Community seeks environmental study for South LA oil site

A packed house turned out at City Hall to discuss plans for the Budlong drill site. | Matt Tinoco

A packed house turned out at City Hall to discuss plans for the Budlong drill site. | Matt Tinoco

More than 150 Angelenos showed up at City Hall on Tuesday to voice concerns about oil giant Freeport McMoRan’s plans to expand operations in its urban-drilling facility located in South L.A. near the University of Southern California.

A room on the 10th floor of City Hall was filled with a sea of Angelenos from various walks of life, ranging from the working-class residents of apartment buildings bordering the facility to committed ecological warriors residing in Hollywood Hills.

Their collective demand was simple: Require a full environmental impact report before permitting the oil company to proceed with its plans for expansion. This meeting had been organized to allow the public to direct comments to Maya Zaitzevsky, associate zoning administrator for Los Angeles.

See also: West Adams neighbors seek to oust oil production [Read more…]

LAUSD software inflicts scheduling chaos

In South L.A. and elsewhere, the L.A. Unified School District’s

buggy software has thwarted plans for students and teachers alike.

Misis | Matt Tinoco

Crenshaw High senior Simone Al-Alim and her father, Kahllid Al-Alim, are pressing the L.A. County Superior Court to investigate the district’s handling of its glitchy software.  | Matt Tinoco

Speaking to an audience of stakeholders in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s boardroom who seemed to already know what he was going to say, Superintendent Ramon Cortines announced that the district is, indeed, committed to resolving the slew of issues stemming from its new My Integrated Student Information System, MISIS for short. Doing so, however, will cost the district both time and money, Cortines said.

MISIS is LAUSD’s attempt to improve and standardize computer records across the district. The system is supposed to provide a centralized location for teachers, administrators and parents to access student information about all of their classes at any time. In addition, the system is supposed to assemble student schedules and class rosters, automatically, as well as to provide teachers with a place to take attendance. [Read more…]

Political outsider, community insider aims for District 8 seat

Marqueece Harris Dawson | Matthew Tinoco

Marqueece Harris-Dawson greets South L.A. residents to announce his candidacy. | Matthew Tinoco

The idea was to prevent kids from seeing pictures glorifying tobacco when they were at school. Marqueece Harris-Dawson was only just learning about the nuances of community organizing when his bosses told him to go to then assembly-member Herb Wesson’s office, and make the case to remove tobacco advertisements from public buses that are routed past schools.

He entered Wesson’s office and gave his pitch. Wesson thought it was a great idea, and he soon delivered to the Metro Board a motion proposing all ads for tobacco products be banned from public buses. It passed.

That was more than fifteen years ago. Now Harris-Dawson hopes to bring his talents to the L.A. City Council. He announced his candidacy on Saturday morning to a packed church in Baldwin Hills. [Read more…]

New development breaks ground in Watts

Congresswoman Janice Hahn, Rodney Shepard, and others break ground on Lanzit Industrial Park (Matthew Tinoco/Neon Tommy)
Dozens gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new industrial building in Watts last week, the first such project for the South L.A. community in more than 40 years. The building, a project of Lanzit Industrial Park LLC, will be about 46,000-square feet and house space for both offices and light manufacturing.

The industrial park promises to bring some much needed employment opportunities to the neighborhood.

“Today we can rejoice with the knowledge that new jobs are coming to Watts,” said Rodney Shepard, the South Los Angeles land developer leading the Lanzit project. “This development will bring economic security and good, stable, manufacturing jobs back here where they belong.”  [Read more…]

Compton’s new mayor Aja Brown shakes it up

Compton Mayor Aja Brown. Photo by Ralf Cheung, Daily Trojan.

Compton Mayor Aja Brown. Photo by Ralf Cheung, Daily Trojan.

Aja Brown is a hot commodity in the media these days. Fresh from appearing on the pages of The Guardian in a profile article, the new, young mayor of Compton met recently with students in the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Brown, an alumna of the school, is the first woman mayor of Compton. She has high hopes for the troubled city.

Listen to Mayor Brown’s comments to the class at USC in a story from Annenberg Radio News: