Urgency is required. The hillside is already being scraped.
I encourage all Palisadians and nearby communities to learn about the eldercare facility planned for Palisades Drive. There are many troubling aspects to this development. The following will impact most of us.
1. The facility is in a designated Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, with one main road for ingress/egress. It is located at the gateway of our highest fire risk neighborhood, putting eldercare residents and our firefighters at greater risk during hands-on evacuations.
2. The project as approved is in direct violation of the City’s Planning and Zoning Code and the California Coastal Act, and required judicial intervention. A judicial appeal is now the required remedy.
3. The eldercare industry is highly regulated. We can expect industry regulations to become more stringent post-COVID, including requirements of more square footage per resident. This project does not contemplate new regulations, nor, to the best of my knowledge, does it have a professional and experienced eldercare operator to run it after completion.
Without certainty about changes in the industry, the project may quickly become uneconomic. As a result, the developer might then apply for an alternate use accommodation from the City of LA.
Our Councilman, Mike Bonin, stated clearly and emphatically during last week’s PPCC meeting (July 23) that he would not allow an alternate use. That was indeed good to hear. But we cannot rely on the good intentions of one person to ensure a positive outcome. We need to oppose the project as presented and go back to square one in the process.
4. A 280-foot-long retaining wall was revealed on a city website at the very last moment and just prior to the approval of building permits. No such wall appears in the drawings available to the public, but such a wall, or worse, a stacking of shorter walls, will be a blight on the landscape impacting our beloved hiking trails. A football field length of concrete is not in keeping with good environmental stewardship.
I welcome development of eldercare facilities that focus on resident safety and comply with LA zoning codes. This project does not meet minimum standards. Please join me in opposition to this ill-conceived development by writing to Councilman Mike Bonin and spreading the word among your friends and neighbors.
Post on Nextdoor. Write to the LA Times. Talk to your friends in other coastal communities who care about the environment and the potential of setting a precedent for future coastal development. Thank you!
‘Progress Is Passing the H.R.4’
On July 17 we lost a hero. Representative John Lewis (D-GA), aka “the conscience of Congress” and a civil rights icon, passed from pancreatic cancer.
A young teenager in the midst of revolution, he chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington and bravely walked the frontlines of the Selma to Montgomery March. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed, eliminating discriminatory voting practices such as poll taxes and literacy tests that have historically barred African-American people from voting. His activism is a testament to the political power of young people.
However, 2013 Shelby County v. Holder stripped the Voting Rights Act of several provisions that protected minority voters against discriminatory voting practices. It was declared that the process of choosing which states should be subjected to preclearance was unconstitutional. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, when preclearance was gutted from the VRA, the median purge rates in counties previously covered increased by 40%.
I recently learned about this supreme court decision while doing research for my school club, Human Rights Watch Student Task Force, which is preparing to launch a young voter registration campaign for the upcoming November election.
I had never heard of voter suppression before, and I especially never knew that young people were specifically targeted. As a young person who is on the cusp of voting, I care to see this change.
Modern-day voter suppression efforts exist as strict voter ID laws, voter registration restrictions, voter roll purges, felony disenfranchisement and gerrymandering. Moreover, these tactics are proven to disproportionately affect people of color, particularly African-Americans.
For example, Georgia’s exact-match voter registration law in 2018 stipulated that voter’s names on registration records must exactly match those on the approved forms of ID, an unnecessary and obstructive requirement. This disenfranchised many voters, 80% of which were POC.
In addition, according to a 2013 study co-authored by Cathy J. Cohen of University of Chicago and Jon C. Rogowski of Harvard University, 66.5% of Black youth were asked for photo ID in states that do not require ID at all by law.
Many of these seemingly innocent but discriminatory practices masquerade as preventing voter impersonation, however, time and time again, studies have debunked this myth. The truth is that eligible voters are being disenfranchised which is why we need the H.R.4. or Voting Rights Advancement Act to be passed.
The H.R.4, sponsored by Representative Terri A. Sewell (AL-07), restores the preclearance requirement in the VRA, requiring any changes made to a state or political subdivision’s voting process to be pre-approved by the Department of Justice. This requirement would only apply to state or political subdivisions who have had voting rights violations occur in the past 25 years.
While the implementation of this law would be undoubtedly transformative, it has not even been given a chance due to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) reluctance to open progressive bills such as H.R.4 onto the Senate floor (H.R.4 was passed by the House on December 6, 2019).
In a statement on Congressman John Lewis’ passing, McConnell stated, “But progress is not automatic. Our great nation’s history has only bent toward justice because great men like John Lewis took it upon themselves to help bend it.” I find this statement confusing considering that he’s been postponing the resolution of voting inequity for over seven months, an issue Lewis deeply cared about and risked his life for.
The way to truly honor Congressman John Lewis and the work of countless others who sacrificed their lives in the fight for justice is to pass the H.R.4. As House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) put it, “It should be called the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020.”
Is progress automatic? Absolutely not. We can’t sit idly by expecting progress to happen on its own accord. Progress is passing the H.R.4. We owe it to John Lewis to continue bending the arc.
Rising Senior, Palisades Charter High School
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