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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Animal Shelter or Furniture Store?

We reported last month that Councilman Bernard Parks was quite upset by the LA Times opposing his efforts to direct property seized by the city for an animal shelter to be sold to be developed as a furniture mart. Parks contention, which makes sense to this old, dead Republican mayor, is that the economically depressed South Central community can use more businesses and doesn't need another government facility. As well, Parks contends and probably rightly so, locating the shelter in the proposed location could drive off other business. Parks has identified another city owned property nearby that could be used for the new shelter. The LA Times covered the issue Tuesday.

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."

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.
Below we've copied Laws' prepared remarks before the Committee. Stay tuned, this one is going to heat up.
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.



Anonymous Anonymous said:

Just when you thought Rocktard couldn't be implicated in one more scandal, he overwhelms our low expectations with his trademark nefarious stench.

February 15, 2006 12:43 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

just when parks could not state a better statement, he moves into the animal sector. At least these are not human lives in which people are gravely affected by his decisions and leaving people with vested interest with the city out to dry. He fuc$ed up the police department, whats next. As an ex-policeman, he reeks of bad decision and immoral turpitude. ask me if you want to know more.

February 15, 2006 2:32 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Isn't the furniture district in CD 9? At leas that's what the banners read in my neighborhood? WTF Parks? Is Jan Perry OK with a furniture mart outside of an already designated furniture district? Or did she designate the furniture district just to give the area a name to put on the new city maps a few years ago when Hahn went on a labeling frenzy?

February 15, 2006 5:52 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

put the Animal Shelter in CD 14. CD 8 already has a shelter. A brand new one at that.

February 15, 2006 5:54 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

More importantly Parks got a donation from the furniture owner that he wants to put at that location. Its all about money. Amazing how city council consistently wastes our tax dollars and yet aren't we suppose to have a deficit of $250 million? Where's Antonio on this issue?

February 15, 2006 6:41 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Does Dr. Laws even know where South L.A. is?

February 15, 2006 8:07 AM  

Blogger PETA NO! said:

There they go again with that "No kill" garbage. Those people need to grow up and get a life. I've worked for LAAS many years. The best your going to get is "low kill" not "No kill".

February 15, 2006 9:14 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

how about a "low kill" policy on rich westsiders and developers.

February 15, 2006 11:39 AM  

Blogger ubrayj02 said:

This issue appears to be a perfect example of what an awful tool eminent domain really is.

For all the money the City has spent so far, couldn't it just have bought a similar piece of property somewhere in the area? The City got to fiddle with the rules (by using its courts) to get some property it wanted - but now its saddled with a political problem that will not go away.

What a debacle. What a shame.

February 15, 2006 11:51 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Dear Dr. Laws:

Please come to South Los Angeles and assist us with finding and creating new jobs. We also could use your help decreasing the 40 % unemployment rate in the area. I don't know if you are hard of hearing, but I think the Chair of Public Safety mentioned that this transaction occured prior to the arrival of Bernard Parks.

Although he is not my favorite politico, I have to give the man credit for creating jobs in his commmunity. While you sleep in your california king-sized bed on the westside, the residents of our area are trying to sleep through the helicopter noise and high crime.

To assume that bernard parks is for sale for 1,000 is an insult to African-Americans throughout the city.

Before you begin to champion causes in our region, consider a walk in our shoes. We need jobs.

February 15, 2006 2:35 PM  

Blogger Charlotte Laws said:

Dear Anonymous above,

Funny you ask. I attended the Poverty Conference in South LA two weeks ago and at that time volunteered to assist on the state Affordable Housing Committee (which I understand is being created at this time). I have a good deal of expertise on housing issues so feel my efforts could be best used in that arena. I have some ideas for public / private partnerships because I like to help people help themselves. I am not into “handouts.”

I also spoke with Mimi Silbert of the Delancey House last week. In case you don’t know, they have a statewide program, which assists with getting jobs, etc. I suggested that maybe I could come up with some housing ideas that will fit with her existing nonprofit program.

Your sarcasm towards me is a bit puzzling. What are YOU doing specifically to help the poor in South LA?

True, I care about animals, but I also care about people.

By the way, I don’t live on the Westside. I live in Van Nuys. And I have never owned a king-sized bed. I am the “Queen” type.

Charlotte Laws

February 15, 2006 4:45 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Charlotte Laws on an Affordable Housing Committee! Hah! Talking about a Queen NIMBY.

February 15, 2006 8:10 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I read Laws profile. She was never a model. No way. Unless she was modeling for some dog magazine and she was in the distance throwing a frisbee to a dog. Or it was 20-30 years ago.

TV star. Sure.

February 16, 2006 12:59 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

you go to school in South L.A. (USC) and you think you know it all. Good lord.
Ms. Laws, you seem to assume that South L.A. residents don't want to help themselves. You're wrong. Some people CAN'T help themselves because politicians continue to help themselves first, lobbyists second, corporations and constituents last.
Fight the fight in Van Nuys and Panorama City, Arleta, and Pacoima. They need help with so many illegals that it's about to look like CD 14 in a minute.

February 16, 2006 12:07 PM  

Anonymous Tim said:

Even though I’m a newbie to the Mayor’s blog as a clinical psychologist I can say this about the incognito who makes the personal attacks against you Ms. Laws (and there is only one who pretends to be different people):
1. knows you and is jealous of you
2. have OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
3. wishes she was half as attractive and accomplished as you
4. is probably from the dreaded animal rights niche in Los Angeles. I have studied the recurrent tendency of animal rights activists here to sabotage each other secretly. It is fascinating and it is the primary reason the movement will fail time and time again.
Beware Ms. Laws of those you think are your friends. The incognito in earlier posts is evil and mean-spirited and probably pretends to be an angel to your face.
My opinion, for what it’s worth. You should be a model if you’re not and you seem committed to helping others. Keep up the good work.

Tim (sorry I don't have a blogger identity)

February 16, 2006 2:42 PM  

Blogger Charlotte Laws said:

Why does Parks think the shelter will drive away businesses? The progressive animal shelter model means shelters should operate alongside businesses, at malls and at other locations where people regularly congregate. The days of sequestering shelters in back alleys are gone. Animal adoption centers are popping up in malls across the country.

The new motto for the South LA Shelter (which will be located near furniture stores) should be “Buy a couch. Adopt a dog.” “Get a table. Take home a cat.” Animals are part of our community. The sooner we realize this, the better it will be for the people and animals of our city.

February 17, 2006 8:56 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I think Charlotte Laws is right. The shelter needs to go up now. It is horrendous that the city kicked someone out of his business, then it twiddles its thumbs for 3 years. It sets a bad precedent, If scum like Bernie Parks (as everyone knows ONLY cares about Bernie Parks)gets away with this, who knows what is next. Rocky made tons off this deal in campaign dollars. "Public Safety" is just wasting time and money by ordering a stupid report. The City Council is proving what it always proves - that it is good for nothing except twiddling thumbs.

February 17, 2006 11:45 AM  

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