Saturday, November 16, 2013

Latest Homeless Violence Incident at Sunland McDonalds Shows S-T Residents Have Had Enough of Flawed Homeless Policy

Sign of the Times
While many of us certainly feel compassion for those who are down on their luck and faced with the cycle of homeless, the fact that a large percentage of the homeless population are mentally ill, drug addled and violent offenders creates a huge public safety issue for the residents, families and children of our community. With an establishment, local police force and local government that is seemingly unwilling and/or incapable of dealing with the problem - and in fact may actually intentionally be excaberating it - it is time for the community to take action on it's own.

Information, contact details and an upcoming neighborhood watch meeting is listed at the end of this article. 
Read the following story posted by one of our readers at our Foothills Observed Facebook page:

Tonight I reached my threshold. Done and done.
I’m sharing this post not to start a debate or heated discussion. I share it because tonight, I got first hand experience seeing why things have gotten so out of hand with the homeless population and the effects it’s had on our community and everyone's safety.
I was at McDonald’s tonight on Foothill in Sunland having my child’s parent teacher conference.

A homeless woman obviously high on some sort of narcotic, chased a man and his toddler in the parking lot, kicking him and his car. He ran inside telling the staff to call 911. She followed him in screaming obscenities and yelling about heroine. The situation got extremely heated, the manager called 911, and my daughter’s teacher and I decided it was time to get out of there. I exited the front door only to have the woman follow me and attempt to get into my passenger side door. Thankfully, I was able to hit lock before she could open it. She then went to the rear of my SUV and started pounding on my car calling me names and screaming about heroine. I started my car and she walked across the parking lot to her shopping cart and got a metal baseball bat, banging it on the ground, and came toward my vehicle again. I threw it in reverse and sped off before she got to back to my car. 

I drove back to McDonalds moments later and didn’t see her so I went in to wait with the gentleman who was assaulted, so that I could offer a witness report. The person on the line asked the manager if anyone was hurt. When he said no, but they needed an officer to respond, he was told to ignore the woman and she would go away. We waited… no response. The staff at McDonalds told me that they have to call 911 often because there are homeless people who come in often threatening them with rocks, boulders, and other makeshift weapons, for food and money. 9 out of 10 times, there is no police response to their calls. Some of them are scared to even go to work. The kids eating their dinner in the dining room looked terrified. I left the parking lot once again telling myself, I’ve had it with this place. Wishing I didn’t feel that way.

I came home and called the Foothill Division to express my disappointment at the lack of response. I spoke to an Officer Carlin who blew me off, and told me that if I wasn’t hurt and if it was resolved there was nothing he could do. He then told me that they were too busy for my phone call, and that if I wanted to say something I could drive down to the station. He became more helpful when I asked him for his name, badge number , and supervisor. 

His supervisor Officer Kennedy came on the line and heard me out, apologized and told me that he would send a car out as soon as possible and that he was aware that McDonalds had frequent episodes of this nature. That they do all they can but there is only ONE patrol car assigned to patrol Tujunga regularly. I found that disappointing too. But even the supervisor didn’t ask for my name or contact info in case he wanted to follow up with me or have me offer a formal statement of any kind. 

There are people who’ve said that we should embrace this epidemic and be more understanding. But the situation I witnessed tonight is just one of many, it’s happening more and more and it’s ignored.

Part of me got home and felt like just moving on, that calling wouldn’t make a difference. But after hearing the officer at the field office be so cocky and uninterested I was glad I did, even if I had to hold for 20 minutes to talk to his supervisor. Maybe that is what it will take… people calling and pursuing action all the time, every time.

At the root of much of this appears to be the secret machinations of the so-called "Sunland-Tujunga
The word in Spanish is "BASTA (enough)!"
Homeless Working Group," an organization made up of representatives of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighbohrood Council, Council District 7 staff and other organizations. This was the group who recently held a "homeless resources fair" at Sunland Park, previously home for 50 years to our Watermelon Festival, enticing local homeless as well as those bused in from other communities to receive public assistance, housing, ID cards (paid for by STNC) and free food. Following this event, locals noticed an increase in homeless in the park, dumping of trash and a proliferation of shopping carts.

As writer/blogger Joseph Maiilander noted, the Homeless Working Group does not invite public participation and it's meetings are considered confidential, inclusion is at the whim of CD7 Council Member Felipe Fuentes: 

After three months of pressing the Council office, it has finally been determined: The Sunland-Tujunga Homeless Issues Working Group meets PRIVATELY, by invite of Councilmember Felipe Fuentes ONLY, and the public is NOT invited.

When such meetings that so dramatically affect the future of the community are conducted in private, completely out of community view, with no public review whatsoever--and the Neighborhood Council does not even register any protest that they should be conducted in public--can anyone really still believe that this happens because the Council office, the developer of Day Street, or the people in the group are working in the best interests of the community of Sunland-Tujunga?

When the Neighborhood Council swallows such a private arrangement so gladly, can anyone believe your Neighborhood Council is working in the interest of your community?
You as a community are entirely cut out of that dialog--a dialog that directly affects your community's future, a dialog that is establishing your community as the homeless destination of the Northeast Valley. And yet your Neighborhood Council only seems fine with this relationship, and doesn't even care that these meetings are private!

That's the kind of playing along that government officials just love to hand out certificates for.

As our local officials have failed us, it is time for the community to speak out. It is highly suggested that you contact LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and demand he conduct a full investigation of the Sunland-Tujunga Homeless Working Group and a full review of all policies/actions dealing with the homeless in our community:

500 West Temple Street, Room 869
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 974-5555
(213) 974-1010 FAX
You can send the Supervisor an email at this link.

Additionally, please contact Council Member Felipe Fuentes to demand he open the Homeless Working Group and all records of it's decisions to the public:

7747 Foothill Blvd.
Tujunga, CA 91042
Tel: (818) 352-3287 | Fax: (818) 352-8563
You can reach Wesly Hernandez, Area Director at wesly.hernandez@lacity.org

You can also speak up at an upcoming Neighborhood Watch Meeting, this coming Tuesday, November 19th, at 7 pm at North Valley City Hall. 

7747 Foothill Blvd.
Tujunga, CA 91042

Reaching out to these elected officials and attending these meetings will not immediately change things. But the more people who speak up, bug the hell out of these elected officials and step up more often to resist the status quo will begin to make a change.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The City Council's Export the Homeless to Sunland-Tujunga Program

If you ever wonder why there are so many homeless in Sunland-Tujunga, there is one very good reason why.

Photo from Sunland-Tujunga Memes
We are a net importer of these unfortunate individuals.

