Monday, July 17, 2006

Who are these people?

ubrayj02 asks about the ten featured GMs in the poll at the right. Two, Gary Lee Moore and Fontayne Holmes, have gotten a brief write up, and now, LAPD Chief Bratton is in the lead (by one vote over City Librarian Holmes). If you don't know Police Chief Bratton, please do a Google Search - he is probably the most well-known non-elected LA City official, and probably more well-known than some of the elected officials! You should be ashamed if you don't know he heads the LAPD.

So, what about the other 7 not yet featured. Who are they, and what do they do? Here's a brief description of each:

Jon Kirk Mukri, former GM of the General Services Department, has been General Manager of Recreation and Parks (not "Parks and Rec") since February 2004. He oversee all parks & recreation in the City, from small pocket parks to Griffith Park (but NOT the Zoo or the Autry) - over 390 of them. This includes 9 lakes, 176 recreation centers and 372 children's play areas, 13 golf courses, 287 tennis courts, 9 dog parks, 59 swimming pools,
7 skate parks, 7 museums, 24 child care facilities, 30 senior centers, 2 beaches and an urban forest of one million trees. He is in charge of masterplanning and open space management and also oversees programs and festivals like the Lotus Festival and Salute to Recreation, Venice Beach, Cabrillo Aquarium, historic sites, Museums, a miniature golf center, and the Griffith Observatory, to name a few.

Fire Chief Bamattre has overseen the Fire Department since 1996. He has 103 neighborhood fire stations, which last year responded to 713,762 calls for service from fires to medical emergencies. He oversees the CERT training program as well as brush clearance and fire inspections of events. His department is working 24 hours a day every day and their response time is immediate because when you call 911 for fire or medical emergency, a trained Fire Fighter/paramedic is on the other end of that line talking you through it all. (He also provides fire protection to the separate City of San Fernando.)

Bill Robertson is the Director of Street Services, which includes Urban Forestry, Sidewalks, Street maintenance and repair, curb & gutter, street sweeping, building bulkheads, clearing roadways of debris, enforcing codes relating to the public right-of-way (illegal postings, obstructing the sidewalk, etc.), lot cleaning, overseeing & maintaining medians... among other things. Tree trimming, resurfacing (roadway condition), and sidewalk repair are the three most impacting services this department provides to the public; and considering the quite limited funds, years of neglect, and the worst rain in 75 years, Robertson has worked some wonders. His crews work until the roads are safe and passable during storms. They're the ones who cleaned up Watts after that freakish hail storm in 2003. Above all else, they're the ones who fill the potholes in the largest municipal street system in the nation. He also oversees two asphalt plants. What makes Robertson even more interesting is that he started out in the department as a pothole filler and has worked his way up to the top now.

Andrew Adelman has headed the Department of Building & Safety since Riordan was Mayor. He's been in the news a lot recently, but that has been rumored to be at the hand of Unions who don't like his style (again, just a rumor). The Department has been focused on Customer service and operates 16 offices and public counters outside of City Hall (Valley, West LA, South LA, & San Pedro). He oversees the issuance of building permits for building fences to installing water heaters to major developments. They inspect all projects and investigate potential violations through the code enforcement section. The have some amazing statistics, including the fact that the department issues trade licenses for 22 occupations. Besides being GM, he has also been appointed and is currently serving as "Vice-Chair of the State of California Building, Fire and other Codes Committees."

John Lewis is the Zoo Director & General Manager, overseeing its operation. Fairly self-explanatory, right? About John Lewis: "Prior to taking office July 1, 2003, Lewis served as director of the John Ball Zoological Garden in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he had been director since 1986. Lewis has also served as president of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's (AZA) Board of Directors from 2001 to 2002." The Zoo has only been its own City Department for less than 10 years (previously part of Rec & Parks), so Lewis is only the 2nd to officially hold the post.

Rushmore Cervantes runs the El Pueblo Department, which oversees Olvera Street & its 27 historic Structures, 4 parking lots, and various festivals and celebrations. Cervantes was appointed by Hahn after the resignation of the previous GM due to Controller Laura Chick's audit found gross mismanagement. A former Stockbroker and long-time city employee, Cervantes has played hardball since 2004 doing what it takes to get the department back on track. Currently, there is a rehabilitation project underway and the buildings are getting the care and attention they deserve. In her follow up audit, Chick said, "The corrective action taken by the Department, especially General Manager Rushmore Cervantes, is a lesson for all City departments to follow.Â?

Mercedes Marquez oversees the Housing Department. With affordable housing being a huge issue in the City, she has had quite a task since assuming the post in Jaunary 2004 and implementing a reorganization. She oversees rent controlled properties, provides oversight of fair housing, operates a systematic code enforcement program to prevent slum units from developing, provides assistance and resources on homeownership, and dispenses grants for home improvement (owner-occupied multifamily dwellings0. One of the primary focuses of the department is to maintain quality, affordable housing stock. How's it going so far in the last 30 months?

So, those are your General Managers who've been at it for some time. There are about 34 other GMs in the City, so there is a lot to understand. Find out who these people are, contact them, and vote!


Don said...

Who ARE these people voting for Bratton? Have you ever dealt with the police department? Probably not, since even if you call they don't show up. The library system on the other hand is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. Bratton is in the lead, yet the LAPD is still plagued by scandal? I don't think we need ex-drug users policing the streets of LA, although it is certainly a step-up from the gangbangers that made it onto the Force while Willie the 1st and Willie the 2nd (Bernard Parks for those less informed).

For shame, people, for shame.

Sahra Bogado said...

Thanks for posting this information L.A. City Nerd! Few people recognize what a complex system of government we have, and the people running the show often do so in near-anonymity.

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