Playing For Rudy

July 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

On his first day working for the city of Commerce, Rudy Torres was greeted at Rosewood Park by a sports director who was not quite sure what to do with him.

“Gee, I don’t know why they hired you, because I don’t have any hours for you,” the director told him.

Torres, a resident of the Bandini neighborhood at the time, had been asked by the mayor of the newly incorporated city if he could set up a baseball team. But in 1961, the city did not even have a sports program.

After getting bounced around the city’s different parks, Torres ended up at Veteran’s Park, which was then “just a big hill” and a hole where they were still putting in a baseball diamond. The community center had not been built yet.

Torres used a little green cart to carry sports equipment from a neighbor’s garage. “Saturdays and Sundays, I would ride that green cart over the hill and say, ‘Veteran’s Park’s open!’” Torres recalls.

Little by little Torres built the program from a baseball team into a fully functioning sports program, including traditional sports like baseball, basketball, and football, as well as soccer, karate, boxing, and a couple of annual 5ks.

“I knew what it would become, because I was determined it would be better every year… I wasn’t happy every year, so what I didn’t see, I didn’t like, I changed it,” says Torres.

Commerce Sports Supervisor Rudy Torres cheers on runners at his last 5K event as a city employee. (EGP photo by Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou)

Torres, now in his eighties, will be retiring at the end of July as not only the city’s longest-running employee, with more than 49 years under his belt, but also as the person who, according to Parks and Recreations Superintendent Robert Lipton, “put the [Commerce] sports program on the map.” He is joining nearly 20 people who are taking early retirement incentives to help the city cut back its budget.

People who “played for Rudy” often refer to “Rudy’s Rules.” Torres was the one who set up the schedules, rules, and transportation to games. He ordered the uniforms and equipment, and made sure they were returned every year.

Torres says his rules were taken from municipal recreational league rulebooks that he took and adapted for Commerce. But Lipton says the purpose of some of the rules was to make sure all the players had a chance to play. One rule allows “extra swings” for young players who were less athletic than their peers.
These days Torres manages a crew of game officiators and works mostly out of an office, but a whole generation of residents recall Torres’ early role as their coach.

“He was a great guy, tough guy. He coached us, man. We ran on a track, did a lot of running… In those days we were always working out,” said former resident Randy Martinez, who played in the mid-1960s.
Parks and Recreations Commissioner Randy “Sax” Romero, who also played Rudy’s teams, recalls Torres telling his players, “You play for me, you have good grades.”

Torres used to tell them not to loiter around on street corners. “In the area near where we were growing up there was a lot of gangs. He encouraged us not to be part of that gang lifestyle,” Romero says.
Torres would often remind his players their behavior in sports translates to their behavior in the rest of their lives. “What you do here is what you’re going to do out there. If you’re a mean son of a gun and you don’t like to do this, and do that, this is exactly what you’re going to do out there. It’s important to grow up and be good,” says Torres.

He recalls how, as a young boy, sports would occupy his time. “I used to run home, eat my lunch and run right back to play some more. My mother used to get mad. ‘What’s the matter?’ ‘No, no, I gotta play, I gotta play.’” Torres said.

Torres says the decision to retire was not difficult. Taking the early retirement incentive would help the city generate some savings toward closing their budget deficit, he says.

“If we haven’t got the money, we can’t do anything,” he says, adding, “actually when I hit forty years, I was thinking about [retiring].”

Torres stuck around for another five years, and had been planning to stay for another five, because there was nothing forcing him to stop what he was doing. “I love what I’m doing. I love all this creation. It’s a big challenge,” he says.

But this time, with the city needing the money, the timing was right. He’s confident that he’s trained a “good coordinator that’s going to make this department real good,” he says.

This past Independence Day weekend, Torres took part in organizing his last 5K event as a Commerce employee. He says he was there to deliver the race gun to the mayor to fire at the start of the race, but Torres was also standing at the finish line, yelling to the runners to finish strong, “A little faster, alright! Gonna beat ya, let’s go!”

