Friday, June 20, 2014

Del Rey Style #2: St. Geezy Carnival - "You weren't supposed to win"

Tonight the Saint Gerard Majella Festival begins and kicks off another awesome Del Rey summer!
    Like many children in the neighborhood, our girls have been coming to the carnival since before they were born. My wife and I would go the carnival as children before we knew each other. Before they were married, my mother and father would go on dates to the carnival.
     The carnival is the thing to do in summer in Del Rey. There is bumping music, romance and great food. It's a time and place for neighbors and friends to connect and relax. It's a Del Rey summer!
   The girls have seen the carnival attractions arriving all week and are so excited to go. So, last night, we decided to take a walk to the church and watch the rides being assembled. They were working on the carousel, the Superslide, and we even got to see the free-fall tower go up.
   As we were watching the people work, we saw a few neighbors, friends and family out and about. Some would stop to talk. How are the girls? How's the folks? 
   One friend was looking for a pre-school for the fall and asked if could we recommend one. She was looking at a few different schools in the area. We told her about Stoner and what a great year our girl had. She said she would check it out.
    A long time friend who was also a former Stoner TA asked about the charter situation. We told her what happened and that it was over. She said that when she heard about the charter and that we were opposing it, she thought that we were wasting our time and that we couldn't win, but she was glad we were trying. 
   They had money. They have privilege and connections. "You weren't supposed to win." she said. We told her we could not take credit for their exit, in the end, it was the charter's own doing. She insisted that we helped and thanked us for efforts.  She said she would see us at the carnival and was off on her way. 
   As we packed up to head home, the girls were watching the Scrambler go up and were jumping for joy, saying they couldn't wait for today.
  Well, it's TODAY! and now, I can't wait until after work to go to the St. G's Carnival.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cwc director to resign tonight

We have received word that Cwc executive director Amy Held will be submitting her resignation at tonight's Cwc board meeting.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cwc classes over, but cwc still present #2

Two hours ago, the only neighbor who is a cwc sympathizer asked if I could take down my lawn sign.
   I told him it would be gone when cwc was... hour later, our streets were over run by the cwc community.
   Don't we get any respite from cwc traffic even now that the school year has ended?
Neighbor circles looking for parking

Monday, June 16, 2014

LA Times: Charter moving after snafu

The LA Times has reported on the CWC move from Stoner ES to their new dual-loci co-location in Westchester.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

[Flashback] CWC Protest #1 - What's In a Gate?

On Tuesday, October 8, 2013, neighborhood Dely Rey residents held a protest against the CWC Mar Vista co-location on the Stoner Avenue Elementary School campus. The issues ranged from traffic and safety to segregation, competition for resources and unequal conditions on campus.

   The new, separate CWC entrance quite literally was separate and unequal access to education on the same campus.
   The video below, What's in Gate?, was produced from this protest.

My favorite part is 3:34, where a CWC parent describes the situation as a "tree that's dying and the strangler grows around it" and "eventually the rotting one goes away."
     Our school and our community are not dying trees. We will remove any strangling vines from the root so that our tree can flourish. We are alive and well, thank you very much.

IT'S OFFICIAL #6: CWC finds a new home, two in fact

It's really over. For reals. CWC Mar Vista has accepted on offer from LAUSD to have a split co-location next year 2014/15 at Loyola Village Elementary and Kentwood Elementary, both in Westchester, CA.
The new Cwc MV dual-loci co-location is conveniently golf course adjacent.

    Kentwood Elementary is between 3.5 and 4.8 miles from Stoner ES depending on if you go down Speulveda Blvd or if you go up Lincoln Blvd, but the time to get there is about the same. Loyola Village is 1.4 miles from Kentwood.

     LA School Report has more on the move including the $50K moving cost, the multiple site offers made which included Horace Mann** and the laughable re-requesting of co-location at Stoner ES by CWC Board Chairman Josh McLaughlin with an insulting offer of a joint $10K Stoner-Citizen project and a promise of not taking the Stoner Parents' Center:
**Horace Mann had repeatedly incorrectly been identified as 15 MILES away from Stoner ES. This is a gross exaggeration since Mann is only 7 miles from Stoner ES. I guess 5 miles to Westchester was okay, but 7 miles to Inglewood was two miles too many.Worldly citizens, indeed!
7 miles and running: CWC MV cannot handle 2 extra miles to Inglewood.

La Opinion - charter has no classrooms: neighbors want CWC to move

Yesterday, La Opinión ran an article about CWC not having any classroom: Escuela chárter de Los Ángeles no tiene salones. The article talks about the CWC protest at Beaudry but never gives a reason why CWC has to move and then transitions to a section about neighbors wanting it to move.

