Carol Burnett used to have a recurring sketch on her television show called “As the Stomach Turns,” which was a parody of soap operas. Many times, in the sketch, actors would forget their lines, or answer the door before the doorbell would ring.
The sketch routinely had Vicki Lawrence, who played Carol’s daughter in the sit-com, dropping off a “baby” doll that was dropped in the umbrella stand, a parody of the fact there was little use for child actors in a soap opera. At the end of the sketch, the announcer would routinely ask nonsensical questions, while the camera focused on the actor’s reactions.
This craziness all came to mind at the quarterly Park Advisory Board meeting on January 16 and the board’s special meeting on January 29 at the Palisades Recreation Center. Try visualizing “As the Park Board Turns.”
VETERANS’ GARDENS AND BOCCE
Jimmy Dunne and Bob Harter shared the 2018 Citizen of the Year award for this project, which involves building three bocce courts and a small picnic area (“living rooms”) that honors veterans who have served in one of the five military branches.
The groundbreaking was held last November and at the January PAB meeting, Dunne said that “It’s going to be fabulous. It’s on schedule and we will have a ribbon cutting by April 1. Things are moving in a positive way.”
A resident who lives adjacent to the park expressed concern about the eight grills that are planned for Veterans’ Park. “We’re worried about the fire hazard,” he said.
“I’ll check,” said Dunne, who is now doing business under the name USA Bocce. “And I’ll get back to you.”
Meanwhile, the debate about where to keep the trash containers that are adjacent to the bocce courts is still unresolved. The newest proposed site for trash from the Recreation Center, Temescal Canyon Park and Potero Canyon Park is now an area along PCH, just north of Potrero Canyon.
PARKING ISSUES AT THE RECREATION CENTER
At the PAB special meeting on January 29, vice-president Bob Harter said that something had to be done about parking, because when the bocce leagues get underway, where are these people going to park, given that the parking lot is often full.
He suggested towing away cars belonging to people who are not using the park. Harter was asked how one could tell if the person was a park patron or an employee in the village using the lot as free parking.
He responded that veterans could be hired to monitor the parking. Circling the News asked who would pay for it and Harter said that money is being raised.
Park Director Erich Haas said that veterans most likely would be paid for through the Veterans’ Park/Bocce nonprofit, but he didn’t think these patrolling veterans would be able to enforce parking.
Of course, parking will also be impacted once Potrero Canyon Park opens. The City must add 10 parking spaces at the Recreation Center, per the Coastal permit. PAB member and noted architect Gustaf Soderbergh has been working with Pedro Garcia, who is overseeing park construction for the Bureau of Engineering and has found a way to add 28 net spaces to the parking lot. Most of the new spaces will be in the center island.
Potrero Canyon Park funds will only pay for part of the resurfacing of the parking lot and the addition of the spaces.
Circling the News asked Garcia why the entire parking lot is not being repaved, because none of the spaces will be reserved exclusively for Potrero Canyon Park patrons. He never responded, but Councilman Mike Bonin’s field deputy Lisa Cahill said that the City will pay to repave the remainder of the parking lot not covered by Potrero funds.
Somebody suggested that people could pay to park at the Recreation Center. The PAB will consider this paid parking idea at a future meeting. This is something Huntington neighbors might oppose, given that once a pay parking facility goes in, some people try to park in the neighborhood.
There was no traffic or parking study done for Veterans’ Park and the bocce courts, despite their impact on the parking lot.
DECK IN POTRERO CANYON PARK
Community Council President David Card and L.A. Recreation and Parks Commissioner Joe Halper have urged the Park Advisory Board to take a position on a deck that was built in Potrero Canyon.
The PAB special meeting was called to discuss taking a position, but members realized they weren’t sure if they have jurisdiction in Potrero Canyon Park. This led them to send a message to Department of Recreation and Parks General Manager Mike Shull, asking who will run this park that will eventually connect to the Recreation Center.
* This leads us to the ending scene of “As the Park Board Turns.”
* Who will be responsible for Potrero? Will it be the Rec Center staff? Will the park board be responsible for oversight?
* If Potrero Park gates open at dawn (one off Frontera and one by the baseball fields), will this allow for an unofficial and illegal dog park down in Potrero?
* Who will monitor the kids illegal vaping in Potrero after school?
* Should people living on the rim of Potrero be required to have a permit before they build something that encroaches on the park? Or can they build it and, if caught, simply say “Ooops, I didn’t know I needed a permit. I will get one!”
* Will three bocce courts prove to be such a draw that paid parking will be required at the Rec Center?
* Whatever happened to the $92,000 in Quimby Funds that was supposed to come back to the Palisades Recreation Center?
* Will spaces in the Frontera/tennis parking lot, which has been out of commission since February 2019, be repaired in time for the PPBA baseball season, beginning in March?
Stay tuned for the next episode of “As the Park Turns.”