Wednesday, April 29, 2009


By Diana L. Chapman

With today’s fears of a pandemic – and unsubstantiated rumors that an outbreak of swine flu happened at local San Pedro school Wednesday – both health and school officials cleared the entire Harbor Area of any known cases at a school.

But in the same breath, district officials called for parents to “error on the side of caution,” and reiterated that parents should NOT send their sick children to school. An 11-year-old somewhere within the school district is considered a “probable,” positive of the virus–but it's not yet a confirmed case of the swine flu -- along with a 52-year-old, both of whom recently traveled to Mexico.

What touched off the flurry of fears was a release, issued yesterday by the Los Angeles County of Public Health,that also indicated two other cases are “possible,” one of a 69-year-old and the other of 60-year-old. It takes four days for testing to determine if any of these cases are positive.

Panic spread throughout San Pedro with parents pulling their children out of school and vowing not to send them back. But the cluster -- which was reported to be either at an an elementary or junior high -- did not appear to have the virus.

“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is also investigating three possible flu clusters in three schools located in the Santa Clarita Valley and San Pedro. Laboratory results on these clusters are expected by the end of the week,” the release revealed.

However, officials were quickly able to squelch the rumors of any San Pedro schools being infected.

Jacob Haik, a deputy chief of staff for Los Angeles School Board Member Richard Vladovic, recommended yesterday that parents who find their children are ill to take every precaution possible -- starting with keeping them at home.

Since reports of cases have popped up at Long Beach State University (one student was reported as a possibly having the illness and stays in isolation at a room, but not a hospital) and a 17-year-old high school student in Indio also turned up to “probably” have this strain of flu. School officials are asking for parents to pay attention to warning signs, even if it’s just a bout of any other type of influenza.

Indio High School will close Thursday along with Pollard High School in Corona and Mission Bell Elementary in Riverside, according to news reports, where the cases are a possibility. A marine was also confirmed with the virus who was stationed in Twentynine Palms, launching tests for scores of other marines who had come in contact with the soldier.

Fevers, coughing, sneezing and vomiting all should be considered reasons to keep children at home – even if its not the swine flu.

The good news, Haik explained, “that it’s nowhere in the Harbor Area,” at this point – although current testing could change that – and all residents should be prepared that it’s possible and could hit Los Angeles County sooner than later.

On Monday, Haik kept his two eight-year-olds, a twin boy and girl, who had a fever from attending public school until they were better three days later. The prior week, his family kept their two-year-old daughter, from attending her pre-kindergarten school in San Pedro, when she too had a fever.

“It’s going to be an inconvenience for everybody and it’s a hardship,” he agreed. “But do your civic duty. If your kid is sick, keep them home. It’s likely at (some point) it could hit us.”

Both agencies refused to name the school involved in the San Pedro rumor mill and Haik added there will be an investigation into how the matter was handled. He would not give more details.

A key ingredient to prevention is repeatedly washing hands and covering your mouth when coughing.

The flu has erupted in Mexico, killing at least 160 residents with thousands falling ill and the first confirmed death of a U.S. victim also was reported this week, that of-a twenty-three month old child who died in Texas Wednesday.

For more information in Los Angeles, visit this site:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rumors Abound that San Pedro High School Lost Its Accreditation; But Not So Fast School Officials Say; While Piles of Work Remain Necessary to Maintain the Rating in the Future, the Overcrowded High School Obtained a Two Year Reprieve and Has A Miraculous Chance of Recovery in the Next Year

At Its First Parent Meeting Tuesday, School Officials Listened and Did Not Dispute a Flood of Criticism Mothers and Fathers Released About Teachers Who Failed to Return Phone Calls, Deadwood on the Staff List and a Litany of Other Woes; Despite Some Ugly Words; Parents Appeared Eager to Help Cure the Ills

By Diana L. Chapman

Despite a litany of criticisms about San Pedro High School, school officials bucked up and listened at its first parent meeting regarding the possibility—but not probability—that the overcrowded campus could lose its accreditation.

Without accreditation, student transcripts would not be honored at colleges and universities.

The meeting launches a series of forums about the issue.

The rating becomes a must for all high schools – and colleges. If the school loses this status, universities could refuse to admit the school’s students, said Linda Del Cueto, who oversees 95 schools in Region 8 , including San Pedro, for Los Angeles Unified.

