Boks Picks Knaan, ADL Threatens Both

The new "Stop the Killing" bulletin is a classic example of the ADL propaganda machine trying to pass itself off as being credible. But the only credibility in it is the fact that Animal Services Commissioner Debbie Knaan was just chosen by Ed Boks to be his new Assistant General Manager for Operations and that ADL has already put her on notice that if she doesn't behave unprofessionally and work to undermine her boss, they will go to war against her like they go to war against everyone they haven't hand-picked. They also "endorsed" her hiring with back-of-the-hand "praise." That could be the worst news Knaan has received since she got the job

I am not privy to the machinations that led to the decision to appoint Knaan despite her lack of management experience (this was one of my foremost worries about other activist candidates and why I opposed them), but many humane activists seem to applaud the decision and not just because certain other local activists didn't get the job.

What I can say with full confidence is that ADL's assertion that their recent picketing of the Mayor's residence and his appearance at a Westwood theater was the cause of Knaan's hiring, is at best amusing and most assuredly wrong.

The ADL assertion that Boks and mayoral staffer Jim Bickhart favored department veteran Linda Gordon over Knaan and were overruled by "higher ups" in the Mayor's office can't be anything but wishful thinking. If we're going to traffic in rumors, let's at least traffic in credible ones. The mayoral directive on choosing Assistant General Managers sets up a clear process that doesn't involve the Mayor meddling in the decisions. You can see the directive at the Mayor's website, by the way, if you don't believe me. When it comes to attributing things to the Mayor's office or any specific staffers, ADL has a consistent track record of being as wrong, so why should this time be any different?

ADL's assertion that the Mayor or someone close to him, symbolically held a gun to Boks' head and made him choose someone Jim Hahn had appointed to the Commission just doesn't make sense at a time when Villaraigosa is obviously cleaning house of Hahn holdovers on his commissions and elsewhere.

ADL goes on to offer Knaan a thinly-veiled threat about not becoming a "rubber stamp" or a "yes woman." (Surprising they didn't add "concubine," since they seem so ready and willing to toss salacious personal attacks at anyone they don't like these days; but, I digress.) They advise her, without naming names to contact "the experts" (such as the "experts" who did their analysis of LAAS statistics earlier this week, no doubt) who can help her become the Superwoman of Spay/Neuter.Knaan probably needs help to get up to speed in her new position, but she certainly needs neither ADL's idea of experts nor their toxic advice.

It remains to be seen whether this was a good choice by Boks, but it's laughable for ADL to suddenly take credit for it and promise to make Knaan their next target in the next breath. Why don't they just admit that Boks made this decision, condemn it, and skip the stalling tactics? If Knaan behaves in a professional manner, she's bound to end up on their hit list sooner or later. Professionalism is one thing ADL can't abide.

ADL's Twisted Statistical Analysis

Below is an ADL email about LAAS impound, adopt, rescue and euthanize stats with a very biased opinion that they demonstrate Boks’ incompetence.

Most of this stuff is boring to most people, so I will just comment on certain “facts” that they raise.

As you know, I have analyzed LAAS stats beginning during January of this year and I am aware that Boks gets the stats just as everyone else does, then analyzes them and posts extensive analyses on his blog. A few days later, the previous month’s stats are published on the LAAS website on the statistics page.

During February, before ADL went on its rampage against Boks, and when I first volunteered to put statistical and other info on the LAAS website, I saw the stats exactly as given to him and came to the same conclusions as he reached and published. My earlier blog posts published my analyses and results.

Boks did not cook the stats. If they were cooked, it was before the stats ever reached him.

ADL email:

Three skilled individuals from NYC, who are trained in progressive and humane sheltering, went over the stats that the Department of LAAS General Manager Ed Boks, put up on the LAAS web site in October of this year. The below is what they found and concluded. (Note: we must remind you that BOKS ALONE gets the stats and can do with them what he wants.)

The below are quotes compiled from the reviewers.


LAAS (the Department of Los Angeles Animal Services) took in about the same number of cats in 2005-6 as they did in 2004-5 under Stuckey, only 53 less. On the plus side, 431 more cats were adopted, 24 more were redeemed, and 114 more were fostered. But that is washed out by the fact that the New Hope program, as more restrictive than before and a potential violation of the Hayden law resulted in 606 fewer cats being sent to rescue."

Fact: It is still a mystery that Rescuers took 600 fewer cats than the comparable period of 2004—2005. In fact, the dramatically decreased nonprofits’ numbers began during October of 2005, three months before Boks started and continued for the first eight months he was on the job until the trend was reversed two months ago.

Also, the New Hope program did not start officially until June of this year, three months before placements began to go up.

One can more reasonably conclude that the New Hope program reversed a negative trend that started before Boks took control of LAAS, as opposed to assuming that the complexities of New Hope program caused the rescue partners placements to fall even before Boks took over.

34 more cats died in kennel. An animal who dies in kennel is nothing more than a demonstration of poor care. When Boks allows animals to die in kennels to be able to say that there is less killing, it is a horrific thing. Only 24 less cats were killed than the year before, but 42 more were stolen and 38 escaped!"

First, I would note that 34 more deaths is statistically meaningless when we are discussing 21,000 impounds. 34 cats amount to 1/7 of 1%, or 15 out of 10,000. Any conclusion drawn is meaningless and just reflects the bias of the person making the inference that the 34 deaths reflects negatively on Boks' competence. Indeed, using their logic, the 431 more cats adopted means Boks is brilliant at creating new adoption opportunities.

