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

Monday, March 31, 2014

RAP Commission vote on Crystal Springs ball fields is Wednesday

Update 4/2/14:

Long meeting, but easily passed by the Commission, unanimously.
Interesting that someone pointed out that putting active recreation for children within 500' of a freeway is against recommendations by the LA County Dept of Health. "No problem there", says the Commission with their vote. Personally, as someone who was once a child with asthma, I have to side with the LA County Dept. of Health. Enjoy deep-breathing those PM-2.5s, baseball kids.

Overall, it is worth noting that the comments and questions by the new Commissioners were not very legally, morally, or politically sophisticated, which is extremely disappointing.

Meanwhile, three four! of Tom LaBonge's current employees spoke in Public Comment in favor of the project, making a complete mockery of the process. Can you say 'conflict of interest'? I bet you can.

Looking forward to the lawsuit(s) about the weak EIR -- IF the community hasn't given up yet.


This Wednesday, the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners will be voting on whether to approve additional baseball fields into the heavily used Crystal Springs picnic area. The specifics of this issue have been discussed in a number of articles on this site - read here.

If you haven't yet weighed in on the Crystal Springs Picnic Area ball fields proposal yet, please email your comments to:

You may use this header template to help direct your comments to this issue:


Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners meeting April 2, 2014

Board Report # 14-061 – proposed new baseball fields at Crystal Springs Picnic Area

Position: (AGAINST or FOR the project - state which you are)

Commission President Alvarez and honorable Recreation and Parks Commissioners,

.......your comments .....


Monday, March 24, 2014

Grand-opening Thursday: First new LA Park Ranger Station in 35 years

The first new Park Ranger Station in Los Angeles in more than three decades opens this Thursday.

Now it would be nice if Los Angeles would actually allow Recreation and Parks to hire some full Park Rangers to man the station. Twelve Rangers are needed for reasonable coverage - they're allowing only 4 to be hired as of today.

Come on by for the grand opening and let the City know we want more Park Rangers!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

If the Public gives up

"The only way LaBonge gets to gut the picnic area is if the public gives up."

I hope the part of "the Public" who has the resources to file lawsuits on the EIR for this project understands this.

Screen shot of Mr. Abram's learned commentary to a CityWatch article regarding Tom LaBonge's proposed gutting of the Crystal Springs picnic area for more baseball fields:

Friends of Griffith Park baseball fields presser lacks

New press release from the Friends of Griffith Park opposing yet more ballfields in Crystal Springs is below.

It's pretty lightweight, quite honestly.  The loud, pro-Crystal Springs nuts claim incorrectly that those opposed to the project in Crystal Springs are NIMBYs who don't want ballfields anywhere in Griffith Park, period. 

A stronger, more strategic statement from the Friends -- themselves constant targets of the nuts in question -- would have included likely support for this project if it were located at Ferraro Fields which is in Griffith Park and far better suited to the use.

The Mayor's newly-appointed Recreation and Parks Commission appointees don't dare challenge this project and will easily pass Councilmember LaBonge's legacy project at their April 2nd meeting. Then, hopefully, come the lawsuits against an unresponsive and very weak EIR.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Yet more problems with new ballfields if built in Crystal Springs

This is from a public comment letter to Recreation and Parks Commissioners by a recently retired Park Ranger with nearly 3 decades on the job. Someone who spent almost every day on the job in Crystal Springs, where the Ranger Station is located.

Their concerns are not addressed in the EIR, and their concerns evaporate if this project is built in Ferraro.

These are those concerns:
The Crystal Springs Picnic areas are among the most heavily used areas in Griffith Park and are already filled to capacity on many weekends.

The ball field project would remove a large portion of the picnic grounds from public use. The circular road system that is there now replaced a cul de sac system which was abandoned in the 1970s because of severe traffic impacts. The ball field project would recreate the cul de sac system - it didn't work then and it won't work now due to severe traffic impacts.

The destruction of so many mature heritage trees is unthinkable.

