South L.A designated a Federal Promise Zone

first_imgSeveral South Central neighborhoods surrounding the University Park campus have been designated as Promise Zones as part of the Obama administration initiative to improve quality of life and expand opportunities in under-developed areas.The South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone, also known as SLATE-Z, is home to almost 200,000 residents and encompasses the neighborhoods of Exposition Park, Central Vernon, South Park, Leimert Park, Florence, Vermont Square and parts of the Crenshaw-Baldwin Hills area. These areas have been identified by the federal government as in desperate need of fiscal and community-wide assistance due to poor economic growth in recent decades. In 2014, President Obama created Promise Zones to prioritize certain disadvantaged areas for support after the 2008 recession.According to a White House press release, workforce participation in SLATE-Z is low among residents; the unemployment rate is 11.8 percent in contrast to the 5.3 percent average across California. The education of locals is also suffering, with almost half of all residents dropping out of high school, and around 45 percent of SLATE-Z residents are living at or below the poverty line, three times the national average. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti came out in support of the federal program, and described SLATE-Z as necessary for the wellbeing of South Los Angeles.“The SLATE-Z plan is rooted in strategies for ensuring physical and economic mobility for geographically and economically isolated communities,” Garcetti said in a statement. “It will succeed by building strong public and private pathways between educational and job training agencies so more students receive a high-quality education that leads to long-term educational and career success.”Yet, the Promise Zone designation was not without its controversies. In 2014, other districts of metro Los Angeles were selected to receive federal assistance during the program’s first round of designations. The neighborhoods of Pico Union, Westlake, Koreatown, Hollywood and East Hollywood saw federal grants and support directed to their community, much to the chagrin of citizens and politicians in other impoverished districts. Developments in the initial Los Angeles Promise Zone included a local STEM high school increasing its students’ college acceptance rate to UCLA and the growth of the area’s scientific and technical industries to attract high-wage job opportunities.The South Central community only won Promise Zone status after years of unsuccessful attempts, and on June 6 it was selected as one of the final nine Promise Zones, alongside cities such as Atlanta, San Diego and Nashville. Los Angeles is the only area in the program to have two zones within its city limits. Two Native-American territories were also selected for the program: the Spokane Tribe of Indians and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Councilman Curren D. Price Jr., representative of the Ninth Council District where SLATE-Z’s is primarily located, spoke on the struggle to gain eligibility for the program and to direct national attention to the impoverished neighborhoods of South Central.“This is a defining moment for South Los Angeles,” Price said. “Now, we have another tool to rewrite the South L.A. story and create the future we want for our children. The kind where one’s ZIP code or skin color does not determine the benefits or burden we bear.”Key support for the measure came from L.A. Trade Technical College President Larry Frank, who pioneered the SLATE-Z coalition to fight poverty in the area and organized multiple reapplications for Promise Zone recognition for the area. USC was also a key partner in pushing for the designation. Associate Senior Vice President of Civic Engagement and Economic Development Craig Keys spoke on the improvements to SLATE-Z neighborhoods and how they may promote change to the USC ecosystem.“The Promise Zone designation is important because it positions us to leverage new development in the area to foster local job creation and business expansion,” Keys said in a statement. “We hope the designation will help secure new and additional funding for job training, job placement and small business expansion services.  For example, our MBDA business assistance program is now better situated to extend its services through additional federal funding sources.”last_img read more

