Playa Vista's Ballona Wetlands Conservancy and the Appearance of their Improper Control of Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve

From: Patricia McPherson
Subject: Fwd: QUERY ; Public Record Act Request response
Date: March 20, 2018

To: Director - director⁠@⁠, Ed Pert - Ed.Pert⁠@⁠, Cespl Rogers, Bonnie L CIV US ARMY -⁠@⁠, Kirk Gibbs E COL US ARMY CESPL - kirk.e.gibbs⁠@⁠, cunguyen at, thizar.williams⁠, Samuel.Unger⁠, arthur.heath⁠, arthur.Hinojosa⁠, LB.Nye⁠, Jillian Ly -⁠


Grassroots Coalition believes, due to information retrieved via Public Record Act requests and via Freedom of Information Act requests that the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy is a wholly private business of Playa Vista - Playa Capital LLC/ Brookfield and as such, these private interests controlling state of California public trust lands, namely- the Ballona Wetlands property stewarded by the State Lands Commission and leased by CDFW is an activity and control process  that was initiated under a false pretense by Playa Capital LLC.  Transparency and accountability to the public  needs to occur.  GC is requesting that all agencies currently engaged in any fashion with the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy, provide feedback and accountability to the public regarding the matters of oversight of this public trust land—Ballona Wetlands.

Thank you and GC looks forward to dialogue between agencies and the public on this matter,

Patricia McPherson, Grassroots Coalition


Begin forwarded message:

From: Patricia McPherson
Subject: QUERY ; Public Record Act Request response
Date: March 19, 2018 at 2:38 PM PDT
To: Lucinda Calvo - Lucinda.Calvo⁠@⁠, Jennifer.Lucchesi⁠@⁠
Cc: Andrew Willis - andrew.willis⁠@⁠, Lisa Haage - lisa.haage⁠@⁠, Mandy Revell - mandy.revell⁠@⁠

Dear Ms. Lucchesi and Calvo,

Grassroots Coalition(GC), as a follow up to the 1/20/17 email which included the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy Bylaws we wish to make you aware of our investigation into who the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy is.

Per the 1/20/17 comments below, in which Ms. Calvo has cited SLC's belief as to the oversight of that Conservancy, GC has found that the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy was never represented and is not now represented by the full four-member Board of Directors that include the full four cited in the 1/20/17 mail below.

No state agency or elected is on the board of the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy.  Ballona Wetlands Conservancy is a wholly private business of Playa Vista.  Any deed information reflecting any ‘easement’ of the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy per the ByLaws that SLC provides below, was never accurate.  The By Laws reflect inaccurate information.  Furthermore, the deed does not reflect the flood control nature of the catch-basin system aka ‘freshwater marsh system’.

Instead, we have learned via Public Record Act requests and other record searches that the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy is a private business of Playa Capital LLC which now includes Brookfield— owners of the Playa Vista Project.

We have learned that:

- the Ca.  Dept. of Fish & Wildlife is not and has not been participatory as a board member of the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy.  And, neither has the Dept. of Natural Resources been participatory.
- the City of Los Angeles, Council District 11 has not been and is not now a board member of the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy.

While, the private business Friends of Ballona Wetlands (FBW) may have been and/or be participatory, the leadership of FBW includes Playa Capital LLC/Brookfield leadership individuals and contractors.  From IRS records, the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy lists its board members as Playa Capital LLC/Brookfield leadership and contractors.

Therefore, the State Lands Commission’s relationship to the Conservancy remains a very important question to the public regarding the oversight of State Lands property (public trust lands) that are currently and in the past being controlled by private interests—namely Playa Capital LLC/ Brookfield for their own private interests and needs.

Monitoring of the State Lands property (public trust lands) has been ongoing by the private interests—Playa Capital LLC/Brookfield.  The private development business’s monitoring of the public trust lands has failed to include oilfield gas migration and leaking oil well (University City Syndicate) information that is occurring onsite to which Playa Capital LLC remains the last operator of University City Syndicate.  Playa Capital LLC’s abandonment of this well has not been monitored for its subsequent failure and ongoing leakage.

