Thursday, July 9, 2015

When polluters and funders design a wildlife preserve's restoration plan, what do ya get?

Three Competing Visions for the 
Ballona Wetlands

Under the law in California, (the California Coastal Act), the Ballona Wetlands cannot be developed, only restored.
Here's a pretty long article on the question of what the word "restoration" means:
https://www.hcn.org/issues/47.8/the-los-angeles-wetland-wars
From High Country News, May 11, 2015

The chief spokesperson for the massive bulldozing scheme is quoted:
"historical ecology is “only a snapshot,” she says, and she doesn’t believe the wetlands have to be returned to what they were in 1850 for a restoration to be meaningful."

Luckily, this is not what the law says.
http://ballona-news.blogspot.com/2014/05/is-going-back-4000-years-ago-restoration.html

Monday, June 29, 2015

L.A. Politicians Get Sued When they Favor Concrete over New Parks for L.A

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MONDAY JUNE 29, 2015

FOR QUESTIONS, call or text REX FRANKEL, president of the plaintiff, Friends of L.A. Clean Connected Creek to Peak Parks: 310-738-0861, or email at rexfrankel@yahoo.com



LAWSUIT FILED BY PARKLAND ADVOCATES: L.A. COUNTY SUPERVISORS APPROVE SECRET $20 BILLION NO-NEW-PARKS TAX HIKE WHICH BREAKS LONG-STANDING PARKLAND CREATION PROMISES AND WILL INSTEAD TURN EXISTING PARKS INTO CONSTRUCTION ZONES FOR MANY YEARS TO COME


The Friends of L.A. Clean Connected Creek to Peak Parks filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn L.A.'s most powerful politicians' very quiet approval of the master plan to “soak” the taxpayers and enrich engineering firms and concrete pourers as part of L.A's largest public works project.

The goals of the project are good; cleaning up the pollution and crud that flows down our rivers and creeks with every rain storm which then lands on our public beaches. This is being done in order to finally comply with the USA's Clean Water Act. However, the means chosen by our politicians to accomplish it, so far, “suck”.

Rather than give the public a choice between the bad/very expensive and the good/less expensive way to clean up water pollution and health code violations at our local beaches and creek swimming holes, Los Angeles County's Board of Supervisors on May 27th decided to endorse the bad approach and to make it virtually impossible for concerned citizens to protest this bad choice before their local political boards and city councils. Already, the L.A. City public works department, representing 40% of the land area and population of the County, has plugged its own no new parks plan into the County plan and has done it in a way to prevent public input and protest.

This lawsuit filed on Friday June 26th seeks to prevent the squeezing of the public out of the decision-making for this MASSIVE project, and to require full and meaningful informing of the public about the costs and impacts and alternatives to the politicians' favored plans.

What we have termed the “Creek to Peak” plan is the clean up and conversion of concreted creeks throughout Los Angeles County into restored park greenways with trails and bike paths which will connect L.A.'s existing ring of parks that surround our developed metropolis to our communities. This greenway plan has had many names through the years, starting first with the Olmstead Plan, https://www.flickr.com/photos/cityprojectca/sets/72157601130687757/
also the Mountains to the Sea plan and the Emerald Necklace.


READ THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS, FILED WITH THE L.A. COUNTY COURT 6/27/2015



HOW PROMISES OF MORE PARKLAND PURCHASES WERE MADE TO THE VOTERS AND TAXPAYERS OF LOS ANGELES AS PART OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT COMPLIANCE PLAN


WHAT A NATURAL RIVER AND CREEK RETORATION PLAN WOULD LOOK LIKE AND HOW IT CONNECTS TOGETHER L.A.'S EXISTING PUBLIC PARKS SYSTEM:


THE TWO COMPETING PLANS TO CLEAN UP L.A.'S RIVERS, CREEKS AND BEACHES:


L.A. COUNTY ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT STUDY: COST COMPARISON OF NATURAL VS. INDUSTRIAL PLANS TO CLEAN UP L.A'S WATER POLLUTION PROBLEMS ( hint: natural costs half as much!!!):


-----------------------------------END------------------------------------

Thursday, June 18, 2015

$20 billion tax-hiking No New Parks Plan is Ok'd by State Board

State Water Board OK's L.A. County's Stormwater Capture Plans


6/17/2015 http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-stormwater-runoff-20150617-story.html

excerpts:

Some environmentalists strongly opposed the plan, complaining that the changes did not go far enough. And cash-strapped municipalities also objected, saying that they could not afford the expense of new stormwater infrastructure.
"The revised draft order represents a gross abuse of power and an abdication of responsibility," said Steve Fleischli, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council water program.
Fleischli said the approved rules allowed municipalities in certain watershed categories to avoid the issue of rainwater reuse and also degraded the state's ability to enforce water quality. He said he feared the regulations would allow some cities to plan water capture systems without ever having to build them.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has argued that stormwater capture could potentially provide more than 253,000 acre-feet of water for Los Angeles County after every inch of rainfall — or nearly 40% of the city of Los Angeles' annual water use.

