Thursday, April 19, 2007

Some Thoughts About the New Proposals

Five public senior high schools in San Pedro?

A new senior high school near Taper Avenue Elementary, J.F. Cooper Continuation High School, Rolling Hills Prep, Mary Star of the Sea High School, and Dodson Middle School?

A new public 1,215-seat senior high school with the closest public road being Alma?

The first thing I think about is AT LEAST LAUSD is dealing with compromise. I think they blinked at the huge school in northwest San Pedro and are now trying to come up with something that, they feel, will work.

I have to give these folks for turning the corner on past performances. During the first two meetings the folks at LAUSD were not the nicest folks to come into our community and demand that we take a 2,025-seat school on Western Avenue. I am impressed with Mr. Hamilton's willingness to talk about compromise, even if he did sound a bit rough about the Ponte Vista site.

So, the first thing I spoke to the assembly about when it was my turn to talk was that I appreciated their position on willing to talk about compromise. Now if I can just get a certain developer to talk about compromise, perhaps our community will start going somewhere.

Rod Hamilton, the head of the facilities issues for this area told the crowd that Bob Bisno had just lost his appeal in appellate court, that blocked access by LAUSD to do their testing at the Ponte Vista site. He expects testing to begin shortly. Rod still wants to build the smaller school right where Bob wants to build his senior housing.

The LAUSD will need to acquire any land at Ponte Vista that Bob doesn't want to sell them by the use of suing Mr. Bisno for the right of eminent domain for the land required to build the school and access to that school. There could always be some kind of a deal where Bob might willingly sell the land to LAUSD, but I am not holding my breath on that item.

As for putting any LAUSD school at Ponte Vista, I am still opposed. Even if everybody becomes lovey-dovey, a school at Ponte Vista would only have Western Avenue as an ingress and egress route, and that simply, is not enough for me.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn still thinks 500-seat schools placed throughout the area would be a good idea. Bob Bisno did say at times, that he would entertain ideas concerning a 500-seat school at Ponte Vista, but unless there is a road from Western Avenue to Gaffey Street built, I would not even support a 500-seat school at Ponte Vista.

Now, what about a 1,215-seat senior high school at Angels Gate? Well here I am torn. To think that Alma could possibly handle having another high school anywhere near it, is ridiculous, knowing where that part of Alma would be affected.

There is a small, almost, road going through L.A.City land near Gaffey and 30th Street that would have to be purchased and highly upgraded by LAUSD if access from Gaffey were offered. I have no idea what the residents of the north side and the south side of the area might think about having to give access to a high school via their streets.

Some folks have pointed out that IF LAUSD built a new school down at Angels Gate, one of the mitigation points might be a new large swimming pool that the public could use. Rod Hamilton suggested that both sites would have recreational facilities that would open to the public.

Back to SRHS #14. Rod Hamiliton was quite profound when he said that if the Board of Education approved the new set of proposals, then he was ready to go full steam ahead on the 810-seat campus at Ponte Vista, especially since his side won the most recent round in court.
It seems he was not interested in the Lomita location issue or the other issue in north San Pedro.

You see, folks, There is a site in north San Pedro that LAUSD already owns. It is a site that currently has a very low enrollment continuation high school and a science center on it.
If you move the students, (probably 60) from the continuation school in north San Pedro to the school site that already has students at it at Angels Gate, and move the science center from where it is now, to the Angels Gate area, where there is much more in the way of science activities nearby, then think of what you could do with that land?

This issue would be a very, very, very hot button. If you built a new 810-seat school on Barrywood, it would anger the residents in that area, for sure. But if you did build such a school there, it could be accessed from both Western Avenue and Gaffey Street.

Of course, building any school in San Pedro to ease overcrowding of a school located in Harbor City and very close to Lomita is just really stupid, IMHO. Surely there are sites that can be found for an 810-seat school closer to Narbonne. We are no longer talking about a 2,025-seat school and there would only be a need for 6-8 acres. Just how big is the student parking area at Narbonne anyway? SPHS has no student parking on campus, why shouldn't Narbonne's student parking area give way for a 4 storey academy structure?

