The OPEN Daily » Mar Vista http://www.theopendaily.com Essential Guide to L.A. Fri, 12 May 2017 06:25:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.15 Power restored to 900 DWP customers who lost service in building fire http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/power-restored-to-900-dwp-customers-who-lost-service-in-building-fire http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/power-restored-to-900-dwp-customers-who-lost-service-in-building-fire#comments Mon, 08 May 2017 15:43:06 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=157679 [16:9 Featured] Department of Water and Power LADWP Truck

[16:9 Featured] Department of Water and Power LADWP Truck

Power has been restored to more than 900 people in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles who lost electricity in a commercial building fire, authorities said Monday.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power online outage map showed no outages in the Mar Vista area Monday morning.

The fire was reported just before noon Sunday at 3519 Centinela Ave., near Palms Boulevard, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. The seven businesses involved share a common attic, Humphrey said.

The department called the fire a “major emergency” and dispatched 119 firefighters to the scene, Humphrey added. The stubborn flames inside the 69- year-old 9,200-square-foot row of businesses took about 95 minutes to knock down. One of the threatened businesses was a swimming pool chemical supply company, according to the fire department.

About 945 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers lost power in the aftermath of the blaze, according to utility spokeswoman Ellen Chang.

—City News Service

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Continue reading: MyNewsLA.com

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Fire Chars Strip Mall in Mar Vista http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/fire-chars-strip-mall-in-mar-vista http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/fire-chars-strip-mall-in-mar-vista#comments Sun, 07 May 2017 21:36:26 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=157675 A Mar Vista shopping mall holding seven businesses was badly damaged in a stubborn blaze that broke out Sunday afternoon.

The shopping center at 3523 S Centinela Ave. is shown in an undated Google Maps Street View image.

Firefighters first responded to the 9,200-quare-foot complex, located at 3519 S Centinela Ave., around 11:47 a.m., according to an alert from the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The fire shut down streets in the surrounding area while crews fought the flames.

Firefighters were able to contain most of the flames to the one-story building’s attic, the agency said, before eventually extinguishing it at 1:22 p.m.

Ultimately, 119 firefighters responded to the incident, which LAFD classified as a major emergency.

It was not immediately clear what ignited the blaze, but officials noted that the building is 69 years old. All seven businesses shared a common attic.

No injuries were reported.

Investigators were working to determine the fire’s cause and extent of its damage.

Continue reading: KTLA

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Just 3 of 4 LAUSD school board candidates are expected to participate in Saturday’s forum http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/just-3-of-4-lausd-school-board-candidates-are-expected-to-participate-in-saturdays-forum http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/just-3-of-4-lausd-school-board-candidates-are-expected-to-participate-in-saturdays-forum#comments Wed, 03 May 2017 02:25:23 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=157597

District 4’s Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin

It was going to be one of the only opportunities to see all four candidates for two LA Unified school board seats appear together ahead of the May 16 runoff election.

But organizers of Saturday’s forum on college readiness hosted by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles only expect board President Steve Zimmer and challenger Nick Melvoin who are running for the District 4 seat to attend. Kelly Gonez, who is running in District 6, will participate via Skype, and Imelda Padilla said she is a “maybe.” Organizers are moving ahead as though she will not attend.

Elmer G. Roldan, the United Way’s Director of Education Policy and Programs, said the District 6 candidates raised concerns about the event being held on a Saturday afternoon in downtown LA, which would require time away from campaigning in the district with just over a week left in the race. Because of that, Gonez decided to participate via Skype.

About 100 students have confirmed their attendance and Roldan said he expects about 150 to 200 people will attend.

The forum at United Way’s downtown offices at 1150 S. Olive St. will start at 2 p.m. by giving students opportunities to share their experiences involving access to college and graduating high school. Roldan said they want to hear from students who are on-track to go to college and from students who aren’t and what challenges they face.

The United Way has advocated for graduation requirements to be raised so that students must earn at least a C in all A-G courses, which is the minimum eligibility for entrance into a state public university. Two years ago the district decided to roll back the requirements so that students who earned a D could still graduate. Graduation rates have improved, but district data show only 47 percent of the graduating class of 2016 earned a C or better in all A-G courses. That means more than half of all 2016 graduates were not eligible for the state’s public universities.

The candidates have been invited to join the discussion at 3:30 p.m. Student moderators involved in the United Way’s Young Civic Leaders program will ask questions prepared by students and will take questions posed by audience members.

The students led candidate forums in all three districts ahead of the primary election in March. There were at least a half-dozen candidate forums for the candidates in the District 4 race ahead of the primary.  There were just two candidate forums in the District 6 race before the primary.

Saturday’s event is one of just a few candidate forums being held ahead of the runoff. Melvoin and Zimmer met in their first — and it appears only — one-on-one forum last week at University High School hosted by Westside Regional Alliance of Councils. Gonez and Padilla will meet at a forum tonight at PUC Triumph Charter High School in Sylmar.

Continue reading: LA School Report

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Santa Monica approves pedestrian-friendly makeover for Lincoln Boulevard http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/santa-monica-approves-pedestrian-friendly-makeover-for-lincoln-boulevard http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/santa-monica-approves-pedestrian-friendly-makeover-for-lincoln-boulevard#comments Fri, 28 Apr 2017 02:37:55 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=157427

More crossings, better crossings, and a rush-hour bus lane

City officials in Santa Monica are betting on a streetscape makeover to make one of its main thoroughfares, Lincoln Boulevard, less of a mess, especially for people on foot and on bikes.

Santa Monica’s City Council approved plans Tuesday for the first phase of the Lincoln Neighborhood Corridor Plan, reports Santa Monica Lookout.

The makeover will affect a stretch of Lincoln that’s just over 1 mile long, extending from Olympic Boulevard, next to the 10 Freeway, to Ozone Street. The first wave of changes will include:

  • A dedicated bus lane during peak hours
  • Curb extensions
  • ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps
  • New crosswalks and improvements to existing ones
  • Nearly 50 new trees

The project does not include the creation of a formal bike lane, though it will allow for bike riders to use up to 5 feet of the bus lane.

An earlier staff report had pegged costs for the first phase at about $2.5 million. (A second, more expensive phase, is ultimately planned. It would involve adding stormwater filtration infrastructure and pedestrian lighting.)

The vote just approves the concept, emphasized a city planner; there are still many details that have to be figured out before the upgrades can be implemented.

An overhaul of Lincoln Boulevard has been in the works since at least 2015.

Continue reading: Curbed LA

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Zimmer and Melvoin face off in their first one-on-one debate. The most unruly? The audience. http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-6 http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-6#comments Mon, 24 Apr 2017 13:24:04 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=157333

District 4’s Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin

Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin met Sunday evening in their first one-on-one debate, heading into the final three weeks before the May 16 runoff for the LA Unified District 4 school board seat.

Moderator Dr. Fernando J. Guerra of Loyola Marymount University had to dig deep at times to find daylight between Zimmer, the school board president, and Melvoin as they agreed in large part on many points, such as support for teachers and the arts, and the need for more state funding and decentralizing the district.

But divisions were much more evident in the crowd of about 150 at University High School in West Los Angeles, many of whom sat separated across the auditorium’s aisle like the bride’s and groom’s sides at a wedding.

On the stage, Guerra was pressing the candidates for detailed answers while organizers of the forum, presented by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councilsrepeatedly pleaded for the adults to behave because there were children in the crowd and students learning about civic responsibility.

In the end, even the candidates commented on the divisions, or the “energy of the crowd,” as Zimmer called it.

And Guerra, holding up slips of paper filled out by audience members, noted that of all the responses, only two people indicated they had come to the debate not knowing who would get their vote.

• Read LA School Report’s profiles of Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin, and their priorities (Zimmer and Melvoin) in the runoff.

Here’s a sample of answers to three of the more contested topics: charter schools’ growing numbers, underfunded pension liabilities, and co-locations of charter schools on district campuses.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Guerra early on dove into the issue of public charter schools, pointedly asking Zimmer, “Why are those who are very supportive of charters endorsing Nick and not you? And what is the role of charters with LAUSD?”

Zimmer responded by saying he has “voted for the overwhelming majority of charters” in the district, which has authorized more charter schools than any in the country.

“What I support is innovation and autonomy. And one way it’s taken place is charters,” he said.

Zimmer said he believes LA Unified’s public charter schools have been “an example in the nation and an incubator for change,” and he highlighted one in particular, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, for leading the district in bilingual education. He also lauded project-based learning. “Some of our charter partners have done a great job of elevating that.”

“But where we differ is saturation,” Zimmer said.

Melvoin agreed. “We have different ideas of saturation points,” he said. “When every school in LA County is a school we would send our kids to, then we have saturation.” But for now, with 40,000 students on waitlists for LA’s public charter schools, “Our platform is to support charters, so that mitigates the need for charter growth.”

He said that “with 130,000 students in charters, parents have answered that question” of what role charters have in LA Unified. He said charter growth should be slowed, but he challenged Zimmer: “There’s no talk on the board on what’s the next phase of charters.” Instead, Melvoin said, “We re-litigate the issue of charters nearly every Tuesday,” a reference to Tuesday board meetings and in particular last week’s meeting, when a discussion about support for state legislation opposed by charter organizations devolved into board members debating whether charters should exist in LA Unified at all.

PENSION LIABILITIES

Guerra turned to LA Unified’s unfunded liability for post-employment benefits, which tops  $13 billion. “Nick is right,” he said, ”That’s a time bomb.”

Melvoin noted that LA Unified is the only school district on a list of top 10 government entities across the country that can’t afford their pension obligations.

