What If We Get Someone Worse Than Boks?

What I am about to say will be unpopular with the animal community, but I say it because I am afraid for the animals, given how close we are to getting rid of Boks.

What if we get someone worse than Boks? Imagine the horror if we got another Mayeda or Mayeda herself? Villaraigosa has shown a remarkable ability to ignore the LA animal community and has even considered the possibility of asking Mayeda to replace Stuckey.

I think the overwhelming consensus of our community is to bring in Winograd to consult and help pick a successor as he did in Philly when he picked Tara Derby and within seven months cut killing in half. This would be my choice too.

But it is obvious from a previous insider commenter that Villaraigosa will ignore the community on this tactic to reach no kill; he will pick another Bozo with immaculate shelter credentials; no doubt about that. Tony has no imagination; he only wants to play safe to protect his reputation.

I have read most of Redemption now and it is clear that Boks has tried to implement most of Winograd’s recommendations, but to no avail. He has not and likely cannot. Council, civil service and the union have blocked his attempts to reform, he keeps tripping on his tongue, lies far too much, and pretends no-kill is here even with a 46% death rate.

For example, Nathan recommends a comprehensive TNR program. However, just to make that a city policy, LAAS has had to perform a CEQA study of the effects of such a program in order to convince Council to make TNR the City’s policy. This has been going on for well over a year with no end in sight. There is a lot of opposition from many environmental groups that have their own, contrary goals.

A Winograd successor would be faced with the same obstacles. Nathan, Friedman and Tara Deby do not think a self-protective union to be an insurmountable problem. But as Bickhart has said, no one outside knows how hard it is to get anything by City bureaucrasy. More than one Commisioner has said the same.

In many situations, because of the roadblocks imposed by the bureaucracy and the union, Ed has attempted to go around those blockages and do it without union or council sanctions, and we have keel-hauled him once he is discovered so great is our eagerness to get rid of him. But Ed is not too bright. He publicly announces his attempts to go around Council. That is a dumb move.

In an act both of courage and self-protection, and also by the Commissions demand, Boks hired a consultant (Erica Meadows; I don’t know her qualifications) to examine LAAS’s volunteer program which had fallen apart disastrously by 2006. Her report really damns department staff from top to bottom, including Boks himself.

Boks published the results at:


This is one paragraph of the Meadows report regarding her assessment of the volunteer program.

Respect - Ms. Meadows stated there appears to be a total lack of respect, integration and understanding of the Volunteer Program within the entire structure of LAAS – and at all levels from within the individual shelters, to the top levels of administration.

She made the following recommendations: assign volunteers to the Administrative Division; allocate a budget; provide adequate supervision; and amend the grievance procedures to extend to the General Manager. The lack of respect is a serious problem that must be changed. There may be better ways to address the respect issue.

The GM’s report that published Meadows' results also talks about changes made—this may all be bull, and you need to tell me if the changes actually took place.

May I make a suggestion? Like I said, I am afraid Tony will bring in a worse Bozo out of his sheer incompetence or spite, and will refuse to bring Winograd in. Remember, according to Bickhart, Winograd was offered a consulting contract before Boks was hired but did not bother to submit a proposal; this may or may not be true. Ask Nathan.

I think we ought to allow Boks one chance to save his job or at least delay his departure while he applies for a job in Cleveland (Which soon would become the largest adoption agency in the world), and that is for him to be humble for a change, swallow his pride and agree to bring in Winograd to consult and to publish Winograd’s findings no matter what they are. He has expressed to me he’d rather die that to allow this to happen. So be it. It would be his choice.

If Boks can find $20,000 to pay a “friend” Pia Salk to consult, he can find $120,000 to hire Winograd to do a four month study. $120,000 is not unreasonable for a consultant of Winograd’s status, as it would amount to about $130/hour, only $30 and hour more that an unqualified Pia made.

This will never happen, but the alternative is the get rid of Boks immediately because he cannot, or will not do what is necessary to defeat opposition to implementing no-kill by Council or the union and to work with the Commission.


Anonymous said...

I have a question, although I realize this may not be the most neutral forum to ask it in.

The main objection to TNR that I've heard is that feral cats kill birds. As it was always prefaced by "environmentalists claim" I tended to believe it. But I was looking at Winograd's site and either on his site or via a link I read an article that said it wasn't true.

I'm also wondering simply because yes, I know cats kill birds, but given the fact that mostly cats are ground-bound and can only leap so high, and birds can fly and live much higher... There are feral cats behind were I work and I've never seen them do anything but skulk low to the ground.

Anonymous said...

Boks will not be the General Manager for much longer. His two years are almost up. He will not be fired because of activists' complaints. He will be fired because of Union, employee, City Council member, other Department heads' and others' complaints. Insiders are complaining. Discrimination and harassment complaints have been filed against him by employees. Current and past employees are complaining to the powers that be in the City.

Boks has done this to himself. He has no one else to blame. He can't blame kittens, activists, the nokill philosophy, global warming, red tape of city hall, lazy and stupid employees or anything else. He's been fired before, he'll be fired again.

Ed Muzika said...

