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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Zen And Los Angeles Government

What do Zen and the Los Angeles city government have in common? (Watch out. It's another ARE YOU KIDDING ME? moment) Almost $19,000 to date. The L.A. housing dept.is paying a Zen buddist priest for management training (no kidding here) in breathing with sphincter control, learning how to stand and playing with wooden sticks. Hello!!! Does ANYONE have a problem with this? I DO!!!!

About 30 people are attending training in these and other subjects. The manager (who obviously needs some type of brain function test) says the training is designed to help the employees and executive types to do their jobs better. Yeah, I guess they could do better if their sphincter was in control, right?

Zen And Los Angeles Government

The Los Angeles Housing Department has paid thousands of dollars to a Zen Buddhist priest from Hawaii for management training that includes teaching breathing with sphincter control, learning "how to stand" and playing with wooden sticks.

Norma Wong, a former Hawaii state legislator and leadership consultant, has been paid $18,819 since 2005 to conduct at least four training sessions for executives and other staff. The most recent one was last week.

Mercedes Marquez, the general manager of the department, said the training was designed to help "center" Housing Department managers and teach them to react nimbly to problems such as the city's housing shortage. Up to 30 people attended each session.

"She asks when you center yourself to hold yourself in," Marquez said of the instructor.

The breathing exercises and stick play, she said, were a small part of two-day sessions, which also included discussions of team building and improving department procedures.

Some staff members, however, have found aspects of the training objectionable.

Lynn Hansen, a former assistant general manager, said she was put off by the presumption that she and her colleagues "had to be taught how to breathe and how to stand."

"I'm not sure how that helps me face an irate constituent," she said.

I agree with that lady. I think there is a whole lot wrong with someone who has to teach grown people how to control their sphincter with breathing exercises. Oh brother.