So let's try to get SRHS #14 moved out of San Pedro. Let's take a tour of the Harbor City/Lomita areas and help the LAUSD find a better spot to build a school to ease the overcrowding of Narbonne.

As for the overcrowding at San Pedro, I feel that a ninth grade academy at Angels Gate, with about needs for 1,000 seats would probably work.

We'll see, and I await your comments.


Anonymous said...

I understand the sentiments, but making Narbonne even larger than it is is not a good solution. It is already overcrowded, and a student parking lot should be required at all schools ... San Pedro High should have one as well. Why are 500 seat academies so wonderful on one hand, when you are pushing to make Narbonne 4000+?

I sincerely doubt you'd even consider saying that Peninsula or PV High should take away their student lots ...

M Richards said...

I was using the parking lot excuse as an example.

I had some "fun" and tried to find enough open spaces in the Lomita/Harbor City area, using Google Earth. I didn't have much luck finding enough open space that wouldn't require some moves by businesses, but I did see that the Mulligan Family Center offered more than enough space for an 810-seat school. There were also industrial building areas that were near Narbonne but not right at the campus.

It really is too bad that LAUSD probably can't use enough of the large open space that is just south of the Sheriffs' Station on Narbonne, south of P.C.H. I don't think that land is suitable for building a school, but it does have lots of open space.

LAUSD needs between 261,260 and 348,480 square feet to build a campus of between 6-8 acres. If we can find about 300,000 square feet some place other than in San Pedro to build SRHS #14, Then I think we can get the school built somewhere else.

You may want to try your luck at Google Earth, it is free and a fun site for folks who like to look at images.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the city of L.A. require the Playa Vista housing developer dedicate a portion of his land for a LAUSD school, but did not require Bisno to do the same at Ponte Vista? Somebody must know the defining difference. Apparently, Lansing's staff does not know. Why'd he sue LAUSD to keep them off the "preferred" acres at Ponte Vista? Anyone one know?

M Richards said...

Thanks anonymous 11:20,

First, the City of L.A. has not been the brightest bulb on the Las Vegas strip when it comes to just about anything at what is now the Ponte Vista site.

Not only was LAUSD offered the entire 61.53 acres for free, they were offered it three times. I have it on some authority that the City of L.A. folks discouraged LAUSD from acquiring the land when it was offered to them by the federal government.

When Bob Bisno bought the land we now know as Ponte Vista, by auction and purchase from Volunteers of America, there was no provision for him to require him to provide any land for any school.

When Mr. Bisno submitted his application to build the development according to his current plans, there was no requirement to provide any land for a school.

There were and are not mitigation proposals requiring Mr. Bisno to section off a piece of his land for a public school.

As far as I have heard, Bob Bisno has said he would be glad to talk to LAUSD about having a school at Ponte Vista if it were in the area of about 500-seats in size.

Bob Bisno has been fighting in court to prevent a large school from being built, one way, by not allowing personnell on his land to do soils testing and other scientific work to find out if the preferred site within Ponte Vista would even meet the needs of LAUSD.

Playa Vista was originally a very, very big proposed development. About 60% of the land in the very first proposals are now part of the wetlands. Only 40% of the remaining land is being developed. There are not as many schools near the Playa Vista site as there are nearer to the Ponte Vista site.

Playa Vista to me, is more of a separate community than Ponte Vista would be to our community. Playa Vista is much more spread out with many more housing projects being built.

I hope that helps answer you questions. Feel free to Email me if you have other questions I might be able to help you with.

Anonymous said...

It is not beyond imagination that Bisno sued LAUSD not to prevent LAUSD from soil testing but rather to allow time for LAUSD and Bisno planners to come up with an a new plan. Which they recently have on the heels of the resolved lawsuit.

M Richards said...

Howdy Anonymous 5:43 PM,
Would Bob be stupid enough to pay for the mailing of his latest attempts to gain support if he had known by last Thursday that he was actually dealing with LAUSD with some kind of compromise?

Bob has told me on more than five occasions that he believes that with the election of Dr. Vladovich, (I am endorcing Neal Kleiner) there would be no school built at Ponte Vista.

Of course it is hard for me to take much of what Bob Bisno says as being the truth.

We'll see.