Tuesday, June 24, 2008

SRHS 15 Plans Changed, Yet Again!

In a move straight out of Bob Bisno's playbook on how to gain supporters and win over more friends, the Los Angeles Unified School District have once again changed its mind on what might be built as South Region High School #15 (SRHS 15) on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

On Tuesday evening, the L.A.U.S.D. Board of Education approved a lowering of the number of seats proposed for SRHS 15 from 1,205-seats, down to 810-seats.

Also, in a Advisory Committee meeting earlier this month, the Local Area Superintendent change much of what SRHS was going to be and into some new plans that are an attempt to quell the community outcry that has been strong and loud concerning building a new high school campus at what is more commonly known as Angel's Gate.

The Bob Bisno playbook comes into view when the Facilities Division of LAUD is reversing itself and now is saying that they will work to get the long-closed Gaffey Street Pool reopened.

I guess LAUSD is getting as desperate as Bob is at finding any new support for a development that is just like Ponte Vista.....something that is just too big for OUR community.

Here are some of the 'new' things that are proposed to be included in the new plans for SRHS 15:

1. There will not be a separate high school built at the Upper Reservation.

2. There will be new buildings for 500 seats of classroom space to house the Marine Magnet program now at the central campus. The project capacity will be set at a maximum of 810 spaces (6/24 Board Meeting).

3. The Magnet program (governed by Integration Policies) uses citywide enrollment application procedures, but provides for preferences for local students (similar to those procedures used at South Shores Fine Arts Magnet School). There are some 329 students enrolled this year at the central campus. So the new site will allow for some expansion of the program. Apparently these students all live in the local region. (There are 329 students in the Marine Sciences Magnet and about 100 students at the Police Academy Magnet, both currently operating at San Pedro High School)

4. The Outdoor Program would have access to the new campus facilities when not in use by the Magnet program.

5. The Magnet program has funding for transportation (busing) to move students between the Upper Reservation site and the main campus. Needless to say this reduces individual student driving trips. This means that buses would move students to and from both campuses in San Pedro)

6. Magnet students will continue to have access to the main campus curriculum for other courses as well as to co-curricular and athletic programs. Athletic events will continue to be maintained at the central site. Field space at the Upper Reservation will be for intra mural and general activities rather than dedicated athletic uses.

7. The strong one high school spirit that prevails in San Pedro will continue in this plan, while there will be enrollment relief at the central high school site.

8. Angels Gate Continuation High School will be moved to a site near the Bird Rehab. facilities next Spring.

9. The curriculum of the Marine Magnet can be networked with curriculum at local elementary and middle school programs.

10. The nearby Marine Mammal and Bird facilities can be added to the laboratory activities of the new facilities being planned for the Marine Magnet program.

11. Traffic circulation and parking are still being assessed and reviewed in the planning work. For sure the current Alma St. entrance is not going to be for extensive use. Some networking with Rec. and Parks for a joint road from Gaffey Street is being worked on. Parking joint use options are also being studied.

12. LAUSD will offer to help fund the reopening of Gaffey Street Pool or build a pool on the new campus.

13. There will not be private property considered (I guess a suggestion by you?).

Item 13 refers to the fact that I strongly believe that the ONLY way to come close to providing any real access to both the new high school campus and the redeveloped Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center, directly next door to the proposed campus, is to take at least one house and lot on the south side of 30Th street, using eminent domain, to provide adequate access to both facilities.

The most probable truth is that the intersection of Gaffey Street and 30Th Street will get a new signal. Traffic to and from the facilities will utilize 30Th Street and not Alma Street or Barlow Saxton road on the Department of Parks and Rec. land at Angel's Gate.

The taking of private property for access to SRHS 15 AND the Outdoor Education Center is something LAUSD MUST NOT DO, but it is probably the only way and LAUSD is using eminent domain as close to OUR community as Wilmington.

There is still a long, long way to go before the motion to allow SRHS 15 to be built anywhere is voted on by the Board of Education.

Now that the proposed campus is slated to have 810-seats, it means the size of the campus can be lowered to between "6-8 acres" and it makes it easier for folks like me to see if we can't get SRHS 15 postponed, canceled, or moved to an alternative location within San Pedro.

