Friday, March 20, 2009
We've been here before...Board Elections that are not really elections. BW (us) has been clamoring for the Board to choose a new president ever since Glenn Brown took a powder in October...which wasn't really "official" until 2 months later, which was convenient because the Board meeting for late November and all of December were canceled to keep Kathy Riordan from "doing any damage" (doing her job as she has faithfully done for ...what? ...9 years?) as acting President.
Nope. No "election" in January...or February, but wait... a new commissioner!-HAND PICKED BY ED BOKS (that's two now if you count Irene Ponce and you have to do that.) Ruth Ann Secunda of Boks's fave celebrity encrusted Much Love Animal Rescue (subtle Ed...very subtle as usual). So now we have five and can pick a new Pres. Our predictions (you heard it hear first):
Archie Quincey? No. Too honest and down to earth for Ed and the Mayor. Unpredictable.
Irene Ponce? No. Too obvious as in Ed's pocket (she doesn't even have to read the reports before she makes a motion to approve whatever Ed and the Mayor (Blackman, Bickhart, Kramer, (Knaan? Still?)) tell her she should approve-no questions asked.
Ruthanne Secunda ? No. Too obvious as a ringer(1). They'll groom her for the Summer election and order that she be "installed" as President.
Kathy Riordan? Go ahead laugh along with us. NEVER. They hate her because she is smart, conscientious, stands up for what's right (without getting axed) and actually researches the issues on her own time--a lot of time.
Okay, then they will be ORDERED TO ELECT TARIQ KHERO. AGAIN. Remember when they ORDERED Riordan to decline the nomination (and the vote!) way back when? Remember the note from Blackman, left in the trash for the Daily News to publish? --"Don't play games (Riordan). Decline."
Yep, democracy at it's finest. Yes, this is corruption and election fraud and it's serious shit. Question, can you be disbarred for participating in illegal activity? Check it out. We think you can be. Can it be proven? Can you be impeached for the same? Probably. Show up on Monday and find out. Go Tariq!!..only 3 months to serve; you can hang. No? You're a safe bet because everyone knows you won't make waves (stand up to the creeps or make much difference in anything that matters.
How many meetings will you miss? We guess 3 out of 6. Any takers?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Will Ed Boks show his shiny head in City Hall on Monday March 23? I'm betting he will not.
Ed may have hammered the last nail in his own carpet-bag coffin all by his lonesome this week by announcing that he was nixing the spay/neuter vouchers which have made compliance with the months-old Mandatory Spay/Neuter law possible for many. Rescue organizations with tight budget will also feel the pinch but the worst product of this lame-brained stunt by our own Ed Boks will be more killed animals. More animals who won't get adopted, rescued or otherwise given a second chance at a happy life--or any life.
One article claims that Boks created a new class of criminals, those who can't afford to follow the law, in one swoop of his pointy tail. We agree. Council, who are always ready to pounce on a tasty PR morsel converged on Boks. Garcetti and Zine both say this pulling of the low cost spay/neuter vouchers cannot stand. But where will the money come from? Let's remember that Council was presented with a budget for the department of Animal Services for 2008/2009 many months ago. Let's also remember that they bankrupted the City by shoveling , on average, $500,000 more into salaries. Yep, no increases for services, food, blankets or bowls for the animals , or for the real work of the people-- just more salaries. I wonder how many ACTs and ACOs will have their hours cut or laid off all together so that the lucky ones who keep their jobs could have a raise. Yes, Ed and Linda Barth and Kathy Davis split about $30,000 of that money amongst themselves in raises for mismanagement. Don't you wish you could get a raise for not doing your job?
So, activists, rescuers and others will cram the the Public Safety Committee ( Animal Services is under Public Safety in the Administrative and Municipal Codes) and once again call for Ed's head on a stick.
We'll be there AND we'll be down the hall at the Animal Services Board meeting watching Jeff de la Rosa call for Ed's (and Barth's) head again. Why? Failure to obey a Court order and unnecessarily causing Jeff to incur $1400 in private boarding charges for his dog,Maeve. Maeve's license was revoked in 2005-06 due to a case of mistaken identity when a neighbor's dog got bit by some unknown, "red and white" or" brown and black" or "orange and tan" colored dog. The 'complaining witness' used all of those descriptions for Maeve; however she is none of those dogs. Jeff was at the beach in Ventura County that day (Don't forget to get receipts for something--anything-- next time you go to the beach in case you need an alibi for your dog).
