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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mayor's budget for Rec and Parks targets LA's most underprivileged

Update II:  Ron Kaye covers this issue today.

Update:   Stephen Box at CityWatch discusses the transparent diversion from any real budget conversation for the Dept. of Recreation and Parks that took place between Commission President Barry Sanders and the B&F committee. 

Image credit:
Thursday morning, this author went downtown to the City's Budget and Finance Committee hearing on the Mayor's proposed budget for the Department of Recreation and Parks. I went to speak on the social injustice this budget represents, and point out some of the most questionable if not outright illegal charge-backs to the department this budget takes.

As I stood in line for my turn at the podium, I noted that perhaps only 1 or 2 of a committee of 5 were even bothering to listen to the members of the public, concerned people who had taken time from work to go downtown and testify during the public hearing. I therefore suddenly found myself compelled to alter my planned comments.

Here is the full text of what I had planned to say if the committee had actually been listening.
Honorable committee members and Chairman Parks,

During this committee’s discussion on creating an Inspector General on Monday, many of you explicitly expressed your concern that the Mayor’s office has not been doing their job with respect to making sure funds owed to this City are collected. A number of the Controller’s recent audits punctuate this fiscally damaging failure.

So if the Mayor’s office isn’t doing their job, I think it is fair to ask “what are they doing, exactly”?

Declaring outright war through this budget on those citizens in this City who are least able to fight back, that’s what.

If furloughs are now off the table, with this prejudicial budget of the Mayor’s, the Department of Recreation and Parks is left with just 56% of their total appropriation to use to provide parks services to the public – just 56%! That’s less money than Fiscal Year 2000, and since 2000, thousands of acres of parkland and numerous facilities have been added to your districts and are now the department’s responsibility.

This budget is a crime. It preferentially impacts the lower socio-economic children of Los Angeles. It’s these kids who rely on City parks the most. And the vast majority of their families have no idea this resource is under attack. After all, most of them are busy just trying to make ends meet, working blue collar jobs where they aren’t able to look at a computer for budget information or listen to Councilphone to try to keep on top of this.

This committee – especially Councilmember Parks – recently stood up for the Libraries and what they provide to some of the most underprivileged in this City. The Department of Recreation and Parks provides everything Libraries do: safe places to go after school and on weekends where kids receive educational programming. Same as Libraries.

But in addition, parks provide healthy low-cost exercise and sports in a time when childhood obesity is at epidemic levels, especially in LA City and County where in some districts it approaches 26% of our children – children who rely on the civil servants sitting here to provide subsidized, healthy physical exercise opportunities for them.

Recreation and Parks is where you get the most bang for the buck for these kids. Yet the Mayor’s office unveils this travesty of a budget directly targeting these very children.

Much of this budget crime contains some highly unethical and legally questionable “charge-backs”. Let’s talk about some of these very questionable charge-backs:

TRASH: a new charge for FY2012.

Trash is generated primarily by parks visitors exactly like trash on the streets and any other City property… Citizens bring this trash on their own onto park property. It is not generated by the Department. How can you possibly justify this charge as a department expense?

(Trash payment = $3.7 million, equivalent to ~74 employees laid off)

ERIP: Most if not all of the other City departments who offered ERIP are being made whole through borrowing. Why is RAP the only dept being forced to use their allocation to pay their ERIP costs?

(ERIP cash payment = $4.3 million, equivalent to ~86 employees laid off)

NO FURLOUGHS(+$12 million in expenses, equivalent to ~240 employees laid off)

WATER AND POWER: LADWP is a City-owned utility who uses park properties for their infrastructure (“Infra-squatting”, if you will) yet is still charging another City Department, Recreation and Parks, full price. However, they are not paying Recreation and Parks the requisite franchise fees for use of their various properties. Franchise fees are something they would have to pay to any other regular ratepayer.

Is this legal? It certainly isn’t right or fair.

What it is is a thinly veiled way to sweep charter-mandated parks funds into the General Fund, something explicitly illegal according to the City Charter.

Departments providing “critical services” don’t pay LADWP fees. With childhood obesity fees in your own districts as high as 26%, how could anyone sit there and say Rec and Parks services are not critical City services for the most underprivileged under your own stewardship?

(Utilities cost = $16 million, equivalent to ~320 employees laid off)

You know, as a volunteer I put in more than 900 hours of hard physical work for this department each year because I believe wholeheartedly in their core mission for the people of Los Angeles. All the people.

