When I was practicing law in downtown Los Angeles, I could look out my window and see the proposed, controversial Belmont school site. Construction on the site was halted several years ago in the midst of a nasty controversy over whether environmental conditions at the site would pose a hazard to students and teachers.
With the halt on construction, it seemed that the controversy had calmed down. However, something called the Full Disclosure Network has published a story indicating that the California Department of Toxic Substances Control may be--or, at least last year--may have been, inching back toward favoring the completion of construction. Per the Network:
Los Angeles, CA. The California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) has quietly waged a public relations campaign on behalf and in conjunction with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in order to win public support for completing the controversial $1/2 billion dollar Belmont Learning Complex. Exclusive video clips of the January 19, 2005 DTSC community hearing, along with testimony from experts are featured in a two-part Full Disclosure Network cable and internet TV program.
Former public officials oppose any such move toward completing the project, however:
Anthony Patchett, former Head of the Environmental Crimes Division, Office of L. A County District Attorney who also served as Chief of the Belmont investigation ...: DTSC has been out of the loop on Belmont since 1991. They are supposed to be a watchdog agency but instead are now promoting the LAUSD “passive” remediation plan, which in the case of volatile organic chemicals (VOC) contamination, that can never be remediated due to close proximity of groundwater.
While the above-referenced report appears to relate to a DTSC hearing held last year, a January 23, 2006 report ("Belmont: the Black Hole of School Construction") on Full Disclosure Network indicates that the controversy over environmental conditions at the proposed school remains as heated as ever. Indeed, the latest development in this saga appears to be City Controller Laura Chick's proposal that her office audit the LAUSD's financials-- an audit which would presumably reveal exactly what has been spent on Belmont and who has benefited thereby.
The Full Disclosure Network provides streaming video coverage of the Belmont controversy, making the Network's site very interesting. However, it also appears that the Network's coverage has a decidedly anti-Belmont, anti-LAUSD bias. For both sides of the story, you may wish to go to Google and, under the Advanced Search option, put in the "exact phrase" "Belmont Learning Complex" to pull up a multitude of articles on the controversy.