Mayor Eric Garcetti Nominates CES Executive Director Larry Gross to the LA Board of Animal Services Commission
On January 21, 2014, the Los Angeles City Council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee, consisting of Council Members Paul Koretz (Chair), Mitch O’Farrell and Felipe Fuentes, unanimously approved the confirmation of Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) Executive Director Larry Gross to the City of LA Board of Animal Services Commission and sent the nomination to the full City Council for final confirmation.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the Commission nominations of Gross along with Jennifer Brent executive director at the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, an animal-welfare group started by actress Katherine Heigl and Roger Wolfson, a television writer and former aide/speechwriter to several US Senators on January 6. They would join Attorney David Zaft and LA Manager of the Humane Society’s Pets for Life Alana Yañez on the Commission. The Board of Animal Services Commissioners oversees and sets policy for the LA Department of Animal Services, which administers the city’s animal shelter system, permits and animal control with a $21.7 million annual budget.
Gross, in addressing the Council committee stated the need to fulfill the pledge for Los Angeles to become a “No-Kill” city by ensuring that dogs and cats, both adopted and homeless, are spayed and neutered, as well as the need to make it easier for people to adopt and care for their dogs and cats.
“This being a City of renters, with 62% of our residents’ tenants, we must facilitate the adoptions in rental units. That means seeking cooperation and understanding between tenants and landlords.”
In testimony supporting Gross’ appointment, James Johnson, Chief Political Coordinator for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 721, which represents the workers at the animal shelters, said “We find it beautifully ironic that one of our city’s most diligent advocates for the poor would also step up and to take up a position on the Animal Services Commission to protect those that can’t speak for themselves. I think it’s beautiful.”
Johnson further stated, “He (Gross) is somebody that, not only I, but many of our members and the leadership of our organization respect highly and we look forward to working with him and the other commissioners.”
Gross stressed that, “The task is huge, given the number of homeless, stray and feral cats and dogs. Our chance of success lies in a collaborative partnership that’s inclusive of all the stakeholders. This means the Department of Animal Services must work together with Council Offices, other city departments, animal rescue and rights organizations, shelter staff and their unions (SEIU, AFSCME & the Laborers Union), shelter volunteers, and, clearly, tenants, landlords, and homeowners.”
The full City Council is scheduled to give final approval of the appointments on February 11, 2014.
LISTEN TO THE CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE CONFIRMATION HEARING: