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February 27, 2014 | By Howard Blume, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
Maintaining Los Angeles Unified campuses will be difficult because of staffing and funding shortages combined with repair backlogs, aging buildings and more than 100 new schools, officials said Thursday. During a meeting of a committee that oversees the spending of school construction bonds, the grim picture was illustrated by two contrasting photos. The first showed the school district plumbing team from the 1990s. Squeezing into the frame are 23 people. That present-day team, photographed in January, numbered 10. In the meantime, district property has increased substantially, from about 53 million square feet in 2001 to about 67 million square feet, according to the facilities division.
February 23, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Is there a better symbol of Los Angeles' mismanagement than its miles and miles of sidewalks broken, buckled and twisted by tree roots? These concrete chasms and mini-mountains have made many of L.A.'s walkways nearly impassable for people in wheelchairs or those pushing strollers or those who are less sure-footed. Yet the mayor and City Council have consistently punted on long-term, politically difficult decisions required to address the problem, and their inaction costs taxpayers about $4 million a year to settle trip-and-fall lawsuits.
February 6, 2014 | By Howard Blume
Critics of a $1-billion school computer project in Los Angeles have launched an increasingly popular Facebook page asserting that the money should be spent instead on campus repairs. The page, called “Repairs Not IPads,” was started anonymously but has been supplied with ample comments and pictures by school staff. The images include missing ceiling tiles, broken sinks and water fountains, ant invasions, dead roaches and rat droppings. The creators describe the page as, “a place for teachers & the community to document neglected school repairs while construction bond $$ is diverted to purchase iPads.” Overall, many teachers have supported the technology program in the L.A. Unified School District, while many others have expressed concerns.
February 4, 2014 | By David Zahniser
Looking for new ways to fix buckled and broken sidewalks, Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield called Tuesday for the reinstatement of a program that allows private property owners to pay a portion of the repair bill. Blumenfield , who represents part of the west San Fernando Valley, said he wants to make it possible for property owners to pay up to 75% of the cost of repairing their sidewalks. The effort would resemble a cost-sharing program that ended in 2009 amid a city financial crisis.
January 30, 2014 | By Carla Rivera
Michael V. Drake, who as chancellor of UC Irvine enhanced the school's reputation as a first-rate research institution and boosted enrollment, was named Thursday as the new president of Ohio State University. Drake's appointment was announced at a meeting of the Board of Trustees in Columbus. He was the consensus candidate, officials said. "He is exactly the right leader at the right moment in the university's history as we address the challenges of affordability and access, while building on the already strong momentum we have generated at Ohio State in increasing the university's academic excellence," board Chairman Robert H. Schottenstein said.
January 24, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
When the Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act last year, it seemed impossible that a divided Congress would be able to agree on new legislation that would satisfy the court's concerns and restore robust enforcement of the landmark civil rights law. But a creative new proposal may confound the cynics. Last June, the court by a 5-4 vote struck down the formula used in the Voting Rights Act to determine which states and localities must "pre-clear" voting procedures with the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington.
January 18, 2014 | By Carren Jao
It was a broken kitchen hood that started it all. First the hood, then the refrigerator, then the air-conditioning system. But rather than replace everything, ABC-Disney executive Jana Winograde and her husband, actor Todd Sandler, saw an opportunity to rethink the home in which they had been living for nine years. Daughters Dylan, 9, and Riley, 11, needed a space of their own. "Our kids were getting older," Winograde said. "They really had nowhere to be with their friends that was separate except their bedrooms.
January 4, 2014 | Steve Lopez
I learned two things when Deborah Murphy of Silver Lake sent me an email in mid-December. First, there's a pedestrian-advocacy organization in our car-crazed metropolis, and it goes by the name of Los Angeles Walks. Second, there's a city of L.A. Pedestrian Advocacy Committee. Murphy is executive director of the former, chair of the latter, and she wanted to know if I could meet with her to discuss a development she's not happy about. Namely, there's the possibility of a $3-billion street repair bond measure on the November ballot this year, but as currently conceived, it would fix only the worst of L.A.'s streets and do nothing for the city's abominable sidewalks.
December 23, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
NASA astronauts will make a second spacewalk in their effort to repair the International Space Station on Tuesday, and you can watch it live, right here. The Christmas Eve spacewalk begins at 4:10 a.m. PST, but if you happen to be up even earlier, NASA's coverage will begin at 3:15 a.m. And late sleepers, take comfort: The spacewalk is scheduled to last about 6 1/2 hours, and you can tune in any time. GRAPHIC: NASA's spacesuit Tuesday's spacewalk is the second to fix a problem with a pump in one of the space station's two external ammonia cooling loops.
December 21, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
The first in a series of emergency spacewalks to fix a cooling system failure on the International Space Station went off without a hitch Saturday morning. In fact, it went so well that the two spacewalkers, NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins, were able to get a headstart on some of the tasks planned for their next spacewalk scheduled for Monday. The emergency spacewalks were arranged last week to fix a problem with a pump in one of the space station's two external ammonia cooling loops that help keep instruments both inside and outside the station from overheating.
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