Zimmer said, “There’s going to have to be some grand compromise around unfunded pensions in the state,” which, he added, is not sending LA Unified all the funding it’s owed.

Melvoin pointed out the problem is something that the district “should have been fixing in the last eight to 10 years,” and that “to not consider that incoming teachers have a different benefits structure is irresponsible.”

Melvoin said he and Zimmer agree that the state needs to pay the district more, but “when we are more responsible and more transparent, we’ll have more money.” And, he added, “that’s not going to happen without reform.”

Zimmer, who is backed by teacher unions, answered, “If you don’t have trust, if you don’t have the ability to sit down with your labor partners, you have a major, major obstacle.”

Zimmer referenced health care, a big part of United Teachers Los Angeles’ next round of negotiations with the district. “We have to look at many different things, even as it relates to health care.

“It is possible that we, together with our labor partners, will have an agreement that will save us money and save us jobs.”

Melvoin responded, “If you had done that years ago, we would not have” such high liabilities.

Guerra pressed the candidates, saying, ”There is an incredible unfunded liability, and I don’t think of either of you have an answer. How can you handle it going forward? It could destroy the school district, and it needs to be handled.”

Melvoin said, “We need to bring urgency to the issue of solvency.”

Zimmer said, “We do have to look at a single provider for health care. Our LAUSD family is willing to sacrifice for the stability for our kids.”

CHARTER CO-LOCATIONS

Much of the anger directed at Zimmer in the campaign has come from west side charter parents, and a substantial portion of Sunday night’s debate centered on the issue of charters co-locating, or sharing space with traditional district schools on the same campus.

Allison Holdorff-Polhill, who ran for the District 4 seat in the primary but now supports Nick Melvoin, at the University High debate.

Melvoin stated that the problems stem from “a lack of trust and a lack of transparency.”

“Schools are told different things about different campuses,” he said, such as one charter being told there is no space at the school site they requested, then finding out another charter had been granted that same space.

“Parents don’t trust the district. Two schools in the last two weeks had to close their doors while still serving kids. That happened in part because of the lack of trust.

“When a school is losing (rooms), that’s a conversation we have to start having, and I don’t know why we haven’t had it in the last eight years.”

Zimmer responded that “no one in this campaign is celebrating the closure of any school.” But he said, “The willingness to wrestle, to find balanced solutions, is what is” needed. “We can point to areas where families have come together, even co-located schools.”

Melvoin tied the co-location debate to his campaign’s call for greater transparency at the district. Parents need to know “true enrollment patterns,” he said, faulting the district for telling some groups of parents about pending co-locations and not others. “Give parents equal access,” he said.

Zimmer challenged him. “To say the reason for this struggle is solely a lack of transparency” is wrong. “There’s been a lot of pain,” he acknowledged, but he added, “I’ve never been afraid to do my honest best to find solutions to different situations. I am proud of our efforts to bring people together.”

CLOSING QUESTIONS

Guerra wrapped up the evening by asking the candidates, if they had a magic wand, what governing structure would they create.

Melvoin’s choice was local control, such as more control over curriculum, hiring and firing, and the ability to bring in local artists to support arts education in the schools.

Zimmer said, “I would make every single school in every neighborhood a community school,” with campuses opened late, supporting communities’ needs, with services such as health clinics. “We have the budget to match our ideals. Schools can and should be the anchor.”

Guerra then asked, “What is the one compelling lesson you’ve learned in this campaign?”

“This hunger for bringing people together,” Melvoin said. “This room is an example of how divided our community is. We have parent groups against parent groups, teachers on teachers. We want to be unified,” and parents want to stop the fighting. “This means we need to support our teachers now … and make sure we are serving everyone equitably.”

Zimmer said what he learned is that “the truth still matters. If you tell the truth, if you are able to really talk about the issues that families care about, if you talk about the ideals of public education, they still matter.”

He referenced the audience: “I understand there is a lot of energy. I don’t embrace the division, but I do embrace the energy. I believe we are going to lead the nation in the ideals of public education, for immigrants and for all students. Public schools can be the place where all dreams come true.”

On Wednesday, the two candidates will face each other again as the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization will host another Zimmer-Melvoin debate at 7:30 p.m. at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills. And on May 6, all four candidates running for the District 4 and District 6 board seats have been invited to meet in a forum at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ downtown headquarters.

Read LA School Report’s full series of coverage at LAUSD Race 2017.

Continue reading: LA School Report

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Zimmer and Melvoin face off in their first one-on-one debate. The most unruly? The audience. http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-5 http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-5#comments Mon, 24 Apr 2017 13:14:06 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=157331

District 4’s Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin

Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin met Sunday evening in their first one-on-one debate, heading into the final three weeks before the May 16 runoff for the LA Unified District 4 school board seat.

Moderator Dr. Fernando J. Guerra of Loyola Marymount University had to dig deep at times to find daylight between Zimmer, the school board president, and Melvoin as they agreed in large part on many points, such as support for teachers and the arts, and the need for more state funding and decentralizing the district.

But divisions were much more evident in the crowd of about 150 at University High School in West Los Angeles, many of whom sat separated across the auditorium’s aisle like the bride’s and groom’s sides at a wedding.

On the stage, Guerra was pressing the candidates for detailed answers while organizers of the forum, presented by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councilsrepeatedly pleaded for the adults to behave because there were children in the crowd and students learning about civic responsibility.

In the end, even the candidates commented on the divisions, or the “energy of the crowd,” as Zimmer called it.

And Guerra, holding up slips of paper filled out by audience members, noted that of all the responses, only two people indicated they had come to the debate not knowing who would get their vote.

• Read LA School Report’s profiles of Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin, and their priorities (Zimmer and Melvoin) in the runoff.

Here’s a sample of answers to three of the more contested topics: charter schools’ growing numbers, underfunded pension liabilities, and co-locations of charter schools on district campuses.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Guerra early on dove into the issue of public charter schools, pointedly asking Zimmer, “Why are those who are very supportive of charters endorsing Nick and not you? And what is the role of charters with LAUSD?”

Zimmer responded by saying he has “voted for the overwhelming majority of charters” in the district, which has authorized more charter schools than any in the country.

“What I support is innovation and autonomy. And one way it’s taken place is charters,” he said.

Zimmer said he believes LA Unified’s public charter schools have been “an example in the nation and an incubator for change,” and he highlighted one in particular, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, for leading the district in bilingual education. He also lauded project-based learning. “Some of our charter partners have done a great job of elevating that.”

“But where we differ is saturation,” Zimmer said.

Melvoin agreed. “We have different ideas of saturation points,” he said. “When every school in LA County is a school we would send our kids to, then we have saturation.” But for now, with 40,000 students on waitlists for LA’s public charter schools, “Our platform is to support charters, so that mitigates the need for charter growth.”

He said that “with 130,000 students in charters, parents have answered that question” of what role charters have in LA Unified. He said charter growth should be slowed, but he challenged Zimmer: “There’s no talk on the board on what’s the next phase of charters.” Instead, Melvoin said, “We re-litigate the issue of charters nearly every Tuesday,” a reference to Tuesday board meetings and in particular last week’s meeting, when a discussion about support for state legislation opposed by charter organizations devolved into board members debating whether charters should exist in LA Unified at all.

PENSION LIABILITIES

Guerra turned to LA Unified’s unfunded liability for post-employment benefits, which tops  $13 billion. “Nick is right,” he said, ”That’s a time bomb.”

Melvoin noted that LA Unified is the only school district on a list of top 10 government entities across the country that can’t afford their pension obligations.

Zimmer said, “There’s going to have to be some grand compromise around unfunded pensions in the state,” which, he added, is not sending LA Unified all the funding it’s owed.

Melvoin pointed out the problem is something that the district “should have been fixing in the last eight to 10 years,” and that “to not consider that incoming teachers have a different benefits structure is irresponsible.”

Melvoin said he and Zimmer agree that the state needs to pay the district more, but “when we are more responsible and more transparent, we’ll have more money.” And, he added, “that’s not going to happen without reform.”

Zimmer, who is backed by teacher unions, answered, “If you don’t have trust, if you don’t have the ability to sit down with your labor partners, you have a major, major obstacle.”

Zimmer referenced health care, a big part of United Teachers Los Angeles’ next round of negotiations with the district. “We have to look at many different things, even as it relates to health care.

“It is possible that we, together with our labor partners, will have an agreement that will save us money and save us jobs.”

Melvoin responded, “If you had done that years ago, we would not have” such high liabilities.

Guerra pressed the candidates, saying, ”There is an incredible unfunded liability, and I don’t think of either of you have an answer. How can you handle it going forward? It could destroy the school district, and it needs to be handled.”

Melvoin said, “We need to bring urgency to the issue of solvency.”

Zimmer said, “We do have to look at a single provider for health care. Our LAUSD family is willing to sacrifice for the stability for our kids.”

CHARTER CO-LOCATIONS

Much of the anger directed at Zimmer in the campaign has come from west side charter parents, and a substantial portion of Sunday night’s debate centered on the issue of charters co-locating, or sharing space with traditional district schools on the same campus.

Allison Holdorff-Polhill, who ran for the District 4 seat in the primary but now supports Nick Melvoin, at the University High debate.

Melvoin stated that the problems stem from “a lack of trust and a lack of transparency.”

“Schools are told different things about different campuses,” he said, such as one charter being told there is no space at the school site they requested, then finding out another charter had been granted that same space.

“Parents don’t trust the district. Two schools in the last two weeks had to close their doors while still serving kids. That happened in part because of the lack of trust.

