A Letter to Rick Orlov

Dear Mr. Orlov,

With regard to your front page Daily News article Sunday, you state Boks problems were caused by unhappy politician’s trying to divert attention from their own problems. Who are these politicians?

Five Council members have expressed grave concern with Mr. Boks’ ability to manage LAAS and to tell the truth—Zine called him a liar. The only politician that supports Boks is the Mayor.

Are you saying that Parks, Zine, Cardenas, Smith and Alarcon are dissing Boks because they have problems? This seems to be what you say in your article.

Where did you get the current kill number of 18,000 vs. 23,000 when Boks started? Did you get it from Boks? You know about Boks’ reputation as a liar, therefore why did you not check his numbers on Animal Services own website, http://laanimalservices.org/PDF/reports/CatNDogIntakeNOutcomes.pdf?

The numbers are provided on an annual to-date basis.

Boks started on January 1, 2006. The to-date figure ending March 1 for his first full year, 2006-2007, the euthanasia number was 19,273.

The to-date number for this year, going on his fourth, is 19,394. NO CHANGE!!

Even the year his numbers went way down, 2007-2008, euthanasia to 15,196, the number of animals that died in the shelter due to disease and fighting from overcrowding rose to the highest level ever, 1,284, double any other year in the department’s history.

You did not mention the dramatic increase in animals that died in the shelters after Boks started stuffing them full because he refused to kill animals that would ruin his statistics. Dana Bartholomew reported this story in your own newspaper over a year ago. Therefore the animals died of disease rather than being deliberately killed, but his euthanasia numbers looked good.

In fact, if you look at the last four years altogether, including 2005-2006 when 20,857 animals died from euthanasia, disease and fighting, compared to 20,353 for the last 12 months, we still find NO CHANGE.

One of the most significant ways to reduce killing is to return lost animals to their owners. Under Boks that number has ranged from 4,300 to 4,600, compared to the 4,700-5,000 per year before Boks started.

There has been no improvement in Animal Services kill numbers despite the $150,000,000 bond issue that has built or renovated five shelters, gave Boks an extra five million dollars in his budget, and added another hundred employees to deal with the City’s homeless animals. Los Angeles is just as deadly for unwanted or lost cats and dogs as it was before Boks came.

You talked about none of this. You only mention there were complaints of lack of progress.

AND, you didn’t even mention the letter of no confidence signed by over one half of his own staff, and explain what problems staff had with him.

You didn’t do any fact checking at all for your story, did you Mr. Orlov? Basically you blamed five councilmembers, staff and especially the animal community for Mr. Boks’ “firestorm” of criticism, and not his utter failure to make ANY progress towards No-Kill in the 39 months he has been here.

I assure you we will be fact-checking all of your future articles.


Anonymous said...

Orlov knows what's happening. He knows the truth. Why would he post this bullshit article? I think he really just wants to rile the readers.

Boks = Death said...

Just like politicians (by and large) don't care about animals because animals can't vote, "journalists" don't care about animals because animals don't buy newspapers (although with the Orlov level of quality reporting, I think dogs are going to be the most enthusiastic CONSUMERS of his product).

The cognitive disconnect between this article and the information he himself previously reported re Boks is so stark that you kind of wonder if even he reads what he writes.

My guess is that he thinks a people-fight at City Hall is sexier than the truth, which is that Boks is just the latest in a long line of GMs who kowtow to a city government that views homeless animals more as a nuisance that as living beings who deserve humane treatment.

Fabricating a feud is much easier for Orlov than doing his homework and reporting the real story.

Too bad the only people who are going to read this story are the ones who know it's a lie. Pathetic, really.

Anonymous said...

What's the likelihood that the mayor's office told him, or his editor, to back off and blame everyone else or they will not allow him future mayoral sound bites? Oops, I meant future interviews.

Ed Muzika said...

I'd say close to 110%.

Anonymous said...

I heard that in LA there was something like an 80% voter turnout for the presidential election and less than a 20% turnout for the Mayor's election. Personally, I'd rather hold on to any credibility I might have than compromise it in hopes of securing future interviews.

Brad Jensen

Ed Muzika said...

This is why it is possible for a relatively unknown person to win a Council seat. Only 25% as many people vote.

In the primaries and May votes, 7,000 is usually enough to win.

In the Chatsworth area, Smith won with an unusually high number of votes, 11,000 total.

We can get a Council candidate in the fifth District in May, Paul Koretz. His major oponent is also an animal person.

But I still say getting Kathy Riordan elected in the West Valley, along with Alarcon, Cardenas, and Zine, along with Paul, gives five pro animal people on Council.

Villaraigosa will be a lame duck in two years and Council will begin to increasingly oppose him.

Think Paul for May and Kathy for 2010.

Anonymous said...

Ed, the valley didn't like Riordan as mayor, why would they like his daughter?


It's true it's the last redneck, Republican council district in the valley and typically, Republicans vote. That's how Smith won. That and he ran unopposed in an area that has a seriously heavy voting population. I'd like to see how many people voted in CD 12 and did not vote for Smith!