Turning 100: Montecito Heights Celebrates With Birthday Bash

July 8, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Local residents of the area known as the “Wilderness of the City” will gather this Saturday in northeast Los Angeles to celebrate Montecito Heights Centennial.

The daylong festivities at the Montecito Heights Recreation Center are set to commemorate the establishment of the hillside neighborhood 100 years ago. Local residents trace the origins of Montecito Heights to June 1910 as a private development slated to become an affluent suburb dubbed Montecito Hills. The planned development was set to feature large homes built around a centerpiece hilltop hotel. By 1929 the company had gone bankrupt and the hotel was never built.

The Montecito Heights Improvement Association, along with local supporters will transform a section north of the baseball fields at the recreation center on Griffin Avenue into a free birthday celebration that will feature everything from waterslides and bouncers to a display of vintage cars and motorcycles.
Local bakery, Mardy’s Munchies will present a giant birthday cake. The festival will also feature musical acts, arts and crafts, food stations and community information booths.

Montecito Heights is home to the Heritage Square Museum and is nestled between the Arroyo Seco River and Debs Regional Park.

Montecito Heights has long provided Los Angeles area residents with a unique urban wilderness experience. The community is tucked between natural landmarks such as the Arroyo Seco River to the west and the vast Ernest E. Debs Regional Park to the south.

For the past two decades, MHIA has served as the primary advocate for the largely residential neighborhood. Ron Payan, MHIA president, said Montecito Heights is best known for its small town vibes in the midst of the largest city on the west coast.

“In Los Angeles most people don’t know their neighbors,” Payan said. “Over here it’s kind of like living in Mayberry.”

Montecito Heights is a well-known destination spot for several of its unique attractions. The Heritage Square Museum showcases a collection of restored Victorian-styled houses. The most famous house in the neighborhood once belonged to the renowned Charles Fletcher Lummis who built his dream house by hand using the surrounding river rock. The structure, completed in 1910, is now known simply as the “Lummis Home.” Lummis went on to establish the Southwest Museum, which opened to the public in 1914.

Even with its famous architecture landmarks, the premiere destination spot for most in Montecito Heights is Debs Park. With over 280 acres, the park is home to a variety of animals and plants that are rare in a dense urban environment. In 2003 the Audubon Center opened to provide education and to help preserve the park’s wilderness features.

Jeff Chapman, director of the Audubon Center, said the park offers unique opportunities for its local city neighbors.

“The park provides residents in urban Los Angeles with mother nature in their own back yard,” Chapman said. “This place is the home to a variety of animals like hawks, rabbits and coyotes.”

He cited the center’s strong relationship with nearby Latona Elementary School as an example of the connection between Montecito Heights’ residents and the park. The center also serves surrounding schools with its educational programs that focus on the wildlife found within the park.

Chapman said the establishment of the center’s Griffin Avenue location has transformed Montecito Heights into a vital entry point for the park. Chapman credits the increased activity along Griffin Avenue has discouraged the lewd acts that plagued the remote areas of the park before the center opened.

This Saturday, prior to the start of the daylong festivities, Chapman will lead a group of volunteers in a park clean up effort. The Debs Park Advisory Board has scheduled park clean ups for the second Saturday of every month.

“We’re working hard to get people from the Northeast to utilize this park,” said Chapman who also sits on the advisory board. As the city faces severe budget cuts, Chapman said it is important for residents to become engaged in community efforts to support the park.

The next meeting for the Debs Advisory Board is scheduled for July 27 at the Audubon Center located at 4700 North Griffin Ave in Montecito Heights.

To learn more about the Audubon Center visit, http://ca.audubon.org/debs_park.php. For more information on the Montecito Heights Centennial celebration at the Montecito Heights Recreation Center, visit www.montecitohts.org.

