GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Box joins Governor in CRA opposition

CONTACT: Claudia Vázquez
(213) 394-5321

In a light drizzle and speaking before news cameras and reporters, Stephen Box, candidate for City Council representing the 4th District, was joined by about 50 community advocates, neighborhood activists and community watch group members in assailing LA’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) process, the stashing of nearly 1 billion dollars in public funds, and cited incumbent City Councilmember Tom LaBonge’s special relationship with out-of-town developers and political cronies with deep ties to City Hall. 

“LA is in a massive budget crisis, facing shortfalls for vital services - police, fire, street and road repair - while the CRA hides $930 million in redevelopment funds in plain view, money which could be used to meet these vital needs,” Box said.

We join Governor Brown in challenging the wisdom and judgment of the City Hall politicians, including the incumbent, Mr. LaBonge, who either don’t recognize this fundamental absurdity in fiduciary responsibility,” Box continued, “ or simply don’t care about the sacrifices and hardship the CRA imposes on the people of LA by hiding money during this budget crisis.” 

“The dozens of people here today represent thousands of fourth district residents and organizations citywide who join me in demanding an end to this financial shell game.”

The press event was held at the corner of Garfield Place and Hollywood Boulevard, in front of a 1.8 acre vacant lot wrapped in chain link fencing. Local residents have fought for years to turn the site into a city park for so long that the land is commonly referred to as “Garfield Park.” Council Member LaBonge, who has held his seat for a decade, has consistently sided with developers who wish to use the public’s money to build commercial development instead of a community park there.

Box is running for LA’s City Council, representing District 4, which includes North Hollywood, Toluca Lake, the Hollywood Hills, Mid-City, the Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Larchmont Village, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and North Atwater Village.  

Box for City Council 2011 5629 Hollywood Blvd. POB 44 Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 739-4BOX - -
Box for City Council 2011, Campaign ID#I1328214

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

HexWatch 2011: legal pile-on begins, LaBonge goes green?

Healthy rumor comes to Griffith Park Wayist that following the EPA's lead, yet another major governmental entity is about to pile on Walt Disney Studios in Burbank by dropping another set of major papers on them.

These lawsuits allege that Disney has not only dumped huge amounts of toxic Chromium 6 into the LA River via Headworks, seriously contaminating Griffith Park and local residents for the better part of a century, but that the studio has engaged in major efforts to cover up the crime.

The timing of this reveal is very interesting with an important election in CD 4 taking place in just weeks. Might Tom LaBonge have learned about this alleged crime and finally taken a true enviro stand by orchestrating this reveal?

If true, this blog is going to have to do some serious re-evaluation of the politician's career.

If true, we'll be happy to do it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

O'Grady Stonewalled in CD 4

Just who did the Stonewall Democratic Club endorse for CD 4 at Monday night's meeting?

Glen Dake, a past Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commissioner, says this on the Twitter:

Stonewall Democratic Club voted 2 endorse Tom LaBonge for re-election in CD4! People say he gives great contituent service.

But Tomas O' Grady claims this on his campaign blog: Stonewall Democrats Political Committee Recommend O’Grady for Endorsement

They're likely both right, but ultimately the official club ignored their political committee's recommendation and chose Tom LaBonge, once again showing a lack of real support for O'Grady.

Unknown if Stephen Box - a very enviro fellow -  was on the radar at the Stone Wall.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Endorses Krekorian

Bit of a no-brainer, this one (the endorsement, not the candidate); CD 2 CM Paul Krekorian has received the endorsement of the Angeles Chapter of Sierra Club California. Quickquote from the PolComm: "Krekorian has been a leader in promoting environmentally friendly projects including finding ways to accelerate California's adoption of renewable energy and promoting water efficiency. He has an outstanding record supporting public safety, education and the environment."
Burbank city council candidates Gary Bric and Emily Gabel-Luddy have gotten the chapter's nod as have Abbe Land and Lindsey Horvath for West Hollywood City Council.
Ted Lieu received the local club's endorsement for 28th State Senate District.

State Controller to audit the CRA

18 community redevelopment agencies were chosen for an audit by State Controller John Chiang across California, and thankfully LA's CRA is one of them.

The LA Times: 
Chiang will deploy staff to the selected agencies over the next few weeks, spokesman Garin Casaleggio said, with a goal of having a report in hand by early March. "It will be swift,'' he said.
'Swift' might not be possible with all the money shenanigans that our CRA, headed by Chris Essel, has been up to lately.


