By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
The other bafflement involved whose idea PV JOBS actually was. Hayden linked the plan with his recent peacemaking efforts. But the Playa Vista jobs provision was arrived at five years ago, with the help of City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, who noted that the plan would have been employing kids for years, minus past opposition from the likes of Hayden. One senior PV JOBS official further noted that since August, several Playa construction teams employing at-risk youth have been hard at work at Playa Vista.
In effect, what the Playa Vista people were saying last week was that, by recruiting more young people, they’ll continue doing what they’ve already been doing for four months. Only now Hayden can take some credit for it.Many Parents
State Senator Richard Polanco’s chief of staff Bill Mabie recently called to make sure the senator got due credit for being the first to try to save the old Cypress Park Lawry’s campus, as alluded to in my last column. I’d credited Councilman Mike Hernandez with getting the ball rolling on this one, but Mabie told me that Polanco’s neighborhood outreach was critical in marshaling local opinion to favor saving the site’s gorgeous amenities from destruction by a Home Depot project.
Okay, I thought, as I arrived at the Thursday news conference that officially announced the project. But who really cares? Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy chief Joe Edmiston carefully meted out credit to each of the three legislators involved — Polanco, Hernandez and Supervisor Gloria Molina, whose crucial role was to finally bring the conservancy to the table and to add several million dollars in county Proposition A money. (Hernandez credited both the others in his original announcement.) In contrast to Hayden’s latter-day involvement in PV Jobs, Molina, Polanco and Hernandez each spent many years on the Lawry’s project.
It’s an old saying that "failure is an orphan, but success has many parents." What’s important here is not the parceling out of credit, but that the deal got done. And the site was saved. Abandoned but by no means desolate, the fountains still flow and the old campus is now abounding with verdure: Persimmons hang like orange Japanese lanterns, the palm and pepper trees flourish, while vines now nearly cover the old pseudo-mission tower. There are tens of thousands of square feet of interior space for classes, exhibits, offices. All you’d need is a pair of mossy marble nymphs to make the place into a first cousin to the Huntington Gardens in San Marino.
All this is in the Inner City, just a block from Avenue 26 and two miles from Chinatown. As one insider put it, "All three office holders were involved, but it might not have happened without Hernandez signing on.’’ But what really emerges here is an example of what happens when this peculiar Eastside county-local-state legislative trio of Molina, Hernandez and Polanco — so often and so notoriously at war with one another — sit down and collaborate. This particular result is so spectacular that you can’t but hope they’ll make the effort a little more often.