California Elections, Education, Issues, LA Noir, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: School’s in, iPads out

Posted August 29, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

The Los Angeles Unified School District has scrapped the $1 (B) billion effort to provide all students and teachers with iPad tablets and laptops.
Embattled Superintendent John Deasy says he wants to gather new bids for future phases of the program.
Which is spin for this plan isn’t working.
The change comes in light of alleged improprieties in the awarding of the original contracts with Apple and …

California Elections, Education, Headline, Issues, News »

California on verge of ending English-only instruction

Posted August 27, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Prop.187protest

The state Legislature has approved a ballot measure that would ask voters two years from now whether California schools should ditch English-only instruction. It’s the latest in a series of victories for Latino lawmakers in Sacramento this Legislative session.
If Gov. Jerry Brown signs the measure and voters approve it, students who speak a foreign language could receive instruction in their native language, at least …

economy, Education, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Interview with LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy on pausing the $1-billion iPad program

Posted August 26, 2014 by | 3 Comments | ]
The iPad program at LAUSD has been halted following criticism of the bidding process.

The LAUSD’s iPad project has been criticized since the beginning: students could hack them, there wasn’t ample Wifi technology in the classrooms, and teachers didn’t have proper training.
But it’s only now, after reports that school district officials were a little too cozy with Apple and Pearson in the bidding process for the $1 billion project, that LAUSD is pausing the program. ($61 million has been spent …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Half-built Target project could face the wrecking ball

Posted August 26, 2014 by | 5 Comments | ]
targethollywood

A half-built Target store and shopping center going up in Hollywood will be staying in its current, unfinished state for the foreseeable future.
L.A. officials have reluctantly ordered Target to halt work on the project at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue.
The order follows a court ruling that found that city officials improperly approved the project. The issue is height: Community groups sued …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News »

Napa quake gives warning system an early test

Posted August 25, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
napaearthquake

The temblor that rocked California’s wine country this weekend gave researchers at U.C. Berkeley a chance to gauge the effectiveness of an experimental earthquake alert system. They say it worked.
Ten seconds before Napa and surrounding areas began to shake, an alarm started squawking inside a Berkeley lab.
The system is not yet available to the public. State officials say it should be ready in the …

economy, Environment, Headline, Issues, LA Noir, Politics, Power and Water, Summer, water, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Water levels, down; water shaming, way up

Posted August 22, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

As the severe drought continues in California, the state’s water authority is now actively imposing fines of up to $500 on people who are wasteful.
The Los Angeles Times reports the city’s Department of Water and Power has increased its patrol of water wasting by quadrupling the number of its city-wide inspectors: from one to four.
Los Angeles has about four million people.
Water tables are at …

Issues, News, Politics »

Cracking back at a cocaine sentencing disparity

Posted August 22, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
crackcocaine

The state Legislature has approved a law that would reduce sentences for crack cocaine to the same levels as powder cocaine.
The law addresses concerns that unbalanced cocaine sentencing laws punish low-income communities and minorities. It comes four years after President Barack Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which eliminated 100-1 disparities in sentences for crack and powdered cocaine convictions.
Crack cocaine is considerably cheaper than …

economy, Headline, Issues, News »

What happens when the ‘Pillowcase Rapist’ lives next door

Posted August 21, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
One of the signs that have been up in the Antelope Valley showing an archival photo of Christopher Hubbart and demanding that he leave. In the 1970s and 80s, Hubbart raped women across California. He was also the first person admitted to California's sexually violent predator program. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)

In Southern California’s Antelope Valley, where suburban sprawl gives way to a high desert landscape of scrub brush and Joshua Trees, there’s a home. The dwelling, which dates to the 1950s, is small, white and unadorned. Its curtains are tightly drawn and wood planks cover some of the windows. The house is thoroughly unremarkable, but inside lives a man who is one of the most …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News »

Lobbyists trying to sack statewide plastic bag ban

Posted August 21, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
PLASTICBAGS-1

Plastic bag manufacturers are making a last-ditch effort to block a proposed law that would ban single-use plastic bags statewide.
The bill passed an Assembly Committee last week and appeared to be headed for passage. But opponents have managed to delay a key vote, which could set up a renewed battle over the proposed ban.
The San Jose Mercury News reports the bag industry has spent …

Education, Headline, Issues, News »

U.C’s out-of-state outreach is good for bottom line

Posted August 18, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Students pass beneath Sather Gate and onto Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley

