Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dogs (and Cats) Have Their Day at the 4th Annual Dogs Day of Summer @ Hermon Park

This year, I was happy to help sponsor the 4th Annual “Dog Days of Summer” put together by Friends of Hermon Dog Park and the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council, with the participation of the L.A. Dept. of Animal Services, L.A. County Animal Control Services and the Pasadena Humane Society. I attended the event with my wife, Richelle, and our three kids. Our youngest, Simón, wanted to greet every dog that crossed his path! This was a wonderful, animal-friendly event promoting quality pet care, free and low cost vaccinations, as well as on-site pet-adoptions. Throughout the year, hundreds of dogs and cats are in need of loving homes. Thankfully, there are ways to help. Adopting a pet can be a very rewarding experience for the entire family. If you are interested, check out the links provided! And remember, if you already have a pet, be sure they have enough shade and water throughout this very hot summer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Working to Make El Pueblo Self-Sufficient

Last Wednesday, as Chair of the Audits & Government Efficiency Committee, I presided over a meeting to discuss a recent audit by the Controller’s office on ways to raise revenue for the El Pueblo Historical Monument (aka Olvera Street or La Placita). In the meeting, I pointed out that before the audit was published, the City had already began the process of making El Pueblo one of the City’s few self-sufficient departments. I had earlier urged El Pueblo’s general manager to begin negotiations with the 61 merchants who currently have no lease agreements in order to bring rents more inline with market rate leases, which was one of the money generating ideas also pointed out in the audit. I also asked El Pueblo’s general manager to develop a master plan to create a vision for El Pueblo to maximize its financial and cultural potential for years to come. We must also make sure that we’re treating the merchants fairly while providing them quality service worthy of the birthplace of Los Angeles.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kids Enjoy Summer Night Lights 2009

As we kick-off the second year of the highly successful Summer Night Lights (SNL) program, I want to encourage our young people and their families to become involved and take advantage of the excellent programs being offered. As part of an effort to protect our young people from gangs and gang violence, 16 parks within Los Angeles, including Ramon Garcia and Ramona Gardens parks in Boyle Heights, are now open and fully staffed from 7 p.m. to Midnight, Wednesday through Saturday, until September 7th.

Participating Parks:

  1. Baldwin Village/ Southwest – Jim Gilliam Park
  2. Southwest II – Denker Park
  3. Boyle Heights/ Hollenbeck – Ramon Garcia Park
  4. Northeast – Cypress Park
  5. Northeast – Glassell Park
  6. Florence-Graham/ 77th Division – Mount Carmel Park
  7. 77th Division II – Harvard Park
  8. NewtonRoss Snyder Park
  9. Pacoima/ Foothill – Hubert Humphrey Park
  10. Panorama CitySepulveda Park
  11. Ramona Gardens/ Hollenbeck – Ramona Gardens Recreation Center
  12. Watts/Southeast – Nickerson Gardens Housing Development
  13. Watts/Southeast – Jordan Downs Housing Development
  14. Watts/Southeast – Imperial Courts Housing Development
  15. Rampart – Edward R. Roybal Learning Center
  16. HollywoodLemon Grove Park

Let’s work together to make sure our communities and families are safe.

NYTIMES Article.

Picture Credit: Michal Czerwonka for The New York Times

Monday, July 13, 2009

Northeast Los Angeles Community Leaders Breakfast

Last Friday we kicked off our community stakeholders and leaders meeting in the Northeast at the 20th Century Women’s Club with an amazing morning of discussion. Joined by several of the Northeast non-profits, community leaders and stakeholders I was happy to share information on what I have been doing in the City Council and throughout the area.
Some of the issues covered:

Medical Marijuana
After meeting with several residents from the Northeast concerned over the growing number of marijuana dispensaries in the community, I introduced a motion to remove the hardship exemption clause that allowed these dispensaries to open using a loophole in the current law. I also requested that hardship exemption cases be heard immediately in the City’s Planning & Land Use Management Committee (PLUM). So far, we have denied three Eagle Rock hardship exemption applications in City Council and have recommended in PLUM that four others from Eagle Rock be denied. Those will be heard today in City Council.

Southwest Museum
I recently asked the Board of Referred Powers to link any lease agreement with the Autry National Center for their proposed Griffith Park expansion to a binding legal document, which would commit them to restore and reopen the Southwest Museum. I also asked that the Autry prepare a Master Plan and discuss exhibit space.
The Autry has made significant upgrades at the Southwest, about $7 million. They’ve been great stewards of the 250,000 artifacts under their care since merging with the Southwest. However, after six years, the Northeast community and the thousands of Los Angeles residents who love the Southwest deserve a firm commitment.

Northeast Surveillance Cameras
To aid with public safety concerns in our community, as well as provide assistance to LAPD, the Security Surveillance Cameras in Eagle Rock and Highland Park have been installed and are operable.

Wiota Circle – Welcoming Monument
Just a few weeks ago, the Eagle Rock Community celebrated the completion of the first Welcome to Eagle Rock Monument at Wiota Circle. It was my pleasure to join with Eagle Rock activists and community members for the unveiling of an Eagle Rock monument shaped like the famed “Eagle Rock” the town is named after.

