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Letters, emails, website comments and statements | Jan. 12, 2018

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You can’t teach an old dog new adoption policies?
First, let me say how well-written this article this was— certainly better than anything I’m getting in the LA Times these days. [“Wagging the dog?: After audit of shelter, watchdog group criticizes LB for allowing spcaLA to hinder its adoption program,” Jan. 5, 2018] Second, I can’t agree enough with the conclusions and want to add my own perspective.
I’ve long been confused about the relationship between SPCALA and the City, and this article makes it clear why. As a long-time public employee, I have never seen a “public/private partnership” with such blurry boundaries and lack of accountability.
Like many others, I had an extremely negative (attempted) adoption experience with spcaLA and their unstated, unpublished— and apparently subjectively applied— adoption requirements. Anyone in the public sector knows that rules, regulations and guidelines governing the provision of services have to be stated up front. However, it appears that when an animal crosses over the great divide, from Long Beach Animal Control to spcaLA, it is no longer in the public sector and subject to clear regulation but now under the hazy jurisdiction of a private organization that utterly lacks transparency, and the City is doing nothing about it.
Seeing the spcaLA executive director’s responses in print should raise a red flag for anyone who cares to read them. Sad to say, I actually had better adoption experiences with the old city pound on Willow, where you could interact with animals in their cages. Now they’re behind glass, and you have to take a card to a different building, wait in line and have someone explain to you details about the animals that should have been posted in advance, such as chronic health conditions. After you’ve gotten an Animal Control employee to go back to the cages with you, you’re allowed to pet/interact with only the animal(s) you asked for, regardless if you notice another available one on your way, which, God forbid, you overlooked.
Remember the old days, when there were helpful shelter employees with keyrings floating around, and you actually felt like they wanted to work with you and adopt out their animals? No more.
Given all this, it’s not hard to see why animals are failing to be adopted both at spcaLA and at the Animal Control shelter. I strongly urge anyone intending to make a donation to either entity to look very, very closely before giving any more financial support to such dysfunction.

RS Kimble
(Website comment)

I wanted to thank you for your balanced coverage of the issues surrounding the Long Beach animal shelter. I’ve read the article, and it provides people with the information they need to think critically about the shelter and come to their own decisions about the kind of shelter they want in Long Beach. People need good information to make informed decisions. Thank you for providing that.
I’m looking forward to reading the second installment. The community will really need to come together to reform LBACS, and they’ll need accurate and adequate information to get it done in a way that will ensure positive outcomes for shelter animals.
Thank you for upholding high journalistic standards and keeping Long Beach informed of issues that affect them.

Patricia Turner, Ph.D.
Long Beach

Thank you for your article on the parasitic relationship of spcaLA to the Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS) shelter. I look forward to your announced follow-up article next week, and I hope that it is able to clarify two things:
1. I read some statistics that said that LBACS spends an average of around $750 per animal that comes through their doors. By contrast, the main shelter in Sacramento spends about half that much per animal and adopts out about 10 times as many as LBACS. Is this because LBACS, by not having adoption and fostering programs, is allowing their animals to languish for long enough that they become stir crazy so they have an excuse to euthanize? Or, is it possible that the money being funneled into someone’s pocket? I seem to recall hearing about some kind of scandal there not too long ago.
2. How much exactly does spcaLA subsidize LBACS? SpcaLA obviously benefits from their land-lease agreement, as well as the opportunity to cherry-pick the most easily adoptable animals, and in doing so, is essentially directly receiving taxpayer support without having to be held accountable to the taxpayers. It’s news to me that spcaLA is reciprocating by providing, among other unnamed things, all of LBACS’s mainline food (for 15 years?) in order “for them to be the best animal-control organization in the world.” But if that is the case— that spcaLA is taking up a lot of the slack from LBACS— then, again, where is all that extra money per animal going to? Is there internal corruption? Is spcaLA receiving kickbacks? And if spcaLA is helping so much, why, according to that pathetic audit, is LBACS nowhere near being “the best animal-control organization in the world” ?
Thank you for your great work. Please keep it up!

