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Westlake Revelations' charter is to disseminate factual information about issues. Specifically, to explain topics without stating opinions so that the citizens can deal in fact ... instead of fiction ... and then make up their own minds based on real information.

: Call-time pass-by-reference has been deprecated; If you would like to pass it by reference, modify the declaration of module_invoke_all(). If you would like to enable call-time pass-by-reference, you can set allow_call_time_pass_reference to true in your INI file in /home/wlrev/public_html/modules/fuzzysearch/fuzzysearch.module on line 324.

New Bus Schedule Now Available

For those that take the bus to school, the City of Westlake Village has released a new bus schedule. The schedule is available on the city web site, or with the changes indicated at http://www.westlakerevelations.com/pictures/080918-WLV-Transit-Schedule....

In case you are curious why there are changes from one year to the next, it all comes down to balancing the number of riders. Each year, different numbers of kids take the different routes. In other words, as kids change from one grade to the next, they go to different schools at different times.

Malibu/Lost Hills Station's Open House

Synopsis

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, specifically the Malibu/Lost Hills Station, is hosting an Open House on Saturday, September 20th from 10am-3pm at the station on 27050 Agoura Road.

LVUSD to Continue Hosting Bi-Monthly Superintendent's Forum

Las Virgenes Unified School District (http://www.lvusd.org/) released an announcement this week that it will continue to host bi-monthly Superintendent's Forum which are open to the community. The sessions are unstructured and allow community members to raise issues and ask questions of the district's senior management.

Each of these meeting will be held at local school sites around the district.

LVUSD Releases API Scores (STAR Test results)

Synopsis

Las Virgenes Unified School District and the State of California this afternoon released their annual API scores (STAR Test results) for the district. LVUSD typically scores high on APIs, and the district reports that it continues to be one of the "top ranking districts in the state."

According to the California Department of Education, "The API is a numeric index that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1000 with a statewide target of 800." Schools target continued improvement. School targets are set at 5 percent of the difference between the school's base API score and the statewide target of 800, with a minimum target of 5 points.

The overall district score showed an increase over last year with a score of 876 up from 872. All schools scored above 800 with six schools scoring above 900 (with the exception of Indian Hills High school which is not yet reported). And, the district reports "all schools met their Annual Yearly Progress targets."

As for the schools serving Westlake Village residents, White Oak Elementary had the highest score in the district with a score of 944 up from 927 last year. Lindero Canyon Middle School scored 893 up from 885 last year. And, Agoura High scored 839 up from 833.

Final TGIF Event of 2008 Season

As many of you know, the City of Westlake Village hosts TGIF events throughout the summer. The largest event was on August 22nd, with an estimated 1200 people in attendance, featured "The Long Run" with a music tribute to the Eagles at Bernice Bennett Park. Food was available to purchase from Mama Rita.

The final TGIF Event of the 2008 Season will take place this Friday (September 5th) at the Westlake Village City Hall, 31200 Oak Crest Drive.

Agoura Lost Fire Update: 15 year olds turn themselves in

Earlier this week, there was a fire in the Agoura/Calabasas area that burned over 80-90 acres of brush, caused evacuations. Called the "Lost Fire", no buildings were damaged, and there were no injuries.

From the beginning, fire officials suspected arson. In their initial investigation, inspectors found the "point of origin," and firework incendiary devices near that point. Witness interviews revealed two male juveniles seen running from the scene.

Lindero Canyon Middle School, Renovation Update

Synopsis

For those that attend Lindero Canyon Middle School, you've been long hearing about the renovation/expansion of the almost 40 year old campus. That project has now started in ways that are very visible.

The entire school has been moved to the classrooms previously occupied by Yerba Buena Elementary School (the Southern side of the property). The offices have been moved to temporary facilities as well. The old staff parking lot (on the west side) is completely gone (moved to where the basketball courts were), and a new parent drop off on the Southwest edge is nearly complete.

In short, you should be prepared for a lot of change. Principal Ron Kaiser, his staff, and the district, are focused on continuing to be a school, with the strong LCMS community feeling that it has been in years prior. Safety and student learning are the stated priorities as the project starts until it is done.

That said, there will almost definitely be "hiccups". And, those that go in with a "go with the flow" approach and attitude, will likely have a whole lot easier time as the new facilities are built.

City Street Work Update

Synopsis

The neighborhood portion of the slurry sealing is now done, but will take up to a month to fully set. The balance of the schedule is now up at http://www.wlv.org/whats_new/paving.asp?s=3

The work on Triunfo Canyon Road will begin on Monday, August 18th, and is a considerable project done in three parts: pavement grinding, signal loop replacement, and finally, the asphalt overlay. This will take a bit to do (at least several days), and you should expect a rougher ride, etc... during this time.

