DNews Article on Design Screw Up at Harbor

June 22, 2008(staff photo by sean hiller).
by Donna Littlejohn

San Pedro: coastal, always a cool breeze, right?

That's what the architects of the town's new animal shelter decided when they left out the mister cooling system that's standard fare at the city's other facilities.

But sitting through the brow-mopping, sweltering temperatures at Saturday's grand-opening ceremony for the Harbor Animal Care Center at 957 N. Gaffey St. in north San Pedro, city officials soon found out what most residents already knew:

South San Pedro - cool.
North San Pedro - hot.

A scramble is now under way to find money to install the automated system that sends sprays of cooling water into dog kennels on hot days. So how hot was it Saturday at the shelter?

By 4 p.m., it was 105 - not altogether uncommon during a heat wave in north San Pedro, where there is rarely a genuine sea breeze to be found.

"I was dying," said Theresa Sardisco, a shelter volunteer who worked from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. staffing the celebration.

And with the stainless steel used in the construction on the new kennel "cubby" areas, Sardisco said the shelter's furry guests were heating up fast.

"It gives new meaning to the term `hot dogs,"' she said.

"It was terrible," said San Pedro resident Mary Jo Walker, who attended the opening festivities. "The shelter is beautiful, but they need misters. It was so hot out by the kennels, I felt sorry for those dogs. Their tongues were just hanging out."

San Pedro's southern neighborhoods near the ocean cliffs can be downright chilly during an L.A. heat wave. But temperatures often hover around peak highs just a few miles to the north, where the shelter sits.

"It gets hot down there," Walker said. "And come October, it's going to get even hotter."

Those who designed and planned the $18.7 million facility several years ago clearly were unfamiliar with San Pedro's many climate nuances.

"The engineers said this was a beach (area) property. They didn't think they needed the misters," said Harbor shelter Capt. Daniel Pantoja. "So the misters were not part of the original plan, but now the community is coming forward to get donations and work with the department."

Indoor areas at the 2-acre shelter are all air-conditioned. Aditional canopies are being installed this week over more of the outdoor portions of kennels to offer more shade. There are also heating pads to keep animals warm during cold mornings and nights.

But after Saturday, most everyone agrees: there must be misters.

Among the special guests dabbing perspiration from his brow and wearing a long-sleeve shirt and tie was Los Angeles Animal Services General Manager Ed Boks.

Boks was en route to Sacramento on Tuesday and could not be reached for comment. But he has told shelter personnel he's looking into the issue and was meeting with city engineers to see what can be done.

The punishing heat on opening day was probably the best argument anyone could have made for installing misters, Pantoja said.

The high temperatures, he said, "put the exclamation point at the end" of the argument. "Everyone was saying, `Where are the misters?"'

But how fast they can be installed - and exactly how they will be paid for - is another matter.

While a city estimate put the cost of misters for the 74 dog kennels at $40,000, Sardisco thinks it can be done for far less, perhaps in the range of $7,000. She's expecting estimates from two companies she called to be returned by Friday.

It remains unclear if city funds are available. A mister system has shown up on the shelter's online "wish list" for private donations.

Community groups, including neighborhood councils, already have either donated or pledged some $4,000 to help support the shelter where city funding falls short.

But Sardisco would rather see that money go toward the center's many other needs, such as permanent dog beds for the kennels, rather than misters.

"All the new shelters have them except us," she said. "But regardless of whether the city pays for them or not, I'm going to make sure they go up."

What: Donations are needed to assist San Pedro's new shelter. Funds will pay for some or all of the costs to install a mister cooling system for the 74 dog kennels.

Where: The shelter has posted a wish list for items that can be brought to the shelter at 957 N. Gaffey St. Visit www.lacity.org/ANI/ har_carecenter_wishlist.htm.

Information: Call Theresa Sardisco, 310-386-7932.


Anonymous said...

Yet another mistake by Linda Gordon. I remember Gordon's many presentations on the "wonderful" new shelters. She talked about misters, heated floors, solar panels, LEED certified green construction...and then all those things got cut.

Anonymous said...

All our millions just to have someone with no shelter design experience design the shelters. WHY the stupidity?

Anonymous said...

Linda Gordon made a presentation at the commission once. She said she started out as a kennel working scooping poop, then moved up the ladder. That means that she probably has no college education or degree. She definitely doesn't have a degree in architecture, design or planning. What the heck was she doing in charge of designing the shelters? She's since been booted out of the position because of all the problems. Those metal cubbies are like microwave ovens for dogs. She again didn't add proper protection from sun and heat for the dogs. She should be forced into one of those cubbies and made to sit in there all day long.

Anonymous said...

Sad thing is, I don't think you really need a college education or a degree in architecture to plan the basics of a working shelter. Just a little common sense.

Anonymous said...

There's another article today about the misters

no misters

In this article Boks admits that they were supposed to have misters but someone (Linda Gordon) cut them out of the project to save money.

The Harbor shelter was functional over a month ago. It was hot then. Why didn't they think about the misters before the grand opening? They were using the shelter weeks before the grand opening. Why did it have to take people complaining to get Boks to try to do something?

Notice that Boks says "no one's complaining, they're just helping." Actually they're complaining and helping.

Why didn't Boks catch this earlier? He should be on top of these things. They still have to build the new South LA shelter. It's not designed yet. Will it too have these problems, i.e. cubbies, no outdoor protection, no misters...?

Anonymous said...

The Daily Breeze directed the public to donate money to the woman in the article (Theresa Sardisco-a local waitress). She collected $40,000 that never made it to the city. The misters were paid out of bond money. Theresa continues to collect money from the public at the Harbor shelter and the employees there have said she and Danny Pantoja are having an affair. Danny let's Theresa do whatever she likes and is on the account she opened for her scam group, Pedro Pet Pals. See yesterday's Daily Breeze article and the comments from the public about her and the misters. The cit attorney really needs to investigate this blatent fraud and direct stealing from the public/shelter animals.