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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Follies and Doings of a Connected Non-Profit in CD 14

This is a story about a connected non-profit that needs disconnecting from public money and support.
The past follies and actions of the newest "connected non-profit" in CD 14, Legacy LA, has provided posts galore, which we have highlighted the dubious doings of the likes of Southwest Society Member Jenny Krusoe, USC Lobbyist and former Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council President David Galaviz, former Ramona Gardens Resident (in her opportunist mind) Lou Calanche and the other cast members of connected and wannabees associates.
As the past chairperson of the Hazard Park Advisory Board, which the latest agenda is posted at the left, it was our goal to integrate the Hazard Park Armory and its potential usage into the existing Hazard Park
infrastructure and its programs.
But in my three years as Chairperson, something called "politics" and the resulting catering to their connected associates, now have politicize a public park with so much potential, with serious ramifications for Recreation and Parks, its employees, and how public services are provided city-wide.
Simply, with the city budget heading towards the financial abyss, politically connected non-profits will assume an prominent role in providing services to city residents. But while you can make the case that saving money is of paramount concern...and it is. What quality of services will residents receive from these assorted non-profits, especially when they are connected to those within the political community?
In the case of Legacy LA, these examples should cause major concerns. First, on numerous occasions, I have observed a Legacy LA employee who led bike riding excursions without proper safety gear. Second, in the summer of 2008, a Legacy LA employee, "Monique", who also worked at Hazard Park, tried to persuaded me to go forward with a "teen trip" to Yosemite, that was planned in collaboration with Recreation and Parks, but cancel due to the lack of funding. She stated that we could use Legacy money and no one would known the difference. Third, Rec. and Parks employees had concerns about the "oversight" of the teen program under Monique's direction at Hazard Park. Fourth, Legacy employees are openly competing with Rec. and Parks by using food and trips, in luring youths to their programs at the Armory. Makes you wonder if the likes of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilman Jose Huizar really support the public emplyees of Rec and Parks?
Then there are the questions about the hiring process for Legacy LA. Simply, if you supported then Legacy LA's founder Jenny Krusoe, you got a job. Also during one PAB meeting in the fall of 2009, Monique mentioned in her report on the Teen Program at Hazard Park, that they had received free tickets for Knott's Scary Farm from the youth coordinator at the Ramona Gardens Housing Project. Later the sister of that coordinator, was hired for a position where no job fliers were made available to the community. For the record, current Legacy Executive Director Lou Calanche, offer me a job after my forced removal as PAB Chairperson, due to "selected enforcement of term limits". But in the light of the incidents listed above and the fact that I work part-time for Rec. and Parks, I declined.
In retrospect, I look back on my experience as PAB Chairperson with both satisfaction and bewilderment.
Satisfaction that we were able to initiated the Armory dialog with the community, we provided trips to places like El Capitan State Beach and Yosemite National Park, a grant from the Sierra Club allowed us to produced a newsletter detailing the restoration efforts of the Hazard Park Wetlands. Also, I took the initiative to set up the "Friends of Henry T. Hazard Park and Community", a non-profit to help with fundraising for future park programs.
But I also must share my bewilderment over the politicalization of departments like Recreation and Parks. During my term as Chairperson, our PAB was subjected to investigation by Councilman Jose Huizar, over some supposed comments about Legacy LA. Further, an management official of Rec. and Parks (initials M.M.), made inquiries to community activist Art Pulido, regarding any "conflict of interests" between my PAB duties and part-time work for Rec. and Parks, that could lead to my termination.
But what hurt the most were the comments from Hazard Park Director Aaron Shaw at the June 23, 2009 PAB meeting which I was excused from due to work place injury. From the minutes, He openly expressed his displeasure of the PAB in general, but was particularly discontent with the obvious focus of attention in areas where we (PAB) have no business or areas in (like Wetlands restoration?) or in areas where there is no involvement whatsoever in the betterement of our facility and its programs and activities". These comments are disappointing for the fact that the best moment of leadership from the PAB, was preventing the transfare of Aaron Shaw away from Hazard Park, now sadly "Legacy LA/Hazard Park".
** For the record, I ask for time at last night PAB meeting to respond to Aaron Shaw's comments but no reply came from my request.
Links to our past series on Legacy LA,
Scott Johnson in CD 14
Your thoughts...........................

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

"NOONE CARES" about a district chock full of illegals and banana republic city councilmen.

The people who you mention in this are also illegal or corrupt. How many of them even have broadband, SCOTT JOHNSON?

Funny how you stalk people at these meetings, but hide behind a pen name you asshole.

January 13, 2010 1:14 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Is asshole your maiden name??

January 13, 2010 2:53 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Under the changes to the City Charter in 1999, these "advisory boards" -- whether for parks or otherwise, should have been dissolved years ago in favor of the neighborhood councils, which are supposed to work with ALL city departments -- not just the ones that don't self-select their own wet-noodle puppet advisors like Wrecks and Parks does.