In its opening series of meetings and forums, parents unloaded shovelsful of issues with the school, from teachers failing to return phone calls or emails and worse – failing to teach.

Faced with the anger, Del Cueto encouraged parents to call her directly. She reaffirmed that staff and parents need to work together to ensure San Pedro High School’s future. Failing to return phone calls, she said, is unacceptable.

The good news, she explained: The school did not lose its accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The bad news: The reviewers said the school failed to improve in the areas of student engagement, academic rigor and applying state standards.

“We can do great things if we pull together,” Del Cueto told more than 50 parents attending the meeting at the school. “Parents, teachers, administration and the staff must come together on the progress report.

“It’s all of us together.”

The school has until June 2010 to prove it has made the improvements.

Before she was able to present the favorable findings of the assessment team, parents complained profusely about the fact that 48 percent of the students don’t graduate and a myriad other frustrations.

“It’s not a student problem,” one father argued. “Let’s talk about resistance. It seems to me this school needs to make some drastic changes. It’s a systemic problem.”

Troubling figures were tossed out at the meeting, such as 70 percent of the students have either D’s or F’s in a core class.

Another parent revealed: “We have a lot of deadwood on the faculty, and there’s a lot of teachers who don’t teach. I could tell stories for hours.”

“We don’t get calls back and my daughter learned nothing, absolutely nothing, in geometry,” complained a mother, herself an educator – who contended her daughter, a gifted student, received a D, which limits her college choices.

Tammy Wood, a parent who struggled, often alone, to improve the school, pleaded with other parents to become more involved and visit the parent center for information and the advocacy they need.

“I’ve been at this for six years, and we need more parents,” said Wood of her struggle to make San Pedro High an exemplary school. “I’ve been a lone voice.”

Should the school lose its accreditation – which rarely happens in a school district where campuses are given multiple chances to make good on the issues – the entire faculty can be replaced, and the decision-making authority is taken over by another agency.

While a series of troubles were discovered at the school site, the accreditation agency explained there are some favorable attributes, such as strong community relations and the relative safety of the campus.

One concern that surfaced repeatedly is that students don’t feel the campus staff respects them. The school was designed for 2,000 students. Current enrollment is 3,150.

At one point, enrollment was 3,500, but many students enrolled at other schools such as the Port of Los Angeles charter school and the Harbor Teachers Preparation Academy. By the end of the meeting, the participants’ once-contentious demeanor showed a sense of humor.

Principal Bob DiPietro told me afterward he was actually pleased by the parents’ anger, because it showed they were concerned about their children’s welfare.

“It’s difficult to listen, and it’s all stuff I’ve heard before,” he said. “But then I think: ‘Hey, these are taxpayers, and the most important thing in the world is that they’re concerned about their children.’ ”

For more information, visit San Pedro High’s website:

Education Humor for the Day: Overhearing a phone conversation her 8th grade son was having, Linda Del Cueto – in charge of a giant cluster of 95 LAUSD schools – eavesdropped while he told a friend he couldn’t talk to his parents because “They aren’t too bright.” His father is an LAUSD high school principal.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Above: Cindy Bradley coaches Ivan Mechor, who wants to learn ballet and goes after school now for classes. At the top, Alberto Encinas works hard so he can pass his physical education test at school.

School Officials Say They Are Saddened Her Lessons Are Coming to a Close – a Loss for the Primarily Blue-Collar Families Who Rarely Have the Chance to Pursue the Cultural Arts;
>Diana L. Chapman

At the San Pedro Ballet School on Pacific Avenue, the typical fare of soft-colored pink tights, violet leotards and graceful leaps and turns seemed to clash with some seriously different attire – shorts, rugged jerseys, football shaped bodies and ankle socks.

Alongside graceful girls, many with neatly braided hair or pinned up buns, came a handful of boys, who in French terms plied, leaped, releved (to rise on half toe) and, well it wasn’t exactly dainty, it was close enough for the cluster of boys and one girl to continue their efforts after school.

The surprise: the seriousness the 15th Street Elementary students displayed.

Alberto Encinas, a 5th grader wearing glasses, a white T-shirt and black tights, worked hard, but grew disgusted when he occasionally lost his balance, rolling his eyes up in the air with displeasure. He struggled, but continued.

