City Council Approves LAUSD Board District Maps

May 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles City Council approved the final redistricting maps for the Los Angeles Unified School District on April 25. The maps are redrawn every ten years to reflect changes in population recorded by the US Census.

The maps approved by a now disbanded city appointed redistricting commission were subject to public scrutiny and complaint earlier this month as parents and stakeholders charged that they had been disenfranchised by the process and that the redrawn maps did not reflect their communities of interest.

Most of the attention was focused on Board District 5 — represented by the newest member of the school board, Bennett Kayser — which was the most altered in the new maps.

The City Council, however, restored almost all of Kayser’s district after attorneys for the City of Los Angeles and the Chief Legislative Analyst made recommendations to the “tremendously flawed map,” according to Kayser’s office.

Applauding the new maps, Kayser said the redistricting process had taken a heavy toll on the communities he represents, specifically the Southeast Cities, East Los Angeles and the Northeast Los Angeles area, not to mention him, personally.

“After all the drama and trauma, the ‘new’ LAUSD Board District 5 is basically the district I ran for and won just nine months ago. All I can say is, it’s great to be back and I am thrilled for the chance to continue serving the very people who have placed their trust in me,” he said in a written statement.

Councilmember Tom LaBonge is said to have helped change the outcome of the maps. He was concerned about the separation of Marshall High School from its feeder schools, according to the press release.

Highland Park Man Pleads in Plot to Silence Rape Victim

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The owner of Las Casas Realty in Highland Park pleaded no contest to conspiracy to obstruct justice in a plot to prevent a rape victim from testifying against the businessman’s son, the District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

The no contest pleas to the felony charge by real estate broker George Izquierdo, 64, and a man who worked for him in 2006, Camilo Valentin, 36, brings an end to a case that began seven years ago, after a rape victim who began testifying against Izquierdo’s son disappeared during a preliminary hearing in 2005.

According to the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation, the un-named female victim was taken to Las Vegas and given money to keep her from further testifying against 26-year-old Alex Javier Izquierdo, who was charged with raping and torturing her.

Izquierdo, Valentin and private investigator Bradley Gregory Miller, 51, were arrested and charged in June 2006 with conspiracy to obstruct justice, a felony.

Alex Javier Izquierdo later pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and one count of making criminal threats and was sentenced on Feb. 5, 2009 to 22 years in state prison.

Miller, who earlier pleaded no contest to all four counts, including one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and three counts of offering to bribe a witness, is scheduled to be sentenced May 17. His maximum sentence for all the counts is five years in county jail.

George Izquierdo and Valentin are scheduled to be sentenced May 22. They each face a maximum three years in county jail.

Boyle Heights Shooting Leaves One Dead, One Injured

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(CNS) – A 42-year-old man was killed and his 43-year-old girlfriend wounded in what are believed to be gang-related shootings near Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, police said Tuesday,

The shootings occurred on Monday at 11:45 p.m. in the 1800 block of East First Street, two blocks east of the Santa Ana (101) Freeway, police said.

Detectives said both victims were on the sidewalk when an armed suspect walked up to the pair and opened fire.

Hollenbeck Division officers found Eddie Banks suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and he was taken to a hospital where he died. His girlfriend was taken to the same hospital but was not seriously injured. She was later released.

Anyone with information on the shootings was asked to call Hollenbeck Division homicide detectives Stephanie Carrillo or Jorge Alfaro at (323) 342-8959.

Montebello to Scope Out Possible Bike Lanes

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(EGPNews) – The Montebello City Council has approved a $7,000 contract with Willdan Engineering to study the feasibility of establishing bike lanes in Montebello. Measure R voter-approved transportation funds will be used to fund the study.

The consultant will map out arterial streets, existing bike lanes, and recommend streets that could be candidates for the incorporation of bike lanes.

For the past year, the Montebello Bicycle Coalition, a collective of bicycle advocates, has pushed for bike lanes at city council meetings.

Supreme Court Allows Lawsuit Against Baca to Go to Trial

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(CNS) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit brought against Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca by a former inmate, who claims he was stabbed 23 times in a racially motivated attack encouraged by deputies, can go to trial.

The justices let stand a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that former prisoner Dion Starr had adequately argued in his lawsuit that the sheriff showed “deliberate indifference” to treacherous jailhouse conditions.

A Baca spokesman said the sheriff was “disappointed” by the decision.

“We will put forth our arguments in the legal arena and we’re looking forward to doing that,” Baca spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

Starr contends that a deputy under Baca’s supervision allowed Latino gang members to attack him six years ago in the Central Men’s Jail.

The appellate court ruled twice last year that the sheriff could be sued by Starr.

Call 811 Before Digging, Says SCE

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(EGPNews) – Southern California Edison is reminding its customers and the public to call 811 before starting any construction, home improvement or gardening projects that involve digging. Underground electric line can be dangerous or even fatal, cautioned SCE.

SCE advises calling the free 811 service at least two working days before beginning work on any project that requires digging, even planting trees or shrubs. A technician will be sent out to locate and mark where all underground public utility lines are buried at a work site or home.

For more information on the 811 service and for more safety tips, visit www.sce.com/safety .

Bell Gardens, Monterey Park Pageants Now Accepting Applicants

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(EGPNews) – Applications are being accepted for hopefuls in this year’s Miss Monterey Park and Miss Bell Gardens pageants.

The Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce will crown its queen during the 2012-2013 Miss Monterey Park Pageant to be held May 31. The winner will be awarded a $1000 scholarship, and runner-ups will also receive scholarship prizes. The contestants must be between the ages of 18 and 25, and live, work or attend school in Monterey Park. Applications are due May 9. Call (626) 570-9429 or email mpccusa@yahoo.com for more information.

The city of Bell Gardens is accepting online applications through the month of May for the Miss Bell Gardens 2012 Pageant to be held at the Bicycle Casino on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. Contestants must be between the ages of 16 and 22. For more information, call (626) 806-7650. For application and rules, visit http://www.bgrecreation.org/node/add/2012msbgapp

County’s First District to Honor Military with Banner Program

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(CNS) – A Los Angeles County Supervisor Tuesday urged residents to nominate local military heroes for a program that will honor them with red-white-and-blue banners on major roadways in unincorporated East Los Angeles and the Valinda Corridor.

Nominees must be active duty personnel in the United States Armed Forces and residents of an unincorporated neighborhood in the First District, represented by Supervisor Gloria Molina.

Interested residents can find applications for nominations at http://molina.lacounty.gov or call or email Molina’s office for information at (323) 881-4601, (626) 350-4500, (213) 974-4111 or molina@bos.lacounty.gov.

Long Time Benefits for Young Girls Who Play Sports

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Good news for soccer moms: Girls who join organized team sports at age 11 are more likely to stay physically active as they get older, according to a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

With the escalating number of obese children in the U.S., efforts to increase the level of exercise among youth have garnered much attention. Only about 8 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds meet Federal guidelines of at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day, according to past research. What’s more, girls decrease time spent being physically active by about half between the ages of 9 and 15.

Jennifer Trilk, Ph.D., lead author of the study, said encouraging young girls to play organized sports is key to getting and keeping them physically active.

“Sixth grade girls who start out on a community sport team have a greater likelihood of joining the school sport team as their school offers more opportunities in the 7th and 8th grades,” said Trilk of the department of exercise science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

“Because they become involved, they develop not only skills related to their sport, but also develop social support and relationships within the team environment that will increase their likelihood of staying on through middle school,” she added.

The researchers analyzed data from 957 girls who participated in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls conducted in six states across the U.S. The girls were measured as 6th graders and again as 8th graders to identify patterns of physical activity and sedentary behavior to see which girls had the most minutes of physical activity and which showed a change from 6th to 8th grade.

The girls were surveyed about their participation in sports teams and reported their general behavior over three days, including time spent doing homework, sleeping, surfing the Internet or playing recreational sports. The girls were placed into clusters by whatever activity they did most frequently. The girls also wore accelerometers to record their physical activity over 6 days.

Sixth grade girls who did either “sports and play” or “organized team sports/lessons” had more daily minutes of physical activity (27 minutes and 25 minutes, respectively) than girls who participated more frequently in other behaviors, such as playing video games (22 minutes). And although by 8th grade, physical activity had declined among all clusters, girls in “organized team sports/lessons” had the smallest decline.

“As youth enter adolescence, peers are going to have a very strong impact on physical activity,” said Georgia Frey, Ph.D., associate professor in the Kinesiology Department at Indiana University.

Girls should be taught how to enjoy movement and provided many opportunities for activity that aren’t restricted to competition and teams where the focus is involvement rather than winning, she added.

LA Moves to Ban Skateboard ‘Bombing’

May 3, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday approved a motion aimed at outlawing reckless skateboarding or “bombing.”

“The fact is kids are dying,” said harbor-area Councilman Joe Buscaino, who came up with the idea in February.

The ordinance – which is yet to be drafted and makes no mention of rollerblades or inline skates –would hold skateboarders to the same rules of the road as bicyclists and limit speeds to 25 mph. California law already requires skateboarders younger than 18 to wear helmets.

Buscaino, a former police officer, said the move was prompted by two deaths.

In January, Caleb Daniel Simpson, 15, was skateboarding downhill near Weymouth Avenue at the edge of Averill Park in San Pedro – reportedly traveling in excess of 40 mph and without a helmet – when he collided with another skateboarded and died at a hospital the next day.

In November, 14-year-old Michael Borojevich was injured while skateboarding near Western Avenue and 25th Street and died 11 days later, according to the Daily Breeze. Bombing, or going down steep hills at high speeds, is popular in San Pedro because of the area’s terrain. Skateboarders from around the country and the world come to San Pedro just to ride the hills, according to a police officer who addressed the City Council.

Buscaino’s motion defines bombing as skating on city streets at “excessive speeds, sometimes obstructing traffic, and failing to yield at stop signs.”

Police assigned to the Harbor Station have a “hot spot” task force whose officers ticket skateboarders for unsafe practices, but Buscaino said officers want an ordinance to deal with skakeboarders specifically.

“The last thing I want to do is ban skateboarding,” Buscaino said. But “if you’re going to skateboard, do it in a safe manner” and make use of skate parks designed for the purpose, he said.

A skate park is being built at San Pedro’s Peck Park.

The motion passed 12-0. It will now be up to the City Attorney’s Office to draft an ordinance for the council’s approval.

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