Petition to Remove Flavored Milk from the LAUSD

Please take a moment to click on the link below and sign a digital petition to remove flavored milk from the LAUSD. High fructose corn syrup is detriment to developing bodies and minds and plays a huge roll in early onset childhood obesity.

Get Flavored Milk Out of the LAUSD




Protest cuts to Education and Social Services!

When and Where:

Tomorrow! October 7th (2:30 pm) at Los Angeles Unified School District Headquarters (330 S. Beaudry Ave, Los Angeles, CA).

Bring your picket signs and noise makers for the October 7th Nationwide Strike and Day of Action to protest budget cuts to Education and Social Services! Join others to stand up and fight for:

- Free, quality education for all.
- Tax corporations and the wealthy to fund social services.
- Reinstate laid off and furloughed workers.
- Full legalization for all.




An Interesting Op-Ed on the Locavore Movement in the NY Times

This is an interesting Op-Ed from the New York Times (8.20.10) that discusses common misconceptions within the Locavore movement. Please take a minute to read it, and let us know what you think. Does the author make a convincing argument about energy waste / consumption or is he trying to make us complacent?

Math Lessons for Locavores by Stephen Budiansky




The Garden in London + Ireland

Exciting news for Garden fans overseas! Scott will be traveling to London and Ireland in the next few weeks, and The Garden is coming with him!

The UK Premiere of The Garden is June 23rd at 7pm! The film will be screened at Riverside Studios in London through the non-profit documentary organization DocHouse and in collaboration with our UK distributors, Dogwoof. The film will be followed by a Q&A and DVD signing with Scott. This is an event not to be missed! Tickets are available online.

After the UK Premiere, The Garden will travel to Ireland, where Scott will again accompany the film.

On June 27th at 4pm, The Garden will appear at University College Cork and a Q&A with Scott will follow. Before the screening, however, he will be teaching a Master Class in Independent Documentary Production. This is an exclusive event, and space is sure to fill up fast. The screening is open to the public, but for a seat in the Master Class, please visit their website.

The last screening of the international tour of The Garden is July 11th, at Ballymaloe House in Shanagarry, Co. Cork. The Grain Store at Ballymaloe is holding a dinner with the filmmaker, followed by a screening of the film. The next morning there will be a Bucks Fizz Brunch with the filmmaker as well! The festivities start at 6pm on July 11th and continue at 10am on July 12th. For tickets and more information, please see their website.

Thank you all so much for your continued support of FAME HIGH! If you’d like to donate and haven’t yet, please go to www.blackvalleyfilms.com.

If you would like more frequent updates, please join us on Facebook and Twitter.




Join the team!

Black Valley Films is hiring!

Here’s our job description:

Academy Award nominated filmmaker looking for Office Manager/Personal Assistant for independent film production company based in Los Angeles (Silver Lake area).

Duties in this position include marketing and PR of the films, scheduling educational and festival screenings, coordinating home use and educational DVD sales, managing website, and general office tasks such as faxing, copying, mailing  scanning, and personal errands. Manager will work closely with filmmaker and oversee office intern(s). Knowledge of Mac computers, Microsoft Word, and Excel a must.  Knowledge of WordPress, Photoshop, DVD Studio Pro and Final Cut Pro a bonus.

Would appreciate candidates especially interested in DIY production and distribution of films. Possibility of collaborating with the filmmaker on future projects.

Flexible hours (3 to 4 days a week).  $10-14/hr with possibility of sales commission. Qualified candidates should email a resume and cover letter to publicity@blackvalleyfilms.com and CC veronica@blackvalleyfilms.com. Subject should read: BVF Job Application.

Thanks so much, and good luck!




A friend of mine game me this

The following was sent to me by
Professor Mark Freeman, School of Theatre, Television, and Film
San Diego State University

In too many places in the world, documentary filmmakers are imprisoned for their work.

Dhondup Wangchen is a Tibetan filmmaker recently sentenced to 6 years for subversion in China. Amnesty International fears that he is being tortured.

Wangchen’s 25-minute documentary, Leaving Fear Behind (www.leavingfearbehind.com), shows Tibetans in the Amdo region expressing their views on the Dalai Lama, the Beijing Olympics and Chinese legislation.

I’m hoping that you will consider signing the petition below and urging others to do so as well.