City Hall 101
Everything is viewed as a "pot of money".  The Goal: for each individual fiefdom to take and control as many 'pots of money' as fast as possible while maintaining at least the pretense of doing something along the lines of public services.  
The check sum: the public vote. There is no QA/QC, and in Los Angeles - no repercussions, apparently.

Business 101
The Goal: provide a highly desired or much needed service or product as quickly, efficiently and in the most cost-effective manner possible to maximize profit.  
The check sum: net profit.

Any questions?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Random Notes for the Weekend

It's a little warm today for January, so I guess global warming is going on.
Last week, it was a little chilly, so I guess global warming was off.
I sure wish climate change would make up its mind!
Joe B. is back over at the Mayor Sam blog and all is right with the world. Word has it the divorce proceedings hit a snag when neither party was willing to accept sole custody of Phil Jennerjahn comments.
If you are over 50 and still have your teeth, read this...
Watch out for tooth #30. Mine had four roots and there's no telling how many roots this tooth is willing to grow to stay in your mouth. Found a local "green" dentist who removed the tooth and replaced it with a native Oak. I'm happy to do my part for the environment, but frankly I don't like the way squirrels now look at me when I smile.
Enviros on the radar this week are:
Veronica Padilla for doing the right thing and bringing protective facemasks to granite workers in Pacoima and Robina Suwol for
Schools and Environmental Health:At a Crossroads
Come speak to local, state, and federal public officials about school environmental health issues and their importance in your community. We want to hear your concerns and give you a chance to influence policy on this important issue.

February 1, 2011
City Hall, 200 North Spring Street, Downtown Los Angeles
4th Floor Media Center
Hosted By
Robina Suwol, Executive Director, California Safe Schools &
Jane Williams, Executive Director, California Communities Against Toxics

Pre -Event Learning Session
What Are U.S. EPA’s Draft School Siting Guidelines and
what might they mean for your community?

U.S. EPA has proposed new draft voluntary school siting guidelines. The draft guidelines are available for public comment until February 18, 2011 at Learn more about these guidelines at this pre-event learning session.

Listening Session
Share YOUR experience with school siting and environmental health issues!

Please RSVP to Robina Suwol | 818-785-5515 |

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Delta IV Heavy Launch from Vandenberg

With a blast heard almost 50 miles away, the 235 foot high rocket, the largest ever launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, headed to space today reaching a speed of 17,600 mph.
LA Times

Stephen Box Looks Out for the Little Guy

Hike with the Candidate on Sunday

Read this on the Twitter.

Stephen Box for CD4
Come to "Hike with the Candidate!" Sunday, February 6 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Come hike with Stephen Box! We...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Domestic duck rescue at Haines successful

Rather than attend the L.A. Clean Sweep meeting last Sunday, both Joe B. and myself answered the humanitarian call and went to the Haines Canyon duck rescue, fully ready to get muddy saving some animals in distress.

Haines Canyon, in Tujunga, has one of the largest debris basins serving the Station Fire area.  A natural stream feeds Haines Canyon year-round so that the basin is always full of water.  Once or twice a year, the Army Corps of Engineers drain the basin and dredge the accumulated debris. Over the last 18 months, the Station Fire has pushed all associated debris basins including Haines to their limit.

The perpetual stream unfortunately makes Haines Canyon a dumping ground for people who want to get rid of unwanted water fowl. Authorities are looking for one man has been seen dumping tame domestic waterfowl into the wild environment on a regular basis. Lucky Duck Rescue handled the last domestic duck rescue from Haines. Not long after, the same man allegedly did it again. The geese that were dumped were killed almost immediately by coyotes, but 7 domestic ducks survived.

From the pictures, this rescue too was clearly a success. All of the purely domestic ducks were successfully wrangled, boxed, and are now on their way to great new homes. Good stuff.

If anyone has any information on the man illegally dumping domestic ducks and geese at Haines Canyon, please drop me a line.

If you'd like to volunteer or donate to Lucky Duck duck rescue. information is available on their web site.

O'Grady's campaign finances deceiving

On January 10th, campaign financing disclosures for the current election were due to the Los Angeles Ethics commission. The results for CD 4 showed a huge increase in CD 4 challenger Tomas O'Grady over co-challenger Stephen Box, outwardly appearing that the O'Grady campaign had grown leaps and bounds in all-important community support. However, looks can be deceiving.

Of the $38,000 the O'Grady campaign reports, $25,000 is listed as personal funds. Although using your own funds is certainly one of the standard means of funding a campaign, it is obviously not indicative of community support. Meg Whitman learned that the expensive way.

