Archives: Seasons 1-5

A Victory for Park-Poor Los Angeles!

Our story on the problem with fees that developers pay to create parks seems to have made a difference. The old law said that fees collected from developers had to be used near the development. But that resulted in affluent areas having more and nicer parks, and poor areas that have little development becoming "park poor."

But now Governor Brown has signed a new law, AB 1359. It gives city officials the flexibility to use developer fees wherever they are needed. So now there will be more funds available to create and improve parks for people in low-income neighborhoods who are in greater need of places to play and exercise.

'SoCal Connected' Takes Home 3 Los Angeles Area Emmys®

KCETLink was honored with four Emmy® Awards tonight at the 65th Los Angeles Area Emmy® Awards at The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood.

KCETLink received Emmy® nominations this year in 12 categories, including 10 for its news program, SoCal Connected; one for the caregiving series, Your Turn to Care; and one for Artbound, a transmedia series exploring Southern California's arts and culture.

Below is a complete list of KCETLink's wins at the 65th Los Angeles Area Emmy® Awards:


Your Turn to Care
Margaret Hussey, Executive Producer
Bret Marcus, Executive Producer
Margie Friedman, Supervising Producer
Barbara Multer-Wellin, Producer
Angela Shelley, Producer
Robert McDonnell, Associate Producer
Laura Coverson, Associate Producer
Holly Robinson Peete, Host


SoCal Connected
Bret Marcus, Executive Producer
Rebecca Haggerty, Co-Executive Producer
Linda Burns, Coordinating Producer
Dina Demetrius, Producer
Karen Foshay, Producer
Vince Gonzales, Producer
Angela Shelley, Producer
Val Zavala, Anchor
Madeleine Brand, On-Camera Talent


SoCal Connected: The App Economy
Angela Shelley, Producer
Alicia Clark, Associate Producer
Brian Rooney, On-Camera Talent


SoCal Connected: Your Money or Your Life
Dina Demetrius, Producer
Jennifer London, Reporter

Exclusive Investigation into L.A. Dependency Court Wins 2013 Casey Medal

SoCal Connected on KCET

"SoCal Connected" has won the prestigious Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism for "Courting Disaster," its exclusive investigation into the L.A. County Dependency Court.

'SoCal Connected' Wins Six L.A. Press Club Awards

KCET's news program "SoCal Connected" took two top honors at Sunday's 55th Annual SoCal Journalism Awards presented by the Los Angeles Press Club. The show won first place for Best Talk/Public Affairs Program for the fourth year in a row, as well as for Best Feature Story. The program garnered four additional second-place awards.

'SoCal Connected' Nominated for 10 Emmys

KCET has received 12 nominations for the 65th Annual Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards, including ten for the station's flagship news program "SoCal Connected."

KCET's eldercare series "Your Turn to Care" received one nomination for Information/Public Affairs Series (More than 50% remote), as did the arts and culture series "Artbound" for Entertainment Programming.

Documents: Is L.A.'s Quimby Program Broken?

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.

City Controller Audit

City Planning Department Presentation

Map: Quimby Funds and L.A. Parks, 2003-2013

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,, with research and analysis by Karen Foshay and Brian Frank.

Turned Off Digital Billboards Cannot Be Converted Into 'Regular' Signs, says Court Order

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.

Get Your Butt on a Bike and Hear, Smell, and See a Whole New L.A.!

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.

Judge Orders Additional 19 Digital Billboards To Go Dark

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.

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