About Steve Scauzillo

I love journalism. I've been working in journalism for 32 years. I love communicating and now, that includes writing about environment, transportation and the foothill/Puente Hills communities of Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Diamond Bar. I write a couple of columns, one on fridays in Opinion and the other, The Green Way, in the main news section. Send me ideas for stories. Or comments. I was opinion page editor for 12 years so I enjoy a good opinion now and then.

Diamond Bar holds meet and greet for new park

Lennar Homes held its meet and greet with neighbors Saturday, Jan. 26, to help determine what will be included in a new, two-acre park.

The park is part of a proposed 200-house development on what was known as Site D, at Brea Canyon Road and Diamond Bar Boulevard.

The land was sold by Walnut Valley Unified School District for $40 million. The district hopes the escrow will close by July.

Meanwhile, the developer is moving to ready the property. That included a tour and a discussion with neighbors on what the new park will look like.

 

Read the story in the www.sgvtribune by clicking the link below or copy and pasting to your browser

http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_22454181/40-million-residential-project-moving-forward-diamond-bar

Diamond Bar city attorney quits

Diamond Bar city attorney resigns after 17 years with city; City Council to meet Friday morning

DIAMOND BAR – Citing personal reasons, the city attorney for Diamond Bar has terminated his contract after 17 years, according to City Manager James DeStefano.

Michael Jenkins, a founding partner with Jenkins & Hogin, submitted his letter of resignation dated Jan. 16 to the City Council, which will meet at 7:30 a.m. Friday in a hastily-called special session at the Grand Conference Room at City Hall, 21810 Copley Drive.

The City Council will discuss the city attorney situation in closed session and is not expected to announce any action, DeStefano said.

Apparently, the decision took the City Council by surprise.

“It has been a good relationship,” said Councilwoman Carol Herrera. “We don’t know what the reasons are. We will discuss it tomorrow,” she said on Thursday.

DeStefano has advised the City Council he would like to begin a search for a new city attorney as soon as possible, he said during a phone interview Thursday.

“He (Jenkins) has terminated his service agreement with us,” DeStefano said, emphasizing that the city did not initiate the action. “The meeting is for the City Council to provide me with direction on what steps to take in providing them with a new legal firm.”

Jenkins gave the city until April 17 to find a new legal firm. Until then, associate John C. Cotti will serve in his place, DeStefano said. Jenkins also is city attorney for Hermosa Beach, Rolling Hills, West Hollywood and the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, according to his website.

 

Special Diamond Bar City Council mtg on Friday, 7:30 a.m.

I’m not exactly clear on what this is about, but I’ll give you what I know so far:

The Diamond Bar City Council will hold a special meeting at 7:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 25, to discuss the contract for the city attorney.

On the official agenda, it says the City Council will meet in closed session “for the purpose of discussion of  … public employment city attorney.”

The current city attorney is Michael Jenkins.

The meeting will be held in the Grand Conference Room, at
City Hall, 21810 Copley Dr., Diamond Bar, Calif.

For more information, residents can call: City Clerk Tommye Cribbens at: 909-839-7010.
-steve scauzillo

626-544-0843

Moving the green movement into the cities

Steve Scauzillo: Moving the green movement to the cities

Posted:   01/19/2013 06:17:55 AM PST
Updated:   01/19/2013 07:18:54 PM PST

 

Grand Park, a new urban green space in the civic center area of Los Angeles on January. 12, 2013. (SGVN/Staff photo by Steve Scauzillo)

I hate to get all bourgeois on you, but the eye does not lie.

The last time I ventured into the civic center area of downtown Los Angeles was to spend the day with the protesters of Occupy L.A. for a story. Their pitched battle with banks and government began and ended on the south lawn of City Hall. The place was a dynamic confluence of ingenuity and civil disobedience. The squatters, the solar arrays, the organic cannabis and carrot plants, the smells are forever etched in my brain – one of the most incredible views of downtown I can ever recall.

