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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Brian D'Arcy: the Four Million Dollar Kiss-of-Death

Mayor-elect Garcetti must remember this ↑ and this and this come July 1.

No more obscene pay raises for the LADWP at the on-going expense of every other City service, especially our City parks.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Which Way GLAZA -- the lure of the dollar, or the belief in the mission?

(Update: the MOU between GLAZA and the LA Zoo states that GLAZA will be operating the LA Zoo as an event venue. So much for the Zoo's "mission" (see below).  

That said, since this is a different use that the LA Zoo's mission, an EIR may be required.) 

GLAZA, the non-profit support group for the Los Angeles Zoo, has announced it is spending some of it's own bank on Zoo publicity. A lot of bank, actually:

In an effort to introduce more people to the mission, exhibits and wildlife conservation programs of the L.A. Zoo, GLAZA — the organization's longtime non-profit partner — announced Monday it will spend $2 million in marketing and public relations money, beginning in July.
Marketing and public relations...  In practice, marketing and public relations seems to be LA City code-speak for become an event venue, which is why this article caught my attention.

The Los Angeles Zoo is an entity that is using Griffith Park property. The land is zoned Open Space, and used to be under the purview of the Dept of Recreation and Parks until it was spun off as it's own department. 

Myself and the many visitors to Amir's Garden have all had a better view than most of the recent major construction projects across the canyon at the LA Zoo. As well as the expansion lights, noise, and clearing of park land, park users in this area have already had to endure live band music pounding throughout Mineral Wells canyon from a new summer concert series.

Commercialization might be a good thing for the Zoo financially, but one has to question the impact to the urban wilderness areas of the park. When the concerts are in full swing , the racket they make is like your bad neighbor who plays music way too loud keeping the entire neighborhood up all night.

Honestly, do you hike through the urban wilderness of the Griffith Park interior expecting an onslaught of loud band music? No one goes hiking or riding in Griffith Park to experience that. It probably goes without saying that this cannot be good for the Zoo animals, too. Beyond that, parks themselves have sound ordinances that should prohibit this kind of noise. 

Prohibited unless the LA Zoo is designated an event venue, that is.

Revenue generation by any means possible is always OK as far as City Hall is concerned, so I guess we're bad neighbors for even suggesting that parties and concerts at the LA Zoo isn't the best use of the facility. So be it - we're bad neighbors. 

What we can hope for is that GLAZA doesn't subscribe to City code-speak and their $2 million worth of publicity will really be all about the Zoo's purported mission
The L.A. Zoo is an important component of the greater Los Angeles region’s quality of life. Citizens need safe places to recreate and decompress from their daily chores. The corporate responsibility of the Zoo to save wildlife and wild places manifests itself in good educational programming, conservation support, and academic research—all of which enhances the Los Angeles community.
            - John R. Lewis, LA Zoo Director    (LA Zoo Annual Report 2011-12)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

If you wonder why your local park looks like crap, read this:

Just some of the services we no longer receive in Los Angeles parks are listed below. These losses are a direct result of the City's "chargeback" policy against the Dept. of Recreation and Parks.

Note: Text in italics and choice of image is ours. Typos are probably ours.



