Thursday, February 5, 2009

Attacked Officers Deserve Reward Help Regardless Where Assault Occurs

After LAPD Officer Anthony Razo was assaulted and shot by two teenagers outside his City Terrace home the morning of January 31, I was asked to look into the possibility of a reward motion to help apprehend his attackers. Since Razo lived outside of City limits (by mere blocks) and was not on-duty, no reward motion could be sought. This is unfair and a real disservice to the brave men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department. The very nature of their job dictates that their duties do not end simply because they are not on-duty and out of City limits. With a good number of LAPD officers living outside of City limits and many of those working dangerous gang, narcotics and vice detail, it is imperative that we change the City rules that currently do not allow for reward motions to be issued for officers killed or attacked outside of City limits while off-duty. I introduced a motion to do just that. I’m hoping it moves quickly through Council. Our officers deserve no less. In the meantime, if you have information on the shooting of Officer Razo, please call Sheriff’s Detectives at (323) 890-5500.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Happy 4707th – The Year of the Ox

I had the distinct pleasure of participating, along with my wife, Richelle, and our 3 children, in the 110th Annual Golden Dragon Chinese New Year Parade and Festival on Saturday. Sponsored by the Chinese Chamber of Los Angeles, the Chinese community is celebrating the Year 4707 and the Year of the Ox. The fact that this is the 110th year they’ve held this celebration, tells you that Chinese Americans contribution and influence in our great City have been considerable and lengthy. My children, including 11-month old Simon, dressed in traditional Chinese attire. As a Mexican immigrant myself, I’m always appreciative and honored to be asked to participate in events that celebrate our cultural roots and their importance to our city. This is one of my favorite events and I look forward to it each and every year. The Chinese New Year tradition of remembering ancestors and counting our blessings are lessons that speak to all cultures. Happy New Year!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Medical Marijuana Facility Ordinance Must Not Overburden Neighborhoods

During the Planning & Land Use Management Committee’s discussion of the City Attorney’s latest medical marijuana dispensary ordinance, I pressed for changes in the proposed ordinance to protect neighborhoods from high concentrations of these facilities. Not unlike other parts of the City, Eagle Rock has numerous stores within a small area, which does not seem logical or fair. My staff has worked with the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council and encouraged them to draft a letter voicing their concerns with the City for the record. Also, I had previously checked to make sure the medical marijuana facilities that are in the area were in compliance. While I support the spirit of Proposition 215, I want to be perfectly clear: I want an ordinance with sufficient safeguards in it to allow City officials to shut down operators who are not in compliance with the basic tenants of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. I also want assurances that the City will not permit the over-concentration of dispensaries in the same neighborhood, as well as keep them away from schools, parks and religious institutions.

Thirty Years Later, Valley Boulevard Bridge Opens

One of the most important campaign promises I made when I was first running for office in 2005 was to finish the Valley Boulevard Bridge at the problematic train crossing between Eastern and Marianna Avenues in El Sereno. In 2006, funding slipped away for this vital project that had first been proposed more than 30 years ago. It looked like it might not ever get completed. Fortunately, I was able to convince the MTA to reinstate the multimillion dollar project and to get them to commit $9 million in supplemental funding, which the City matched. On Tuesday, elected officials, artists and community members joined me for the official opening of the eastbound lanes. Through the years, the long waits for residents, commuters and fire and police officials proved to be agonizing, as freight trains came by approximately 30 times per day – not to mention the blaring horns of the trains and the pollution caused by idling cars. Artwork incorporating the history of El Sereno with photos blended into beautiful ceramic tile work, as well as limestone and Byzantine Glass monuments honoring icons, such as musicians Lalo Guerrero and Eddie Cano, will be an important part of the bridge linking the San Gabriel Valley with downtown Los Angeles. When it is completed in 2010, it’ll mean a turning point for El Sereno: and something that was a source of frustration for decades will now be a source of pride. Congratulations to All!