There are many reasons without doing anything that our community is attractive to the homeless. For many, it's the same allure that brought many of us are here. It's a great place - a semi-rural, small town type burg set against spectacular mountains.

More so, homeless are lured here by a rapidly growing set of social services, a beautiful park with lax enforcement, resources to earn some income and a wash to hide in. And we have an upcoming homeless festival, complete with illegally posted flyers.

For years, other communities locally and out of town have given the homeless one way tickets to our town. But now, the LA City Council itself is intently looking at S-T to absorb the homeless from Downtown and Hollywood.

Want proof? None other than our former Council Member, Richard Alarcon (yes, THAT Richard Alarcon) said so. And here's the video to prove it.


It comes from the live broadcast of the LA City Council and is un-edited. This is just prior to when Richard Alarcon, Jan Perry and the outgoing Council members were leaving office. Anyway, here they are saluting Jan Perry for her years in office. The first part is former Council Member Bill Rosendahl cheering Jan. The next speaker is Richard Alarcon who talks about the work she has done to bring in Staples Center, LA Live, all the downtown development etc and how they have had to deal with the homeless. Alarcon goes on to say how he tried to help her by building homeless projects in the NE Valley. Thus, they want to bring homeless here and get them out of downtown where billions is being spent on hipster development.

Special thanks to Wally Wharton for getting us the clip.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'm On The Radio Again!

Back behind the mic again as I take the reins of "Frank and Tai Talk" on LATalkRadio on Sunday, September 8th at 4:00 p.m. PDT. Frank Sheftel and Tai Babalonia are "on assignment."

I will be talking about the news of the day. And I will be interviewing local writer, Joseph Mailander, about his new book, Days Change at Night: Notes on LA's Decade of Decline, 2003-2013 and other topics of note.

We'll also take your calls at 1-323-203-0815.
Joseph Mailander


You can listen at www.latalkradio.com or download the Android LATalkRadio app at the Google Play Store or the iPhone App Store or use TuneInRadio for BlackBerry users.

See you on the radio!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Have You Seen Brandon the Tortoise?

Brandon the Tortoise, who has been part of the same Sunland-Tujunga family for 40 years, has been missing for some time and his owners are desperate to find him.

There is belief that Brandon may have been found by another individual who is keeping him, but there is little information as to who this individual may be and no way at present to contact them

Local resident Grace Kastraniec Taylor posted the following additional details at Facebook. If you have any information relating to Brandon, please call the owners at 818-352-5508


Hello everyone! I have posted this on the Animal pages but have had no luck, so thought I would try this one since it has so many followers. Brandon the Tortoise is still LOST and I am trying to advocate here on FB for his owners, because they are an elderly couple that do not have computer access. I mainly need help trying to locate a woman who has in her possession a tortoise that was FOUND on Silverton last month, but although I was told that she was given the information to be able to get in touch with these people, she has not attempted to yet, and it's been weeks already. At this point, I have no idea how to find her. All I know is that she also used to have a tortoise, which she also lost and that is how she ended up with the one that was found, but is not making any attempt to find the owner. The person who originally found the turtle could not keep it, so gave it to her for safekeeping, while trying to locate the true owner. She also has children and they have named the new tortoise Miles. If anyone out there has ANY information as to who this person might be, PLEASE call Brandon's owners at 818-352-5508. They just want to have an opportunity to see if the tortoise that she now has is theirs, but if it is not, they will not take it from her. Brandon's humans and mate really miss him. Please help if you can. Thank you so much!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Garcetti to Hold Office Hours at Van Nuys City Hall



Mayor Garcetti wants to hear from you. RSVP for the Mayor's Office Hours at Van Nuys City Hall at garcetti.officehours@lacity.org


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why Is Sunland-Tujunga a Homeless Center?

Recycling Center One Block From Sunland Park
There's a lot of talk that our Sunland Park homeless problem is caused by church/volunteer groups sharing food with the down and out. That's an issue across the nation and is often a case made by those with animus towards the evangelical Christian and/or Catholic adherents. That's another story, but let's take a look at it.

Using common sense, indeed, if some organization provided meals morning, noon and night on a daily basis, out of the parks, indeed you could say that draws a certain amount of folks. Not just homeless, but at-risk youth and others would come out for food. Fair enough.

But what we see locally is once a week/once a month and sporadic. Usually it's tied to some kind of event/holiday. 

So what brings homeless to the park? Same thing that brings most people to the parks, really. It's a quiet place to sit down, out of the hustle and bustle of other public locations, you can nap under a tree, there's room to wander around and it's pretty. 

But let me submit further to you what I believe is one of the prime contributors, if not the prime contributor, to homeless in Sunand Park is. 

One block from the park at the corner of Floralita Ave and Foothill Blvd is a recycling center (located behind a gas station). These recycling centers draw HUGE numbers of homeless who root cans, bottles and other recyclables out of local trash (in violation of the law) and bring them to these recycling centers in order to earn some cash. 

Recycling Center, behind Mobil Staion
I am certain that many of these homeless, once they cash out and purchase some libation or other intoxicant at any number of nearby legal and illegal outlets, just saunter over to the park for a lovely rest of the day and perhaps, a night's sleep. There is no question that recycling draws out homeless, there are issues at a large shopping center in NoHo with this, more than any little rag-tag group of Christians or anyone making a few sandwiches and sharing them. 

Several years back, the California State Legislature mandated that recycling centers be set up within specific distance of any place that sells bottled and canned beverages. - i.e. supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations. Let's get the recycling centers out of residential and commercial areas and put them in industrial areas where they belong. And let's enforce the law on trash picking. Just this morning, I saw two homeless people on my block pulling junk out of my neighbor's cans and putting them in a shopping cart. 

The concern among many that a "homeless fair" in the park is not about being "haters" (or hatters?) or a peanut gallery or whatever nonsense the status quo crowd wants to toss out there. It's about creating a permanent image of the park as a homeless service center when there are plenty of other locations nearby that would be more suitable. The fact that this was imposed on us by an out-of-town, new Councilman and that our local leaders were not willing to stand up to him is a sad commentary on our town. It is particularly telling when the City of Los Angeles has a policy of "regionalization" of the homeless. That is, getting the homeless out of Downtown LA and Skid Row where powerful developers want to gentrify the area, and shipping them to key locations in Sunland-Tujunga, Sun Valley, Van Nuys, South Central, East LA and other areas that are generally lower income and politically impotent. 

At what point do we stand up for ourselves to the city, and to the locals who enable the city's nonsense in exchange for a few shiny things from the Councilman of the week?

