Author: garywalker

Mural ordinance defining art could soon be on its way to City Council

A long awaited ordinance that will spell out in detail how murals and commercial advertising are separate could be heading to the Los Angeles City Council. The Department of City Planning is slated to recommend moving its final draft mural ordinance to the council Thursday, Sept. 13 after completing a nearly yearlong process of crafting a new municipal law that will define artwork and make the distinction between art and advertising. A staff report from Planning Director Michael LoGrande also recommends that the council adopt the ordinance that is being proposed. Councilman Bill Rosendahl proposed creating a new ordinance for mural art last year after hearing from many of his constituents in Venice, Del Rey and Mar Vista who have been pressing for such a law. The recommended ordinance would allow muralists to acquire city permits to paint or install their artworks and not be subjected to the regulation of the last decade. “The proposed ordinance updates Chapter One of the Los Angeles Municipal Code to establish new definitions for ‘original art murals’ to replace the old definition of a mural sign,” planning officials wrote in a recent report. “In doing so, it exempts new and existing murals from a number of requirements and prohibitions, which apply to murals regulated as signs. “New proposed administrative rule on original art murals to be implemented by the Department of Cultural Affairs...

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Santa Monica: Community college cancels winter session despite student protests

The Santa Monica Community College District Board of Trustees adopted a budget Sept. 6 that will eliminate the winter session for 2013, the latest in a series of decisions that has driven a wedge between the college administration and a group of student organizers who pleaded with the trustees not to cancel the winter class schedule. The budget that was approved did not include instructional costs for the winter session, which would have begun Jan. 3, 2013 and ended Feb. 9. According to Director of Fiscal Services Chris Bonvenuto, SMC’s budget deficit for the 2012-13 fiscal year will be...

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Resolution by Zimmer on teacher evaluations pushed back to later date

A resolution to counter the Los Angeles Unified School District’s current policy on how the quality of a teacher is measured was postponed at the Sept. 11 school board meeting. Advocates on both sides of the resolution will now be forced to wait to weigh in on the resolution by LAUSD Board Member Steve Zimmer, whose original motion was slated to be heard June 12. That motion, entitled “Commitment to Honor Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century,” asked the board to recognize the importance of peer assistance and review for assisting and intervening when teachers struggle or need additional resources. The new motion asks the board to urge to LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy to use “a robust and diverse set of student learning instruments, including both state administered exams and authentic teacher developed assessments, that will allow for more complete and reliable student growth indicators to be a part of teacher’s professional growth and evaluation. “This detailed information about student academic growth should be used instead of Academic Growth Over Time scores or any other measurements based on a single test, as teachers and administrators seek to use data to inform best practices that will improve student achievement,” the resolution states. Academic Growth Over Time is a method of examining the impact of schools and educators on student learning outcomes and uses a value-added method that “controls external...

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Venice: Officers accused of assaulting skateboarder part of crime task force

The Los Angeles Police Department officers who were captured on videotape beating an Oakwood skateboarder are members of a squad that is not assigned to Pacific division, which patrols the Venice area. Pacific Division Traffic Commander Capt. Brian Johnson told the audience at a community meeting in Venice last month that the officers are members of the Violent Crime Task Force, which has been operating in the area for at least two years. The task force officers, whose identities remain unknown, are at the center of an Aug. 18 controversial incident in the Oakwood Neighborhood, where they stopped Ronald Weekley, Jr. on his way home on a skateboard. Police accused Weekley, a 20-year-old college student, of resisting arrest after he was stopped for riding his skateboard on the wrong side of the street. A cell phone video recording showed an officer punching the student, who was being handcuffed by three other officers – an incident that later initiated complaints against the officers of biased policing and excessive force. Some of the residents who attended the meeting reacted angrily when it was announced that the results of the investigation of the officers’ conduct would not be immediate. “These investigations are very complex, and you’re not going to like this, but I think it’s important to understand that no stone will be left unturned,” Johnson pledged. It is unknown if the...

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Mar Vista: Discussion on annexation on community council’s Sept. 11 agenda

South Mar Vista homeowners who are serious about breaking away from Los Angeles will have the opportunity to put faces on a cause Tuesday, Sept. 11 at the Mar Vista Community Council meeting. The Argonaut first reported Aug. 16 that a group of disgruntled homeowners who belong to the South Mar Vista Neighborhood Association are upset with Los Angeles city officials over what they see as inattention to infrastructure needs in their community. They believe they would receive better treatment in Culver City, a charter city east of Mar Vista. The Argonaut contacted Culver City Manager John Nachbar last month to inquire if he was aware of any official discussions in his city with south Mar Vista or with Los Angeles regarding a possible annexation. Nachbar said he was unaware of any such official conversations. To date the group of residents who are considering separating from Los Angeles has chosen to remain in the shadows, to the chagrin of some Mar Vista residents. The community council is scheduled to hear a resolution where one of its committees is slated to ask the board not consider the annexation group’s complaints serious unless they are present at the Sept. 11 meeting. At an Aug. 21 Mar Vista Community Council Planning and Land Use Committee meeting, the topic of secession was discussed and a vote among the audience was taken regarding who...

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