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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Academia Semilla del Pueblo's "Response" to Building and Safety Department's "Notice to Comply"

Academia Semillas del Pueblo's Marcos Aguilar and CD 14 City Councilman Jose Huizar Photo via EGP Publications.
** Blogger's Note: If anyone needed a more clear cut example of the total disregard by the controversial Academia Semillas del Pueblo Charter School, of  local zoning designations, mixed with building and safety rules. Then this "alleged reply" (** we offer the school that chance to verify the substance of the letter) to a recent "Notice to Comply" by the Building and Safety Department, should suffice. Upon the initial reading of the response, you can give Academia's Executive Director Marcos "Tata" Aguilar high marks for audacity, regardless of the alleged absence of facts. What is now apparent here in regards to the zoning issues involving the placement of the school site near Huntington Drive and Pueblo, is that some sort of accommodation was made between school leaders and city officials. Those accommodations, if made public, may prove politically damaging to all involved---Scott Johnson.


Abuse of discretion once again targets Semillas 

Community Schools Right-wing anti-Mexican blog "Mayor Sam" bloggers boast and wine at the same time.
While in other parts of the city, planners and elected officials re-imagine public space to find multiple uses and more accessibility to open space for children and families, Semillas' early example of facility reuse and re-adaptation is under attack once again. 

Semillas recently received a notice in the form of an "Order to Comply and Notice of Fee" from the LADBS Code Enforcement Bureau. Specifically, these notices erroneously allege that Semillas, or more appropriately our school facility's nonprofit property owner, Tzicatl Community Development Corporation, is in violation of city codes with regards to the use of one of our campuses.  

The notice states that a, "parking lot being used as a playground for school children" represents a violation of a municipal code which in fact ONLY establishes the need for a parking lot set aside but DOES NOT require use of the parking lot. In other words the government cannot force anyone to park in one's parking lot, it can only mandate that one HAVE a parking lot.

This abuse of discretion by the LADBS inspectors, which include not only a notice of violation but a hefty fine as well, is not even exercised against marijuana dispensaries! Not only is the notice excessive it is factually incorrect, as Semillas has consistently maintained its parking lot. In fact, the campus was only recently inspected by another LADBS inspector after the LAUSD exceeded its authority by forcing the LADBS to issue an order to comply to over one hundred charter schools for alleged deficiencies which in fact were an imposition of codes written after original occupancy permits were issued in most cases.  

In an effort to seek either informal or formal remedy through an appeal, our organization's counsel wrote the following to LADBS:
"Our office represents Tzicatl Community Development Corporation. 
Our client is in receipt of your "Order to Comply and Notice of Fee" dated September 18, 2012, wherein you stated that during an inspection made at 4990 Huntington Drive S, several violations were found. The stated violations appear to be unfounded and an abuse of discretion.  As such, we request that you reconsider the above-referenced order.  Below is our response to your allegations:
1)    Parking lot being used as a playground for school children - Although the parking lot is often used as a recreational area for charter school students, the parking lot is always maintained in compliance with L.A.M.C. Section 12.21A4(m).  Please refer to attached photographs clearly depicting the parking lot maintenance for parking vehicles. 
2)    Not maintaining parking stalls clearly marked - This allegation seems misplaced.  The parking stalls at 4990 are visibly marked as evidenced by the enclosed photographs clearly depicting the fully marked parking stalls.
3)    Not providing car stops - The property maintains paving and car stops.  Again, this allegation seems unfounded. Indeed, on January 17, 2012, Mr. MacAuliffe from LADBS performed an inspection of the property and did not raise any of the above allegations.  Please see enclosed LADBS Inspection Report dated January 17, 2012 and photographs clearly depicting paving and car stops.
As is evident, our client has complied and continues to comply with all of the Los Angeles Municipal Codes, therefore a non-compliance fee is unjustifiable and premature. We ask that you re-evaluate the alleged violations and issue a cancellation to the Order to Comply and Notice of Fee.  Otherwise we will be forced to appeal this Order and pursue any other recourse available under the law.  We look forward to your anticipated cooperation."  
- October 3, 2012 Tzicatl CDC Counsel, Salomon Zavala
Semillas school leaders, parents and children affected by the impending Order to Comply met recently with Mr. Cordon and other public authorities pertinent to this issue. A resolution has been tentatively agreed to and should be forthcoming soon. However, it is interesting to note the connection between right-wing libertarian bloggers and the local eatery/nightclub which is a self-proclaimed fundraising venue for elected officials (Please insert laugh track here)
On the subject of "political connections", is that Marcos Aguilar, on the left, holding a Huizar sign?
. Citing undisclosed sources, these libertarian right-wing bloggers spew misinformation and unfounded allegations against Semillas Community Schools and its executive director, Marcos Aguilar with impunity. As we have reminded our supporters in the past, it is important to note the national strategy behind these types of attacks against the community and community organizers. Just today, national headlines allege the NCLR is under investigation for voter fraud in Florida, a few weeks ago the executive director of NPR was cornered into resigning, and countless other nonprofits engaged in serving the public good have likewise been embroiled in costly character assassination and legal defense. One only need look to Arizona to find the ultimate goal of the libertarian right-wing agenda against Semillas, our supporters and ultimately our students: illegal status at all levels, from engagement in civil society to intellect. 
Stand with us as we stand for our children, our culture and our continuity!  


Your thoughts ..............
Scott Johnson in CD 14

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

When the President of the School Board has your back, what do you have to worry about? Monica has already over-ridden the advice and recommendation of the Superintendent to save Semillas, so why shouldn't they be this arrogant?

October 23, 2012 12:07 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What does NCLR and NPR in Florida have to do with parking and zoning violations in El Sereno. That's a bit of a stretch Marcos. BTW, can I hire your lawyer to issue a cancellation notice on getting up to code for the electrical work at my place?

October 23, 2012 5:18 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I actually cannot believe that the city would cite Mr. Aguilar.....after all of these years. The kids have been using the lot as a recess area since it the school started!
Are his allies turning there back on him! What does Mr. Hizar have to say about about this issue..absolutly nothing.

October 24, 2012 5:20 PM  

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