ShakeOut Scenario Shows Faults in Preparedness


When it comes to major earthquake activity in Southern California, the past 20 years has been what U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones called a “particularly quiet period” that “will not continue.”

As a part of the Sept. 30 National PrepareAthon Day, a campaign aimed at increasing community preparedness and resilience in the event of catastrophic events, The 2015 Great California ShakeOut Breakfast Leadership Summit aimed to shed light on the many faults in the city’s preparedness for the elusive “big one.”

Hoping to shake up communities just enough to get them looking into cementing emergency plans, Jones, whose research is supported by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, presented data on potential earthquake damage and introduced possible solutions to help facilitate city-wide resiliency—the ability to recover from an emergency state as quickly as possible.

“Somehow human nature hopes against hope that we can ignore science away,” Garcetti said. “It is a matter of when, not if, we need to be prepared.”

Working with the mayor’s office and using the ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario, Jones and a team were able to prioritize the most important ways in which to create and maintain integrity in the event of a large-scale earthquake: water, telecommunications, and building integrity.

Strengthening each of these three systems in order to quickly recover the city’s economics after sustaining a violent jolting was emphasized.

“What we’re trying to do is keep this system working. But when we have a big earthquake our financial activity is going to drop,” Jones said. “We don’t have electricity, we don’t have water, we’re not opening our buildings.”

Both Jones and Garcetti referenced the demise of San Francisco after the metropolis’ devastating 1906 earthquake. Jones illustrated the city’s dramatic fluctuation in population attributed to the seismic catastrophe.

[Read more…]

South L.A. Structures on Shaky Foundations

Thousands of South L.A. homes are at risk for collapse during a large earthquake.| Flickr

Experts say thousands of  Los Angeles homes will collapse in a large earthquake.| Cameron23, Flickr Creative Commons

Imagine the Los Angeles skyline in its entirety. Include the apartment and commercial buildings; the houses old and new. Now, imagine 50 percent of those buildings gone—collapsed either partially or completely.

That is the bleak picture that U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones painted for attendees during the 2015 Great California ShakeOut Breakfast Leadership Summit on Sept. 30.

Los Angeles has not experienced a major earthquake in 20 years. The last large temblor to slam the region was the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Since then, California faults have been in a quiet period that Jones and other experts on her team insist won’t last.

The period of smooth sailing has caused home and commercial building owners to relax their approach to protecting structures against the damage they could sustain in the violent shaking during a substantial quake.

Lack of action to strengthen structures, however, renders the millions of people who live and work in the city’s 300,000 unstable buildings susceptible to displacement from work or homes, and even disaster-related death.

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The Bare Necessities Earthquake Kit

Water is the most important item in an earthquake survival kit. | Nancy Phillips, Flickr Creative Commons

Water is the most important item in an earthquake survival kit. | Nancy Phillips, Flickr Creative Commons

As the topic of earthquake preparedness continues to get hotter each passing year without a mega quake, the items recommended for earthquake and emergency kits seem to become increasingly haute.

In September of 2005, The Los Angeles Times published a list of earthquake kit materials to keep in homes, cars and at work. The list, which was 59 items long, included items ranging from food and water to fire extinguishers and tarps—all very useful items.

This year, on Sept. 19, the Times again published an emergency kit list, this time including posh items such as a $30 24-pack of canned water with a 50-year shelf life, solar generators and more.

In the event that the Great California Shakeout scenario’s 7.8 magnitude quake actually devastated the Los Angeles area as projected, aid for many Angelenos would first come in the form of self-help.

Earthquake and emergency kits have become an essential way to help promote survival, but when dealing with tight budgets, some areas of Los Angeles are placed at higher risk due to the inability to afford all the necessary items.

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Construction churns on with full street closures along Crenshaw/LAX line

Construction for the metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd.

Construction for the metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd.

Street closures, which include some that stretch into the night, are continuing along the route of the Crenshaw/LAX line as the city constructs multiple tunnels for the project. Construction on this area is beginning on Friday.

The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX rail line is one of 12 projects funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008 to pay for transportation projects and improvements.

The project is slated to be completed in 2019 and have eight stations.

Metro says road closures could branch into two weekends in October.

Here is the information about the street closures:

  • Crenshaw Boulevard between Coliseum Street and Exposition Boulevard will be completely closed. 
  • In addition,on the east side of Crenshaw Boulevard at the north side of Rodeo Road
  • All of Crenshaw Blvd. will be closed between 48th and 43rd streets. Vernon Avenue between Crenshaw Blvd. and Leimert Avenue will also be closed from 9 a.m. to 6 a.m. this weekend and next weekend.
  • A detour will redirect north and southbound traffic around the center of Crenshaw Blvd. between 59th and 67th streets. 
  • La Cienega Boulevard at Florence Avenue will be closed at night from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. until Monday.
  • La Brea Ave. will close down on the weekdays from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. until Sunday, Oct. 6.


Fatal police interactions spark ‘Know Your Rights’ panel in Compton

LA protests Ferguson grand jury decision | Charlie Magovern (Neon Tommy)

In response to recent alleged incidents of police brutality, panelists talked about how citizens should interact with the police.   | Charlie Magovern (Neon Tommy)

Educating residents on how to interact with law enforcement was at the top of the agenda for the “Know Your Rights” panel recently held in Compton. The event, held in the wake of the deaths of African Americans Sandra Bland and Sam DuBose, which involved police interactions that began as traffic stops that escalated in both cases. Panelists, pointing to these national headlines, stressed the importance of the black community knowing their civil rights in such situations.

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Additional neighborhood safety comes with Price

Councilman Curren Price looks up at the new traffic signal on the corner of Figueroa Avenue and 56th Street.

Councilman Curren Price looks up at the new traffic light on Figueroa Avenue and 56th Street. | Photo by Marisa Zocco


Alysia Busher did not notice the new traffic signal near her daughter’s daycare as she navigated the pair’s way from the bus stop at Figueroa Avenue and 56th Street, having to cross the busy six-lane intersection.

The struggle to cross the street had become so routine that Busher dropped her daughter off before noticing Councilman Curren D. Price standing on the corner July 22 poised to speak to a dozen community members gathered to celebrate the new safety measure.

[Read more…]

Ron Finley’s latest South LA garden grows renewed community interest in fresh foods

Ron Finley has planted gardens around South LA for the past few years.

Ron Finley, self-proclaimed “gangster gardener,” helps a young girl plant a sunflower seedling.

Just months ago, the lightly browned yard behind the oldest operating library in LA sat unused, save for the handful of individuals who relaxed in it.

[Read more…]

Solar technology charges into South LA homes

South LA resident gets one of the first solar panel installations in her neighborhood.

Rose Pinkney surrounded by family and GRID Alternatives representatives. (May 2015)

On what was a mostly cloudy day in the Willowbrook neighborhood of South Los Angeles, the sun emerged in time for resident Rose Pinkney to celebrate the installation of free solar panels on her rooftop.

In an event held in front of her home on Friday, Pinkney, a self-professed techie whose neighbors often knock on her door for advice, beamed as she shared her excitement about the new installation to her home near McKinkey Avenue and 120th Street.

“This is a way to promote clean energy that is well needed in neighborhoods filled with pollution,” said Pinkney, addressing a small crowd of curious neighbors and a handful of reporters.

[Read more…]

Crenshaw/LAX light rail construction to expand road closure

Construction for the metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd.

Construction for the metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd. (April 2014)

The final phase of the Crenshaw/LAX line construction will close down roads around Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Street starting June 7.

Excavation and decking for the underground Crenshaw/Vernon station of the newest Metro line will be taking place. [Read more…]

South LA schools follow state-wide graduation trends

Crenshaw HS

Crenshaw High School

Nearly a dozen South L.A. high schools have followed a positive statewide trend of rising graduation rates while simultaneously lowering the percentage of dropouts, according to data from the California Department of Education.

Schools with the highest graduation rates for the 2013-14 school year include Thirty-Second Street USC Performing Arts with a 100 percent graduation rate; Foshay Learning Center and Middle College High, each with 99 percent; King/Drew Medical Magnet with 96 percent and the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies with 95 percent.

Of the South L.A. high schools, even those with the lowest percentage of graduates recorded graduation rates that were only 10 percent below the LAUSD district-wide graduation rate of 70.4 percent, with a majority of them on an upward trend. [Read more…]