He never knew he liked ballet until the instructor showed up at his school and began teaching on Wednesday mornings.

“I just really started to like it,” said the thin boy, who worked intensely throughout the class, saying he was a good student except for physical education. “I didn’t think I could take it anymore because it’s so expensive. It makes me tired and it makes me relax after working at school all day. And it makes me more flexible. This is really helping me for my upcoming physical test.”

Along with Alberto, came his younger brother, Christopher, 9, a first grader with a broad build, his hair cropped short, with reddened cheeks. He wore a red and grey jersey, shorts and ankle socks.

With more of a football player body than a ballet dancer, he turned, plied, balanced at the barre and tried to keep up with the class, pointing his toes and stretching, his determination impressive for his young age.

“Well, I just started it at school and all the boys said: “Wow, boys can do ballet!” And we saw people in there (the studio) and they were doing jumps and leaps. Ballet is more about jumps than it is ballet,” he confided proudly, although his parents don’t want him in the class “because it’s a waste of time.”

Once the lesson began, Cindy firmly told the class “No talking in ballet class,” between demi-plies, tendus and brush “changemont,” meaning brush with foot and change.

About 165 students poured through her classes at 15th Street this year. Many had never seen or tried ballet before, said Sandy Steinhaus, a 2nd grade teacher who pulled the program together and found the funding source that dried up. The primarily blue-collar family school, rarely sees this form of dance, and the impact has charged both students and teachers with an electrical excitement.

Having enjoyed the students, the ballerina decided to finish up the year – without pay.

“It’s been such a golden opportunity,” Sandy explained as she watched several of the students at the studio. “It’s been a perfect fit for our community and all our money for the program is frozen. This has opened up ways for our kids they’ve never had before. It’s been such a natural fit for our school. The kids loved it, the teachers loved it.”

“Right foot, left foot. Brush. Brush,” Cindy instructed the students.

Ivan Melchor, 10, a 5th grade boy who participated on the drill team last year, surprised all the instructors with his sweat, grit and determination in the ballet class.

Despite his size, that of a mini-linebacker, he gracefully extended his arms into a port de bras, stretched his leg into an arabesque at the bar and twirled across the floor, using chaine – a chain of turns.

“Side, side up, plie,” Cindy continued. “Side up, plie. Point. Point.”

After class, a happy Ivan, his face glistening with a dewy sweat, explained his enjoyment of the dance.

“I like the leaping and stuff. I pretty much like everything to do with ballet,” he responded, explaining his parents are proud and now his older sister wants to start.

The studio owner began public school ballet classes first at 186th Street Elementary and later was asked to join 15th Street. She was paid initially through the Los Angeles Unified School District’s art program, but that sizzled away with the poor economy.

When boys are interested in this dance form, she encourages them, as the opportunities for men are far greater. It’s not part of “our American culture,” and therefore, the numbers of men flocking to the art are small – and are needed, making college scholarship and professional potential far greater for boys.

But whether boys or girls, what Cindy spots in nearly all the students is their confidence building.

“I see a transformation in students the first time I teach them. They don't see the possibility that they may be able to become dancers,” she emailed. “They walk in and float out. They learn to fly through the air and that is a boost to their self-esteem that often can lead to... well, to anything really.”

At the end of the class, the girls curtsied and the boys bowed with Steinhaus praying that the drapes won’t come down on the dance classes next year.

“It’s just such a great partnership for us,” she lamented. The school donated 100 tickets to the school for its upcoming show, The Nutcracker.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


By Diana L. Chapman

I confess. I went on vacation…a long, long vacation. It was one I needed to rest and to lick my wounds after my son graduated from Dana Middle School where my friend and I started a series of after school programs. Now, I just feel foolish.

I can’t say why now we even did it.

I can say why it started. We both enjoy kids so much and innocently believed a drive for change could – and should --come after school where scores of kids were milling on the street and fights broke out. It was a simple solution to a hard-core problem.

And it was working. After launching an art and newspaper club, parents started several other clubs, such as swimming, Spanish, art, cooking and so on.

But who knew we’d be walking into a hornet’s nest, make that many hornets nests. We

had, after all, unknowingly wandered into a territory of the big dogs, the bureaucrats and the empire of non-profits, who I have since learned, rule this world.