The funds permanently allocated by the City Charter to the Department of Recreation and Parks says that The People agree with me.

I need to see one of you here on this committee stand up for the most underprivileged in this City. You all need to stand up as a committee against the Mayor’s office.... For this department. For the children of this City who need you to defend them against this assault.

This is war against the citizens of Los Angeles, aimed directly at the underprivileged. End it now.

Disturbingly, but not surprisingly, when all was said and done in the hearing no one on the Budget and Fiance committee stood up for The People.

Meanwhile, in a total disconnect from what happened today, Budget and Finance chair Bernard Parks is made to look good once again by the Dept of Recreation and Parks.


Read the list of services that the Department of Recreation and Parks has already had to cut during the past three years due to the Mayor's budgeting approach.

Read the full letter and all attachments sent to the Budget and Fiance committee regarding this year's budget by Department of Recreation and Parks.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Being the park

While we were away on holiday, a new FaceBook page has popped up celebrating those wild Griffith Park Love-Ins from the late sixties and early seventies.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Snake pic of the day

Heads up: Rattlers are out in force now.
@bonebraking Timothy Bonebrake took this pic of a very healthy specimin in GP today:

Now that the snakies have emerged full-force, keep an eye on your dogs while in the park. One of our local vets reported three rattlesnake bites last week to dogs who were off-leash and sniffing where they should not have been in Griffith Park. Two of those bites were fatal.

Injured hiker rescued near Dante's View

*Injured Hiker* Griffith Park near Dante's Peak; MAP 593-J2; FS 35; PRELIM: Adult male hiker fell on remote trail; LAFD air/ground response; NFD (No Further Details) Ch:7,12 @ 7:42 AM -Brian Humphrey ###

Tue, Apr 19, 2011, 08:08 UPDATE: Griffith Park/Dante's Peak* LAFD copter found patient, lowered medics to ground; Ground transport anticipated - Brian Humphrey###

Good thing LAFD has a helicopter, because Park Rangers don't go on duty in Griffith Park until 10am anymore.

Note to LAFD: There is no "Dante's Peak" in Griffith Park. Only in Hollywoodland where Pierce Brosnan engaged a Mt. St. Helens lookalike in a silly movie.  Dantes' View is on Mt. Hollywood in Griffith Park, but the Hollywood Sign is not. The Hollywood Sign is on Mt. Lee.  Everyone got that? 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

[HoffWatch] Budget LA Meeting A Huge Success

Due to space limitations, thousands were left outside in the 90 degree heat, but reports indicate a riot was averted when the Coolhaus truck pulled up.

Friday, April 15, 2011

[HexWatch 2011] LAT/Glendale News-Press Provide Minimum Daily Required Irony

Fantastic article straight from the lips of an LADWP spokesman and through the pen of writer Bill Kisliuk about multi-million dollar plans to install 110 million gallon water tanks at Headworks that "will keep our drinking water in compliance."
Last I knew, Hex Chrome VI penetrates people, animals, and water tanks, pipes, etc.
If you're an unsuspecting male LADWP worker at Headworks, it's a terrific job if you enjoy the nightlife and don't want the hassle of getting bogged down by a family.
Favorite line:
The locals most familiar with Headworks are equestrians in the Burbank and Glendale Rancho neighborhoods who use tunnels underneath the 134 Freeway to get to Griffith Park trails.
My coffee almost came out my nose when I read the quote from the woman who brought her horse through Tunnel 7 and said that the construction machines can be scary...for her horse...while she stands on contaminated dirt, breathing the dust of an area infused with one of the most deadly toxic substances known to man. A toxic substance that has no safe level.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

[TribeWatch] Kayenta Township: First Tribal Community In Nation To Adopt Green Building Code

This just in from the US EPA:
"Kayenta Township (Ariz.) is the first tribal community in the U.S. to adopt the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), a building code designed to reduce the environmental impact of construction projects while keeping safety measures intact and enforceable.
EPA’s Pacific Southwest Green Building Team worked with Kayenta and works with other tribes and federal agencies to support the development of sustainable building codes that meet tribal priorities. In addition, Kayenta will be working with EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities to pilot community Smart Growth Guidelines for Sustainable Design and Development.
'As one of the first communities to adopt this code, Kayenta Township is forging a path for sustainable development,' said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. 'Their commitment to green building design will not only protect the public health, but water and energy savings means precious local resources will be preserved.'”
Maybe it's just me, but I had always assumed the tribal communities were way ahead on the green curve...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

[EnviroWatch] EJ Groups vs. Mainstream Enviros Over Cap & Trade?