L.A. City Council Pushes for Alternating Water Schedule

July 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles City Council recommended Tuesday that Department of Water and Power customers be allowed to turn on their sprinklers three days a week instead of just two, while still maintaining conservation targets.

Under the current Emergency Water Conservation ordinance, DWP customers can water their lawns for up to 15 minutes every Monday and Thursday, and only before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

After an independent study blamed last summer’s rash of water main breaks on drastic pressure fluctuations caused by that rationing schedule, the DWP recommended that residents at odd-numbered addresses activate their sprinklers on Mondays and Thursdays, while residents at even-numbered addresses would irrigate on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Instead of adopting that plan, which was endorsed by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, the council voted to recommend a three-day water rationing schedule.

“(We should) ask for a three-day a week water scheme, which would be odd and even, and limit (watering) to eight minutes a day rather than the 15 minutes a day (twice a week), which will actually save water for Los Angeles,” said Councilman Greig Smith, who had previously admitted defying the current ordinance to keep his lawn from turning brown.

The council sent the amended proposal back to the board, and urged that it be quickly approved. In the meantime, the current water rationing schedule will remain in effect.

James McDaniel, senior assistant general manager of the DWP’s water system, said limiting the use of sprinklers has helped the city meet conservation targets necessitated by drought.

“In the last 12 months since mandatory conservation started, we’ve saved 35 billion gallons of water,” McDaniel said. “We’re basically using less water now than we were 25 years ago in this city, despite the fact that we’ve added 1 million customers to our base.”

But City Council President Eric Garcetti said the current watering rationing schedule is too restrictive.
“People want to do right, but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of killing their plants and bursting their pipes,” he said. “Spacing the pressure out, as well as keeping our plants alive, is the way to do it.”

Last summer, DWP reported 101 water main breaks from July through September — double the usual number for that time period.

A team of experts led by Jean-Pierre Bardet, chairman of USC’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, concluded the two-day-a-week rationing schedule created drastic changes in water pressure that put stress on corroded cast-iron pipes and caused them to break, leading to severe flooding in several areas of the city.

Bardet warned in May that unless the rationing schedule is changed soon, there would be another rash of pipeline breaks this summer, when water usage is expected to be higher.

Since enforcement began on June 1, 2009, the DWP has investigated 20,000 reports of residents violating the ordinance, resulting in the issuance of about 7,000 warnings and 200 fines, McDaniel said.

Monterey Park Forced to Issue Layoffs

July 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Eighteen Monterey Park city employees lost their jobs this week after employee unions rejected a proposal to cut their salaries by ten percent. Cuts were made to six city departments, including police, fire, and parks and recreations.

Employee unions had favored saving jobs using money from the city’s reserve funds, but a majority of the city council voted in May to negotiate for the pay cuts instead.

The layoffs, effective July 7, impact workers in the parks and recreations, public works, police, fire, human resources, and development services departments. Five vacant positions, including two police officers, a communications dispatch trainee, planning manager, and a park maintenance crew leader, were also cut.

The city is projecting a shortfall of $4 million in its General Fund budget for the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year. The elimination of a total of twenty-three positions will save the city $1.5 million, of which $1.2 million was coming out of the General Fund.

The city issued the layoffs and cuts after unsuccessfully negotiating for wage concessions during “extensive meet and confer negotiations with represented non-sworn employee bargaining units,” according to a press release.

In May, layoffs were thought to be a possibility when the Monterey Park City Council directed staff to request ten percent pay cuts from most city and public safety employees. The proposal also came with other strategies such as implementing furloughs, retirement incentives, and waivers on raises. But if the unions did not agree to the wage concessions, layoffs would be the alternative.

“The negotiations required to make the proposed budget work are formidable,” a staff report for the meeting read.

