Saturday, May 17, 2008

Project, Pipe, Politician Play to Palisades

The auditorium at White Point Elementary School was jammed Tuesday for the Palisades Residents Association annual meeting.

The proposed high school at Angels Gate Cultural Center drew an overflow crowd of skeptical neighbors who peppered Los Angeles Unified School District officials with questions.

The meeting also included a report on a new sewer pipe slated for the Harbor Area and remarks by Councilwoman Janice Hahn.

School opponents have organized a group called NOISE to voice concerns about traffic, parking, noise and safety issues potentially associated with the school.

“We want a partnership with you,” LAUSD Region 8 superintendent Linda Del Cueto told residents.

In addition to the required public hearings, district officials have appeared before the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council and convened a “focus group” of community members.

LAUSD facilities official Rod Hamilton spoke about the proposed high school ...

... while skeptical community members listened intently.

Until Tuesday’s meeting, though, officials had said the planned school at Angels Gate would be a separate facility, not affiliated with San Pedro High.

At the Palisades gathering, Del Cueto said, “a ninth-grade academy is a definite option … magnet programs can be considered.”

District bureaucrats have proposed that the school serve roughly 1,200 students, an idea that doesn’t sit well with the Harbor Area’s school board member.

David Kooper, chief of staff for board member Richard Vladovic, said “Dr. Vladovic is saying no to 1,215 (students); 500-800 is what we’re looking for.”

The environmental review process continues to contemplate the larger school, although LAUSD has said it will build classrooms to accommodate only 810 students.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who spoke prior to the LAUSD representatives, said she opposes the 1,215-seat alternative.

Hahn indicated she would “support a small learning academy at Angels Gate with an emphasis on cultural arts.”

Assessing the battle ahead, Hahn told the crowd, “I will listen to you loud and clear. I will advocate for your position.

“But, I will warn you, they (LAUSD) never listen to me.”

Councilwoman Hahn addressed the meeting.

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