A little inside baseball here: Environmental Justice groups have been, well, not exactly "under fire" or "under attack" by the more mainstream CA environmental folks, but the AB 32 Cap & Trade slowdown brought about by a suit filed by EJ groups has definitely sparked conversation amongst many enviros statewide. At issue (for my small brain) is the simple question as to when pollution credits are traded, are they traded into areas already experiencing the greatest poverty and the heftiest impacts of pollution?
To assure equal protection, the law and subsequent regulations do need to be vetted properly in court when there is a conflict. But if you look at the video below about 2011 Goldman Prize winner Hilton Kelley, you'll see in just a few frames (at about 1:17) exactly what brings the EJ folk and mainstream enviros together. It's worth the fight.

Brown To Sign 33% Renewables Into Law

CA Enviros have been working on state legislators and the governor(s) for a long time on a Renewable Portfolio Standard.
"With one action enacting a 33 percent RPS immediately the state can give clean energy investors the green light they need to infuse new life into the state's clean tech economy." Jim Metropulos, Senior Advocate, Sierra Club California

Monday, April 11, 2011

Don't make him mad

Leonardo Da Vinci's war-related resume was recently evaluated for proper resume style by Mark Cenedella of The Ladders.

After reading, forget the resume style! You do not want to make Leonardo angry. That's for darned sure.

"Most Illustrious Lord, 

Having now sufficiently considered the specimens of all those who proclaim themselves skilled contrivers of instruments of war, and that the invention and operation of the said instruments are nothing different from those in common use: I shall endeavor, without prejudice to any one else, to explain myself to your Excellency, showing your Lordship my secret, and then offering them to your best pleasure and approbation to work with effect at opportune moments on all those things which, in part, shall be briefly noted below.
  1. I have a sort of extremely light and strong bridges, adapted to be most easily carried, and with them you may pursue, and at any time flee from the enemy; and others, secure and indestructible by fire and battle, easy and convenient to lift and place. Also methods of burning and destroying those of the enemy.
  2. I know how, when a place is besieged, to take the water out of the trenches, and make endless variety of bridges, and covered ways and ladders, and other machines pertaining to such expeditions.
  3. If, by reason of the height of the banks, or the strength of the place and its position, it is impossible, when besieging a place, to avail oneself of the plan of bombardment, I have methods for destroying every rock or other fortress, even if it were founded on a rock, etc.
  4. Again, I have kinds of mortars; most convenient and easy to carry; and with these I can fling small stones almost resembling a storm; and with the smoke of these cause great terror to the enemy, to his great detriment and confusion.
  5. And if the fight should be at sea I have kinds of many machines most efficient for offense and defense; and vessels which will resist the attack of the largest guns and powder and fumes.
  6. I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river.
  7. I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance.
  8. In case of need I will make big guns, mortars, and light ordnance of fine and useful forms, out of the common type.
  9. Where the operation of bombardment might fail, I would contrive catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvelous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of offense and defense.
  10. In times of peace I believe I can give perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any other in architecture and the composition of buildings public and private; and in guiding water from one place to another.
  11. I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.
Again, the bronze horse may be taken in hand, which is to be to the immortal glory and eternal honor of the prince your father of happy memory, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.

And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency - to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc."

Just for fun, here's our favorite cut of The Ladders' most recent ad campaign:

Friday, April 8, 2011

[HexWatch 2011] A Visit To The L.A. City Energy & Environment Committee

On Tuesday morning, I was out the door at 7:15a, gave the MTA six bucks and took the Orange Line to the Red Line to City Hall in order to be at the L.A. City Energy & Environment Committee by 9:00 to offer two minute public comment at a couple minutes past 10:00a. Had to speak really fast because, after all, I only had two minutes and committee members and staff were anxious to get to their City Council meeting. Here's what I had to offer:

"Madame Chair, Honorable Members of the Energy & Environment Committee,

My name is Bill Haller. In the last few years, I have appeared before your committees as the Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council President representing more than 40,000 stakeholders in our district in CD 6. I have also appeared before this body as the volunteer State Chair of Sierra Club California’s Air Quality Committee representing more than 150,000 club members in our state. Today, I come before you as an LADWP Ratepayer representing what I believe to be the best interests of 3.8 million residents.