Michael Higby Appears on AM 870 The Answer this Sunday

Sunday morning I'll be featured on a segment of Sunday Morning Newsmakers with Larry Marino on AM 870 The Answer, starting at 9:00 a.m., PDT.

We'll be discussing the City Council's recent vote to lift the ban on murals on buildings in Los Angeles.

You can listen to the program on the radio at 870 AM, on the internet at the station's site or via the iHeartRadio app for Andorid, iPhone or BlackBerry.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Get Your Lawsuit Here! Read The Complete Snowball West Verdugo Hills Filing

Now you can read it for yourself and it is - fascinating reading! The complete lawsuit filing by Snowball West, developers of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course, against the City of Los Angeles and former Councilman Richard Alarcon, for the efforts to designate all, some or part of the golf course as a historic landmark, since the site was once used for as an internment camp for the Japanese during World War II.

Snowball is not at all happy about how things went down and a big part of it is that the historic effort was initially sold by Alarcon as a way to block the controversial development. This was declared by Alarcon's deputy, Gerald Gutaban, at a Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council meeting and later in press reports about Alarcon's plan.

Somewhere along the way, the historic effort was divorced from the nearly decade old save the golf course campaign for reasons that are not quite clear. Speculation includes motivation such as not wanting to offend the Japanese community which was now already engaged, to reducing the risk for the City of avoiding this very kind of lawsuit to the effort no longer being needed by Alarcon, who proffered the solution a scant few weeks before the conclusion of his race for the State Assembly (he lost), a speculation at least made by the plaintiffs in their case.

Just this past Wednesday evening, it was stated during a report at the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council Meeting that the historic effort had nothing to do with preserving the site from development; something the record just does not support. The plaintiff's filing also makes this very clear.

Read the entire document here.

The worm continues to turn!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Behind Pothole Politics is a $3 Billion Bill!

Smile, boys!
Facebook pages were chock full of pictures of our Mayor and newest Council Members donning work vests and hard hats, filling pot holes as part of "Operation Neighborhood Council Blitz," where Neighborhood Council members were given some sense of "empowerment" in tabulating and submitting lists of potholes for repair consideration.

Potholes are a really good issue for politicians to go after because it's something simple to understand, creates great pictures for television and the papers and the idea of filling potholes generally offends no one.

Indeed, our own Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council's video production company was on the scene where Mayor Garcetti gave a stand-up, impromptu speech on the effort of the day. Later, the Mayor "kicked it" with street services workers recounting the various neighborhoods they had visited filling potholes. 

We all appreciate any potholes that can be filled. LA is legend for them. In fact, after San Jose, LA has the worst graded condition streets of any city in the nation by international road condition standards.

The problem is when it's yet another photo opp with something worse lurking behind the corner.

That something worse is a currently on life support plan for the City to place a $3 billion - and yes that's billion with a B - bond measure on the ballot, one that is intended to repair our local streets, but we all know what happens with bond measures and blank checks. 

That filling potholes and maintaining city streets is not such an essential municipal function that the cost for such should be borne out of the city general fund from all the taxes and fees we are already paying is incredible. What are they spending this money on? Anyone who followed the Mayoral race knows that a huge piece of the City's debt comes from higher than industry average pay rates offered to the unions that support politicians and gold plated pensions the leadership of these unions have been able to get from elected officials. 

Jack Humphreville, a local business (he owns the Recycler Paper!) and an impassioned local advocate who is adept at rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in city government goes into deeper detail about the bond measure in this piece at The Fox and Hounds blog. Jack offers up what should be very strict rules and reforms IF such a bond measure is even to go through. 

Get ready to open up your checkbook!

The Arrogance of Power

You BETTER not
be silly!
Participants in our Facebook group (have you joined?) have been actively discussing the arrogance of power locally, and throughout the City of Los Angeles. For too long, anyone who asks a question, has an opposite view of how things should be done or just doesn't agree have been bullied, harassed, ridiculed and slandered in a calculated manner to chill speech and remove any challenge to the status quo.

Joseph Mailander, writing in an already highly noted piece at LA CityWatch (one of the City's go to online zines on municipal matters) chronicles such abuse and how the chickens are coming home to roost as a result of this arrogant behavior.

Among Mailander's observations:

President Herb Wesson and Councilmember Paul Krekorian were yucking it up in an LA City Council meeting, before an audience of 200 people and broadcast for all, at the expense of a harmless, disempowered, persistent City Hall critic, Arnold Sachs. 
Sachs’s offense in Krekorian’s eyes involved the bizarre rush-to-judgment that attended the forming of an historic site on property owned by the Verdugo Hills Golf Course. Sachs was not directly involved in the dispute, but as a civic watchdog he had dared to think it unusual that Council was suddenly rushing to pass a motion on a preservation issue—going against the recommendation of the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission and even changing it on the fly—just as the motion’s key political drivers, Councilmembers Richard Alarcon and Ed Reyes were leaving office. 
Now the City faces a twenty million dollar lawsuit from a developer who has dared to wonder some of the same things that the disempowered Sachs’ was wondering.

Mailander also briefly discusses the case of former MayorSam blogger and civic activist, Zuma Dogg, who became an unflappable critic of City Hall and infallible source of inside information when new City rules regarding the Venice Beach boardwalk essentially killed the until then apolitical Dogg's business of selling memorabilia from his local cable TV show. Dogg reached out to the Council, expecting a reasonable and quick resolution of the matter, but was shocked when he found the near disdain the Council has for local citizens. Dogg then engaged on a six year well researched, performance art filled jihad against the City which eventually lead to a federal judgement on behalf of Dogg and his associates. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Details of Golf Course Developer Lawsuit Emerge

Idyllic day at Verdugo Hills Golf Course, Photo by Joseph Mailander

Our contributor, Joseph Mailander, visited Sunland-Tujunga Friday, did some digging and unearthed some details on the lawsuit that Snowball West, owners of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course, has filed against the City of Los Angeles over it's designation of a small piece of the property as a "historic landmark."

You may remember that last fall, Alarcon presented to the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council a strategy to block development of 229 homes on the site, by declaring the property, which was used during World War II as a detention camp for Japanese-Americans and others, a "historic landmark."




This was at the height of Alarcon's campaign for the State Assembly; a race he later lost.

At some point during the process for historic designation, the stated intent of the effort changed; not to block development, but to provide some historic mitigation to the Japanese community, and acquire some sort of recognition and memorial at the site.  As Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council board member Krystee Clark told the Glendale News-Press, "Well, it's not really about the golf course," she said. "It's about making sure the area is preserved in a way that satisfies the Japanese American community."