Yes, there are many unfounded myths about the danger feral cats, including, get this, they are vectors for rabies and Bubonic Plague (County Vector Control's misguided stupidity), they are public nuisances with urine and feces causing public outcry, they carry fleas whic may carry disease for children, their urine can cause diseases that kill sea lions after runoff into the ocean (maybe true, may be false), they kill rodents with rabies, they are not a native species (as if this made any difference, neither are dogs or horses--all came from Europe) etc.

County Vector control is the worst and they have the power and the will to stop TNR and to catch and kill ferals against the will of any municipal entity as they did with groundsquirrles in Santa Monica.

Anonymous said...

The whole report is interesting, especially the part Ed quoted "Ms. Meadows stated there appears to be a total lack of respect, integration and understanding of the Volunteer Program within the entire structure of LAAS – and at all levels from within the individual shelters, to the top levels of administration."

This report was published in July 2007, which is roughly when I started volunteering at West L.A. Everything it describes is correct. The only thing she missed was longterm-volunteer disrespect towards new volunteers. They even manage to show disrespect when you're not there, by writing snide comments on volunteers' sign-in sheets.

The report, of course, wasn't apparently given to the Animal Services Commission until now. I wonder how many people, like me, came in as the report was published, and have already left with our tails between our legs, before the commissioners ever heard how LAAS was treating people whose service the report quantifies thusly: "The value of volunteer services to support Department services exceeds $500,000 per year."

Ed Muzika said...

WOW!!Regarding the comment about internal complaints mentioned above:

He will be fired because of Union, employee, City Council member, other Department heads' and others' complaints. Insiders are complaining. Discrimination and harassment complaints have been filed against him by employees. Current and past employees are complaining to the powers that be in the City.

WOW!! Bye, bye Ed. Don't let the door hit you in the ass when you leave.

Anonymous said...

What is the hostility to no-kill all about? It was very weird to see, with Dana Bartholomew's recent shelter deaths story, how amazingly quickly people (or a person) was jumping in to loudly blame the shelter deaths on no-kill, and exhorting people to call their legislators to rail against it.

I understand that the way ADL talks about it, as if it's both a mandate and achievable right this second, is off-putting to anyone with a grasp of the current reality. But there seems to be some faction that hates no-kill even as a longterm goal, that has real hostility to it as a concept, which seems odd in this community.

Who are these people?

Anonymous said...

Crows, tree rats, and development kill more birds than one million feral cats.

Ed Muzika said...

The objections to no-kill do boggle the mind don't they? For a perspective on those who attack no-kill, it is best to read Winograd's Redemption.

I am boggled myself at all the anti no-kill comments I get and don't post. Once in a great while I do post one that is well-thought out and well written. Most are not and demonstrate the ignornace and myopia and pure wrong information and mindset of these people.

There was one I just rejected that more or less atacked TNR as a way of preserving cat-vermin, but vermin who should be kept indoors so they do not spread rabies and also protects them from being run over by cars or destroyed by evil people. I just don't get it either.

Their knowledge about no-kill is non-existent and they make up "facts" to support their anti-no-kill mindset.

They also deny the successes of Nathan in Ithica NY, Charlottesville, Reno and increaingly in Philly, calling these shelter directors liars who lie to solicit donations.

They don't believe the 87% live save rate in San Francisco, as they say SF is rich and well-educated and their success is irrelevant to LA.

They object to no-kill even as a goal or concept, and they do it with such hate, calling anyone who holds onto the concept as deluded or stupid.

These people are quite screwed up in hate and myopia.

These people have utterly made their minds up that

Anonymous said...

Is it PETA that's so hostile to no-kill locally? I hate to profile, but they're often very vociferous and, in my experience, hostile to viewpoints not entirely in line with their own. And they're against no-kill.

So, according to Winograd's site, is the Humane Society, to the point of actively campaigning against it. Again, I understand it can't happen today, but unless Winograd is mis-characterizing HSUS' position, it seems like they won't even discuss it as a longterm goal, which is incomprehensible to me.

Anonymous said...

I heard that the Erica Meadows report was not given to the commission. Erica Meadows made a bad thing worse. She did not honor her promise of confidentiality to volunteers that filled out surveys. She and Debbie Knaan supported firing volunteers that didn't look the other way when animals were suffering and when staff lied about them. She rubberstamped the status quo. Even if her report said there was a lack of respect, she was the biggest supporter of that disrespect. She did nothing to fix it and everything to allow staff to continue to treat volunteers like crap.

Anonymous said...

I was not at the time, nor am I now sure that my decision to stop going to West L.A. and to instead put those hours in at a private rescue was the best thing for the animals. I know it's easier for me, now I'm able to develop relationships with dogs and cats, and really do work that I can see helps them. But they're not in danger the way animals in LAAS are.

But I was literally given no way to do what I'm able to do at the private rescue; walk, socialize, and bathe dogs; and cuddle, clean up for, and socialize cats. Just the most basic stuff, and there was no way to do it. If I even asked, I just got a blank look.

I don't know if letting it get worse so it HAS to get better is the answer. But we're going to lose a lot of potentially adoptable animals while we wait.