Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Friends file legal appeal against Discovery Center!

When it rains, it pours, the saying goes. And for the San Gabriel River Discovery Center at the moment it's coming down in buckets.

The LA Weekly reported yesterday that the Friends of the Whittier Narrows Natural Area have filed an appeal against the planned water museum and meeting hall, which would, writes Dennis Romero:

"essentially tear out a beautiful area along the rivers (the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo diverge here) to install a building where you could appreciate . . . the beautiful area along the rivers."

Romero also mentioned State Parks' widely reported decision last week rejecting the Discovery Center Authority's request for $7 million in bond money to build the water museum.

He includes a nice quote from Friends President Jim Odling:

"Our organization and members are grateful to State Parks for recognizing, as so many in the local community have, that the Discovery Center project would, in fact, take us backwards in our efforts to protect California's natural and cultural resources."
With the appeal filed, the work of protecting our resources goes on.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Discovery Center brutally rebuffed! State officials reject application for $7 million in bond funds

Hot off the press: The San Gabriel River Discovery Center Authority's request for $7 million in state bond funds was D-E-N-I-E-D.

The Los Angeles Times broke the story Friday online. Here's a more detailed follow-up:

Grant request for Whittier Narrows nature center is rejected

By my calculations, based on the figures in the application the authority submitted to California State Parks, the project is now $17 million in the hole. (The estimated construction cost is $22 million. The authority told State Parks it had about $5 million committed.)

Is this the end project? If it is, Discovery Center officials aren't letting on.

Outgoing Discovery Center Authority boss Belinda Faustinos told the Times the project would "seek other funding avenues."

True to their word, they're now looking to the California Community Foundation for money.

But that means that some of the most powerful elected and unelected officials in the local area will be competing against tsunami survivors, asthma and diabetes research programs, and disability rights advocates, among others, for charitable dollars.

All for a trophy water museum and meeting center officials are forcing down the throats of an unwilling public.

If I were one of the donors upon whom the foundation depends and I learned what the foundation was proposing, I'd start thinking about taking my money elsewhere.

To see who else could become a Discovery Center victim if the foundation hands the authority a check, click here. (Scroll up and down the page to see the entire list of June 2010 grantees.)