Reporters without Borders
http://www.rsf.org/en-petition33442-Dhondup_Wangchen.html

More Information:
http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/uaa18909.pdf

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/31/world/asia/31tibet.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Dhondup%20Wangchen&st=cse




THE GARDEN IN THEATRES BEGINNING APRIL 24, 2009 IN LOS ANGELES!!

The Garden will be distributed through OSCILLOSCOPE starting in Los Angeles at the NuArt, and then expanding to theatres and other cities. Confirmed cities so far include: San Francisco, NYC, Washington D.C. Please join our mailing list for updates!

oscopelogo_refrence




IMPORTANT UPDATES

SATURDAY JAN. 23: FREE FRUIT TREE WORKSHOP FOR LA COMMUNITY GARDENS

The LA Community Garden Council and the University of California Cooperative Extension of LA County (aka LA County Master Gardeners) present their 6th annual tree-pruning seminar for area community gardeners at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at Solano Canyon Community Garden (near Dodger Stadium).

Learn to optimize the yield of your stone fruit orchard (nectarine, pear, apple, peach) with environmental horticulturalist and author Don Hodel, a veteran of the UCCE and renowned authority on woody plants. Properly pruned trees resist storm damage, pest and disease infestations and produce better yields.

For more information, contact: http://www.lagardencouncil.org. LACGC news and updates are also available through Twitter (LA Gardens) and Facebook (Los Angeles Community Garden Council).

UPDATE ON TATE SOCCER FIELD

LOS ANGELES TIMES

1/05/10

City of Los Angeles Collects $4.8 Million for Sale of Would-Be Soccer Field

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office on Tuesday collected more than $4.8 million for the sale of a three-acre lot south of downtown that figured in a dispute over a nonprofit organization’s failure to transform the property into a state-of-the-art soccer field and youth center for low-income families.

In 2001, the City Council allocated a $2.4-million community development block grant to Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles in order to purchase the land for development of the youth center. The city filed a lawsuit in 2008 for breach of contract after Concerned Citizens failed to make any progress on the project.

In August, a judge ruled in favor of the city on the grounds that Concerned Citizens did not have a right to the property, which was seized by the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2008 through eminent domain. As a result, the city was awarded the property’s fair market value, which was deposited with the court.

In the lawsuit, the city demanded Concerned Citizens pay back the amount of the original block grant, plus the amount the land had appreciated since 2001, which totaled about $4.8 million. The city was also awarded about $132,000 in attorney’s fees and costs.

“The city has already redirected the collected money to another project site south of downtown, only a few blocks away from the property that was in dispute,” Deputy City Atty. John A. Carvalho said. “That project is a large green space with an affordable housing component.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES
8/15/09
City wins dispute over empty lot in South L.A.

A judge Friday ruled in favor of the city of Los Angeles on grounds that the nonprofit Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles failed to deliver on a contractual agreement to transform a vacant lot south of downtown into a state-of-the-art soccer field and youth center for low-income families.

The judge also found that Concerned Citizens does not have a right to the proceeds of the property, which was seized by the Los Angeles Unified School District last year through eminent domain, said a spokesman for the city attorney’s office.

As a result, the city was awarded the property’s $5,433,322 fair market value, which had been deposited with the court.

In 2001, the City Council allocated a $2.4-million community development block grant to Concerned Citizens.

The school district plans to build an elementary school and soccer field on the lot. The school is scheduled to open in 2011.

– Louis Sahagun

latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lot12-2009aug12,0,3219116.story
latimes.com

Disputed lot in South L.A. is seized by school district

Land bought by a nonprofit using a city block grant has sat empty, though there was talk of building a youth center and soccer field. Eight years later, L.A. Unified intends to build a school.

By Louis Sahagun

August 12, 2009
Click here to find out more!

The plan to transform a vacant lot used as an illegal dumping ground into a youth center and soccer field for low-income residents in South Los Angeles seemed like a winner.

The Los Angeles City Council allocated a $2.4-million community development block grant to the nonprofit Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles to buy the lot and develop the property in a community long bereft of recreational opportunities.

Eight years later, with no youth center or permanent soccer field having been built, the Los Angeles Unified School District has seized control of the blighted six-acre site, with plans for an elementary school and soccer field.

In the meantime, the city and the nonprofit are engaged in a highly personal court fight over the millions of dollars the land fetched through eminent domain.