Griffith Park Wayist received a copy of an email sent out by the O'Grady campaign just before the January 10th reporting date providing more details as to the sources of support for the candidate.

According to the campaign email blast, the $25,000 from O'Grady comes from a home equity line of credit. Another fraction of the next $10,000 comes from some among his Los Feliz Forward co-members.

(Los Feliz Forward: Alex De Ocampo, Christina Khanjian, Jessica Kornberg, Harpreet Malhi, Frank Masi, Mark Mauceri, Tomàs O’Grady, Ron Ostrow, Leslie VanKeuren, and Mio Vuckovic.) Los Feliz Forward was election slate that successfully engaged in an ugly hostile takeover of the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council.

O'Grady's campaign email lists four Los Feliz Forward slate members who have already donated to their fellow member.  Rather questionably, the O'Grady email ID's most of them specifically as GGPNC board members in the email blast, giving the impression that the GGPNC board is officially supporting O'Grady already at the end of December 2010.

Text of the email follows:
From: Tomas O Grady
Date: Tue, Dec 28, 2010 at 9:39 PM
Subject: TOMAS O'GRADY FOR CITY COUNCIL. Working Together, Anything's Possible

Hi whom it may concern,
We have raised $10,000 in 10 days. We now have $35,000. We borrowed $25,000 on our home equity line. If we raise an additional $15,000, then public financing will give us $25,000. With $75,000, we are very possible. We have a committed 1800 voters. (March 8th ).

Why should you vote for Tomas O’Grady? Or tell your friends? Or contribute? Watch this.
You think I am just another politician looking for an easy gig? Think again. I have committed to cutting in half the incredible $1/4 Million per year pay package. I can do just fine on $100,000.

ANYONE WHO GIVES, will be invited (with your significant) to a dinner party at our home in the hills of Los Feliz on Sat. January 8th. So please whom it may concern give what you can and Happy Holidays to you.

Take care, Tomas

Thank you, thank you to Genesa Wagoner, Ron Graham, Beachie Rogers, Jennifer Tyler, David Marsh and Meher McArthur, Kevin Mulcahy, Kathy Hill, Mio and Tina Vukovic, Thomas Francis, Leonardo Chalupowicz, Christina Neferis, Jordan and Crystal Marder, Yuri and Chris Nichelson, Adam Silverman of Heath ceramics, Luisa Nubaravacharyan of the GGPNC, Briana Ryan, Meg Taylor of Large Marge Sustainables, Mark Mauceri of the GGPNC, Frank Masi of the GGPNC , Warner Ebbink of Little Doms, Steve and Madi Ronk, Matt Moses, Renae Plant of Camelot Kids, Robert Del Campo of Casida Del Campo, Aram and Rose of Home Restaurant, Susanne Netka retired teacher of Franklin elementary, Annemarie Ralph, new green magnet coordinator of King middle school, Jessica Kornberg of the GGPNC, Barbara Bestor of Bestor Architecture, Leslie Weinstein of Friends of Franklin and Vera Paras. FOR THE $10,000 
PAID FOR BY  O'Grady for City Council 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Clean sweep pulls endorsement of O’Grady

First-hand report of the LA Clean Sweep meeting from Radio LosFeliz. 

Special to Griffith Park Wayist.

Clean sweep pulls its endorsement of O’Grady

By guest blogger Radio LosFeliz

Delivering yet another blow to a campaign that struggles with a series of embarrassing pandering tactics, LA Clean Sweep pulled its endorsement of Tomas O’Grady.

The Clean Sweep nominating committee had initially recommended endorsing both Stephen Box and Tomas O’Grady to run against Tom Labonge’s CD4 seat. But on Sunday’s meeting of the general membership it didn’t take long before the voices against O’Grady spoke out loud and clear. The vote to dump O’Grady was near unanimous.

Failed neighborhood treasurer, driving bitter wedges into a once functioning neighborhood council, and repeated bouts with an explosive temper are apparently not the qualifications Clean Sweep was looking for.

Integrity counts. That is the underlying theme of the Clean Sweep movement. In other words, if you fake a Council letterhead and misrepresent your neighbors it is kind of hard to ask for an endorsement by a group looking for integrity. If you shroud yourself in a mélange of Not For Profit groups and then ask for public money to a point where no one knows exactly who is getting what, then it kind of feels like the typical City Hall dirty tricks. And if you call yourself green in one breath and repeatedly vote on the side of developers and high density with the other then it is clear you will pander to anybody to get yourself elected.

