Friday, November 28, 2008

Two More Meeting Scheduled

Please click over image to enlarge.

The Facilities Committee of the Los Angeles Unified School District will meet to rubber stamp the Final Environmental Impact Report for South Region High School No. 15 on December 4.

That meeting may be your only chance to speak to 'officials' at a public meeting prior to the December 9 LAUSD Board meeting where the Proposed Project is expected to be approved.

The deck has been stacked against opponents of the project from being allowed to speak at the Board of Education meeting because as soon as new came out that the December 9 meeting was going to have the vote on the new campus, supporters learned from District representatives and called up to have their names placed on the limited number of speakers list.

David Kooper, the Chief Deputy to Dr. Vladovic claimed that he would try to get more speakers slots for opponents of the project, but I haven't read or heard one peep from him since I made inquiries.

The December 4 meeting is just a formality, but if you speak at that meeting, it will be recorded and it could become evidence in any lawsuits that may be filed in the future.

You must write comments to the LAUSD Board of Education members and have them sent in prior to the December 9 meeting. These comments will also become part of the permanent record that has been created for the project.

You, me and the rest of us know it is going to take court action to stop the campus from being built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur, but there is some chance that opponents to the Proposed Project can prevail.

It took two years of fighting to have the DEIR for the elementary school planned for Echo Park to be found inadequate and then thrown out by the Court. It may take that long to accomplish a similar task, here in the San Pedro area.

The upcoming meetings are all part of the processes we have to follow and even if the Board of Education votes 7-0 to approve the new campus, it does NOT necessarily mean the campus would get built on its Preferred Site.

Unfortunately, there have been a few folks considered 'leaders' in the area who have decided the fight is not worth it and have resigned themselves to the idea that the campus will be built.

Some of those folks actually began working with members of the Facilities Services Division to try and make sure their own personal property would not be so significantly affected by the new campus. Shame on them!

Until the first student enters any new high school campus on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur, you should NOT consider the fight lost!
There is a long way to go. We are all dealing with the Los Angeles Unified School District and look at their history and their management abilities, or lack thereof.

The District just received a Seven Billion Dollar 'benefit' from voters and their response was to call for a 50% reduction in spending in each of the eight Local Districts.

Now the District claims the payroll problems that should have NEVER happened in the first place are all cleared up. Payroll is one thing that must never have problems and look how long it took the LAUSD to claim that the problems are over, after they started the problems in the first place!

It takes two people to do the job of one Superintendent, according the 'higher-ups' at LAUSD and both those folks make more money than a whole slew of some of the most valuable people in the District, the teachers who teach students!

I may come to pass in no time that the Local District Superintendents will find that if their boss gets a surrogate Superintendent, they will want one for themselves.

I wonder how many deputies, assistants, and aides Ray Cortines has.

So you have your marching instructions. Please do not feel too down about the project, there is still quite a bit to be done.

The District is still going ahead to seek approval of the Project even without an official statement/recommendation from the California Coastal Commission.

Isn't that putting the cart before the horse?

What am I thinking........I'm writing about the Los Angeles Unified School District! They already bought the cart long before they even started looking for the horse to pull it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pondering the F.E.I.R.

The Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for South Region High School No. 15 (SRHS15) has been published.

The URL above should get you to a page where you can look up information about several different documents, including the FEIR.

The FEIR holds nothing of any real surprise to me and if you are familiar with LAUSD and the SRHS 15 project, it won't be surprising to you, either.

Opponents to having SRHS 15 built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur have always known that there would be no victory without a court fight.

Having all the comments and responses to those comments in the FEIR creates more evidence that would be included in lawsuits attempting to keep LAUSD from building SRHS 15 on its Preferred Site, if construction of the campus is approved this coming December 9 or any time in the future.

The Board of Education still needs to vote on whether to actually build the new campus using the certification of the FEIR along with voting specifically on the proposal.

I will be looking for whether LAUSD Board members look hard at the number of comments generated by the DEIR and the contents of many of those comments.

You can read throughout the responses to the comments that, the folks at LAUSD did their work at poking holes in those comments as best as they can. This was also expected and not surprising.

The Facilities Services Division will hold their meeting about SRHS 15 on December 4. You do not need a crystal ball or even a psychic to know what will happen during that meeting.

Don't be surprised if the SRHS 15 project is approved of on December 9. After that date, I hope Neighborhoods Organized and Involved to Support Education starts rolling forward in their continuing campaign to seek and get contributions for their defense fund. They are going need your help.

It is not an absolute fact that if the Board of Education approves plans for SRHS 15, it will get built. Courts have stopped LAUSD from building schools, but it takes time and money and a great deal of effort on the part of many people in the community who don't want a school built in a particular place.

All hope is not lost and now more evidence has been published to help in any future fight.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pondering Two Unoriginal and Unrelated Considerations

I needed a break from pondering and writing about you-know-what, located you-know-where.

I found two considerations recently that don't necessarily relate to each other or San Pedro.

Neither one of these ponderings is original to me, but I do think they may be issues you may want to ponder.

1. Why not have the Oil Companies and their tremendous profits bail out the auto industry? After all they helped create the problems in the first place.

2. If Senator Hillary Clinton is picked to be Secretary of State, how about having William Jefferson Clinton take over her Senate seat? Former Presidents have served in other capacities after leaving that high office.

Friday, November 21, 2008

More Pondering Concerning the Waterfront Development Project

As the final submit date for comments regarding the Environmental Impact Reports for the Waterfront Redevelopment Project is very soon, you may want to ponder some information if you have any concerns regarding new cruise ship terminals in the Outer Harbor at 'Kaiser Point'.