Construction of the school is scheduled to begin in September, officials said. If all goes according to plan, the 950-student Juanita Tate Elementary will open in 2011.

Tate, who died in 2004, founded Concerned Citizens and spent years trying to improve the area’s quality of life by building affordable housing and fighting environmentally unsound projects.

In a lawsuit, the city says Concerned Citizens breached its contractual obligations and violated federal law by leaving the lot barren in hopes of making a windfall in the commercial real estate market after its value increased.

As a result, the city is demanding that the nonprofit pay it more than $5 million — the amount of the original block grant plus the amount the land has appreciated since 2001.

Concerned Citizens, however, says it fully met its contractual obligations by hauling tons of debris off the property, at Slauson Avenue and Main Street, and building a temporary clay soccer field. The nonprofit also contends that it was already in the process of buying the property to develop it into a soccer field when the city persuaded it to use the block grant to complete the deal.

It also claims that the city and Deputy City Atty. John A. Carvalho collaborated in a scheme allegedly hatched by City Councilwoman Jan Perry to prevent the project from being completed — and to destroy the nonprofit.

And the group says it agreed to use the block grant only to acquire the property, with no promises to build on it.

“The project didn’t get built because of Jan Perry’s failure to secure resources the project depended on,” Mark Williams, Tate’s son and the director of youth programs for Concerned Citizens, said in an interview. “The duplicity the city attributes to us is the city’s own. So it should get nothing.”

The winner in court probably would get the current fair market value of the property — about $5.4 million, which was deposited with the clerk of the court by the school district.

The dispute has strained relations between Concerned Citizens and Perry, who was a close friend of Tate.

“Jan Perry is like family. My mother helped get her elected to the City Council,” Williams said.

“But the petty level to which she has stooped to destroy us is mind-boggling and not very smart,” added Tate’s daughter, Noreen McClendon, the nonprofit’s executive director.

Perry declined to comment except to say, “I had an enormous amount of respect for Juanita Tate.”

On another front, the school district continues to test soil samples from the lot for contamination.

Over the decades, the property was home to an array of commercial enterprises: a lumber yard, a fueling station, brake and metal shops and a lamp store. More recently, Concerned Citizens rented the property to traveling carnivals and used-car events.

On recommendation from the state Department of Toxic Substances Control, the district hauled out more than 160 truckloads of soil containing elevated levels of dangerous substances.

Then there were the tons of soil contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons that district officials believe oozed out of a long-inactive Exxon Mobile pipeline under Main Street and just five feet east of the property line.

That soil was treated or removed from the property. As a precaution, the district also built two retaining walls to protect the land from potential future leaks.

“The total cost of cleaning up impacted soils on the property was about $19 million,” said Jay Golida, an attorney representing the school district. “The cleanups are complete; Exxon collaborated with the district and helped cover the costs.”

Golida said the district would monitor the site to address concerns that the land might be contaminated by pollutants flowing in from the nearby pipeline. “If for some reason levels increase, we will go right back to Exxon to have them removed,” he said.

Construction on the property cannot come soon enough for local residents and business owners.

Javier Longoria, manager of a nearby second-hand clothing store, nodded toward the lot and said, “There are no parks for kids around here, nothing, so they play in the streets.”

“I hear they are going to build a school and soccer field over there,” he added. “That’s going to be really nice.”

louis.sahagun@latimes.com

Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

The Garden, by director Scott Hamilton Kennedy, won a Sterling award for best U.S. feature. The Sterling Feature Jury praised the film for “its tenacity in storytelling in the face of injustice, and the filmmaker’s singular vision in bringing a gripping, dramatic, and important story to the public eye. The Garden has raw emotion, visceral energy, and nail-biting twists and turns. It unravels a complex and layered tale of the destruction of America’s largest urban farm that must not be forgotten.”

The movie had its World Premiere at Silverdocs.

The Garden, by director Scott Hamilton Kennedy, won a Sterling award for best U.S. feature. The Sterling Feature Jury praised the film for “its tenacity in storytelling in the face of injustice, and the filmmaker’s singular vision in bringing a gripping, dramatic, and important story to the public eye. The Garden has raw emotion, visceral energy, and nail-biting twists and turns. It unravels a complex and layered tale of the destruction of America’s largest urban farm that must not be forgotten.”

The movie had its World Premiere at Silverdocs.