OP/ED: New playground’s endless delays are unacceptable

By Paul Taffel

I’ve lost count of how many years we’ve been waiting for the West Hollywood park and its children’s playground to reopen.

I’ve spoken to recreation services staff several times, most recently.

Anyway, bottom line is that the children’s playground contract appears to have been awarded (not by recreation services) to a contractor who, despite having several YEARS to get their act together, has been manifestly unable to do so. Recreation services finally inspected the playground IN THE LAST MONTH with another contractor, who is JUST NOW looking to order critical missing pieces needed to finally open the play area. Apparently equipment and (some) landscaping are still not up to code, and need to be replaced.

The most basic tenets of project management involve not ending up in this situation. Years behind schedule, and yet apparently unable (or unwilling) to predict or take necessary measures to complete this relatively small piece of the park plan on time. To say nothing of the apparent lack of accountability.

The children’s play area is, they explain, a very complex project with many regulations that must be adhered to. Whatever excuses are produced, it is simply unbelievable that no one could have foreseen these problems and taken measures to correct for them well before the park reopened.

I find the interior of West Hollywood park stunningly unattractive, sterile even. And the children’s playground, whenever it finally opens, seems to perfectly match the same design aesthetic. It contains 3 pieces of equipment, far smaller than either of the original two play areas that it replaces. A traditional swing, for example. It just boggles the mind how any half-competent planner could have approved this design, and then allowed this shit-show to go on so long, only to finally think about ordering missing pieces in the last month.

How much has this playground cost (so far), and how much are we paying Steve Campbell and his highly experienced staff to “direct” this sad embarrassment?

The little girl in the photo below will be 4 soon. Her name is Sevara. She’s never had the opportunity to play here, despite it being walking distance from my home. Unfortunately she’s not in transition, she wishes to be called she/her, and she likes pink very much indeed. What a shame she’s at the very bottom of our progressive city’s list of priorities.

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Joshua88
Joshua88
8 months ago

Love the photo!

Paul Taffel
Paul Taffel
8 months ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Thank you Joshua88 and Jose for your kind comments.
Sevara is incredibly photogenic – it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo of her. At 3 years old, definitely a model in the making!

Jose
Jose
8 months ago

That little girl’s face is PRICELESS!
“When the Hell is the playground gonna open!”

David Reid
David Reid
8 months ago

I am not a resident of the city so I do not hold standing. But if I was a resident, I would request the state to audit the city in the same way they did the city of Bell several years ago. Top to bottom audit. At the very least, there should be a public reckoning of the total cost of the West Hollywood Park. There are undisputed rumors of 200 to 220 million. What is the actual number? Where did the money go? How many people in suits for overpaid because of some regulations or ability to do so… Read more »

Albatross
Albatross
8 months ago
Reply to  David Reid

Was wondering when someone would mention City of Bell. Power lines? Sept of Public Works where the main players are graduates of parking management if some description.

Slice through this giant albatross and get to the bottom. Was it initiated by Heilman and his not so transparent quest for a library in his name along with an ill appointed auditorium? No wonder the City Manager & City Attorney hit the road. Adios suckers!

Smart Enough
Smart Enough
8 months ago

You get what you vote for. Enjoy.

daniel barbakow
daniel barbakow
8 months ago

I have been emailing Steve Campbell for probably a year or more. Excuses, excuses, excuses. I have two grandchildren, 7 and 5, that cannot use a local park because, CLEARLY, the city does not care about these type of citizens. While I may be wrong, I have come to view this as intentionally placing the completion of the children’s park as far to the bottom on the barrel as possible…and my vote in the next election will reflect my thoughts on this approach by the city. If city management cannot or will not finish the construction of a children’s facility,… Read more »

Swift Action Needed
Swift Action Needed
8 months ago

How about a breach of public trust/unfair business practices class action by the residents? It may be swifter or more difficult to escape than an election.

Michael on Haverhurst
Michael on Haverhurst
8 months ago

Sue these bastards! This is one of the most corrupt cities in the United States.

Tom
Tom
8 months ago

Yes, you poor people with children. Always at the bottom of the list.

Especially loved that last paragraph. Not douchey at all…

The Grievance Committee
The Grievance Committee
8 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Tom, seems either you have a perpetual grievance as a result of poor parenting or you have no self respect. Which is it?

