Thursday, August 28, 2008

With the Help of Courageous Woman Police Arrest Man in Eagle Rock Attack

Thanks to the diligence of Northeast police officers and a courageous young woman who was able to describe her attacker in great detail, a 25-year-old man was arrested August 28th and charged in connection with a brutal sexual assault and robbery in Eagle Rock that occurred on July 26. I offered a $50,000 reward through the City Council for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for this horrendous attack. Police say they received a tremendous amount of tips from a concerned public. With the police and community’s help, we passed out fliers with a composite sketch of the suspect and they were posted throughout the area. Eagle Rock is a safe community with a low crime rate and all of us did our best to make sure our friends and neighbors were aware of what happened. On behalf of the community I want to thank the detectives for the great work they did on this case. I want to again send my heartfelt prayers to the woman attacked in this incident and to thank her for having the courage to step forward to make sure this didn’t happen again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Boyle Heights Community Update Meeting

We had about 500 people cram the room at the Puente Learning Center for our Boyle Heights Town Hall Meeting recently. It was a chance for me to speak to the people directly and present an overview of the community improvement projects which have occurred recently, or are being planned or envisioned for the future of Boyle Heights. I also introduced some programs which are in progress and some conceptual ideas which are currently only dreams, but which represent a vision for ongoing improvements to benefit the vibrant Boyle Heights community. So much is happening in Boyle Heights, both public and private, it was important to discuss with the community as to how it all connects together. For example, how things like the new Metro Gold Line Eastside Expansion, the architectural award-winning new Hollenbeck Police Station, and the soon-to-be-improved Evergreen Cemetery Exercise Trail are going to make our lives better. For a review of the brochure, please download document from bottom of my website.

Summer Night Lights Bright at Ramon Garcia Park

A sea of children. That’s what I saw when visiting Ramon Garcia Park and its Summer Night Lights program last week. If the answer to the program’s success can be found in the dozens upon dozens of kids playing on the soccer and baseball fields and indoor basketball court, or playing foosball in the activity room, then the program is a smashing success. This program is not an end-all program. It is what it says it is: a summertime effort to keep our children living in the most vulnerable neighborhoods safe from gang violence during critical nighttime hours. The program runs through Labor Day, Wednesdays through Saturdays, 4 p.m. to midnight. Part of the mayor’s citywide program, which I support wholeheartedly, it’s focused on the City’s anti-gang reduction zones. And in my district, Ramon Garcia and Ramona Gardens Recreation Center are part of the program. Mayor Villaraigosa and Jeff Carr, the mayor’s gang reduction and youth development director, as well as local legend, Sportscaster Jim Hill joined me. We passed out a couple of free iPods and other prizes and all the while we were surrounded by the most beautiful sight: a sea of children.

Weekend Parade Celebrates Ecuadorian Community

It was an honor to be a grand marshal at the Ecuadorian Parade this weekend. The parade was part of the Fiestas Patrias Ecuatorianas week, where the Ecuadorian community celebrates and commemorates their independence from Spanish rule. The City Council and I recognized elected Ecuadorian officials, event organizers and prominent members of the Ecuadorian community on Friday at Council. That served as a nice prelude for their most important event: Sunday’s parade! It was a typical hot Southern California day. I attended the parade with my wife, Richelle, and three kids. Fellow colleague, Councilmember Bernard Parks and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also attended. The parade was followed by a day of Ecuadorian music, food and celebration at the Fletcher Bowron.

National Night Out: A Growing Community Effort

National Night Out began in a couple of dozen states in 1984 as an effort to encourage residents to get more involved in crime prevention in their neighborhoods and to partner with their local officers. Today, millions from all over the United States participate in this worth-while effort. Last Tuesday, I attended several in my district. The first was in Boyle Heights and I was amazed as to how many residents, especially young people, came out for the Peace Walk. With about 1,000 people in attendance, the event was focused on denouncing violence and promoting safety in our community. Captain Chow and some of our officers from Hollenbeck were there as well, showing their commitment and support.

While Boyle Heights residents are veterans of National Night Out, El Sereno was participating in its first campaign. Captain Chow and Hollenbeck officers again joined us there, and we ended the march at El Sereno Park with a screening of the film, “Hairspray”!

In Eagle Rock, about 150 people came out. We had some nice sponsorship from Eagle Rock Plaza and Target. The Northeast Explorers were out in full force along with LAPD Northeast Division officers, including Captain Murphy, commanding officer for the division. The event was representative of Eagle Rock’s small town atmosphere.

In Downtown, there was a lot to enjoy: boxing matches, karaoke singing, ice cream, and world-renowned jazz band Hiroshima. My wife Richelle and I had a nice conversation with Police Commission President Anthony Pacheco. Senior Lead Officer Jack Richter from LAPD’s Central Division led about 45 cyclists on a guided tour downtown.

Overall it was great to see folks from all over my district showing their support for law enforcement. I want to thank everyone for taking an active role in our communities’ safety, from LAPD to community organizations to residents. We all worked together to make these events a success. It’s a partnership!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Police need your help following sexual assault in Eagle Rock

On August 7, I attended a press conference with Northeast Division Captain William Murphy and detectives to announce a $25,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of a man who sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman in Eagle Rock while she waited for a bus. The attack, which police believe is an isolated incident and not the work of a serial rapist, occurred on July 26, 2008, at 5:30 a.m. while the woman waited for a bus on the corner of Colorado and Eagle Rock boulevards. The assailant forced the woman into his car and drove her to a secluded area where be sexually assaulted her, took her property and drove off. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 18-22 years of age with a mustache. He stands 5’ 7” to 5’ 8” and weighs 140 lbs. He was driving a dark blue 4-door 2006-2008 Honda Civic. It had a toddler seat in the back seat. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and her family. Eagle Rock has a low crime-rate and police said an attack like this is completely out of the ordinary. Let’s get this dangerous individual off our streets. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call detectives at (213) 847-5454. On weekends or during off-hours call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855).