L.A. City Council ‘Bums’ — Entrenched and Ridiculed
By John Futch, LA Weekly
One theme stands out in the 2011 Los Angeles City Council races: There’s
a sentiment to throw the bums out but only a couple of serious
challengers to any of the “bums.”
So it looks like the new City Council that emerges after the March 8 election, where all seven of the
even-numbered districts — 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14 — are on the ballot,
is going to look a lot like the old.
One possible upset: The Eastside’s District 14 (see the Weekly‘s “Jose Huizar Unfriends Rudy Martinez,” Jan. 21), where Rudy Martinez has a chance to beat Jose Huizar.
Another race showing some fire is in Council District 4, a gerrymandered district that stretches from struggling, “redeveloped” North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley over the mountains surrounding Griffith Park, and south to the glitz of the Grove.
Although District 4 incumbent Tom LaBonge is a consummate glad-hander, he’s turned off activists fed up with his
consistently unanimous votes along with the 14 other council members.
LaBonge faces the idea-driven and outspoken reform proponent Stephen Box and small businessman Tomas O’Grrady
(READ also the Pew Charitable Trust Report that shows L.A. has the highest paid City Council with the largest staffs and largest districts)
Parrent Trigger Faces Tough Tests from Compton to Sunland
By Ben Boychuk and Pia Lopez, Sacramento Bee
parent trigger is a modest law – fewer than 600 words – but it has the
potential to upend the public education status quo. Simply, if at least
half of eligible parents at a persistently underperforming school sign a
petition, school district officials must undertake one of four options
prescribed by state and federal law.
The first test will come in the Compton Unified School District, in southern Los Angeles County. On Dec. 7, 62 percent of parents at McKinley Elementary submitted a
petition requesting that the school board convert the school to a charter school.
a group of parents at Mount Gleason Middle School in the Los Angeles
suburb of Sunland are circulating a petition to replace the school’s
No Skirting Clean Air Laws for L.A. Region, Ninth Circuit Rules
By Adrian Martinez, Natural Resources Defense Council
Residents who like to breathe clean air had a good day in Southern
California. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (AIR SIP opinion 9th cir (2).pdf) ruled in favor of a coalition of environmental and environmental justice groups that
argued there have to be consequences for failing to comply with the
Clean Air Act. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA sets clean air
standards called National Ambient Air Quality Standards. States must
develop plans to meet these standards. These plans are submitted to EPA
for approval, and EPA must decide whether these plans are legal or
not. If EPA determines that the plans are legal, then the plans become
enforceable in Federal Court. If the plans are deemed illegal, then EPA
must compel the state to comply with the law or do the job itself.
Today’s case dealt with an ozone plan that was prepared for the Los
Angeles region. The EPA found that the plan would not meet the clean
air standard on time, and proposed to do nothing about it. The Court
determined that “EPA’s decision to do nothing is especially troublesome
in light of the [Clean Air] Act’s overall purpose of ensuring states
come into compliance with clean air standards.” Because the smog plan
at issue in this case would not actually meet the clean air standard on
time, the Court said that California needs to go back to the drawing
board and develop a real plan, not just an unenforceable plan.
CRA Commissioner Admits Too Many Projects Enrich the Rich
By Madeline Janis, :LA Times Opinion
Of course, redevelopment hasn’t always stayed focused on alleviating
blight and poverty. It is not always clear, for instance, that subsidies
for certain development projects are the best use of public money or
that these developments need public investment to be built. In some
areas, redevelopment has been aimed at making the well-off more
But we need to redirect redevelopment efforts rather than abandon them.
Redevelopment should return to its original promise: improving poor
neighborhoods and putting the people who live in them back to work. Just
look at the need in Los Angeles. In South L.A. and East L.A.,
unemployment rates are above 30%. Moreover, a third of the people who
work in L.A. don’t earn enough to meet their families’ basic needs.
Hundreds of thousands of residents in the city’s poorest communities
have only limited access to such basics as parks and grocery stores.
(Janis is a CRA Commissioner and executive director of LAANE)