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Friday, August 31, 2007

Of Disguises and Legends

CurbedLA has recollects when the Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank (now Bob Hope Airport) was camouflaged as a rural neighborhood during World War II to avoid enemy bombing. However they also repeat the age old urban legend that Jack Warner - then head of the Warner Brothers Studios down the street was terrified the Japanese would mistake his sound stages for Lockheed that he painted an arrow on the roof of one of them that said "LOCKHEED - THAT WAY."

Not only is the item not true in fact part of the ruse was to mask the studio as Lockheed so the Japanese would not get suspicious. For many years after one of the sound stages bore the leftover letters "HEED AIRCRAFT COMPANY," obviously the remanants of a fake Lockheed sign. By the way Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica - now Santa Monica Airport - was similarly disguised.

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

Council hires firm to conduct project survey
By MARISELA SANTANA, Staff Writer 30.AUG.07
Milagro Strategies will conduct phone and mail surveys to gain community feedback on Angeles Fields project.

LYNWOOD - By a 3-1 vote during a special City Council meeting Monday, the City Council hired Alvin Parra and Roland Aranjo of Milagro Strategies to conduct an outreach program and survey to solicit community feedback on the controversial development that is now being called Angeles Fields.

Milagro Strategies was first suggested by Mayor Pro Tem Fernando Pedroza at a cost of $57,000 in July.

Councilwoman Maria Santillan, however, reminded her colleagues that to award a contract at that cost, it would have to first go through the request for proposal bidding process. After being told by city staff that the bidding process could take about three months, the council reconfigured the contract to cost only $20,000.

That cost was later cut to $15,000 because any contract costing more than that requires four votes. Councilman Alfreddie Johnson was absent from Mondays meeting. Mayor Louis Byrd, Pedroza and Councilwoman Leticia Vasquez approved the contract, with Santillan dissenting.

Johnson could not be reached for comment.

Parra, a principal owner of Milagro Strategies, said he is confident the outreach program will help the city receive timely and comprehensive community feedback in regards to the project that could displace about 1,000 families for a super shopping center and a sports stadium.

This community feedback will assist the city in determining community concerns and questions related to the proposed Angeles Fields economic development proposal, a letter to the City Council from Parra and Aranjo said. Our firm … has extensive experience in the area of bilingual community feedback and economic development services.

As part of the contract, Milagro Strategies will develop and administer, with the approval of the city, a mass mailer and toll-free telephone interviews to all city households.

The first phase of the survey begins Tuesday with an automated phone questionnaire. If there is no answer, the automated system will leave a phone number where residents can call back and leave their responses. The survey will be conducted in both English and Spanish.

The second phase, begins Sept. 7 with another telephone survey, this time conducted by a live phone operator.

The last phase will include a mass mailer to every household in the city.

Milagro Strategies has until Sept. 15 to complete its outreach program and will present its findings to the City Council during its Sept. 18 regular meeting.

Milagro Strategies is a small business, not a big corporation, said Parra in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon, but we are confident that we can provide a worthwhile service to the community.

Our goal is to educate small cities on how economic development can work, Parra said. We are here to do a good service. We believe in being very progressive, inclusive and objective. We pride ourselves in our work.

Parra said he was not familiar with the controversy over Angeles Fields until very recently, and was not familiar with community response to the project.

He heard from both sides during Mondays meeting, he said.

Longtime resident and activist Miguel Figueroa said he doesnt believe that Parra, Aranjo and anyone at Milagro Strategies can conduct an objective survey.

These people were hired by three council members, he said. Do you think that these guys are going to come back and give them bad news, and tell them, guess what, the results are your community doesnt want Angeles Fields here? Theyre not going to do that. Theyre going to come back here and tell the council what they think they want to hear.

Angeles Fields is a 300-acre proposed development that has received a two-year exclusive negotiating agreement from the City Council. The development, which has drawn large protests over the last year, would displace more than 1,000 homes and businesses on the eastside of Lynwood, between Atlantic and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards.

The council must think that were stupid, Figueroa said. What type of services were they thinking they were going to pay for with $57,000. This is the type of business these council members run. They just toss money around as if it were their own. Why would these council members want to do this survey, if they already know that the community doesnt want Angeles Fields built?

