Tue06302015

Last updateMon, 29 Jun 2015 7pm

LOS ANGELES Tuesday, June 30th 2015 5:00

 IT'S ABOUT R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Using The N-Word

Clinton Galloway
WHO WE ARE-Somehow it has become acceptable to use racial slurs as long as they are directed at yourself. The fact is they are rarely directed at you but to someone else. The most glaring example of this is the use of the N-word. I need say no more because we all understand what the N-word is. The extensive use of the word in modern hip-hop and…

‘LA Is Not Designed To Work’

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-The City of Los Angeles is a sprawling enterprise with 32,000 employees and an annual budget of $8.6 billion. But according to Rick Cole, the City’s former Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation, “LA is not designed to work." Our City’s operations are relatively simple compared to Los Angeles County and other large cities such as New…

SCOTUS Supports the People, Okays California’s Citizen-Driven Redistricting Commission

Deirdre Fulton
NO MORE SECRET BACKROOMS RUN BY POLITICIANS-In a decision hailed as a "major victory for voters," the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld an Arizona ballot initiative, adopted by voters in 2000, which took redistricting power away from elected politicians and gave it to a nonpartisan commission. The 5-4 decision (pdf), which saw Justice Anthony…

To Latinos Trump Is Bad News

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-This past week businessman Donald Trump announced that he will seek the 2016 Republican nomination for President. We all paid attention to his speech, not for great policy ideas but because he said that “When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best. They're not sending you, they're sending people that have lots of…

Supreme Court Aftermath: Meet the New Haters, As Repugnant as the Old Haters

Ken Alpern
HATE POLITICS-The Supreme Court has spoken...again and again and again. And now we're encountering a group of New Haters, as repugnant as the Old Haters, as we discover who is REALLY on the side of Love, Country and Humanity versus that once-marginalized group of emotionally- and intellectually-stunted individuals who now somehow think they're not…

About Time! Neighborhood Councils, NC Alliances: More Comment Time at City Council

Erik Sanjurjo
GUEST WORDS-On Saturday, Council President Herb Wesson gave the keynote speech before the 100+ Neighborhood Council board members and stakeholders gathered for NC Budget Day in City Hall. He announced that in the next Council term he will be folding in neighborhood council related issues under his Rules & Elections Committee, partly to help…

Councilman Parks Sidewalk Repair Plan: Bypass Union Workers

Sharon McNary
CITY HALL-The city of Los Angeles has fallen so far behind on sidewalk repairs, it took a lawsuit to get officials to guarantee more than a billion dollars for repairs. It could take years before the work reaches residential areas because the city must still come up with a strategy for which sidewalks to fix first. But some neighborhoods are…

I Never Believed This Would Happen In My Lifetime

Andrew Sullivan
GUEST WORDS-As Gandhi never quite said … First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they attack you. Then you win. I remember one of the first TV debates I had on the then-strange question of civil marriage for gay couples. It was Crossfire, as I recall, and Gary Bauer’s response to my rather earnest argument after my TNR cover-story on…

Changing the Way We See Ourselves: Every American Should Adopt a Second Country

Andrés Martinez
TRADE WINDS-About 10 minutes into the soccer game, Sebastian’s cries of “here,” “behind you,” and “cross it” became cries of “aquí,” “atrás,” and “al centro.” I’d never heard so much Spanish voluntarily pour out of my ten-year-old. There is nothing like a hunger for the ball. And nothing like full immersion in a foreign language. I brought…

 



Thu Jul 30, 2015 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
A Taste of Chatsworth


Golden Oldie-Johnnie Carson & Betty White-Adam and Eve

Rude. Rude. Rude … orchestra deals with rude cell caller

Whoa! More than 280 million hits. Taylor Swift hit-Bad Blood

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

How “Public” Is the Public Sector?

WHO OWNS THE PUBLIC’S PARKS? -  You may have heard the old joke about the convenience store with a neon sign blaring, “Open 24 Hours”. A customer stops in one morning for coffee, and confronts the store’s owner, “Your sign says ‘Open 24 Hours’, but I stopped by last night at midnight for a pack of smokes and you were closed.” The owner replies, “Oh, we’re open 24 hours…just not in a row.”
I’ve been reminded of this exchange during one of the more intriguing battles over what “public ownership” means in California's state parks. Governor Brown has designated 70 of them (out of 278) for closure in an effort to help close the state’s chronic multi-billion dollar budget deficit.

In response, a Marin County Democratic Assemblyman, Jared Huffman, offered AB 42. The measure, which has now been signed into law, makes it easier for non-profits to enter into operating agreements with at least 20 of the parks on the chopping block.

The law cuts the typical red-tape involved in forming such a “public-civic partnership”, including greater freedom in hiring and providing some added legal protections. And AB42 has been written specifically to hold local governments harmless from possible shoddy work, so lawsuits aren't an issue.

Over the last six months a number of parks have started making such arrangements and will continue to operate. But this is not without some consternation.

