That was the immortal email response from LA Community College District Chancellor Mark Drummond 13 months ago when Assemblyman Kevin de Leon raised questions on behalf of the Northeast LA community about betraying the commitment to build a badly-needed satellite campus in the old Van de Kamp’s bakery site in Glassell Park.
Drummond’s contemptuous words are set to become official policy of the LACCD board when it meets Wednesday to approve the centerpiece of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s political agenda for job creation, anti-gang programs, clean energy — a strategy that tramples on the rule of law, makes a mockery of public policy and benefits the few at the expense of the many.
On the 365th day after the contemptuous response from Drummond (who was axed for misconduct last summer), Deputy Mayor Larry Frank told the LACCD Board of Trustees exactly what the site was going to be used for.
“This is the holy grail of all our new jobs…that is 1,000 jobs at the DWP that would be IBEW Local 18 jobs,” Frank said.
These workers would do the “solar and all the municipal, commercial and residential retrofit work that happens in the city of Los Angeles,” he added.
In other words, the monopoly on local solar installation and energy efficiency work would be achieved by the DWP despite the defeat of Measure B last year. It will be paid for by raising the Energy Cost Adjustment Factor by the full 20 to 30 percent despite the “meltdown” over the hike in the City Council, Frank declared.
In a deal negotiated over the last three years with the IBEW union boss Brian D’Arcy, these unemployed workers, many of them current or former gang members, would be hired after training at the Van de Kamp’s site as $16-an-hour “green doctors” in a pre-Civil Service capacity. After a two-year probation period, they will become full-time, permanent employees at much higher salaries.
It’s all part of what the mayor calls his job creation program, which is nothing more than taxing the public to create more jobs on the city payroll at inflated costs
How the Van de Kamp’s site came to be used for this purpose is far worse than even the abuse of the DWP and its ratepayers, particularly home owners and businesses that are being stuck with the bills.
Under two bond measures voters approved for LACCD, $60 million was promised specifically for turning the historic Van de Kamp’s building into classrooms and building a ew building for LA Community College classrooms for the educationally under-served Northeast LA.
In one of several “no-bid” arrangements, the LACCD Board flipped the new state-of-the-art building over for use as a technology charter school although paid for out of college bonds. Although architectural designs were approved by the state and structural reconstruction of the Van de Kamp’s building already was completed, construction of new classrooms was suddenly halted.
Instead of classrooms, the second floor of the building was rebuilt as executive offices for LACCD officials and the DWP/IBEW work force development program.
So instead of a college, the Northeast Valley got a high school and training program that served no local community need.
What it served was the mayor’s plan to give jobs on the public payroll for hoodlums or reformed hoodlums who will some day come to your home or business and advise you how to reduce your energy use or install solar panels — jobs that could be done cheaper, faster and with a more positive economic impact by the private sector.
The Van de Kamp Coalition formed by Northeast LA residents who want the college campus they were promised put out an email blast Monday urging the public to email the LACCD Board to reject the “no-bid sweetheart lease” of the facility before Wednesday’s 3:30 p.m. meeting at West LA College.
The mayor’s message, the email says, is that “executive offices for my programs are more important than your access to educational opportunity.”
The email accuses LACCD of “giving a no-bid sweetheart lease to the City of Los Angeles after $6.3 million” in bond fund “to illegally convert classrooms into executive suites for unemployment programs funded by federal economic stimulus funds directed by the mayor.”
Here is the draft letter of protest and the email from the Van de Kamp Coalition to send to these emails:
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CUT AND PASTE THIS LETTER INTO THE BODY OF YOUR E-MAIL (EDIT AS NEEDED FOR YOUR COMFORT WITH THIS ISSUE) AND ADD YOUR NAME AT THE END:
May 24, 2010
RE: Reject City Lease Of Van de Kamps Building; Return the Van de Kamps Campus to Community College Purposes Promised to Voters for A Decade
Dear LACCD Trustees and Mr. Mayor:
I am writing in opposition to Com. No. FPD3 on the Wednesday agenda of the Los Angeles Community College Trustees for the following reasons:
LACCD used $72 million of taxpayer bond monies to build the brand new community college satellite campus for students, not commercial office space.
For more than a decade Trustees such as Sylvia Scott-Hayes, Kelly Candaele, and Mona Field have promised voters that they would DELIVER a Northeast Satellite campus to address the unequal access opportunities for young adults in Northeast Los Angeles.
The State of California gave $3 million to this campus for the restricted purpose of a Satellite Campus of LA City College, and this action takes away the Satellite Campus.
The voter approved Measures AA and J that allocated $60 million of new taxes to develop this high priority community college access opportunity.
LACCD staff have ignored two economic feasibility studies showing Van de Kamps can be initiated as a successful campus with both profit-oriented and traditional community college classes.
These studies mean that the Board has no substantial evidence to support its proposed “finding” that that the Northeast Campus buildings are NOT NEEDED for community college purposes. They are needed now!