Who could know that after school programs swirled with angry political bees – just waiting for someone to disturb them. Sting. Zap.Not a couple of silly moms, I guess.

What seems mostly to be missed is that 50 percent Los Angeles students are dropping out of school; for that reason alone, we have to shuck our attitudes that we are the only ones who know how to do this – because:

We need everyone. The kids need parents, police, the business community, the school district, the mayor of Los Angeles, our councilwoman and so on, to become part of the solution. Schools cannot raise thousands of children, many who live in poverty and in broken homes, on its own. It’s a belief I’ve been harping on for three years to anybody I can get to listen -- and frankly, I can’t accept that it’s ok for kids to get gunned down in the streets of Los Angeles, whether they are in a gang or not.

Take for instance a 14-year-old was fatally shot on his own porch last year in San Pedro, struck with several bullets. Sadly, his 13-year-old girlfriend, a Dana student, raised the money for the services and arranged them, since his mother was alone and spoke no English.

Was he in a gang? I have no idea. Does it matter? The fact is he was 14 and surrounded by a world of poverty, drugs and gangs. How can we expect 14-year-old to make the right choices in this environment? We have to divert them with things to explore after school.

That’s why Kim and I delved deeply into programs at Dana – to show them others paths, then gangs, drugs, and crime – as well as to guide kids, who had none of those issues, but came from broken homes or otherwise. We were so successful at Dana. The clubs were flourishing and I knew this could be done at every single middle school in Los Angeles -- if we pulled everyone together, which we tried to do.

A group of us visited the mayor of Los Angeles’s staff – because after all Antonio Villaraigosa told the public he could run schools better than the district . Wanting to see if he would put his efforts where his smiling mouth always seemed to be, we pedaled it to his office.

They weren’t interested. Not sexy enough.

We visited Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s office, who seemed interested, but didn’t offer much in the way of support in any fashion accept to say she liked it.

Los Angeles School Board Member Richard Vladovic backed it 100 percent, but had no money. But money wasn’t the issue.

It all boiled down to leadership. When my son started at Dana at a sixth grader in 2006 at Dana, the school had a horrible reputation and my friends looked at me in horror that I enrolled him there. They were disgusted with my choice. But I wanted to be part of the solution and bring my son’s home school back up to the level I knew could be. No question, the test scores had shot up by the third year, I"m sure for many reasons, but I don't doubt for an instant the after school programs were part of the answer.

The Boys and Girls Club got involved with our program, using our students to maintain a grant, and bused kids to Peck Park Pool for the Swim Club – with a good end result. The parent chaperone said the students grades were improving! They stayed at Homework Club first for one hour before they went off to swim.

When Basketball Coach Derrick Smith joined the team, we were ecstatic. He trained his students to play basketball, to do their homework and watched over their grades. He urged the school to hold pep rallies for his players, which were accompanied by our awesome Dana band and cheer leaders

I laughed watching even the cool students – to cool for anything – magnetized by the rallies. Derrick believed it was all about the school spirit.

It should have all been good, because it was really a miracle in a way. A handful of volunteers, many parents, students staying after school in a safe environment because they wanted too and it was growing. We hadn’t even needed that much money to maintain and run it. We did candle fundraisers and asked for funding from our Neighborhood councils, by far our biggest supporters: Coastal donated $5,000 to the plans; and Central: $3,500.

But like anything, there’s always walls, obstacle courses and politics – and those can shut down many things in an instant. My friend, Kim, who had worked at Dana for years, had invested her soul in the school was becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of administrative support.

She was a true treasure at the school, a gem who had spent countless volunteer hours helping kids. I can only say she was an angel; if only some administrators could see it that way.

After two years of helping run the programs, she left to work at another school. Perhaps I should have joined her but the Cooking Club started with San Pedro High’s Culinary Teacher Sandy Wood and on Friday’s after school, nearly twenty kids marched up to her classroom and whipped up foods like pancakes, omelettes, cookies and salads.

But trouble, as it always does, brewed drastically by the third year. I had sought help from a myriad of places, because it was clear several leaders were necessary to pull everyone together – and it couldn’t be done by a couple of parents. It had to be someone who could pull together the police, the business community, the city’s Recreation and Parks, the schools.

Finally, Celia Sawyer, of Beyond the Bell, which runs the after Los Angeles school district’s after school programs, wanted to take over the programs – which made sense to me to have a professional arm of the district involved.

