Monday, January 15, 2007

The Letter, Or At Least The First Page

This is the first page of the "INTER-DEPARTMENTAL CORRESPONDENCE", which is the letter from Mike Bagheri.

And now............some more of the story.

Donna Littlejohn's article in the Saturday January 13 edition of the Daily Breeze dealt with this 25 page letter Mike Bagheri sent out. The first page of that letter appears above and you are free to read it. Just place your mouse over any area of the page and left click (PCs that is).

Ms. Littlejohn has confirmed to me that her source for the letter was someone in the Bisno organization. I must thank Mr. Bisno and his organization for releasing the story to Ms. Littlejohn. This may have been the only way committee members and the public might have found out about it.

The letter was set for release on Friday January 12. Mr. Gordon Teuber, an assistant to Ms. Hahn, was sent the letter at about 10:24 AM by Mr. Bagheri. Mr. Teuber sent the letter later in the day to John Greenwood and some others. I did not get my copy of the letter on Friday.

I hold no fault in this matter with Mr. Teuber or Mr. Greenwood. I don't even know if they took the opportunity to open the attachment of the Email informing them of this letter. It really doesn't matter because they both were Emailed the letter AFTER Mr. Bagheri spoke to the committee last Thursday evening.

Mike Bagheri of the L.A. City Department of Transportation has his signature on the first page of the letter. He knew the release date would be Friday January 12 when he came before the committee and the public, the evening before.

For Mr. Bagheri to not provide committee members the courtesy of at least, informing us that the letter would be released the following day is one of the issues many of the members of the committee are very disturbed about.

Mr. Bagheri also knew the contents of the letter, yet he must have deliberately chosen not to inform us of its contents as well. Might this be one way of telling volunteer committee members to F%#@ O^^?

Mr. Bagheri seems to have continued to propagate the feeling that many bureaucrats within government are arrogant when it comes to dealing with the public. I feel he has done a disservice to Mr. Bisno, our committee, the Department of Transportation, and the image of bureaucrats in L.A. City Government.

Had our committee been informed of the existence of the letter on Thursday evening, perhaps we could have questioned Mr. Bagheri about it and not created a heavier fog of credibility over our Community Advisory Committee.

It appears we were deliberately left out of the loop of information for whatever reasons Mr. Bagheri chose. This may slow the process down and that will not be beneficial to anyone.

I will write more about credibility in another post. I can imagine that Mr. Bagheri will now garner a even lower level of credibility by some members of the committee and many members of the public. That would also make anything he signs off on have a lower level of credibility as well, I imagine.

I have written about how I believe Mr. Bagheri was not willing to provide the committee and the public with a level of courtesy we might expect from folks we pay the salary of. I can also put into question his duties and who he may really be responsible to. While I have not found any collusion between Mr. Bagheri and Mr. Bisno concerning the DOT analysis of the Traffic and Transportation section of the DEIR, I may be considered ignorant by some members of the public who have already mentioned to me they believe that DOT and Ponte Vista Development CO. were working together to document findings that were predetermined at the outset. This also suggests that Mr. Bagheri has lowered the credibility of Mr. Bisno's plans.

I hope Ms. Hahn and Mr. Teuber will get to the bottom of this issue and provide all parties with a full explanation and measures designed to not let something like this happen again as our committee reviews other sections of the DEIR that bureaucrats within city government have to sign off on.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

for the record, a real reporter would have known about the letter prior to thursday's meeting and had a story done on it that day for the committee to read in the paper.

M Richards said...

I'm sorry, anonymous 8:28 PM, but I don't know when Ms. Littlejohn received the letter from someone in the Bisno organization.

I am not a real reporter and I never have written that I was. Perhaps you are a real reporter and would like to contribute a report to this blog concerning your opinons on these matters.

You could even remain anonymous if you would like.

I am not in the running for a Pulitzer with this blog I can assure you.

And another thing, please don't shoot the messenger. Please comment on the message the letter gives, OK?

Anonymous said...

i was referring to donna.

M Richards said...

Howdy anonymous 9:00,
I knew you were referring to Donna, but I brought her name up on the post so I don't think she deserved the criticism you seem to think she deserves.

Now how about a contribution or comment on the contents of that first page of the letter. That, and Mike Bagheri's dealings are the real issues, I feel.

tom said...