The Three Stooges
The Three Stooges
8 months ago

The park has been a complete debacle with no accountability or mention. For half a decade it has been in a state or disarray with not a peep from our social justice warriors. Good grief!

Labyrinthe
Labyrinthe
8 months ago

Some basic thumbnail research this morning, attempting to determine who has responsibility as director or project manager of West Hollywood Park, revealed an eternally opaque landscape. Is this accidental or accidentally on purpose? What happened to Dan Adams of Heery International? Who replaced DA as Project Manager? Steve Campbell offered an update at Monday’s CC Meeting. His specialty is as an arborist, great for trees but what about an overall, not especially complex facility? What’s going on here? A phone call to the presumed director led to a chain of connections, covid messages, city hall closed and filtered down to… Read more »

SeeMe
SeeMe
8 months ago

Since the entire park area has been “reopened”, I am completed confounded as to why the city had it closed off for all these years. There was absolutely no reason huge sections could not have remained open while work was done, especially during a pandemic when people were desperate to be outdoors, and I am disgusted at the waste of tax money. Does anyone know how and why the decision was made to literally take our public property away from us for such an extended period of time when it’s quite clear there was no need to?

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
8 months ago

The author hits it when they say there’s no accountability at City Hall. Cost overruns, project delays, apparently error-ridden staff reports, and more. Who’s in charge? Where does the buck stop? It’s an incestuous cabal and that includes current and former members of council who have gone in and out of the same doors.

Wehomom
Wehomom
8 months ago

It truly is unacceptable. My youngest child was 4 weeks old when the tiny tots playground was moved near the rec office. He is turning 6 in July. We have had to pay additional funds to provide our nanny a car to be able to drive our children to a local park. The reason we moved to our current home is that we could walk to weho park and our children would be able to use the facilities. No accountability at ALL from these officials. They should all be fired, the contractors fined. The empire state building was completed in… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
8 months ago
Reply to  Wehomom

There are six million parts on a Boeing 747 and Boeing can put one together in 43 days. The difference is that in corporate America there is accountability to all stakeholders, including shareholders and customers. The average resident in West Hollywood is no longer seen by WEHO officialdom as a stakeholder. The city is now a laboratory for radical fringe agenda in furtherance of outside goals and careers. The urban village concept has been hijacked. Create change.

Laboratory for Radical Agenda
Laboratory for Radical Agenda
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Absolutely correct Alan. As somewhat of a correlation to this, I happened to watch a short program this morning recounting the break up of Yugoslavia and how similar people of Slavic heritage managed to disassemble themselves into various factions creating misery on all the inhabitants. Thought of it in the context of the United States of America and how we are currently at risk through fringe factions and agendas but then cast a close eye on our small city which has the same ingredients. And folks wonder how things start right under our noses.

Joshua88
Joshua88
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Yes, and people die. Many people.

Using the very corrupt, dangerous, and very poorly managed Boeing as an example is a bad idea, Mr. Strasburg.

I am surprised.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
8 months ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Your opinion that Boeing is corrupt, dangerous and very poorly managed does not erase the fact that a Boeing 747 contains six million parts that can be assembled in 43 days. That was my point. Nothing else. You get points for the deflect and divert part of the triple-d lazy debate style of deny, deflect and divert. It’s easy under the cloak of anonymity.

Joshua88
Joshua88
8 months ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

My point was that perhaps speed was hardly ideal in Boeings case.

daniel barbakow
daniel barbakow
8 months ago
Reply to  Wehomom

could not agree more!

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
8 months ago

Nika said “No playground”, so that’s that.

Nika's Nonsense
Nika's Nonsense
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buckley

We should have a column entitled “Nika’s Nonsense”.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
8 months ago

While I have my issues with Nika, lets not drag her into this. The responsibility for this nonsense pre-dates the currently constituted City Council. We had delays and over runs with the Library but nothing approaching this fiasco. But affix blame where it fairly belongs. This was never meant to be a park; this was meant to be a monument to some over-sized egos.

Nikas's Nonsense
Nikas's Nonsense
8 months ago

Nope, too much time spent already, cancel that.

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