But within a few weeks of starting to train all our volunteers, Celia retired leaving no one to truly head this program, which left me carrying the load. Of course, she did not tell me that she planned to retire and I’m still wondering about her motives to this day.

When your faced alone with something like this, you learn a lot about yourself and others. I learned that several administrators were not going to help a single ounce and in and, in fact, worked hard to damage the program.

San Pedro High coaches didn’t like our basketball coach, claiming all the time that he was recruiting. No one seemed to care that every one of his kids had improved in school – and all of them crossed the stage at 8th grade graduation, including kids who were destined to not make it. Prior to Derrick’s arrival,, no one had even come to look at the students there.

I learned many lessons, many that are ugly -- that politics was the only reason that the district’s program had even been interested to circumvent some grant money. And I learned, working with the Boys and Girls Club would be incredibly difficult because they didn’t want competition – nor for that matter, did any other non-profits.

Finally, my health spiraled and I could no longer cope with the stress. I was doing a balancing act, hanging by a thread. There are a lot of people delighted I left Dana, not because I wanted too, but because my health forced me too.

Today at Dana: The Boys and Girls Club took over and runs everything. The parent volunteers are mostly gone, replaced by younger Boys and Girls Club employees and the door of opportunity is closing at Dana, because – in all honesty – without parents it’s going to be hard to really make it a better school. With about 1,800 kids, and some 200 plus adults, there’s simply not enough adults to help kids discover where they shine.

The other day, I heard the school district, the council office, the police and the Boys and Girls Club pledged to work together. Perhaps it will work -- especially if parents are encouraged to climb aboard along with the many other non-profits that offer different resources than the Boys and Girls club.

But two things need to happen: first, the school has to be considered the second home of students where they can truck back and forth between the school and the Boys and Girls club. And the parents need to return.

I continue to say – and will always say – if we truly want to see changes: We need everyone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009



Dear Readers: I can't tell you how much a must it is to visit Many of us received an amazing lesson for both children and adults on American Idol. Until this, I wasn't into American Idol. But when I saw this performance, it changed my mind. Check out the performance of Susan Boyle. You will not be sorry. Diana

Homicide Victims’ organizations throughout L.A. County have decided to unite to do a “L.A. County 7-day Candlelight Vigil” in conjunction with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week”, April 26-May 2 . This year marks “25 Years of Rebuilding Lives. Celebrating Victims of Crime Act”.

The vigil is to bring attention to the senseless killings and to unite victims throughout the county.

The candlelight vigils will takes place at 7:00 pm each night in a different location throughout the county (see attachments for locations).

For those unable to attend the candlelight vigil, we ask you to be in unity with us by lighting your candle at your home, office or location of choice at 7:00 pm every night and keep it lit until 9:00 pm every night during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week April 26-May 2.

Locations (See Attachments for more details):

Sunday, April 26 Lemert Park , 4300 S. Crenshaw, Los Angeles

S.T.E.V.I.E.S., Gwen -310-671-6935

Monday, April 27 Roger Park, Beach & Eucalyptus, Inglewood

Helping Hands, Mary -424-200-9210

Monday, April 27 Poncitlan Square , 38350 Sierra Hwy , Palmdale

POMC-Antelope Valley , Sheri -661-265-5963

Tuesday, April 28 Pasadena City Hall , 100 N. Garfield Ave , Pasadena

Victims’ Coalition, Jan- 562-907-4917

Wednesday, April 29 Pomona Civic Center, 505 S. Garey Ave , Pomona

POMC-Inland Empire-Agnus- 909-987-6164

Thursday, April 30 McCarty Memorial Church , 4101 W. Adams, Los Angeles

Mothers On The March, Charlotte- 323-493-1884

Friday, May 1 Lynwood Park, 11301 Bullis Road , Lynwood

Drive By Agony, Lorna-310-404-1050

Saturday, May 2 Water Fountains, Harbor & Swinford, San Pedro

Justice For Murdered Children, La Wanda- 310-738-4218

-----Submited by LaWanda Hawkins


“A Glamorous Evening”

Saturday, May 16th

6:00 pm

The Vue

255 W. 5th Street, San Pedro

(between Centre and Palos Verdes Streets)

Cocktails, dinner, silent & live auctions, dancing

Free parking in the Vue’s parking structure

$70 per person or $650 per party of 10 advance purchase

$80 per person at the door

Adults only. Glamorous attire through the times optional.