I know I'm going to get slammed for this. So before I weigh in with my puny 2¢ worth, let me say I hope all of you had an enjoyable holiday season. Now back to the salt mines.

About this letter, I am a bit torn. On one side, I can certainly understand the desire of those on the CAC to have had knowledge of it BEFORE their meeting last Thursday. I'm certain it would have helped focus the concerns and questions of those on the committee.

On the other hand, however, the private citizen in me says it wasn't addressed to the CAC, so why all the complaining? From my point of view the fact that Gordon Teuber got the letter to John Greenwood and that Bisno released it to the Daily Breeze so quickly is commendable. Come on, you have to admit that for city bureaucrats to have a document signed one day and released to the public the next is just about lightning-speed. I think Mr. Teuber and Mr. Bisno should be commended for being so forthcoming.

However, that still leaves the question of Mr. Bagheri. Should he have stood up at the meeting and announced something which wasn't even in the hands of the developer yet? My personal opinion is no. I wouldn't like it very much if some city official stood up in the middle of a public forum and announced "...by the way Tom, your plans for your 2-story outhouse in your backyard have been approved..." Does anyone see my point?

M Richards said...

tom, I am sorry four your being torn. Perhaps I didn't explain it well enough and you wrote something that I have no idea if it is true or not.

I have no idea when anyone in the Bisno organization got the letter to Ms. Littlejohn. You are free to write her and ask her when she got the letter. She can be Emailed at donna.littlejohn@dailybreeze.com.

I do think it is interesting that a document could be signed on one day and released the next, if that is what actually happened.

You may read from other folks that some may believe Mr. Bisno was tipped off before the letter was even signed and he knew the contents would benefit his position, so of course it would be a good thing to get it in the newspaper...free advertisement.

I personnaly don't think that happened. Perhaps Mr. Bagheri provided the Bisno organization the courtesy of being the first to receive the letter, signed or not. I don't know.

If Mr. Bagheri had not told the committee, a day before its release that his group approved the mitigation for the new Target, that would be one thing. I agree that the members of our CAC didn't need to know something like that.

But for a committee to be able analyze, question, comment, and make recommendations on something, it helps out to have the best information possible and in a timelier fashion than having to read about it days later in the newspaper.

About your outhouse. I am sure you would have been displeased to read about the approval in a newspaper days after the very same fellow came to talk to you and knew your plans were approved but failed to give you the courtesy of informing you. Had you known about the approval when that person talked to you, you might have been able to ask him about something else related to your outhouse that was important to you. But you didn't get the chance because of your lack of information that could have easily been provided to you had the fellow been forthcoming enough and respected your position.

Of course the letter wasn't addressed to the CAC! it wasn't even addressed to any members of the general public, for that matter. This is one of only a very small handfull of "INTER-DEPARTMENTAL CORRESPONDENCE"s that I have ever seen. I am sure it will become a part of the Final Environmental Impact Report, as it should be.

Mike Bagheri works for and is paid by the citizens of Los Angeles. When some of those citizens, and other folks volunteer to assist government leaders of the City of Los Angeles deal with an issue Mr. Bagheri is somewhat essential to, I feel it is incombant on him to provide everyone with the best and most timely knowledge possible.

Mr. Bisno and some members of his organization may be citizens of Los Angeles, too. They would be entitled to the same, but not better treatment than those volunteers who are attempting to help everyone.

Mr. Teuber, Mr. Greenwood, Ms. Littlejohn, Mr. Bisno, and the members of the CAC should have all been informed of the release of the letter prior to Friday when all of us, and members of the public, were at the last meeting. That would have been most fair to everyone. I feel.

In reading a post from Life on the edge, it appears the committee's credibility took a hit from what many folk feel is an already pretty low level of credibility for not having been informed about the letter early enough to have questioned Mr. Bagheri about it and not have to read about it after we could have had a chance to interview Mr. Bagheri about it.

I hope you had a great holiday season tom and I am very glad you are back commenting. I hope to see you and all the regular commentors at the Thursday Open Forum. Please come up and say "Hi" if you get the chance.

I am the one that looks like he shouldn't put on snow skiis but did so and scared the heck out of a bunch of folks at Diamond Peak at Lake Tahoe, recently. I wasn't going fast, but my girth was noticeable by everyone who steered clear of me heading down the slopes. My son got it on video and he may send it in to America's Funniest Home Videos because I had fun and more folks were histerical just watching me.
MW