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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Biggest darn rattler in the park successfully relocated

Remember her?

More than 4' long and 14-15 rattles.

They don't come much bigger than this in Griffith Park:

In 2009, this grandmomma rattlesnake, looking very pregnant, scared quite a few visitors around Amir's Garden for a couple months. At the time, Park Rangers were patrolling for her so that they could relocate her safely to a less-traveled part of the park.

But Grandmomma suddenly dropped off the map. No sightings! As the garden caretaker, I seriously had eyes peeled for this gal. When she disappeared, I was worried something or someone had gotten to this beautiful creature before she could be safely moved. That said, rattlesnakes are territorial, and big ones maintain big territories. She could be anywhere in her territory.

Meanwhile, as we wondered where she might be, this photo kind of went viral throughout the park community. People kept asking me if I'd seen the big snake they saw in their email. I had to say 'no'.

At the end of August this year, Grandmomma suddenly reappeared in Amir's Garden. Terrified calls from garden visitors again went to the Park Rangers and this time they got up to the location just as she was leaving the area. They carefully placed her in a travel container and moved her to her new home in the park.

Here is Grandmomma circa early September 2011 - 15+ rattles strong but not so pregnant, cruising into her new low-density home where she won't terrify too many humans. What a gorgeous girl!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Congress of Neighborhoods Invades City Hall

John F John Jr

NC System Throws a 10th Year Birthday Party

From every corner
From every background
From every walk of life
They gather in peace with a common hope for a better future
The City of Angels shines down upon this day ~1913

On Saturday September 24th volunteers from all corners of Los Angeles gathered at City Hall for the 2011 Congress of Neighborhoods. It was standing room only inside the historical John Ferraro Council Chambers as a crowd of of nearly 600 crammed together for opening ceremonies. The Pledge of Allegiance was followed by greeting from Cindy Cleghorn who chaired the volunteer committee that organized the event.

Mayor Atnonio Villaraigosa
proclaimed that Neighborhood Councils are here to stay and proceeded with a series of softball remarks that made solid commitments to nothing. BH Kim, the General Manager of DONE gave what could be labeled his most inspiring speech to date. He comfortably addresses the room of savvy community activists many he knows on a first name basis. Mr. Kim pointed out specific projects that different NCs had accomplished to engage stakeholders, like The East Hollywood NC ArtCycle he attended the prior weekend. When each NC was mentioned a variety of shouts and clapping could be heard from the different camps throughout the room. Then he offered a call to action and encouraged further regional organization and for NCs to take positions on the Krekorian motions that will be up for Council vote later in the year.

The day then broke into a series of workshops and panel discussions. From broken side walk to pension reform, and from conflict of interest to social media, Los Angels neighbors talked, listened and exchanged ideas.

Throughout the event GGPNC Public Safety Chair
Andrea Laderosa mingled with fellow community leaders and spoke of how important it is for Los Feliz residents to be represented. It is clear that she is serious about this philosophy as she can be seen volunteering for nearly every community event in and around Los Feliz and now making her presence city wide. She easily exemplifies the best of Los Feliz and the type of positive change one person can bring to a neighborhood.

The event was a huge success not because it solved any of the problems facing Los Angeles, clearly it did not. What it did do was give credence to the ten year old Neighborhood Council system. There was a sense that BH Kim was addressing an emerging giant. The mechanism for regional collaboration on united causes is now in place. And at long last the voice of the common citizen may become louder than whoever has the fattest wallet on any given day

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Breached! GGPNC using invalid bylaws

By John F John Jr
The Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) has confirmed that the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council (GGPNC) has been conducting meeting, appointing board members and distributing public funds under the wrong set of bylaws.
It is a staggering violation of public trust. Tax payer funds available to the GGPNC are now being distributed by a board that was wrongly appointed.
This breach of established rules is sadly only one in a long line of nefarious conduct by the board under the helm of Los Feliz Forward for the past year. Whether they are violating their own rules or those mandated by the State of California makes little difference to those in charge. Once again neighborhood stakeholders have been hoodwinked by a small handful of angry men.

Los Feliz Forward was the brainchild of board members Tomas O’Grady and Mark Mauceri, both formerly from New Jersey. Shortly after relocating to Los Angeles they cleverly effected the hostile take over of the GGPNC. It could be argued that this was was achieved by exploiting vulnerable community groups. Disturbing messages of ethnic bias began to pop up in and around Los Feliz, a sort of double reverse hate speak. See [homophobe] and [ethnic].
They then spent the next year passing sweeping changes to bylaws that were once heralded as best practices by DONE. The process for pushing the bylaws to vote often involved cutting off public comment or posting agendas that didn’t meet minimum Brown Act requirements. It was the exact behavior the Brown Act was designed to protect against. Former board member and long term community activist Tom Wilson actually left the board because he was so frustrated with the lack of due diligence.
Ironically they had all the votes they needed to legally pass anything they wished. But it appears that they are so accustom to gaming the process that they are simply unable to play be the rules.
During the May meeting nine new board members were appointed to the GGPNC. They did this under the new set of rules that had been rushed through during the past year. However, the GGPNC neglected to wait for the bylaws to receive final approval from DONE. Nine senior members of the board who had spent decades donating their time to Los Feliz were not allowed to vote under a controversial provision of the new bylaws. This of course affected the potential vote count of every candidate running, some winning a seat by only one vote.
The new bylaws also affected who might have chosen to run for an appointed position. Senior board members had little hope of winning a seat with the” Los Feliz Forward only” voting block. It is safe to say that Tomas O’Grady’s and Mark Mauceri’s Los Feliz Forward has had an unfriendly history with the senior members of the GGPNC board. And in fact the average age of the GGPNC board has dropped about twenty years since the May appointments. The deep well of experience with the neighborhood, the park and with city and state government has been swept away. Now you will find the President allowing painfully long debates over which balloon to choose for a street fair.
GGPNC President Ron Ostrow who use to lecture his predecessors from the Robert Rules of Order as if he were a Parliamentary preacher now has to face the general board and try to wordsmith an excuse for what can be described as a major and unprecedented screw up. One can expect his delivery will be flawless. The only hope for a clean get away is that DONE some how forgives the breach of rules. The fact that to undo this arrogant mistake would be a gigantic mess might play in their favor. To make the invalid election valid would likely take more resources than DONE has to offer.
However it should not take DONE, or endless calls to the City Attorney, or the Code of Civility, or the State Brown Act, the GGPNC bylaws, or even Robert Rules of Order for the most casual observer to concluded that something is habitually wrong with the leadership of this neighborhood council.
The cure in whatever form may have to come from DONE. The leadership of GGPNC appear unable or unwilling to heal themselves.