For more information or to have an invitation mailed to you, please e-mail or call Karen Hicks at 310-600-5271

All proceeds from this event benefit the 2009 production and Outreach Program of “The Nutcracker”

“The Nutcracker” will be performed for two shows Saturday, December 12th and Sunday, December 13th

San Pedro City Ballet

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Our Overlord Los Angeles Makes Life More Difficult! I'm Ready for a Revolt

Dear Readers: This story appeared in the March issue of San Pedro Today where my columns will now regularly appear. In addition, will use several of my stories that have appeared on this blog. Diana

By Diana L. Chapman

The other day, I figured out what I’ve received from our arrogant overlord, the kingdom of Los Angeles, in my 25 years as a San Pedro resident.

A public pool and a bottle brush tree.

It’s clearer than ever that City Hall believes we paupers here in Harbor Land can’t make decisions on our own, that it’s a task best left to our municipal overseers. Even our Neighborhood Councils, formed to fend off the “s” word—secession—are shaking their collective heads.

Sadly, decisions about our well-being are made in tall buildings farther away than Catalina and further still from our hearts and minds. It seems as if San Pedro lives in a straitjacket, barely able to breathe.

I’m tired of being a serf. I’m fed up with city officials not caring about the soul of our community. The last straw was the quadrupling of our downtown parking rates, strangling our hard-working business owners during a recession. It left me with this thought:

We need a revolt.

I’m praying for a modern-day Robin Hood. The response from our Councilwoman to complaints about the parking increase won’t cut it. First of all, she voted for it. And in a letter to the editor, she slapped our hands by telling us how we had to suck it up for the community good.

Which community, Janice? Downtown Los Angeles? The City Council? We don’t have anyone to stand up for us. Pleeease listen. Our people are starving. What more do you need to say? “Let them eat cake?”

We’re scrambling to maintain our identity. We can’t fix our own problems because L.A. makes more for us. I love San Pedro, but I despise Los Angeles, whose officials don’t care.

What locals find routinely is that just about everything we ask for turns into a tangle of meetings with bureaucrats who seem to have only one thing to say: It’s not possible. Of course anything is possible, but you’d better be prepared to battle for years with a gauntlet of city warriors whose job, it seems, is to stand in our way.

A city-owned ficus tree in front of our house was strangling our sewer line. When I called to find out if it could be removed, I knew we were in for an ordeal. The voice on the phone said environmental issues had to be considered first. And we learned from a Bureau of Street Services “information sheet” that it is a city-granted “privilege” for the homeowner to be connected to the public sewer system!

The public pool is another example. I was in the forefront of a battle to convince the city to clean up and refurbish the decades-old pool at Peck Park. Although we eventually won, the citizens on the Peck Park Advisory Board spent 10 years on the effort. Many of us thought we would die before we would ever see the pool rehabilitated. In fact, some of us did.

Now, for the bottle brush tree. The toppled ficus and its roots had left a crumpled sidewalk in its wake--a lawsuit waiting to happen. We called the city but were told nothing could be done for years because of the backlog. However, if we agreed to pay $1,500, the city would pay another $1,500 and repair the sidewalk in the next two weeks.

So we did it.

We were dismayed to wake up on a Saturday morning and find a gaggle of city employees out on the sidewalk. We watched in disgust, as did many of our neighbors, as most of the employees stood around for hours drinking coffee and chatting on their cell phones. The only people working were two guys digging a ditch.

How much did that cost the taxpayers? Who knows, but I can bet those city employees racked up some pretty good overtime. We were granted a bottle brush tree to replace the ficus.

Things are never perfect. But when my friends ask about any undertaking with Los Angeles – such as bringing in more playing fields – I ask them: “Do you have 10 years of your life to give?” That’s the minimum you need to push something through Los Angeles.

So yes, I’m saying it out loud for all to hear – I’m ready for a revolt. Because the years I’ve spent to get a bottle brush tree and a revamped pool – just aren’t worth being a serf to L.A.

Diana L. Chapman has been a writer for 30 years whose work has appeared in many publications, including the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. To learn more about local issues – especially concerning children – visit her blog: