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Group eager to sort out DeBell woes

But public engagment on troubled DeBell course off to slow start

July 29, 2011|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

Members of the newly formed oversight subcommittee for the troubled DeBell Golf Club on Wednesday said they were eager to decipher how the red ink started flowing, and how to save the course.

The subcommittee — which some have criticized as comprising many of the same people who’ve been involved with the course for years, even as its revenues plummeted — was formed by the City Council to vet proposals for turning around the municipal golf course, which officials say has been losing about $300,000 annually in recent years.

“One of my main focuses is to find out how we got to this point and moving forward,” said Mayor Jess Talamantes, who was appointed to the subcommittee. “Not so much pointing fingers, but how we got to the situation that we’re in and how we can move forward to make it the way it has been for many, many years.”

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Other committee members include City Councilman Dave Golonski, Park, Recreation & Community Services Director Chris Daste, Financial Services Director Cindy Giraldo and parks commissioners Todd Layfer and Garen Yegparian.

Layfer said the committee’s goal was to provide a “top-to-bottom review” about the entire golf operation, including how the course is marketed and the cost of expenses.

Raymond and Michelle Lucero, operators of DeBell golf course’s Clubhouse Grill, also were in attendance, along with Scott Scozzola, the director of the club.

Outside the cadre of city officials, the subcommittee met largely in solitude Wednesday, with just one member of the public attending — an issue members said could be addressed by changing the meetings to more convenient times at prominent locations.

The meeting Wednesday was tucked away in a community room at City Hall at 3 p.m.

Golonski suggested holding the meetings at the DeBell Golf Club, a suggestion that found support from Layfer, who said “Seeing is believing.”

“I think that would be a very appropriate venue. People can see what’s going on out there, see the action,” he said.

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