Triunfo Canyon Road won't ever be completely closed, but expect it to have lanes closed at times. In short, you should be prepared to be tolerant while the City's contractors do this work, and those drivers that can go around via Westlake Blvd., may want to.

For those residential streets that are getting overlays, there will be notices up 72 hours in advance. For most of the smaller streets, the work goes very quickly, but you do need to be prepared to not only avoid parking on the street, but also avoid access through those streets during these periods.

Lakeview Canyon/Agoura Road Gas Station

Many readers have noted that the gas station at the corner of Lakeview Canyon and Agoura Road has been removed, and are wondering what is up. The property is actually owned by the Westlake Village Inn, and has been leased to various operators for years. They've long been pondering a better use that would be more compatible with the Westlake Village Inn's image, ambience, and services.

While there's no development application yet filed with the City of Westlake Village, Westlake Village Inn's General Manager tells us that they are planning on building "central gathering point" for people to come and enjoy the village environment in Westlake Village.

This morning's earthquake

For those of you that felt it, we had a solid earthquake late morning today (11:42:15 AM). The quake was a 5.8 on the Richter magnitude scale and was located 4 miles SE of Diamond Bar.

With the quake being 70-75 miles from Westlake Village, that's what caused the more smoothed out "rolling" feeling.

What's up with the street construction?

Synopsis

If you've driven around on the part of Westlake Village south of the 101, you've no doubt noticed all the street construction signs and work being done. Many have asked "what's up with the street construction?" This is part of a good size project that Westlake Village is doing in conjunction with the City of Agoura Hills.

If there's construction signs on your street, it's important to read on -- so that you know where to park, and how this will affect you.

In short, properly maintained streets have basically, an indefinite life span. Primarily, this means that two processes (slurry seal and overlays) are done on regular intervals. As a general rule of thumb, slurry seals need to be done every 5-7 years, and overlays are done every 20 or so years.

The original schedule for construction was slated to start on June 30th, but this has now been pushed back some due to asphalt plant availability. (Unfortunately, this is a typical occurrence each year due to the summer paving season by all the cities.) Right now, it looks like the first work will be the slurry work, and at the moment, it looks like that will start in late July.

4th of July Parade Details

For almost four decades, the Westlake Village Junior Women's Club has presented the annual Westlake Village Community 4th of July Parade. This year's event is the 39th annual event sponsored By Albertsons, Costco, and The Acorn.

The parade starts at 10am on Friday, July 4th, 2008.

Participants are encouraged to come and join the parade with decorated bicycles, strollers or wagons. (Although remember, no pets or motorized vehicles.) It's a "family" event, and no registration is required.

Westlake Village City Budget Overview, 2008-2009

Synopsis

Tomorrow night, the Westlake Village City Council is going to vote on the budget that starts on July 1, 2008. From an operating expenditures and revenue standpoint, this budget is similar to budgets of the past couple of years. What's different is the capital projects, which have been long in the planning, and are now starting to be implemented. At $23,167,705, this makes the budget the largest, by far, in the history of the City of Westlake Village.

Overall revenues are projected slightly lower, mostly due to a drop in interest income. While sales tax revenue normally increases by 3-4% per year, this year the city staff is projecting a conservative 0.75% growth due to the economy. This puts Westlake Village in a much better place than many cities, and certainly in a better financial condition than the state of California.

Preliminary Area Election Results

Synopsis

Good morning,

Just a quick update on yesterday's election. Results taken from the official sources at Ventura County, the State of California, and SmartVoter.org

In short:

Measure B (Thousand Oaks) lost
Measure C (Oak Park) won
Proposition 98 lost
Proposition 99 won

and there's a long list of state senator, assembly, and judicial positions listed below.

Governor's May Budget Revision, Details Revealed

Synopsis

Yesterday, Governor Schwarzenegger released the "May Budget Revision" for the State of California. It was presented as fully funding education, and is $1.1 billion more than proposed in January, but the cuts to education funding are still extreme.

The district is now expected to have $2-2.5 million less than it did for the 2007-2008 school year. Already, 24 teachers have been laid off in preparation for these budget shortfalls.

These cuts, even though Proposition 98 won't be suspended, are accomplished through changes to the Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), Special Education Funding, Deferred Maintenance changes, Home-to-School Transportation, and "Categorical" program reductions.

The proposed budget bridging is based on the securitization of California's lottery, and looking for the lottery to fund more than just education -- not through cuts, but better performance of the lottery.