“When a school is losing (rooms), that’s a conversation we have to start having, and I don’t know why we haven’t had it in the last eight years.”

Zimmer responded that “no one in this campaign is celebrating the closure of any school.” But he said, “The willingness to wrestle, to find balanced solutions, is what is” needed. “We can point to areas where families have come together, even co-located schools.”

Melvoin tied the co-location debate to his campaign’s call for greater transparency at the district. Parents need to know “true enrollment patterns,” he said, faulting the district for telling some groups of parents about pending co-locations and not others. “Give parents equal access,” he said.

Zimmer challenged him. “To say the reason for this struggle is solely a lack of transparency” is wrong. “There’s been a lot of pain,” he acknowledged, but he added, “I’ve never been afraid to do my honest best to find solutions to different situations. I am proud of our efforts to bring people together.”

CLOSING QUESTIONS

Guerra wrapped up the evening by asking the candidates, if they had a magic wand, what governing structure would they create.

Melvoin’s choice was local control, such as more control over curriculum, hiring and firing, and the ability to bring in local artists to support arts education in the schools.

Zimmer said, “I would make every single school in every neighborhood a community school,” with campuses opened late, supporting communities’ needs, with services such as health clinics. “We have the budget to match our ideals. Schools can and should be the anchor.”

Guerra then asked, “What is the one compelling lesson you’ve learned in this campaign?”

“This hunger for bringing people together,” Melvoin said. “This room is an example of how divided our community is. We have parent groups against parent groups, teachers on teachers. We want to be unified,” and parents want to stop the fighting. “This means we need to support our teachers now … and make sure we are serving everyone equitably.”

Zimmer said what he learned is that “the truth still matters. If you tell the truth, if you are able to really talk about the issues that families care about, if you talk about the ideals of public education, they still matter.”

He referenced the audience: “I understand there is a lot of energy. I don’t embrace the division, but I do embrace the energy. I believe we are going to lead the nation in the ideals of public education, for immigrants and for all students. Public schools can be the place where all dreams come true.”

On Wednesday, the two candidates will face each other again as the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization will host another Zimmer-Melvoin debate at 7:30 p.m. at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills. And on May 6, all four candidates running for the District 4 and District 6 board seats have been invited to meet in a forum at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ downtown headquarters.

Read LA School Report’s full series of coverage at LAUSD Race 2017.

Continue reading: LA School Report

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Zimmer and Melvoin face off in their first one-on-one debate. The most unruly? The audience. http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-4 http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-4#comments Mon, 24 Apr 2017 13:04:37 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=157329

District 4’s Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin

Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin met Sunday evening in their first one-on-one debate, heading into the final three weeks before the May 16 runoff for the LA Unified District 4 school board seat.

Moderator Dr. Fernando J. Guerra of Loyola Marymount University had to dig deep at times to find daylight between Zimmer, the school board president, and Melvoin as they agreed in large part on many points, such as support for teachers and the arts, and the need for more state funding and decentralizing the district.

But divisions were much more evident in the crowd of about 150 at University High School in West Los Angeles, many of whom sat separated across the auditorium’s aisle like the bride’s and groom’s sides at a wedding.

On the stage, Guerra was pressing the candidates for detailed answers while organizers of the forum, presented by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councilsrepeatedly pleaded for the adults to behave because there were children in the crowd and students learning about civic responsibility.

In the end, even the candidates commented on the divisions, or the “energy of the crowd,” as Zimmer called it.

And Guerra, holding up slips of paper filled out by audience members, noted that of all the responses, only two people indicated they had come to the debate not knowing who would get their vote.

• Read LA School Report’s profiles of Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin, and their priorities (Zimmer and Melvoin) in the runoff.

Here’s a sample of answers to three of the more contested topics: charter schools’ growing numbers, underfunded pension liabilities, and co-locations of charter schools on district campuses.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Guerra early on dove into the issue of public charter schools, pointedly asking Zimmer, “Why are those who are very supportive of charters endorsing Nick and not you? And what is the role of charters with LAUSD?”

Zimmer responded by saying he has “voted for the overwhelming majority of charters” in the district, which has authorized more charter schools than any in the country.

“What I support is innovation and autonomy. And one way it’s taken place is charters,” he said.

Zimmer said he believes LA Unified’s public charter schools have been “an example in the nation and an incubator for change,” and he highlighted one in particular, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, for leading the district in bilingual education. He also lauded project-based learning. “Some of our charter partners have done a great job of elevating that.”

“But where we differ is saturation,” Zimmer said.

Melvoin agreed. “We have different ideas of saturation points,” he said. “When every school in LA County is a school we would send our kids to, then we have saturation.” But for now, with 40,000 students on waitlists for LA’s public charter schools, “Our platform is to support charters, so that mitigates the need for charter growth.”

He said that “with 130,000 students in charters, parents have answered that question” of what role charters have in LA Unified. He said charter growth should be slowed, but he challenged Zimmer: “There’s no talk on the board on what’s the next phase of charters.” Instead, Melvoin said, “We re-litigate the issue of charters nearly every Tuesday,” a reference to Tuesday board meetings and in particular last week’s meeting, when a discussion about support for state legislation opposed by charter organizations devolved into board members debating whether charters should exist in LA Unified at all.

PENSION LIABILITIES

Guerra turned to LA Unified’s unfunded liability for post-employment benefits, which tops  $13 billion. “Nick is right,” he said, ”That’s a time bomb.”

Melvoin noted that LA Unified is the only school district on a list of top 10 government entities across the country that can’t afford their pension obligations.

Zimmer said, “There’s going to have to be some grand compromise around unfunded pensions in the state,” which, he added, is not sending LA Unified all the funding it’s owed.

Melvoin pointed out the problem is something that the district “should have been fixing in the last eight to 10 years,” and that “to not consider that incoming teachers have a different benefits structure is irresponsible.”

Melvoin said he and Zimmer agree that the state needs to pay the district more, but “when we are more responsible and more transparent, we’ll have more money.” And, he added, “that’s not going to happen without reform.”

Zimmer, who is backed by teacher unions, answered, “If you don’t have trust, if you don’t have the ability to sit down with your labor partners, you have a major, major obstacle.”

Zimmer referenced health care, a big part of United Teachers Los Angeles’ next round of negotiations with the district. “We have to look at many different things, even as it relates to health care.

“It is possible that we, together with our labor partners, will have an agreement that will save us money and save us jobs.”

Melvoin responded, “If you had done that years ago, we would not have” such high liabilities.

Guerra pressed the candidates, saying, ”There is an incredible unfunded liability, and I don’t think of either of you have an answer. How can you handle it going forward? It could destroy the school district, and it needs to be handled.”

Melvoin said, “We need to bring urgency to the issue of solvency.”

Zimmer said, “We do have to look at a single provider for health care. Our LAUSD family is willing to sacrifice for the stability for our kids.”

CHARTER CO-LOCATIONS

Much of the anger directed at Zimmer in the campaign has come from west side charter parents, and a substantial portion of Sunday night’s debate centered on the issue of charters co-locating, or sharing space with traditional district schools on the same campus.

Allison Holdorff-Polhill, who ran for the District 4 seat in the primary but now supports Nick Melvoin, at the University High debate.

Melvoin stated that the problems stem from “a lack of trust and a lack of transparency.”

“Schools are told different things about different campuses,” he said, such as one charter being told there is no space at the school site they requested, then finding out another charter had been granted that same space.

“Parents don’t trust the district. Two schools in the last two weeks had to close their doors while still serving kids. That happened in part because of the lack of trust.

“When a school is losing (rooms), that’s a conversation we have to start having, and I don’t know why we haven’t had it in the last eight years.”

Zimmer responded that “no one in this campaign is celebrating the closure of any school.” But he said, “The willingness to wrestle, to find balanced solutions, is what is” needed. “We can point to areas where families have come together, even co-located schools.”

Melvoin tied the co-location debate to his campaign’s call for greater transparency at the district. Parents need to know “true enrollment patterns,” he said, faulting the district for telling some groups of parents about pending co-locations and not others. “Give parents equal access,” he said.

Zimmer challenged him. “To say the reason for this struggle is solely a lack of transparency” is wrong. “There’s been a lot of pain,” he acknowledged, but he added, “I’ve never been afraid to do my honest best to find solutions to different situations. I am proud of our efforts to bring people together.”

CLOSING QUESTIONS

Guerra wrapped up the evening by asking the candidates, if they had a magic wand, what governing structure would they create.

Melvoin’s choice was local control, such as more control over curriculum, hiring and firing, and the ability to bring in local artists to support arts education in the schools.

Zimmer said, “I would make every single school in every neighborhood a community school,” with campuses opened late, supporting communities’ needs, with services such as health clinics. “We have the budget to match our ideals. Schools can and should be the anchor.”

Guerra then asked, “What is the one compelling lesson you’ve learned in this campaign?”

“This hunger for bringing people together,” Melvoin said. “This room is an example of how divided our community is. We have parent groups against parent groups, teachers on teachers. We want to be unified,” and parents want to stop the fighting. “This means we need to support our teachers now … and make sure we are serving everyone equitably.”

Zimmer said what he learned is that “the truth still matters. If you tell the truth, if you are able to really talk about the issues that families care about, if you talk about the ideals of public education, they still matter.”

He referenced the audience: “I understand there is a lot of energy. I don’t embrace the division, but I do embrace the energy. I believe we are going to lead the nation in the ideals of public education, for immigrants and for all students. Public schools can be the place where all dreams come true.”