The first AB42-enabled contract has recently been signed between the previously closed Jack London State Park in Sonoma County and the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association, which will handle staffing and maintenance for this $500,000 annually budgeted facility. The Association plans to cover expenses through a mix of fundraisers, volunteer labor, and creative marketing.

Asked for her opinion on these new public-civic partnerships, state Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Coastal Northern CA) recently told The Huffington Post why she disliked the legislation: “My own philosophy is that a state park should be owned and operated by the public. Any time you turn even a portion of a state park away from public control, you always have the problem that the park's interest becomes inconsistent with serving the public." But this leaves open the question of what the senator means by 'owned and operated by the public'?

Of course a state park is 'owned by the public' in the broadest sense, but what control do I, as a Californian, really have over how my state parks are run? In many of these AB 42 relationships between state parks and local organizations, the public is far more involved in the maintenance and running of these places than they were before.

In another issue I’ve written about, a group of parents and community volunteers were threatened with a union lawsuit if they persisted in their efforts to assume administrative tasks in a San Francisco Bay Area junior high school that had been hit with several years of budget cuts.

The local chapter of the California Service Employees’ Association (CSEA), sought to prevent parents and residents from volunteering as playground supervisors and back office staff. Said CSEA local president, Loretta Kruusmagi, “As far as I’m concerned, they never should have started this thing.

Noon-duty people [lunchtime and playground assistants]—those are instructional assistants. We had all those positions. We don’t have them anymore, but those are our positions. Our stand is you can’t have volunteers, they can’t do our work.”

Notice the sense of ownership over these public sector positions. Even in the face of dire municipal fiscal situations, with stark choices between whether or not to continue services everywhere from parks to libraries, public sector unions are increasingly challenging local volunteers who are attempting to fill the gap. It is easy to wonder whom are the real “public servants” – the employees or the parents?

As to complaints about the quality of volunteers, I'm not sure unprofessional behavior by volunteers outnumbers - even per capita – that by unionized/fulltime employees.

A similar story is being written currently in the West Los Angeles area Culver City Unified School District. Here, in an interesting twist on the aforementioned tale, a service union in a local elementary school is seeking to force willingly lower paid classroom attendants to unionize, and demanding that a local charity pay for these unionized positions.

The El Marino Language School has been a dual language (Spanish and Japanese) immersion program for more than two decades.

A “blue-ribbon” school in California, the students of El Marino have scored exceedingly high in a number of categories . In order to keep the students “immersed”, the school began hiring native language-speaking “adjuncts” to work in classrooms for a few hours each day – usually a couple of days per week.

An additional element to what the district usually supports, these positions – often filled by parents of current or former students with teaching experience – are supported by a group of local booster clubs.

The longtime program apparently escaped the watchful eye of the Association of Classified Employees (“ACE”), which represents service employees in the district. Upon learning that these non-unionized “adjuncts” were working at El Marino, ACE gave the district an ultimatum: force them to unionize or allow us to bring in our own “adjuncts”.

The current battles over how “public” libraries will be run in California casts a bright light on the use of this rhetoric by municipal unions seeking to keep out competition from private organizations. The city council of Santa Clarita, voted to withdraw from the Los Angeles County system, and contract out their three libraries to LSSI (Library Systems and Services), a private company based in Germantown, Maryland.

The response from some residents and the library employees’ union was an outcry at the supposed “privatizing” of the public library. As the New York Times reported, protest signs at the council meeting declared, “keep our libraries public”, as if access to their libraries was going to be constrained by LSSI. As then-mayor pro tem, Marsh McLean responded, “The libraries are still going to be public libraries. When people say we’re privatizing libraries, that is just not a true statement, period.”

Faced with the prospect of more communities deciding to offer library services through contracted firms, California’s SEIU lobbied the Legislature for passage of AB 438, which adds extra hurdles to city councils making these decisions. Proclaiming that they had “beat the privatization beast in California”, LA County Community Library Manager and SEIU Executive Board Member, Cindy Singer said, "By signing AB 438, Governor Brown put taxpayers and the public ahead of the profits of privately held corporations.” But, once again, knowing exactly what “public” Ms. Singer is referring to requires some circuitous thinking.

Her statement is patently untrue in Santa Clarita, where, as Atlantic Cities describes, “Hours have increased. The library is now open on Sundays. There are 77 new computers, [and] a new book collection dedicated to homeschooling parents and more children's programs.” It appears Santa Claritans have come out “ahead”.

The macroeconomic term “crowding out” is broadly used to describe the adverse impact on private investment created by government action. The phrase also applies to the negating influence government-delivered services can have on the actions of non-profits and businesses.

This is not to say that volunteers and businesses can (or should) fill all the gaps exposed by the fiscal crisis, but it may be time to consider a new phrase, as Americans assume an old role: “crowding in” anyone?

(Pete Peterson is Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy. This article was posted first at newgeography.com) Photo credit: robinsan, Parking Volunteer
-cw

Tags: public sector, parks, public parks, Culver City, Los Angeles, red-tape, public-private partnerships









CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 42
Pub: May 25, 2012












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