By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
On May 27, the city sent Leona Gardner the same letter it sent Oaksterdam, charging the facility with a "change-of-use violation, namely operating an educational facility from a retail location." The city ordered the school to stop teaching at 3153 Glendale Blvd. or face a $550 fine that could grow to $1,925.
"But they weren't teaching at 3153. All I ever saw at 3153 were Oaksterdam employees pushing paper like in any office," she says. "They were teaching at Jubilee at 3155 next door at night, and on weekends when Jubilee wasn't using its 4,400-square-foot room."
When the city realized that error, Building and Safety officials sent a second notice, dated August 2, to landlord Gardner ordering her to stop Oaksterdam from teaching in Jubilee's room at 3155 Glendale Blvd. because Jubilee is not a permitted educational location.
Apparently, under Building and Safety's suddenly ultrastrict take on things, Jubilee cannot hold classes — yet everywhere else in America, senior day care is based on fun classes for seniors.
The exasperated school approached the city's bureaucrats in August about a "dual-occupancy" certificate designating Jubilee an adult day-care center and education facility.
That meeting didn't go so well, says Oaksterdam executive coordinator Amanda Brazel. "People we talked to at the Department of Building and Safety didn't have hope for us," Brazel says. "They said it was because of the general atmosphere with respect to a lot of what's going on with medical marijuana and the actions of the city attorney."
Building and Safety's Lara discounts Oaksterdam's suspicion of a citywide plot to kill medicinal pot. "Neither Eric Garcetti nor the city attorney had anything to do with this action. We were not directed by anyone."
Still, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, an avid supporter of District Attorney Steve Cooley's goal to close dispensaries, recently unveiled a new legal tactic. Trutanich says the city's ordinance on marijuana dispensaries, which took effect in June, disqualifies any dispensary if it changes managers or owners. He argues that several longtime, legal dispensaries should be disqualified and has asked a judge to close them.
Oaksterdam isn't waiting around for the verdict. August 15 was the last day Oaksterdam taught in the Jubilee room. The staff moved the classroom to a warehouse. They refuse to say where it is, fearing more city wrath.
Landlord Leona Gardner is wistful as she waits to see if Jubilee can make its October rent. "I was trying to help Jubilee and Oaksterdam," she says. "I thought it was a good match. Oaksterdam got a better place to teach and Jubilee got money to survive during the state budget crisis."
Up in smoke.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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