Animal Shelter or Furniture Store?
Presenting the opposing viewpoint is our old friend, Dr. Charlotte Laws (pictured), animal welfare and neighborhood council activist. Dr. Laws testified on the issue before the Public Safety Committee. Here are a few items Laws says did not make it into Patrick McGreevy's article in the Times:
Weiss was upset about the fact that no one was present who could take responsibility for the original transaction. He was furious about the waste of money to Los Angeles and about the city losing money if they were to sell the site to the furniture business. He was also angry about the eminent domain aspect of the transaction. Weiss also said, "I fear this will drag on and we won't have the money to build the shelter without additional bond money."Below we've copied Laws' prepared remarks before the Committee. Stay tuned, this one is going to heat up.
Zine was shocked about "three year delay," which has made the building costs higher and delayed construction of the shelter. Zine also did not like the fiscal irresponsibility of the whole thing.
Parks, despite his suave and laid-back manner, was pushing very hard for a change of location and for the sale to the furniture business. He kept saying the area should be a furniture mart area and that all the furniture companies would leave if the shelter was placed at the site. He did not seem to care about the costs or animals, but only about the businesses in the area. He couched it all in terms of "jobs." Parks made a derogatory comment about the LA Times (the original article they wrote about his campaign contributions).
Reyes was not present during the discussion. Smith said nothing that I can recall.
Hello, Councilmembers. My name is Dr. Charlotte Laws, member of the Greater Valley Glen Council and president of the Directors of Animal Welfare Program.
In November 2000, the voters approved a $154 million bond, which was in part designed to pay for a new animal shelter in South Los Angeles on a property belonging to a furniture company. The city took the property via eminent domain, has stalled construction, and now wants to bypass the voters’ wishes by selling this site to different furniture company. This is an improper manipulation of eminent domain law.
The beneficiaries of this sweetheart deal have contributed to the campaigns of Rocky Delgadillo and others. Not only does this transaction present an appearance of impropriety, but it ignores the voters’ wishes, and more importantly, costs animals their lives.
As construction prices rise, this stall means more money will be needed to build the shelter. This amounts to an injustice against the defenseless animals, who are housed in the highest volume kill shelter in Los Angeles. This facility needs space more than any other. The people and the animals of South Los Angeles should not be short-changed.
The proposed new location is inferior to the original site. It is not on a major street; therefore does not encourage community participation; successful shelters need to be located where people live, work and congregate. They must be highly visible and accessible to encourage spay/neuter, adoptions, microchipping and volunteer work. Community participation is of paramount importance in transforming Los Angeles into a no-kill city.
In addition, Councilmember Parks acknowledges that the animal shelter fund may not be fully compensated in the end. This blatantly disregards the voters’ wishes when they supported the bond.
Please immediately build the animal shelter at the original site. Time is of the essence. Animals are suffering and dying every day. Thank you.
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