The council was split on whether it would be appropriate to dip into reserve funds in order to save city employee jobs. Some council members speaking in support of the employee unions argued the city could make use of its $17 million reserve to save jobs, but others on the council said the city needed the money in case of emergencies, worker compensation claims, and for furthering redevelopment plans.

At the same meeting, held on May 19, the council also approved a set of guidelines requiring city council approval before using certain types of reserve funds.

The city’s budget problems, which led to the layoffs, were blamed on depressed retail sales revenue and businesses leaving the area during the recent national economic downturn. “It is with sincere regret that we take this action, but I am confident that remaining City employees will continue to work collaboratively and minimize any impact to the services and programs provided to our community,” Interim City Manager Don McIntyre said in the city’s press release.

Monterey Park will be holding meetings on the budget throughout July. The first two were held this past Tuesday and Wednesday, but additional meetings will be held on July 26, July 27, and July 29, each from 6pm-9pm. For more information, call the city clerk’s office at (626) 307-1359 or visit the city website at http://www.ci.monterey-park.ca.us

U.S. Gov Files Lawsuit Against Arizona Law

July 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The U.S. government on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona on the grounds that a new state law directed at undocumented immigrants violates the US Constitution and federal law, and asked the Court to stop implementation of the law while the lawsuit is under consideration.

The law, SB1070, makes it a crime to be undocumented in the state and allows police to detain people they suspect are undocumented.

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) lawsuit joins five lawsuits already filed by individuals and organizations, including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, MALDEF, and the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, that are trying to stop the law that has once again put the issue of immigration at the center of political debate in the country.

The Justice Department’s main argument is that Arizona’s law, scheduled to take effect on July 29, violates the U.S. Constitution because immigration rules and enforcement are the responsibility of the federal government. The Arizona law usurps federal jurisdiction, according to the lawsuit.

“The Constitution and federal law does not allow the development of a hodgepodge of state and local policies on immigration across the country,” the lawsuit states.

DOJ warned that the law would result in “harassment and detention of foreign visitors, U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who can not immediately prove their legal status.”

Arizona’s republican governor, Jan Brewer, has asked the court to dismiss the claims on the grounds that they are based on “assumptions” of discrimination that have not happened.

Brewer says that Arizona is “under attack” from drug traffickers, human traffickers, and now the federal government’s lawsuit to derail SB1070.

Brewer said it was a “mistake” for the U.S. government to sue the people of Arizona for wanting to “help” strengthen federal immigration laws, and to protect the state from the unabated illegal immigration caused by the federal government’s failure to protect the border.

“The lawsuit filed today is a waste of resources. These funds should be used against violent Mexican drug cartels and not against the people of Arizona,” Brewer emphasized in her statement.

The governor reiterated that SB1070, the first in the U.S. to criminalize the presence of undocumented immigrants, is “reasonable” and “constitutional.”

“It reflects what has been the federal law in the U.S. for decades. The Arizona law is designed to supplement and not supplant the application of federal immigration laws,” said the governor.

She added that “the state of Arizona is not trying to establish its own immigration policy” or “to directly regulate” the immigration status of foreigners.

“The irony is that the administration of President Obama chose to sue the state of Arizona to help implement federal immigration law and not to sue local governments that have adopted policies of ‘sanctuaries’, which directly violate federal law,” she said.

Brewer said she was “pleased” the Department of Justice and President Barack Obama did not include accusations of racial profiling in its claims.

Brewer said she will fight in federal court to defend the citizens of Arizona and that she is convinced the state would prevail in all six lawsuits filed.

The reactions of other state politicians were swift, and in a joint statement, Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, criticized the federal government for not doing everything possible to protect the people of Arizona from the violence and crime that illegal immigration brings to this state.

However, Arizona Democrat, Congressman Raul Grijalva, thanked Obama for seeking an injunction to block the controversial law, which he says has divided the country over illegal immigration.

If Arizona’s law is allowed to go into effect at the end of the month, police officers will be allowed to ask people they come in contact with during the course of their duty, whom they suspect may be in the country illegally, to provide proof of citizenship or legal residency. If the person is unable to provide proof, they can be detained and deported. The law also makes it a crime to solicit jobs while in public.

CARTOON: Afghanistan Exit Strategy

July 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Global Warming is Real

July 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Remember the headlines just four months ago? : “Sen. James M. Inhofe (R, OK) builds an igloo on Capitol Hill, dubbing it ‘Al Gore’s New Home’.”

“Critics say snowstorms cast doubt about global warming,” a web ad by Virginia republicans titled “12 Inches of Global Warming”— criticizes representatives who voted for federal climate and energy bill, even a tweet from Sen. Jim DeMint (R- SC) “It’s going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries ‘uncle’” All claims that the snowstorms that hit Washington were proof that global warming was at worse a myth or at best, no longer a problem.

At the time, many in the scientific community responded to the absurdity of these claims. I myself, blogged about the faulty logic in assuming that a snowy winter in the mid-Atlantic disproved global warming.

Last week, the data was in: NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, announced that May’s global temperature is warmest on record and the worldwide average land surface temperature for May and March-May was the warmest on record since official records started being kept in 1880. Deke Arndt, NOAA’s chief of the climate monitoring told Reuters that “every single month since February 1985, has been warmer than its 20th century average.”

Just today, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reported that 97 percent of scientific experts agree that climate change is “very likely” caused predominately by human activity, “re-affirming yet again, the overwhelming scientific consensus about global warming.”

So does this mean Mr. DeMint and Inhofe will now say that this proves global warming does exist? Don’t bet on it. That’s because no amount of proof will be good enough to persuade some in Washington to do the right thing. They simply lack the will. The same way that no amount of oil in the Gulf of Mexico – no matter how many millions of gallons are spilled, how many people are impacted, or birds and wildlife are killed—will persuade them to take action to get us off oil.

Solving the climate and energy crisis and moving away from fossil fuels (the major cause of global warming) has eroded from being a matter of developing solutions-based policy to a political game based on punchy headlines aimed at preventing action.

Sadly, partisan bickering over global warming has lead to chronic lack of action that will ultimately result in some very real impacts to all of us but especially to some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.
Most disheartening is the fact that even many in DC who have traditionally worked to solve this crisis seem to be losing their will.

Proposals in the senate to settle for piecemeal legislation that focus only on utilities, or simply address the oil spill are not going to get us to long-term solutions that spur investments into clean energy technology, transportation solutions, and break our addiction to oil. For that, we need comprehensive energy and climate legislation that includes limits on carbon pollution.

Every president since Richard Nixon has called for energy reform and an end to our reliance on foreign oil. So, what are we waiting for?

The science is inagain. The disaster is streaming live before our eyes again. And our senators are dragging their feet again.

Senators, now is the time. Find your will. Find a way. Now.

Adrianna Quintero is the Director of La Onda Verde de NRDC – Natural Resources Defense Council: www.laondaverde.org.

Put Your Money on Climate Change

July 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Carbon footprint, Was my pride,
Then it washed out, On the tide.

Al Gore did his best. So did the nation’s environmental community. They convinced a majority of Americans that climate change was both real and serious. Back then small cars enjoyed a spurt, curly light bulbs grew hip (and amazingly have held on), windmills found a big new fan base, and many folks set their heating thermostat cooler and their cooling thermostat hotter.

But that was then. Now, arrayed winningly against Gore et al, are money, apathy, and comfort. Government still subsidizes the oil, coal, and gas industries, providing cash, which in turn helps them lobby the government itself to leave them alone. As you may have heard, there are now more fossil-fuel lobbyists in Washington than congressmen, and as some wags have observed, if they were all laid end to end, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Their job is easier than you might think. Americans are loathe to give up SUVs, flat-screen TVs, freezers, clothes dryers, thirsty electronic gadgets, frigid air conditioning, and ubiquitous lighting. Nor are we so sure that our wasteful personal energy habits are responsible for the equally personal fate of drowning souls in India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Fiji, or New Orleans.

