Foundation floats plan for big L.A. River water wheel; Prison chief to meet hunger strikers; Tower troubles

Written by


Water works. Imagine gazing upon the Los Angeles River near downtown and seeing a tranquil retreat rather than concrete drainage system surrounded by an an industrialized wasteland.

That’s what Lauren Bon hopes to see.

Bon is a local artist and director of the Annenberg Foundation. She’s seeking permission for the foundation to build a 70-foot water wheel and a lush sanctuary on the west side of the river between North Broadway and Spring Street. The wheel would irrigate local parks and a stream and the water would be routed back to the river. The project would cost about $10 million. Eventually, Bon said, the stream could be lengthened to run parallel to the river all the way to Long Beach.

Besides creating a new recreation spot for Angelenos, Bon says the project would serve as a symbol for the city’s limited water supply. She calls it “avante-garde nostalgia”

Metro officials have expressed support for the proposal. It would require support from a number of city, county and federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. L.A. Times

Hunger strike. California’s top prison official is scheduled to meet for the first time today with advocates for prisoners involved in mass hunger strike. But the Department of Corrections says the meeting does not signal a willingness to negotiate. More than 500 inmates are participating in the hunger strike, including 330 who have refused meals since July 8th. Prison officials call the protest a power play by inmate gang leaders. Until now, they’ve declined to meet with groups who support the inmates. Today, however, prison chief Jeffrey Beard is scheduled to hold talks with a number of activists. L.A. Times

Reform push. A commission tasked with helping reform the troubled L.A. Department of Children and Family Services has started its work. Its first order of business was electing David Sanders as chairman. Sanders heads Casey Family Services, a foster care provider and reform advocate. He’s also a former director of DCFS. Last week, the department announced that it plans to fire two case workers in connection with the death of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy who was not removed from his home despite numerous allegations of abuse. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas says the panel is part of a larger reform push within the county. L.A. Daily News

Hollywood towers. State scientists are raising more concerns about a fault line that could pose an earthquake risk for a pair of planned Hollywood towers. John Parrish – head of the California Geological Survey – says there is ample evidence that Hollywood fault is active. Parrish also says the fault may run directly underneath the development site near Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, and could produce a powerful earthquake. State law bars construction of new buildings within 50 feet of an active fault. The L.A. City Council signed off on the Millennium Hollywood project last month. The mixed use project calls for towers 39 and 35 stories high. L.A. Times

Sports city. L.A. (still) doesn’t have a pro football team – but sports is a big moneymaker for the region nevertheless. Pro basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, NASCAR races and the Los Angeles Marathon pulled in $4.1 billion for the greater L.A. economy last year, according to a new study by the L.A. Sports Council and the L.A. Area Business Chamber. The survey found an unexpected 27 percent jump in full-time employment rate in the sports industry. But even as jobs were added, attendance at sporting events dropped to an estimated 18.5 million tickets, down from almost 21 million tallied in the last study three years ago. L.A. Business Journal