On Wednesday, the two candidates will face each other again as the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization will host another Zimmer-Melvoin debate at 7:30 p.m. at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills. And on May 6, all four candidates running for the District 4 and District 6 board seats have been invited to meet in a forum at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ downtown headquarters.

Read LA School Report’s full series of coverage at LAUSD Race 2017.

Continue reading: LA School Report

]]>
http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-4/feed 0 http://ift.tt/2oBZYPO image/jpeg
Zimmer and Melvoin face off in their first one-on-one debate. The most unruly? The audience. http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-3 http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-3#comments Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:54:06 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=157327

District 4’s Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin

Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin met Sunday evening in their first one-on-one debate, heading into the final three weeks before the May 16 runoff for the LA Unified District 4 school board seat.

Moderator Dr. Fernando J. Guerra of Loyola Marymount University had to dig deep at times to find daylight between Zimmer, the school board president, and Melvoin as they agreed in large part on many points, such as support for teachers and the arts, and the need for more state funding and decentralizing the district.

But divisions were much more evident in the crowd of about 150 at University High School in West Los Angeles, many of whom sat separated across the auditorium’s aisle like the bride’s and groom’s sides at a wedding.

On the stage, Guerra was pressing the candidates for detailed answers while organizers of the forum, presented by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councilsrepeatedly pleaded for the adults to behave because there were children in the crowd and students learning about civic responsibility.

In the end, even the candidates commented on the divisions, or the “energy of the crowd,” as Zimmer called it.

And Guerra, holding up slips of paper filled out by audience members, noted that of all the responses, only two people indicated they had come to the debate not knowing who would get their vote.

• Read LA School Report’s profiles of Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin, and their priorities (Zimmer and Melvoin) in the runoff.

Here’s a sample of answers to three of the more contested topics: charter schools’ growing numbers, underfunded pension liabilities, and co-locations of charter schools on district campuses.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Guerra early on dove into the issue of public charter schools, pointedly asking Zimmer, “Why are those who are very supportive of charters endorsing Nick and not you? And what is the role of charters with LAUSD?”

Zimmer responded by saying he has “voted for the overwhelming majority of charters” in the district, which has authorized more charter schools than any in the country.

“What I support is innovation and autonomy. And one way it’s taken place is charters,” he said.

Zimmer said he believes LA Unified’s public charter schools have been “an example in the nation and an incubator for change,” and he highlighted one in particular, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, for leading the district in bilingual education. He also lauded project-based learning. “Some of our charter partners have done a great job of elevating that.”

“But where we differ is saturation,” Zimmer said.

Melvoin agreed. “We have different ideas of saturation points,” he said. “When every school in LA County is a school we would send our kids to, then we have saturation.” But for now, with 40,000 students on waitlists for LA’s public charter schools, “Our platform is to support charters, so that mitigates the need for charter growth.”

He said that “with 130,000 students in charters, parents have answered that question” of what role charters have in LA Unified. He said charter growth should be slowed, but he challenged Zimmer: “There’s no talk on the board on what’s the next phase of charters.” Instead, Melvoin said, “We re-litigate the issue of charters nearly every Tuesday,” a reference to Tuesday board meetings and in particular last week’s meeting, when a discussion about support for state legislation opposed by charter organizations devolved into board members debating whether charters should exist in LA Unified at all.

PENSION LIABILITIES

Guerra turned to LA Unified’s unfunded liability for post-employment benefits, which tops  $13 billion. “Nick is right,” he said, ”That’s a time bomb.”

Melvoin noted that LA Unified is the only school district on a list of top 10 government entities across the country that can’t afford their pension obligations.

Zimmer said, “There’s going to have to be some grand compromise around unfunded pensions in the state,” which, he added, is not sending LA Unified all the funding it’s owed.

Melvoin pointed out the problem is something that the district “should have been fixing in the last eight to 10 years,” and that “to not consider that incoming teachers have a different benefits structure is irresponsible.”

Melvoin said he and Zimmer agree that the state needs to pay the district more, but “when we are more responsible and more transparent, we’ll have more money.” And, he added, “that’s not going to happen without reform.”

Zimmer, who is backed by teacher unions, answered, “If you don’t have trust, if you don’t have the ability to sit down with your labor partners, you have a major, major obstacle.”

Zimmer referenced health care, a big part of United Teachers Los Angeles’ next round of negotiations with the district. “We have to look at many different things, even as it relates to health care.

“It is possible that we, together with our labor partners, will have an agreement that will save us money and save us jobs.”

Melvoin responded, “If you had done that years ago, we would not have” such high liabilities.

Guerra pressed the candidates, saying, ”There is an incredible unfunded liability, and I don’t think of either of you have an answer. How can you handle it going forward? It could destroy the school district, and it needs to be handled.”

Melvoin said, “We need to bring urgency to the issue of solvency.”

Zimmer said, “We do have to look at a single provider for health care. Our LAUSD family is willing to sacrifice for the stability for our kids.”

CHARTER CO-LOCATIONS

Much of the anger directed at Zimmer in the campaign has come from west side charter parents, and a substantial portion of Sunday night’s debate centered on the issue of charters co-locating, or sharing space with traditional district schools on the same campus.

Allison Holdorff-Polhill, who ran for the District 4 seat in the primary but now supports Nick Melvoin, at the University High debate.

Melvoin stated that the problems stem from “a lack of trust and a lack of transparency.”

“Schools are told different things about different campuses,” he said, such as one charter being told there is no space at the school site they requested, then finding out another charter had been granted that same space.

“Parents don’t trust the district. Two schools in the last two weeks had to close their doors while still serving kids. That happened in part because of the lack of trust.

“When a school is losing (rooms), that’s a conversation we have to start having, and I don’t know why we haven’t had it in the last eight years.”

Zimmer responded that “no one in this campaign is celebrating the closure of any school.” But he said, “The willingness to wrestle, to find balanced solutions, is what is” needed. “We can point to areas where families have come together, even co-located schools.”

Melvoin tied the co-location debate to his campaign’s call for greater transparency at the district. Parents need to know “true enrollment patterns,” he said, faulting the district for telling some groups of parents about pending co-locations and not others. “Give parents equal access,” he said.

Zimmer challenged him. “To say the reason for this struggle is solely a lack of transparency” is wrong. “There’s been a lot of pain,” he acknowledged, but he added, “I’ve never been afraid to do my honest best to find solutions to different situations. I am proud of our efforts to bring people together.”

CLOSING QUESTIONS

Guerra wrapped up the evening by asking the candidates, if they had a magic wand, what governing structure would they create.

Melvoin’s choice was local control, such as more control over curriculum, hiring and firing, and the ability to bring in local artists to support arts education in the schools.

Zimmer said, “I would make every single school in every neighborhood a community school,” with campuses opened late, supporting communities’ needs, with services such as health clinics. “We have the budget to match our ideals. Schools can and should be the anchor.”

Guerra then asked, “What is the one compelling lesson you’ve learned in this campaign?”

“This hunger for bringing people together,” Melvoin said. “This room is an example of how divided our community is. We have parent groups against parent groups, teachers on teachers. We want to be unified,” and parents want to stop the fighting. “This means we need to support our teachers now … and make sure we are serving everyone equitably.”

Zimmer said what he learned is that “the truth still matters. If you tell the truth, if you are able to really talk about the issues that families care about, if you talk about the ideals of public education, they still matter.”

He referenced the audience: “I understand there is a lot of energy. I don’t embrace the division, but I do embrace the energy. I believe we are going to lead the nation in the ideals of public education, for immigrants and for all students. Public schools can be the place where all dreams come true.”

On Wednesday, the two candidates will face each other again as the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization will host another Zimmer-Melvoin debate at 7:30 p.m. at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills. And on May 6, all four candidates running for the District 4 and District 6 board seats have been invited to meet in a forum at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ downtown headquarters.

Read LA School Report’s full series of coverage at LAUSD Race 2017.

Continue reading: LA School Report

]]>
http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-3/feed 0 http://ift.tt/2oBZYPO image/jpeg
Zimmer and Melvoin face off in their first one-on-one debate. The most unruly? The audience. http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-2 http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-2#comments Mon, 24 Apr 2017 12:35:13 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=157325

District 4’s Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin

Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin met Sunday evening in their first one-on-one debate, heading into the final three weeks before the May 16 runoff for the LA Unified District 4 school board seat.

Moderator Dr. Fernando J. Guerra of Loyola Marymount University had to dig deep at times to find daylight between Zimmer, the school board president, and Melvoin as they agreed in large part on many points, such as support for teachers and the arts, and the need for more state funding and decentralizing the district.

But divisions were much more evident in the crowd of about 150 at University High School in West Los Angeles, many of whom sat separated across the auditorium’s aisle like the bride’s and groom’s sides at a wedding.

On the stage, Guerra was pressing the candidates for detailed answers while organizers of the forum, presented by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councilsrepeatedly pleaded for the adults to behave because there were children in the crowd and students learning about civic responsibility.

In the end, even the candidates commented on the divisions, or the “energy of the crowd,” as Zimmer called it.

And Guerra, holding up slips of paper filled out by audience members, noted that of all the responses, only two people indicated they had come to the debate not knowing who would get their vote.

• Read LA School Report’s profiles of Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin, and their priorities (Zimmer and Melvoin) in the runoff.

Here’s a sample of answers to three of the more contested topics: charter schools’ growing numbers, underfunded pension liabilities, and co-locations of charter schools on district campuses.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Guerra early on dove into the issue of public charter schools, pointedly asking Zimmer, “Why are those who are very supportive of charters endorsing Nick and not you? And what is the role of charters with LAUSD?”