OK, shrinking glaciers appear to be the real McCoy and we can respect that. But in truth, how many of us are ever going to see a glacier anyway? They seem a cheap price to pay for our continued comfort. And if we can write off glaciers, maybe we can also swallow hard and set up other “energy sacrifice zones.” The Gulf of Mexico looks like a top choice just now, as was Alaska’s Prince William Sound before it. Alaska has a couple other hot prospects too up in the Arctic Ocean. Bristol Bay and the Chuckchi Sea are just reclining there waiting to be assaulted by the Interior Department’s new drilling regimen. West Virginia and Kentucky have already received last rites.

Most of our other environmental sacrifices happen to be abroad, though the biggest of all is not that far away. The Alberta Tar Sands site has gained some renown as the largest industrial project in human history. Also the dirtiest. To help increase production, the U.S. is dickering to allow a new pipeline to carry that oily gunk from Edmonton south to our underused refineries in Oklahoma. The messy process of cleaning it into fuel on a more modest scale is already accelerating climate change.

So also is the production of ethanol, which is hugely expensive besides. That’s why Congress subsidizes it so generously. Otherwise corn state senators would take their political baseball and go home. Just like coal state senators are threatening to do as we clamp down on their product.

This world debate over warming has even erupted among “scientists.” Climate scholars on the one hand are pretty unanimous as to the deadly human influence on warming. Meteorologists, conversely, are divided. Curiously the climate guys tend to work for universities; the weathermen for TV stations.

So even though some wind farms continue to sprout, along with a solar cluster here and there, and even though many families and firms have slashed prior usage, the total improvement remains small. Public support has dwindled, cap and trade appears now to be at least partially a gimmick, some states have taken to opposing the emissions plans of other states, and President Obama is focusing federal energy money on nuclear, ethanol, and “clean” coal. It’s enough to make Mother Nature weep.

OtherWords columnist William A. Collins is a former state representative and a former mayor of Norwalk, Connecticut.

If You Want to Know What Congress Values, Watch the Supplemental Vote

July 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s not enough that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have topped one trillion dollars. Now there is a supplemental appropriations bill awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives that will add $37 billion more, plus some other odd bedfellows.

This so-called supplemental allows other “emergency” spending issues to be added; Members of Congress know it cannot fail because it’s for the wars. Up for consideration is millions for the Gulf Coast oil spill response and billions to keep teachers, police and firefighters on the job as communities dig out of the recession. Oh, and $9 billion in loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors.

Wouldn’t you love to see all these items separated? Wouldn’t you love to know how your elected representatives would vote on the wars, the oil spill response, teachers, police and fire, and also nuclear reactor loan guarantees? These are separate issues with different values attached.

You might want your rep to vote for teachers, firefighters and police protection, but not for the wars, for example. And you just might be confused about why any loan guarantee is in there at all. What? Nuclear loan guarantees constitute an urgent and unanticipated spending need?

Consider this:

Providing loan guarantees for nuclear power projects is not an emergency. A design for a new reactor hasn’t even been certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; that’s at least a year away. After that, the construction and operating license process will take another year or more. The project most likely to seek the $9 billion contained in the appropriations bill is still scrambling to find investors – probably because the estimated cost of the South Texas project, as it is known, has skyrocketed from $5.4 billion in 2006 to $18.2 billion today.

Second, there’s already money available for loan guarantees. The Department of Energy has at least $10 billion in authority. In February, DOE offered the Southern Company $8.3 billion in loan guarantees for two reactors to be built in Georgia.

Southern is still mulling over whether to accept the money. If it declines, then the DOE will have a whopping $18.5 billion to dole out. What’s the rush?