Trojan football faces most difficult schedule in nation

first_imgWith the opening game of the 2016 football season against defending champion Alabama less than a month away, the Trojans must prepare for not only their tough season opener, but also the most difficult schedule in the nation. Additionally on the schedule for the Trojans are eight of the 10 Pac-12 teams who made a bowl game last season.Ranked 17th in the preseason USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll, USC will not have easy games early in the season with three of their first four games coming in road games against Alabama, Stanford and Utah.The Trojans may put up a solid fight with the Tide as Alabama loses star running back and last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Derrick Henry. This could put a serious strain on the Tide’s emphasis on a run-the-ball offense, forcing the new quarterback, likely Cooper Bateman or Blake Barnett, to throw the ball.The key for a USC victory in the opener is to be able to break through the offensive line and put pressure on the quarterback while covering senior Alabama tight end O.J. Howard.“We want to keep defenses off balance by being balanced offensively,” head coach Clay Helton said. “We believe we have the personnel to run the ball effectively and physically and to be explosive in the passing game. At the end of the day, though, we know that we must be able to run the ball and not turn it over.”In the weeks to follow, the Trojans can expect tough road games as they play conference rivals No. 7 Stanford and Utah in weeks three and four, respectively. Again, their defense will have to control two primarily running offenses, particularly Stanford with the return of Heisman runner-up and AP Player of the Year junior running back Christian McCaffrey, who is predicted to lead the Cardinal to another strong season.Midseason, USC faces Arizona State, Colorado and Arizona, with a week eight bye. Arizona’s junior quarterback Anu Solomon, ranked fourth in the school’s passing yards history, will test the Trojans’ receiver and tight end coverage while Colorado continues to improve its pass rush defense.The final weeks, will continue to be challenging as the Trojans face Cal and No. 23 Oregon at home in weeks nine and 10 respectively before hitting the road to face No. 18 Washington and No. 24 UCLA the next two weeks before finally hosting No. 9 Notre Dame at home for a timeless non-conference matchup.The Fighting Irish have had the upper hand against the Trojans, having won the most recent matchup 41-31. Notre Dame features two quarterbacks — senior Malik Zaire and junior DeShone Kizer — on the 2016 Maxwell Award Watch List, who combine to become a  deadly duo for passing and rushing yards at quarterback. However, the Irish have lost key offensive players such as wide receiver Will Fuller, cornerback KeiVarae Russell and running back C.J. Posise.But the Trojans have the advantage over their crosstown rival, leading the series 46-31-7. The main area of concern for the Trojans is the Bruins’ defense. The 2015 season marked a free fall in UCLA’s “Linebacker U” reputation with linebacker Myles Jack out for the majority of the season due to a torn meniscus. Despite the loss, UCLA sees potential in rebuilding their defense this season with returning senior linebacker Jayon Brown, who recorded 69 tackles in the Bruins’ last seven games.Despite a formidable schedule ahead, Helton and the team are ready to tackle the challenge head on.“I, along with our coaches and players, understand where the bar is set, and we welcome the high expectations,” Helton said. “Our goal will never change here at USC. We are about winning championships and all of us will work tirelessly toward that goal.”last_img read more