The following is courtesy of Joseph Mailander:

The suit that the owners of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course have brought against the City of Los Angeles is mostly pointed at Alarcon's actions in his final days as a Council Member
It notes how Alarcon introduced the motion to designate the site as a Japanese monument on October 12, 2012..."25 days before the General Election and without notice to Snowball."
It references an LA Times report noting that Alarcon had hoped to "save the Verdugo Hills Golf Course from residential development by adding it to the list of historic and cultural monuments"--something Alarcon's office and others were denying when they found later that this might constitute deprivation of due process
It alleges that Alarcon refused to talk about the designation with Snowball. [BTW, it notes how the community within the development is to be privately gated.] It claims that Alarcon in bringing the motion to Council on June 21, surprised the developer, because the PLUM Committee had asked for a working Committee to work on a solution 60 days subsequent to June 11, 2013--but brought the matter before Council before his term ended, a scant ten days later. 
It alleges that in Alarcon's "rush to prevent, delay, and impact" the Project, "no research was conducted, no reports or maps were consulted, and no findings were made to determine the boundaries of the detention station or exactly where the use was previously located on the property. It alleges the box drawn around the oaks was "nearly arbitrary." 
It suggests Alarcon's motivation was originally to please voters in running for his Assembly race, which he did not win. 

It requests a jury trial and names the sum of $20 million as compensatory damages.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Another Day in Sunland Park Foreshadows the LA to Come

Two postings in our The Foothills. Observed Facebook Group (which if you're on Facebook, care about Sunland-Tujunga and are not a sock puppet or troublemaker you are welcome to join) caught our attention.

One, a very telling photo by Video Louis Elovitz, taken Thursday at Sunland Park (site of the recent Sunland-Tujunga National Night Out, anti-crime education event) that most are finding quite disturbing. That the situation has escalated as such without any real outrage from our city officials is disgusting.

"Thursday in the Park," by Video Louis Elovitz
Next up, quite the good analysis on why our homeless situation in Los Angeles has reached the tipping point; where millions are spent, folks are paid handsomely to serve the homeless yet no results are yielded, indeed it's getting worse for both the community and the homeless. Joseph Mailander talks with Loren Franck, director of West Side Homeless Outreach, Inc. who has been serving the homeless for nearly half a decade. "I do not have a Lexus in my parking spot. I’m not a part of that machine. One problem that we have is that these big well established agencies are really businesses. They’re non-profits, but they’re really businesses,"Franck tells Mailander. Read the rest of this excellent interview at LA CityWatch.

It seems as if our local officials might want to take a gander at an insightful article, written many years ago by James Q. Wilson and George KellingThe Broken Window Theory. Basically Wilson and Kelling posit that if small infractions such as the homeless sleeping in parks, leaving trash around, getting rid of graffiti, fixing broken windows in buildings - all quality of life issues - are addressed it can actually prevent larger crimes. In the 90s, both New York's Mayor Rudy Giuliani and LA's Mayor Richard Riordan, devotees of the theory, put these practices to work and both cities saw significant drops in crime and improvement in quality of life.

Contrast this with a recent report that the LAPD has changed gears to give up on enforcing a whole boatload of small time but gateway violations such as driving without a license, camping on the beach, using a fake ID to buy alcohol, drinking in public, gambling, defecating in public, trespassing and not having your dog vaccinated for rabies. This seems like just a horrible opposite direction to go that will, combined with the state's recent prison re-alignment strategies in which criminal offenders are being released to the streets years ahead of their sentences expiring, get us right back to those high crime rates and miserable times of the 1970s and 80s.

I guess y'all better buy helmets!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

There's a Lawsuit? Shocking!!

The word today that the developers of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course, Snowball Investments, plan to file suit against the City of Los Angeles for the City's designation of a small patch of the property as a "historic landmark" seemed to shock a few folks in town as Captain Renault in Casablanca was shocked there was gambling going on at Humphrey Bogart's cafe.



You will remember that earlier the City had made the designation of a small oak grove as historic given the site's history of serving as a detention camp during the Japanese internment. Initially, the effort to seek the historic designation was sold by the office of then Council Member Richard Alarcon to block development.


Later, we found out that was not the case; that the only reason to seek the status was to serve the Japanese community. As Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council board member Krystee Clark told the Glendale News-Press, "Well, it's not really about the golf course," she said. "It's about making sure the area is preserved in a way that satisfies the Japanese American community."

Getting back to today's "news," it's really no surprise on two fronts. Let's start on the common sense train. Snowball West stands to make a lot of money from building 229 homes in our canyon.  Money makes people do funny things. The developers have spent nearly a decade fighting to build their project. That's lots of money in lawyers, specialists, consultants, property taxes, maintenance, interest on loans, etc, etc. without having made one dime on their multi-million investment. One could not imagine they would back down from anything that would get in the way of that.

Putting common sense aside, look at this: the development's attorney, Fred Gaines (also the Mayor of Calabasas) telegraphed as much that the developer would take action when he told the City Council on June 25th "We have in our previous testimony launched our protest to this action." Gaines told the News-Press' Daniel Siegel "he was disappointed in the city's process, which he felt kept the developer in the dark." All the more indication that the developer was enumerating wrongs against them for potential action.

My associate, Joseph Mailander, spoke with Council Member Felipe Fuentes' office today. Fuentes issued the following statement:  "I am supportive of finding a balanced way to honor the region and its history. My staff has been attending working group meetings in our efforts to help with this process. I have just learned today about the lawsuit so I can't comment, however I remain committed to finding a solution that doesn't involve the courts." 

Parsing that statement we can glean that the Council Member wants to move forward the development of 229 homes while offering some sort of token recognition to the Tuna Canyon Detention Center's history. That would all be worked out in some settlement agreement. 

So what do we learn today? Nothing really. This is all part of the game. We're in no different position than we were when the community was gamed by a lame duck elected official, torn asunder by bizarre spin and further down the field than we were a year ago. Most folks in our community - and the surrounding communities - are fully aware that developing this property would be disastrous to our environment, our way of life, the very essence of this special community. And it's been put at severe risk by grifting and ineptitude by our City. 

There may be time left to save the golf course. But we're in the final two minutes. We need a whole new game plan and a whole new team to even have a chance to win. Hopefully someone out there has the answer.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fight for your Community Alert: Restore Parks Funding

As we have noted previously, the City's Department of Recreation and Parks sees much of it's city charter mandated funding eroded in crippling charge backs to the Parks for things such as DWP services, fees for things provided by the City to parks. This in violation of the City Charter; it's a shell game to balance the City Budget without looking like the City is cutting park funding, which in fact, it is.

Imagine what full funding could do for a park poor community such as Sunland-Tujunga, where many of the problems we've seen at Sunland Recreation Center, for example, such as the skate park issues, the homeless problem, maintenance, lack of programs, etc. could be addressed if the park was receiving the funding it is entitled to.

A motion is coming before the City Council, sponsored by Council Members Herb Wesson, Paul Krekorian and Tom LaBonge that calls for a process for restoring full funding to parks.

A significant part of restoring park funding, is that Park Rangers are made a priority in the funding. These positions have been severely cut over the years, with a dramatic impact on the parks. Park Rangers not only fulfill a unique law enforcement function (one not easily filled by your average LAPD officer) but they also provide educational services to park users in many ways.

Parks advocate Kristin Sabo, who is actively involved with both Griffith Park and Hansen Dam, is calling for more Park Rangers to be part of the budget and is asking that you contact and reach out to Council Members Krekorian, Wesson and Mitch O'Farrell and urge funding for Rangers. Contact information is below:

Paul Krekorian
200 N. Spring St., Room 435
Los Angeles, CA 90012
councilmember.krekorian@lacity.org
(213) 473-7002

Mitch O'Farrell
200 N. Spring St., Room 450
Los Angeles, CA 90012
councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org
(323) 715-0997

Herb J. Wesson, Jr.
200 N. Spring St., Room 430
Los Angeles, CA 90012
councilmember.wesson@lacity.org
(213) 473-7010

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Could We Be Getting Closer to a Resolution on the Skate Park?

Following a winter and then a spring of discontent, skateboard moms (which are basically hockey moms on wheels) in Sunland-Tujunga got tired of getting the run-around from City Rec and Parks as to the status of Sunland Park's beloved skate park. 

The skate park, extremely popular, prevents opportunities to our youth, many of whom are at-risk, in a community that is park and opportunity poor for youth. 

An impromptu coalition of skate park stakeholders was assembled by locals Yvonne David, Sophia Theodoropoulos-Herbaugh and Irene Theodoropoulos-Anderson. The group demanded answers, started a petition and fired up the social media channels that led the local Neighborhood Council to put the item on it's next agenda and a scurry by Rec and Parks spokesfolks to come up with some kind of story.

Despite a lot of jamming, fear, uncertainty and doubt created by the usual sources, the Skateboard Moms persevered and got action from Rec and Parks. Construction began, and occasionally, one or two or three workers would be seen on the site.

As we got closer to a scheduled June completion date, radio silence has been once again the nature of the game with emails and calls going unanswered - until today.

According to Mrs. David, "Robert Oyakawa, RAP Landscape Architect, will be attending the Oro Vista Meeting and will provide an update on the Sunland Skate park project.". The meeting he apparently is referring to is the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council meeting this Wednesday night.

Will there be an official announcement of completion? Will the kids of Sunland-Tujunga be able to skate again? Stayed tuned to this channel for important news and information as it becomes available!


Enjoy Summer with Mr. Magoo!

Fourth of July is over, it's summer time, so let's watch a cartoon!

We're working on lots of new STUFF for you, going through our files and ready to inform and entertain.

So here's Mr. Magoo!

Mr. Magoo is a fellow who gets into a series of comical situations as a result of his nearsightedness, compounded by his stubborn refusal to admit the problem. He never realizes he's a fool; thinking everyone else thinks he's a very important and talented man!

In this episode, Mr. Magoo sets off to go to the movies but instead he goes to an airport by mistake and gets on a plane thinking it to be a theater! What a doofus! So often we are told stories that go one way, but when we put on our glasses, we see they're really another.

Sit back, and enjoy!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Y Sponsors Trip to Shuttle Endeavour!

Have you ever wanted to see a Space Shuttle up close? Here's your chance as the YMCA of the Foothills sponsors an adult day trip the California Science Center.

The United States Congress authorized the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was lost in the STS-51-L launch accident in 1986. The orbiter is named after the British HMS Endeavour, the ship which took Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery (1768–1771). Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, and first flew in May 1992 on mission STS-49 and its last mission STS-134 was in May 2011. After more than twenty organizations submitted proposals to NASA for the display of an orbiter, NASA announced that Endeavour would go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

The trip is scheduled for Thursday, July 11th from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A bus will pick up participants at the Lowell Park and Ride at 8:45 and make a second pickup at the UA Theatre in LaCanada at 9:00 a.m. The price which includes transportation and ticket cost is $49 per person. For more information contact Suzanne McMillan at the Y at 818.790.0123, extension 225.

Happy Fourth Weekend from Barney Fife!

Nothing like the Fourth of July weekend to make us feel a bit nostalgic and here's one for you - everyone's favorite, The Andy Griffith Show. When I first moved to Sunland-Tujunga it sure reminded me a lot of Mayberry, North Carolina, the setting for the legendary show.

And one of the best parts of the old Andy Griffith show was of course Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife. Barney thought he was pretty important and loved being in charge, but in reality he was quite incompetent and never really accomplished much. Often, the town privately viewed him as a laughing stock. Still, he had a good heart which was probably why Sheriff Andy, his second cousin and best friend, went to great lengths to cover for Barney's many mistakes.

Enjoy now, a great scene with Barney Fife.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Hot Fun in The ST This Weekend!

Here is your Sunland-Tujunga prescription for fun on a hot summer weekend.

1- EMERGENCY KARAOKE at Olde Towne's Comfort & Joy Cafe with amazing food and lots of frolic tonight (Friday).

2 - Saturday - Enjoy an evening round of golf or hit a bucket of balls at the driving range at Verdugo Hills Golf Course followed by a delicious burger (served with Mom's homemade secret sauce) and the COLDEST beer (literally) in town at Tee's On The Green


3 - Join us as we say GOODBYE to Mayor Villaraigosa after eigth years in office and welcome new Mayor Eric Garcetti on Sunday from 4pm to 7pm at Joselito's Mexican Food Tujunga with LA's best margaritas and muy delicioso Mexican food. A portion of your check benefits Children's Hospital LA and Ahead with Horses.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why Historic Status May Speed Up Development of Verdugo Hills

Local writer Joseph Mailander shared the following with us today. We're publishing it here for your review and consideration.

I have seen a few people ask--and even a journalist asked me this morning--how does making an acre on the golf course a monument SPEED UP development?

The question almost answers itself, but I'll answer it anyway. Once you draw specific boundaries on a lot or on acreage, to designate one specific corner of a property for a specific use, you are ceding to the owner the right to avail the rest of the property to other uses. Their own uses.

Once you hand an owner boundaries, in short, the owner can stop just dreaming about development, and start submitting real plans to real City Departments.