The "Prefered Project" includes two piers to allow for cruise ships to call on our port in the Outer Harbor area, near Cabrillo Beach and the entrance to marinas.

One of the Alternatives, Alternative Four does not include the passenger ship terminals at 'Kaiser Point' and is somewhat similar to the plan advanced by Community Groups throughout the area.

Here are a few things that may help you ponder better whether you like the idea of cruise ships calling on our port at 'Kaiser Point':

The two Project Genesis ships now have been given names.

Royal Caribbean Lines is a company that brings cruise ships to our port and owns the largest cruise ship that has ever called on our port, Freedom of the Seas.

Freedom of the Seas carries a 'mere' 3,670 passengers compared to the two new ships now under construction for that cruise line.

Oasis of the Seas will be launched next year and will carry approximately 5,400 passengers.

Its sister ship, Allure of the Seas is set to be launched in Autumn, 2010 and will also carry approximately 5,400 passengers.

Freedom of the Seas also has two other 'sisters' of equivalent size and a letter of intent for the construction of a fourth ship.

I will stop now and provide information that not all of the largest ships being built will necessarily call on our port on a regular basis, but the trend in shipbuilding is to continue to build large ships to replace some of the other smaller ships now calling on ports throughout the world.

Disney Cruise Lines operates the Disney Magic during the summer in our port.

Disney is building two new ships, that will carry approximately 4,400 passengers. These two ships are much bigger than the Disney Magic which carries between 2,200 and 2,400 passengers depending on what literature you read.

If you have ever seen the Queen Mary II call on our port, you have seen what you think is a very large ship. It may be, but it only carries about 2,092 passengers.

Celebrity Cruises has ships calling on our port, too. That cruise line is launching four 2,850-passenger ships between 2009 and 2012 and some of them may be regular callers to our port.

It is time to stop here and wonder whether the folks dealing with the redevelopment of the Port of Los Angeles have sat down with members of the Community Redevelopment Agency to have formative discussions on how to revitalize both our port and our downtown at the same time, for many similar purposes.

Creating downtown San Pedro as a destination area rather than a transfer area for cruise ship passengers can't be a bad thing, can it?

Carnival Cruise Lines has two 3,600+passenger ships being launched in 2009 and 2012, but that cruise line uses a terminal in Long Beach.

Our port also welcome Princess Cruise Lines and a good number of their ships have 2,200+passengers each.

Remember the "QEII" or Queen Elizabeth II? You should remember that it came after the R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth.

There will be a new 2,092-passenger Queen Elizabeth being launched that may call on our port from time to time. It will probably be like its sister ships the Queen Mary II and the Queen Victoria and be too large to head up our main channel.

There are also many other things to ponder about what you want to see with the project. You may want more retail, more marinas, more historical items, and more public spaces.

Whatever you want to see, you are welcome to create comments and submit them before December 8, 2008.

COMMENTS: Written comments on the Draft EIS/EIR will be received through December 8, 2008 and should be sent to both of the contacts listed below.

Dr. Spencer D. MacNeil
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District Regulatory Division, Ventura Field Office 2151 Alessandro Drive, Suite 110
Ventura, California 93001

Dr. Ralph G. Appy,
Director of Environmental Management Port of Los Angeles
425 South Palos Verdes Street
San Pedro, CA 90731

Comments can also be sent via e-mail to: Comments sent via email should include the project title in the e-mail’s subject line and a valid mailing address within the email.

For additional information, please contact the Corps’ Public Affairs Office at (213) 452-3920, or Jan Green Rebstock at the Port of Los Angeles at (310) 732-3675.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

EVLL and the Knoll Hill Meeting

I had hoped there would be some real discussion about what to do with Knoll Hill in the future, when I attended the meeting Wednesday night.

I guess I was far too stupid to think that Board members, parents and supporters of Eastview Little League (EVLL) would not show up. But they did.

I am stopping here to acknowledge that I played minor league baseball with the Eastview Little League about 40 years ago and I do not wish to see children lose playing fields, anywhere.

There was a session set aside during the meeting when attendees sitting at 14 different tables were tasked with providing comments, ideas, and thoughts about what they would like to see happen at Knoll Hill.

Thirteen of the tables have folks supporting EVLL sitting at them and just one table did not have a supporter sitting at that table. Guess what table I was sitting at.

When it cam time for every table's 'leader' to get up and show off the paper they wrote up, thirteen times the issue of ball fields were reported on, especially keeping EVLL on Knoll Hill and the 'need' for ball fields to be left there.

One table, was courageous enough to have actually listened to the presentation and acknowledge the truth and not mention permanent ball fields on Knoll Hill. My thanks go to the others at my table who also considered the truth and were not bullied by the masses of EVLL supporters who stuffed the meeting.

Here are some points supporters of EVLL either refuse to understand, acknowledge, or deal with.

EVLL was provided with land on Knoll Hill for THREE YEARS. The management of the League not only verbally agreed to that, but also put it into writing.

Now it seems they want to renege on their agreement. How does that play when trying to instill knowledge into children about promises you make and then mean to break?

The Knoll Hill reuse is contingent on NOT having permanent recreational structures on the site, including backstops and pitching mounds.

Apparently many of the folks in the room turned their ears off during that part of the talk.

Have ANY of the activities promised by EVLL management and supporters, attempting to secure new fields somewhere else, been done or even started?

Do folks remember that EVLL management has agreed with Bob Bisno to have fields provided with him IF he gets what he wants at Ponte Vista?

EVLL agreed to allow other to use the fields on Knoll Hill when they were not using them. How come the gates have been found locked by folks wishing to use the fields? I have had multiple sources tell me that they only see people on the fields when someone from EVLL who has keys, opens up the gates.