PABs are duplicative, non-elected, and non-representative of the communities that the parks are within. They also tend to be self-replacing, with someone's cousin taking his place when he leaves, and his sister joining to fill another vacancy, all without anyone really recruiting "new" activists with varied interests.

More often than any neighborhood council being "taken over" these PABs get infused with controlling unelected teams of hardcore tree-huggers who think "people" being in the park are a nuisance that harms "nature," or platoons of rabid soccer mommies and daddies whose only concern is can we make MORE and BIGGER playing fields for their pre-teens . . . and, the rest of the population from 20-80 years of age be damned when it comes to park services.

January 13, 2010 3:04 PM  

Blogger Petra Fried in the City said:

Spot, you of all people must understand how the the dictatorial nature of LA's fifteen fiefdoms constantly pulls Rec and Parks into the bullshit, leading directly to things like your personal experiences.

Mark Mariscal is also a political wannabe (who never willbe). That was another 'complication', for want of a better word, that you ran into.

The day Los Angeles City departments are allowed to function as businesses and not be at the constant whim of 15 little Kim Jong Ils and one big one - the Mayor - is the day that our parks and rec centers no longer operate in Bizarro-World.

So, basically never.

January 13, 2010 3:13 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

You're right about the PABs - both Parks and LAPD.

Here in North Hollywood no one knows of these organizations nor what they do.

You do have to have connections to get on board. Especially the CPAB. I asked the Captain years ago if I could join the CPAB and he said they didn't need any more white people.

You have a point - it should be brought under the NCs - they have far more visibility.

January 13, 2010 3:17 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

NCs are elected, such as that is. They're also required to hold open and visible elections and do outreach to maintain their transparency.

PABs are the kind of "inside" game that soils everything it touches and most of the time, the foxes guard the hen house, with RAP executives recruiting their own "advisors" from among the elites in the community who already agree with them.

ABOLISH PABS! Find some advisors who aren't afraid to say "no" to this most horribly dysfunctional of city departments, not just a room full of "yes" men and women.

January 13, 2010 3:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'll be honest - I cannot imagine our local NC governing a Hansen Dam board any more than the joke of a PAB already pretends to do. Individuals who have financial interest in activities that could be built on Hansen Dam land to their financial benefit inhabit the FTDNC. Apparently that's okay in LA.

Yeah - NC boards are elected. We know what a representative process that is.

Don't feel bad about your CPAB, MS. They don't want me either. A clique-y, spooky group, a lot like LAPD in general.

January 13, 2010 4:34 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

4:34 p.m.

Whether you think your NC is up to the task at hand or not, is immaterial. The bottom line is, the people of L.A. overwhelmingly voted that charter change -- and that's what it calls for . . . elected, accountable, conflict-screened citizen panels to do the work of advising all apsects of city government, and their called "neighborhood councils."

Any other entrenched, City staff-controlled past iterations, whether "PABs" or "CPABs" or PABST-Blue-Ribbon panels, are as bogus to current city operations as Confederate money is to the IRS.

Maybe, just maybe, having some real "work" and responsibility dealing with critical elements of each community like the well-being of parkland would lead to more serious, sober, unconflicted activists joining NCs, and solve both problems.

January 13, 2010 7:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Jenny Krusoe of Legacy -- Kissing the Mayor's ass for some non-profit sugar means never having to say you were sorry for being a member of the Southwest Society.

Keep up the good work Red Spot...Legacy is baaaaaad news.

January 13, 2010 9:51 PM  

Anonymous Kristin Sabo said:

7:54 - appreciate your opinion but I suggest you look at NCs and their ability to function on a case by case basis.

I consider myself a fairly well-meaning parks activist without any financial benefit to my activities.... lots of financial cost to me, quite honestly.

I =>>quit<<= the FTDNC because of their nearly total dysfunctional activity, most which continues to date. In fact, at the board meeting in December, after relating a first-hand account of a park incident, I was called an outright liar by the recording secretary. (She did do it in a hush-hush voice, so I suppose I can give her that much.) This was an incident in which I have no dog in the fight - I was just saying what I know.

I get far more done on my own than trying to work with almost everyone on that board. It's a shame because I put in a lot of work in forming it.

So thanks for the golden vision of the glorious NC system, but it doesn't work worth shit on too many things in my neighborhood.

See ya around Hansen Dam. I'll be the one removing gang graffiti next month.

January 14, 2010 9:15 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

How much did the shig dig Antonio put on for the do nothing CPAB's last night in city hall. Antonio sent a shuttle to the 19 LAPD stations to pick people cause he was afraid no one would show. There was a band, tons of food, and the pathetic Mayor who knows nothing about CPAB's gave each member a merit pin for sitting on their asses doing nothing for their community. THis shig dig had to cost thousands all for a photo op.

January 14, 2010 3:26 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

WTF!!!!! Huizar is tranfering another $50,000 from the CLARKS FUND and doesn't tell anyone where its going and to who. ISNT' THIS ILLEGAL???

January 14, 2010 4:07 PM  

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