Zimmer responded by saying he has “voted for the overwhelming majority of charters” in the district, which has authorized more charter schools than any in the country.

“What I support is innovation and autonomy. And one way it’s taken place is charters,” he said.

Zimmer said he believes LA Unified’s public charter schools have been “an example in the nation and an incubator for change,” and he highlighted one in particular, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, for leading the district in bilingual education. He also lauded project-based learning. “Some of our charter partners have done a great job of elevating that.”

“But where we differ is saturation,” Zimmer said.

Melvoin agreed. “We have different ideas of saturation points,” he said. “When every school in LA County is a school we would send our kids to, then we have saturation.” But for now, with 40,000 students on waitlists for LA’s public charter schools, “Our platform is to support charters, so that mitigates the need for charter growth.”

He said that “with 130,000 students in charters, parents have answered that question” of what role charters have in LA Unified. He said charter growth should be slowed, but he challenged Zimmer: “There’s no talk on the board on what’s the next phase of charters.” Instead, Melvoin said, “We re-litigate the issue of charters nearly every Tuesday,” a reference to Tuesday board meetings and in particular last week’s meeting, when a discussion about support for state legislation opposed by charter organizations devolved into board members debating whether charters should exist in LA Unified at all.

PENSION LIABILITIES

Guerra turned to LA Unified’s unfunded liability for post-employment benefits, which tops  $13 billion. “Nick is right,” he said, ”That’s a time bomb.”

Melvoin noted that LA Unified is the only school district on a list of top 10 government entities across the country that can’t afford their pension obligations.

Zimmer said, “There’s going to have to be some grand compromise around unfunded pensions in the state,” which, he added, is not sending LA Unified all the funding it’s owed.

Melvoin pointed out the problem is something that the district “should have been fixing in the last eight to 10 years,” and that “to not consider that incoming teachers have a different benefits structure is irresponsible.”

Melvoin said he and Zimmer agree that the state needs to pay the district more, but “when we are more responsible and more transparent, we’ll have more money.” And, he added, “that’s not going to happen without reform.”

Zimmer, who is backed by teacher unions, answered, “If you don’t have trust, if you don’t have the ability to sit down with your labor partners, you have a major, major obstacle.”

Zimmer referenced health care, a big part of United Teachers Los Angeles’ next round of negotiations with the district. “We have to look at many different things, even as it relates to health care.

“It is possible that we, together with our labor partners, will have an agreement that will save us money and save us jobs.”

Melvoin responded, “If you had done that years ago, we would not have” such high liabilities.

Guerra pressed the candidates, saying, ”There is an incredible unfunded liability, and I don’t think of either of you have an answer. How can you handle it going forward? It could destroy the school district, and it needs to be handled.”

Melvoin said, “We need to bring urgency to the issue of solvency.”

Zimmer said, “We do have to look at a single provider for health care. Our LAUSD family is willing to sacrifice for the stability for our kids.”

CHARTER CO-LOCATIONS

Much of the anger directed at Zimmer in the campaign has come from west side charter parents, and a substantial portion of Sunday night’s debate centered on the issue of charters co-locating, or sharing space with traditional district schools on the same campus.

Allison Holdorff-Polhill, who ran for the District 4 seat in the primary but now supports Nick Melvoin, at the University High debate.

Melvoin stated that the problems stem from “a lack of trust and a lack of transparency.”

“Schools are told different things about different campuses,” he said, such as one charter being told there is no space at the school site they requested, then finding out another charter had been granted that same space.

“Parents don’t trust the district. Two schools in the last two weeks had to close their doors while still serving kids. That happened in part because of the lack of trust.

“When a school is losing (rooms), that’s a conversation we have to start having, and I don’t know why we haven’t had it in the last eight years.”

Zimmer responded that “no one in this campaign is celebrating the closure of any school.” But he said, “The willingness to wrestle, to find balanced solutions, is what is” needed. “We can point to areas where families have come together, even co-located schools.”

Melvoin tied the co-location debate to his campaign’s call for greater transparency at the district. Parents need to know “true enrollment patterns,” he said, faulting the district for telling some groups of parents about pending co-locations and not others. “Give parents equal access,” he said.

Zimmer challenged him. “To say the reason for this struggle is solely a lack of transparency” is wrong. “There’s been a lot of pain,” he acknowledged, but he added, “I’ve never been afraid to do my honest best to find solutions to different situations. I am proud of our efforts to bring people together.”

CLOSING QUESTIONS

Guerra wrapped up the evening by asking the candidates, if they had a magic wand, what governing structure would they create.

Melvoin’s choice was local control, such as more control over curriculum, hiring and firing, and the ability to bring in local artists to support arts education in the schools.

Zimmer said, “I would make every single school in every neighborhood a community school,” with campuses opened late, supporting communities’ needs, with services such as health clinics. “We have the budget to match our ideals. Schools can and should be the anchor.”

Guerra then asked, “What is the one compelling lesson you’ve learned in this campaign?”

“This hunger for bringing people together,” Melvoin said. “This room is an example of how divided our community is. We have parent groups against parent groups, teachers on teachers. We want to be unified,” and parents want to stop the fighting. “This means we need to support our teachers now … and make sure we are serving everyone equitably.”

Zimmer said what he learned is that “the truth still matters. If you tell the truth, if you are able to really talk about the issues that families care about, if you talk about the ideals of public education, they still matter.”

He referenced the audience: “I understand there is a lot of energy. I don’t embrace the division, but I do embrace the energy. I believe we are going to lead the nation in the ideals of public education, for immigrants and for all students. Public schools can be the place where all dreams come true.”

On Wednesday, the two candidates will face each other again as the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization will host another Zimmer-Melvoin debate at 7:30 p.m. at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills. And on May 6, all four candidates running for the District 4 and District 6 board seats have been invited to meet in a forum at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ downtown headquarters.

Read LA School Report’s full series of coverage at LAUSD Race 2017.

Continue reading: LA School Report

]]>
http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience-2/feed 0 http://ift.tt/2oBZYPO image/jpeg
Zimmer and Melvoin face off in their first one-on-one debate. The most unruly? The audience. http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/zimmer-and-melvoin-face-off-in-their-first-one-on-one-debate-the-most-unruly-the-audience#comments Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:07:49 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=157303

District 4’s Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin

Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin met Sunday evening in their first one-on-one debate, heading into the final three weeks before the May 16 runoff for the LA Unified District 4 school board seat.

Moderator Dr. Fernando J. Guerra of Loyola Marymount University had to dig deep at times to find daylight between Zimmer, the school board president, and Melvoin as they agreed in large part on many points, such as support for teachers and the arts, and the need for more state funding and decentralizing the district.

But divisions were much more evident in the crowd of about 150 at University High School in West Los Angeles, many of whom sat separated across the auditorium’s aisle like the bride’s and groom’s sides at a wedding.

On the stage, Guerra was pressing the candidates for detailed answers while organizers of the forum, presented by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councilsrepeatedly pleaded for the adults to behave because there were children in the crowd and students learning about civic responsibility.

In the end, even the candidates commented on the divisions, or the “energy of the crowd,” as Zimmer called it.

And Guerra, holding up slips of paper filled out by audience members, noted that of all the responses, only two people indicated they had come to the debate not knowing who would get their vote.

• Read LA School Report’s profiles of Steve Zimmer and Nick Melvoin, and their priorities (Zimmer and Melvoin) in the runoff.

Here’s a sample of answers to three of the more contested topics: charter schools’ growing numbers, underfunded pension liabilities, and co-locations of charter schools on district campuses.

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Guerra early on dove into the issue of public charter schools, pointedly asking Zimmer, “Why are those who are very supportive of charters endorsing Nick and not you? And what is the role of charters with LAUSD?”

Zimmer responded by saying he has “voted for the overwhelming majority of charters” in the district, which has authorized more charter schools than any in the country.

“What I support is innovation and autonomy. And one way it’s taken place is charters,” he said.

Zimmer said he believes LA Unified’s public charter schools have been “an example in the nation and an incubator for change,” and he highlighted one in particular, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, for leading the district in bilingual education. He also lauded project-based learning. “Some of our charter partners have done a great job of elevating that.”

“But where we differ is saturation,” Zimmer said.

Melvoin agreed. “We have different ideas of saturation points,” he said. “When every school in LA County is a school we would send our kids to, then we have saturation.” But for now, with 40,000 students on waitlists for LA’s public charter schools, “Our platform is to support charters, so that mitigates the need for charter growth.”

He said that “with 130,000 students in charters, parents have answered that question” of what role charters have in LA Unified. He said charter growth should be slowed, but he challenged Zimmer: “There’s no talk on the board on what’s the next phase of charters.” Instead, Melvoin said, “We re-litigate the issue of charters nearly every Tuesday,” a reference to Tuesday board meetings and in particular last week’s meeting, when a discussion about support for state legislation opposed by charter organizations devolved into board members debating whether charters should exist in LA Unified at all.

PENSION LIABILITIES

Guerra turned to LA Unified’s unfunded liability for post-employment benefits, which tops  $13 billion. “Nick is right,” he said, ”That’s a time bomb.”

Melvoin noted that LA Unified is the only school district on a list of top 10 government entities across the country that can’t afford their pension obligations.

Zimmer said, “There’s going to have to be some grand compromise around unfunded pensions in the state,” which, he added, is not sending LA Unified all the funding it’s owed.

Melvoin pointed out the problem is something that the district “should have been fixing in the last eight to 10 years,” and that “to not consider that incoming teachers have a different benefits structure is irresponsible.”