Why should a private enterprise be able to use public areas such as Knoll Hill without proper payment for the land being used?

After EVLL leaves Knoll Hill, the Port of L.A. wants to provide open public space for public, not private use. The agreements that will provide public use of the land state that the area remain passive in nature and allow for many different types of uses, not necessarily ball fields.

EVLL has basically exclusive use of its former location for about 45 years. They then were granted temporary lodging for another three years without paying a fair price for using either location.

So for about 48 years the management of EVLL has been able to relieve themselves of actually finding the proper resources to ensure the continuation of their League and the ability for children to play the 'all American game'.

If it is so darn important that the kids have a place to play, then why hasn't the management of EVLL done more to secure a new home?

The parents, volunteers, and supporters of EVLL should have started a monetary fund years ago to assist in finding a new home rather than demanding the government entities provide a home for them.

It is also a suggestion that all the management of EVLL who were in office when Bob came to new terms with the League resign, so new management can work with a community that is not happy with the current management for not telling Bob where to stick his fields.

When you agree to meet with a devil, be prepared to get burned.

So EVLL supporters attended, probably hat in hand, stating that there must be ball fields on Knoll Hill and that they should be allowed to continue to use them, with few restrictions.

If you get a chance to see and aerial photo of Knoll Hill during the day, it looks like about 85% of the flat portion of the hill is already taken up by the fields and parking spaces for parents attending EVLL games.

Now there is some support for keeping at least one ball field on the top of Knoll Hill and keeping the parking spaces for all who would eventually use a more open space type of park.

There were many other suggestions provided during the meeting for what could go up on top of The Hill and almost all of those ideas were suitable for use by anyone, not just kids playing baseball.

But when 13 out of 14 tables have their primary request for continuing to have ball fields at Knoll Hill, it appears the deck was stacked against many other possible uses.

The location of Knoll Hill is also important because San Pedro desperately needs more park lands east of both Pacific Avenue and Gaffey Street, especially more towards the downtown area.

There is a subsidised housing project not far from Knoll Hill that has far too little open or green spaces for kids to play. The residential areas near the Hill also do not have much needed parkland nearby.

There are many parks and areas of open spaces in the greater San Pedro area, but those types of areas are in too short of supply where they seem to be most needed; in the lower income areas of San Pedro.

As long as the Port of Los Angeles is willing to provide the public with land for public use that is flat, open, and offers differing recreational, sightseeing, and meeting uses, then the public should be allowed to use the vast majority of the site, for as long as they can.

That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Special Comment

( With apologies to Keith for my lack of writing skills)

As I sat dealing with several important topics of the day, I was not able to find relief from the frustration of the complete absurdity of LAUSD.

The bureaucracy and management of LAUSD has completely failed the students, their parents, and all of us taxpayers who are mandated to continue to support that failed entity.

On November 4, 2008, the majority of voters voting on Measure Q rewarded LAUSD with a SEVEN BILLION DOLLAR bond measure that may take over 32 years to repay.

As we read in today's newspaper, LAUSD is now proposing hiring freezes, spending freezes, and the closing of schools. All this while they still continue on a march to build more schools.

What is it going to take for residents in the Harbor Area to demonstrate to LAUSD that the camel's back is now completely broken and the straw is strewn all over the area?

Perhaps parents might want to take an extra week off after Christmas and have their kids stay home from school for an extra week, thus having LAUSD lose even more money coming from the State by way of Average Daily Attendance.

The idea that next month, a $102 Million Dollar campus may be approved of along Alma Street while a school may be considered for closing on Kerchoff, is completely absurd, irrational, and just plain stupid!

We, the taxpayers must rest control of LAUSD from the bureaucracy and continual bungling that goes on day in and day out.

If we find that we need to use the recall petitions, then so be it. If we need to have the phones ringing off the hook at many offices within LAUSD, then that should be done, also.

This is an extremely tough economic period that will get worse before it gets any better and we must demand that only the best reasoning, decisions, and management be used. But we have witnessed the current management of LAUSD and I would find it hard-pressed to find anyone in that management group that is capable of handling the crisis LAUSD is currently facing.

Since 'We the people' should govern what will happen with the bond money, we need to have the laws and regulations changed immediately to ensure that;

All new construction of schools be placed on hold with a moratorium until the financial situation changes to allow for new construction to again go forward.

Use the bond money voters approved to ensure that schools do not close and the freezes on spending and hiring do not happen.

Use the bond money to fix existing schools and use less expensive means to improve campuses that may seem over crowded.

If necessary, seek Federal Government intervention or the threat of it to impart upon the Board and management within LAUSD that no one is kidding and they had better get their priorities in line with what the students, parents, faculty, staff, and taxpayers want and need.

The Facilities Division, its managers and staff be put on notice that they are not an all-powerful bureaucracy that can dictate to us what will be done.

We will not wait past this weekend to become more involved with our schools than we have been.

We will demand from other elected representatives that they take a new look at LAUSD and deal forcefully with those who are not doing what is best for our students, faculty, staff, and taxpayers challenged with keeping a failed system going.

We will state very clearly to the Governor that if he continually states that "education is the most important thing" then we hold him to that statement with the option of telling him that he may not get re-elected.

We will no longer be silent and go unheard because so many of our schools are such a long distance away from LAUSD headquarters. We are tired of having to realize that since we are on the peninsula, far away from downtown L.A., our priorities and needs have, for too long, been ignored.

I know a person who owns a "Don't Mess With Pedro" shirt. Perhaps it should be made in great numbers and provided to residents who are fed up enough with LAUSD to take more and stronger actions.