When the plans were semi-officially unveiled to OUR community, not over three months ago, they included that:

1. SRHS 15 would be a separate high school from S.P.H.S.

2. SRHS 15 would have its own administration, sports teams (minus football), and amenities that would make is a completely separate high school from S.P.H.S.

3. Would have 1,205-seats.

4. Would NOT contain any Magnet programs.

5. Be a campus where ONLY students who live in San Pedro could attend.

6. Have a fair system for enrolling only San Pedro students.

I have to give a great deal of credit to the great folks working for and supporting Neighborhoods Organized and Involved to Support Education (NOISE) for establishing and strengthening so much great opposition to having a new high school campus built at Angel's Gate.

I think it is undeniable to everyone, including many, many folks within LAUSD that NOISE has made a great impact on plans to build a large high school on a site where it simply cannot be built.

I am not longer a member of the Board of NOISE, but I am sure proud of the great work done by all those gifted and concerned members of OUR community who are doing their best to keep the quality of life high in all of OUR community.

NOISE considers that IF a new high school is actually needed to relieve over crowding at San Pedro High School, it makes much better sense to keep it from being built farther out on the Palos Verdes peninsula and having it constructed more closer or within north San Pedro where students can get to and from it much more easily than having it built at Angel's Gate.

Six speakers from the Board of NOISE spoke at the LAUSD Board meeting that gave approval for lowering the number of seats at SRHS 15.

It now makes it easier to have alternative sites studied and approved of, for the new campus.

NOISE is not going anywhere and there is still lots and lots of work to do.

If you wish to contact NOISE and learn more information, please send your Email to:


Sunday, June 22, 2008

For Your Information, SRHS 15

On Tuesday June 24, 2008, the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District will take up a motion to change the number of seats projected for South Region High School #15 (SRHS 15) from 1,205 seats, down to 810-seats.

SRHS 15 is currently projected to be built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

If you remember, in May, 2007, the Board of Education lowered the number of projected seats of South Region High School #14 (SRHS 14) down from 2,025-seats, to 810-seats.SRHS 14 was projected to be built within the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site.

Later in 2007 the Board of Education decided to 'mothball' SRHS 14 and not build it, at this time, to relieve overcrowding at Narbonne High School.

Where might these developments leave us, concerning Ponte Vista?

If the Board of Education lowers the number of projected seats for SRHS 15 down to the number of projected seats of SRHS 14, then opponents of building SRHS 15 on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur may attempt to have the location of SRHS 15 moved to either the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site, or another site in northwest San Pedro.

I need to state that I have suggested to many opponents of building SRHS 15 on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur, that I feel building SRHS 15 at the current site of Cooper/Science Center facilities along Taper Avenue and Barrywood/Sandwood Place, makes some sense.

SRHS 15 is currently projected to be built approximately 8/10 of a mile south of San Pedro High School and that much further out on the Palos Verdes peninsula.

Alma Street in the area of Angel's Gate is a curvy, narrow, non-arterial road that cannot handle a new campus of any size.

The Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center, which has been in operation for about 20 yearshas been approved for a redevelopment that will allow up to 13,000 students, per year, overnight educational experiences lasting 3 or 4 days AND nights.

A new high school campus should not be built directly next to the redeveloped Outdoor Education Center.With the 'mothballing' of SRHS 14 at Ponte Vista, there would be room created ("6-8 acres" according to documents concerning an 810-seat SRHS 14) so that SRHS 15 could be built within the Ponte Vista site.

Opponents of building a new high school campus near Angel's Gate also contend that it would be more convenient to build a new campus closer to four-lane access routes like Western, Gaffey, and Westmont.

Whether you support Bob's current plans or not, we all need information about what might happen concerning SRHS 15. I think it is important to OUR community to learn as much as they can about the projected new campus.

The group spearheading opposition to building SRHS 15 and building it on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur is: Neighborhoods Organized and Involved to Support Education (NOISE).