Once the boundaries are drawn, the developer can say, "OK, I now know precisely where I can lay my streets and build my homes, and it's up to the city to respond to me, rather than me responding to the city about whether I can or can't build there."

I also hear, "Oh, we still have building and safety/planning/an EIR that we can use to block." Even GC Voice--which is disappointed in the deal--is saying that. Well, you didn't even have any of that on the table a month ago--and now, you do and have to hope for the best.

The other thing that's specific to this case: now that the city has 1) already walked away from a potential deal (which they did nine years ago), and 2) is working (by Council fiat) to draw real boundaries, the developer can make a far more bold case for any subsequent obstruction to plans. Should the city take any action to inhibit the developer's plans in the future, the developer can now challenge any obstruction as an attempt to devalue the property, constituting a taking. (There is even one such lawsuit transpiring presently in San Antonio). The developer can say to a court, "Why didn't they tell me that when they were drawing up the one-acre boundary? No, it's implicit I get to develop the rest of the site, if they decided to lay aside a single acre!" Pretty good case for the developer, I would think.

You're most definitely closer to development, not further away from it, because of the action Alarcon sped through Council between Friday and yesterday.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Saving the Golf Course and Recognizing Tuna Canyon Detention Station

We here at The Foothills Observed believe that preventing the development of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course into over 225 homes is mission critical; as is recognizing that the property was once the site of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, during the Japanese Internment of World War II; a horrific chapter in America's history.

We also believe that the two are separate issues, while related. Building the homes does not mean that the site can not be recognized; recognizing the important historic nature of the property does not mean homes won't be built.

Because we want to see both happen, we feel it's important all of us are informed as to what is happening with this movement and that you have the information you need so that you may act accordingly. Many people are doing a lot of great work around this effort and it's incumbent the community supports, in order to prevent the community crippling development from being built, as well as recognize our local history, good and bad.

Tomorrow, Friday the 21st, the City Council will meet and will consider recent actions around the historic designation that have occurred at both the City's Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) and the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM).

In a nutshell, the Cultural Heritage Commission denied a request by Councilman Richard Alarcon to designate the property as a historic landmark. One of the concerns some members of the Commission had was that this effort was merely a strategy to block development.

Following that, the Planning and Land Use Management Committee met to determine if the Council could overrule the CHC and make the historic designation. PLUM opted to not take this action and to defer decisions until July 23, pending the results of a "working group."

In the instance of both the CHC and PLUM meetings, there was fantastic representation and participation from residents of Sunland-Tujunga and other Foothills communities, local historians and experts and members of the Japanese Community and others who had historic, personal connections to Tuna Canyon Detention Station. The demonstration of the community's feelings around this matter was surely clear to City officials.

Here's what the City Council will consider tomorrow, according to the agenda posted on their website. The Planning and Laud Use Management Committee recommends the following actions:

1. INSTRUCT the Department of City Planning (DCP) to report on how many times the City  Council has initiated a historical designation by Council action, without findings and conditions; the Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) declines the designation; and Council overturns the CHC's determination without the consent of the property owner.

2. REQUEST the City Attorney to report on if there are any legal vulnerabilities if the City Council overturns the CHC's determination to decline a historical designation.

3. ESTABLISH a working group, consisting of the property owner and representative, experts or historians from the Japanese community (no more than five people), and DCP staff, to report to the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee prior to July 31, 2013 to develop ideas on how to recognize the historical and cultural significance of the site.

4. EXTEND, for good cause, the 90 day time limit for Council to act for a maximum of 15 days, pursuant to the Los Angeles Administrative Code Section 22.171.10(f).

5. REFER the matter to the PLUM Committee for consideration on July 23, 2013

Each of which are important steps to resolving the matter; however no one should expect that the Council will extend historic status to TCDC at tomorrow's meeting. We here feel it's important to level set expectations, should confusion exist elsewhere.

It is important that ST residents participate and engage on this matter; so that we may ultimately stop the development and achieve the historic recognition. One would surmise that with a matter this complex, there will be several possible avenues for resolution.

To read the City documentation on the matter further (which should give anyone a good history and has viewpoints from all involved), click here.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Parents Warned After Attempted Kidnapping in Tujunga

From KTLA-5

TUJUNGA, Calif. (KTLA) — Police on Tuesday were warning parents in the Tujunga area to be on the lookout after a man allegedly tried to kidnap a young girl in broad daylight.




A police sketch shows the alleged attempted kidnapper.

It happened around 2 p.m. on Sunday in the 6600 block of Olcott Street, according to Los Angeles police.

A man allegedly grabbed an 11-year-old girl near Mountain View Elementary School and tried to pull her into his vehicle, police said.

The girl screamed for help, causing the man to release her.

He then got into a tan or burnt orange medium-sized SUV and left the area, according to investigators. “He’s bold and he’s brazen,” said Sgt. Scott Kennedy, of the LAPD’s Foothill Division. “He definitely has a motive to do something that I hope every parent would be concerned about,” he said.

The man was described as Hispanic, about 5 feet, 3 inches tall and in his 40s, according to an LAPD press release.

Anyone with information about the case was asked to contact LAPD Foothill Area Detectives at (818) 834-3115.

Read more

Monday, May 27, 2013

Support Apperson Elementary

Eat some pizza at the new Straw Hat Pizza and help raise some funds for Apperson Elementary! 33-1/3 of all purchases will go to the school!

Wednesday, May 29th, 5pm to 9pm

Straw Hat Pizza
3463 Foothill Blvd.
LaCrescenta


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Nina Royal: Why I'm not Voting for Wendy Greuel

Editor's Note: Nina Royal is a longtime Sunland-Tujunga activist who has served for many years on the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council where she currently holds the position of treasurer. She is involved with many citywide committees which seek to hold local government accountable. She has worked with local law enforcement and was the founder of the movement that blocked a controversial plan to locate a Home Depot in Sunland. She is involved with the Sunland-Tujunga Chamber of Commerce and many local charitable efforts. For many years, she has been the publisher and editor of the North Valley Reporter, one of the most distinguished local papers in Los Angeles, though Nina makes clear she is speaking personally and not on behalf of the paper. Here Nina tells us why she is not supporting Wendy Greuel for Mayor and will be voting for Eric Garcetti.

I am not voting for Wendy because…
by Nina Royal

I am a 25 year community activist, a member of the DWP Advocacy Committee and a Sub on the MOU Committee. I fought hard, along with our committee and community members against Measure B and its outrageous plan to rip off L.A. ratepayers. Especially heinous is the fact that they were going to purchase material outside our country and hire labors from outside our city. And…all solar systems could only be purchased and installed by the DWP! To my chagrin, Wendy supported it, but Garcetti stood up against D’Arcy’s demands. If their rates keep going up, our utilities will cost more than our mortgages.