In December of 2010, I received a tip as a result of my environmental blogging on Griffith Park Wayist. I began researching and writing about Hexavalent Chromium VI in the Headworks area of Griffith Park. The email document now in your possession was that tip.

This LADWP interoffice document indicates that, on February 1, 2010, more than a year ago, soil sample tests came back to LADWP showing an extremely high level of Hexavalent Chromium VI in the Headworks area of Griffith Park, about eight times the USEPA’s “concern level” for industrial soil exposure. As backup, I have also enclosed my writing from the Griffith Park Wayist blog. For the research links, you’ll have to go to the blog.

We know the name Erin Brockovich. She brought to light the activities of how a private utility tried to hide the incredibly damaging effects of Hexavalent Chromium VI visited on the men, women and children of Hinkley, CA.

Yet here we are in 2011 with the possibility of our own Hinkley and after 14 months of no true information or action by LADWP, the people of the City of Los Angeles still remain largely unaware of the actual danger contained in Headworks soil because someone, some group or some attorney at LADWP thought it in the public's best interest NOT to inform them.

This past year, we have had days and days of high winds, kicking up dirt and dust and days and days of rain.

One question to ask LADWP:

Whose lives, whose families are we protecting by NOT informing the public that there are extremely high levels of Hexavalent Chromium VI buried in Headworks' industrial soil next to a park where our elderly visit, a playground where our children play, and an equestrian center where our athletes and hobby riders keep their horses?

I ask that this committee take immediate action and let the public know with certainty that it is safe to bike, ride and play in the area adjacent to Headworks OR if everybody should steer clear of a life-threatening environmental hazard.

Thank you."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tujunga Wash 4/6/11 via DroidX

You might have trouble convincing someone that this short clip was shot within the city limits of Los Angeles.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

DWP funding for Holiday Light Festival goes bye-bye

Shed no tears for the half-million idling cars that won't be clogging up Griffith Park, I-5, Los Feliz streets, and the air you breathe come Thanksgiving.

The DWP as part of a $400 million cost-cutting measure has axed the EcoMoron Award-winning Holiday Light Festival.

LA Times:
Among the items eliminated, officials said, is the popular Holiday Light Festival, the annual light show in Griffith Park between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. The DWP has funded the festival for 14 of the last 15 years. Also to be cut are two smaller holiday light festivals, one in Leimert Park and the other on the 1st  Street Bridge. The DWP will save $1 million a year eliminating the holiday light shows, said Joseph Ramallo, a DWP spokesman.

Now take a deep breath - count to three - and listen for Tom LaBonge announcing how he will fund his own EcoMoron-candidate version. Wait for it... wait....

Cahuenga Peak repurposed as a Frat House

"The Couch", dude.
Land on the top of Cahuenga Peak may officially belong to the Department of Recreation and Parks now, having been "saved" by Tom LaBonge, but private individuals recently took it upon themselves to develop some of that land near the Tree of Life for their own personal use.

What use?  To  par-tay, dude! What else would you do with it?

Persons unknown have installed both a ratty old party couch and an illegal zipline on the Cahuenga Peak property. Neither are authorized.

"The Couch" seen from the other
end of the zipline, dude.
The Hyperventilation blog has lots of photos and video of the zipline as the author hikes to the line and takes a ride. The blog also identifies someone named "Max" as the perpetrator.

Hyperventilation has published this video of their zipline ride on Youtube:

The blog also published their video of them holding a barbecue on a public street below the Hollywood Sign after the ride.  Wonder how many fire ordinances that may have violated.

You really have got to feel for the Tree of Life. It somehow manages to survive being roasted in 2007, only to find itself now part of someone's outdoor frat house. Hopefully trees can't get bed bugs.

You also have to wonder why people feel they can simply 'help themselves' to undeveloped land and use it for whatever selfish reason strikes them. Sadly, it happens all to often.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Friday Friday for Charity Charity

Stephen Colbert sings "Friday" in response to BFF (for 6 months) Jimmy Fallon's matching gift of $26,000 to charity

Sunday, April 3, 2011

GoDaddy CEO kills elephant, tweets and vids it

Additional 4/10/11:

WebProNews details the after-the-fact editing and sanitizing of GoDaddy CEO Bob Parson's "vacation video", including removal of the images of Parsons sitting on the dead elephant and other more graphic bits.

