HOLY COW! YET ANOTHER UPDATE (5:30PM), BREAKING NEWS!
HOME DEPOT CANCELS SCHOOL EVENT! DETAILS JUST COMING IN!
UPDATE: BREAKING NEWS! LAUSD REFUSES TO REVOKE PERMIT!
SEE RON KAYE'S STORY HERE.
An announcement is expected today from the LAUSD about a controversial permit the district issued to allow Home Depot to use Mt. Gleason Middle School to promote their proposed store in Sunland-Tujunga.
This permit breaks a long standing policy of only allowing school facilities to be used by non-profit groups, community groups, or organizations like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc.
The permit may also be in conflict with the State Civic Center Act, which does not provide for corporations, like Home Depot, to use schools as a platform for promotion of their business interests.
It goes without saying that the local community is outraged over this effort by Home Depot to utilize a public school for this intent, and the LAUSD has been bombarded with e-mails and phone calls over the last week protesting the permit.
In Home Depot's permit application to use the school, they said their activity would be a "public meeting". However, in the promotional brochure that was mailed out to the community, they billed the event as an "Open House", and a Home Depot representative said it would consist of "stations" that attendees could visit, and there would be no formal presentation. In addition to mislabeling their activity, the brochure they sent out failed to include the required disclaimer that states the event is in no way affiliated with the LAUSD.
Now, I've attended my share of public meetings, but I've never seen one that was sponsored by a private corporation. There are no City officials scheduled to attend. The Home Depot Open House event is not sponsored by, or sanctioned by, the City or any public agency, for that matter.
It's a sales pitch, under the guise of a "public meeting" and it breaks a long standing policy of the LAUSD. Our schools are not convention centers, and community groups like the Boy Scouts, or non-profit organizations, should not have to compete with a billion dollar corporation, like Home Depot, for after school time.
Home Depot can afford a private facility to hold their "Open House". I know of no community groups that have that same luxury.
Ron Kaye has covered this story well over at his blog, and I will post the decision by the LAUSD as soon as the announcement is made.