Actions need to be taken and LAUSD needs to learn more lessons from our residents.

Stop the plans to build an 'annex' campus to the existing high school and keep all of the existing schools open in the San Pedro and Harbor areas.

And Now, From Another Section of the Choir

If you think the proposed Marymount College Expansion Project has nothing to do with San Pedro, you would be sorely mistaken.

Even though the campus sit high on a hill overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean, there are plenty of traffic issues in San Pedro that could provoke comment from that community.

Here now is a release concerning the Marymount College Expansion Project.

November 14, 2008


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Traffic Safety Commission of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes will conduct a public hearing to take comments on the Traffic and Circulation discussion of the recently released Final Environmental Impact Report for the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project proposed for property located at 30800 Palos Verdes Drive East. The public hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 8, 2008 at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.

The purpose of the hearing is to obtain feedback from the Traffic Safety Commission and members of the community on the Traffic and Circulation discussion of the Final EIR for the pending Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project. The Project applications consist of Zoning Case No. ZON2003-00317 (Revision “E,” to Conditional Use Permit No. 9, a Grading Permit, a Variance Permit, and a Sign Permit). This meeting is not to discuss the merits of the Marymount College Facilities Expansion project, but rather the project related Traffic and Circulation. The discussion and feedback from Traffic Safety Commission will be provided to the Planning Commission for it to consider in reviewing the project applications.

All interested parties are invited to submit written comments and/or provide testimony about the Traffic and Circulation analysis at the December 8th public hearing.

The project applications, Draft EIR and Final EIR are on file with the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department at City Hall, 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes, and are available for review between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., on Fridays. Additionally, the Draft EIR and Final EIR are available for review on the City’s website at at Fred Hesse Park, the Peninsula Center (Main) Library, and the Miraleste Branch Library.

Please send written comments or project inquiries to Ara Mihranian AICP, Principal Planner, at (310) 544-5228 or via e-mail at General inquiries regarding the Traffic Safety Commission meeting should be directed to Senior Engineer, Siamak Motahari, at 310-377-5252 or via email at

Joel Rojas, AICP Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement

I am one of the members of the Rancho Palos Verdes Traffic Safety Commission so I know where I will be on December 8, 2008.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report contained information that 40% of the traffic associated with Marymount College would pass through my neighborhood of Mira Vista.

My neighborhood sits along Western Avenue so much of the traffic would also use Western Avenue and/or pass east into San Pedro proper.

The Report also showed that 25% of the traffic would go through the intersection of Western Avenue and 9th Street.

San Pedrans may have not noticed the events surrounding the long processes at expanding the Marymount College campus. One of the Alternatives to the project was to put more off-campus housing on the College's owned site on Palos Verdes Drive North and also to build more athletic facilities at that northwest San Pedro location.

The College currently owns an apartment building being used as off-campus dorms near the corner of Cabrillo Avenue and 24th Street, but the College is looking to sell off that property if their Preferred Site expansion is approved.

There may be some residents of the San Pedro community who care about the College Expansion Project and they are all encouraged to read as much as they can and then come up the Hill to make comments at the December 8 meeting.

I have personally pondered long and hard on these matters and I have found comfort in my current opinion about the expansion project.

I hope to see those persons interested in the project at the December 8 meeting.


I try to keep posts about Ponte Vista at San Pedro to a minimum on this blog. However, very important news has been learned and it need to be given to the largest readership possible, in my opinion. Click over image to enlarge.

The Harbor Area Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday November 18 at the Warner Grand Theater will NOT be held on that date!

The latest information I have received from a staff member in the Planning Commission offices is that a December 2, 2008 date for the meeting is currently being considered.

It is VERY important that you advise everyone you know who was planning on attending the November 18 meeting, that there will NOT be a meeting held on that date, at the planned location.

Earlier today quite a bit of information began swirling around about the cancellation of the meeting and it is necessary that we all keep up to the minute on whether, when, and where the meeting may take place in the future.

It certainly may come to pass that the meeting is cancelled altogether, with no new Harbor Area Planning Commission meeting on the issue being held. The reason for this is because the Ponte Vista at San Pedro matter is still scheduled to go before the full City Planning Commission on December 11.

The Harbor Area Planning Commission would have to meet PRIOR to the City Planning Commission's meeting concerning Ponte Vista, and the date of December 2, 2008 is still being considered as the date for the Harbor Area Planning Commission meeting, IF is occurs.

In my conversations with the staff member of the Planning Commission, it is now my greater understanding that the Harbor Area Planning Commission meeting would be held ONLY to take and make comments and that NO recommendation by that body would be passed forward to the City Planning Commission.

If you have already made plans to be in downtown San Pedro on Tuesday afternoon, please enjoy the many restaurant choices and businesses in the downtown area. They need your support and if you have already set aside the time, there is still much to do in downtown San Pedro

A Very Troubling Article, Especially to San Pedrans

Here is an article that appeared in The Daily Breeze. It suggests something that may need community-wide assistance to keep one historic and beloved school open.

LAUSD freezes hiring, purchases

By George Sanchez, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 11/13/2008 10:53:54 PM PST

Facing a midyear budget cut of up to $300million, the Los Angeles Unified School District has issued an immediate halt on filling open positions, using district credit cards and spending on a variety of contracts.

While the cost-saving measures are temporary for now, they could lead to closing small schools, combining continuation programs and reducing administrative staff sizes if the crisis worsens, said Senior Deputy Superintendent Ramon Cortines. He is also considering "taxing" every department, meaning a percentage of department budgets will be slashed to address looming budget cuts.

"I've got to find a way to deal with a $200(million) to $300million midyear cut, or we won't make payroll," he said.

