Park Planning

Parks make life better, providing greenspace and relief from the developed areas around town, shade trees and open spaces for those seeking solace, and amenities for recreation and activities. Many parks are the focal point or primary gathering place for a neighborhood. Many happy memories are made at parks. But parks don’t just happen. They have to be planned for, designed and built. How many parks does a community need? Where should they be located? What amenities should they include? Park planners and landscape architects often assume the creative and…

Parents Unite to Challenge School Board

Dennine Roberts (who asked to use a pseudonym), a mother of two Westlake High School students, didn’t pay much attention to school board meetings before this academic year. Now she’s watching “every eye-stabbing, painstaking minute of them.” The reason? The Conejo Valley Unified School District Board has fumbled its way through scheduling and repeatedly failed to put students back on campus. On January 15, the school board announced that students would not be returning to campus for a second semester as planned.  “They’re not learning anything,” says Angie Klifman of…

Mental Health, Youth Suicide, COVID Lockdowns, and Teachers Unions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 6 percent of U.S. children aged 6 through 17 are afflicted with autism, severe anxiety, depression, trauma-related mental health conditions, and other serious emotional or behavioral difficulties. Due to forced school lockdowns, many of these children who depend on schools for access to vital therapies are being deprived. Therefore, it is not surprising that mental health problems account for a growing proportion of children’s visits to hospital emergency rooms. In November, the CDC reported that from March 2020, when the…

The New COVID Crisis: Mental Health

The events of 2020 have affected individuals and families, our senior citizens, and our youth, profoundly affecting almost every human being worldwide.  A specific age group is most at risk of feeling the impact of 2020’s chaos and tumult for months and, dare I say, years to come. Children and teens are being affected beyond what the eye can see, and if history and research is any indication, we are about to experience a systemic mental health epidemic across America. It is time for politicians, school board members, parents, and…

Commentary: Democrats and Republicans Want to Know

Can you remember when you visited your first polling station and filled out your first ballot to vote?   Though it was new to me, I could sense this was something important and significant. After casting my vote, I felt strangely fulfilled, proud, and invigorated. I trusted the system and felt a new reverence for my country. Voting was something that I could do that actually mattered. I was confident in the process and was excited to learn the results.   This “confidence” in the election system is the engine that drives our…

Los Angeles District Attorneys: Prop 20

As prosecutors who see how changes in the law actually play out in the justice system, we strongly support Proposition 20 which appears on the November ballot. Proposition 20 will make reasonable changes to fix some of the unintended consequences caused by Propositions 47 and 57 and AB 109 to make them comport with that for which the voters were told they were voting. Early Release for Violent Crimes When voters enacted Proposition 57, they were told it provided early release for “nonviolent offenders.”  Unfortunately, due to the way Prop…

California Bills Newsom has Signed into Law

AB 979 (Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena) AB 979 requires quotas based on race, ethnic, sexual preference, and transgender status for publicly held corporations headquartered in California. By the end of 2021 corporations need to have at least one board member from an underrepresented community, such as people of color or LGBT people. Corporations would be fined if they fail to comply, and the target would increase in 2022, requiring at least two or three directors from underrepresented communities, depending on the size of the board. AB 2218 (Miguel Santiago, D-Los…

California Senate Bills Leave Children Unprotected

Since Megan’s Law was enacted in 1996, new legislation related to California’s sex offender registry has been limited. California Senate Bill 384 and Senate Bill 145 represent new legislation affecting which sex offenders are placed on the Sex Offender Registry and for how long they must remain on that list.  Current law requires sex offenders to register for life, but SB 384, which was signed into legislation in October 2017 and takes effect on January 1, 2021, amends that requirement. The bill changes the registry so that a majority of…

Children’s school alternatives: “Considering all the options”

Robert E. Lee, B.S, M.S. and Ph.D., graduated from UC Berkeley in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is a local resident with an interest in science and socio-cultural issues. No one can predict what education will look like in the fall of 2020.  Will students have to wear face masks? Will there be full-time school, or will some teaching be taught online? Will children be held to rigorous standards? How will children be socially distanced? Will children have recess? Will children wear masks, be separated by plexiglass, or stay…

Renewables can spark our recovery from the pandemic

Letter to the Editor

In follow up to the May 17 UK Guardian article “Coal industry will never recover after the coronavirus pandemic, say experts”, by Jonathon Watts and Jillian Ambrose. Sometimes opportunity comes when we least expect it. COVID-19 has exposed how unprepared we were to plan ahead – even when we have been forewarned time and time again by the experts, i.e. the entire scientific community. Thousands of lost lives and the near collapse of our economy could have been avoided with a minimal amount of planning. As we begin to recover…