But after they were unceremoniously removed by LAPD, the grounds looked like Charlie Sheen’s hotel room after an all-night party.

Last Saturday, as I walked the new landscaping at City Hall, the eye couldn’t escape the native plants, the decomposed granite pathways, the new trees and greenery. It looked darn good – like a great city’s landmark should.

But the most striking changes that registered with me and my wife, Karen, came as we walked the steps and terraces of the county’s new Grand Park, a 12-acre urban space stretching from iconic City Hall on the east to The Music Center on the west.

In Google map terms, it goes from Spring Street to Hope Street.

When your feet reach Hope Street, the views of the Art Deco City Hall are breathtaking. The other not-so-architecturally significant buildings seem to have been given a face-lift by the new park, revitalized by the plants, public art and the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain.

Olive trees and Japanese cherry trees are just a few of 140 species of plants that mix together in a way, well, in a way that Angelenos themselves do. The new park is a terraced landscape with a performance lawn for concerts and group yoga, an event lawn for music and book festivals, farmers’ markets and gourmet food trucks, and a fountain plaza that includes a Starbucks, an ATM and the modular Metro Red Line Civic Center station.

Still, the first thing that strikes the eye are not the plants or the fountain, but the magenta tables and chairs. The design choice by architecture and landscape architect Rios Clementi Hale Studios may be the icing on this tiered cake.

The lawn furniture are moveable, so you can arrange them in a circle for a group chat or drag one off to the side for some me time.

While the park does not pack the wallop of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Central Park in Manhattan, it definitely has made an impact on downtown Los Angeles. It’s part of the transformation of downtown L.A. that’s been going on for a couple decades.

Green, urban spaces turn me on. They are shafts of light piercing an urban/suburban darkness. They can be the only lawn a family can spread out and have a picnic. They can be the only space a kid can run with his dog and be safe.

Grand Park is not just a park for attorneys, clerks and city and county employees to sip lattes in between court cases. It’s a tremendous green oasis in L.A. for all of us. Yes, check your Google maps. I’d bet many of us live closer to Grand Park than you’d think. And on weekends, the drive is traffic-free.

Or leave the car in the garage and take Metro’s Silverline from El Monte or the Orange Line from the San Fernando Valley. The Gold Line light-rail from Pasadena or Montebello works just fine as well. And you save on parking meters.

I like it better when there’s no planned activity at the park. But that’s me, always seeking solitude.

After wandering the Grand Park, we headed for a french dip sandwich at Cole’s on East Sixth Street.

The end of a perfect day.

The environmental movement needs to think more about greening up our cities. It’s where the people are at. And though a green space in the middle of buildings may not be a natural ecosystem, it is saving a species: our own.


Steve Scauzillo covers the environment and transportation. He’s the current recipient of the Aldo Leopold Award for Distinguished Editorial Writing from The Wilderness Society. Follow him on Twitter @stevscaz/twitter.com or email him at steve.scauzillo@sgvn.com.

26 Remembered

St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church in Hacienda Heights will hold a candlelight vigil tonight, 7 p.m., to remember the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The night of prayers and candle lighting takes place on the one-month anniversary of the senseless shooting in which a lone gunman killed 20 first-graders and six staff members inside the Newtown, Conn. school.

Monday night’s event, “26 Remembered,” is organized by Pastor Lowell Edward and will be held outside, on the grounds.

Cards will be provided to write encouragement notes.

The church is located at 15653 E. Newton St., in Hacienda Heights.

-steve scauzillo

Walnut to honor military reservists

Councilman Tom King has arranged for members of B Company, 1st Battalion of the California State Military Rerserve in Azusa to be honored at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the Walnut City Council meeting.

These volunteers drill out of the Azusa Armory and support National Guard Soldiers from all over the San Gabriel Valley and Southern California who are deploying overseas in Afghanistan.

 

state of Diamond Bar

There is a trend these days of mayors giving speeches highlighting how their cities are doing. Usually, they gloss over the bad stuff and emphasize the positive.

