Wednesday, October 29, 2008

El Sereno CD14 Office Open House an Open Event for All

On Tuesday, more than 160 community members attended our Open House at our new District Offices in El Sereno. Folks nibbled on veggies and dip and we encouraged them to ask questions and take a look around the space and check out the 30 art pieces we have on-loan from Self Help Graphics & Art. I talked about the various projects we have in El Sereno, including the soon to be opened, Valley Grade Separation Project (the bridge to go over train tracks on Valley, near Alhambra Road), as well as our recently installed pedestrian extensions on Huntington Drive, which makes crossing the street safer. I was especially happy to see so many young people at the Open House. I hope they use our district office as a resource for many years to come.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Healing Arts Come to Ramona Gardens

Three artists and the community members who helped them really have created one of the most stunning murals I’ve seen in a long time. “Art Heals,” dedicated to the women of Ramona Gardens, and featuring women and men surrounded by indigenous and modern images, is stunning and I invite anyone who can to come take a look at it. I talked to community members some time ago and one of the things they said was that there weren’t enough positive images in Ramona Gardens and it was decided that a mural would be a good and positive outlet. I was more than happy to provide $20,000 in funds to create this project. We dedicated the mural on Monday. It was a festive atmosphere, with my Boyle Heights staff serving pan dulce, tamales and champurado. Special thanks to the supremely talented artists who worked on this mural: Raul Gonzalez, Joseph Montalvo and Ricardo Estrada. I told the crowd there that we’re going to do a lot more for Ramona Gardens. This mural is just the beginning.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dedication on Display at Roybal Learning Center

The emotions were pretty high this weekend at the dedication ceremony for the new Edward R. Roybal Learning Center near downtown. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal Allard gave an impassioned speech when she talked about how dedicated her father (and school namesake) was to creating educational opportunities for Latino students. As the former President of LAUSD whose plan was the one that finally led to the completion of the new school, seeing all those parents who implored me during my time on the board not to give up on their children and give them the quality school they deserved, it was quite an emotional ceremony for me too. When they told me that they had decided to name a quad in the school after me, I was truly humbled. I want to thank current LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia (my former chief of staff when I was board president), Councilman Ed Reyes and my former board members at the LAUSD who supported my plan in 2003. Most importantly though, I want to thank the parents who never let me forget what we were fighting for along: educational opportunity.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Getting People to Slow Down on Colorado Boulevard

I was joined yesterday at a press conference by LAPD officials to discuss some things we’ve been working on since (and in some cases long before) a fatal crash on Colorado Boulevard left four people and an unborn infant dead on August 27. I talked about how our City’s department of Transportation agreed with my office to stagger more red lights on the busy thoroughfare between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. It’s a rarely used formula for the department charged with increasing traffic flow, but in this case, necessary. I also announced that more than a year ago my office had CalTrans and LADOT collaborate to put up a speed-sensor trigger coming off the nearby Ventura (134) Freeway to slow speeders down. We’ve also received federal funds to put up two speed indicator signs on Colorado Boulevard. In the six weeks following the crash, LAPD has written more than 600 traffic violations in the area. And by the end of the year, we will have about a dozen high-tech surveillance cameras in Eagle Rock and Highland Park to help LAPD battle crime and graffiti as well as assist in investigations, including crashes like the one we had recently. And lastly, I reminded folks that we as City officials can do everything possible to slow down traffic, but speeding is ultimately a personal choice. Please slow down. As the horrible crash on August 27th reminded us, the ramifications can be tragic.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Marching for the Lives of our Children in the City of Commerce

I joined about 350 concerned residents from Boyle Heights, City of Commerce and Huntington Park at a Candle Light Vigil to protest the proposed Vernon Power Plant. The message we were all sending to the City of Vernon and the power plant was loud and clear: “No, thank you. We do not want your power plant!” I told those gathered that we are not willing to sacrifice the lives of the 3 to 11 people who a South Coast Air Quality Management District study said will die each year if this plant is built. Growing up and living in Boyle Heights, I know all too well the unfair burden that my neighbors and the surrounding communities have had to bear, breathing in polluted air from local industrial polluters. The costs have been great: asthma, respiratory illnesses, heart problems and cancer.