Amid swirl of controversy, Lakers introduce Frank Vogel as head coach

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIf nothing else, Vogel rolled in a surreal morning in which the excitement of the Lakers introducing the coach they hope can break a six-year playoff drought was dampened by dirty laundry airing from the previous season. The former Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic coach, who has a 304-291 overall record on the sideline, did his best to steer the conversation from the difficult past to what he sees as a team with “tremendous promise.”Inheriting a roster with LeBron James, a number of recent first-round picks, and cap space for an additional star salary and the No. 4 pick in the next draft, Vogel said he was brimming with optimism. But he emphasized that while his success will ultimately be judged by the ability to get back to the postseason – which is an urgent issue for a franchise which has never been shut out from the playoffs for this long – his approach will be characterized by staying present and creating a strong work ethic within the Lakers organization.“We are going to be focused on the work: the day-to-day, stay in the moment,” he said. “How do we get better at practice? How do we win the next game? Focus on the task at hand, and then those accolades, those achievements, those results, they will come.”Among the many awkward questions for the Lakers at Monday’s press conference, General Manager Rob Pelinka was asked to account for how the team came to Vogel after a month-long search for Luke Walton’s replacement that had other favorites before Vogel. Notably, the Lakers were close to terms with Tyronn Lue, who had previously coached James to the 2016 championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers, when negotiations broke down over the length of his contract offer (reportedly just three years) as well as the Lakers desiring to place former Nets and Bucks coach Jason Kidd on his staff.Neither of those appeared to be problems for Vogel, who acknowledged Kidd’s role as one of his assistants and is reportedly on a three-year deal. But Pelinka said Vogel ended up standing out from the initial list of names for his detailed preparation, his outlined vision for the Lakers’ style of play, and his playoff success of reaching back-to-back Eastern Conference finals with the Pacers. Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers PreviousLos Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel conducts an interview at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James watches as his new head coach Frank Vogel, foreground, conducts an interview after Vogel was introduced as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel conducts an interview at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James watches from the back of the gym as Frank Vogel is introduced as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, left, introduces Frank Vogel as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James wipes his brow as he watches from the back of the gym after Frank Vogel was introduced as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, left, watches Frank Vogel talks about his role as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, left, introduces Frank Vogel as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, left, and general manager Rob Pelinka arrives for a press conference at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers senior basketball advisor Kurt Rambis arrives for the press conference announcing Frank Vogel as the Lakers new head coach at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel conducts an interview at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 10Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel conducts an interview at their training facility in El Segundo on Monday, May 20, 2019. Vogel was most recently the head coach at the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG)ExpandEL SEGUNDO — During the hiring process, the Lakers told Frank Vogel something that was immediately reinforced in his first week at work: This ain’t Indiana.That manifested in topsy-turvy fashion on Monday morning, as Vogel spent most of his 26-minute introductory press conference as head coach of the Lakers silently listening as his general manager handled accusations of backstabbing from the outgoing team president.It didn’t throw the 45-year-old New Jersey native off his message – that he’s here to instill a positive, forward-thinking culture to a franchise in need of one – but even Vogel acknowledged it was a little outside his normal operating procedure.“It’s a little different,” Vogel said. “Definitely different than I expected and different than I’ve ever been a part of. But I understand the line of questioning, in light of the events of this morning, so you just roll with the punches.” “Throughout the process, he just continued to emerge as someone that had those qualities I talked about at the beginning of this and we celebrate that,” he said. “He is the coach. He is the right guy for this job.”Vogel shares an agent with Lue and was initially excited to be an assistant on Lue’s staff in Los Angeles. But once Lue bowed out, the Lakers “moved quickly” to interview him for the top coaching job and make him an offer.“It’s very emotional and exciting,” he said from the dais. “I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty cool to be up here right now.”Vogel’s belief that the future holds brighter things applies to his own coaching style, which he said has evolved since his days in Indiana. A disciple of Rick Pitino, Vogel built Indiana teams which won with defensive grit and just enough on the offensive end. But as the NBA has changed, so has he, he said, and in Orlando, he tried to grow a more 3-point-oriented style that he continued to study into his “sabbatical year” since he was fired from the Magic in 2018.Under his leadership, Vogel said the Lakers will aim to create an “outside-in” approach to offense which will rely on the threat of 3-point shooting to set up attacking the rim. It puts an impetus on the front office to add shooting in free agency to a team that finished 29th in 3-point percentage (33.3). On defense, Vogel will shoot for an inverse approach: a scheme predicated on protecting the rim and the paint first.“I’m really, really excited about the chance to instill my beliefs of how it’s going to look,” Vogel said.Kidd’s hire has incited speculation since it was first reported: As a former assistant coach who has a pre-existing relationship with James who has had sometimes turbulent relationships with coaches and management, outsiders have wondered if Kidd would function as an in-house replacement for Vogel if his tenure gets off to a rough start.Vogel literally laughed at the suggestion.“You can’t worry about looking over your shoulder,” he said. “You gotta worry about getting good damn coaches. That’s how I feel about this hire.”Vogel said he had extensive conversations with Kidd, whose hire has not been officially announced by the organization, and that he believed Kidd would be “an incredible asset” in what he hopes will be a collaborative coaching staff.Asked about Kidd’s history of domestic violence (he pled guilty to spousal abuse in 2000 as a player), Vogel said it did initially concern him, but he and Kidd had spoken about it: “This was something that was in the past and he’s sort of spoken upon it and moved on from it. I believe he’s in a very different place than back then.”Related Articles How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years center_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions The introduction was attended by most of the Lakers’ front office staff and several players, most notably James who stood in the wings of the team’s practice facility and did not speak publicly to reporters. Vogel’s Pacers teams twice clashed in the conference finals with James’ Miami Heat teams, once pushing them to seven games before the Heat prevailed. Vogel said his conversations with James had been “very positive,” and he sounded hopeful that the culture he built in Indiana would help inform their future relationship and buy in his investment.He didn’t see a clash of ideology trying to coach a young group along with a veteran of James’ stature: “Every player I’ve ever been around that’s, quite frankly, worth a damn wants to be challenged and wants to be pushed and wants to be coached hard and wants to be held accountable.”Vogel is the latest in an unsteady chain of coaches: He’s the fifth coach the Lakers have hired since Phil Jackson left in 2011. None have lasted longer than Walton, who coached for three years without bringing the Lakers back to the postseason, finishing his final campaign with a 37-45 record marred by injuries.Even on a day when the baggage of the last era was still front and center, Vogel remained undaunted – and promised that true change is forthcoming.“There’s a positive vibe happening with our team right now,” he said. “There really is. OK? And it’s just one of those things where you’re going to have to wait and see, but you’re going to be happy with the product that we put on the floor this year and where we’re going as an organization. You really are.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more