Bottom line, integrity is not a word commonly attached to recent New Jersey landlord Tomas O’Grady.

It is hard to see how anyone could take the O’Grady campaign seriously given the endless controversy that follows him into any meeting room. The Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council has fielded several ethical complaints against him. Whether or not his ethics actually violate unenforceable rules is for his friends at Los Feliz Forward to decide, and conceal.

What is clear is that O’Grady plays dirty. He is known to author an avalanche of intimidating and smearing emails to further his own personal agenda. To disagree at a public meeting is to invite a relentless string of strange, venom filled communications.

His worse opponent is indeed his own temper. His explosive outbursts are well known at the Neighborhood Council and other community meetings. Perhaps that method worked for him New Jersey it is hard to know.

But here in the City of Angels the question is pretty clear. If anger control is a problem while discussing T Shirts for a clean up day, how could he possibly cope with all the heavy issues confronting our City.

It is easy to see why Clean Sweep rejected him as a viable candidate. It is hard to believe he will keep trying anyway.

Griffith Park Brewery sounds good

Soothsaying courtesy

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stephen Box endorsed by Clean Sweep for CD 4

LA Clean Sweep - a non-partisan political action committee consisting of community activists - today endorsed candidate Stephen Box over Tomas O'Grady for the seat currently under a stranglehold by Tom LaBonge.

LA Clean Sweep was started by the community leaders who raised the alarm and help defeat the evil Measure B. Measure B was City Hall's attempt in 2009 to raise energy fees and redirect green energy funding to pay the bloated salaries of DWP's employees by playing the green (energy) card: "If it's called green, it must be good." Measure B was, in fact, just the opposite.

More on this endorsement and LA Clean Sweep's other endorsements at Ron Kaye LA.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

9 Ducks Need Your Help!

An appeal from Lucky Duck Rescue & Sanctuary;

Once again, the army corps of engineers is cleaning the Haines Canyon Debris Basin. There are currently 9 domestic (flightless) ducks in need of a rescue, hopefully before coyote predation strikes. We need as many volunteers as possible as the area is vast.

If you can help, please be at the basin 11:00 am, Sunday, January 16th. The address is 10529 Haines Canyon Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042. If you have questions, please contact me @

Also, we are interested in finding a good home for these ducks,. Ducks are great treasures for a yard. Please let me know if you can help in this way as well.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Carol Chrysong
Executive Director
The Lucky Duck Rescue & Sanctuary

Friday, January 7, 2011

AQMD May Go To Battle With USEPA Over Pollution Credits: Guess Who's The Bad Guy...

The L.A.-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has issued a call to arms for today's South Coast Air Quality Management District meeting (SCAQMD). Big topic is that the US Environmental Protection Agency caught our AQMD red handed when they issued more pollution credits than they were legally allowed. South Coast now has a "new and improved" plan.
According to Adrian Martinez, lawyer for NRDC:
To make up for the lack of credits EPA found to be invalid, the District is now seeking to go back in time to collect reductions in pollution that had previously been a benefit to the air, but will now be administered to allow more pollution. In some cases, the District is proposing they can collect on clean air gains that happened nearly 20 years ago, in an effort to dole out those clean up credits now.
If you wonder how L.A. is still Number One is ozone pollution, look no further than our own regulatory backyard.
Mr. Martinez offers more on his NRDC blog.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Box for CD 4 campaign kicks off tonight


This Thursday evening we're kicking off 2011 at our Campaign Headquarters and you're all invited to join us as we celebrate our vision for the future, our plans for the campaign, and our strategies for reaching the wonderful people in Council District 4.

Box for City Council 2011
5619 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

photographer: Suzette Troche-Stapp
Regardless of where you live and what your talents are, there is a place for you on the Stephen Box for City Council 2011 team!

If you like to walk, join me and we'll walk neighborhoods in Council District 4, talking to voters and listening to their interests, their concerns, and their ideas for improving the quality of life in our community.

If you like to talk on the phone, join the team at HQ and start calling voters, something we'll be doing every evening until March 8, 2011. This is something you can do with the team or at home.

If you like to social media, there is definitely a place for you on the team that is busy creating videos, tweeting, and getting connected. Join us at HQ or work on the go.

If you like coffee, or just hanging out, there is a place for you hosting a "Chat with Stephen" so your friends and neighbors can learn about the candidate, the campaign, and what it all means for Los Angeles.

