The Los Angeles City Council's Public Safety Committee met this morning to hear public testimony on the appointment of Brenda Barnette as the Mayor's new pick for General Manager of the Department of Animal Services. Councilmembers Smith (chair), Zine and Perry were present.
Listen to the hearing at http://lacity.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=103&clip_id=8081
With no speaker cards for public comment received--although Zine said "the critics are here"--the hearing was brief and breezy; and without Tony Cardenas --who has always been very outspoken and knowledgeable about LAAS, the questions were pretty tame and general. Zine and Smith reminded Barnette of the "crumbling environment" state of the department is suffering from due to bad morale since the Boks fiasco and the fact that there is no money for the Department.Smith: "We have acutally shrunk the Department" and are offering "fewer services." Brenda Barnette, speaking with a measured tone and a slight Virginia accent stated that she would spend time in the shelters and let everyone speak their mind and "be respectful."
Jan Perry's main concern was the prevalence of the "dumping" of "pit bulls and Rottweilers and those type of dogs" and asked how Barnette felt about free spay neuter programs ( which we have, but not enough of them). Perry said she wants to be first on Barnette's list for "outreach" for spay neuter service to lower income residents.
Zine: We have no money. How are you gonna turn the department around? How will you lift morale?
Barnette: I'm a fundrasier and will be in the shelter working with people.
Barnette said that her Sunday "meet and greet" --which she referred to as a "Town Hall Meeting"-- was productive. She stated that if she can get the cooperation of 70-80% of the staff and community, then she intends to achieve an 80% save rate within 5 years and be very close to that in 3 years.
Chairman Smith noted that "amazingly" there were no comments from the public. The Committee moved to send Barnette's appointment to full Council and the motion was passed. Barnette's appointment confirmation will move to the full council for a vote on Tues. Because a public hearing was already held, NO PUBLIC TESTIMONY will be heard at the Council Meeting. It was concluded and stated by Zine, that "Somebody has to run this Department" and they all wished her luck. So, lot's of internet hoopla for and against Barnette...but nobody showed to speak up....as usual.
Best of luck, Ms. Barnette. We're with you...just tell us what you want to do.