Cortines announced the purchasing freeze Monday in a memo sent to all schools and district offices. Only purchases for health, safety, legal requirements, school construction and school lunches will be allowed.

"This does not mean that I do not trust your judgment and respect your ability to make wise decisions, but these are unpredictable times and we need a few days to assess where we are financially for the 2009-2010 school year and beyond," Cortines wrote.

Megan Reilly, the LAUSD's chief financial officer, explained: "This freeze is asking to stop all spending so we can do an assessment of where we stand in preparation for massive budget cuts."
Mike O'Sullivan, president of the district's principals union, said the memo surprised employees. "We understand the need to reduce expenditures. There's a need to see the district's financial standing, but what's really disturbing was the nature of how it was done," O'Sullivan said.

Those with district credit cards should have been notified earlier, O'Sullivan said, adding that it is unclear how long the freeze will last.

The purchasing freeze should not change day-to-day school operations, Cortines said, noting that essential programs, supplies and even training will continue.

"I'm asking people to use judgment and wisdom on what is essential," he explained.

Last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed cutting state spending by $4.5billion for the current year. More than half of the cuts would come from education.

"He made this recommendation based on the assumption that he'd get approval for a tax increase," said Cortines. "If he doesn't get that approval, the midyear cuts could go up as high as $350million."

LAUSD Superintendent David Brewer III has warned that the governor's cuts could lead to school closures. School districts throughout the state are facing similar tough choices.

"It's not only logical, it's necessary," said Bob Stern, president of the nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies. "There's a lot more coming, and there will be more pain because it's in the middle of the year."

Before last week's announcement, the LAUSD was facing $188million in cuts from the approved 2008-09 state budget. District officials said in October that dire financial straits would effectively end the small-class-size initiative next year.

District officials will meet today to discuss the freeze and budget options, Reilly said.
Facing a projected cut of $700million over the next three years, Cortines said cuts will first happen at LAUSD headquarters, then district offices, and last at schools. But with 80 percent of the budget going to staffers, there's only so much he can cut.

"Even if we closed down (LAUSD headquarters), it wouldn't be $400million," Cortines said.
Point Fermin Elementary School opened originally in 1912. Currently there are approximately 292 students attending the school and it is a site designated as able to receive more students.

This school is a true 'neighborhood' school but it will also welcome a Marine Sciences Magnet program. The students there are watching their test scores rise and the faculty and staff offer an excellent education, even with the problems the campus is currently facing.

Voters recently rewarded LAUSD with a Seven Billion Dollar 'gift of funds' in a bond measure that will take 32 years to pay back.

The District was also recently awarded $274,000 for 'emergency repairs'.

It looks like OUR community has another fight on its hands if OUR community values keeping Point Fermin Elementary School open. Quite a bit of money has already been spent improving the campus and making it ready to succeed with its Magnet program.

Sometimes laws need to be changed in order to benefit everyone. Laws and regulations dealing with how the Measure Q bond money must be spent needs to be changed, right now!

Protecting what we have seems to be an improvement over building campuses we don't necessarily need or want.

It may require a longer sacrifice from folks dealing with San Pedro High School or perhaps just the addition of one building could help the problems there, without costing $102 Million Dollars.

It may come to pass that much of the Q bond money must go to protect and improve campuses the District already has, during these tough economic times.

I am willing to help keep Point Fermin Elementary School open. Are you?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pondering the 110 'Toll' Lanes

Audience members who attended the meeting held by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) on the new project for the 110 freeway, learned more about the project.

There is really nothing to get really agitated about at this point and it might even turn out to be something of a plus, if things are done correctly.

Metro applied for and was provided with a $210 Million Dollar grant from the Federal Highway Administration to conduct a demonstration of ways to lessen congestion on two local freeways.

The two freeways that are involved in the project are the 10 Freeway, along the 'El Monte' corridor and the 110 Freeway along its High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes between the Artesia Transit Center and the end of the lanes at about Adams Blvd.

The demonstration project is scheduled to begin on or about December 31, 2010 and run for at least one year.

Buses, vanpools, and vehicles having two or more occupants will not be affected in any way, so the folks at Metro claim.

The goal is to offer those using the HOV lanes to have vehicles move along them at a minimum speed of 45 mph, 90% of the time.

The new item that is going to be added is called the 'Fastlane' concept.

Solo motorists would have the option of obtaining a transponder. They then would be able to enter the HOV lanes and pass under registers along the route that would signal a fee for using the HOV lane being charged to them.

The fees would be dynamic in nature and change as the number of vehicles in the HOV lanes grows or lowers and also may be based on time of day.

The fees would also be different depending on where a motorist entered the HOV lanes.

Folks who already travel for 'free' in the HOV lanes would not be charged at all. Only solo motorists who have a transponder and wish to use the HOV lanes would be charged.

For those being charged, along with everyone else using the HOV lanes, Metro has to guarantee that vehicles will be able to travel at least 45 mph for at least 90% of the time.

If it comes to be that the limit and the percentage cannot be met, then signs would illuminate stating that solo motorists would not be allowed to enter the lanes.

Metro also stated that there would be improvements to the northern end of the HOV lanes and there would be improvements along Adams Blvd.

There would also be increased law enforcement presence, funded by tolls collected from solo motorists who would use the HOV lanes.

There would be no changes for solo motorists who have vehicles allowed to already use the HOV lanes like hybrid vehicles.

Metro folks claim there would be no other taxpayer money used in the demonstration and hopefully, if the demonstration is successful, for the actual implementation of the project, if that were to occur.

Metro also stated there would be more transit options for San Pedro, but they were not very talkative about those options right now. Many of the audience members stated that San Pedro and the Harbor Area have always received too little attention from Metro and folks were annoyed at Metro from the get-go.

