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UPDATE: LA Eco Village

by repost Friday, Feb. 08, 2008 at 10:37 AM

LA Eco Village Update

Struggle to save the L.A. Eco-Village from the LAUSD bulldozers -
Updated 1/31/08 home

Sign the electronic petition to save the LAEV neighborhood here:
Many thanks to those who have signed the petition and for your great
comments, and for coming out to the January 9th and 30th
meetings. Your support is very much appreciated, and continues to be
needed. Please spread the electronic petition as far and wide as you
know there would be support. Thanks, Lara, Michelle and Lois, 1/31/08

Update on LAUSD Community Meeting January 30, 2008. No Decision Yet.
1/31/08. At a community meeting sponsored by LAUSD at Frank del Olmo
Elementary School on 1/30/08, LAUSD officials presented several
alternative sites to the 100 plus attendees. Indicating that they
have just started exploring these alternative sites and are not
prepared to make a decision at this point, officials announced that
there would be several more community meetings over the next few months.

Nonetheless, the nature of their presentation seemed to indicate that
they did not consider any of the other sites as viable as the White
House Place and So. Madison blocks they were initially targeting in
the Eco-Village neighborhood. Although we were relieved to learn
that no decision was being made in this meeting, we were very
disappointed that we were not told ahead of time what was going to
happen at the meeting, in spite of our outreach to officials to
please let us know what to expect. So please continue to spread the
word about signing our electronic petition
(, and please
write to our school board member (see details below).

On another note, three Eco-Villagers met with the Frank del Olmo
principal on January 29th to get his take on the situation. In
addition, he said he would have his staff provide us with a table
outside the auditorium entrance to have our own sign-in sheet and
literature, since the District had refused to share their sign-in
sheet with us. While the Principal made good on his word, other
LAUSD officials physically removed the table just as people were
coming into the meeting, forcing Eco-Villagers to remove all of our
hand-out materials and sign-in sheets.

In addition, two architects, our CRSP Board President Ian McIlvaine,
and LEED-ND Project Team member Suzy Sherod, had prepared three
minute power point talks to present at the meeting during the public
comment period. We brought our own digital projector and laptop, and
the architects were ready to go with an elegant solution to the
District's site search. The power points showed how the District
could use most of its own existing property on the Virgil Middle
School playing field by building a lid on top of the field, utilizing
LAUSD property owned north of the school, and acquiring one smaller
additional site. No housing would be taken! Just a parking lot that
the District already owns and an auto repair shop. Meeting officials
refused to allow the power points to be shown, claiming that audience
members might confuse such presentations with the District's own. We
were rather astounded at their refusal!

Nonetheless, the District can be credited with allowing a few dozen
public speakers as much time as they needed to have their say, even
allowing several to go to the back of the line to speak a second
time. The comments were impassioned and unanimous on requesting the
District to find an alternative site that does not take housing in
and around L.A. Eco-Village and does not take housing anywhere else either!

During the public comment period, some questioned the need for the
school at all in view of the rapidly declining demographics
Others suggested that school days should go to two shifts as is
common in several other countries, making better use of the existing
space; then, putting the Facilities money into better supplies and
books, better repair of existing schools, better teacher training and
salaries. Still others suggested that multi-track schooling was
preferred over the traditional school year because of the lack of
funding for summer programs for the 700,000 kids during summer
vacations. Some suggested that kids and their parents from inner
city schools such as our neighborhood preferred being bussed to
outlying schools because they were getting a better education at
those schools in spite of the long bus rides. One well known
activist in Los Angeles announced that LAUSD was closing some
relatively close-by schools down for lack of students while building
new schools just a few miles away.

At any rate, snippets of these comments will soon be available on
YouTube, and the whole three hour meeting may be available on the
City's Channel 35. We will let you know. Watch for the next meeting
date, and please come out if you are able. Your presence represents
our collective power.

MEETING AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD to Save the L.A. Eco-Village and
adjacent No. Madison Ave. Neighborhoods

For additional info, call Lara Morrison (213) 383-8684
or Michelle Wong (310)801-1303
, or Lois Arkin (213) 738-1254

Sign the electronic petition to save the LAEV neighborhood here:

See neighbors speak up to save the neighborhood at LAUSD's early
January community meeting at:

L.A. Eco-Village neighborhood in danger from Los Angeles Unified
School District bulldozers! Over 200 people showed up at LAUSD's
early January meeting to support the Eco-Village neighborhood and its
adjacent No. Madison Ave. neighborhood in their struggle to save
their communities and to advise the Los Angeles Unified School
District to look elsewhere for a school site. Several Eco-Villagers
met that morning with staff to our school board member, Monica
Garcia, to assist them in identifying alternative sites in the
area. We continue to need your support to oppose the taking of our
neighborhood housing for a school. Please join us for a second
community meeting with LAUSD on Wed., Jan 30th at 6pm at Frank del
Olmo School 100 S. New Hampshire (one block west of Vermont at First
St.) . Please plan to speak up about why the Eco-Village
neighborhood should be spared! Also, you can write a letter, send a
fax, make a phone call or set up a meeting with our school board
member to alert her to the important educational value of the LAEV
neighborhood (see contact info below).