As a founding Board member of that organization, I am opposed to SRHS 15 being built where it is currently projected to be built for two reasons: 1)There MUST NOT be a new high school campus built directly next to the redeveloped Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center 2) There is no safe and sufficient means to transport students, faculty, staff, deliveries, and visitors to any new campus WITHOUT taking, by eminent domain, at least one house and lot along 30Th Street to provide access via a signalized intersection at Gaffey Street and 30th Street.

I have since left the Board of NOISE and am working hard to oppose Bob's current plans for Ponte Vista, working as a Traffic Safety Commissioner for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, becoming more involved with the redevelopment of the Port of L.A. waterfront, becoming more concerned with the Clearwater Program, and trying to find a job within AT&T after my hip replacement that denied me the opportunity to return to my old job.

Please remember that you should stand up for something before you fall for anything. Please remember that, now more than ever.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Three-Blog Post for a Great Community Event

This is the first post which will appear on three of my blogs.

The Mary Star of the Sea Fiesta is scheduled for July 18-20, 2008.

While I was collecting signatures on postcards for the Public Hearing outside Von's at 25Th and Western, I learned that an organizer for the Fiesta was denied permission to place posters for the upcoming event inside the store.

I think the rebuke by Von's manager was quite poor, especially because it is the 61st annual Fiesta and it certainly is one of OUR community's honored, valued, and enjoyed events.

So I decided to do a first regarding some of my blogs and post the same information on three different blogs.

Real San Pedrans and good individuals who continue to strive to become Real San Pedrans know that the Mary Star of the Sea Fiesta is just an event that must be attended.

Can Real San Pedrans count how many Italian or Fish Dinners they have eaten over the years at the Fiesta? I know I can't.

I am not even a member of the Catholic religion, yet I still enjoy attending the Fiesta.

It's interesting to see how many different rides, booths, and other things can be packed into the space at the Church site.

Real San Pedrans and wonderful others contribute by helping to select the Fiesta Queen and the campaigning all over OUR community is great!

So poo-poo to the manager at Von's. Just look around at many other businesses in OUR community and I bet you will find the multi-colored poster in many, many windows.

If you have never attended the Fiesta, please plan on attending this year.

If you can already taste the dinners served every year at the Fiesta, please enjoy yet another fine meal.The Mary Star of the Sea Fiesta, a great event in OUR community.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Post From Another Blog and My Comments

The Underdog for Kids at: http://www.theunderdogforkids.blogspot.com/ published a post by it's blogger Diana Chapman, about the possible change to the number of seats at South Region High School #15, purposed for construction on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

I hope you read it and then either read my comments to that post, when they are published, or come back here to read my comments.

I believe that lowering the number of seats at SRHS 15 is nothing more than a trick.

If only 810-seats are truly needed to ease over crowding at San Pedro High School, then why has "1,205" seats been the call for, as part of a 2,025-seat campus, even when South Region High School #14 (SRHS 14) was purposed for the Ponte Vista site, in northwest San Pedro?

IF only "810-seats" are truly needed, then they should be found somewhere else and not at what many of us call, Angel's Gate.

Here are my comments to the Post by Ms. Diana Chapman on her blog:

"A San Pedro School for San Pedro kids" is what Dr. Richard Vladovic, the LAUSD school board member for this area has been tauting since he entered office and became interested in South Region High School #15 (SRHS15).

Dr. Vladovic also repeatedly stated that he wanted only a school with no more than 810-seats at 'Angel's Gate'.

Roderick Hamiliton, of the Facilities Division repeatedly stated that SRHS 15 would be originally built as an 810-seat campus, then grow in time to 1,205-seats.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report for the purposed 1,205-seat high school is not even published yet, and there is a call to change the number of seats at the campus.

Have people forgotten that up to 13,000 school students would be attending overnight programs at the redeveloped Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center, located directly next to the purposed campus' site?

Don't folks remember that if Angel's Gate Continue High School vacates the land, all the other programs at that facility, including Mommy and Me classes would also have to vacate?

Can't people understand that if any new high school campus is built on the purposed site, valuable, irreplaceable, historic, and rare structures, important to all of the United States as it remembers WWI would be lost forever?

Can't you all see it is all a trick?If LAUSD only truly needs 810 additional high school seats to ease "over crowding" at San Pedro High School, then surely any campus that will have THREE operational gymnasiums, should be able to provide space for just those extra 810-seats!

