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Don’t Forget Who Caused the Children’s Museum Fiasco: Make It the Museum to Public Accountability

Forgotten in the uproar over the latest lousy twist in the in the L.A. Children’s Museum tragedy is how it came to be built at Hansen Dam in the farthest north corner of the city instead of at the North Hollywood subway station where it would have been easily accessible to all.

That was the plan that Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief Roger Snoble envisioned more than a decade ago when he lined up support to bring it to reality.

But then his plan got derailed by then City Council President Alex Padilla, now a state senator preparing to run for statewide office, who used his clout to bring the museum to his own North Valley district without regard to the obvious problem: It would take all day for students in much of the city to get to such a remote location and they’d need to get there by car and chartered bus.

How Padilla pulled off this idiocy tells you a lot about why the city – and the state for that matter – is such a mess.

Valley leaders kept their silence, happy to actually have a museum in their community, finally.

Mayor James Hahn was invisible as always and so in October 2003 every single City Council member stood up and saluted Padilla’s absurd plan to use the bond issue for parks to build the Hansen Dam museum with “80,000 square feet of interior space, 300 parking spaces, facilities for bus parking … the proposed location is not a densely populated area allowing for easy freeway access from all areas of the City.”

Those who supported the plan included then Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa, who went on to become mayor and oversee construction of a $40 million white elephant that sits unused and deteriorating, fenced off from public access.

Also aboard this waste of public money were Councilmembers Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel and Jan Perry – all them wanting to be mayor, all of them cheerfully supporting indicted perjurer Richard Alarcon’s new plan to loot $8 million in ratepayer money from the Department of Water and Power and taxpayer money from the Sanitation Department — money that was supposed to go to hire cops when they tripled the trash fee.

The champion of two-faced politics, wannabe City Controller Dennis Zine has belatedly found the god of fiscal responsibility now that he wants his hands directly on the city’s purse strings.

Zine, joined by his understudy Mitch Englander, last week voted against the $8 million temporary bailout of the museum, saying afterward: “It reminds me of a bad project that goes bad… and keeps going bad… and you keep trying to save it.”

What a joke!

Zine like his colleagues voted unanimously for what was a bad idea nearly a decade ago and kept voting to keep it alive over and over to fund construction, approve of the lease, provide loans and revise the terms of the deal.

The museum never stood a chance of raising the millions in private money that was needed to build exhibits and maintain the museum.

Why would wealthy donors and foundations give vast sums of money for a project that they didn’t believe could ever be successful?

They didn’t and it flopped – a monumental symbol of so much that our city officials have done wrong over the years and continue to do wrong even as the public loses all faith in them and insolvency looms despite massive increases in rates and fees and a ballot measure to raise the sales tax on the March ballot.

Maybe they should go back to the drawing boards on where and how to build a Children’s Museum and turn this useless structure at Hansen Dam into a mausoleum for all of City Hall’s bad ideas and put plaques of dishonor on it shaming Padilla, Villaraigosa, Garcetti, Greuel, Perry, Zine and all the rest who went along on this ride to the farthest reaches of the vast and sprawling city.

They could call it the Museum of Public Accountability.

This entry was posted in 2013 Election, 2013 LA Elections, Hot Topics, Los Angeles, The Valley and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Don’t Forget Who Caused the Children’s Museum Fiasco: Make It the Museum to Public Accountability

  1. Will Mayor Villaraigosa veto this blatant theft of Ratepayer money or will he confirm his legacy as the Mayor Who Broke LA?

  2. anonymous says:

    if you dare…go to city’s council files….
    search children museum…and there it is…
    the official record…but of course…the real story is…
    what happened…you know….off-the-record…
    the museum was/is a ruse…to facilitate transfers of money….
    so always follow the money…especially now…

  3. KS says:

    You’ve forgotten the parts where Tom LaBonge first tried to shove the thing first on Griffith Park land (across the street from Martinez Arena and up against Mt. Sinai), and second on the land half Griffith Park-half LADWP behind Mulholland Fountain.

    When that failed (and rightfully so), Padilla jumped on the opportunity. He took half the land purchased specifically for the new LVT Library at Hansen Dam, cut the beautiful LEED-certified building plans in half, and handed the land over.

  4. anonymous says:

    Padilla`s legacy as CM, joining our Mayor. “FAILURE”!!

  5. I’m accustomed to dealing with donations and endowments. You don’t accept non-cash contributions or assets if the cost of maintaining or operating them results in negative cash flow with little or no tangible or intangible benefits. It is always critical to perform a long-term analysis as to the projected return and update it regularly. You must never get involved in something that does not pencil out or, if events occur that adversely affect the potential, know when to cut losses and back out. It appears the city does neither.

