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Top Celebrities call for an end to gun violence in U.S. Featured

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Ricky Gervais doesn’t care if he’s ever asked back to host the Golden Awards Featured

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Benfica Striker Ola John has his mind on the clash with the Catalans Featured

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2012 Formula 1 season was one of the most exciting and eventful in history Featured

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Oscar Pistorius has never baulked at a hard challenge Featured

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Portuguese exports rose by 13.7 percent in August from a year ago Featured

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In Filing, News Corp. Says Publishing Business Showed $2.1 Billion Loss Featured

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U.S. economy grew faster in third quarter of 2012 Featured

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After losing to Obama, what should Mitt Romney do next? Featured

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EU’s new banking union will break the link between banks and public debt Featured

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Superintendent seeks more resources, increased learning

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner has announced an effort to provide more resources to schools and improve student learning.

The initiative aims to develop a plan to move resources and decision-making from the bureaucracy to schools, to empower school leaders and teachers and more equitably fund schools.

The input of students, their parents and communities, along with teachers and school leaders, will be sought to help identify the needs of schools and students.

According to Beutner, the district will hire two firms to help in the effort.

Kitamba, an organization led by education professionals, has experience in education and will work to design strategies to build capacity and produce lasting improvements in learning and life outcomes for students. Ernst & Young has expertise in helping organizations find and implement ways to be more efficient.

Miguel Santana, Peter Taylor and Zev Yaroslavsky will work with Beutner and the district. They are lending their expertise to this effort as volunteers. Deputy Superintendent Vivian Ekchian will lead the effort from the district’s side.

Santana has nearly three decades of experience successfully managing municipal finances as the former chief administrative officer of the city of Los Angeles and as deputy chief executive officer of Los Angeles County. He is currently the president and CEO of Fairplex, which operates the Los Angeles County Fair.

Taylor is the president of ECMC Foundation, a national foundation that makes investments in postsecondary programs and initiatives focusing on college success and career readiness. He served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for the University of California system and was recently appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the Board of Trustees of the California State University system.

Yaroslavsky is currently the director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Department of History. As a former Los Angeles County supervisor and City Council member, Yaroslavsky has four decades of public service working on issues ranging from school-based wellness, balancing city and county budgets, the environment, transportation and the arts.

“This is about empowering and supporting our school leaders and teachers, providing the resources needed to improve student learning and crafting a path to increased parent and community participation in schools,” Beutner said Aug. 10. “We are grateful for the support of the philanthropic community and the civic leaders who are involved in improving public education in Los Angeles.”

“Our students, teachers and school leaders deserve more resources to help them be at their best,” Santana said. “I’m honored to be partnering with L.A. Unified, parents and communities to improve our public schools.”

“This is an opportunity to make L.A. Unified work for all students,” Taylor said. “Equitably investing in schools and empowering school leaders and teachers is what our students, parents and communities need.”

“I’m excited about working with the greater Los Angeles community to ensure that every student receives an education that prepares them for the economy and society of the future,” Yaroslavsky said. “A thriving public education system is vital to the health and success of our communities and our cities.”

“This collaborative effort to better support our schools and improve student learning is fresh thinking from our new superintendent,” school board President Mónica García said. “This work will help us develop a plan to help our students most in need and continue our progress toward 100 percent graduation.”

The work of Kitamba and Ernst & Young is being funded by the Fund for Equity and Excellence, which was recently formed to help support public education in Los Angeles.

The initial funding partners of this effort include the Ballmer Group, California Community Foundation, California Endowment, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and Weingart Foundation.

 

New project would bring hotel, condos to Koreatown

KOREATOWN — An ambitious development project including ground floor retail, a mid-level hotel and a residential tower is being planned north of Koreatown’s bustling Wilshire Boulevard, according to a proposal submitted to the Los Angeles Department of City Planning.

The roughly one-acre mixed-use project on Sixth Street between Hobart Boulevard and Serrano Avenue is among one of several projects being considered by the department, which would add more construction to the area’s development boom.

The 20-story, 260-feet high mixed-use tower project for 3800 W. 6th St. will entail 15,200 square feet of ground and second-floor retail space, a 192-room hotel from the third to eighth floors, and 122 condominium units from the ninth to 20th floors.

The project also will include on-site parking spaces that would accommodate 266 vehicles in three underground levels, which would relieve some concerns over the already-limited parking in the area. Some 170 bicycle parking spaces also will be built in hopes of remedying more traffic congestion.

An increase of vehicular and pedestrian traffic is expected if the project is realized, according to the report. It is forecast to generate about 1,966 new trips through the area on a typical weekday, a number considered of “no significant traffic impact” by the city.

Maxsum Development, the applicant, also is “requesting entitlements for a site plan review for approval of a development that creates an increase of 50 or more dwelling units and guest rooms” as well as “approval to permit the sale and dispensing for on- and off-site sale and consumption of a full line of alcoholic beverages” in the hotel, according to the report.