I don’t know if that is the route that Diamond Bar Mayor Ling-Ling Chang will take. But Chang, who was in Washington D.C. lobbying for 57-60 Freeway funds, will be giving the Diamond Bar “State of the City” speech at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 22 at the Diamond Bar Center, 1600 Grand Ave.

That is two days after the next Diamond Bar City Council meeting, which will be Tuesday, March 20.

Chang in D.C.

Diamond Bar Mayor Ling-Ling Chang concluded her ad-hoc remarks quickly Tuesday night, saying she was catching a red-eye flight to Washington D.C.
Today, her Facebook page indicates she’s checked into the Prime Rib restaurant in our nation’s capital for lunch with Rosemead Mayor Steven Ly.
Chang said she was going to help attract funding for the “57/60 (freeways) confluence” project.
I’ll think of them the next time I’m changing lanes in the confluence of death, the other name given for where those two freeways come together in Diamond Bar. I’ll be there tomorrow night.

Jim Lloyd remembered

The West Covina City Council adjourned its meeting Tuesday night in honor of former councilman-turned-congressman Jim Lloyd, who passed away Thursday in Florida.

Lloyd served on the West Covina City Council from 1968 to 1975 and immediately afterward was elected to Congress where he served three terms from 1976 to 1981. The centrist Democrat lost to upstart Republican David Dreier, who remains in office today.

In addition, Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, was getting ready to adjourn the state Assembly in Lloyd’s honor.

Lloyd was a Navy pilot in World War II and Korea and also served as public information director of Guantanamo Bay in 1962 during the cuban missile crisis. He lived in West Covina with his wife, Jackie Vaughan Lloyd, until recently. Lloyd moved to Cameron Park, near Sacramento, to be with his son, Brian, 57, after his wife passed away last year.

Lloyd, 89, died after crashing his 2003 Acura on Scenic Highway in Pensacola. He was visiting his son, Seth, who is training to be a Navy pilot. Lloyd apparently sustained a massive stroke and lost control of the car. He died 11 days later. No one else was injured in the solo-car crash.

The story is one of the most clicked on stories I’ve written. I keep getting emails and phone calls about Lloyd, whom as far as I can recall, was the only West Covina council member to be elected to Congress.

Eileen Spiegelman, the former co-owner of Marty’s Restaurant, called me today and said she wanted to send her condolences to Lloyd’s son, Brian. She said Jim was “a very frequent customer.” She called Jim “a wonderful person.”

Marty’s Restaurant, formerly located at Vincent Avenue and West Covina Parkway, was a place where city hall types, judges and lawyers from the nearby courthouse would meet for lunch and dinner, she said.

She said Lloyd was a regular customer.

People can send letters and cards to Chris Freeland, deputy city manager, West Covina City Hall, 1444 West Garvey Ave., West Covina, CA 91793. There is no iinformation on any memorial service. Brian said his father would be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in the summer.

-steve scauzillo
@stevscaz/twitter.com
steve.scauzillo@sgvn.com

A forgotten milestone

In Jay Chen’s 2011 Year-in-review, he mentioned various milestones from 2011 for the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District. These included a failed recall attempt against him, a HLPUSD board ;member, and his free college application seminars.

But what he did not mention may be more important:
The changing of the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. School will start three weeks earlier and end three weeks earlier. The change was controversial and may be trend- setting.
Here’s a section from our story which ran in December:

The Hacienda La Puente Unified School District board voted 4-1 Thursday night to start the next school year on Aug. 7, three weeks earlier than usual. It is the first local school district to adopt an early start calendar for the entire PreK-12 population.

School will let out May 21, 2013, instead of in late June. A similar calendar was adopted for the 2013-14 school year.

Some may call that decision of the San Gabriel Valley’s largest school district one that affects the most people — parents and children.It affect thousands of families in La Puente and Hacienda Heights. It could also lead to other districts doing the same thing.

Quite a milestone.