The article mentions the February 7th protest which was reported by La Opinión, but sadly does not provide a link to their own story. So I will. Here

 The incident about the escaped special needs CWC student is reported. The Horace Mann and split Loyola\Kentwood offers are mentioned.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cwc classes over, but cwc still present

Classes ended for the school year for Cwc this afternoon, but that doesn't mean they are quite gone yet.  The neighborhood is packed with cars right now. It can only mean another Cwc event. Hopefully,  there won't be too many more of these events before cwc has to turn in the keys at the end of the month.

Parking and traffic woes to the end

Really? It says no parking school days,  like today, the last day of school.  Entitlement to the end.

CWC displays grit at LAUSD board meeting

LA School Report gave two sentences to CWC's protest yesterday in a story published today about the LAUSD Board budget meeting. LASR complemented the citizens on their fortitude.

No other media covered the protest.

Del Rey style: Summer of Cumbia

Summer 2014 officially starts on Saturday, June 21 at 3:51 AM. For Stoner Elementary, summer started last Thursday afternoon and for CWC, it starts today. Summer in Del Rey is always special. It's a time of beauty and endless possibilities. It's a time of neighborhood block parties, carnivals, music and dancing. I would like to share one of these Del Rey summers with you.

    In 2009, right across the street from Stoner ES one of these possibilities became a reality.
    Del Rey family and friends came together that summer to create art, love and life. The result was the Summer of Cumbia, the band, and Summer of Cumbia, the album. SOC is local and home grown, but also worldly and cosmopolitan. Summer of Cumbia has songs in multiple language and utilizes a variety of instruments and styles to create a sound that is uniquely Del Rey, but is just as apropos in Bogota, Bordeaux or Busan.
     You may recognize the palm trees on the cover of Summer of Cumbia. They are the palms you see from the Stoner ES playground.
    I invite you to enjoy and make this summer a cumbia summer.

You can check out Summer of Cumbia songs here:
**I would suggest checking out the local hits "Taco Tuesdays" and "Cumbia del verano"

Finally, someone commented that your humble blogger here is a "tireless advocate for ignorance." You, Sir, should definitely check out SOC's second album the Fall of Cumbia, specifically the track "K.I.S.S. (Keep it stupid, Stoopid)" which was written and performed by your humble blogger.
"vamos on until six in the morning..." Tireless advocate of ignorance indeed!

Just a few more hours left.

CWC supporters usurp facilities agenda items at LAUSD board meeting

Yesterday, CWC bused in parents and supporters  to protest in front of LAUSD and provide public comment during the meeting. CWC was not on the agenda and so the supporters used comment time during LAUSD facilities reports to plead their case to the board.

CWC Mar Vista supporter addresses LAUSD board
   This whole experience is turning surreal.
    Last night, I was sitting on my couch watching the board meeting live on TV. CWC parents who I had seen before were on camera. There was a blogger mama, one of the people escorted off St. Gerard property, and Cwc "founding" parents I had met at DRNC meetings. I watched and listened as they made their impassioned pleas for their children and their school.
  I saw parents, who just like me, care about their children, school and their community. People who are willing to fight for what they believe in. People who are willing to put their real name and their face behind their words.
  Unfortunately, just like the co-location at Stoner, CWC really had no business at the meeting and was trying to force themselves where they aren't really wanted. When the CWC comments started, Deasy walked out and didn't return until the comments were done.
   At this point, I don't know what they are fighting for. LAUSD has already made them two offers at other sites, but CWC is insisting on staying at Stoner. Does the CWC community really believe that things would be better if they stayed next year and brought in more traffic and safety problems?
   The CWC administration missing the deadline might be a blessing in disguise.

Today is the last day of school.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CWC protests at Beaudry

This morning, I heard about the protest bus at Stoner ES and it piqued my curiosity. What exactly is it that CWC is protesting: 5 CCR 11969.9(i)? deadlines? their administrations ineptness? or that they should be above the law?  I decided to walk over to Beaudry on my lunch break to check out the protest.

    There were quite a number of people in front of LAUSD headquarters, but I guess that is easy to accomplish when you rent private buses to bring in people.
    Many people had on their CWC corporate logo t-shirts. There were signs about making educating kids a priority, about having equal schools and the fact that CWC was the only charter with no location at this moment.

    I figured I would be able to walk by, check it out and go unnoticed, but boy, did I get noticed by the CWC community. I felt like a rock star. People were following me and trying to get my attention. Multiple cameras were  recording and snapping pictures of me as I walked through the crowd. A throng of CWC supporters even cheered as I walked by when they recognized me. Wow, and I was considering not going.