In addition, in October 2006, under Boks' charge, 17 cats died while in the pound as opposed to October 2005 when 38 died. One could say that he cut the kennel death rate in half. In any event, animals will die while in the kennels, coming in sick or injured or catching a fatal illness when inside.

The real issue would be whether that death rate is out of step with the mortality statistics of New York, Chicago, or any other major city.

On top of that, I see the death-in-kennel year total under Boks actually was 392 compared to the comparable period of the year before of 430, a decrease of 38 souls. So I don't know the methodology of the ADL experts.

The experts go on to tell ADL-LA that:"In the end, IF BOKS STATS ARE EVEN TRUE (which is dubious because Boks has a history of fixing numbers as well as the algorithms in the Chameleon program.

What an idiotic assertion. If Boks cooked the books, why would not cook them good? Why would he not have shown 16,000 were live releases out of 18,000 impounded, and of those releases, 12,781 were adopted out by LAAS?

Besides, Boks has offered ADL, Pam and Jerry unlimited access to the department statistics and the methodology by which they were obtained. Boks was refused. The only issue they were interested in was who was going to be made Assistant General Manager.

Taking the numbers of animals killed and who died as a function of intake, (12,292 killed and 427 died of 20,859 live impounded), 60% of cats lost their lives, compared to (12,316 killed and 393 died of 20,858 live intakes), 60% last year, no statistical change.

The changes that did occur are not good: 606 less animals to rescue who screens homes, while LAAS gives them to anyone who comes through the door, more animals being stolen and disappearing, and more animal suffering (died while in LAAS custody, a sign of shoddy animal care).

Here we go again, blaming Boks for fewer placements by New Hope partners, while refusing to give him credit for the 431 increased adoptions.

I do appreciate that ADL has somewhat moved away from character assassination to looking at what is important, which is results.

But what I feel is important has never been discussed. The need for methodology and analysis. Why were there so many more neonates impounded and killed in May than the previous year? Why were there so many fewer impounds from October of 2005 through April of 2006 compared with October 2004 and April 2005? Why was there such a dramatic decrease in euthanasia and an increase in adoptions from January through April of 2006 compared to the year before even taking the decreased impound figures into consideration?

It appears there may be a zone of impound numbers specific to LAAS for optimal adoption rates. This may be a function of capacity and personnel numbers. Given impound numbers above or below this zone may negatively impact live release rates. What can be done to expand that zone?

Why did the impound rate begin dropping three months before Boks took over and continue to drop four months into his command, even while the nonprofits took in far fewer cats than the year before, for that same period? What effect did the 39,000 spay neuter vouchers have on owner impounds vs. feral impounds?

You see, until we understand the macrodynamics that govern impound rates, we can never know what causes what, whom to blame or whom to applaud. Boks has made a beginning by publishing stats regarding the whys of owner turn-ins. The reasons and results are not equally significant and efforts should be made to support programs which are the most effective at ending the killing. We need to challenge the accepted assumptions regarding progress to no kill.

ADL and Winograd focus on shelter management and marketing efforts. Comparisons between Ithaca and LA shelter techniques is comparing apples to oranges. Even comparisons between Rancho Cucamunga, L A and Philadelphia have little meaning without knowing the human and cat/dog demographics as well as the dynamics of the feral cat populations, and the specific policies regarding impounds by these various shelters.

So much depends even on the topology of the collection areas we talk about.

For example, San Francisco is effectively sea-locked. Cats cannot come pouring into the city from three directions as is the case in LA, but only one, therefore any feral “vacuums” created by successful TNR would be filled more slowly in SF compared to LA, making the SF problem more manageable.

If the feral population is a function of a "natural" feral density, then any population decreases caused by TNR successes in the Central city area will be replaced by cats emigrating from areas of higher population and food competition to the new, less populated areas, negating even successful TNR programs unless we have area-wide plans and resource allocation.

We cannot be successful in LA City without the County being successful. This must be obvious to anyone who thinks.We need to understand the dynamics of urban cat populations on a regional basis in order to formulate successful strategies for killing fewer animals.

Still Waiting

Last Thursday, Animal Pals posted that Muzika = Reed = Felon.

Then she posted:

While the foregoing is very interesting, what is even more interesting is the voluminous criminal records that pull up for Edward Muzika aka Edward Reed.

Public records show Edward Muzika has an aka of Edward Reed.While the foregoing is very interesting, what is even more interesting is the voluminous criminal records that pull up for Edward Muzika aka Edward Reed. According to public records, Mary Cummins' poor pal looks like he could be a felon....Wouldn't be too shocking. Birds of feather flock together.EDWARD MUZIKA'S AKA EDWARD REED'S CRIMINAL RECORDS GOING UP SOON...

They promised to post the felonies I was supposed to have committed.

That was last Thursday.

I am still waiting, waiting, waiting...

Of course, if they post nothing, it shows they had nothing, or blundered in their research, or are just making it up, and have absolutely no credibility as fact finders or in in-depth reporting--and, are also defaming.

Blogs going down??

A few days ago the blog and Craigslist posts that attacked me and several others, including Ed Boks, dropped their posts about me. I took my own similar posts about them down as a response.

I had hoped this was a sign of the ending of the expressions of hatred. I had hoped this was a signal, an olive branch.

As Animal Friends just offered, I similarly will end this blog if attacks on Boks and his supporters end everywhere posted.

But if dropping the two posts about me were only an attempt to split me off from my defense of Boks and others, I will remain up and intensify my posts in response, naming names and associations.

I am somewhat discouraged by the current anonimous posts on Craigslist.