It is not clear if any of the living spaces will be labeled as low- or moderate-income units, nor is there an estimate of the number of permanent or construction jobs the project would create.

A third project proposal hearing is possible for October, said city planning associate Oliver Netburn. The first took place in February and a second in April. A final project decision is anticipated by the year’s end, he said.

If approved, the project will replace several now-vacant businesses on the property, including Yoon’s Auto Center, Haus by Coffee and Hunter and a print shop.

The proposal includes also the demolition of The Wilshire Smiling Tree, an operating preschool and kindergarten licensed to serve 107 students.

But Eun Ju Lee, the daycare center’s director, is determined to stay.

“I have a good location and a good school, so I want to keep going,” Lee said.

Although the school’s lease expires in 2023 with a five-year extension option after that, Lee said she’ll relocate the center and buy her own property if forced to vacate. In the meantime, she’s not accepting any new students because of the school’s uncertain future.

“I’m just going to keep fighting for this place. I want to keep this school,” she said.

The city planning department published a 152-page initial study in February for Maxsum Development’s project proposal detailing the environmental impacts, which includes a tower blueprint by designer MVE + Partners.

From the study, the department determined that “the project may result in or cause potentially significant [environmental] effects,” including noise from demolition, grading and construction, from parking structure ramps and from increased activity. Other concerns are the construction’s obstruction to public services, including its proximity to a school and the possibility of trespassing and vandalism into the construction site.

Hence, the department requested that the applicant submit a project revision that will “reduce any any potential significant adverse effects to a level of insignificance,” Netburn said.

Although Los Angeles City Council President and District 10 Councilman Herb Wesson could not be reached for comment, Netburn said the councilman has expressed general support for the project.

“I know the council office wants to see the applicant work with the community to try and address concerns that they may have,” he said. Most of the community’s worries, he said, are environmental concerns related to traffic and safety concerns related to the adjacent Wilshire Boulevard Temple, which will see an expansion of its own at the end of the year.

According to the city planning department’s most recent bi-weekly case filings published Aug. 7, the city is currently considering six other development applications within Koreatown’s neighborhood council boundaries. Most are for living units, including an eight-story residential building with 227 living units, 25 of which would be affordable housing for low-income residents.

But the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council has not yet made any official comment on the proposed project, according to Kevin Brunke, chair of the council’s planning and land use committee.

“I hope that [the applicant] will come before our committee and the neighborhood council and we will take a position as a board on it,” he said

Academy plans changes after re-electing Bailey

LOS ANGELES — John Bailey has been re-elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and he is planning on some big changes.

In a letter sent to Academy members, Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson announced that the annual telecast will be held to a firm three hours, in part by presenting awards in some yet-to-be-determined categories during commercial breaks in the telecast.

“The winning moments will then be edited and aired later in the broadcast,” according to the letter, a copy of which was printed by the Hollywood Reporter.

The Academy also plans to honor blockbuster films that often earn big money at theaters but don’t gain any recognition at the Oscars. Bailey and Hudson said the Academy will “create a new category for outstanding achievement in popular film,” although specifics of the category have not been announced.

According to Bailey and Hudson, the Academy is also moving up the date of the awards ceremony in 2020, with the telecast now set for Feb. 9 of that year instead of the previously announced Feb. 23. Next year’s ceremony remains scheduled for Feb. 24.

“We have heard from many of you about improvements needed to keep the Oscars and our Academy relevant in a changing world,” Bailey and Hudson said in their letter. “The Board of Governors took this charge seriously. We are excited about these steps and look forward to sharing more details with you.”

Going into his second term as president, Bailey has spent 15 years as a governor representing the Cinematographers Branch. The 34th person to hold the president’s office, he is the first cinematographer to hold that title. His credits include “Ordinary People,” “American Gigolo,” “The Big Chill,” “Groundhog Day” and other feature films.

Academy board members may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms, while officers serve one-year terms with a maximum of four consecutive years in any one office.

Term limits will force Bailey to step away from the board following his second term as president.

Bailey’s reappointment comes after he was investigated and publicly cleared by the board earlier this year against an allegation of sexual harassment.

Also re-elected to officer positions were First Vice President Lois Burwell, who is the chair of the Awards and Events Committee; Vice President Nancy Utley, chair of the Education and Outreach Committee; Treasurer Jim Gianopulos, chair of the Finance Committee; and Secretary David Rubin, chair of the Membership and Administration Committee.

Others elected include: Vice President Sid Ganis, chair of the Museum Committee and past president; and a first-time officer, Vice President Larry Karazewski, chair of the Preservation and History Committee.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 8,000 artists, filmmakers and film executives. Besides recognizing excellence through the Oscars, the Academy supports a range of initiatives related to the art and science of motion pictures, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is currently under construction in Los Angeles.

 

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