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EDUCATION POLITICS--Recently the alarm was raised about an LA Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) directive that would disempower any Neighborhood Council (NC) from funding any Neighborhood Purpose Grant (NPG) that would go to any public school attended by any director’s child. Never mind the usual recusal process but in this instance the entire matter was to be barred from consideration by the entire NC. 

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GUEST WORDS-Recently I spent two hours in my car and on the subway to travel 40 miles from Agoura Hills to Downtown to attend a transportation conference sponsored by the LA Times at the Los Angeles Central Library. My return trip (not at rush hour) took me one and a half hours. The irony that this journey once took 45 minutes each way did not escape me while I sat listening to numerous heavy hitters on transportation policy talk about the challenges our city will face over the next 10 years. 

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HERE’S WHAT I KNOW-The Los Angeles River runs from the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains through the San Fernando Valley, meandering nearly 48 miles to its mouth in Long Beach. The River also runs through the history of our city, as a source of food and water for the native Tongva before the arrival of the Spanish, eventually serving as the primary fresh water source for Angelenos until the opening of the LA Aqueduct, as well as a popular film location for dozens of movies, from Grease and LA Story to Transformers and Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The usually dry concrete-covered river bed is used for cinematic car chases, gang rumbles, and to represent a post-Apocolyptic Los Angeles in not only films but numerous video games and music videos. 

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PLATKIN ON PLANNING-What exactly do we mean by “business-as-usual” when it comes to city planning in Los Angeles? After all, LA has a long history of recurrent lawsuits, external government mandates and voter initiatives that periodically push back against the ordinary slipshod planning. 

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EASTSIDER-When we last left CalPERS they had just hired a sleazebag Florida lawyer named Robert Klausner as their outside fiduciary counsel in an exceedingly tawdry process orchestrated by their CEO, Anne Stausboll. As near as I can tell, he’s still in that position, which raises some ongoing questions about the smarts of their officers and governing board. 

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BALLOT BATTLE TAKES ON NEW DYNAMIC--One very interesting (and overall great) thing about the Trump/GOP and the Sanders/Clinton feuding is the heightened interest that the average American has in our federal and electoral processes.  Apathy is a terrible thing, and bad political processes occur as a result.

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DEEGAN ON LA-- Citing “an overcrowded November election with a least 20 ballot measures” the Coalition to Preserve LA has announced that they are pushing back their Neighborhood Integrity Initiative from November to the Spring 2017 City election. Campaign Director Jill Stewart and AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein jointly presented their new plans at a media conference on the steps of City Hall Tuesday morning. 

“We are going to shift gears”, said Weinstein. “The November ballot is very crowded, with many state issues and the Presidential race. The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative is a city issue, better suited for a city election, which we will have in March 2017”. 

The Mayor and some city councilmembers will also be on the same ballot, and that will help amplify the debate, and extend the conversation about development in Los Angeles. It will also force politicos hoping to hold onto their seats into making a public declaration how they stand on development, and identifying which developers are helping to finance their campaigns. This will be a unique and an unexpected benefit of the change in ballot dates. 

With this shift to the Spring City election, anti-development candidates interested in running may have an opening in contested districts to attract attention to themselves in stark contrast to many incumbents that have benefitted from their linkage to developers. This is a strategy that helped to get David Ryu (CD4) elected. 

An unhappy-with-development electorate may be expected to be enthusiastically against any politico running for reelection that does not favor some sort of review and roll back of the out of control building schemes that are dwarfing LA’s residential neighborhoods and robbing them of their character. 

Stewart added that they have resubmitted a petition to the City Clerk that is now “Eight pages … down from 23 … which makes it easier for the public to understand when being asked to sign and support the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative”. 

While stressing that “90% of the goals remain the same”, Stewart revealed that “One change is if a project is 100% affordable housing, it would be allowed to go forward during the moratorium in most cases." 

The reschedule, from the November to the Spring 2017 election, will allow for better understanding and greater buy-in of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, a ballot measure that makes City Hall: 

  • Obey the Law
  • Play by the Rules
  • Do their job - update the City’s Plans
  • Respect the Character of the Neighborhoods
  • Stop Traffic Density Gridlock
  • Stop City Planning Lawlessness
  • Curb Undue Influence by Developers

Once approved by for circulation by the City Clerk, the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative will need 61,486 signatures by the end of August to qualify for the Spring 2017 City election.

 

(Tim Deegan is a long-time resident and community leader in the Miracle Mile, who has served as board chair at the Mid City West Community Council and on the board of the Miracle Mile Civic Coalition. Tim can be reached at timdeegan2015@gmail.com.)

-cw

 

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