Melvoin said he and Zimmer agree that the state needs to pay the district more, but “when we are more responsible and more transparent, we’ll have more money.” And, he added, “that’s not going to happen without reform.”

Zimmer, who is backed by teacher unions, answered, “If you don’t have trust, if you don’t have the ability to sit down with your labor partners, you have a major, major obstacle.”

Zimmer referenced health care, a big part of United Teachers Los Angeles’ next round of negotiations with the district. “We have to look at many different things, even as it relates to health care.

“It is possible that we, together with our labor partners, will have an agreement that will save us money and save us jobs.”

Melvoin responded, “If you had done that years ago, we would not have” such high liabilities.

Guerra pressed the candidates, saying, ”There is an incredible unfunded liability, and I don’t think of either of you have an answer. How can you handle it going forward? It could destroy the school district, and it needs to be handled.”

Melvoin said, “We need to bring urgency to the issue of solvency.”

Zimmer said, “We do have to look at a single provider for health care. Our LAUSD family is willing to sacrifice for the stability for our kids.”

CHARTER CO-LOCATIONS

Much of the anger directed at Zimmer in the campaign has come from west side charter parents, and a substantial portion of Sunday night’s debate centered on the issue of charters co-locating, or sharing space with traditional district schools on the same campus.

Allison Holdorff-Polhill, who ran for the District 4 seat in the primary but now supports Nick Melvoin, at the University High debate.

Melvoin stated that the problems stem from “a lack of trust and a lack of transparency.”

“Schools are told different things about different campuses,” he said, such as one charter being told there is no space at the school site they requested, then finding out another charter had been granted that same space.

“Parents don’t trust the district. Two schools in the last two weeks had to close their doors while still serving kids. That happened in part because of the lack of trust.

“When a school is losing (rooms), that’s a conversation we have to start having, and I don’t know why we haven’t had it in the last eight years.”

Zimmer responded that “no one in this campaign is celebrating the closure of any school.” But he said, “The willingness to wrestle, to find balanced solutions, is what is” needed. “We can point to areas where families have come together, even co-located schools.”

Melvoin tied the co-location debate to his campaign’s call for greater transparency at the district. Parents need to know “true enrollment patterns,” he said, faulting the district for telling some groups of parents about pending co-locations and not others. “Give parents equal access,” he said.

Zimmer challenged him. “To say the reason for this struggle is solely a lack of transparency” is wrong. “There’s been a lot of pain,” he acknowledged, but he added, “I’ve never been afraid to do my honest best to find solutions to different situations. I am proud of our efforts to bring people together.”

CLOSING QUESTIONS

Guerra wrapped up the evening by asking the candidates, if they had a magic wand, what governing structure would they create.

Melvoin’s choice was local control, such as more control over curriculum, hiring and firing, and the ability to bring in local artists to support arts education in the schools.

Zimmer said, “I would make every single school in every neighborhood a community school,” with campuses opened late, supporting communities’ needs, with services such as health clinics. “We have the budget to match our ideals. Schools can and should be the anchor.”

Guerra then asked, “What is the one compelling lesson you’ve learned in this campaign?”

“This hunger for bringing people together,” Melvoin said. “This room is an example of how divided our community is. We have parent groups against parent groups, teachers on teachers. We want to be unified,” and parents want to stop the fighting. “This means we need to support our teachers now … and make sure we are serving everyone equitably.”

Zimmer said what he learned is that “the truth still matters. If you tell the truth, if you are able to really talk about the issues that families care about, if you talk about the ideals of public education, they still matter.”

He referenced the audience: “I understand there is a lot of energy. I don’t embrace the division, but I do embrace the energy. I believe we are going to lead the nation in the ideals of public education, for immigrants and for all students. Public schools can be the place where all dreams come true.”

On Wednesday, the two candidates will face each other again as the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization will host another Zimmer-Melvoin debate at 7:30 p.m. at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills. And on May 6, all four candidates running for the District 4 and District 6 board seats have been invited to meet in a forum at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ downtown headquarters.

Read LA School Report’s full series of coverage at LAUSD Race 2017.

Continue reading: LA School Report

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Venice is 18-4 and making progress in City Section http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/venice-is-18-4-and-making-progress-in-city-section http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/venice-is-18-4-and-making-progress-in-city-section#comments Sat, 15 Apr 2017 21:58:51 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156931

Continue reading: latimes.com – Hot List

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LAPD searching for 2 suspects in fatal Palms shooting http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/lapd-searching-for-2-suspects-in-fatal-palms-shooting http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/lapd-searching-for-2-suspects-in-fatal-palms-shooting#comments Sat, 15 Apr 2017 16:10:45 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156917 > Police Saturday were looking for two suspects wanted in the shooting death of a man in Palms. It was reported just before 8 p.m. Friday in a CVS Pharmacy parking lot in at Sepulveda and National boulevards, according to a desk officer at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Station. Continue reading: […]]]> LOS ANGELES >> Police Saturday were looking for two suspects wanted in the shooting death of a man in Palms.

It was reported just before 8 p.m. Friday in a CVS Pharmacy parking lot in at Sepulveda and National boulevards, according to a desk officer at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pacific Station.

Continue reading: RSS Feed from The Daily Breeze: http://ift.tt/1kUmUSt

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Man killed in shooting at Palms CVS parking lot http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/man-killed-in-shooting-at-palms-cvs-parking-lot http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/man-killed-in-shooting-at-palms-cvs-parking-lot#comments Sat, 15 Apr 2017 15:35:41 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156903 A man was shot to death at a CVS parking lot in Palms Friday night, authorities said.

Continue reading: Los Angeles News | Los Angeles Weather and Traffic

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Building’s Fate Looms Over Mar Vista http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/buildings-fate-looms-over-mar-vista http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/buildings-fate-looms-over-mar-vista#comments Thu, 13 Apr 2017 22:10:22 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156876 Development would be the tallest on Venice Boulevard from downtown to the beach

By Gary Walker

Rendering for Mar Vista building

As community opposition to a controversial six-story development planned for Venice Boulevard intensifies, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin appears primed to take a resolute stand against the project when it faces an appeal before the Department of City Planning next Thursday.

Mar Vista-based developer Crimson Holdings seeks to build an 83-foot high multi-use structure with an additional mezzanine on the southeast corner of Venice Boulevard at Wasatch Avenue, two blocks west of Centinela Avenue.

The project is slated to include 77 rental housing units, 2,100 square feet of ground floor retail, and both ground-level and subterranean parking, according to planning documents.

Crimson Holdings owner Pamela Day has consistently argued, however, that the building would be five stories with a podium. Under state law, the project received zoning waivers for local height, parking and density requirements because the project is in a transit corridor and Day plans to include seven affordable housing units.

In a Dec. 24 communiqué to his Mar Vista constituents, Bonin condemned the project’s height as out of scale with its surroundings.

“This proposal is so controversial and misguided because it seeks to build the tallest building on Venice Boulevard between downtown and the ocean. This isn’t the right project for Mar Vista, and I intend to continue to vehemently oppose it as proposed,” Bonin wrote. “To be clear, I support building more affordable housing — especially along transit corridors where we need it the most — but this proposal is too tall and out of character with the neighborhood.”

City Planning officials had approved those plans for 12444 Venice Blvd. just two days earlier, prompting two Mar Vista neighborhood organizations to appeal that decision. That appeal will be heard after 9 a.m. on April 20 in Room 532 at Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

“I am extremely disappointed and puzzled that the Planning Department would allow this inappropriate project to move forward as is, and I will do everything under my authority as a councilmember to stop it unless the developer is willing to be more responsive to the very legitimate objections raised by many Mar Vistans, myself included,” Bonin wrote.

Day noted that Measure S — a recent city ballot initiative that sought to severely limit new development — lost in a landslide in March, and she believes that indicates voters have an appetite for the affordable and middle-income housing units the project intends to create.

“I’m sure that based upon this overwhelming evidence — voter demand and new laws highly encouraging higher density transit-oriented developments such as this one — that Mr. Bonin has come to embrace the needs of renters and therefore, grown to appreciate the project,” Day said.

Bonin said earlier this year that Measure S, which he opposed, would not have applied to Day’s project because she is not seeking a city general plan or local zoning waiver.

But the project does have one local constituency on her side — local artists. Day has pledged to set aside the project’s seven affordable units specifically for artists, and in conjunction with Mar Vista ArtWalk Director Lenore French she announced on April 7 that the L.A. Housing and Community Investment Department has agreed to let her conduct specific outreach to the arts community.

“I think we are the first in the city to do so,” Day said.

Continue reading: The Argonaut Newspaper

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The Mar Vista Adds Grab and Go Concept to Budding Repertoire http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/the-mar-vista-adds-grab-and-go-concept-to-budding-repertoire http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/the-mar-vista-adds-grab-and-go-concept-to-budding-repertoire#comments Thu, 13 Apr 2017 17:21:19 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156848

The new shop sits across the street

Mar Vista continues to come up with great new culinary angles, as evidenced by the imminent opening of The Mar Vista Grab and Go. Despite the overlapping name with regular sit-down restaurant The Mar Vista (which is just across the street), Grab and Go will be a separate offshoot still overseen by the same.

That crew is comprised of chefs D. Brandon Walker, Jill Davie, and Jorge Rivas. The plan is for them to operate at a much faster pace and smaller scale with Grab and Go, getting diners in and out in something like 30 minutes. It’s not quite a pure takeaway shop — though there will be a marketplace component for some premade items — but rather a small counter service operation intent on low overhead and truly quick service. Food will still be market-driven, but will also include easygoing options like breakfast tacos and the like.

