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LA charter school under review after principal charges $100K

Posted on 07 April 2018 (0)
Photo by Dean Musgrove/Los Angeles Daily News

Photo by Dean Musgrove/Los Angeles Daily News

Just a 10-minute drive from the school, the waiter brought the table a $95 bottle of fine Syrah wine. Dimly-lit Monty’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, with its red booths and white linen, doubled as a high school meeting room that Wednesday night, Principal David Fehte says. And on many other nights.

In 2014 and 2015, Fehte, who leads El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills, charged more than $15,500 at Monty’s to his school-issued American Express card.

“When we’re doing business, we’re doing business,” Fehte said recently as he walked to his BMW in the San Fernando Valley campus parking lot.

He also paid for first-class airfare and luxury hotel rooms with his school-funded credit card.

Fehte acknowledged charging El Camino for personal travel and, after the Daily News inquired, said he reimbursed the public school.

Over the two years, Fehte charged more than $100,000 to the card, according to a Los Angeles Daily News analysis. El Camino receives about $32 million in government funds annually, accounting for 94 percent of its revenue.
Read more…

This investigation prompted investigations by the district and led to the resignation of Fehte and other members of the school’s board of directors.

Here’s the other main story from the investigation:
El Camino High principal moonlighted as NBA scout, billed travel to school

And here’s some of the aftermath:
El Camino Real’s principal to resign under agreement with LAUSD

Which Nashville neighborhoods are doubling up after demolition?

Posted on 06 April 2018 (0)
Wade Payne / For The Tennessean

Wade Payne / For The Tennessean

From his office above a Whole Foods store in upscale Green Hills, John Brittle Jr. and his team of agents target the next affordable Nashville neighborhood for redevelopment.

Brittle, a broker with Parks Realty, is called the “Infill King.” His developer clients rely on him to spot bargain older homes, which they tear down and replace with bigger, more expensive properties.

“For 30 years, real estate agents have been talking about the TSU and Fisk areas,” Brittle said, referring to the neighborhoods surrounding Tennessee State University and Fisk University, two of Nashville’s historically black institutions. “We’re going to see some beautiful stuff there.”

Investors and builders have transformed entire neighborhoods in recent years as Nashville’s appetite for homes soared. Countywide, nearly half of all properties with single structures demolished and new construction approved had two or more residential buildings planned for the lot, according to a Tennessean analysis of Metro Nashville permit data.

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Sempra facility a major polluter long before gas leak

Posted on 25 February 2016 (0)
Map by Mike Reicher

Map by Mike Reicher

Even before a catastrophic well failure turned Aliso Canyon into an international greenhouse-gas pariah, the natural gas storage facility was one of the industry’s worst climate polluters. Carbon dioxide flowed from its heavy machinery, and methane seeped from valves and equipment.

Only two other underground fields in the United States discharged more greenhouse gases in 2014, according to an analysis of the most recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data.

As Porter Ranch residents prepare to return home and regulators tighten well-safety rules, the long-term environmental costs of storing pressurized gas remain.

The facility in the hills above the San Fernando Valley emitted 206,268 combined tons of natural gas, carbon dioxide and other pollutants in 2014, roughly the same amount as 43,000 cars driven for a year.

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions Interactive Map

Streetlight repair times uneven across L.A.

Posted on 31 March 2014 (0)
Streetlight repair interactive map

Streetlight repair interactive map

How long does it take a city electrician to replace a light bulb? It’s not a trick question. The answer: It depends on where you live.

City repair records indicate that residents in some Los Angeles neighborhoods waited an average of eight days to have their lights repaired, while some waited just two.

Repairs lagged both in the city’s wealthiest and poorest districts. With such a wide region to cover, officials struggled to provide even-handed service. Spots of darkness annoyed and unnerved residents across town. Now, the Bureau of Street Lighting may soon ask residents to pay more for maintenance — a proposition that could meet some resistance.

“They’re already paying for those services, and they deserve them,” said Councilman Curren Price Jr., whose South Los Angeles district is among the slowest. “They should have the lights on.”

Bureau of Street Lighting officials blame the delays on equipment, geography, copper theft and budget cuts. Some neighborhoods have 90-year-old systems and the bureau doesn’t stock replacement parts; crews have to wait for orders. And they say it simply takes longer to drive to Brentwood from East Hollywood, where the central maintenance yard is located.

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Vaccination divide holds along class lines

Posted on 31 October 2013 (0)
Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register

Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register

Orange County Register

The doctor with a soothing voice assured her it was safe.

Connie Kraus and her infant son sat down for a “shot talk” in the Capistrano Beach office of famous alternative medicine pediatrician, Dr. Bob Sears. He told her risks of some childhood vaccines outweigh the benefits, said Kraus, who elected for a few immunizations but decided to hold off on measles, mumps and rubella shots.

Years later, Kraus’s friend lectured her about developing infertility from the diseases. Swayed, she vaccinated Munroe at age 8.

“I’m not willing to completely ignore public health concerns,” Kraus said Monday, at Journey School in Aliso Viejo, where her son attends second grade. “I try to take in both sides.”

She’s not alone. As more parents choose to skip or delay vaccinations for their school children, Orange County has developed a health divide. A county report released last week shows that affluent and mostly white communities, especially in South Orange County, have the lowest kindergarten vaccination rates, while lower-income areas are nearly fully immunized.

“Highly educated people are using other sources to question the reasoning behind recommendations for their children,” said Dr. David Nunez, the family health medical director at Orange County Health Care Agency. “People in these areas are exposed to more information and more misinformation.”

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Special Series: School Flight

Posted on 03 December 2011 (0)


Daily Pilot

This three-part series examined the choices parents make about schools in Costa Mesa, Calif., a community whose ethnic and socioeconomic identity has shifted dramatically in recent years.

Many parents take their kids out of local public campuses and enroll in nearby districts or private schools.

Their flight illustrates a larger trend in suburbs across the country. As immigrants continue to move into historically white communities, the established families are choosing to leave their neighborhood campuses.

Over the course of a year, Mike interviewed dozens of parents, and many teachers, children, education experts and administrators. They offered their perspectives and solutions to what many viewed as a serious problem.

School Flight Part 1: Why Mesa Verde families transfer out

School Flight Part 2: Not everyone chooses to leave neighborhood schools

School Flight Part 3: Families return to neighborhood schools

Comments: Readers respond to ‘School Flight’ series

Harlem Landmark May Lose Two Floors

Posted on 17 June 2011 (0)
(John Weiss/Landmarks Preservation Commission)

(John Weiss/Landmarks Preservation Commission)

From the Metro-North station at 125th Street, it is one of the most visible features of the Harlem streetscape: a massive red stone building, covered with black netting, blue scaffolding and plywood boards. Through a gap, bay window frames and ornamental terra cotta rosettes peek out.

But soon, the throngs of commuters who pass by the landmark, the Corn Exchange Bank Building, an 1883-84 Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival structure, will be able to see even less of it. The top two floors will be gone.
On Wednesday, the city’s Department of Buildings issued a permit to demolish the two floors, finding that the building — as it has stood for 125 years — was unsafe.