FISCAL YEAR (FY) 2008-09 TO 2013-14

(RAP has) Paid $151 million to City General Fund in support costs (refuse collection, utility, pension, health care and fleet costs). These funds were previously used to provide RAP services to City of Los Angeles residents.
  • Elimination of all City Public Building Landscape Services (proposed for FY 2013-14).
  • Elimination of Landscape Services provided to the Police Administration Building (proposed for FY 2013-14).
  • Functional Transfer of recreational and maintenance services provided by RAP at seven (7) Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) sites to non-profit or others (RAP proposed the functional transfer of three (3) sites for FY 2013-14).
  • Reduction of Clean and Safe Spaces (CLASS) Parks, recreational programming and maintenance services at seven (7) HACLA sites.
  • Reduction of CLASS Parks programming at all sites (proposed for FY 2013-14).
  • Eliminated Pedal Boat service at Balboa, Echo Park, and MacArthur Lakes.
  • Eliminated Licensed Child Care services at 24 sites.
  • Eliminated Therapeutic specialized services at three (3) sites.
  • Eliminated all Citywide Sports Tournaments.
  • Closed Observatory two (2) days per week.
  • Closed recreation centers & EXPO on Sundays and Holidays.
  • Closed year round pools on Mondays and shortened the summer aquatic season from 10 weeks to eight (8) weeks.
  • Closed 15 year round pools for three weeks during the winter break.
  • Reduced seasonal pool operations by two (2) hours on weekends and by one (l) hour on weekdays.
  • Closed Central Pool.
  • Converted Peck Park, Hubert Humphrey and Glassell Pools from year round to seasonal.
  • Reduced CLASS parks program from 47 to 37.
  • Eliminated special event co-sponsorship (i.e. Salute to Recreation, Lotus Festival, etc).
  • Eliminated staffing at all skate parks except one.
  • Reduced summer bus trips for economically disadvantaged youth and eliminated senior citizen bus trips.
  • Implemented fee increases for recreation programs, facility use, and staff support.
  • Reduced Ranger services to assignment at Griffith Park only.
  • Reduced dedicated staff at Senior Centers (programming conducted by part-time staff).
  • Consolidated and clustered recreational staff at centers (less full-time recreational staff dedicated to each site) which lessens the hours and types of programming offered.
  • Reduced equity programs such as Girls Play LA, and other low cost opportunities for disadvantaged areas.
  • Eliminated RAP Senior Nutrition Program and some social services.
  • Eliminated the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
  • Routed maintenance staff which reduces the "presence" of RAP staff at the park which leads to "dead park" situations.
  • Reduced maintenance cleaning services provided at recreation centers! parks including: cleaning of restrooms from three (3) times per day to one-time per day, less frequent detailing of restrooms and buildings, removal of debris and trash, cleaning of gym floors, walls and other areas.
  • Reduced land maintenance activities at parks including: routine maintenance, cleaning of children's play areas, refurbishment of play fields; and closure of other heavily used areas until they can be made safe and sanitary.
  • Reduced facility repairs including: roofing, lighting, electrical, graffiti removal, broken windows, etc.
  • Reduced hours of operation at region headquarters by one hour.
  • Eliminated Wonderful Outdoor World (WOW) camping program.
  • Reduced residential summer camp program and boys and girls camps by one day.
  • Reduced hours of operation at Banning Museum and Civil War Drum Barracks by three (3) hours a week each.
  • Reduced summer youth fishing program at Cabrillo Beach during the summer (last one was in 2008. This was offered to day camp youth from recreation centers throughout the City).
  • Cut field supervision (recreation districts by a supervisor) from 13 to 11. Also eliminated the Recreation Supervisor positions that specifically oversaw the services for the Camping Division and the Senior Citizen Division. These responsibilities are now absorbed by field supervisors effective February 28, 2011.
  • Eliminated Public Restroom Enhancement Program (PREP).
  • Restrooms are being cleaned once a day instead of three (3) times a day and detailing of restrooms and buildings has become less frequent.
  • Hiking and equestrian trails do not receive routine maintenance.
  • Recreation facilities (interior) receive minimal maintenance (no detail cleaning).
  • Hardscape stains remain much longer as we are unable to pressure wash on a regular basis.
  • Sandbox maintenance is greatly impacted as sand is screened twice a week instead of three (3) times a week.
  • Picnic areas receive minimal attention (unable to remove coals on a regular basis).
  • Litter debris remain much longer on grounds, and trash cans overflow during the summer.
  • Harvesting of aquatic vegetation at Machado Lake has not been performed in Fiscal Years 2008-09, 2009-10, or 2010-11.
  • Motor sweeping of RAP parking lots has been reduced.
  • List of athletic fields to be refurbished has been reduced by 25%.
  • Line trimming and detailing of planter beds now occur on an as-needed basis instead of weekly.
  • Grading of ball diamonds now takes place on an as-needed basis instead of monthly.
  • Tree work is only being done on demand and on an emergency basis. The Forestry Division has been forced to abandon all preventative tree maintenance. This is exposing both our staff and patrons to an increased risk due to potential tree hazards. Additionally, due to reduced tree care staff, our backlog of tree-related emergencies has grown and our ability to respond in a timely manner has been compromised significantly.
  • Loss of pest control staff has forced us to drastically reduce our preventative gopher and ground squirrel control operations as well as insect and rodent control services at our recreation centers. The result has been an increase in the number of County Health citations received by the Department.
  • RAP's ability to meet its water conservation goals has been compromised due to the reduction in trained staff to make irrigation system repairs and adjustments in a timely manner. The delays result in a waste of water and/or loss of turf and plant material.