This is another desperate attempt to throw money at one of their friends, Figueroa added. They throw taxpayers dollars at the chamber, at consultants, at campaign contributors, because its not their money. I have one question: When is this council going to finish Ham Park? For Gods sake, they havent even had money to plant grass in the park. Its been an empty lot for almost three years, and they feel they have money to throw at consultants? Its ridiculous and its sad. its very sad.

Councilwoman Santillan said the survey is another tactic by council members trying to save themselves from the recall theyre currently facing.

Isnt two marches, one that included 2,500 residents and meetings, one where over 700 people attended, all opposing the project, enough? Santillan asked Pedroza during Mondays meeting. The only people that have said that they want the project are the people that came in because there was a radio announcement that was promising jobs. I can probably count the Lynwood residents with one hand that have come up to the podium and said I support this project.

Pedroza responded that he simply wants to hear from the rest of the city, and how they feel about the Angeles Fields project.

Such a survey, Santillan later said, should have been conducted before the council awarded the developer John McDonald, the negotiating agreement.

Santillan also asked why the developer was not paying for the survey, rather than the city. But she received no answer from council members, the city manager or from staff.

In fact, the developer has produced a survey card for the project, but it hasnt been used.

Santillan read two of the questions on that survey to the audience during the meeting. The questions were: Would you and your family enjoy a greater variety of retail services, here in Lynwood? And do you feel that more employment is necessary?

Asking these types of questions is like asking anyone if they would like to win the lottery, Santillan said. Its like asking people if they would like an all-expense-paid vacation. In other words, all of the questions, if asked like this, will be answered yes. Questions like this wont get no answers.

Parra said he and Aranjo would be developing the mailer but that it will have to be approved by the city first.

He said that as far as he could tell, people opposed or ain favor of the project want a survey to be conducted.

Most of the people agreed with the survey, but some were asking why now, its it too late, Parra said of Mondays meeting. Who knows what the surveys results will be. They may confirm what people are saying and feel already. Our goal is to do a good job for the city.

Whatever the results, Parra said that he and Aranjo believe in transparency and that the voices should be heard.

His only job will be to deliver the results of the survey to the council.

Parra is no stranger to political fights. He has been a candidate for the 14th District City Council seat in Los Angeles four times since 1995. That year he scared then-incumbent Richard Alatorre.

He resigned as an aide to the current Councilman Jose Huizar last November to challenge him in the council race this past March, but he gained less than 30 percent of the vote as Huizar easily won re-election.

He also served as an aide to Supervisor Gloria Molina for several years.

Figueroa said he is looking forward to hear the types of questions the telephone survey will be asking and in seeing the type of mailer he receives at his home.

This council has walked all over us for such a long time that they dont think that were onto them, he said. Theyre capable of anything and right now, because theyre this close to being recalled because of all of their lies, theyre willing to bring anything to the table for approval. Theyve lost the respect of this community and theyre going to lose this fight, too, when the results of this survey come in, that is if the survey isnt already bought, which we know it already is.

Santillan said she has nothing against the consultants, and they sound like they are a legitimate group of people.

The bottom line is that these people will use the outcome of the survey to their benefit somehow, Santillan said. The recall election is Sept. 25. They seem to be in a very big rush to get the survey done before the recall election for a reason. I wouldnt doubt that they use it for their benefit.

August 31, 2007 12:17 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What the hell does the previous posting have to do with the topic?

August 31, 2007 6:02 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Anonymous (6:02) said...

What the hell does the previous posting have to do with the topic?


I think it has something to do with illegal alien Mexicans taking a survey about allowing Japanese illegal aliens to bomb Burbank movie studios.

August 31, 2007 7:59 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Now this is terrific, Mayor Sam -- exactly the kind of post you should be writing all the time.

Your political views reflect pure ignorance, petulance and pettiness.

But this post is great!


August 31, 2007 8:20 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Anonymous said...

Your political views reflect pure ignorance, petulance and pettiness

As do yours.

Stupid liberal.

August 31, 2007 9:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The term "Stupid Liberal" is redundant.

September 02, 2007 7:41 AM  

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