Council Member Tony Cardenas is on the right track when he says that construction on the LA Zoo's wrongheaded multi-million dollar elephant pen needs to be halted. He's also correct that the Zoo's last elephant (after killing nearly 15 of them over 30 years), Billy, needs to be moved to a sanctuary where he will have the space to roam and companionship of several other elephants.
However Cardenas and his partner-in-crime Council Member Richard Alarcon are absolutely wrong to pursue the City of Los Angeles going into the animal sanctuary business.
Cardenas and Alarcon seem to think that if we halt the elephant pen at the Zoo, then they get to build an animal sanctuary in their Districts.
When the City is in fiscal crisis, folks are losing their homes and a boatload of City employees are about to be laid off, this is the last thing the City needs to do. As the Daily Breeze said "Rome is burning here, and this is no time for fiddling about over elephants."
Most everyone who has a heart, except for Councilmember Tom LeBong who thinks he owns the zoo, Zoo officials who want to keep their jobs and a cadre of LA Zoo fanatics who think it's okay to keep majestic animals in cages, agrees that Billy needs to go to a new home. Numerous elephant preserves exist throughout the US that would be more than happy to take Billy. Citizens including retired game show host Bob Barker have offered to cover the costs of Billy's move. Those who want Billy out of the zoo and are not up to speed on how LA politics really work need to resist the siren song of the Northeast Valley Boyz and not support the LA sanctuary.
"Rome is burning here, and this is no time for fiddling about over elephants."
Los Angeles is not a proper place for such a preserve as much as we would like to perhaps have one nearby. Assembly Lloyd Levine, who is in favor of moving Billy to a sanctuary and closing down the Zoo exhibit, does not see the need for an LA based sanctuary. As he said sure, we'd like to see elephants in LA. But we might also might like to see glaciers. But we're not going to haul one down from Alaska and park in the LA Harbor.
As PetraFried in the City so well put it, Alarcon and Cardenas are looking to benefit rich developers in their district and have yet another "legacy" to their administrations. That's the kind of thinking that moved the Children's Museum from Downtown to Lake View Terrace, miles from most kids in LA, which has become a boondoggle of it's own.
Those who care about both Billy and LA need to advocate to immediately send Billy to an established sanctuary and at the same time shut down both the LA Zoo's elephant exhibit and Cardena's boondoggle preserve.