The folks at the M.T.P. office were nice enough, but there was an element of snobbism guards should be seen and not heard. Jerry, however, spent a lot of his days (now Monday thru Friday) sucking up to the office people. What I didn't know was that he was also bad-mouthing the new guy me. It became apparent much later that Jerry would catch maybe a dozen trespassers each week and my thoroughness made him look bad. So rather than getting his butt out in the field and enforcing the perimeter, he chose to do damage to me (and to That Security Company, his employer) with gossip.
The Friends of the Ballona Wetlands [F.B.W.] people had negotiated a deal a decade before with M.T.P. that ensured the restoration of the sensitive wetlands proper, basically about 90 acres west of Lincoln Blvd. and south of Ballona Creek. Included in the deal was $12 million in escrow to be used to clean up and replant the ecosystem and construct a visitor center funded in perpetuity.
Good people all, especially Mary, a tireless septuagenarian who hauled water in buckets, restored native plants, removed wind-blown trash, etc. She and others gave tours to school kids, Scout groups and such, often instructing the kids while having them go to work and tear out nasty (non-native) ice plant and then replant the area with native grasses and seedlings. Several times a year they would haul out a half-high 40-foot dumpster of damage-causing plants.
The Protestors, on the other hand, used (and still do) all kinds of confrontational and underhanded and illegal strategies to prevent the start of construction by M.T.P. They filed frivolous lawsuits that delayed matters so long that repair of the wetlands ecosystem became seriously questionable the funds in escrow were contingent on start of construction of Phase I. The Protestors buried spurious artifacts and sued under the Native American Artifacts Act. I personally caught a professed member of the central Protestors group sneaking into the property carrying a camera and a dead opossum! his obvious intention to manufacture evidence of some sort was thwarted by my diligence. The spray-painted grafitti and the chopping up of the garden hoses is also laid to their doing.
The Protestors held press conferences at the bus stop at Lincoln and Jefferson, and handed out flyers to commuters on Friday afternoons, demanding that M.T.P. turn the land over to them. What was never reported in the press was that each Monday after such demonstrations, the contract landscape laborers had to pick up after the 'do-gooders', always filling several big trash bags with garbage strewn by the Protestors.
This went on for about 1½ years. Then the permits & financing all got approved and the owners, now reorganized as Playa Vista Capital [P.V.C.], brought in the big earth movers and Cat-9 bulldozers at the old airport site, which was never a wetland so security was tightened. Jerry worked 8am to 8pm and I worked 8pm to 8am for the several weeks that it took to bring in additional qualified guards.
Meanwhile, the Protestors were planning eco-terrorism. I was disappointed because the called-in bomb threats happened on my night off, as did the bullet holes in the earth mover windows. But on the nights I worked, I was spending my evenings patrolling the 1200 acres and after midnight I parked among the million-dollar earth moving equipment (all lined up nose-to-tail for security) and listened to Art Bell on the radio (to stay awake) and then turned on my flashlight and wrote another chapter of the Working Minds philosophy book that sources this ezine and website. (I wrote the 600-page book in ten months, taking every opportunity, such as when on a very quiet post.)
But the new management at P.V.C. decided to put the contract for security up for bid, partly because the new conditions would call for additional services: gate guards and 24-hour patrol for the thousands of condominiums expected to be on the market shortly, for one thing. The owner of That Security Company refused to bid low, and so that October of 1998, I handed the keys and documentation to the new security company, on the dot at Midnight.
Then things started to make sense. Jerry stormed into the P.V.C. offices and ranted about them doing him dirt, giving the contract away. Then he published a letter in the beach-area Argonaut newspaper saying how wrong the owners were and that for the last several years he had acted on behalf of the Protestors, that he had 'prayed about the matter', and that God essentially told him to spy on his employers.
Thus it became clear to all why Jerry never caught trespassers, how the Protestors knew my days off ('all clear on Thursday'), and that was how the Protestors got the new main gate phone number for the bomb threats. Later on, I asked the owner of That Security Company why Jerry was still working for our company. His reply was that Jerry had a First Amendment Right to send in such a letter. Apparently, conflict of interest and industrial espionage were okay, and the fact that on next go-round on bids for a Playa Vista security contract, That Security Company was locked out of contention by Jerry's shenanigans.
The Protestors will of course claim all victory, even the sale of the two parcels to the State (driven by economics, not by protests), but in reality the Protestors are self-aggrandizing, publicity-seeking eco-terrorists. They will not be found pulling weeds or picking up trash (not even their own) for the benefit of the ecosystem.
That work falls to the unsung heroes of the deal. Not the developers, not the lying eco-terrorists, not the passive Tribal Americans, but the hard-working sun-burnt and wind-burnt folks of the Friends of the Ballona Wetlands and the Ballona Wetlands Foundation.
Map this onto your local factions. They are there. The Developers, who simply want to 'pave Paradise' and make a buck or two. The God-driven reactionaries, who see no problem in lying, spying, bombing & terrorism-by-frivolous-lawsuit to achieve their dubious mission. The unsung workers who actually produce progress for Mankind and protect the Holy Biosphere. The politicians and bureaucrats who switch sides based on who pays the most. The N.I.M.B.Y. locals who close the gates after they get inside Paradise. The blindered journalists who 'see no evil' where facts prove otherwise. And the general public, who just don't give a darn about their future.
Why do things not work on this planet? The Culture-Structure is designed so that Things Do Not Work! The only solution is replacement of ignorance & superstition with Reason. Develop a Working Mind, and Mankind may just have a chance for survival. Leave things as they are and the same madness (as above) will prevail. Do nothing and you deserve what you get.
a poem written inside Playa Vista :  http://www.genordell.com/writings/coffeebreak.htm
Friends of the Ballona Wetlands:   http://www.ballonafriends.org/
The Ballona Wetlands Foundation:   http://www.ballona-wetlands.org/
Playa Vista official website:   http://www.playavista.com/
For the full contents of this issue of the free 'WMail' exine, click here.