If LAUSD could keep its word on number of seats on high school campuses, then a new high school in San Pedro would have been built decades ago!

The new 810-seat scheme is simply a trick to try and gain support in a community that should see the trick for what it is.

We must not diminish the programs and educational experiences for the 13,000 students that would utilize the Point Fermin Outdoor Educational Center yearly.

We need to understand that the Gaffey Street Pool is owned by the L.A. City Department of Parks and Recreation, not LAUSD.

We need to be reminded of LAUSD's struggles with their budget and how they seem to not be able to learn from prior mistakes.

If only "810-seats" are needed, then it would serve the taxpayers better to NOT build a whole new campus at Angel's Gate.

If only "810-seats" are needed, then there are other places in San Pedro where a new campus could be built.Supporters of SRHS 15 have stated that if all the land at Angel's Gate is not used for a new LAUSD campus, a Charter School group could sweep up the land. What happened to that issue?

There really is no compromise, in my opinion, when a campus directly next to an Outdoor Education Center is considered. There are no schools directly next to the other two LAUSD Outdoor Educational Centers, why should there be one directly next to the one Outdoor Educational Center that could probably become the jewel in the crown of LAUSD?

Is the ANY guarantee that once the "810-seat" SRHS 15 campus is built, LAUSD won't come along in a few years time and state they need more seats at Angel's Gate.

It's a trick. It's a rouse. It's LAUSD.

If we can't trust them by supporting a 1,205-seat campus at Angel's Gate, why oh why should we trust them with an "810-seat facility, there?

Is 405-seats worth all that?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Trick or a Trade? Another Thing to Ponder

Here is a notice I received in my snail mail box on Saturday.

Click over notice to enlarge

It seems to some folks that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has caved in on their attempts to build a 1,205-seat senior high school, South Region High School #15 (SRHS 15) on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

Rod Hamilton, the administrator for new facilities in the area has always stated that LAUSD would build an "81-seat" campus at what many call "Angel's Gate", then after about 3-4 years of operation, add another 405-seats to the site.

Now it seems LAUSD wants only a 810-seat high school there, after all.

Should we believe them?

I don't!

The scheme to change the plans to 'only' build a campus of 810-seats seems to fit with Dr. Richard Vladovic's wishes to have only that size school, built on the site.

It also may be a ruse to find more support within the community for building a smaller campus.

One thing that is certainly now known to the entire community is that Neighborhoods Organized and Involved to Support Education has made one "H" "E" double toothpicks of an impact on the facilities division of LAUSD and some in leadership rolls of the district.

LAUSD claimed that if they didn't use all the available land at the site, a charter school might take property there.

If that is the case, LAUSD is basically permitting a charter school the attempt and using the rest of the site, IF they actually only intend on building an 810-seat campus, like they now claim.

People should not forget that the Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center will be redeveloped and may become the jewel of LAUSD and no other Outdoor Education Center in LAUSD has a school right next to it.

So IF LAUSD gets to build SRHS 15 at the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur, and IF they only build it with "810-seats", what's to stop them 3-4 years down the road from saying; Oops! We didn't build enough seats. We need 405 more.

But perhaps the community can live with a 810-seat campus at Angel's Gate. I think there will be a lot more members of the community who will come off the fence, concerning the new school.

Maybe this is the best the community can hope for. Maybe it is something the majority of the members of the San Pedro area might want.

Of course, it would also make it much easier to suggest that an 810-seat campus could fit on 'possibly' available land in northwest San Pedro.

When LAUSD changed their plans for South Region High School #14, planned to be built at Ponte Vista, they suggested they only needed "6-8 acres" for a school of that size.

Might members of the San Pedro community demand that a new school to ease over crowding of San Pedro High School be built on some of the 61.53 acres of Ponte Vista?

Might members of the community state that they would be able to live with greater density at Ponte Vista if a school site were included into the plans for Ponte Vista?

Even though the Ponte Vista site is within the Narbonne High School student area, could it be changed to allow San Pedro students to attend it if it is built?