The decision was tossed by Superior Cout Judge James C. Chalfant in October 2008. The judge citedDue Process violations in the hearing process and said the whole hearing was a sham.. Didn't help that former commish Debbie Knaan failed to recuse herself from the appeal hearings , even after telling the whole world she thought Jeff was lying and that he was "a creep." How did she come to this realization? SHE CALLED HIM BEFORE THE APPEAL HEARING AND INTERROGATED HIM in her D.A. style. No, silly--this is not ethical. It's called ex parte communication and when you're in a quasi judicial position, as she was, one should not engage in ex parte communications with a party--ESPECIALLY WHEN HE HAS A LAWYER!. Dip shit Debbie the lawyer! Judge Chalfant didn't like that either but since the whole intitial hearing was a sham kangaroo court, he didn't even have to get to the Debbie Knaan part before quashing the whole decision. Actually , he ORDERED the Board to set aside their decision to uphold the GM (Stuckey! Yes, that long ago.)'s decision to ban Maeve from the City and order that Jeff could own no other dogs for three years. Problem is that in 4 months since the ruling, the Board hasn't gotten around to to following orders and had not 'acted' to comply with the Writ of Mandate. Judge Chalfant reviews to pursue a Contempt order on Monday, but he invited Jeff back to "renew" his request should Barth continue to obstruct the judicial process. See you at City Hall. Save the date: Monday, March 23, 2009. The 1oth floor will be a rockin'!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
City Council to bite back:
surprising twist in the case
of the disappearing coupons (Updated)from Examiner.com (USA)
Caught up in the budget crunch, the lives of L.A.'s animals hang in the balance Photo: Vanda Krefft
Update to Friday's report that L.A. Animal Services, in a surprise move, last week suddenly ended its much-ballyhooed spay/neuter discount coupon program, a critical adjunct to L.A.'s mandatory spay/neuter law; and demanded private rescues and shelters return all undistributed coupons immediately.
Since the City Council passed L.A.'s mandatory spay/neuter legislation last year with the assurance that the availability of discount and free spay/neuter coupons would make complying with the new law feasible for low income city residents, I called the offices of Councilmembers Weiss and Alarcon, as well as Council President Eric Garcetti seeking comment on this new policy that seemed to leave recession-battered Angelenos in the lurch.
While Weiss' and Alarcon's office did not return calls, Friday afternoon I did hear from Mitch O'Farrell, District Director of Constituent Services for Councilmember Garcetti. What he had to say was a surprise. He informed me that, contrary to initial reports, the City Council was not consulted or informed in advance about Animal Services' plans to discontinue the spay/neuter coupon program, and he characterized the news as "upsetting," and "not okay at all."
In a follow-up email, O'Farrell said, "the City Council did not rescind the spay/neuter coupons. That was an internal decision within the [Animal Services] department based on general mid year budget reductions all departments were ordered to take."
L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti. The City Council was caught unawares by LAAS policy reversal
O'Farrell informs me the City Council is planning to take strong action to reverse this decision. "A motion will be introduced next week directing LAAS to reinstate free and discount spay/neuter vouchers. This program is something...Councilmember [Garcetti] and his colleagues strongly believe in. In fact, [Councilmember] Garcetti moved this program forward when he was on the Budget and Finance Committee a few years back."
It's another embarrassing blow for embattled Animal Services General Manager Ed Boks. Boks has stumbled publicly before, most notably in an August 21, 2007 press conference with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on the steps of City Hall, when Villaraigosa and he announced that L.A. Animal Services was the number one pet adoption agency in the nation, a claim that was almost immediately debunked, particularly in light of the fact that one of the agencies that outperformed LAAS in adoptions was L.A. County Animal Care and Control.
Boks also came under fire for planning a "Hooters for Nooters" event, ultimately canceled, which would have featured scantily clad female Hooters employees promoting pet sterilization.
Some of LAAS General Manager Ed Boks' missteps have been comical, like his ill-conceived "Hooters for Nooters" promotion, but ultimately mismanagement allows L.A.'s most vulnerable animals to fall through the cracks
Boks has also tangled with the City Council before, including his failed attempt to set up a "Pit Bull Training Academy" which would have employed ex-cons to train and make adoptable some of the city's many homeless Pit Bulls. While the plan might have helped save may dogs' lives, in addition to giving many ex-cons a meaningful new vocation, Boks failed to clear the plan with the City Council, and withstood blistering criticism from several Councilmembers. Plans for the Pit Bull Academy have since been shelved indefinitely.
In light of this latest controversy, I asked O'Farrell if the City Council was planning to confer with the Mayor, who appointed Boks, about this and other issues, including the September 2008 vote of no confidence in Boks, signed by over half of L.A, Animal Services employees.
O'Farrell declined comment on both Boks' performance and the vote of no confidence, saying the Council's immediate priority was to "get the spay/neuter vouchers reinstated, let the spay/neuter committee finish their work and get their report out; and consider their suggestions for policy proposals..."
Update: I also asked O'Farrell about my proposal that each City Councilmember donate ten percent of their annual $100,000 discretionary fund (which can be used for any cause the Councilmember chooses, except religious proselytizing or election costs) to help subsidize the spay/neuter coupon program. He didn't rule out some donation of money, but maintained that these finds are generally used for causes within each Councilmember's district.
This begs several questions. First, isn't animal welfare necessarily a citywide concern? An animal may be born in the 13th District (Garcetti's district) but may wander over to, say, the 12th. And his or her progeny could be scattered all over Los Angeles.
Second, do the City Councilmembers think about all L.A.'s issues in such fractional (or factional) terms? One would think that if ever there could be a uniting issue, it would be animal welfare, which has no borders. You can't solve the animal welfare problems of one district without regard for adjacent neighborhoods.
And third, even if the average Councilmember thinks only in terms of his or her own district, shouldn't we be able to expect a more comprehensive agenda from the Council President?
If we're going to solve the problem of too many animals -- and too many animals being killed in shelters -- it seems like we're going to need a citywide strategy and commitment from City Hall.