For a moment I’m going to ask you, the reader, to think like you are on the City Council for the City of Los Alamitos. That you have a facility and an agreement with a non-profit corporation to use that facility. That in that agreement there are specific conditions that must be met by the non-profit.
Let’s look at the conditions in the agreement.
- Every year the non-profit shall furnish the city with a list of the number and activities that are planned
- Every year the non-profit shall furnish the city with a description of the services required for the plan
- Implement an educational program
- Provide a proposed yearly budget
- Every year the non-profit shall furnish the city with a list of all planned fundraising activities
- Maintain insurance on all items in/on the property
- Maintain insurance for all visitors and workers on the property
- Assume responsibility for all repair, maintenance and upkeep to the property
- Within 15 days of any show or event explain to the City how it meets the historical and cultural needs of the community
It is interesting what is not in here. There is no minimum number of days or hours that the facility shall be open to the public. There is no requirement that the non-profit detail the number of unique and return visitors. In other words, there is nothing in the contract that in any way seeks to determine if the non-profit is successful in it’s use of the property to meet the reason that it was established and given rent free space in a property owned and maintained with tax dollars.
Now, what if you found out that for years the non-profit ran the facility without providing insurance as required. What if you found out that they claim that “each 4th grade class usually attends with their California Studies History Class” when you know that your kids who went through the local school system didn’t? What if they claim that they have 600 visitors a year (with no breakdown on new and repeat) with hours of operation for a year that total less hours than you sleep in a month (assuming you sleep 7 hours per night). What if you weren’t told about fundraising plans, but had to read about them as announcements in a local paper? What if you found out that minor repairs were being done with tax dollars and city staff?
In other words, what would be your reaction if you were to find out that many of the requirements established in the agreement were not maintained. What would be your reaction if there had been breaches of the agreement, and many of those breaches went on for many years?
Now what if the people involved with managing and operating the non-profit included at least three former members of the Los Alamitos City Council (all who were also at one time the City of Los Alamitos Mayor).
So, let’s take the gloves off and say that maybe it’s time to call out the Los Alamitos Museum Association for the failure to follow the contract that they had with the City. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the value of the Los Alamitos Museum Association to the City of Los Alamitos, the residents and the larger community. Maybe it’s time to take the building we don’t actually own (we can’t sell it, we can’t use it for any other purpose than as a museum, and we are responsible for spending taxpayer dollars to maintain it when it’s hardly ever used) and return it to the County of Orange and get our capital investments back. And I am not even getting into the fiasco that the Los Alamitos Museum Association was in the center of on the Local Landmark mess that cost our city time and money, our tax dollars being used to clean up the mess that they made.
It’s past time for the City Council to put on the agenda a review of The Los Alamitos Museum (what are we going to do with the building) and the Los Alamitos Museum Association (what are we going to do about the multiyear violations of the agreement) and make a clean sweep of the whole mess that it has become. In light of the cities current financial situation, maybe it’s time we end this private club boondoggle to the former members of City Council.