Vector Control citations to the Ballona Conservancy cite the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy’s lack of ‘clear line of authority’ during Vector Control’s attempts, to garner action to end the overabundance of mosquito outbreaks in the catch basin and adjacent system portion known as the Riparian Corridor.  (note pages of ppt attached)

Furthermore, CDFW gave a Notice of Streambed Violation to the Ballona Wetland Conservancy, for its development activities both in response to Vector Control as well as for illegal road building in endangered species area of their Streambed Agreement.  (note ppt pages attached)

The roadbuilding activities have been cited by LA Building & Safety (LADBS) as having been done without permitting.  The unpermitted roadbuilding by the Ballona Conservancy is an ongoing matter with LADBS.  (note ppt attached images )


Since the acquisition portions of the Ballona Wetlands by State Lands Commission include the Playa Vista catch basin and the EXTENDED WETLAND PORTION, and its subsequent leasing to the California Dept.  of Fish & Wildlife (wherein the deed cites roughly, that no development will occur until the restoration plan is implemented); there has been development inserted into the Extended Wetland Portion which is outside the Playa Vista phase 1 approvals by both the City of LA and the California Coastal Commission (CDP 5-91-463) and the Army Corps permitting for the same which is included as ‘description’ within CDP 5-91-463.

This development can be viewed in the attached images.  The SQUARE DRAIN is shown on the second slide page.  This drain is located in the Extended Wetland area and hence outside any approvals provided for the Phase 1, Playa Vista portion of the ‘freshwater marsh’.

A drainage device was inserted into the Extended Wetland Portion in 2009, per GOOGLE EARTH MAPPING that reveals the insertion which was not in place prior to this time frame.  (see ppt images)


No state approvals, inclusive of State Lands Commission, for the Playa Capital LLC written — CONSERVATION EASEMENT exist.  The ‘easement’ that State Lands Commissions references appears to be a Playa Capital LLC construct which has no state approved authority on the public lands.

Grassroots Coalition requests response from State Lands Commission regarding this matter of great public concern and importance.  (PPT slides included below are a portion of the PPT provided to the California Coastal Commission.)

Thank you for your help in providing transparency and accountability regarding these issues,

Patricia McPherson, Grassroots Coalition

Attachments (3):
    1) RFP Email from Tricia Keane of City Of Los Angeles
    2) Ballona Wetlands Conservancy Bylaws Snippets Slide with a zoomed snippet
    3) Ballona Wetlands Conservancy Violations stated by Fish and Game and LA Vector Control
           Slide with two zoomed snippets
    4) Email from Lucinda Calvo, Attorney of California State Lands Commission
Attachment 1: RFP Email from Tricia Keane of City Of Los Angeles:

Zoomed snippet of above slide image:
NOTE:   According to Public Record Act responses, and contrary to what is written by Playa Vista representative below, no agency approved Operations and Maintenance Manual exists for Playa Vista's flood control system aka, the FRESH WATER MARSH SYSTEM.



Zoomed Views of above slide image
Attachment 4: Email from Lucinda Calvo, Attorney of California State Lands Commission
On Jan 20, 2017, at 5:23 PM, Lucinda Calvo - Lucinda.Calvo⁠ wrote:

Dear Ms. McPherson,
Following up on your email today, I’ve attached a copy of the Bylaws of the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy to help clarify the State Lands Commission’s relationship to the Conservancy.

The State Lands Commission is not part of the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy.

Instead, the Conservancy is overseen by a four-member Board of Directors, including one representative each from:
·        the State (from the Department of Fish and Wildlife),
·        the City of Los Angeles Council District 11,
·        the Friends of the Ballona Wetlands, and
·        Brookfield (the successor-in-interest to Playa Capital Company, LLC).
This management structure is described in the attached Bylaws on page 5 (page 8 of the PDF).
I will check back in with you on Monday regarding the status of your Public Records Act request.


Lucinda Calvo, Attorney
California State Lands Commission
100 Howe Avenue, Suite 100 South
Sacramento, CA 95825-8202
(916) 574-1866