  6. Rita-of-Sunland says:

    And you can BET Zine wouldn’t have voted “NO” unless he knew his “NO” vote couldn’t affect the actual passing of Alarcon’s latest money-laundering heist, done in the name of “The Children’s BOONDOGGLE Museum.” (After all, Zine wants Wendy to pass him the Controller Crown seamlessly and effortlessly. He’s not rockin’ the boat these days come Hell or Stormwater.) Perhaps in these lame duck days of his, Richard Alarcon wants to establish a “Safe House” for his granddaughter, so Andrea “Hot Pants” Alarcon can go out and get laid every Saturday night…

    • Sierra says:

      Yes Rita, the City Council of LA acts more like an organized crime family cooperating and planning with each other behind closed doors before their Brown Act “open meeting”

  7. ex valley says:

    Let me see if I got this right–you suckers will pay higher DWP rates so parasites like Padilla can boast of his great achievement of bringing a “museum” to the valley.
    This is the same Padilla who was hooking up with the same reporter that was passed to Nunez and then Villar. All in the family I guess.
    Ha-haha suckers — pay up.

  8. anonymous says:

    Overgrown”kids” are running the City and the State. Never having worked in a real job in their life. Therefore, do you expect them to have sound judgement? We `ll remember Padilla`s white elephant when he goes for a statewide office.

    • anonymous says:

      now that you mention “elephant”…remember the
      “elephant sanctuary” Cardenas was promoting….
      another money-transfers-project from the
      impaired mind of an ethically challenged con-man…

  9. Anonymous says:

    “The Argument in Favor of permanently increasing our sales to 9.5%, one of the highest in the nation, was signed by Police Chief Charlie Beck, Fire Chief Brian Cummings, Maria Elena Durazo, Rick Tuttle, a former City Controller, Council Members Bill Rosendahl and Joe Buscaino, Andre Quintero, a Neighborhood Prosecutor, Frank Lima, the President of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles, and Richard Close, the President of the Sherman Oaks Home Owners Association”.

    Time to vote in a new SOHA President. Close is a sellout. He supported the Parcel tax too.

  10. anonymous says:

    All the parasites living, sorry, leaching the public`s money are favoring the tax. As far as Close , check out who are his clients………He is a certified, ossified hypocrite. His influence is next to nothing.

  11. Teddy says:

    You just wrote a history of Los Angeles that could take the Los Angeles city Mayors
    and city councils since Mayor Yorty straight to the penetentiary.

    I cannot believe that these people are stupid. I think they are crooks. Thank you. again, Ron.

  12. Noel Weiss says:


    Think about what would have occurred had the City Attorney at the time been clear in communicating to the people what the legal ramifications were of the proposed transaction of the type contemplated by the Council. . . . Much as your personal attorney would do for you were you to engage in a potential business transaction. . . .

    If real change is desired, then vote for a City Attorney candidate that would challenge the Council rather than placate, succumb, and protect the political interests of the Council members, the Mayor, and their special interest ‘friends’. . . In short, to act as a true ‘check and balance’ on the power of the Council and the Mayor. . .

    I am that candidate. . . . .

    Because enough really is enough!

    Noel Weiss
    Candidate for City Attorney

  13. I’ve known Noel Weiss ever since being involved with Neighborhood Council Valley Village (since 2005). He is committed to transparency and protecting the rights of local communities. I will always remember his pro bono defence of the activists who wrote the arguments against Measure B. For those who do not recall this measure, it was the brainchild of the mayor, Wendy Greuel and their friends in the IBEW. It would have cratered your bank account. The pro Measure B regime sued the activists in an attempt to silence them.

  14. Wayne the Noel Weiss voter says:

    Got my vote! I’m also glad to see everyone knows Zine is a pig with a bald head and 2 too many City paid pensions! Now you’ll all vote for Brazeman or anyone else BUT Mr. Piggy Zine! I am glad to see corruption before His Majesty King Herb I. is all well and good on the eve of L.A.’s Bankruptcy filing. Crooks, Criminals, Felons, Fools, and Scumbags are all that are in elected office in the City of Los Angeles. I have NOT ONE elected official that represents me. The Ex-Valley guy is dead on right–we are a BUNCH OF SUCKERS–PAY UP like he says.
    This same exact situation politically once happened before. It was called 1933′s Weimar Republic. Wonder how that whole thing worked out?

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