Current Situation: Owners and residents of the six four-plex
apartment buildings on White House Place and several additional
properties on So. Madison Ave., the block immediately adjacent on the
east, have been notified that their properties are being considered
for eminent domain which would mean ultimate destruction to build a
new K-8 school for up to 950 elementary school children. As many of
you know, a new LAUSD elementary school recently opened one block
away from LAEV, on First and Vermont, for nearly 1,000 kids. The
building of that school required the demolition of approximately 120
units of affordable historically significant transit oriented housing
for primarily a low income immigrant community with as many as 200
children being displaced. Another new elementary school for 700
kids, Kim Elementary, about one mile from LAEV, opened recently as
well. Currently, LAEV is within walking distance of about 10,000
public school children in schools already built, in construction or
on the drawing boards.

While affordable housing continues to be destroyed, and school
demographics continue a downward trend, the $20 billion school
building program goes on with little or no significant let-up. Even
new schools are manifesting the worst of urban sprawl in spite of
environmental building mandates. Some new schools even have empty
classrooms. Neither the LAUSD nor neighborhoods should have to
choose between schools and housing, especially affordable
housing. What is going on?

What Can Be Done?
1. Question if the school is really necessary. If necessary,
elementary schools should be smaller and very close to their target
population, so that the elementary school children can walk or bike to school.
2. Question why LAUSD is pitting affordable housing against
schools when everywhere there are acres and acres of parking lots,
and other auto related businesses that will become increasingly
obsolete in our central city transit oriented districts.
3. Question why neighborhoods themselves are not the basis for
elementary school education.
4. Come to the community meeting Wed., Jan 30th and speak up
about your experience with LAEV and why you think saving the
neighborhood is important, wear a sticker supporting the Eco-Village
neighborhood (we'll have them at our sign in table).
5. Get more background information at this
6. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) elected
school board members make the final decision on site selection; therefore,
6. Write a letter to our School Board Member, Monica Garcia,
info. Please be sure to let us know or send copies of any
correspondence to us at crsp@.... See writing points below or
simply use your own.

Write, fax or phone our school board member:
Ms. Monica Garcia, District 2
LAUSD School Board Member and President
Los Angeles Unified School District
333 South Beaudry Avenue, 24th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone 213-241-6180
Fax: 213-241-8459

All board members have the same street address as above. Here are fax numbers:
Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, LAUSD District #1, Phone 213-241-6382,
Fax: 213-241-6382

Tamar Galatzan, LAUSD District #3, Phone 213-241-6386, Fax: 213-241-8979

Marlene Canter, LAUSD District #4, Phone 213-241-6387, Fax: 213-241-8453

Yolie Flores Aguilar, LAUSD District #5, Phone 213-241-6383, Fax: 213-241-8467

Julie Korenstein, LAUSD District #6, Phone 213-241-6388, Fax: 213-241-8451

Dr. Richard Vladovic, LAUSD District #7, Phone 213-241-6385, Fax: 213-241-8452

If you are unable to get through via fax on any of the above numbers,
then fax to:
213-241-8953 or 213-481-9023

Also, please email copies of your letters to:
Alejandra Marroquin, CD13 Field Deputy, Alejandra.Marroquin@...

Caroline Sim, CRA Wilshire Center/Koreatown Redevelopment Area,

*Councilman Eric Garcetti, CD13, councilmember.garcetti@...

Heather Repenning, CD13 Community Development, Heather.Repenning@...

Jenny Aquas, LAUSD, Board Member, Dist. 2, jenny.aguas@...

Kelli Bernard, CD13 Planning Director, Kelli.Bernard@...

Lara Morrison, Los Angeles Eco-Village LEED-ND Project, laraeco@...

Luis Sanchez, LAUSD, Board Member, Dist. 2, l.sanchez@...

Michelle Banks-Ordone, Project Manager, CRA, mbanks-ordone@...

Robyn Morningstar, rmorning@...

Susan Cline, LAUSD, Central Region Development Team Manager,

Guy Mehula, LAUSD, Chief Facilities Officer, guy.mehula@...

* Very important to send a copy to our councilman!

Writing Points for Letters to LAUSD Board Members:
Here are important points to make. Select a few of them that
resonate best with you personally, or simply write about your
experience with the LAEV neighborhood and why you think it important to save.

- There are more appropriate close-by sites, especially parking lots
and auto related businesses.
- The LAEV neighborhood is already dense with schools: two large
schools just a block away.
- LAEV is within walking distance of 10,000 school children
- Research on WHP/Madison properties suggest that they are not
appropriate environmentally,.
- School demographics are declining. There is no indication that
they will go back up.
- Some of the schools ES#20 is supposed to relieve currently have
empty classrooms.
- There are sufficient empty seats within the Central Region. Kids
could be locally bussed.
- Elementary schools should be smaller, not larger
- Neighborhoods should not have to choose between schools and housing
- Old people often die when they have to move after spending half
their lives in one place.
- LAEV is a learning neighborhood.
- LAEV is the only on-the-ground LEED-Neighborhood Development pilot
project in LA
- The Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust in the LAEV is committed
to permanently affordable housing in balance with nature in our
- LAEV is part of a global movement for more sustainable and healthy
neighborhoods. See
- We stand opposed to the taking of any housing, especially affordable housing

View sample letters that have already been sent click here

View a slide show about LAEV and LAUSD statistics relevant to our situation:

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