There would be many more buses added to the HOV lanes between the Artesia Transit Center and downtown L.A., but we didn't learn more about whether there would be more buses running more restricted lines between San Pedro and downtown L.A.

Everyone was encouraged to make written and oral comments during the meeting and many folks did just that.

It appeared that trust was a difficult thing to come by from audience members to the Metro representatives who were at the meeting, and to Metro as an entity.

My comments surrounded the idea that I believe no taxpayer funds should be used for the demonstration project or for the 'Fastlane' implementation and maintenance.

If solo motorists want to use the new service, then they should pay the full funding for the service and not have it come back to taxpayers or bus riders.

The grant that was provided, itself was originally collected from taxes so I don't think we need more taxation for this project.

Metro representatives stated there would be processes that low income folks could use to be able to use the 'Fastlane' service. That still has to be worked out, though.

The idea is essentially to get folks who wish to, to move into the HOV lanes and ease traffic on the regular lanes and still be able to have speed and better timeliness provided for the HOV lanes.

So now it is time to ponder, I guess. Other than the tax issues, I really have no strong opinion one way or the other. It is a change, and many folks claim change is good and necessary.

Whether it actually accomplishes what Metro wants it to accomplish has yet to be seen.

One of the reasons the 110 was chosen was that no new lanes would be needed to be constructed. There would only be the equipment used to track the transponders, the signage at entry points, some amenities at stations along the route, and some other amenities.

One thing that was revealed during the meeting is that the 110 high occupancy vehicle lanes are traveled by the most number of vehicles in the entire country. Between the Artesia Transit Center and downtown L.A. it is use by more vehicles than any other type of HOV lanes in the country, including the L.A. Basin area.

I didn't know how singled out that corridor was until tonight.

I'll post more information about the project as I learn more about it and learn if anyone is really interested in the project.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Potential Problem to Ponder Concerning the Clearwater Program

A potentially significant issue dealing with the Clearwater Program of the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (LACSD) came to light during the most recent Scoping meeting, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Here are the basic details. If you reside in San Pedro, which is in the city of Los Angeles, along with Wilminton and parts of Harbor City, your sewage does NOT travel to the Carson treatment plant.

You sewage travels to a city of Los Angeles facility on Terminal Island for treatment. The treated sewage water is then piped out to between the end of Pier 400 and the breakwater, all in the outer harbor area.

The Clearwater Program seeks to provide a new Outfall System from the treatment plant located in Carson and out to the Pacific Ocean, up to seven miles beyond the breakwater.

There are fourteen "Identified Potential Shaft Site Locations" that will be looked at for the placement of the Outfall Shaft and the ground-level site dealing with the tunnel and debris excavated from the tunnel.

Of the fourteen sites, only TWO actually are located in areas where the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts provide service.

One site is Number 3 on the list of potential sites is Eastview Park, illustrated in the photo below.

The park is owned by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts and is operated as a park for the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. The park is located on Westmont just east of Western Avenue.

The other site that is within the LACSD area is the actual treatment plant in Carson.

Now please consider the illustration below.

Click over image to enlarge.

I am stopping here right now to confirm that, according to managers within the LACSD, the overwhelming number of people who have commented on where the Outfall Shaft must be located is at Site Number 6, on Terminal Island, the old LAXT site.

That site is also within the area utilizing the Los Angeles City treatment plant on Terminal Island.

Here is where I think residents of San Pedro, Wilmington, and Harbor City may find concern.

Since eleven of the fourteen sites can be considered as being in residential areas or areas of great traffic, and those areas are NOT within the LACSD boundaries, it is perhaps an unnecessary imposition on these residents to have disruptions considered in the areas for which no benefit may actually occur.

In essence, LACSD is considering sites in areas outside their boundaries for placement of the Outfall Shaft and the ground-level area.

I can imagine that if and when San Pedrans and others learn they could have their lives disrupted for about eight years on a project they will receive no direct benefit, they might get a bit testy.

I did not realize the situation until I asked individuals conducting the Scoping Meeting that San Pedro is not really part of the LACSD and they confirmed it. One of the gentleman answering my direct questions commented that he thought there could be some benefit to residents of San Pedro and the city of Los Angeles, but I didn't really understand his answer very well.

Here are the "Identified Potential Shaft Site Locations and whether they lie within an area served by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts.

1. JWPCP is the actual treatment plant in Carson and it IS within the area of LACSD.

2. U.S. Navy Fuel Depot, northwest San Pedro, is NOT within the area of LACSD.

3. Eastview Park, Operated by the city of R.P.V. on LACSD land IS within the area of LACSD.

4. Field of Dreams, along Gaffey Street in San Pedro, is NOT within the area of LACSD.

5, Peck Park, San Pedro, is NOT within the area of LACSD.

6. Port of L.A. (LAXT) is NOT within the area of LACSD and is NOT considered to be in a residential area.

7. Averill Park, San Pedro, is NOT within the area of LACSD.

8. Friendship Park, in San Pedro MAY or MAY not be within the area of LACSD and is the only site west of any existing tunnel.

9. Fort MacArthur, Middle Reservation, San Pedro, is NOT within the area of LACSD.

10. White Point Nature Preserve, San Pedro, is NOT within the area of LACSD. There IS an LACSD pumping station near the end of Western Avenue that pumps treated sewage water to the existing Outfall locations AND pumps untreated sewage back towards the treatment plant in Carson. This site can be considered to be in a residential area.

11. Royal Palms State Beach, San Pedro, is NOT within the area of LACSD but it is the location where the existing Outfall System tunnels leave the land area and go out into the ocean.