The City funded unemployment classes may properly be included among the possible profit-oriented classes offered at Van de Kamps, but the placement of executive administrative offices in 60% of the school building is highly offensive to the core mission of the Los Angeles Community College District.
LACCD and City of Los Angeles joint actions improperly discriminate against the historically underserved and predominately minority communities. The action tells our young adults they are not deserving of a community college.
For the above reasons, the LACCD must begin offering as many community education classes (non-credit fee-based classes like computer skills, artistic endeavors, conversational foreign languages, creative writing, etc.) and contract classes (employer paid skills training) as possible. This is the positive path to establish the Van de Kamps campus as a financially self-sustaining Satellite of LA City College.
I join the Van de Kamps Coalition and urge you to halt ill-conceived efforts led by your former Chancellor to abandon promises you made to open Van de Kamps under LA City College supervision. The effort to hand this $72 million new campus over to tenants of the Mayor’s Office, instead of maintaining City College stewardship, will be an action remembered by voters at the next election. If there is a vote to approve this ill-conceived LACCD staff proposal, I know I will not forget how the LACCD Board helped Mayor Villaraigosa literally steal this campus away from the community it is intended to serve.
Here is the Board Resolution:
ADOPT RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING LEASE OF SPACE TO THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES
WHEREAS, Education Code Sections 81430 -81432 authorize governing boards of community college districts to enter into leases with another public agency on a long term basis without the need for public bid if the space is not needed by the community college district for school classroom buildings; and
WHEREAS, the Los Angeles Community College District (“Districf’) desires to lease 13,900 square feet of space located in the Van de Kamp Innovation Center at 3020 San Fernando Road in Los Angeles to the City of Los Angeles for the operation of a work force/work source center providing classes, job training as well as advisory, education and other job placement services to students and the community from June 1, 2010 through June 30, 2014; and
WHEREAS, City of Los Angeles shall pay the District an annual base rental rate of $250,000 for lease of the space plus $150,000 to cover the costs of tenant improvements for a total annual rental amount of $400,000. The District shall allow the City of Los Angeles to sublease its space to tenants approved by the Chancellor; and
WHEREAS, the space is not needed by the District for any school classroom building and shall be subject to the terms and conditions as the Chancellor may agree; and
WHEREAS, The District has given notice of the action to adopt this resolution once a week for three (3) weeks in a newspaper of general circulation prior to execution in accordance with Education Code Section 81432(b).
RESOLVED, the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees adopts this resolution authorizing lease of 13,900 square feet of space to City of Los Angeles for purposes of operating a work force/work source center to support the education, advisory and job placement needs of students and community participants in and around the Van de Kamp Innovation Center from June 1, 2010 through June 30, 2014.
IN WITNESS, of the unanimous passage of the foregoing resolution, as prescribed by law, we, the members of said Board of Trustees, present and voting thereon, have hereunto set our hands this 26th day of May 26,2010.
Here is the email exchange between Assemblyman De Leon and Drummond’s vulgar response:
From: Drummond, Mark [MDrummond@email.laccd.edu]
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 20092:58 PM
To: Moore, Jamillah K
Subject: RE: Satellite Campus Issues
Flag Status: Red
From: Moore, Jamillah K [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thu 4/16/2009 8:05 AM
To: Drummond, Mark; Barrera, Adriana D.
Subject: FW: Satellite Campus Issues
This is just an FYI I will be following up with her directly I will keep you posted.
From: Moore, Jamillah K
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 12:17 PM
To: Moore, Jamillah K
Subject: Satellite Campus Issues
I wanted to get some clarity on a couple of issues that come to my attention this morning:
- Alliance Charter School – Members of the community informed me that they are to occupy the entire first floor of the Van de Kamps facility. Is this correct? They have also informed me that there is a fitness room that was made possible by funding from Congressmember Becerra’s office which is also located on the first floor. Does this mean that the community will not have access to this fitness room.
- Community Room – Is this located on the first floor and if so, will the community have access to it if this entire floor is to be loaned out to Alliance Charter. If it is not on the first floor please let me know where it is to b
- Can you please clarify how much money it costs to apply for center status?
- Did LACC hire a consulting firm to apply for center status for the Van de Kamp site? If so what is the name of this firm consulting firm and how much was paid to them? Can you send me any documentation indicating this amount?
- Please remind me again as to why center status was not pursued? I am hearing that Glendale City College protested against the Van de Kamps site getting center status and I would like to know if there is any truth to this and why they would protest this?
- Is it possible to review the minutes of the Shared Governance Committee meetings online? If not can you please forward me the minutes of the meeting in which the Shared Governance Committee allocated funding to apply for Center Status for the Van de Kamps campus and the meeting in which they turned over the campus to the Los Angeles Community College District Office.
Assemblymember Kevin de Leon
45th Assembly District