THE EASTSIDER – This one is about the impact of the reality that the City of Los Angeles has no real sense of history, and that is true of Council Districts and Neighborhood Councils. Community Improvement Associations, such as the Glassell Park Improvement Association, fortunately do.
This tale starts back in 2000, as Jackie Goldberg was running for Assembly. She won, and our very own Eric Garcetti successfully ran for the vacant seat of Council District 13, beating Michael Woo.
Glassell Park P&S Storage
Around the time of the Goldberg/Garcetti changeover, P&S Storage was in the process of changing the initial plans for a very big building into what turned into a three story storage building, off of Eagle Rock Blvd by the Park.
That required a Conditional Use Permit for the changes, and at this point Eric Garcetti, our new Councilmember, stepped in on behalf of the community, to work out a 30 year lease for a good part of the first floor to be used for community purposes. I should also mention that Mitch O’Farrell was the Deputy for Garcetti during these negotiations, and the community owes him a debt for his efforts.
The 30 year lease was for $1/yr to the City, and included four parties; Council District Offices, the Glassell Park Improvement Association (GPIA), the newly formed Glassell Park Neighborhood Council (GPNC), and a Senior Center.
For some 18 years that pact has served the community well, with Sally Martinez consistently working for the Glassell Park Councilmember to handle the four main users of the facility. Until recently, the only addition was that Gil Cedillo provided space to LA City Recreation & Parks, given the geography of Glassell Park.
The Political Winds Shift
It is also true that Glassell Park has been in the middle of a number of the City’s Redistricting Process, laughable as that process may be. I think that pieces of the pie have variously been in CD13, CD1, and CD14, although it’s hard to keep track.
For the last while, we have been in CD1, with an increasing indifference by Gil Cedillo as his interests went elsewhere. He did move Rec & Parks in, which at least made some logical sense, but other choices seemingly did not.
During the COVID Epidemic, which made a mockery of any pretense that there was any due process and/or paper trails for Council offices, Cedillo moved in the MAOF (Mexican American Opportunity Foundation), who quickly took over a good amount of space, including almost half of the parking spaces left after the City designated 20 spaces for overnight parking for homeless with cars or RVs.
Why they moved in and exactly what they are doing for the community of Glassell Park has never been articulated or explained by Cedillo.
Since this change makes no logical sense, with Northeast LA gentrifying at an amazing pace, I am going to put in a Public Records Request for the contract between MAOF and the City of Los Angeles, especially as it pertains to the P&S Storage facility.
Readers may remember that I endorsed Eunisses Hernandez for CD1. You can find that article here.
“Unlike most media coverage, we now have at least two Councilmembers (the other being Hugo Soto-Martinez), along with ex-Councilmember Mike Bonin, who are examining the City Council organization in terms of its structural failings.
They are a clear counterpoint to the corporate democrat lifecycle of two terms in the Assembly, two terms in the Senate, and then blessing us in LA City with their presence for another 12 years.
By the way, there’s a good article in the Boulevard Sentinel as they interviewed Eunisses this week. I recommend it.
Maybe, just maybe, we can learn to develop a City Council system that helps our elected officials to actually govern our 4 million plus Angelenos in some kind of an equitable basis, instead of taking care of themselves for three terms and out.”
While I know that Eunisses and Hugo Soto-Martinez are likely spending a lot of time learning the Byzantine processes of the City of Los Angeles, and how it is and is not run, I think they will start to make some changes.
Maybe taking a look at Glassell Park communities and seeing how NGO City contractors fit in could be a start.
(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)