Monday, April 10, 2006

Altadenans for Action takes shape

Steve Escovar, Isaac Garcia, and I represented the newly formed Altadenans for Action (AFA) at the Pasadena Education Foundation (PEF) meeting yesterday which (I think) was originally scheduled as a fundraising and general community outreach event.

According to the host, Jeanne Register, the turn out was much larger than predicted, most likely due to the heightened community concern about the proposed use for Noyes.

In attendance were, PUSD Superintendent, Percy Clark, President of the PUSD BOE, Ed Honowitz, the PEF supporters (somewhat bemused), the usual cohort of angry parents and rabble rousers that seem drawn to controversy, and neighbors of Noyes with an agenda.

I'm not sure where Isaac, Steve and I fall in that spectrum, but probably somewhere between angry parents, rabble rousers and neighbors with an agenda. The difference is, we are organizing the community and making a concerted effort to structure the discussion in a positive way rather than simply going negative.

AFA's primary tack is to address the issue on its merits (or lack there of), and work with the 7-11 committee and the district to find a more appropriate solution for the Continuation School. We also are committed to engaging in the process and helping to identify an appropriate use for the Noyes property. We see this crisis optimistically, and are hopeful that we can not only help resolve in constructively, but that the net result will be the organization and uniting of a new generation in our community.

If things don't go as we expect them to, judging from the response that was rallied on two day's notice at the first neighborhood meeting (last Saturday at the Escovars), I am confident that the resources and resolve are available in the neighborhood to bring a phalanx of much more aggressive tactics online if it comes to that.

Anyone who is interested in staying informed and participating in this effort can find information and resources at


  1. IT'S NOT TIME TO GO TO SLEEP RE NOYES. At the 4/25/06 School Board Meeting we heard that Noyes did not appear to be a proper site (reasons stated) for a high school. Additionally it was stated that the merits of a separated continuation HS had not even been discussed with the Board, therefore, any location consideration, if needed, was premature. At the May 2. 2006 Board meeting, the same HS continuation plan, without Noyes but with "Location: To be determined," was submitted. Additionally, there was a presentation for the Board which was singly directed toward a dedicated site for a continuation HS, with implementation plans for a dedicated site in the works. There does not appear to be a viable alternative proposal from the Superintendant's Office.
    Even though the issue of whether there is a dedicated continuation HS and whether that is located at Noyes are two issues, they are related and both issues to be determined. The Superintendant submits the proposals and recommendations to the Board. The Board decides on whether a dedicated continuation HS is appropriate and where it will be. Even if Noyes is not submitted as a proposed site consistent with Dr Clark's stated determination that Noyes is not an appropriate site, the Board members knowing that Noyes was once considered appropriate, may still vote for the Noyes site for their respective reasons: i.e. it's a done deal.
    Fot those who stayed to the end on 4/25/06 we had heard some of the "complaints" about some of the condition of some of the schools by members of the public. However, since there is an official complaint procedure which is to be followed regarding "complaints about schools" and complaints to the Board at Board meetings is not part of the process, it was determined for the in question reporting period that those complaints were not lodged and not referenced.
    There was a reference to a LAUSD program (I believe LAUSD((my ears don't work as well as in the past)))which is similar to Rose City but has a requirement of at least 14 days in jail (among other requirements) to go to the school. Apparently PUSD uses the facility for some of its qualifyng students from time to time. They said the lease for the facility was running out and that inquiry was made to Pasadena or PUSD for possible sites. The name I heard for the existing school was Alta Pasa or something like that. I was unable to find reference to it on the internet. It was mentioned shortly after reference to a Noyes reference re a continuation HS on 5/2/06. There were a few snickers and hidden/unheard comments among some of the Board members which logically would have been along the lines of "How about Noyes" or "If they didn't want a continuation school, how is this for an alternate." If a lease or sale is made for this out of LAUSD district site, some of the constraints such as renovation costs or community input may be avoided.

  2. I attended the 4/25 PUSD meeting along with others from the Noyes neighborhood. I also spoke to the board during the public comment session and remained at the meeting until some time after 10:00 I also contributed money to AFA that evening as I take your efforts seriously and appreciate the work you folks have done. I was disconcerted by the massive walk out that occured right after Percy Clark made his "cart before the horse" statement and withdrew Noyes as a candidate. As a committed and united neighborhood, there should have been no mass exit as soon as our immediate worries were alleviated. There also should have been no whooping or laughter. It was not respectful to the Board or district. We, as members of a larger community should have remained in our seats and listened politely to the other speakers and heard their concerns even though they are not the same (necessarily) as ours. I was embarrased as I watched many of my own neighbors high fiving and beating a path to the door. We looked like complete NIMBY's and as there is still much to do related to the Noyes property and the district in general, we would have served ourselves better to have behaved in a more attentive and dignified manner. A simple "Thank you for hearing our voices" would have sufficed and while that was accomplished during the comment session later in the evening the original impression had already been set. If there is another such meeting for AFA's in the future, I am hoping you will encourage attendees to demonstrate a deeper and broader commitment to the big picture. There would be no downside to that. Incidentally, as I stated at the PUSD meeting and at the Community Center meeting the night before, my now college age son attended Noyes, I was on PTA and Site Council during my son's K through 6 years there and I believe that Noyes represents a wonderful opportunity for an outstanding neighborhood school within the PUSD or otherwise. Thank you for your time and your efforts. You folks have set an excellent example. Unfortunately it wasn't necessarily followed by all of your neighbors. Let's hope for better the next time as I have to assume this isn't close to over. Janet Castro, Homewood Drive

  3. Janet,

    Thanks for participating. I assume you know about the website dedicated to PUSD issues at Make sure you subscribe to the email list if you are interested in this sort of discussion.

  4. Point of clarification... I am referring to the pasadenaschools email list, not the stonehillnews email list, although you are certainly invited to join both. The stonehillnews list is much lower volume and focuses on neighborhood issues rather than PUSD issues.