Expo Line grand opening

Listen to an audio story from Annenberg Radio News:

imageSaturday marked the grand opening of the Metro Expo Rail Line.

This train runs from the 7th Street Metro Station Downtown out west to La Cienega & Jefferson, running right through USC’s station at Exposition Park; where one of four grand opening celebrations was held on Saturday.

“We are trying to get to all of our community.” Jacqueline Martinez is a community relations officer for the Metro. And joined by her many co-workers; they handed out information pamphlets to garner interest in the new train line. “We just want the community to come out and support the system, get out and ride the system. A lot of people have never been on a train before, so this is our way of saying come have fun, use the system, and it is a great thing to do,” she said.

imageGerri Williams is from Pasadena and plans on taking the Expo line often. She also decided to take part in the festivities of opening weekend. “I am enjoying it very good. The music is good and it is nice to be outside and seeing all the venders that are here, and being out in the sun!”

And Martinez is convinced that this is a smart and necessary move by the city of Los Angeles.

“I think it is a great step forward for LA. It is connecting us to the Westside, one day Santa Monica. People can get to the museums, to USC. Students, they can get here to campus and explore museums. It is just going to get us closer to things that a lot of Angelenos don’t even know exist.” image

This weekend is the time to try out the train. Passengers can ride for free over the weekend.

Check out this video from Leimert Park Beat.

USC beefs up safety measures

Listen to an audio story from Annenberg Radio News:

“Whenever young, innocent kids are brutally attacked in the way that they were, you have to say no, not in my city; not in our city,” was the message Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa passed along to members of the USC community at USC’s Town and Gown ballroom Thursday morning.

“What happened a few weeks ago, was something that not only effected the student body, but it really tore at the heartstrings of Angelenos all across the city,” said the mayor.

Ying Wu and Ming Qu, both graduate students from China, were shot and killed around 1 a.m. on April 11 while sitting in a BMW parked in the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue.

As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck outlined, many safety adjustments are being made around the USC community, and it is all coming out of USC’s pocket.

To begin with, 30 police officers will be permanently added to the Southwest division, which patrols the area around USC. And four of these newly added officers will strictly monitor the area directly surrounding USC.

“Their task will be to make sure that the surrounding residential areas of SC, where so many students live, are safe,” said Chief Beck.

And although violence has decreased in the USC area by 27% over the last 2 years, Chief Beck said these safety measures are a necessary precaution.

“This is an awful singular incident, but this is not the trend in the SC area. This is not us trying to catch up, it is us addressing an awful singular incident, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is important to the well-being to all of Los Angeles that USC is successful.”

Additionally, a detective and city attorney will be assigned to focus wholly on the USC area.

Chief Beck was asked about the ongoing investigation. “I am pleased with the progress to date, I won’t predict when we will give an outcome, but I am confident in the detective and investigative process going forward. We will reach a resolution on this,” he said.

No new information has been released.

Adult education faces elimination by LAUSD budget cuts

imageIn the midst of major budget cuts, the LAUSD has sent its newest and most impactful subject to the chopping block. And people aren’t happy.

The latest budget proposal shows the 120-million-dollar division of the adult and career education will be left with nothing for the 2012-2013 school year.

More than 350,000 students in Los Angeles currently take part in adult education programs ranging from high school completion courses to career classes.

“This is what democracy looks like,” said Raul Alvarez, Vice President of the United Teachers of LA. “We don’t understand why in this recession, they don’t understand that we need more job training, not less. A child needs not only school, but their whole family. Adult education helps parents and parents help children.”

This past school year, the LAUSD graduated a lowly 56% of its high school students. And in the past, adult education has been the safety net, allowing those who dropped out of high school a second chance at higher education; and it was successful.

Approximately 1,500 former high school dropouts graduated from the LAUSD Adult and Career Division programs last year.

The budget is to be voted upon next Tuesday.