AT&T Mural
Since, I took office many of you bought it to my attention, the need to restore the “History of Highland Park” Mural. My office has continued to work with AT&T officials. In January of this year, we received good news. AT&T has agreed to fund the entire restoration and pay for ongoing maintenance costs.

Los Angeles Facing $530 Million Budget Deficit
City Cutbacks

Good News: Despite heavy budget cuts, we were able to secure most of the funding for Neighborhood Councils, which I believe are great liaisons and first in making sure issues within communities are taken care of.

  • 311 Services Update: 311 will remain a 24hour operation, a great tool for information on city services.
  • Sidewalk repair will not install new speed bumps for the time being, and will repair streets with asphalt not concrete.
  • City can no longer waive fees or cover the full costs for local community events and street closures. However we are looking to find ways to remedy the situation at the city level. CD14 staff will continue to assist in any way possible.

Thank you to everyone that attended, I look forward in working with you all in improving the services to the Northeast community! And I look forward to the upcoming El Sereno and Boyle Heights Community Leaders Breakfasts!

For more info please call Northeast office: 323-254-5295

For Northeast Breakfast Pictures, Click HERE

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Enjoying family and history at El Sereno Parade, Concert and Fireworks Show

On Sunday, we celebrated Independence Day El Sereno style. The El Sereno Independence Day parade, which marked the 50th Anniversary of the parade, was put on by the El Sereno Bicentennial Committee and was a lot of fun. I was happy to participate, and I was very glad to see that so many families came out to our 2nd annual El Sereno Concert and Fireworks show at El Sereno Park. When I was elected to the City Council, I wanted to bring the fireworks show back to our communities (El Sereno had gone 25 years without one) and it was great to see the thousands who came out for this event yesterday. Louie Moreno from Sports Rap-Up (who was my baseball coach in high school), came out to MC and everyone loved the bands that provided the kind of music that got people out of their seats and onto the dance floor. Thank you so much to all of our entertainers! And a big thank you to the CD14 staff who worked so hard to make sure everything ran smooth. These festivities mean a great deal to me. They are fun, free, and most importantly, safe. I hope you all had a great time!

STEM-UP will Allow Kids to Rise Up to a Brighter Future

Yesterday I attended a landmark event at Hollenbeck Middle School to promote the launching of STEM-UP – an effort to get more students involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields. HENAAC is working with the Department of Defense and the United States Army Corps of Engineers in launching this groundbreaking program in Boyle Heights. I joined HENAAC CEO Ray Mellado, Congressmember Lucille Roybal-Allard, LAUSD President Monica Garcia, Cal State L.A. College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology Dean Keith Moo-Young and others for what truly will be a pivotal moment in the education of children on the Eastside. HENAAC estimates that by 2025, the country will need more than 11 million workers in STEM fields, and Latinos are well below other groups when it comes to pursuing these high-paying careers. With the new Mendez Learning Center in Boyle Heights focusing on Math-Science and Engineering-Technology and the STEM-UP campaign going full force, we will truly be making dreams come true for countless children and their families.
You can read all about it HERE.

Asking Autry to Make Promise to Open Southwest Museum Official

Last week I asked a City Board considering an expansion project for the Autry Museum’s Griffith Park location to attach to the project’s lease a legally binding agreement to reopen the Southwest Museum in Mt. Washington. The Autry bought the Southwest Museum in 2003, along with its collection of 250,000 mostly Native American artifacts. They’ve instituted a number of upgrades at the Southwest Museum, including $7.5 million in improvements. In 2007, The Autry sent me an agreement memo, laying out their intentions to restore and reopen the museum in Mt. Washington, which is the City’s oldest. After working together with the Southwest Society, which was formed to monitor the Autry’s progress with the Southwest Museum, I decided to ask members of the Board of Referred Powers, chaired by Councilmember Janice Hahn, to require the Autry to make that agreement a legally binding document. The board, consisting of Councilmembers Hahn, Reyes, Cardenas, Rosendahl and Parks, voted unanimously to support my action, while giving the Autry and me a month to work out an agreement.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Taking a Ride on the Gold Line

Today, I joined U.S Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Congressmembers Lucille Roybal-Allard and Grace Napolitano, LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina and Metro CEO Art Leahy on a tour of the Gold Line Eastside Extension to make sure everything is in place before it opens to the public. It was a smooth ride from Downtown Los Angeles, through Boyle Heights and East L.A. This new rail line will provide much needed transportation from the Eastside to Downtown, carrying riders over the historic First Street Bridge. This is the first time in more than 50 years that light rail has returned to the Eastside and it’s important that everything is in working order and that all safety precautions are being taken. While the Gold Line is of huge importance, we also want to make sure that people are safe and that all precautions are being adhered too. Please let your family and neighbors know about proper safety rules and enjoy the soon-to-open Gold Line. If you use Google maps to get around, Google Transit launched its Los Angeles version this weekend – be sure to check it out! Curbed LA had a good post on it.