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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Connected Non-Profit Theatrical Group CASA 0101 "Presents" with help of CRA LA?

 CASA 0101 has grown beyond this First Street store front location.
Would the "Valley Greuel" find anything questionable in Chris Essel's CRA $150,000 outreach contract with CASA 0101?
There is no doubt that the connected non-profit theatrical group CASA 0101 has rounded the curve to artistic sustainability at its new and larger Boyle Heights location. The journey has been arduous undertaking for CASA's only employees, founder Josefina Lopez and husband Emmanuel Deleage, who have put their home up as collateral for a loan to bring CASA's latest location on line as noted in a recent Eastern Group Publications story and they still face perilous financial days ahead.
But as today's Los Angeles Times article profiles CASA's latest artistic undertakings, questions remain about the no-bid $150,000 CRA outreach contract awarded to CASA in light of this paragraph in the Times story.
The project entailed more than three years, hundreds of thousands of dollars in makeover costs, and painstaking permit-gathering and endless wrangling over access to the scant local parking supply. The nonprofit theater center is supported in part by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and has received funding from the city's Community Redevelopment Agency and the California Arts Council along with substantial personal investment by L√≥pez and Deleage. 
There is nothing factually wrong with any of the content above, but what the CRA contract funded was outreach by CASA employees on CRA projects, not theatrical productions as one could surmise from the Times story.
Reviewing the CRA contract provisions. CASA was to be funded for these "various outreach undertakings".
** $67,500 dollars for three employees at $30 per hour for 750 hours of "outreach" work. (Connected voter outreach, whoops theatrical pays under CRA)
** $5,000 dollars for booth at CASA Christmas Event. (Thats one nice and pricey Christmas present for CASA)
** $5,000 dollars for to fund table at CASA Fundraising Event.("Tables" getting expensive in the connected CBO community)
** $10,000 dollars for distribution of CRA material in the community. (in addition to salaries?)
** $15,000 dollars CASA performance programs with "full-page CRA logo and Mission Statement.(waste)
** $12,000 dollars for CASA color fliers with CRA logo. (waste)
** $7,500 dollars for half-page color and glossy ad in CASA's Annual Brochure.(EGP wishes they could charge that much for ads)
** $10,000 dollars for inclusion of CRA logo and Mission Statement on CASA's website. (Hmm. no sign of CRA on Home Page, nothing on Facebook)
** $20,000 dollars for miss. advertising throughout the term of contract for other events. (Maybe that is what pay for the CASA billboard blight on Mission and Cesar Chavez?)
All this adds up to one sweetheart deal for CASA with so much room for graft and a auditor's dream if only the aspiring Mayoral Candidate Wendy Greuel would put aside her political support for Councilman Jose Huizar and CRA Executive Director Chris Essel, to investigate.
Your thoughts..............
Scott Johnson in CD 14       

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2 Comments:

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

Scott, YOU posted about this, last month. Then I looked at the agenda item from CRA and was outraged. Posted this post: http://ladailyblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/crala-approves-150000-to-have-logo.html Looks like the one LA Times did, today, that you mention. Hope some other eyeballs see all of this, now.

September 25, 2011 5:03 PM  

Blogger CD 14 Watch said:

What is the Casa 101 twitter account? I can't find it. It says on the CRA agenda item that they will promote CRA outreach via twitter. Was part of the outreach money? So what is the account? I'd like to look. Also, not nothing about CRA outreach on the facebook page, that money was also paid for. I wonder if the number of seats they promised to be filled (estimated) is anything close to reality. I wonder if the CRA logos are on the programs, as promised? I wonder a lot of things about this. And that means other people, wonder, as well. Nice use of voter approved bond money for blight redevelopment. Jose Huizar made the argument, must spend money on cultural development, too. No. I don't think that's what this was for.

September 25, 2011 5:20 PM  

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