Not too many people are aware that our kids going to private schools are not as well protected as kids attending public schools. What do I mean?

When the great Long Beach earthquake hit in 1933, it brought 70 school buildings tumbling down. Officials said thousands could have been killed if schools had been in session when the earthquake hit at 5:54 PM. This earthquake prompted a strict state law that set standards and inspections for public schools. But the law, known as the Field Act, did not cover private schools.


I always loved Lucy. Actually I bought a collection of all the episodes of the “I love Lucy” shows. It always gives me pleasure to watch the lovable but very silly Lucy getting into all kinds of trouble.

Fast forward about 5 decades and see that Lucy is running the show again!

Of course she is not the same Lucy, but at this time she is maybe the smartest and very influential Ph.D. Lucy Jones who’s running the show at least for the city of Los Angeles. Of course I’m speaking of Lucy Jones, who is in the science advisory role to the mayor Eric Garcetti, on “loan” from the USGS (United States Geological Survey) to the city of Los Angeles. She is also known as the “Earthquake Lady” after her numerous appearances on television as a commentator to the latest La Brea earthquake. For the past year or so she has been helping the City of Los Angeles to put together a program to make vulnerable buildings in the city safer. I’ve met Lucy last year at a west side symposium and I was very impressed by her agility, knowledge about earthquakes and determination to make the city of Los Angeles a safer place to live.


Cities across California are struggling with how to convince property owners to retrofit buildings at risk of collapse during a major earthquake, the majority of them being “Soft story” buildings. In one of my previous newsletters (okay, maybe more than one) I mentioned that placing a placard on the front of the building, much like the way restaurants have letter grading, would force land lords to act in order not to lose tenants.


When you want to install roof solar panels or photovoltaic panels, you need a building permit. That sounds ok, right? After all, you add something to the building, and the cost is over $500.00, the threshold for which you need a permit. The Department of Building and Safety requires, in order to prepare plans, that you go to a structural engineer, make calculations, pay fees to the city (and to the structural engineer), and then you receive your permit.