As Controller, Wendy has never audited the DWP for their “above and beyond reasonable” salaries that far surpass the private sector. Why not? Could that be why she has received large amounts of money from D’Arcy and the SEIU, who is bragging they are going to get raises when she takes office. She received money not only from that union, but all the other major unions as well, who she will be also indebted to if elected. Particularly distressing, she received over a million dollars from the Police Protective League, when our neighborhood councils, who have very limited funds, are asked to give our local police stations money from their accounts to buy things such as personal equipment lockers, etc., to be used by their officers. She should be encouraging them to use that money to support their own people instead of using NC money! Why should they need to buy her support?? She should give it willingly.

Wendy purchased additional land to add to the Verdugo Mountain Park in Sun Valley with Prop K funds that belonged in Sunland-Tujunga. She also purchased passive parks in Sunland and one at the top of Tujunga, where dense population would not benefit from them. That shows she has poor judgement. When she was campaigning to be our council rep., Wendy promised us a park on Samoa Ave., between Valmont and Tujunga Cyn Blvd, which is the densest area in Sunland-Tujunga with loads of children playing in the streets. It is 3 miles to Sunland Park and too far for them to travel. This area is park poor and that property was vacant for years and perfect for a park. Supposedly, for as long as she was our rep., six years, there was no money for our much-needed park, but she managed to buy those I just mentioned above. A church on the corner was even willing to help purchase that land in order to keep our kids off the street, but, they were turned down and told a religious organization and the city couldn’t work together because they may try to convert the kids! She should have spent the funds for that park. Now the property has been purchased with the help of the city and they are going to put in a huge SB 1818 affordable housing project. It will be 3 and 4 bedrooms with limited parking on a sub-standard width street, no yard for kids, no street parking, much higher than the other buildings and look like an albatross in our neighborhood and increase its density. She should have put in our park as she promised.

Instead she also purchased additional land for the Verdugo Mountain Park, which is no where near Sunland-Tujunga. It is land-locked with only a driveway wide entrance in the hills off of Glenoaks Blvd., which is the only way in and out because residents surround it. It is mostly used by people from Burbank and Glendale, who hike over to it from the hills in their city. She claimed she saved it from development, but it couldn’t be developed anyway because it is land locked! It’s nowhere as useful as the promised park in S-T would be. You can look it up on Google.

I started the No Home Depot Campaign in Sunland-Tujunga because those poor Kmart employees, many who had worked there for 25 years, kept coming to our Neighborhood Council crying that their company was shutting down and Home Depot was coming in. They said they couldn’t get any answers from the council office or anyone and they would lose their jobs. Every time we contacted Ms. Greuel, she said she heard nothing about it and her hands were tied. So, after a year of hearing this and nothing being done, I formed the “No Home Depot in Sunland-Tujunga” committee and staged a rally at the Glendale Bakery during one of her “Coffee’s” which was not even for S-T residents, but for Shadow Hills residents. I gave her notice the day before and only then did she show up with what she called her “Home Depot Letter” chastising Chairman Abate for not coming to the Neighborhood Council. We fought for 4 years, holding rummage sales to raise money, holding town hall meeting and rallies and trekking to hearings across the city before she finally did a “Chapter 245” asking the City Council to take charge of the Home Depot “Project.” I believe she only did this because she decided to run for Controller. I don’t believe, as she said, that Home Depot never contacted her about their intentions, because they appeared to be desperate to come into her district. Neither did she anticipate the ire of our community against Home Depot due to their disrespect and their determination to come into our town at any cost and ignore our laws to boot! There are several other reasons that I won’t go into at this time.

And…I am not saying that Wendy didn’t do some things right, such as supporting Sunland-Tujunga’s McMansion Ordinance, however, it appears to me that she picks and chooses her support for projects based on what, or who, is going to support her in return. The fact that she is focused on being the “First Woman Mayor” instead of the issues also has me concerned and I don’t trust her to keep her word.

I did support Kevin James in this election because of his fresh ideas and I agreed with his proposals and philosophy. Therefore, I really resent Ms. Greuel’s misleading politics and her treatment of him after he chose to endorse her opponent.

These are my personal opinions and not that of my North Valley Reporter. Please take the time to vote regardless of your choice, so those who died for your right to do so didn’t die in vain.

On Eve of Election, Things Look Good for Garcetti, Feuer; Controller's Race Too Close to Call

The latest edition of the USC/LA Times poll, which appears to be the most reliable of an otherwise paucity of surveys during the recent municipal election cycle, shows City Council Member Eric Garcetti sliding to a likely win in tomorrow's election. The poll, released Friday, has Garcetti up seven points on opponent, City Controller Wendy Greuel, comfortably outside the margin of error. Garcetti appears to be up in every demographic group with the exception of African Americans and self-described "moderate" Republicans. Remarkably, the left leaning Garcetti has a significantly wide lead with conservatives, likely the result of hard core campaigning by former Mayoral candidate, Republican Kevin James, whose stand that Garcetti is the more trustworthy of the two, has clearly resonated with an Anglo Republican voter base in the San Fernando Valley, a block Greuel clearly counted on, and needed, to win. Our internal analysis of numbers from the primary election, combined with voter turnout projections show that Greuel's support is extremely soft in communities in her former Council District such as Sunland-Tujunga and North Hollywood, and that where there are intense City Council runoffs (thus boosting turnout), such as CD 1 and CD 13, these are areas where Garcetti pocketed the lion's share of votes in the April primary.

An even bigger blowout appears to be shaping up in City Attorney's race where former Assemblyman and Councilman Mike Feuer has a commanding 18% lead over incumbent Carmen Trutanich. Unless something is wrong in the methodology there, or Feuer's consultant "private citizen/political consultant" John Shallman has screwed the pooch on the get-out-the vote-effort, it's difficult to see where Trutanich wins at this point. As well, the better Garcetti does, expect that to lift Feuer's boat as one can surmise the bulk of Garcetti's liberal leaning voters will go in droves for the former Councilman. Winner here: Deputy District Attorney and full time Trutanich critic David Berger who's beat a one man drum for the ouster of Nuch ever since the two had their famous falling out a few years back.

