Sun08022015

Last updateThu, 30 Jul 2015 7pm

LOS ANGELES Sunday, August 2nd 2015 1:16

 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

City Hall has a drinking problem

LANDSCAPING IN LA - As the threat of a water crisis looms on the horizon, the City of LA finds itself immobilized, tethered by garden hoses and irrigation systems to an unsustainable municipal lifestyle that costs money, wastes water, and sets a poor example.

Consider the unintended consequences of the recent Occupy LA encampment surrounding City Hall that killed the turf lawn, prompting Emily Green of the LA Times to declare it a “positive achievement” that provides LA’s leadership with an opportunity to “walk the talk” of a water-wise commitment.

Many cities use the landscaping and maintenance of their municipal property as a teaching opportunity, showcasing drought resistant options to the traditional turf lawn that is neither native nor sustainable.

LA’s City Council, on the other hand, has spent more time debating lawn-watering strategies in the midst of municipal water rationing than it has on setting a citywide standard that would wean the City of LA from its dependency on sprinklers and fertilizer.

In the wake of the Occupy LA “restoration” of City Hall Park’s open space, LA’s Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) has taken its “restoration” responsibilities on the road, engaging “a large cross section of City professionals and officials, renowned landscape professionals, and the public to solicit a variety of input, concerns, and suggestions.”

RAP has advanced three proposals that range from a traditional “putting green” gestalt to a design that incorporates permeable sidewalks, water reclamation, drought resistant ground cover and decomposed granite paths.

Missing from the dialogue is an option that liberates City Hall from the need to install an irrigation system. It’s not as if the City of LA is a stranger to the notion of irrigation-free landscape design and maintenance.

The City of LA owns and operates the 110 year-old South Seas House as a community center and RAP maintains its beautiful Xeroscape front yard without relying on an irrigation system, resulting in a beautiful demonstration of alternatives to the traditional turf lawn and a dependency on water.

The City of LA is also home to the Charles F. Lummis Home and Garden, an acre of drought tolerant  and native plant landscaping that demonstrates our ability to give up the garden hose habit in favor of low maintenance designs that incorporate water reclamation elements.

The fact that the City of LA actually maintains public space landscaping that is free of the need to install and maintain wasteful irrigation systems has not impeded its commitment to labor intensive landscaping choices that squander a dwindling natural resource.

LA’s new Fire Station #82 is being build on Hollywood Boulevard, a huge training facility that has approximately 500 square feet of streetside landscaping, requiring 134 sprinkler heads. The complexity of a system such as this belies the environmental and budget realities of the City of LA.

In fact, LA has a strong track record of designing and building facilities while neglecting to budget for ongoing maintenance, a pattern of failure that has prompted downtown residents to “adopt” the lawn surrounding the LAPD’s $600 million headquarters.

Now is the time for the City of LA to step back and to look at the barren lawn of City Hall Park as an opportunity to set a standard, to connect traditional turf lawn landscapers with training that prepares them for the future, to demonstrate to Angelenos water conservation techniques that are beautiful and low-maintenance.

Los Angeles is home to the Theodore Payne Foundation, an organization that conducts a year round education center in an effort to promote the use of California native plants and wild flowers. TPF has a presence on the streets of LA, appearing at Park(ing) Day LA events and Farmers Markets to demonstrate the advantages of landscaping that is pleasing to the eye while providing a water conservation solution.

Surrounding communities, such as Santa Monica, San Fernando, and Manhattan Beach all operate municipal facilities that are free of a dependence on extravagant irrigation systems and maintenance commitments, also serving as a teaching opportunity that encourages the community to engage in water conservation efforts.

Covina’s library is surrounded by a 3,300 square foot water-wise Native Plant Demonstration Garden that replaced the turf lawn and now captures run-off water for its irrigation needs.

The Crescenta Valley Water District Demonstration Garden offers ideas for replacing turf with California Friendly plants and serves for a promotion for its policy of offering rebate money to residents who remove turf grass from their yards.

Santa Clarita’s Castaic Lake Water Agency Conservatory Garden features 350 low-water-using plant varieties and 1,500 roses, along with instructional signage and classes to help gardeners be water-wise.

LA’s own Pierce College features the S. Mark Taper Botanical Garden, 1.9 acres of plants from the seven major worldwide Mediterranean climate zones, all suitable for Southern California’s climate.

Meanwhile, the City of LA struggles with an artificial dichotomy between what is functional and what is sustainable, a battle that relies on the assumption that City Hall’s full roster of public events all require a turf lawn landscape.

It simply isn’t true and there is a groundswell of advocacy in favor of exploring the full range of sustainable options. Community leaders, such as Sherri Akers and Melissa Stoller of the Mar Vista Community Council’s Green Committee, have formally asked the City of LA to seize this opportunity and to surround City Hall with sustainable landscaping.

The Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, long active in community sourced  solutions to land use, sustainability, and open space issues, has also jumped in with a commitment to help design and maintain a sustainable City Hall Park landscape.

Why then the drama?

Does the City of LA own a warehouse of water sprinkler equipment that must be used up before it can conceive of giving up its water-wasteful habits?

Does the City of LA have an endorsement deal with Toro, one that requires the city to keep riding lawnmowers active in all 15 council districts in order to qualify for compensation?

The time is now for the City of LA to think beyond the putting green, to give up the turf lawn, and to embrace this opportunity as the fork in the road, the one that the next generation will look back at as the defining moment when the City of LA began to actually walk the talk.

###


(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net.)
–cw

Tags: Stephen Box, 2012, resolutions, City Council, LAPD, LAFD, meetings, audits, community meetings, neighborhood councils, City Hall



CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 6
Pub: Jan 19, 2012

Share