12. Angels Gate Park, San Pedro, Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur is NOT within the area of LACSD.

13. Cabrillo Beach, Pacific Ocean side, San Pedro is NOT within the area of LACSD.

14. Point Fermin Park, San Pedro is NOT within the area of LACSD.

Below are the two illustrations I used to create the overlay that appears higher on this post.

Now that I have learned something that may be very important to residents of areas who do not wish to see about 150 dump truck trips per day traveling through their neighborhoods, for about eight years, I will keep looking deeper into the Clearwater Program.
We can expect the Draft Environmental Impact Report and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to come out closer to the fourth quarter of 2009.
We have until November 14, 2008 to get our written comments concerning the Notice of Preparation and Initial Study created and sent in.
I think my comments will deal with stating the obvious; The Outfall Shaft must be sunk on Terminal Island and there is no way I can consider having any areas of San Pedro considered for placement of a shaft that would not benefit the residents who live in the residential areas.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pondering Exhaustion

Wednesday November 5, 2008 I think we all deserve a little rest because it seems so many of us are exhausted.

Was that an election cycle or what?

It was long. It was turbulent. It had many important issues to consider. It was long!

I wonder how many folks in our country called in sick today, because of exhaustion?

Terri has the day off and I am sticking close to home today. We both are exhausted.

Tomorrow, or even later this evening, there will be things to get done and work on.

After today we will all need to really get going on many fronts and with many issues.

LAUSD received its gift. Now it is up to all of us to make sure they don't do with this new money what they have done with all the other bond money received over the last 11 years.

FIX PEDRO HIGH! LAUSD, there are now no excuses left for you to hide behind. You have OUR money, now use it wisely, correctly and efficiently to provide for that historic school with any and all that it needs to succeed.

We should see by June,2009 whether LAUSD deserved the new bond when we see what improvements have been made, scheduled, and contracted. We should also now expect that a higher percentage of kids graduate because their school is better.

LAUSD, get off your behinds and fix the problems at Point Fermin Elementary School. Not only did you just get SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS provided to the District, the District recently was granted $274,000.00. There can be no excuses for not dealing with the power provisioning problems at that wonderful school and the fixes must be done immediately!

After today it is essential that we all look into ourselves and consider how we can help to make OUR country better, with the newly elected Congress and President Obama.

It is true that President Elect Barack Obama is younger than I am, but I won't hold that against him. This is a first for me, but I am extremely proud that OUR country elected a person younger than I am.

Now that the election cycle is over, OUR community needs to really get back to work on issues like how downtown San Pedro will look in the future and what is to become of OUR waterfront.

If you look further down on this blog you will see announcements about two more meetings this week.

It appears that so many people have decided to not be driven by fear any longer and work, with courage, on issues that are important to them. It is with that new feeling that members of OUR community can come together on many different issues and work to make OUR community even a better place to live than it already is.

Let's give ourselves today to rest, ponder, recover from shock, and celebrate the victories we have and consider the defeats we will have to live with.

Tomorrow, we all need to get back on our horses and ride to where the action is.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Victories Large and Small by Members of OUR Community

Today, members of OUR community were informed of a 'victory' of sorts regarding Ponte Vista at San Pedro. If you wish to read about it, please visit:

What I termed as a victory is another is a string of 'victories' either large or small, achieved by members of OUR community who have done the hard work, accepted the challenges, volunteered their time and money, and found courage to face what too many folks think cannot be accomplished.

Here are some of the groups and some of the 'victories' we should be proud of:

Vista Del Oro Neighbors Against Condos (VDONAC)

This small community group formed very rapidly to deal with an out of town developer who wanted to build up to 18 condominium units on the corner of 20th Street and Walker Avenue, where the old McCowan's Market once stood.

With resolve, passion, a truly great learning curve, and wonderful help from Councilwoman Janice Hahn, VDONAC was able to help secure a zoning change that disallowed the building of condos in the mostly R1 neighborhood.

This accomplishment would not have taken place if members of the organization had not found the courage, determination, and passion to stand up and deal with the matters with resolve and efforts that would not be ignored.

The "Q" Qualification Condition placed o the two parcels were the first in the Council District and is extremely rare throughout the City.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 was also involved with VDONAC on this matter, as was the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council. All volunteer community members working together to meet the needs of OUR community.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 has been around for several years and you should already know what their largest problem is.....Ponte Vista.

This large group of strictly volunteers from many towns and areas has a forceful steering committee and regular volunteers who assist the just cause that they are fighting.

Neighborhoods Organized and Involved to Support Education (NOISE) is primarily known for its opposition to having a large high school campus built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

This group has had some small victories by having the number of students originally planned for the campus, lowered. The group has also submitted ideas for alternatives to building the new campus on the Preferred Site.

This group is up against the Los Angeles Unified School District which is a monstrous bureaucracy that "sometimes the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing" according to an LAUSD employee.

NOISE still has a giant uphill battle, but its members are determined to influence the outcome of the battle.

Another group of wonderful community volunteers is offering the Community Based Alternative for the Waterfront Redevelopment Project.

This group has to deal with the Port of Los Angeles. That group is probably equal to or just slightly below the bureaucracy and craziness of LAUSD.

The Community Based Plan is a better way to use OUR waterfront amenities and will provide more positive results than what the Port of L.A. has come up with.

The Point Fermin Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization and other are trying to get approval for a Revocable Permit to be issues to allow new power required to be used for upgraded equipment and facilities at that school.

The main antagonist is, of course, LAUSD. There is a very dedicated group of parents, teachers and other community members who are trying to find resolution to problems originally created by LAUSD, whether it was not following proper codes or just losing paperwork.