If that doesn't pass with voter approval in November, the Governor is proposing a temporary 1% increase in sales tax.

Last Chance for LVUSD Parent Survey

Synopsis

The Las Virgenes Unified School District has put out an online survey for parents to give feedback to the district. They've just put out the below announcement as a "last call" for the survey.

If you have kids in school, you should take a few minutes to complete the survey if you've not done so already.

Make sure to use the free form text at the end to give any feedback not asked, including feedback on the survey itself, so that the district can better get feedback from you in the future.

You can access the survey on the http://www.lvusd.org/ home page, or directly by going to this link: http://www.lvusd.k12.ca.us/webapps/portal/index.php?option=com_content&t....

Honors and Donations

Note from Neil:

Thank you to everyone who sent me notes after the Ventura County Star article this morning.

(http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/may/07/westlake-village-names...).

There's been a bunch of questions, which I thought I would just answer here.

The City of Westlake Village is giving $500 to the charity of my choice. And, I have selected the Triunfo YMCA's Strong Kids campaign (formerly known as Family to Family). This program focuses on those who cannot afford to send their kids to camp, or take part in Indian Guides, or any one of the programs the Y offers. It's local, and it's about kids ... and that just screamed out to me as the right place to direct the donation.

This week, and over the past year and a half, I've gotten scores of queries about donations, ads or offering subscription fees to Westlake Revelations. I've never wanted to do this, and still do not want to, as Westlake Revelations is simply my contribution to the community.

But there are ways to give back. So, if you have valued Westlake Revelations or some other effort, you are welcome and encouraged to make a tax deductible donation to this kid-focused program (Strong Kids) as well. Any and all amounts are appreciated.

Simply go to (http://www.westlakerevelations.com/donate.php) or you can call the Y directly at 818-707-9622, and make a donation over the phone.

More information below from the Y about their Strong Kids Campaign.

Measure B: "Traffic" initiative, Los Robles ER Closure

Up Front Note From the Editor:

For those of you new to Westlake Revelations, our goal is simply to present facts so you can make up your own mind. Usually, we can see an argument on both sides of an issue. But, sometimes after intensive investigation (research that few of us have time to do), there is no doubt in our mind as to what the conclusion should be. Obviously, we can only form our thoughts after digesting the considerable education we've gotten on a topic, and drawing conclusions from it. As a result, you should consider this post as an "editorial", unlike most Westlake Revelations articles.

Whether you are a resident of Thousand Oaks, or any area of the Conejo, the upcoming Thousand Oaks' vote (June 3rd) on Measure B will likely affect you. Here's our top line conclusions on Measure B:

* The consequences of Measure B are severe. For example, the hospital will likely need to close the ER for something like a year, and the area will have nearly $1 billion in annual economic losses.

* It's just not workable. Citizens do not have the time to research each development that comes up for vote properly -- no one has time to read 150-600 pages of documentation on *each* vote. Without reading that material, you would not be making an educated decision. And making a gut, emotional decision will likely do substantive damage to the community over time. Think of it this way, would you read something 25-100 *times* the length of this article before voting on each project?

* Traffic is likely to get worse, not better if Measure B comes into existence. This is completely contrary to the stated goal of Measure B.

* Finally, in regards to the research we've done on this issue, we're convinced the consequences, impartial analysis, and the rest of the details from the city and other sources are realistic.

We were unable to find any argument from DoIt Center nor their representatives that could answer, refute or be worth, the effects of Measure B.

Synopsis

The initiative identifies larger developments with traffic impacts (as many large developments have). In these cases, after the planning process, land use committee, and the city council has approved them, voters would ultimately approving or turn down the project. What voters will need to decide is if Direct Democracy is a good thing, and if having voter veto control on every qualifying project is worth the effects Measure B will cause.

Measure B is the DoIt Center backed initiative for the City of Thousand Oaks that is formally called the "Right to Vote on Traffic Congestion". The "for" side will tell you this initiative puts decisions about many big developments into the hands of the voters. The "against" side has enumerated a variety of other likely consequences ... including the closing the Los Robles Emergency Room, nearly $1 billion of economic losses to the area annually, and reduced government services. The thought of these economic losses comes at the same time as the City, along with Conejo Schools (CVUSD) and the Conejo Recreation and Park District, look to query residents on what type of new taxes citizens are willing to weather a tough fiscal period.

Even more significant is that Measure B significantly changes how government works. Currently working as a representative government, Measure B takes Thousand Oaks towards a Direct Democracy.