The space will be decidedly low footprint, mostly comprised of counter seating with a couple of loose tables in the back and a patio beyond. The usual reclaimed wood, glass, and metalwork will be the driving visual forces for the space.

It’s a smart move to keep dedicating culinary space to the continually evolving Mar Vista neighborhood, as places like Little Fatty have also seen nearby. It’s also practically a part of business these days to need to expand into a concept with low overhead and low labor costs, likely with a quick service model, takeout window (think Howlin’ Ray’s), or delivery like the upcoming Cosa Buona in Echo Park. As for an opening, peg April 30 for The Mar Vista Grab and Go, with hours all day long.

Continue reading: Eater LA – All

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Grandmothers Continue to Be the Lifeblood of Any Los Angeles Restaurant Kitchen http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/grandmothers-continue-to-be-the-lifeblood-of-any-los-angeles-restaurant-kitchen http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/grandmothers-continue-to-be-the-lifeblood-of-any-los-angeles-restaurant-kitchen#comments Wed, 12 Apr 2017 19:51:44 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156816

Plus a new Mar Vista coffee shop and 18-cent martinis

It’s always about the grandmother

No matter the culture or the cuisine, there is something reverent about grandmothers in kitchens, poring over boiling pots and sending their recipes down through generations. It’s also a timeless trope in the restaurant world, with chefs and restaurateurs and designers alike pointing to their female lineage when describing and executing their next great passion project.

Now LA Weekly is jumping into the conversation head-on with a new video that reaches out to a number of Mexican-American chefs in Los Angeles to discuss their abuelitas. From suddenly-hip-again ice cream to Yucatanean seafood, these chefs are happy to not only show off the skills and stories they’ve learned from their grandmothers, but also to pass their legacy on to their workers, customers, and the entire restaurant industry. Long live the culinary grandmother.

A cookie quest

Want to know where the best cookie is in Los Angeles, hands down? KCRW’s Good Food has you covered with a fun, funny look at the sometimes unsung sweets here: the simple, beguilingly delicious cookie.

A pricey new pop-up to know

There’s a cool new Beverly Hills pop-up to know about, called Le Cercle. It lands Monday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m., and will feature chef Alain Giraud of all people. The plan is to cook a traditional French meal, complete with cheese course and champagne to start, from the kitchen at Heritage Fine Wines.

Dinner in San Pedro

Got no plans for Tuesday, April 25? Get to Brouwerij West in San Pedro for a five-course beer pairing tasting menu from chef Charles Imbelli of Harvest at The Ranch at Laguna Beach. The party costs $90 and includes everything from a trio of lamb preparations to Mer Bleu oyster starers and a foie gras parfait. You can make your reservations on OpenTable.

Tax time means martinis

Need a stiff drink after getting your taxes done? Get to Whisper Restaurant and Lounge at The Grove April 18 for some 18-cent martinis (one per guest). The party starts rolling at 11:30 a.m. and lasts until 10 p.m.

Mar Vista’s latest

There’s a hip new coffee shop in Mar Vista to check out, called Alanas’ Coffee. Soft opening has been running since Monday, with the colorful space turning out hours from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 12511 Venice Boulevard.

A post shared by Alanas Coffee (@alanascoffee) on

Continue reading: Eater LA

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These Four L.A. Streets Desperately Need a Pedestrian-Friendly Makeover http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/these-four-l-a-streets-desperately-need-a-pedestrian-friendly-makeover-2 http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/these-four-l-a-streets-desperately-need-a-pedestrian-friendly-makeover-2#comments Fri, 07 Apr 2017 04:25:12 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156613

Four L.A. Streets Desperate for a Pedestrian-Friendly Makeover

It’s about time officials addressed the city’s hostile boulevards








Transportation



Comments

Although it bisects Los Angeles and spills out at the Pacific Ocean, Venice Boulevard has never entered the iconic status other L.A. streets have, e.g., Sunset, Wilshire, or Hollywood. Maybe it has something to do with the pragmatic nature of it; it’s mostly an east-west highway—part of it is actually designated as California Route 187—with little to look at.

While it may not be pleasing to the eye, it’s wholly unpleasant for anyone not in a car. The wide lanes mean speeding cars and dangerous crossings. Thankfully, the Great Streets initiative is trying to rein in Venice’s car-crazy ways, specifically in Mar Vista, where something akin to a pedestrian-friendly community has sprung up around Venice Blvd. New crosswalks are being added—including head-start crosswalks that allow more time to reach the other side—and, hopefully, protected bike lanes. This is a great first step, but the city needs to get moving on addressing these other dangerous streets:

Santa Monica Boulevard
In West Hollywood, SMB is the area’s unofficial main drag. Though wide, it has medians, bike lanes, and wide sidewalks that prevent it from being a de facto freeway. Start moving west—through Beverly Hills and Los Angeles—and things change, for the worse. Through Beverly Hills, there’s no sidewalk on one side of the street; what a wonderful feature for tourists. At the busy intersection of SMB and Wilshire, pedestrians are restricted from crossing on the west side of Wilshire. The worst of SMB is at Westwood Boulevard, though. Seemingly daily, a pedestrian is required to run for their life since walkers are allowed a ridiculously short time to cross the enormous boulevard. Add some curb additions to shorten the crosswalk or at least give walkers more time. It’s criminal the city forces seniors to make this crossing in its current state. Oh, and east of WeHo? The East Hollywood section would make any urbanist cry. See for yourself:

Sepulveda Boulevard
Aggressively ugly and pock-marked with half-shuttered businesses and weathered signs, Sepulveda is also a cyclist and walker’s nightmare—for much of its length in West L.A. it lacks a sidewalk on its western side. LADOT and Metro only added a western sidewalk last year near Pico Boulevard because the Expo Line opened; of course, it abruptly ends less than a half-mile from the station. The city’s message to transit-users and pedestrians: Figure it out, suckas!

La Brea Avenue
This north-south route is actually experiencing a renaissance north of Wilshire, with new apartment buildings and ground-level retail. Almost immediately south of Wilshire—and a future subway station—La Brea looks like Magnolia Blvd. in the Valley. The picturesque scene: Dilapidated strip-malls, driveways abutting the sidewalk, sidewalks devoid of trees. The most egregious aspect of La Brea is south of the Expo Line station. Not only does the station design leave transit users vulnerable to speeding cars, the multiple driveways of the nearby shopping centers also put Baldwin Village walkers at risk. To add insult to injury, the beautiful Kenneth Hahn State Park cannot be reached via La Brea, nor by anyone walking. Yup, you heard that right. The only way to get to Kenneth Hahn is via an exit off a freeway-like portion of La Cienega Boulevard, or a bus shuttle if you want to trudge to the La Cienega Expo station. The sidewalk on La Brea abruptly ends after Baldwin Village, and there is no pedestrian route to the park, even though it’s just over a hill from the street. Great planning.

Lincoln Boulevard
Lincoln is another street that’s officially a highway. Usually inundated with traffic, Lincoln is just about as hideous as Sepulveda; covered with strip-malls and giant parking lots facing the street; the ubiquitous electricity lines just add to the ambience. But what about the safety? Well, the good news is that Santa Monica officials—in control of Lincoln since Caltrans rescinded control of the boulevard in 2012—are planning pedestrian-friendly additions like a bus lane, medians, crosswalks, curb extensions, and sidewalk trees. That’s great, but Santa Monica government has to stop caving to NIMBYs and start allowing more mixed-use developments along Lincoln. Think, more people walking their dogs and just a few less car washes and auto body shops.

Continue reading: Los Angeles Magazine

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These Four L.A. Streets Desperately Need a Pedestrian-Friendly Makeover http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/these-four-l-a-streets-desperately-need-a-pedestrian-friendly-makeover http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/these-four-l-a-streets-desperately-need-a-pedestrian-friendly-makeover#comments Fri, 07 Apr 2017 04:05:41 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156599

Four L.A. Streets Desperate for a Pedestrian-Friendly Makeover

It’s about time officials addressed the city’s hostile boulevards








Transportation



Comments

Although it bisects Los Angeles and spills out at the Pacific Ocean, Venice Boulevard has never entered the iconic status other L.A. streets have, e.g., Sunset, Wilshire, or Hollywood. Maybe it has something to do with the pragmatic nature of it; it’s mostly an east-west highway—part of it is actually designated as California Route 187—with little to look at.

While it may not be pleasing to the eye, it’s wholly unpleasant for anyone not in a car. The wide lanes mean speeding cars and dangerous crossings. Thankfully, the Great Streets initiative is trying to rein in Venice’s car-crazy ways, specifically in Mar Vista, where something akin to a pedestrian-friendly community has sprung up around Venice Blvd. New crosswalks are being added—including head-start crosswalks that allow more time to reach the other side—and, hopefully, protected bike lanes. This is a great first step, but the city needs to get moving on addressing these other dangerous streets:

Santa Monica Boulevard
In West Hollywood, SMB is the area’s unofficial main drag. Though wide, it has medians, bike lanes, and wide sidewalks that prevent it from being a de facto freeway. Start moving west—through Beverly Hills and Los Angeles—and things change, for the worse. Through Beverly Hills, there’s no sidewalk on one side of the street; what a wonderful feature for tourists. At the busy intersection of SMB and Wilshire, pedestrians are restricted from crossing on the west side of Wilshire. The worst of SMB is at Westwood Boulevard, though. Seemingly daily, a pedestrian is required to run for their life since walkers are allowed a ridiculously short time to cross the enormous boulevard. Add some curb additions to shorten the crosswalk or at least give walkers more time. It’s criminal the city forces seniors to make this crossing in its current state. Oh, and east of WeHo? The East Hollywood section would make any urbanist cry. See for yourself:

Sepulveda Boulevard
Aggressively ugly and pock-marked with half-shuttered businesses and weathered signs, Sepulveda is also a cyclist and walker’s nightmare—for much of its length in West L.A. it lacks a sidewalk on its western side. LADOT and Metro only added a western sidewalk last year near Pico Boulevard because the Expo Line opened; of course, it abruptly ends less than a half-mile from the station. The city’s message to transit-users and pedestrians: Figure it out, suckas!