This new turn of events will mean there will be a lot more to ponder on a variety of subjects.

I hope we all ponder well and try and find the best answers to all of the questions coming forward.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Kaiser Point and Some Other Illustrations to Ponder

(Click on illustration(s) to enlarge)

This first illustration is of a flier created by Mr. Peter Warren concerning some of the real problems of having at least one cruise ship terminal at Kaiser Point in the Outer L.A. Harbor.

This next illustration shows some of the ship lengths that have been found around the world.

The largest vessel ever built, the Knock Nevis no longer sails. The current largest ship, the Emma Maersk may one day call on Pier 400, but it hasn't been viewed in our harbor yet.

The next monster ship illustration is one of the two "Genesis Project" vessels. It is a bit shorter than the 1,300+foot long Emma Maersk, but it will welcome 5,400 passengers. Whether the two sister ships will ever call on the Port of L.A. is something only the future holds in store.

The next ship down is the Queen Mary II. It is a 'little' ocean liner by the newer standards and ONLY hold about 2,100-passengers.

The largest cruise ship, the Freedom of the Seas, with a 3,600+passenger load will probably become the fifth largest cruise ship after about 2012. Even the two new Disney sister ships will have about a 4,000 passenger capacity.

This illustration above is from Google Earth and it depicts an area of the Port of Long Beach which has over 3,600-feet of accessible length, about FOUR TIMES the length of the pier at Kaiser Point. This area is also very freeway-friendly and it looks like not too many folks would have to be transported across residential and business areas to arrive at that location.

This illustration is a guess-work idea of building a much longer pier at the end of the Santa Monica Freeway. What this illustration doesn't show is the small, curved breakwater area that could be placed in Santa Monica Bay to shield cruise ships that could call on a much larger area of wharf and pier than can be currently found in the L.A. Harbor area.

The idea with this post is to offer illustrations to ponder. Cruise ships that will be used to carry passengers out of ports in Florida, New York, Seattle, Vancouver B.C., and California ports are going to get larger whether we like it or not.

Having a great place for passengers and tourists to enjoy will be getting more difficult as the ships grow larger.

Welcoming a 4,000+passenger ship, or even two to the Outer Harbor, all having passengers needing transportation through San Pedro, probably without stops to enjoy San Pedro seems to create an attitude by the folks within the Port of L.A. that San Pedro, its businesses and residents don't really count, I feel. The Port wants the revenue created by more and larger cruise ships at the expense of the rest of OUR community.

Perhaps some folks will try and enlighten me as to why a new cruise ship terminal at Kaiser Point is better for San Pedrans, than what we already have.

Let's Pick "6"

The Los Angeles County Sanitation District and its 'Clearwater Program' needs to have a large shaft sunk for the purposes of placing tunnel-drilling equipment for a new outflow tunnel and for the removal of dirt and to provide access to the new tunnel.

"Let's Pick "6"" means that we all should welcome the mining-site and shaft to Identified Potential Shaft Site Number 6, at the Port of L.A., (LAXT) site, on Terminal Island.

Number "6" is NOT in a residential area.

Number "6" has railroad track adjacent to it, allowing for more equipment and dirt to be transported with less cost and have less pollutants.

Number "6" is 'freeway friendly' with not one, but two freeways with easy access over any of three bridges, allowing for no large dirt-haulers to have to clog city streets.

Number "6" allows for greater security to be established and maintained for the site.

Number "6" will NOT use up any valuable parkland, environmentally fragile areas, or cultural and other recreational areas.

Number "6" may allow the most level tunnel to be dug.

(Click on illustration to enlarge)

You can find more information about the Clearwater Program at the Sanitation District's Web site for the program at: http://www.clearwaterprogram.org/clearwater/.

Folks are trying to find support from all five Neighborhood Councils in the Harbor area, every single homeowners' groups, business groups, and every individual living in the San Pedro, Harbor City, Wilmington, and eastern Rancho Palos Verdes.

Let's all join together and welcome the new tunnel which is very necessary and make sure that the site where the shaft is sunk, the equipment is utilized at ground level, and the dirt is hauled away from is Number "6", at the former LAXT site on Terminal Island.