Up in the air though is the City Controller's race. Polls show the battle between activist/businessman Ron Galperin and City Council Member Dennis Zine to be a dead heat. While Zine has out raised Galperin (who did front his own campaign a significant amount of his own personal wealth), Galperin, a registered Democrat, has the full support of the local Democratic party establishment, while Zine, who slid from red meat Republican to RINO to now, decline to state, isn't getting much help from the Republican Party since his well publicized bolting from it. Expect all the Garcetti voters to go with Galperin, including a significant number of the James inspired "Garcetti Republicans" as the former mayoral candidate endorsed Galperin as well. As Garcetti rises, likely so does Galperin. One thing of note, if elected, as far as we know, Galperin would be the first openly gay citywide elected official in Los Angeles. While Dennis Zine has ridden his motorcycle dressed in full leather regalia in many a Gay Pride Parade, it's likely the gay community will swing here for one of their own.

It will be an interesting - and long - evening for sure.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

La Wendy Sings of a $15 Minimum Wage

Appearing soon for Wendy?
Yesterday it was the LGBT community; today Wendy Greuel mocks the Latino community. 

The LA Times is reporting that union supporters of the Greuel campaign are highlighting a proposal to pay all hotel employees in the City a minimum wage of $15 per hour. According to the Times, Greuel's campaign has confirmed she supports this proposal. 

The merits of that are for another post; what should be concerning is how this is being is used to sell Latino voters on voting for Wendy Greuel. The Times notes an almost cartoonish effort for Greuel that has a number of Hispanic leaders quite offended. 

A campaign flyer implies that if Greuel is elected Mayor, the $15 minimum wage will become a reality. No where does it note that the proposal is for hotel workers. Coupled with the flyer, is a mariachi style song in Spanish composed for the Greuel get out the vote effort.

Some of the lyrics, translated to English, are as as follows:

"If for la Wendy you want to voteGet in the car and let's have fun.And for la Wendy to winAll Latinos got to have her back.If you want to earn $15 an hourYou have to march for la Wendy.If the blond comes to your doorOpen the door and let her in."

This isn't the first time that Greuel's engaged in over the top pandering to Latinos. Back in February, when opening up a campaign office in Boyle Heights, Greuel showed up with pan dulce (traditional Mexican sweet breads) and a mariachi band in tow. Our sister blog, MayorSam, reported that community activist Luz Montoya stated of the event "Ellos vienen aquĆ­ y piensan que pueden ganar nuestro apoyo con un poco de pan dulce y mariachi. Nos quieren ridiculizar. (They come here and think they can win our support with some sweet bread and mariachi. They want to ridicule us.)" 

Later in the campaign, Greuel raised the ire of a number of Latino leaders when she released a mailer sent to Latino households implying she would have the support of the late Latino civil rights activist, Cesar Chavez. Monica Rodriguez, president of HOPE-PAC and a member of former Mayor Richard Riordan's administration stated at the time, "I'm sorry, but I find it completely offensive to have an image of Cesar Chavez for Wendy Greuel when this incredible civil rights leader has NOT endorsed Wendy."

Someone in City Hall said to me a while back "Everyone knows Wendy will do or say anything to get what she wants." Everyday now, this continues to be proven true. Sigh.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Why Did Wendy Greuel Dispatch a Homophobic Preacher to Criticize Gay Kevin James?

Out of money, out of time and not getting the broad based coalition of support she had figured she was entitled to, unable to slide to an easy victory, Wendy Greuel figured one way to get some traction back was to deal the race card and deal it from the bottom of the deck.

Ever since it was exposed that Wendy Greuel HEAVILY solicited former opponent Kevin James' endorsement, to wit she was deeply scorned, Wendy has decided that she can attempt to tar and feather the former broadcaster and Federal prosecutor with all kinds of old and ridiculous charges that have just never stuck.

To recap, they are:

Kevin James hates Latinos because he has advocated for immigration reform
Kevin James hates Black people because he has differed on policy with President Obama

With folks like Najee Ali, Jasmyne Cannick, Bernard Parks, Jan Perry, Karen Bass, Mayor Cory Booker, Richard Alarcon, Xavier Becerra, Irene Tovar, Monica Rodriguez and other prominent Latinos and African-Americans of the progressive stripe behind Eric Garcetti and fully comfortable with James' role in the campaign, Wendy doesn't have many options to gin up some anger in minority communities.

Supporter Magic Johnson is a little busy at the moment trying to the get Dodgers back off the ground (after the nightmare ownership of Frank McCourt), so Wendy isn't finding too many people of color to shill for her. For sure, surly African-American blogger Betty Pleasant and County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas are voices for Wendy, but the Pixie really screwed the pooch with her latest spokes-hole.

Bishop Noel Jones, a Gardena based pastor, making a foray into the world of Mayoral campaigning told the Los Angeles Sentinel that James' “...apparent relationship with Eric Garcetti eliminates any doubt that the people’s choice for Mayor should be Wendy Greuel.”

But here's the rub. Besides being the lone Republican in the mayoral primary, Kevin James, who for 6 years served as Co-Chair of AIDS Project Los Angeles, was also the lone LGBT candidate. As reported by the blog, Venice for Change, Jones has a long history of homophobia and anti-LBGT activity. The blog stated that Bishop Jones "traveled to Jamaica in 2004 to urge that country's political leaders to "stand their ground" against efforts by LGBT activists to repeal some of the most restrictive anti-gay laws on the planet."

Venice for Change had more on Jones:

In 2004, it was reported Jones, a native of Jamaica, believed his homeland should resist the pressures being placed on it by gay rights advocates to reform their draconian anti-sodomy laws. He said the nation should "stand its ground by simply allowing your laws to stay the way they are."

He was responding to reports published earlier this week in which local and international human rights groups called for a relaxation of laws that curbs homosexual conduct.

Bishop Jones, who is the pastor of the City of Refuge church in Gardena, California, and an internationally renowned television preacher, said: "If you have laws and legislation that ban certain things based on the principles of the Scriptures and based on your Christian background, then let it stand there. Who is having big debates with the Islamic people about it (gay rights)? Who is telling them to bend their laws? If your laws are based on your Christian points of view, then you must stand your ground?"

The pressure being placed on Jamaica by United States homosexual interests, Bishop Jones hinted, is inconsistent with the best traditions of the United States. "The thing that bothers me about America is if they are so democratic, why don't they allow the rest of the world to be what they are? Their democracy says a person has the freedom to do many things, so why won't they leave Jamaica alone?" Bishop Jones said.

To the best of our knowledge, the Greuel campaign has not yet commented on Jones' anti-LGBT rhetoric and positions; with the exception of stating something to the effect that the campaign is not attacking James for being gay, but for being a racist.

Something kind of tells us that they'd have a completely different tone if James had accepted one of those Wendy Greuel text messages to endorse her.