Monday, January 05, 2009

from the Downtown News:: READY FOR A MEGA YEAR: School is in Session + LEADERS OF THE PACK: Monica Garcia

imageIn the fall, the $232 million High School for the Visual and Performing Arts will open. LAUSD officials still have to hire a staff and decide who will be able to attend the state-of-the-art facility. Photo by Gary Leonard.

from Ready for a Mega Year  by Anna Scott

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - One of the biggest stories of 2009 will be the economy, and some of the signature projects Downtown Los Angeles has long awaited - the Grand Avenue plan, Park Fifth, etc. - are in question. Yet, despite the fears and uncertainties, the community this year will see the debut of several mega-developments, ones that began construction during the boom cycle and that have the power to continue to help transform the area. From skyscrapers that will house more stakeholders to an underground transit line that will make commuting into the Central City easier, these projects will all have a major impact on the people who live, work and visit Downtown.

School Is in Session: Jan 5 - The Los Angeles Unified School District's $232 million, 1,700-seat High School for the Visual and Performing Arts will open for classes this fall. The 238,000-square-foot campus at 450 N. Grand Ave. includes a 950-seat auditorium and 140-foot tower; the eye-catching (some say audacious) project is designed by Austrian firm Coop Himelb(l)au. The school will feature music, dance, visual arts and performing arts academies. However, with only months until it opens, a few key issues have not been decided, such as how much of the student body will come from outside Downtown, and whether the school will be enveloped by the LAUSD, or if it will have some charter-like independence.


from Leaders of the Pack by Jon Regardie: Elected Officials Who Will Be at the Center of Things in 2009

Fresh off her ouster of former LAUSD Supt. David Brewer, school board President Monica Garcia has put herself in a position of power. Photo by Gary Leonard.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - In the grand scheme of things, with scheme being the operative word, the political scene in 2008 in Downtown was pretty quiet. The scandals were less fantastic than in previous years, the local elections were a far second in terms of excitement to the vote for president, and the city's rock star politician, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was on good behavior as he worked hard to bounce back from a disastrous 2007.          Will it be more of the same in 2009? Hard to tell at this point. We expect there will be some surprises (there always are), but for right now, expect the five figures below to be the ones to spur movement in Downtown Los Angeles

Monica Garcia: Jan 5 - The president of the school board last year led the effort to get rid of Superintendent David Brewer. It came off clunky, but the key is, she got him out and her guy in, and in politics, results are what matters. Garcia has the ear of Villaraigosa (though some say she's just doing his bidding) and she sits at the head of a school board where her side has the majority. With billons coming to the LAUSD after voters approved a school bond proposition last year, Garcia has power and is ready to use it.

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