million needed to forever protect this landscape from development. Time is fast running out, so we need your help now.
As someone who has successfully dabbled in professional fundraising from time to time, I am wondering about the strategies utilized in this campaign. $3 mil is no small feat on a short time frame. Some creative and appropriately aggressive fundraising strategies should be employed here. Why hasn't/isn't someone (read LaBonge, Mukri, Sanders, or Villaraigosa) pushing something like a challenge grant to entice people to donate?
 
So far, there really has been little real effort in the public sector on this campaign, which is disappointing. The public sector goal was, if I remember correctly - they've taken it off the web site - $1 million, and the last total amount raised I read was less than $100,000.

It is very unfortunate that this effort is slated to goes down in flames due to poor fundraising strategy and execution... as it stands.

That said, I have a funny feeling that the lack of any real hardcore professional effort -- at least as far as it concerns the general public front of the fundraising activity -- indicates there will either be an extension of the deadline, the $3 million isn't really the amount needed, or perhaps some local political donor is about to be made the backroom deal of the century by CD 4. Perhaps that deal has already been made.

In the meantime, the forecast for this worthwhile effort, as it can be determined from the outside looking in,  is dim.



LaBonge calls another "emergency community meeting"

Is this his third emergency community meeting or his fourth? 
It's all about the "public". Don't forget to RSVP.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New blood needed in CD 4 - your choices?

In March 2011, elections will be held for Los Angeles City Council districts 2 (Krekorian), 4 (LaBonge), 6 (Cardenas), 8 (Parks), 10 (Wesson), 12 (Smith - termed out), and Red Spot's favorite, 14 (Huizar).

This past weekend, SLAP - the Saving LA Project, passed a resolution to do candidate searches and create support structures for new political blood.


GPWist whole heartedly supports this action, starting first and foremost with Council District Four: Tom LaBonge's personal fiefdom.  District Four includes Griffith Park, Los Feliz, and parts of the Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Laurel Canyon, Toluca Lake and North Hollywood.

LaBonge is a true career politician, earning a paycheck on the public's dime for almost all of his career except for a brief stint with the DWP as what was reportedly some type of community liason or publicist. That probably explains why LaBonge has been actively defending DWP management during the recent rate hike drama.

It's probably true to say that since he has not done it in the eight years he's already been in office, Tom LaBonge likely never author a single piece of significant legislation. Listening to him babble during council, you have to ask yourself if he can even spell legislation sometimes. But we digress. Can anyone name a piece of truly significant legislation actually authored by LaBonge?  Here's one of our favorites of Tom's. Good stuff.

Noteworthy is that LaBonge controls the council's Arts Parks Health and Aging Committee, and will probably remain chair of this important committee if re-elected. This committee is tasked with oversight of areas vital to healthy neighborhoods, and this is probably as good a reason as any to find new blood.


Let's hear your suggestions for CD 4 candidates.  

We'll start with our choice: Box O. Rocks.  Box is smart, smooth, and more down to earth than LaBonge will ever be. He doesn't abuse prescription medication on work days, either. It's all good.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Venue-fication of the Old Zoo now official

The Old Zoo is now officially a rental venue for the Department of Recreation and Parks as Shakespeare moves in permanently.  Not too surprising since Symphony in the Glen has been stumping to build a band shell on the site for some time.

The good news is that this means (very) minimal revenue to the department. Bad news is that another public picnic area becomes off limits to varying degrees to the tax-paying public who already put unbelievable pressure on the public picnic areas during holidays. Crowds forced the closure of the park this past weekend on Easter for a few hours when no more space to park or picnic was available.

From the LA Times.
--------
 


L.A.'s Independent Shakespeare Co. moving to Griffith Park

One of Los Angeles' most popular summer Shakespeare companies is about to get a major venue upgrade.
Since 2004, the Independent Shakespeare Co. (ISC) has performed at Hollywood's Barnsdall Art Park, where it has had to compete with helicopter traffic from neighboring hospitals and other forms of noise pollution. Starting this summer, the company will make its new home in Griffith Park near the site of the former zoo on the park's east side. The move will enable the company to accommodate bigger crowds for its free, outdoor productions of Shakespeare's plays. David Melville, the company's managing director, said he hopes to fit in 700 people for each performance, versus Barnsdall's approved capacity of just 485.

ISC estimates it attracted 12,000 people to its productions in Barnsdall last summer. The company often had to turn away people in past seasons, which prompted its search for a new venue. The residency at Barnsdall has been rocky. At one point, it came close to losing its place on the park's south lawn after inspectors demanded a special permit. The company had to bring in a new stage at great expense to meet their requirements. Melville said that the company has already received approval for the move to Griffith Park, though it still has to go through a permitting process for various technical elements. In the end, ISC will have to shell out more money to cover costs associated with the bigger digs. This season, the company expects to spend $180,000, which covers actors' pay, equipment as well as "minimal" rent to the Department of Recreation & Parks.

Read the rest at the LA Times.

Weekend wanderings...........

"Clouds over the San Jacinto Mountains"

"Ocotillo in bloom near Bow Willow Campground"

"Saturday morning sunrise at Agua Caliente County Park"
The time was right for an weekend adventure to the desert of Anza-Borrego State Park.
Usually, I stay at Agua Caliente County Park, which is an San Diego County Parks Campground connected to the state park. Agua Caliente is well known for its hot springs, which are sought out by many for their theraputic qualities.
The southern desert with our recent rains, are green and colorful with flowers galore.
On the way back, we detour through the San Jacinto Mountains, where storms clouds were building in advance of Monday's storm.
...... and those storm clouds offer more to behold than the ones over 200 Spring Street.
Your thoughts...................

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wendy warns - again

We hate saying "I told ya so." But... we did.

Confirmation from the Controller via the LA Times.
--------


L.A. controller warns that city could exhaust general fund next month [Updated]

 
April 5, 2010 |  1:42 pm
Los Angeles Controller Wendy Greuel on Monday said she expects the city’s general fund “will be out of money" by May 5 and that L.A. will likely deplete its reserve funds and be in the red by June 30.

Greuel alerted Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council of the city’s dire financial situation after the head of the Department of Water and Power stated he would oppose sending $73.5 million in utility revenue to the city treasury. Interim General Manager S. David Freeman said the council’s vote to block a proposed electricity rate hike last week threatens to put the utility in a deficit.

Greuel urged the council and mayor to immediately tap the city’s reserve funds so that city has enough cash to cover payroll. “This is the most urgent fiscal crisis that the city has faced in recent history, and it is imperative that you act now. That is why I am asking you to immediately transfer $90 million from the city’s reserve fund to the general fund so I can continue to pay the city’s bills, and to ensure the fiscal solvency of the city,” Greuel said.
Read the rest at the LA Times.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tour 50 beautiful local native gardens


It's that time of year again.  The Theodore Payne hosts their really cool annual Native Plant Garden tour in just two weeks.

The Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the understanding and preservation of California native flora. The foundation's Native Plant Garden tour is a two-day, self-guided journey through 50 of the most beautiful and inspiring native landscapes in the Los Angeles area.

On the tour, you’ll discover the beauty and many benefits of the California native plants. You’ll learn from experienced native-plant gardeners and volunteer docents how they have reduced water use, eliminated harmful pesticides and fertilizers, and attracted songbirds, hummingbirds and butterflies to their yards.

Get your tickets now!

7th Annual Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden
Two-day tour is Saturday and Sunday, April 10 & 11, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $20 person
Get your tickets at the Theodore Payne Foundation web site.