Disclaimer: Westlake Revelations is all about presenting both sides of an argument factually. In the case of this article, the "Yes on Measure B" campaign not only could not answer questions asked in person, but the consultants behind the campaign wouldn't return any of many phone messages, so we had to rely on their web site only. (Ed note: It's a huge red flag to us when someone won't return calls or answers questions.) On the flip side, the City of Thousand Oaks staff, Los Robles Hospital, and the "No on Measure B" campaign were very responsive to inquiries, and answered all questions posed, even under scrutiny.

Measure B puts the responsibility of being educated not only on the city and representatives. Larger projects have 150-600 pages of materials to review. As a comparison, this Westlake Revelations article is approximately 6 pages (or less than 4% of those material you would review at the smaller end of the spectrum). So, to make an educated decision, voters should expect to review 25-100 times as much material as is in this article for each development brought to the voters under Measure B.

Furthermore, the City's impartial analysis looks at the impact Measure B has on traffic. In short, in the trade off between a number of smaller developments spread over a larger area, vs. a single larger development, traffic would be less with the larger development. Presuming that voters turned down larger developments, Measure B stands a good chance of increasing traffic instead of reducing it.

Using a combination of accepted ratios, real life surveys, etc., the proposed Home Depot should generate 23% less traffic than the Kmart shopping center did before. Weekend truck deliveries are just a handful, and weekend truck deliveries are in the mid-teens per weekday. Using the existing measurements from the city and the county, the intersections where Hampshire crosses the freeway and Thousand Oaks Blvd. will continue to be at C level of service or better, even after Home Depot comes in.

DoIt Center has put approximately $400-500,000 into this initiative to date, with that amount continuing to grow -- but they are not taking outside donations. Home Depot, probably the first project that would be affected by the initiative, has also put up approximately $400-500,000 to fight it, but unlike DoIt Center, there are other contributors. These two businesses have done battle in the past (e.g., the Agoura initiative limiting large retail, and DoIt also backed the No on Z campaign in Westlake Village to keep out Lowe's).

The following is greater detail of all of these issues. If you are interested in having residents vote directly on each project, it would be a good exercise to not only review this article, but all the materials available from the City of Thousand Oaks, and both the for/against web sites to make an educated decision.

747 Overlay Area Code Coming to 818, 1+ dialing mandatory soon

Synopsis

When the USPS wanted to change zip codes, Westlake Revelations investigated and found no publicly stated valid reason for change, and brought that to the attention of government officials. (For more info about the USPS position change, see http://www.westlakerevelations.com/?q=node/102)

Area codes, however, are entirely another matter. We're not running out of phone numbers per se, but we are running out of "whole prefixes" which is how phone numbers are allocated to providers. In other words, it's becoming very difficult to get new numbers.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) had two choices: split the area code into two areas (one keeping the old, the other keeping the new) as happened when 818 was created ... or create an overlay. With some history behind it, the evidence is clear that an overlay is less costly to implement for people.

As a result, this afternoon, the PUC voted unanimously for an "area code overlay" -- second area code to the same geographic region. The good news is that if you have an existing 818 number, your number will not change. If you want a new number, however, starting next year, it's likely to be in the new 747 area code.

More importantly, everyone in 818 will need to dial 1+ the area code and the telephone number for all calls. This applies even when you are dialing your next door neighbor. While not yet required, you can start to dial this way today if you'd like. In fact, many people living in this area are already doing this especially if they work/live in both 818/805 area codes.

Toll charges will continue to be based geographically, and not by area code. In other words, if your next door neighbor gets a new number with 747, it won't be a toll call. But, if your friend in Burbank does ... that will continue to be a toll call.

STTOP: Confidential Reporting of Reckless Driving

Synopsis

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people 15 to 20 years of age, causing roughly one-third of all fatalities in this age group. Last year, over 6,000 young people ages 15-20 died in motor vehicle crashes. Even though this age group makes up only 7% of the driving population, they are involved in 14% of all traffic fatalities.

STTOP is an intervention program developed by the Lost Hills/Malibu Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, to educate young drivers and their parents. STTOP encourages citizens to call 877-310-STOP and report dangerous drivers (teen or otherwise), or fill out this form on the web http://www.sttop.net/report_a_driver.htm -- either way, your information is kept confidential.

After locating the driver, a Sheriff's Deputy conducts an intervention with the driver (and his/her parents if a teenager). STTOP follows on all reports regardless of the drivers age. The programs' intent is not to prosecute, but to correct poor driving habits so collisions and citations can be avoided.

Thursday, April 24th, 7-9pm at the Westlake Village City Hall, the Sheriff will be presenting a program "Is your teen road ready?"