In addition, the (Park) Ranger fire station is located in this area and this project will certainly impact emergency response times if it does not cause relocation of the facility. ...

But go ahead, Councilmember LaBonge - shove your legacy project into Crystal Springs anyway.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Van Griffith's opposition to locating new ballfields in Crystal Springs

As it stands now, Councilmember Tom LaBonge and his supporters are determined to go against much of the park-going public and displace hundreds of predominantly Latino families because he is unwilling to change the location of his own legacy project.

Worse yet,  LaBonge is willing to go against the wishes of the very family that gave Los Angeles both Griffith Park and the Griffith Observatory for the same reason.

How ugly is that?

Councilmember, put your project in Ferraro, where most people - including the Griffith Family - agree it should be.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ballfields, Bandshell projects impacting Griffith Park to be voted on Wednesday

Update: these items are continued to the April 2nd Commission meeting. Keep sending in your public comment on these items. Link is below. 

On Wednesday March 5th April 2nd, the newly appointed Recreation and Parks Commission will be voting on two boutique projects from Councilmember Tom LaBonge to potentially be constructed in Griffith Park:
1. More ballfields at Crystal Springs picnic area, and

2. New Performing Arts Center (aka the Bandshell) in the Old Zoo picnic area.
If you haven't recently weighed in to the Recreation and Parks Commission on your opinion about these projects, you can do so by emailing the commission with your public comment here.

New Performing Arts Center:

This project is the baby of close LaBonge supporter and Symphony in the Glen director, Barbara Ferris. Ms. Ferris ran for the board of the Neighborhood Council Formerly Called Greater Griffith Park primarily to see this through, among other things.

The Old Zoo area is an active wildlife corridor. Per the Cultural Heritage designation for Griffith Park, this project is located within the Urban Wilderness boundary, where, ostensibly, construction is to be done only if absolutely necessary. Is this project necessary?

New Baseball fields:

Since we last discussed this project,  a number of things have become clear in recent weeks:
Pote Field on a normal day.
  • The Atwater alternative was never a serious alternative location.
  • The current predominant stakeholder group at Crystal Springs - the group who will be displaced by this project - is predominantly Latino families who are essentially picnicking, holding birthday parties, and other passive uses. Recently, the propaganda machine around this project has been at work claiming that this is not true.

    The propaganda machine is absolutely incorrect: ask anyone without a dog in the fight who actually visits Crystal Springs regularly on a nice day. I've been at Crystal Springs a couple hundred times over the past ten years for various reasons, and the consistent user group is definitely predominantly Latino families picnicking.  Most weekends, because it is so popular, Crystal Springs is completely impacted - finding any parking for anything in the area is insanely difficult.This project displaces a majority of these users, plain and simple.
  • A couple of weeks ago, LaBonge aide Carolyn Ramsay popped in to a Rec and Parks Commission subcommittee to discuss her boss's project, opening with (paraphrase): 'The Councilman has wanted this his whole life'.  And that right there constitutes the entire needs assessment on this project.
  • Finally, would the councilmember still want the project if it were at Ferraro Fields rather than Crystal Springs? Ferraro is also used by a predominantly Latino user group, but there is plenty of room to add ball fields without displacing anyone.

So why weren't the Ferraro Fields part of the EIR as an alternative site for this project? Why is Ferraro Fields verboten?

Two possible reasons flow out of all of the information and disinformation surrounding this project. One is that the area is already named for the late, great John Ferraro, so the "Tom LaBonge Ballfields at Ferraro Fields" ain't gonna cut it.

The other is much more unfortunate: Who is being displaced at Crystal Springs? Who is the dominant stakeholder group at Ferraro Fields - a stakeholder group that would not be displaced but would remain if the project was moved there?  The potential implication is ugly, but cannot be ignored.

The new Recreation and Parks Commission will likely pass both these boutique projects through for the outgoing Councilmember LaBonge and his close supporter, but the public record - and the questions - will remain.