Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pancakes at Mt. Washington Elementary

This past weekend, my family and I enjoyed a really great pancake breakfast fundraiser that the Mt. Washington elementary school PTA hosted. The school had a really great turn out and raised a good amount of money for school. Congratulations!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

State of Eagle Rock Solid at TERA Meeting

On Wednesday, I delivered my “State of the Town Address” to The Eagle Rock Association (TERA). TERA has been advocating on behalf of Eagle Rock for more than 20 years and it’s always an honor for me to spend some time with them. I want to thank them for hosting for this event. We had a nice turnout as I updated folks on some of the issues I’ve been working on, such as pushing forward on hearing medical marijuana hardship exemption cases throughout my district. At my urging, the City has heard more hardship exemptions in Council District 14 than any other Council office and I thanked Eagle Rock residents for their help in leading me to move to strike the hardship exemption clause from the Interim Control Ordinance. We also talked about LAPD’s Northeast Division ranking 1st in crime reduction City-wide with homicides down 56 percent and violent crime down 10 percent. And after Wednesday mornings multi-agency law enforcement sweep throughout the Northeast led to the arrests of 78 alleged gang members, some alleged to be responsible in the killing of L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy Juan Escalante, we are hopeful crime will drop even more. Thanks again to TERA, my staff and the community members who came out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Come Out to the Mendez Learning Center's Ribbon-Cutting Tomorrow!

Please join me tomorrow morning at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Learning Center, the first high school built in the eastside in more than 80 years. During my time as president of the school board I fought to get a much-need high school built in Boyle Heights to relieve overcrowding at Roosevelt High School, which at one time was the most overcrowded school west of the Mississippi. I also wanted a school with a math-science focus to prepare kids for high-paying tech jobs that are going to be available in the future. The Mendez Learning Center, which is named after a Mexican American couple who fought school segregation in the 1940s, will have a math-science school and an engineering-technology school. This is an accomplishment the whole community can feel proud about, so please join me, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia and hundreds of students and community members for this great celebration.

When: 9 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009

Where: Mendez Learning Center
1200 Plaza de Sol
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Info: Councilmember Huizar’s
Boyle Heights Office
(323) 526-3059

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Join me this Saturday at Grand Opening for New Hollenbeck Police Station

This Saturday at 6 p.m., please join me, LAPD Chief William Bratton, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilmember Ed Reyes, Capt. Anita Ortega and others at the official Grand Opening for the new Hollenbeck Police Station, a stunning 54,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility that will house more than 282 patrol officers, detectives and support staff. The new police station is just one of a number of improvements we’re working on in Boyle Heights – (Next up, The East Side Gold Line Extension!) Please bring friends and family Saturday as we celebrate this great new community police station, which includes an outside area where people can gather or sit and read a book. It’s really an awesome addition to our community.

When: 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009
Where: Hollenbeck Area Community Police Station
2111 East First Street (at Chicago)
Info: Councilmember Huizar’s Boyle Heights Office (323) 526-3059

Photo courtesy of Martha Benedict for

Friday, September 4, 2009

El Sereno Sees Business Improvements Along Huntington Drive

I’m very proud to see that El Sereno is seeing a revitalization of its business corridor. In 2006, I asked the City’s Community Development Department to find projects that would improve the business environment along Huntington Drive and I was happy we were able to set aside $354,000 for El Sereno Beautification. Yesterday I was joined by LANI – the Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, the El Sereno Steering Committee, community members and youth from Barrio Action Youth Family Center to celebrate the renovations in fa├žade and signage of many store fronts alongside the Huntington Drive Corridor. Together, we are helping beautify and create a more pedestrian-friendly environment for the community.

Aside from a new building, lighting and signage improvements to nine storefronts between Castalia and Rosemead avenues, the renovations allowed one property owner the opportunity to lease three spaces that have been empty for more than 20 years. For their involvement, LANI awarded the El Sereno Steering Committee, which consists of El Sereno stakeholders and property and business owners, their 2009 Outstanding Community Project Award winners.

Recently, my office has also help fund the trimming of 500 trees along Huntington Drive and Eastern Avenue, as well as add 20 new trash receptacles and increased bulky-item pickups throughout El Sereno. Thank you to everyone that keeps making these improvements possible!

Mendez Learning Center: Old Dreams Inspire New Ones

Last weekend, I was joined by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia, HENAAC and school administrators at a celebration for the Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Learning Center, a brand new high school in Boyle Heights. It was a profound experience to gather with parents, youth and Sylvia Mendez (pictured above), who in 1946 was only a little girl when her parents, Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez, filed a lawsuit to end the segregation of Mexican children in schools in Santa Ana. The Mendez v. Westminster case paved the wave for Brown v. Board of Education. The Mendez Learning Center is named after these trailblazers and is the first high school to be built in Boyle Heights in decades. During my time on the school board, I set my sites on building a new high school in the Eastside to relieve overcrowding at Roosevelt High School, which at the time was one of the most overcrowded schools in the Western United States. The new campus will receive students from Roosevelt, which will allow both schools to be on a traditional school-year calendar instead of what I consider a vastly inferior year-round schedule. As Board President, I oversaw the building of several new schools and took a stand to not approve any new school in the district until we had a commitment to build a new high school in Boyle Heights. Beyond getting the school built, I wanted a campus dedicated to math and science, to allow kids on the Eastside the opportunity to pursue careers in the undermanned high-tech fields that pay the kind of salaries that can really transform lives. Thankfully, the Mendez Learning Center is styled as a college campus and houses two schools, one in math and science and the other in technology and engineering. With the access to many high tech firms and city agencies right across the First Street bridge, it is my hope that kids attending Mendez will have hands-on internship opportunities throughout the school year to inspire them and to learn that all their dreams are truly possible.