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
Labels: "COUNCILMAN LAST SEEN AS JOSE HUIZAR", David Galaviz, Jenny Krusoe, Legacy LA, Lou Calanche