The group is using a variety of ways to find resolution, but the common problem-maker is LAUSD and they really are a hard nut to crack.

The groups I have mentioned and others that are doing great works in OUR community demonstrate clearly to everyone that no one should be afraid to speak up, going with other to help solve problems, and know that victories do come.

Nobody likes to be defeated. I feel very good that OUR community has already demonstrated that it can take victory as well as defeat and remain strong and able to become stronger.

Some folks claim that SRHS 15 is "a done deal". I have to disagree with them. I think Alternatives can be found to placing the campus where LAUSD now wants to put it.

I think there are good reasons to have the campus somewhere else doing something else.

What I do not want to see or hear is that members of OUR community are not willing for fight for OUR community because they feel it is hopeless or not worthwhile.

OUR community continues to change and that is how it must be. But it is how WE deal with the changes and what impact members of OUR community can have on those changes that really demonstrate how great OUR community is and can be.

Don't be afraid to speak up, join up, and work for what you believe in. OUR community has had victories throughout 2008 and is poised to welcome more victories in the future.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pondering Another Issue

Click on image to enlarge

Here is an issue for all of us to ponder if we travel on the Harbor Freeway.

I don't have a dog in this hunt, yet. But there sure are a lot of members of OUR community who have real issues with this issue.

And looky, yet another community meeting you can attend. How wonderful is that?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Local Efforts to Support Our Military

I HATE war!

I am a progressive who was, is, and always will be against our intervention in Iraq, both times.

But I am a veteran who volunteered to serve my country and I was not drafted.

I share a bond with every member of the military who volunteered to serve and defend the U.S.A. no matter where they are sent.

I urge every single one of you, along with your friends and neighbors to visit two sites:

First, please visit:
This is Ms. Diana Chapman's blog. Scroll down to the photos and post about Mike and Shirley Walker and their efforts to help our military members serving in Afghanistan and Iraq now and in the upcoming holiday season.

Then please visit:
and find out more about how you can help.

It is hoped by folks like me that members of our military will be spending their last Christmas serving in Iraq. We probably won't be as fortunate during the 2009 holiday season and we will need to help those serving in Afghanistan, but we will do that with pride.

Shopping for others can be fund and in this case, it will be nothing but rewarding to you and it can be something you do with honor, pride, care, and thoughtfulness.

Helping our military members is not about how they were ordered to serve where they serve, it is about OUR community's and other communities efforts to support them in ways that will directly benefit individual members and show each one of them how much we care and appreciate their voluntary service to our country.

Here are some businesses that have helped out and I hope you consider doing business with these businesses who are supporting the effort.

FedEx Kinkos San Pedro
Home Depot San Pedro
J & B Cleanup & Hauling
Bay Area Auto Body
MJM Printing
San Pedro Chrysler
San Pedro Sheet Metal
Butch's Automotive
South Bay Toyota Parts Dept
Star Box, Inc
The Vandals
Ralph's San Pedro
Starbucks San Pedro

A Completely 'Lifted' Item

I read San Pedro News several times a week and especially on Saturday mornings when its blogger, Ms. Andrea Adleman publishes a group of items.

Here is an item lifted directly from San Pedro News:

Thursday: Public Meeting on Sanitation Wastewater Tunnel Project

Government agencies involved in planning a new wastewater tunnel for the South Bay/Harbor Area are holding a public meeting Thursday.

The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County is taking public comment on the Clearwater program at the meeting, set for Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza hotel, 601 S. Palos Verdes St.

The Clearwater program will study and develop the facilities needed to carry treated wastewater out to the ocean. It is anticipated that a new tunnel will be built from an existing treatment plant in Carson to Terminal Island, San Pedro or Wilmington.

Technically speaking, Thursday’s hearing is a “scoping meeting” to take public comment on the factors that should be studied for the project’s environmental impact report.

For more information, visit or call (877) 300-WATER.
Here is an article that was printed in today's Daily Breeze.

LAUSD, schools get upgrade funds

From staff and news services
Article Launched: 10/31/2008 10:33:05 PM PDT

Five South Bay and Harbor Area schools and one school district will receive state funds for campus modernization, California education officials announced Thursday.

The recipients are Dolores Street Elementary School in Carson, $596,000; Hawaiian Avenue Elementary in Wilmington, $1.3 million; Normont Elementary School in Harbor City, $935,000; Willenberg Special Education Center in San Pedro, $2.1 million; Wilmington Middle School, $3.3 million.

Los Angeles Unified School District will receive $274,000 for emergency repairs.

The awards are part of $208 million for school campuses across California that were approved by the State Allocation Board. The agency decides how state bond money is spent and announces new awards each month.

If LAUSD now claims 'poverty' with regards to the idea of placing the secondary power cables going to Point Fermin Elementary School, we should all protest, I feel.

We all need a quick resolution to the issues concerning Point Fermin Elementary and the students, faculty, staff, and parents want power established for the upgrades at the School.

Getting the necessary permit can be considered an 'emergency' at least for the fact that two classrooms at the school will not have proper heating this coming winter. Another factor in calling the situation an 'emergency' is that the power upgrades are necessary to provide power to the new equipment placed for the Marine Magnet and other programs at the campus.

I strongly feel that a portion of the $274,000 that LAUSD is receiving must go to placing the new cabling underground at the earliest possible date.

If Mr. Mehula and other wish to use that money in other areas of the District, it again demonstrates LAUSD's lack of care for OUR community and the education of our kids.

LAUSD should have paid for correcting any and all issues that are currently being debated long before they were told of the $274,000 and now there is no excuse for them not to spend the money another one of OUR schools.