A record number of out-of-state students have been admitted to the U.C. system this fall. That doesn’t sit well with some Californians, but it’s awfully good for the university purse.
The University of California reportedly stands to reap an estimated $400 million in extra cash revenue this year from out-of-state students. More than a fifth of incoming U.C. freshman are from other states or countries. …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News »

Stock’s in the tank, so SeaWorld promises bigger pools

Posted August 15, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
SeaWorldorca

Faced with declining attendance and a plunging stock price, SeaWorld announced today that it will build new, larger environments for killer whales at its theme parks. SeaWorld also says it will contribute &10 million to fund additional research on the animals along with programs to protect ocean health and whales in the wild.
SeaWorld plans to build a 10-million-gallon tank at its park in San …

Headline, Issues, News »

Echoes of Ferguson, Missouri in the death of Ezell Ford

Posted August 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
ezellford

It hasn’t garnered the same attention as the death of Michael Brown, but there are echoes of the Ferguson, Missouri, case in the death of another unarmed black man right here in L.A.
Ezell Ford was shot to death Monday evening in the Florence area in a confrontation with two LAPD gang officers who tried to question him in what they call an investigative stop.
Some …

Issues, News, Politics, water »

Water wrangling goes down to the wire in Sacramento

Posted August 13, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
calaqueduct

Gov. Jerry Brown says he and Legislative leaders are making progress on a plan to replace an $11 billion water bond on the state ballot with a less expensive version.
But time is running short. A deal will have to be struck by the end of the day or the current bond goes before voters in November.Brown and Democrats are pushing a $7.2 billion plan …

economy, Issues, News, Politics »

Lawmakers flip ‘kill switch’ to fight cell phone theft

Posted August 12, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
smartphone

Taking the profit motive out of smartphone theft is the motivation behind a bill that’s passed both houses of the state Legislature and is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown.
The so-called “kill-switch” law would force phone companies to include a feature allowing people to permanently shut down their phones if they are stolen or lost. Consumer activists say the “kill switch” would protect …

Featured, Issues, News »

Growing up in the Baldwin Village ‘Jungle’

Posted August 11, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo by Andre Ellis

In 1977, my parents moved my two siblings and me into a second-story, 3-bedroom apartment on Santo Tomas Drive in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles.
It was one unit within a one-square mile section of apartments informally called “The Jungle.” The area included apartment buildings with whimsical names like Coco Capri and The Islander and boasted swimming pools, large living spaces, courtyards with palm …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News »

Ire’s up in Manhattan Beach in debate over sharks

Posted August 11, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
MANHATTANBEACHPIER

Manhattan Beach officials are getting ready to revisit some controversial restrictions on fishing off that city’s pier. They’re concerned that anglers are drawing great white sharks to the area.
A month ago a shark caught on a fisherman’s line bit a surfer. That prompted the City Council to temporarily ban fishing from the pier and sparked a heated debate between pro and anti-fishing camps.
California Fish …

Bad Driving, economy, Environment, Headline, Issues, LA Noir, Summer, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Lane-splitting motorcyclists

Posted August 8, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

I don’t have to tell you how much time we spend in our cars here in Southern California. You’re probably reading this in your car right now.
I hope not.
Because it’s hard (and illegal) enough to take your eyes off the road to avoid crunching the guy in front of you. You also have to look left or right to make sure you don’t cause …

Issues, News, Politics »

Climate crusader Steyer tops political donor list

Posted August 8, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
STEYERS

Among political donors, it appears Bay Area billionaire Tom Steyer has the deepest pockets of them all.
OpenSecrets.org says Steyer and his wife Kathryn gave $20.4 million to political causes in the 2013-2014 election cycle. That’s more than double the total of the No. 2 person on the list, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – also a member of the billionaire’s club.
It could just …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News »

Shippers get paid to slow down for California whales

Posted August 6, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
whale-ship

Wildlife advocates and air-quality regulators have come up with a plan they hope will help solve two environmental problems at once: They’re going to pay shipping companies to slow down cargo vessels through the Santa Barbara Channel to avoid collisions with blue whales and reduce smog.
The shippers will be paid $2,500 for each trip completed at 12 knots or fewer between Point Concepcion and …

Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Bill aims to take the profit out of mugshot websites

Posted August 5, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
mugshots_cropped

Perhaps you’ve seen those websites that specialize in mugshots…They’re usually good for a laugh, unless your face happens to be a part of the rogue’s gallery. But state lawmakers are not amused: A bill that would require websites to remove booking photos – for free – has passed both houses of the state Legislature.
State Sen. Jerry Hill of San Mateo authored the bill. He …

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