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UPDATE: LA Eco Village

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

LA Eco Village Update

http://laecovillage.org/LAUSD2008.html>

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:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/la-eco-village

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

(http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/la-eco-village), 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

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ocenroll23jan23,1,4370304.story>.

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 ALERT! WATCH FOR THE NEXT DATE TO ATTEND AN LAUSD COMMUNITY

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:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/la-eco-village

See neighbors speak up to save the neighborhood at LAUSD's early

January community meeting at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihiwtsVKum8

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 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. http://www.anei.org/pages/89_cpbe.cfm

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

website:

http://inspirationteas.com/uploads/Why_we_live_at_White_House_Place3.pdf

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,

AND FAX COPIES TO ALL THE OTHER BOARD MEMBERS. Here is contact

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,

csim@...

*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,

susan.cline@...

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 http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=148

- The Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust in the LAEV is committed

to permanently affordable housing in balance with nature in our

neighborhoods..

http://urbansoil.net/wiki.cgi/The_Beverly_Vermont_Community_Land_Trust

- LAEV is part of a global movement for more sustainable and healthy

neighborhoods. See www.ecovillage.org

- 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:

http://inspirationteas.com/uploads/Why_we_live_at_White_House_Place3.pdf

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