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Animal Control Shenanigans 

Thursday, Sep 29 2011
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The hot story of the week among readers was our report that a contract to operate the city's Northeast Valley animal control shelter has been awarded to a little-known organization without competitive bidding ("Barnette's Animal Services Mishaps," Sept. 23). The Los Angeles City Council awarded the contract to Best Friends Animal Society in August.

Best Friends was the only organization to apply. The Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the animal-rescue agency Amanda Foundation, both longtime fixtures in Los Angeles, say they were not told the city was taking bids to run the Northeast Valley structure.

A reader identified as "animallover" writes: "It's too bad that other groups were not given the opportunity to bid for control of the Northeast Valley Shelter, but Best Friends is an amazing organization that has completely changed the face of animal adoptions in this country.

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"The organization's efforts have saved millions of pets," animallover continues. "They are not an extremist group, and I have 100% confidence they will do an amazing job with this shelter."

Rebecca Chambliss writes, "Since the shelter sat generally empty, it was not serving anyone. The city has a history of not fairly asking for and analyzing [bids]. This should have been done and all groups that were interested and had the budget should have been looked at.

"The other issue that should have been included is the shelter should have been limited to taking animals that were due to be euthanized out of other city shelters, or owner turn-ins (thus keeping them out of the shelters). Public departments partnering with private organizations have a long history of success all over the country and can serve the public and the animals well."

Reader Daniel Guss says the City Council acted in haste and that council President Eric Garcetti and Councilman Paul Koretz should have known what was going on with the bid. "We specifically called these matters to their attention. There was no reason for the City Council to move forward with the vote that day, especially considering that they finally came to learn that no Request for Proposal [an invitation to submit bids] was ever issued.

"It's too easy to blame it all on [Mayor] Villaraigosa. It's also on a City Council which simply rubber-stamps issues because they feel they know better, even though it's quite obvious that in numerous things, they don't ... such as selling off a valuable property without competitive bidding. Knowing this, is it any surprise that the city is so far in debt and dealing with billions in pension losses and Housing Authority scandals?

"Shamefully, these mistakes mean more dead animals in more shelter dumpsters than we had before."

That Steamy Cup

Our cover last week illustrating Pacific Standard Time, the citywide celebration of Los Angeles art from 1945 to 1980, included an image of a unique vessel. That image inspired this letter from Xaque Gruber:

"The female figure who formed the handle of the figurine cup handle on the cover of the L.A. Weekly Art Issue was modeled by Toni Basil back in the 1960s. The actual piece was created by her good friend, artist Kenny Price, for whom she was his muse. This was originally a life-size cup he sculpted, and one of many pieces he did in a series with Toni. She was also the muse for artist Bruce Conner.

"Of course, many readers will know Toni for her groundbreaking 1970s dance work with The Lockers, as well as her No. 1 Billboard single 'Mickey.' This past year she was the choreographer for Bette Midler and Tina Turner's live shows. And she is an artist in her own right.

"For more information, check out tonibasil.net and also thelockersdance.com."

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