If you like to read, watch videos, and write, visit the Stephen Box for City Council 2011 website ( and take a look at the articles that I've written, the endorsements that I've received, and the videos that we've made. Then write me a note and give me your feedback. I'd love to hear from you!

Join us on Sunday at 11am for a Volunteer training party, also at 5619 Hollywood Blvd. 90028! We'd love to have you!

Most of all, know that this is going to be a great year in Los Angeles and I look forward to working with you to make it happen!

View Larger Map

Stephen Box
Candidate for LA City Council, District 4
323.739.4BOX (4269)
5629 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90028

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

HexWatch 2011: OEHHA Seeks Public Comment

Winner of the Most Misfortunate Use of an Acronym by a Public Office award (the esteemed MMUAPO award), the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), has sent out a press release (here) seeking comment on Hexavalent Chromium 6 levels in California's drinking water. It's a Public Health Goal referred to in the release as a "PHG" -- to which I respond "OMG." Do send in your comments ASAP.

If you read the doc and get confused by the ppb (parts per billion) being discussed instead of the ppm (parts per million) we have been using in prior posts concerning Hex 6 in soil at Griffith Park's Headworks, fear not, you are in excellent company.

Simply put, Environmental Working Group found L.A.'s drinking water to have 20 ppb of Hex 6 (here).

California's OEHHA is seeking a maximum Hex 6 level in our drinking water of 6 ppb.

Let 'em know how you feel.

If enough of us do submit comments by January 30, they are likely to establish a legal standard for our state.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sens. Boxer and Feinstein are working the feds on establishing standards as well, but that will probably take a while.

Park pic of the day

Startling encounter January 3rd in Griffith Park was TwitPic'd by politeo

A little bone-chilling wind in CD 4 today

It's a little blustery in CD 4 today.

First it was efforts to 'save the Los Feliz Library', then disgruntled veterans demanding a ribbon on the Hollywood Sign. Now he's leading the on-going broad-based community fight to save Barnsdall Art Park. Tomas O'Grady - candidate for CD 4 - will lead them all to victory.

What is the real story here?  Who is this Tomas O'Grady person? 

Is he a:

Simple usurper?

Unwitting Universal/NBC stalking horse with a hair-trigger temper?

Self-proclaimed green phoney-baloney who made his money back east in high-density real estate?

Or ... the one true leader behind all of these community actions?

Voters will have to decide for themselves come March.

John Thomas's presser follows. The one good bet in all of this is that the LA Times will cover it because it is John Thomas.
John S. Thomas
O’Grady for City Council 2011
Tel: (818) xxx-xxxx
Email: xxxxxxxx


“We are done with talkers. We are taking action. We will not allow a ¼ million per year councilman and a ¼ million per year Barnsdall Director to fire these dedicated people at Barnsdall Art Park,” demands Tomas O’Grady, candidate for 4th LA City Council District.

Who: Tomas O’Grady, Candidate for 4th LA City Council District
Over 20 Members of the Barnsdall Alliance
Numerous artists from the community
Neighborhood Council Leaders
Other concerned citizens of Los Angeles

What: Rally to ensure Barnsdall Art Park remains open to the public, not become privatized, and that dozens of precious local artists are not fired.

When: Wednesday January 5, 2011 10:00am

Where: City Hall – South Lawn (Steps)
200 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

Monday, January 3, 2011

CA makes virtual impersonation a crime

Heads up, anonymouses and web squatters. The State of California has formally enacted SB 1411 as of January 1, making the electronic impersonation of any real person a crime.

Technically, this sure could cramp the style of a number of the regular commenters on the Mayor Sam blog. But we doubt it will.

Details of the law from the text of the bill:

SECTION 1. Section 528.5 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

528.5. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person who knowingly and without consent credibly impersonates another actual person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person is guilty of a public offense punishable pursuant to subdivision (d).

(b) For purposes of this section, an impersonation is credible if another person would reasonably believe, or did reasonably believe, that the defendant was or is the person who was impersonated.

(c) For purposes of this section, "electronic means" shall include opening an e-mail account or an account or profile on a social networking Internet Web site in another person's name.

(d) A violation of subdivision (a) is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(e) In addition to any other civil remedy available, a person who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of subdivision (a) may bring a civil action against the violator for compensatory damages and injunctive relief or other equitable relief pursuant to paragraphs (1), (2), (4), and (5) of subdivision (e) and subdivision (g) of Section 502.

The Look