Guess he thought better of advertising his elephant-killing activities after all.  Such leadership.

Coming on the heels of the death of the beautiful Ruby, news from GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons who goes live with his most recent exploits - hunting elephants.  And then tweets it and publishes his videoed exploits on the 'net.

Just back from hunting problem elephant in Zimbabwe. Here’s my vacation video. Enjoy. 17 days ago via web

Here's my vacation video. Enjoy.  Really? Perhaps Mr. Parsons lives under a rock with the other two guys who have never heard that Geico can save you money on car insurance.

Geico is a firm that at least understands publicity. WebProNews discusses the colossal PR FAIL that possessed the supposedly tech savvy firm's head guy. They point out that even PETA was using GoDaddy before the incident.

Simply terrible. Horrible. Disgusting.  We are checking with our bloggers, but we don't think we have anyone using GoDaddy, and if we do we will ask them to reconsider. Not necessarily from the animal rights angle, but from the magnitude of the bad decision-making this firm's leadership exhibits as well.

Warning: this is graphic.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fundraiser on Sunday in Atwater for victims of Chernobyl 25 years on

After this author accidentally let it slip that my grandfather was a pioneer in nuclear reactor safety in a rather lengthy and detailed article, Cindy Marie Jenkins sent a kind email about it and in it related her work with a special local charity, Voices from Chornobyl.

Image from
Photographer Robert Knoth
Chernobyl was a horrific tragedy. The design and construction of that nuclear fission reactor was in environmental and human terms simply criminal in that it lacked any type of sufficient containment protocol in the event of a catastrophic failure. When the emergency protocols that did exist broke down completely, an un-contained reactor meltdown was unleashed on the general population.

25 years on, those same people and their children still suffer from the physical results of exposure to the released radiation. What follows is Voices from Chornobyl's presser for a totally zen fundraiser in partnership with Chernobyl Children’s Project USA. Buy a ticket, and support an important cause while you chillax in Atwater Village with some major healing mojo.


Relax with a Mini-Session of an Alternative Modality While Donating to a Worthy Fundraising Effort

Sunday, April 03, 2011
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM (PT)
Buy your ticket at

The Global Healing Event is a fundraising effort for Voices From Chornobyl to facilitate a broader dissemination of information and awareness on the precipice of the 25th anniversary of the nuclear tragedy. Children today are still born with health issues, and volunteer surgeons travel to the Ukraine region year-round to provide basic and advanced surgeries; they are all volunteer.

Santosha Space and Hypnotiq Solutions have joined forces in hosting the Global Healing Event, to bring relaxation and calm to a chaotic world by facilitating and providing practitioners of various modalities to offer a momentary reprieve into the realm of calm, and help raise awareness as well as funds to improve the lives of those still affected by this nuclear disaster.

Available sessions:

HypnoArt by Thea Pueschel, C.Ht., Kinesthetic Visualist  Tap into your inner creativity without judgement. Art supplies provided.

Massage by Cat Macary, LMT  Experience the relaxation of a traditional massage

Reiki by Adriana Franco, C.Ht. Reiki Practitioner  Let go to a deeper state of calm with full body energy healing

Magnetic Healing with Virginia Applen: Improve your balance and circulation through magnetic therapy.

Hypnosis with Peter Bedard, M.A. C.Ht.  Restore calmness and relaxation through hypnosis.

Shiatsu/Acupressure Massage by Adrienne Montoya, CMT  Release blocked or congested energy centers in your body thru massage.


All practitioners are donating their time, services usually range $125 and up an hour. All proceeds go to Voices From Chornobyl. Sessions range from 10-15 minutes. Based on a first come first serve basis.

Santosha Space offers 2 weeks of unlimited classes for $30 for first time students as well as 10% off merchandise and healing arts for Atwater Village Residents.

Perhaps you feel like taking a yoga class before the event or after: Hatha Yoga and Meditation with Kierin 12:30-2:00pm | Vinyasa Flow with Karen 4:00-5:30

Voices From Chornobyl
(VFC) has partnered with the Chernobyl Children’s Project USA to raise awareness and money for the children whose health is still affected today. The VFC team is assembling more readings, an interactive children’s script, and expanding Chornobyl awareness events to include art exhibits and on-line outreach.