   What a protest! I know how hard organizing a protest can be and so, I applaud CWC in their effort to defy state law. Kudos! You rebels, don't let anyone tell you when you have to hand in your paperwork!

...if only CWC had put this much effort into complying with the law, then all these good people would not have had to waste their time asking LAUSD to ignore state regulations.

CWC classes should be out for the day already. Only 1 day left.

CWC "protest" bus headed to LAUSD board meeting, CWC not on the agenda

Just a bit ago, I started receiving reports from neighbors and Stoner community regarding a CWC "protest" bus parked in the back of Stoner ES campus.
  After receiving a pep talk, about a dozen CWC parents and children piled into the bus. Some parents had signs.
  (To those CWC parents on the bus reading this right now, "Hello! If you really enjoy coming to our campus, you might want to consider enrolling you child at Stoner ES. We have a strong API and involved parents. We will have music and dance programs next. All are welcome at Stoner. You don't have to win the lotto to get in, but once you meet our teachers, you'll feel like to did win.")

  This is a very interesting move on the part of CWC. I'm not exactly sure what they are going to protest...deadlines? Are they going to say state regulations should not apply to them...because, you know, mindfulness and grit?
    LA School Report wrote yesterday that CWC is not on the agenda for today's LAUSD board meeting but is showing up en masse to protest the school's eviction.

    It's surprising that CWC claims they are not privileged, yet, they have enough money to rent a bus so that their parents and community can protest a costly "procedural" error caused solely by the CWC administration.  

One and a half days of school left.

The end is nigh #3...and

Two more days and classes end for Cwc.
    Today, Cwc parents are trying to meet with LAUSD administration. That's probably why the media is currently in a frenzy over the dis-location of the Stoner co-location.

    It's interesting that when we were contacting these media outlets in fall and winter, few responded, but now that Cwc, a charter school, is asking for help and claiming they are the victims, the media is paying a little more attention.

Two more days.

KCRW: Which way LA - "Del Residents Keen on Forcing out new charter"

KCRW's Which Way LA ran a report on the problems with the CWC co-location on the Stoner Elementary School campus.  CWC Executive Director Amy Held and Brian Rief, DRRA vice president, were interviewed for the piece. Noticeably missing from the discussion were voices from the Stoner ES community and LAUSD.

You can listen to the broadcast and read about it here:
KCRW runs story on CWC problems

    In the interview, CWC Director Held makes some wild allegations and tries to spin a story where CWC is the victim of bullying by the local neighborhood where CWC wants to co-locate, and not a victim of its own ineptness and failure to comply with state regulation.
    She states that there is small, vocal minority in the neighborhood that is anti-charter and anti-co-location, and whose actions have culminated in violence, including graffiti, a staff member's car being intentional rear ended and, of course, the tossed cigarette infraction.
   First off, I didn't know graffiti was considered violence, but, besides that, it is not a small, vocal minority that is solely anti-charter and/or anti-co-location, there are a large groups of Stoner parents and residents who are upset for different reasons  at the conditions caused by the co-location. These groups are being represented by community leaders who have stepped up to speak for both the residents and Stoner ES community. I've previously written on the graffiti here and here, and on the tossed cigarette infraction here and a here. As for the intentional rear ending, just like the cigarette infraction, I have heard rumors that your humble blogger here was the perpetrator, who, in this case, intentional rammed a car, then backed up and rammed the car again before driving off I don't know what to make of that. There was probably an accident involving the CWC community and now it's been exaggerated into a demolition derby-targeting of the CWC community. I had nothing to do with it and it definitely was not part of some grand master plan.
    To claim that a small group of neighbors' organizing to fight for their neighborhood and to protect their local school culminated in violence, graffiti, ramming a car and throwing a cigarettes at a baby is just absurd.
   Since we are on the topic of the absurd, Held's claim that moving the school would be a problematic since many parents walk and bike to school is just that. I can't even believe that she would try to claim something so patently untrue.  The majority of the CWC community comes from outside of the service area of Stoner ES. As such, the vast majority of CWC students are driven into the area, which creates the traffic problems, and then the parents park in the neighborhood, creating parking problems, and walk their kids to school. So, yes, there is a large number of CWC who walk to school, but only after having been driven in many miles from outside of the area.

   Held tries to brush off the missed deadline (which is the real reason CWC will not be co-locating at Stoner) as a mere procedural error.  This was not a procedural error, it was lack of compliance with a state regulation. I've previously written about the missed deadline here and here. CWC did not comply with a state mandated regulation and now its community is suffering the consequences of this failure by the CWC administration.
    This missed deadline is representative of the root issue of many of the problems we have experienced with CWC: CWC refuses to follow the rules. Whether it is creating unsafe conditions on campus by leaving their gate unlocked, open and unattended, allowing CWC parents and teachers to enter the shared students only bathroom, or creating health and privacy issues by hosing down a sick, naked student on campus; CWC has shown that it believes the rules do not apply to them. In this case, this lack of respect has cost them dearly.

