One of the key sources of funding for parks comes from the fees that developers pay to offset increased population density as they build new residential complexes.
Those fees have been collected since the State Quimby Act was passed in 1965 to prevent valuable green space from disappearing altogether from our most heavily urbanized cities. Yet how the Quimby Act is administered is left up to local governments.
As we reported in our months-long investigation into the Quimby Program in Los Angeles, city officials have known for years that the current rules are inadequate. In 2008, then-city controller Laura Chick produced a scathing audit of the city's handling of Quimby funds, pointing out that $129 million was available but not being spent on parks that desperately needed it and that the way the rules were interpreted in Los Angeles was contributing to the mismanagement. That document is below, followed by another, produced several months later, in which the city planning department acknowledged many of the same shortcomings laid out in the audit.
Five years later, the Quimby Program remains essentially unchanged.
Under the state's Quimby Act of 1965, developers of certain types of residential buildings must either dedicate green space or pay into a special fund for parks. The law was intended to protect the public's green spaces and prevent cities from becoming overly urbanized, but it was left to local municipalities to interpret and administer it.
In Los Angeles, the planning department determines whether developers should donate land or money and calculates the fee. But officials there told "SoCal Connected" they couldn't think of a single instance in which developers set aside land instead of paying the fees.
That's significant, according to some of the city's own staff, because it is far more difficult -- and probably more expensive -- for the city to acquire new land on its own than to have it donated.
As part of a months-long investigation into the city's handling of the local Quimby program, "SoCal Connected" identified at least 40 properties that could have been required to dedicate land instead of paying the fees. In the map below, we have indicated these developments with a red circle outlined in black.
The map also shows all of the collection points -- indicated by red circles -- where developers paid into the Quimby account and how much was collected. Finally, the green squares represent city parks that have had Quimby money allocated to them and how much, as of April, was allocated. Clicking on a park will reveal information about the individual projects planned or executed there since 2003.
Because of the way Los Angeles interprets the state Quimby law, money from a collection point can only be used on parks within a one- to two-mile radius, and it can't be used to fund a park in another city council district. There are additional rules and restrictions that make it fairly complicated to determine how the Quimby money can be used. Accordingly, this map should be considered as a starting point to understanding how the Quimby program has worked in Los Angeles, and not as a comprehensive research tool.
While the city has released much of the data it has on the Quimby program, we are still waiting, as of publication, for complete access.
Map created by GreenInfo Network, www.greeninfo.org, with research and analysis by Karen Foshay and Brian Frank.
The city obtained a court order today to prevent two outdoor sign companies from wrapping turned-off digital billboards with vinyl advertising content, according to the City Attorney's Office.
CBS and Clear Channel Outdoor were ordered last month to turn off nearly 100 digital signs after their permits that were invalidated by a judge.
According to the City Attorney's Office, the companies cannot convert their invalidated signs into regular billboards without "vetting by the court."
The fate of the signs will be determined at a July 16 hearing, according to city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan.
According to the earlier court ruling, the two companies put up their digital signs under a 2006 "poison agreement" with the city. A digital sign company that was not part of that agreement and did not receive permits to put up digital signs successfully challenged the agreement in 2009, resulting in Clear Channel -- which had most of the invalidated digital sign permits -- and CBS complying with the judge's order last month to switch off their signs.
Representatives for the billboard companies were not immediately available for comment.
I got my butt on a bike today and rode about 15 miles of the CicLAvia route from Olvera Street to LaBrea and back. It was fun to drive over those familiar left turn arrows at intersections, to flow in a river of happy, healthy pedalers taking over Main Street, Alvarado, and Venice Boulevard. Let me tell you, L.A. looks smells and sounds completely different when you're on a bike.
As we reported last week, Judge Terry Green of the California Supreme Court ordered most of L.A.'s electronic billboards to be shut off by last Monday. On Tuesday, he ruled that an additional 19 signs be turned off by 5 p.m. tomorrow, bringing the total to 99.
Despite facing criminal charges, it appears that former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley will get a chance to reclaim his old job during a June 4 runoff election.
According to an unofficial tally from Tuesday's election, urban planner and political newcomer Aja Brown topped the field of 12 candidates seeking the mayor's office, collecting 1,601 votes, or 27.8 percent. Bradley was second with 1,509 votes, or 26.2 percent.
In a decision from the L.A. Superior Court today, Judge Terry Green ordered that 67 Clear Channel and 13 CBS digital billboards be shut off by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 15. There are roughly 22 more signs still in dispute. All parties involved will be in court on Tuesday to iron out the details.
This decision could mark the final chapter in L.A.'s six-year battle over digital billboards, a story that "SoCal Connected" has covered extensively.
Arianna Huffington is the media mogul behind "The Huffington Post," and she is no stranger to the difficulties of being a working mother. In this extended interview, she discusses her own work-life balance and the "third revolution" in feminism.
As we revealed in an exclusive investigation, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for years responded to some of the sexual abuse allegations against priests by moving them around from one parish to another. We wanted to find out just how many churches the accused men had lived at or worked at. In other words, we wanted to know how extensive the scandal had really become in our own back yard.
We created the following map to give people another way of engaging with the records released by the archdiocese in January 2013. Where possible, we got assignment information directly from those priest files, but we also relied on information from bishop-accountability.org, a site that tracks and archives records pertaining to clergy abuse.
The numbers on the map pins indicate how many accused priests worked at that parish at one time or another. They do not mean an incident of abuse occurred there. It's likely that some of the numbers are lower than they should be, because in some cases names and locations were redacted from the records. Consider these numbers to be estimates.
You can use the controls below the map to find specific priests or parishes. Click on a priest name to load and read his file. Click a parish to see which accused priests worked there.
NOTE: The map displays information on all 128 priests whose files were released in January 2013. These priests have had their names associated with allegations of sexual abuse but were not necessarily charged or convicted of any crime. The church maintains that the allegations against some of the priests were false. We chose to include all of them in order to give the public the ability to explore the documents and draw their own conclusions.
Credits: Developed by Brian Frank and David Egen with support from KCET Web programmer Jason Bazalar and graphic designer Alex Savakis. Research and reporting by Karen Foshay, Vince Gonzales, Lata Pandya, Benjamin Gottlieb, and Miguel Contreras, with assistance from interns Jerome Campbell, Shako Liu, Shweta Saraswat, Mengyi Jenny Sun, and Joshua Woo.
Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich called on billboard companies CBS and Clear Channel Outdoor today to shut off more than 100 digital signs, citing a court order that determined the permits for them were given out illegally under a 2006 settlement.
Clear Channel Outdoor sent a letter to the city last month threatening to sue if their permits are revoked.