Letters to the Editor
... input from forum participants

Is City Council in the business of funding non-profit organizations?

Dec. 7th

Dear Sir,

I was in attendance at the Boyle Heights' Resurrection Church Hall meeting on Tuesday night (Oct. 29th) and I want to congratulate you on the award you were presented by the Commissioners in front of our new Police Chief, William Bratton.

The Los Angeles Police Department needs all the help it can get, and even though you don't have anything to do with the LAPD directly you have done an outstanding job in keeping us informed about the activities and events of the Department. You pass on wonderful information.

At this moment Boyle Heights is experiencing its worst urban decay and gang violence crises ever. But nobody seems to have the magic solution to fix it. Maybe our Hispanic representatives can do so and demonstrate they can clean up their own communities.

Otherwise they don't deserve to hold higher positions in government.

I am part of a wonderful group of men and women who contribute their energy and family time to help our police and children in this community. We raise money for several groups and take time from our real jobs (and families), dedicating it to these communities in need.

Well, I just learned some disturbing information about a Commissioner from DONE, the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.

It seems that Tammy Membrano, a member of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners (BONC), is going to get millions for her Barrio Action Youth Center and Family Center from City Council, utilizing Community Development Block Grant savings from Ascot Park in Council District 14.

Here's how item 23 of tomorrow's City Council Nov. 8, 2002, agenda reads:

ITEM NO. (23)
02-1837 - CONTINUED CONSIDERATION OF MOTION (PACHECO - REYES) relative to withdrawing from Committee the reprogramming of funds, previously allocated to the Ascot Park Development Project.
Recommendations for Council action:
1. WITHDRAW, pursuant to Rule 54 of the Rules of the Los Angeles City Council, the Motion (Pacheco - Greuel) relative to the reprogramming of $3.3 million in Community Development Block Grant funds, previously allocated to the Ascot Park development project, from the Economic Development and Employment and Housing and Community Development Committees.
................8 VOTES REQUIRED
2. ADOPT, upon withdrawal from Committee, the Motion (Pacheco - Greuel), AS AMENDED, to allow for the reprogramming of $2.7 million, currently allocated to Ascot Park, instead of the original $3.3 million, and TRANSFER to the following projects: Barrio Action Youth and Family Center ($2 million); and El Sereno Skate Park ($700,000 instead of the $750,000 requested in the original Motion).
3. INSTRUCT the Controller to provide the necessary instructions to effectuate this transfer.
(Continued from Council meeting of November 1, 2002)

I didn't know that City Council was in the business of funding non-profit organizations (NPOs).

If Ms. Membrano's nonprofit Barrio Youth Center gets all this money, shouldn't we request funding for our nonprofit organizations, also? I thought that Commissioner's positions are volunteer positions. Or is this the way the City quietly pays them off?

In our group, we do fundraising for several organizations, and we work very hard. To help us out, the amount of money we raise is often matched by a private organization or by private individuals. All of these ladies and gentlemen have been doing fundraising work for years. I believe getting people involved is the American way of contributing to our communities.

To raise the amount that Tammy Membrano is going to get takes us many years of hard work.

The other day I was reading your e-mail that said you were in need of funding to keep this website alive. My dear man, why don't you see how the City can help you also with your nonprofit organization?

And we shall see how the city can help us, too. That way we don't have to work as hard as we have for over 20 years. Or is it that we need to have a good friend sitting on the City Council to pull some strings? Maybe somebody can do some investigation like our Ethics Committee.

Congratulations again for your well deserved recognition.

Mr. and Mrs. D. Vitkoff
Marina del Rey


EDITOR'S NOTE: From our inception the Directors of LACP decided on a policy where we will not request direct funding from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Police Protective League (union), the Mayor's Office or the LA City Council. Although we have strong relationships and cooperate fully with all of them, our advocacy is grassroots, and allows for all points of view.

We wish to keep it that way ... making the task of fundraising much more difficult, but eliminating even the appearance of impropriety.

As private citizens, individuals from any of these groups may certainly feel free to support us financially. And for this support we are most grateful ...

Such tax deducible contributions are made in the spirit of wishing to continue the inclusion of all voices at LACP. Ours is an ongoing living dialogue about how working together we Angelenos can make our streets safer and improve the quality of life.