La Brea Avenue
This north-south route is actually experiencing a renaissance north of Wilshire, with new apartment buildings and ground-level retail. Almost immediately south of Wilshire—and a future subway station—La Brea looks like Magnolia Blvd. in the Valley. The picturesque scene: Dilapidated strip-malls, driveways abutting the sidewalk, sidewalks devoid of trees. The most egregious aspect of La Brea is south of the Expo Line station. Not only does the station design leave transit users vulnerable to speeding cars, the multiple driveways of the nearby shopping centers also put Baldwin Village walkers at risk. To add insult to injury, the beautiful Kenneth Hahn State Park cannot be reached via La Brea, nor by anyone walking. Yup, you heard that right. The only way to get to Kenneth Hahn is via an exit off a freeway-like portion of La Cienega Boulevard, or a bus shuttle if you want to trudge to the La Cienega Expo station. The sidewalk on La Brea abruptly ends after Baldwin Village, and there is no pedestrian route to the park, even though it’s just over a hill from the street. Great planning.

Lincoln Boulevard
Lincoln is another street that’s officially a highway. Usually inundated with traffic, Lincoln is just about as hideous as Sepulveda; covered with strip-malls and giant parking lots facing the street; the ubiquitous electricity lines just add to the ambience. But what about the safety? Well, the good news is that Santa Monica officials—in control of Lincoln since Caltrans rescinded control of the boulevard in 2012—are planning pedestrian-friendly additions like a bus lane, medians, crosswalks, curb extensions, and sidewalk trees. That’s great, but Santa Monica government has to stop caving to NIMBYs and start allowing more mixed-use developments along Lincoln. Think, more people walking their dogs and just a few less car washes and auto body shops.

Continue reading: Los Angeles Magazine

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Five-story residential project planned near the Expo Line in West LA http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/five-story-residential-project-planned-near-the-expo-line-in-west-la http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/five-story-residential-project-planned-near-the-expo-line-in-west-la#comments Mon, 03 Apr 2017 04:10:06 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156385

129 units would replace a Sawtelle strip mall

A strip mall in Sawtelle could soon make way for a new residential development with 129 units, according to an initial study published on the Department of City Planning website last week.

The five-story, DFH Architects-designed structure would be built atop a two-level underground parking structure with 154 spaces for cars and an additional 146 spaces for bikes. 17,776 square feet of open space would also be featured in the project, while proposed amenities for residents include a gym, barbecue area, lounge, and rooftop community garden.

Of the 129 units, 63 will be studios, 60 will be one-bedrooms, and the remaining six will be two-bedroom units. 15 of the total units will be set aside for residents making less than half of the median income in the area, though it’s not clear what size those units will be.

Located at 11460 Gateway Boulevard, the project site is convenient to the Expo Line, sitting roughly halfway between the Sepulveda and the Bundy stops. It’s one of many projects planned along the newly extended light rail route. Those include the huge Casden West LA project set to rise at Pico and Sepulveda and the flashy Martin Expo Town Center, which could soon replace a Cadillac/GMC dealership at Olympic and Bundy.

According to the study, construction on the project will begin in 2018, wrapping up about 20 months later.

Continue reading: Curbed LA

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Orchids at the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market April 2, 2017 http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/orchids-at-the-mar-vista-farmers-market-april-2-2017 http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/orchids-at-the-mar-vista-farmers-market-april-2-2017#comments Sun, 02 Apr 2017 19:54:46 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156355 Such a beautiful day at the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market today, with these beautiful orchids, and my fave squash is now in season.

Plus Rainbow is back with organic blueberries. 

The Green Tent guest was Amy Norquist from Greensulate, talking about growing plants on roofs & walls.

We met the guys behind Seabold Ginger Beer, organic, non-GMO and made in LA.

And the team from Historic Fire Station 62 took over the Blue Tent with their fun firetrucks.

Fans of Murray Farms – they will be back in two weeks!

Continue reading: Sarah Auerswald, the Mar Vista Mom

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Closing Santa Monica Airport is about protecting residents’ health, not NIMBYism http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/closing-santa-monica-airport-is-about-protecting-residents-health-not-nimbyism http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/closing-santa-monica-airport-is-about-protecting-residents-health-not-nimbyism#comments Fri, 31 Mar 2017 03:56:13 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156307 To the editor: Missing from this editorial is any reference to the environmental impacts that Santa Monica Airport has on its neighbors. (“Santa Monica can’t be a slumlord to its airport for the next decade,” editorial, March 27)

For more than three decades neither the city of Santa Monica nor…

Continue reading: latimes.com – /news/local

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Thousands take to streets for ‘Culver City Meets Venice’ CicLAvia http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/thousands-take-to-streets-for-culver-city-meets-venice-ciclavia http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/thousands-take-to-streets-for-culver-city-meets-venice-ciclavia#comments Mon, 27 Mar 2017 08:12:29 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156183 Thousands of bicyclists, skaters and pedestrians took to the streets of Los Angeles and Culver City on Sunday as participants in the 20th CicLAvia.

Continue reading: KABC-TV Los Angeles News, Weather & Traffic | Southern California News

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Thousands Expected to Participate in CicLAvia Bike Festival on Sunday http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/thousands-expected-to-participate-in-ciclavia-bike-festival-on-sunday http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/thousands-expected-to-participate-in-ciclavia-bike-festival-on-sunday#comments Sun, 26 Mar 2017 04:32:11 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156147 Culver City meets Venice.

That is the theme of the latest CicLAvia bike festival scheduled for Sunday.

Thousands of cyclists, pedestrians, skaters and runners are expected to participate in the car-free event that will extend from downtown Culver City to Venice.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The six-mile route will proceed along Washington Boulevard and Washington Place in Culver City before switching over to Venice Boulevard at South Centinela Avenue.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com. 

Continue reading: KTLA

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Santa Monica Joins Other Cities in Taking Legal Action Against President Trump’s Travel Ban http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/santa-monica-joins-other-cities-in-taking-legal-action-against-president-trumps-travel-ban http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/santa-monica-joins-other-cities-in-taking-legal-action-against-president-trumps-travel-ban#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 07:59:54 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=156055 On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the Cities of Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City filed a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in the federal district court in Seattle, where six States have challenged President Donald Trump’s second attempt at restricting travel into the United States from six majority-Muslim nations is being heard. The City of Santa Monica joined the filing and Mayor Ted Winterer joins mayors from across the nation in sharing the announcement.

“The revised travel ban continues this administration’s unconstitutional actions that do not align with Santa Monica values or the values of our great country,” said Mayor Ted Winterer. “Santa Monica is proud to stand with other cities, including our neighbors in Los Angeles and West Hollywood, in saying no to hate and reaffirming our ideals.”

Santa Monica, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Central Falls (RI), Gary, Ithaca, Jersey City, Madison, Minneapolis, Montgomery County (MD), Oakland, Portland, Philadelphia, Saint Paul, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara County, Seattle, Skokie, South Bend, and West Hollywood, presented the local government position to the district court, which is considering the States’ emergency motion to apply its existing injunction to the new executive order. The brief explains the vital contribution that immigrants make to our cities and country, points out that classifications based on religion and natural origin are presumptively invalid, and argues that the travel ban is misguided and unconstitutional.

The executive order restricting immigration prohibits people from six countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—from entering the U.S. for 90 days and halts the admission into the U.S. of people granted refugee status for 120 days while the Trump administration revises immigration screening procedures.

The  brief was prepared with the pro bono assistance of several attorneys of the law firm Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP, which has offices in Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

The City has an online hub of information and resources on immigration, including the City’s resolution embracing diversity. Visit http://ift.tt/2nInTQO. Santa Monica will participate in the U.S. Conference of Mayors National Immigration Day on Tuesday, March 21. Follow along using #MayorsStand4All.

Continue reading: smmirror.com | The Santa Monica Mirror Online

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Your Next Chance to Bike an L.A. That’s Free from the Tyranny of the Automobile Is This Sunday http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/your-next-chance-to-bike-an-l-a-thats-free-from-the-tyranny-of-the-automobile-is-this-sunday-5 http://www.theopendaily.com/local-blogs/your-next-chance-to-bike-an-l-a-thats-free-from-the-tyranny-of-the-automobile-is-this-sunday-5#comments Mon, 20 Mar 2017 23:54:06 +0000 http://www.theopendaily.com/?p=155957 More than the fresh air, the food trucks, and the exercise, CicLAvia lets you experience the Los Angeles you see every day from a fresh perspective. That’s the genius of it. When your eyes are on the road at 45 mph, you miss beautiful architectural details, the stores you didn’t know existed, and the people who live in that neighborhood. But you don’t miss those things when you pedal through, take your time, and look around. Your next chance to walk, bike, or skate through the city is Sunday, March 26, from 9-4, when CicLAvia takes over Venice and Culver City.   For more info: http://ift.tt/2jakFzY RELATED: It’s Time to Bring the ‘Dutch Reach’ to L.A.View Original Post

Continue reading: Los Angeles Magazine

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