...While government organizations such as the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works voiced support for the revised permit, a number of municipalities said they were alarmed by the potential cost.
Gardena City Councilman Dan Medina said compliance with the permit threatened to "bankrupt our city and probably force it into a disincorporation."
Medina said a consultant had told the city that belonging to an enhanced watershed management program could cost the city $12 million to $24 million a year.
"The city's general fund is only about $50 million a year," Medina said. "Nearly 80% of that goes to public safety."

...Board Chair Felicia Marcus told municipal officials that the estimates seemed too high....

 -----------------------------------

SEE THIS DOCUMENT, AT PAGE 3, PARAGRAPH 5 FOR LA COUNTY'S OWN ESTIMATE OF THE $20 BILLION COST
http://file.lacounty.gov/bos/supdocs/93934.pdf

Friday, June 12, 2015

Annenberg Listens to the other side (or at least does what we told them to do, whether they care what we think)

Annenberg Never Needed to Build Massive Private Complex on Ballona Wetlands Preserve

By Rex Frankel

BIG NEWS for June 2015: I've just learned that the Annenberg Foundation has made a deal to locate their HQ and animal adoption complex in the middle of the Playa Vista office park in a developed area. This is a big turnaround from their previous plans to locate in the fragile Ballona Wetlands wildlife habitat area which taxpayers spent $140 million to purchase in 2003.

The proposal to massively alter the Ballona Wetlands with fleets of earthmovers in order to do what some wrongly called a "restoration"project has seen a lot of the wind in its sails disappear recently

In the last year, the state bureaucrats who secretly negotiated the deal 3 years ago to turn over a major chunk of the Ballona Wetlands State Preserve to the private Annenberg Foundation have all left the state agencies and are now off the public payroll.

The director of the project resigned and set up a private website to advocate for the massive bulldozing project still: that website is empty. See it: https://accessballona.wordpress.com/

we wrote more on this here:
http://ballona-news.blogspot.com/2014/12/sometimes-money-is-not-enough.html

Who is actually running the project currently is a bit of a mystery, as this ad posted by the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust in the Argonaut Newspaper June 11th asks:

Regardless of who is in charge, we continue working to keep the Ballona Wetlands restoration proposals easy on wildlife and historically accurate, for recreation and wildlife, not privateers and polluters.



A public hearing by an L.A. City Associate Zoning Administrator is scheduled for July 30, 2015

See their brochure:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5SGRAMv8RXubERzWmVwbFpza1E/view?usp=sharing

Monday, May 18, 2015

High Speed Hearing Endorses Bad L.A. Creeks Plan

UPDATE: we got to speak after waiting 5 hours, for 2 minutes, to protest the new $20 Billion L.A. water pollution cleanup plan which was originally supposed to include restored river and creek parks but now is an engineering firm's pipe dream.

MORE:

------------------------------------------------

If you support expanded parks from our Creeks to our Peaks, come to the L.A. County Board of Supervisor's meeting on Tuesday May 26th and tell them to Keep their promise of new parks as part of the L.A. stormwater cleanup plan.

The plan is a near complete reversal of longtime plans to turn concreted creeks throughout L.A. into restored and expanded parts of the park system, instead largely relying on turning existing public parks and playgrounds into pollution catch basins. This crummy plan also features a massive tax hike which county planners are trying to sneak past all of us to avoid a rebellion like occurred in 2013. For what happened in 2013, read this: L.A. County to revise proposed parcel tax to fight polluted runoff

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy wrote this in their comment letter: "There seems to be a bias against projects on private land..." in the plan. The SMMC supports land acquisition to create new  "multi-benefit stormwater cleanup parks"  that include wildlife habitat. They stated: . We "recommend inclusion of these types of acquisition projects and this approach in the plan. "




For the hearing notice and my comment letter and other background:

http://ballona-news.blogspot.com/search/label/Restoring%20and%20Unpaving%20Local%20Open%20Spaces%20to%20Clean%20Up%20Santa%20Monica%20Bay%20Beaches

Saturday, May 16, 2015

CREEKS TO PEAKS

WHAT L.A.'S PARK SYSTEM COULD LOOK LIKE -- IF L.A.'S CONCRETED CREEKS WERE TURNED INTO PARKS

TELL L.A. LEADERS TO KEEP THEIR PARKS PROMISE!

Public hearing is May 26th by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in Downtown L.A.

http://dpw.lacounty.gov/lacfcd/ewmppeir/