The Valley VOTE Board of Directors Support the Pierce College Farm

For decades when budget times have been hard, the Pierce College Farm has been threatened with commercial development. Over time the Farm was to become a golf course, shopping mall or residential housing. Dozens of acres have already been sold off. Pierce College began as an agricultural farm after WWII and sits on 426 acres, over half of which is a farm. Forty-one million acres of rural land in the United States have been permanently lost in the last 25 years to highways, shopping malls, poorly planned sprawl and other development, according to a new analysis by the American Farmland Trust. Recently, there was an uproar in the media and by the local community due to the threat of more land being sold for commercial development. Over 10,000 members of the Woodland Hills community signed petitions asking us to “protect the farm.”

To that end, we would like to ask the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Pierce College to please fully support this resolution asking for a feasibility study to determine the potential impact of either an agricultural conservation easement (that would prevent commercial development in perpetuity) or an equivalent protection (including a simple deed restriction) that would ensure the community and the college that our farm is safe and ensure donors that contributing to the growing Pierce College Farm Endowment is money well spent. Please endorse the following resolution:

“Be it resolved that the Foundationfor Pierce College supports the following resolution leading toward Permanent Agricultural status for the Pierce College Farm land:
Whereas the Pierce Farm is one of the largest undeveloped piece of land in the San Fernando Valley,
Whereas the Pierce Farm was created and designed to provide agricultural education,
Whereas the Pierce Farm has periodically been threatened with a diminishment of its size and scope,
Whereas the Board of Trustees supports the continued Agricultural Education use of the Farm,
Therefore be it resolved that the Foundation for Pierce College requests that the LACCD Board of trustees ask the Chancellor to utilize the resources needed, internal and external, to develop a feasibility study of the “Permanent Agricultural Protected Land” status options available to the Pierce Farm, including any potential easements, conservancy status, or any other legal options for guaranteeing the permanent protection of this portion of the Pierce College property. Such study shall be completed and reported back to the Board of Trustees no later than September 1, 2015.

The resolution asking the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees to order a study of the feasibility of permanently protecting the Pierce College Farm with a conservation easement or its equivalent has the unanimous support of:

  • The Board of Directors of the Foundation for Pierce College
  • The faculty unions at all nine colleges, Los Angeles Community College District (by unanimous vote of the eBoard)
  • The Associated Students Organization (ASO) of Pierce College
  • The Academic Policy Committee of Pierce College (all department chairs at the college)
  • The Academic Senate of Pierce College
  • Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils, 34 Neighborhood Councils in San Fernando Valley
  • The Board of Directors of Valley VOTE

The Valley VOTE Board of Directors has unanimously approved support of the “Valley on Track” coalition

“Valley on Track” is dedicated to improving upon the regions most pressing transportation issues and opportunities so that our ground mobility can be optimized to enhance the business climate, public health and quality of life for San Fernando Valley residents.

The Valley has been severally under served by rail transportation for years. There are only two rail transit stations in the Valley. They represent 2.5% of all of the stations in L.A County, while the Valley represents 20% of the L.A. County population. Future rail transit plans must include projects that focus on the critical needs of the Valley.

The “Valley on Track” coalition advocates for the construction of the following projects:

1. Upgrade the Metro Orange Line busway to light rail.

A victim of its own huge success, growing rider ship has made the line overcrowded and slow. Conversion to light rail is the best choice now to improve what has become the Valley’s transit backbone.

The line is an existing 18-mile east-west busway running parallel to the 101 freeway from North Hollywood to Chatsworth along Chandler and Victory Boulevards and Canoga Avenue.

Completion Date: To be determined.

2. Build the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor as a rail system

The route runs through some of the most transit dependent, majority minority communities in L.A. County. Current bus lines along the corridor are the most heavily used in the Valley after the Orange Line and among the top ten in the county. The Valley cannot accept another under built project that does not meet the demand.

Currently in the planning stage, the corridor will run north-south between Sylmar and Van Nuys, and will eventually connect with the Sepulveda Pass Corridor.

Completion Date: 2018, under current Measure R projection.

3. Build the Sepulveda Pass Corridor project as a rail system, including a tunnel through the Santa Monica Mountains

Connecting the Valley to the Westside, the Sepulveda Pass is one of the world’s most congested traffic corridors. No mode besides rail can even begin to address the transit demand. Currently the last project in Measure R, the corridor will run from Sherman Oaks to the Westside. It should serve UCLA and West L.A. Metro lines, with the potential to eventually reach LAX.

Completion Date: 2039, under current Measure R projection

Please note that the projects presented above must be prioritized in future ballot measures, federal funding requests, and the identification of other funding resources by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority in order to maintain Valley’s support

Valley VOTE Supports Veterans Lawsuit

The Valley VOTE Board of Directors has overwhelmingly approved the following Motion:

Valley VOTE supports the Class Action Lawsuit filed on June 7, 2011 on behalf of four plaintiffs. The first is Carolina Winston Barrie, a great granddaughter of one of the land donors in 1888 that bequeathed the property, in perpetuity, in West Los Angeles exclusively for America’s Military Veterans. The other three are veterans plaintiffs; one from the Iraq war, one from the Afghanistan conflict, and one a sexually abused woman veteran. The ACLU foundation of Southern California and six law firms; Harvard Law School, UCLA Law School Inner City Law Center, Munger,Tolles &Olsen LLP, Arnold &Porter LLP and additional counsel (7) are in support of this suit. It was filed vs. Erick Shinseki in his official capacity, Department of Veterans Affairs; and Donna M. Beiter, in her official capacity, Director, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

The 5 causes of action included in the lawsuit are:
1) Intentional discrimination, all plaintiffs and Vietnam Veterans of America.
2) Meaningful Access Denied, all plaintiffs and Vietnam Veterans of America
3) Breach of Fiduciary Duty as Trustee of Charitable Trust, all plaintiffs against all defendants
4) Accounting for all profits, all plaintiffs against all defendants
5) Breach of Fiduciary Duty of charitable trust (Mandamus Relief) all plaintiffs against all defendants