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, January 30, 2014

Final EIR on Crystal Springs project is out

... and page 23 says it all:  NO PROJECT has by far the least amount of impact to the area.  But that's not an option since the intent is to create an impact, of course.

I would like to see the same score sheet with Ferraro Soccer Fields as an alternative. Ferraro - the best solution to this project - was intentionally left out.

Meanwhile, the newly-seated Recreation and Parks Commission will have the final say sometime in March. Lynn Alvarez is the new President of the commission. Although easily confirmed to the commission, Mrs. Blumenfield was not selected president right away as was rumored to be imminent around the water cooler.

Link to full EIR is here. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hearing Monday on Blumenfield, 2 others for Rec & Parks Commission

Update 1/13/14: After talking up partnerships, all three were easily moved forward. City Council hearing is tomorrow.

Interesting part of the conversation was that there was major discussion about safety in parks. Griffith and Runyon are such jewels in the city, why is that? The answer wasn't said, but it is easy: Park Rangers patrol Griffith and respond to Runyon regularly. 


The City Council's Arts Parks Health Aging and River Committee will hold a hearing on the appointment of three new Recreation and Parks Commissioners this Monday.

The three are:
  • Ms. Misty M. Sanford
  • Ms. Iris Zuniga
  • Ms. Kafi D. Blumenfield
Blumenfield is the wife of current City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield.  Garcetti's office states that they do not see a conflict of interest here. If that is actually true, then why is this fact not included in the bio they presented for Blumenfield?

Link to the Mayor's bio for Sanford is here.
Link to an Ethic Commission letter regarding Sanford is here.

Link to the Mayor's bio for Zuniga is here.

Link to the Mayor's bio for Blumenfield is here.
There is no Ethics Commission letter for Blumenfield.

Compare the Mayor's bio to the .pdf from the Liberty Hill Foundation below. (Bob Blumenfield was elected to City Council last July and left the State Assembly for the job.)

Arts Parks chair Mitch O'Farrell was Garcetti's chief of staff before being elected to City Council last July, so expect Blumenfield and the other two appointments to pass through this hearing easily. Nonetheless, public comment is always a good thing so send in yours.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sunland-Tujunga NC wants more Park Rangers

Items 6 & 7 passed unanimously last night.

CF #12-0899-S1 should be going back to Arts, Parks sometime this month.

Hansen Dam Ranger Station
Nobody home

It's reassuring to see that the Park Ranger program is not just a single park phenomenon, and that a single council office can no longer control this Citywide conversation.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Full circle: Griffith Vision Plan loaded with pet projects

UPDATE 1-8-14:

The Commission passed the document as a "Vision" for Griffith Park after a very long discussion as to whether LaBonge's last-minute pet project capital additions now force the document to undergo full CEQA before a vote by the Commission. The Commission reiterated the vote was on a "Vision" and that they were not declaring this a Specific plan or General plan or any other kind of plan.

The Commission also instructed Rec and Parks to return the image of P-22 to the cover of the document.


Tomorrow, at the final meeting of the majority of the board, the Recreation and Parks Commission will vote to approve a new Griffith Park Vision Plan.

This process was originally initiated by an angry public fighting commercialization of the park. Unfortunately, it is painfully clear that the process has again been entirely co-opted by the exact same City Councilmember and is filled with his pet projects.

The very first published article here on Wayist was a July 2009 story about this issue :
According to a letter sent to Master Plan Working Group (GPMPWG) members, the new draft Griffith Park Master Plan is being downgraded to a simple "vision" for the park. Insiders know that this is not a move by the Department of Recreation and Parks (DRP), but is clearly at the behest of Councilman Tom LaBonge. The GPMPWG is expected to review the major edits by the department and LaBonge, and provide a final edit in just two weeks.

Since the document is a vision of a broad based group of community members and developed through a lengthy and very public process, the document certainly qualifies as a true Master Plan. It's a good guess that the attack on the process is being driven by the councilmember since the document does not represent the vision of Tom LaBonge and his developer friends. LaBonge tried to force destination restaurants, pleasure piers, and cable cars into the previous version of the Master Plan. LaBonge's version was resoundingly hated and panned by the public at large.

After nearly 7 8 years, the almost comical reality is that you don't have to read past page 5 of the new version to see that things have sadly come full circle: the very same man has inserted more of his controversial pet legacy projects into this Vision Plan at the 11th hour. Some are as ridiculous as a permanent "Griffith Park Movie Night", some as illegal as building new, unnecessary construction in the Urban Wilderness area (per the historic monument designation.)

The document's cover was also recently changed by someone, adding to the ironic amusement. P-22, the famous Griffith park Mountain Lion, was recently removed from the images.

Now, although the plan boldly proclaims itself as "VISION PLAN FOR GRIFFITH PARK -- AN URBAN WILDERNESS IDENTITY", all of the pictures are of carnival-like rides and the built sections of the park, mocking the overall vision itself.

The Commission will easily pass this nonsense tomorrow as their going-away present to LaBonge.

The one saving grace, if you can believe it, is that this is a Vision Plan and not a Master Plan. The difference?  Supposedly, there are no capital projects in a Vision Plan.

So what happens to the pet capital projects inserted into the Vision Plan by LaBonge? Hopefully, they simply rot.

Blumenfield appointment is plain old nepotism

noun: nepotism
1. the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, esp. by giving them jobs.
synonyms:favoritism, preferential treatment, the old boy network, looking after one's own, bias, partiality, partisanship
Well, we scooped everyone yesterday on the Blumenfield appointment and no one even bothered to give us the hat tip, even though we shared.  Gotta love our media friends.

nah - we still luv ya anyway.

Meanwhile Mrs. Blumenfield's non-profit friends - including the Mayor's wife - are on the defensive. They should be, because this appointment is self-indulgent and embarrassing.

Nothing personal to Mrs. Blumenfield, but:
  1. She is the wife of a sitting Councilmember which is definitely a conflict of interest, and 

  2. She comes from the world of non-profits and will return to that world when she is done. No non-profit administrator in their right mind would ever even potentially cross a politician who may fund them in the future. So she's a guaranteed Yes Man.
As one of our commenters pointed out, with all of the high level professional talent among parks friend and supporters in this huge town, the Mayor's wife's friend is his choice.  Can you say "nepotism"?

How embarrassing for Los Angeles. And sad for what's left of our parks. It doesn't matter if it's been done before. Nepotism is nepotism.

Reverse hat tips (no hard feelings):

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sanders out, Blumenfield in at Rec and Parks Commission

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners is about to change.  Significantly.

Commission President Barry Sanders and 2 other commissioners are out. The new nominee for commission president is Kafi D. Blumenfield, recently of the Liberty Hill Foundation. And yes, she is the wife of current City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield (CD 3).

Read Ms. Blumenfield's bio here.

Wednesday is President Sanders' last commission meeting, as well as Commissioners Jerome Stanley and Jill Werner. Blumenfield's confirmation hearing at City Council should be soon. If history is any indication, she'll be confirmed easily. Her husband will certainly vote for her.

Love him or hate him, the man with the bowtie did provide significant political mojo in keeping the Dept. of Recreation and Parks roughly in one piece while City Hall was raiding it to the tune of $155 million since 2007.

With her current credentials, can Blumenfield successfully fight for the department at this top political level? If so, will she? Or will her tenure be simply about using the platform to push the focus of her recent work ("social change"). Since she's married to a current City Councilmember, I think we likely know the answer.

Looks like City Council stealing from our City parks just got a whole lot easier.