Third, new reactors are highly risky investments and the private market isn’t interested. Wall Street wants taxpayers to take the hit if things go sour. Private companies love the idea of federal loan guarantees because they subsidize the cost of capital. Rather than pay the market rate for a loan – especially one deemed high-risk – the borrowers get a lower interest fee because the Treasury (meaning U.S. taxpayers) will pay back the loan if the borrower defaults.

If the government is going to get into hedging Wall Street’s bets, then wouldn’t it make sense to start small (although small is a relative term when it comes to anything involving reactor costs) and see what happens? But that’s not how the nuclear industry and its friends in Washington are thinking these days.

Indeed, there’s talk about increasing the program to $54 billion or even providing a blank check for guarantees before we’ve had a chance to see how much risk – and cost – there actually is. Americans are justifiably gun-shy about bailouts.

Fourth, this just looks wrong. Attaching a bailout for the nuclear industry to a “must pass” war and disaster-spending bill seems a lot like wrapping a controversial plan in the American flag. It’s that sort of deal-making that fuels public dissatisfaction with Washington these days. If this is a wise and appropriate use of public funds, then open it up for full consideration and debate.

A legislative vote for money for Iraq should be separate from money for Afghanistan. The issue of helping states to keep teachers, police and fire should be a separate issue. And loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors should stand or fall on its own.

Shaer is executive director of Women’s Action for New Directions. Copyright (C) 2009 by the American Forum

Glassell Park High School Receives Most Letters of Intent for PSC 2.0

July 8, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Central High School #13 is scheduled to open fall 2011 in the Glassell Park area of Northeast Los Angeles. It is one of several schools selected to participate in the second round of Los Angeles Unified School District’s Public School Choice initiative that allows interested groups to apply to manage some of LAUSD’s most academically underperforming schools, and schools in areas with high drop out rates.

The new high school is expected to relieve overcrowding at Eagle Rock (Eagle Rock), Marshall (Los Feliz) and Franklin High (Highland Park) Schools.

Central High School #13 is located near Glendale Kia on San Fernando Road. EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo.

 

The vast majority of schools eligible for new management during round one of the Public School Choice reform effort, concluded earlier this year, were awarded by LAUSD school board members to teacher and administrator group applicants from within the district. Charter school applicants were for the most part left out, despite receiving the recommendation of LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines and a panel of evaluators.

Central High received the most “Letters of Intent” in the new school category during this preliminary stage of the Public School Choice process. The school received 16 in all by the June 30 deadline: South Region HS #2 and Valley Region HS #5 each received 11 of the letters intended to identify groups considering submitting an application proposal.

In all, 129 letters of intent for the nine new campuses and 59 letters of intent for the eight “focus schools” district-wide were submitted for consideration. The applicants are expected to engage parents and community members to create a proposal that is due at the end of the year.

“I want it understood that this is a process of inclusion and I am glad our education partners have stepped up to the plate to help raise student achievement at the identified schools,” Cortines said in a statement released on July 1. “I welcome the innovative ideas and tested strategies these teams will present in their final applications, which are due in December.”

Letters of Intent for Central High #13 were received from the following teacher and UTLA focus groups and charter operators: Alliance College-Ready Public Schools; Paul Payne (John Marshall HS); Tara Alton (John Marshall HS); Partnerships to Uplift Communities LA; Camino Nuevo Charter Academy; Leticia Rojas (Roosevelt HS); Environmental Charter Schools; Meredith Reyley (Franklin HS); Teri Klass (John Marshall HS); Scott Spector (Crenshaw HS), LEMA 2.0 (Beth Kennedy or Scott Petri), Kristin Szilagyi (John Marshall HS); Local District 4 (Dr. Rosa Maria Hernandez); United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA)-5; Local District 4/LA Small Schools Center-5, and the Youth Policy Institute.

For more information, visit LAUSD’s web page: http://publicschoolchoice.lausd.net.

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