    The topic of the "community" dinner came up, I had previously covered that here, here and here. Only 4 people from each side attended. The silence from both sides was deafening.

     Finally, Held mentioned that CWC had been given another offer this weekend, but gave no further details as to where they might be locating.
     When I know more, you'll be able to read about it here. The adventures continue....

KTLA 5: Eviction of CWC from Stoner ES

Tonight, KTLA 5 ran a story on the eviction of CWC Mar Vista from Stoner ES campus.  The piece touches on many different problems cause by the co-location including the separate and unequal conditions on campus.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The end is nigh #2 ...and now

About an hour ago, a cousin of mine who lives in Westchester called to tip me that his neighbor, who is a CWC Mar Vista parent, was being interview by KTLA 5 about the co-location. (My cousin also mentioned that he had been reading the blog and enjoying the adventure. What up, Cuz!)

    A few minutes ago as we were listening to the KCRW radio report on the CWC co-location, KTLA 5 showed up knocking on our door. We spoke to the reporter and let them know our concerns as Stoner ES parents. The broadcast will air on tonight's 10 o'clock news.

The end is nigh...and now the press is interested.

Just two more days of school left for CWC and then the co-location is over, but it looks like there might be a bit of juice left in them bones.  Today, reporters from the LA Times were poking around the neighborhood and asking questions about the co-location. Also, KCRW has requested an interview from a Stoner parent for one of their programs.
   I will keep you posted on these up coming reports. Plus, you can always check back here to get you adventure in co-location fix. I've got a few more reports left...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

IT'S OFFICIAL #5: Regarding the May 1st dead line

It's very interesting that CWC administration is claiming that they were blindsided by missing the May 1st deadline to file their paperwork regarding the co-location at Stoner Elementary. They would have been well aware of this deadline because it is a important part of the law that governs charter co-locations, heck, even I knew about the May 1 deadline.

  On February 4, LAUSD released a letter to the Stoner ES community in response to the 188 petitions sent to the district the week before. The letter was about the Prop 39 process and listed important dates including the May 1st deadline. The letter also mentions a February 10 meeting where LAUSD again explained the co-location process and dates were outlined. At this point in time we were being told that the charter would stay and this was the process.

    These dates are not arbitrary or flexible dates chosen by LAUSD, but they are dates set out in the California Code of Regulations: Title 5. Education, Division 1. California Department of Education, Chapter 11. Special Programs, Subchapter 19. Charter Schools, Article 3. Facilities for Charter Schools, Section 11969.9 Procedures and Timeline for the Request for, Reimbursement for, and Provisions of, Facilities.

 Specifically, 5 CCR 11969.9(i) states:  "The charter school must notify the school district in writing whether or not it intends to occupy the offered space. This notification must occur by May 1 or 30 days after the school district notification pursuant to subdivision (h), whichever is later. The charter school's notification can be withdrawn or modified before this deadline. After the deadline, if the charter school has notified the school district that it intends to occupy the offered space, the charter school is committed to paying the pro rata share amount as identified. If the charter school does not notify the school district by this deadline that it intends to occupy the offered space, then the space shall remain available for school district programs and the charter school shall not be entitled to use facilities of the school district in the following fiscal year."

   So, it clearly states that the charter school must reply in writing to the final offer by May 1. If the charter does not reply by the deadline, the space remains available for the school district and the charter school will not be entitled to use the facilities.

    So, there you have it. CWC did not comply with the law and respond by the deadline, therefore, they are not entitled to the facilities. The space will remain available for Stoner. All other arguments are moot.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Mindful Citizen behavior on display just now

I was walking down Stoner Avenue just a few minutes ago, on my way back from work. I noticed more cars then usual for a Friday and saw people in the Stoner campus. I realized there must be some kind of CWC event going on.
   As I turned the corner on Lindblade, I see a car next to the school, parked half in the red and half blocking a driveway. I thought I should take a picture, but I figured there is no need to belabor the issue at this point.
   A women walks out of the CWC buzzer gate and goes to the car. I look at her, sigh and shake my head then continue walking home.
  A moment later she drives by flicking me off and yelling "I was just loading, asshole!" Oh, okay...but there was a legal, open parking spot 10 feet in front of her.

    There are only a few more days until the end of the CWC school year, then the residents of Stoner, Lindblade and Wagner can return to the quite enjoyment of our neighborhood.