Robert Gatley
(Website comment)

Power struggle?
We recently got a notice from Southern California Edison (SCE) that they are going to shut off our power for 10 hours Friday night.
This time, it will be overnight, rather than during the day, and it will be the third time in a month that they have done so. It affects 600 homes this time, according to the customer-service representative at SCE.
They do send out notices so that we can make other arrangements, but most of the people in this neighborhood can’t make other arrangements because they can’t afford to go to a hotel.
SCE creates problems that they don’t take any responsibility for.
In my home, my son and I have to use breathing apparatuses, and my son’s wife, who is pregnant, lives with us as well. We will have no electricity to warm anything up or generate heat.
This wouldn’t happen in the private sector. SCE doesn’t have to answer to anyone.

Chuck Smith
Long Beach

A decent proposal?
The Governor’s [2018-19 budget] proposal is responsible, allowing California to live within its means and stay a step ahead of the economy’s ups and downs. I applaud the Governor’s efforts and commitment to preparing our state for the future.
As a parent, a teacher and chair of the Assembly Education Committee, I strongly support the increased funding proposed for education. I applaud the Governor’s proposal to fully fund the Local Control Funding Formula. We must continue to fund efforts that will strengthen the classroom experience by engaging all students and supporting them on their way to bright futures and lasting careers.
I thank the Governor for recognizing the importance of K-12 Career Technical Education (CTE). At the same time, the proposal to shift responsibility for the program to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office is a step in the wrong direction. CTE is a critical component of robust K-12 education programs designed to ensure that students are well prepared for both college and a career. Dedicated state funding for K-12 CTE programs is essential to the ongoing success of these important programs. This is a top priority for me this session.
I look forward to a collaborative effort with my colleagues in the Legislature to develop a responsible budget that prioritizes the needs of our students— successful students will build a successful state.

Patrick O’Donnell
State Assemblymember
District 70

I applaud Governor Brown for including $134.3 million for new voting systems in his state budget proposal. Governor Brown is once again leading the way. This is an essential and timely investment in our democracy. Aging voting systems are one of the gravest threats to the integrity of our elections.
It has been over 15 years since Congress approved significant funding for voting systems to help improve election administration. We have a responsibility to modernize our voting equipment to ensure the security of our elections, to expand voting opportunities, and to improve disability and language access. Governor Brown clearly understands that an investment in voting systems is an investment in the voter experience and the health of our democracy.

Alex Padilla
California Secretary of State

Resignation indignation
Gary Dudley’s letter to the editor about his resignation from the [Signal Hill] Parks and Recreation Commission, as well as his other city involvement, has saddened me. I have known Gary for over a decade as a fellow commissioner, committee and foundation member and friend. In my view, no one has given more of his or her time and commitment to the betterment of the city of Signal Hill than Gary Dudley. His choice to resign is an example of his willingness to personally sacrifice his opportunity to be part of the positive city projects he has supported, as they come to fruition. Instead he chose to stand by his beliefs through his actions. His departure is a loss to the city.
The city council decision to take no action regarding the alleged public domestic-abuse behavior leading to an arrest of our mayor does not speak well for local leadership, in my opinion. At the very least a council censure, or a similar action, would have made a statement that the City does not condone violations of the ethics standards to which all elected and appointed officials are required to uphold.
During commission candidate interviews, more than one of them has related that the mayor basically centered on their view of the city establishing a separate mayor position in the city. No specific discussion held related to candidates’ goals as a city commissioner. It is no secret that Mayor Wilson has expressed this personal desire. A city of this size neither needs nor can afford such a position at this time. It would appear that giving a negative response to this single interview question may have been the deciding factor in long-time candidates being overlooked for commission reappointment nomination by the mayor.
I have been involved with city activities for over 17 years and have always gladly given my time and efforts to a city I love and to staff and officials I respect and admire. Gary asked that others step forward with their support of his actions. It’s not enough to just tell him privately that I support him. So, here I am.

Louise Cunningham
Signal Hill

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Letters, emails, website comments and statements | Jan. 12, 2018