Burning Souls day
From: Diane Simpson (dqsworld.std.com)
Date: Sat, 9 Aug 1997 20:30:29 -0500
Deborah Behrens <debbeh [at] auto-trol.com> asked in her message of June 5:

>What we are asking now, of all you burning souls out
>there, is what you think is important to result from
>the Burning Souls day.  How will you know if the day
>is successful?
>
>If you're planning on coming to the conference, are you also
>planning on coming to the Burning Souls day, Why/why not?

For me, the Burning Souls day will be successful if it can put together a
group of people that will speak out in defense of threatened cohousing and
ecovillage communities everywhere. I have a lot of problems with belonging
to an organization that is only concerned with building private homes. To
me, community is more about building connections than building housing
developments.


To learn more about the threatened L.A. Ecovillage  project read the press
release below or visit the web page:
http://alumni.caltech.edu/~mignon/demo_update.html

-------Diane:.\

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Media Release

CONTACT: Lois Arkin
3551 White House Place, L.A., CA 90004, 213/738-1254, fax:
213/386-8873, email: crsp [at] igc.apc.org


FOR RELEASE: L.A. UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BULLDOZERS THREATEN ECO-VILLAGE
AND GARDEN

They want to pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

Los Angeles Eco-Village in the Wilshire Center/Koreatown Redevelopment area,
is facing an August 14 eviction deadline imposed by the Los Angeles Unified
School District. The nonprofit project is the nation's only public
demonstration of a sustainable community-in-process in a central city
location.

LAUSD intends to bulldoze the group's demonstration organic garden, office
and the home of its executive director, Lois Arkin, pave it over, and put in
a parking lot and temporary classrooms to accommodate the District's class
size reduction program. District officials have refused to accept a more
viable and cost-effective alternative, or to take more time to develop other
alternatives.

Arkin and the Eco-Village office and community center occupy one unit of a
75-year-old four-plex which the District acquired in 1979. The other three
units, recently renovated by the District, are used by the adjacent K-2
White House Place Primary Center (WHPPC) for essential school functions. The
front yard orchard and garden double as the outdoor classroom in
environmental education for WHPPC, along with an 80 year old sycamore tree
and a number of small animals in the backyard.

In the jungle-like garden, children explore the plant and animal worlds
while developing skills for working and relating in small groups. The unique
program, developed by Eco-Villager Mary Maverick, depends upon the garden
and its diverse eco-system, a product of five years of hard work by
neighbors and other volunteers.

"Some District officials acknowledge that the Eco-Village is an important
demonstration of exactly the kind of school/neighborhood partnership they
seek, so we were completely shocked when we received the notice to vacate on
June 12th," states Arkin. "We knew the District planned eventually to do
something with the corner, but we had consistently asked school officials to
include the corner building and gardens in any new plans for the school,"
she adds.

After a meeting on July 23rd with District officials aimed at trying to
establish a win/win solution to the problem, Eco-Villager and architect Ian
McIlvaine said, "District officals don't seem willing to recognize that they
will be bulldozing a roughly $750,000 investment in donated services and
labor which Eco-Villagers have given to the District and the neighborhood
during the past five years."

Eco-Villager and attorney Jesse Moorman believes that a major problem in the
District is the isolation of functions within its sub-bureaucracies. "With
this separation," Moorman explained "there is little or no coordination
between facilities development and the educational process."

The vision of Eco-Village at White House and Bimini Place emerged from the
ashes of the 1992 uprisings when the 17 year old nonprofit Cooperative
Resources & Services Project (CRSP) began focusing on the two blocks around
the school with the mission of promoting cooperation among neighbors while
demonstrating how to live sustainably in an urban setting. Neighbors who did
not know or trust each another before the uprisings, now regularly
socialize, garden, mentor children, and work together to build a healthy
neighborhood.

Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg has stated that she is categorically opposed to
the demolition of the corner four-plex and gardens. Dozens of letters of
support have been sent to school district officials from persons around the
country and the world concerned about sustainable communities and school
gardens. State Superintendent of Public Education Delaine Eastin has asked
School Board Member Vickie Castro to give Eco-Village a 90 day extension
while alternatives are further explored. Eastin wants to see a garden in
every school in California.

Eco-Village is part of the Global Ecovillage Network which demonstrates
sustainable community development throughout the world. It also served as
inspiration for the ecovillage experiment in St. Petersburg, Russia, sister
city to Los Angeles.

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      @@@@        Diane Simpson  http://world.std.com/~dqs      @@@@
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