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Last updateThu, 21 May 2015 9pm

LOS ANGELES Monday, May 25th 2015 12:20

ONE MOTHER'S PERSPECTIVE

  • WHO WE ARE-Women did it again. The annual Memorial Day tradition of placing flowers on graves of fallen soldiers was begun by women in the South after the Civil War. Who knew? Who now remembers that it was originally Decoration Day? Or that it is a day to decorate the graves of soldiers who fought for a better future. Memorial Day is a great deal…
  • 453 Days Later...

    Tom Rubin
    OFFENSIVE BUT PROTECTED SPEECH-Welcome news this week from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. By a vote of 11 to 1, the court overturned its injunction against the controversial video called "Innocence of Muslims" that it had ordered off YouTube back in February 2014. Here's the background. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia (photo below) was…
  • What LA Educators Should Learn From Bell Gardens High School’s Shocking Turnaround

    Jay Mathews
    VOICES FROM THE SQUARE-Bell Gardens High School in east Los Angeles County was a sorry mess when science teacher Liz Lowe arrived in 1989. It was overflowing with trailer classrooms and graffiti. More than 3,000 students crowded into school buildings surrounding a concrete quadrangle with patches of grass and some trees. Expectations were low. Not…
  • The Clean Sweep Election Finally Happened

    Bob Gelfand
    GELFAND’S WORLD- A few years ago, a group calling itself Clean Sweep argued that the voters of Los Angeles should defeat all the incumbents and replace them with fresh blood. On Tuesday, the results came close. There are two distinct lessons, one of which is quite ominous for elected officials. This election demonstrated the end of voter patience…
  • What Did Tuesday’s LAUSD Election Results Prove?

    Paul Hatfield
    PERSPECTIVE-Did the LAUSD election results signal a change for charter schools? Perhaps. Possibly. Maybe. You can make a decent case that Ref Rodriguez’s victory in District 5 points to strong support for charters. It was a battle between two well-funded candidates with diametrically opposed views on the issue. The effectiveness and fairness of…
  • (Train)ing Ourselves to Confront Modern Mass Transit

    Ken Alpern
    GETTING THERE FROM HERE-It's great to learn that Metro has an excellent new CEO with the hiring of Phillip A. Washington who comes to us from Denver. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Roger Snoble and Art Leahy, Mr. Washington has a first-rate reputation to maintain--but his first job will be to pass Measure R-2. Measure R-2 (perhaps…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




Memorial Day 2015- Freedom Isn’t Free

J. Cole raps on the Letterman show: “Be Free’

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Remaking Yugoslavia … er, Los Angeles

PERSPECTIVE - The Los Angeles City Redistricting Commission [here]  has turned back the calendar.

Instead of recognizing natural boundaries and common community interests in redrawing council district borders, the members seem intent on creating a modern-day version of Yugoslavia.
I attended the latest round of redistricting hearings last night at Walter Reed Middle School in Studio City. Around 300 people turned out, some carrying signs or wearing t-shirts bearing messages suggesting support of community solidarity.

The hearing was delayed due to the late arrival of a few commission members. 160 speaker cards were submitted; I stayed through over half of the comments.  By the time I left, only five speakers had commented in favor of the draft plan.

My primary concern was the division of my neighborhood of Valley Village between CD2 and CD4.  A small slice of its western edge was arbitrarily and inexplicably thrown into the sprawling mass of CD4.  Our board members and stakeholders emphasized the need to keep our compact community together, especially when the boundaries include well-defined physical barriers such as the 170 and 101 freeways and the Tujunga Wash.  The whole of Valley Village is also covered under its own specific plan.

My own remarks took the issue further.  I expressed a preference that the whole of Valley Village remain in CD2 and not be assigned to CD4 in the final map.

●●●●●
(NOTE: The Commission will meet Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Council Chambers to vote on adjustments to the ‘Draft’ Redistricting Map. (Agenda) Here are the lists of proposed adjustments.
One might wonder why that should make a difference, assuming we were undivided.

The proposed footprint of CD4 is an ugly rash across what is as close to being the geographic center of the city as any district.  As I told the commissioners, the boundaries make as much sense as the ones that created Yugoslavia after World War 1. The European powers somehow thought you could unite long-time cultural rivals into a cohesive nation-state that spanned the region from the Austrian border almost to Turkey.  It took a dictator to hold the country together after the Second World War.

CD4 as defined by the Commission is not the Balkans, but the demographics and interests are as varied as you will find anywhere in the city. The district has a leg that extends well into the northwest Valley and the overall boundaries stretch through the Cahuenga Pass all the way to Silver Lake. It also has a gerrymandered  “appendage” (as one person euphemistically described it) that dangles into Hollywood, an obvious accommodation to one or two city council members.

Although we are all Angelenos, residents of the city have always closely associated themselves with their local or regional  communities of interest.  That’s not going to change, and that’s a good thing.  

Local pride is healthy and adds benign quirkiness to the social strata in our sprawling metro area.

Diluted communities deliver muted messages to City Hall.  Public safety and environmental concerns in particular vary widely from one part of the city to another.  It is important that our elected officials receive clear, unified advice from the residents and focus on those concerns. It’s tough enough for city council members to devote time to broad issues such as the budget.  Trying to balance too many competing and unique needs within their own districts will only mean less quality time to address grassroots issues.

So now the Commission has to amend the maps.

Unfortunately, the current draft has a poison pill - CD4.

The district’s  massive landscape is adjacent to eight others.  Any change to CD4 will impact almost all of the eight, creating a ripple effect throughout the city.  The redistricting process may have to go back to square one.

This whole controversy could have been avoided if the elected officials had put aside selfish interests in selecting commission members, or had emphasized to them the importance of respecting neighborhood council boundaries.

It was another example of City Hall failing to accept neighborhood councils as integral components in the life of Los Angeles.

(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and serves as Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council Valley Village.  He blogs at Village to Village, contributes to CityWatch and can be reached at:  phinnoho@aol.com)
–cw

Tags: Paul Hatfield, Los Angeles Redistricting, redistricting, Council District Two, Council District Fur, CD4, CD2, redistricting map







CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 13
Pub: Feb 14, 2012

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