Friday, November 27, 2009

11.25.2009 Newsletter

Councilmember Huizar's November Update on District 14.

As the end of 2009 quickly approaches, may you and yours be filled with lots of love and joyous moments during the upcoming holidays. There are many things we can be thankful for, our families, our health and the many blessings in our lives. May you have a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving.
- Jose Huizar

Chief Beck is New Top CopThe City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the Mayors nomination of Charlie Beck as new Los Angeles Police Department Police Chief. Councilmember Huizar hosted a community forum in El Sereno last week to introduce Chief Beck to residents and his candor, sincerity and commitment to fighting crime while building stronger relationships between the LAPD and the community, are proof that Chief Beck is the right person to lead the department after the successful reign of former Chief William Bratton. Chief Beck brings 32 years of experience to the job, a great deal of knowledge and a deep understanding of the intricacies of the department and the men and women who serve in it.
Pictured L-R: Margarita Amador, Jose Huizar, Charlie Beck, Sal Martinez

East LA Classic Scholarship Recipients

The 75th Anniversary of the East Los Angeles Classic, a gridiron matchup between Garfield and Roosevelt high schools, marked a momentous day in the history of the schools friendly football rivalry. Since he was a school board member, Councilmember Huizar has established a scholarship for the schools top students. While Roosevelt proved victorious on the football field this year, students from both schools have proven that they are winners in the classroom, each earning $500 to help them in their collegiate studies. Congratulations to this years scholarship winners! From Garfield: Marichuy Gomes, Genesis Coronado and Lained Huerta, and from Roosevelt: Joshua Recinos-Almanza, Andrea Carrillo and Elizabeth Torres.

Park Named in Honor of Veteran Ross Valencia, Mr. Boyle Heights
Councilmember Huizar was joined by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal Allard, family and friends, community members and a host of veterans on Veterans Day to pay tribute to WW II veteran and legendary Eastside activist Ross Valencia (Mr. Boyle Heights), by naming a community park in his honor. Ross Valencia, who died late last year, was a staunch Boyle Heights' supporter who founded many community groups, including the Boyle Heights Chamber of Commerce. He was also an original member of the LANI Vest Pocket Park Steering Committee, the very same park that now bears his name. Councilmember Huizar, with the support of the community and Mr. Valencias wife, Carmen Valencia, led the effort to name the park in honor of the man who did so much for the Boyle Heights community.

Celebrating Veterans Day
CD14 residents have a storied history of serving in the United States Armed Forces. Councilmember Huizar joined veterans, families and community members at celebrations in El Sereno and Eagle Rock to honor the men and women who answered the nations call to service and put themselves in harms way to protect the liberties of so many. Flags flew at half-staff throughout the district in their honor and the Veterans Day parades in El Sereno and Eagle Rock allowed one and all to give thanks to our Veterans for all they have done and continue to do for the betterment of family, God and country. While giving thanks to the veterans and their families, Councilmember Huizar asked that we honor their service each and every day.

*Approximately 131,000 U.S Veterans find themselves homeless each night. Please visit to find ways in which you can help.

Boyle Heights Block Party a Smashing Success!
To kick off the official opening of the $898 million Edward R. Roybal Gold Line Eastside Extension, as well as the additional $500 million in public investment in the community, Councilmember Huizar hosted a Boyle Heights Block Party last Sunday. The day-long celebration honored Boyle Heights past, present and future and Councilmember Huizar was joined by Israeli Consul General Jacob Dayan, Japanese Consul General Junichi Ihara, and Mexican Consul General Juan Marco Gutierrez to commemorate Boyle Heights diverse history and its legacy as one of Los Angeles first suburbs. The event also celebrated the 19th Annual Boyle Heights Mariachi Festival, while contemporary bands graced a second stage where the main attraction, Tierra, played a rousing set that had folks swaying and dancing to the music. Thank you to everyone who came out, as well as the organizations and volunteers who participated. See pictures HERE!

Councilmember Huizar Fighting for Better Control of Medical Marijuana
In a meeting that paired up the City Councils Planning and Land Use Management Committee and the Public Safety Committee, Councilmember Huizar voted with his colleagues Monday to allow for the sale of medical marijuana only as a means to cover incurred expenses, but not for profit. As the City Council continues to work on a permanent Medical Marijuana Ordinance, Councilmember Huizar has worked diligently with residents of CD14 to alleviate the over-concentration of dispensaries within his district and their proximity schools, churches and other areas of concern. In City Council on Wednesday, Councilmember Huizar proposed a number of amendments, including a cap of 70 dispensaries based on population within planning areas, as well as requiring that one operator may only operate one collective, thereby prohibiting multiple or serial ownership of collectives. Earlier, in order to deal with the illegal operation of hundreds of dispensaries, Councilmember introduced legislation to strike the Citys medical marijuana interim control ordinances hardship exemption clause.

New Arts High School in Downtown!
This month, Councilmember Huizar joined LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia and others to celebrate the grand opening of the new Central Arts High School, which will focus on visual and performing arts. While serving as President of the Los Angeles School Board, Councilmember Huizar pushed for new schools to be built in dense populated areas to better serve the children of those communities forced to attend over-populated local schools and Central Arts High School was at the forefront of that movement. Central Arts High offers students a state-of-the-art facility that will enrich Los Angeles with the next generation of talented and gifted artists.

Council Passes Huizars Legislation Supporting School Uniforms

The City Council voted unanimously to support Councilmember Huizars proposal to ask the Los Angeles Unified School District to adopt a district-wide policy requiring students to wear school uniforms. Already used in the district at most of the charter schools and the Mayors Partnership schools, school uniforms foster a healthy learning environment, which allows students to concentrate on their studies. Other cities, such as Long Beach, Seattle, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York have implemented a mandatory school uniform policy to great success. School uniforms help create a safer campus environment where students are easily identifiable and gang colors are not allowed. For low-income families, school uniforms offer an affordable alternative since fewer outfits would be needed and go a long way in helping those children deal with self-esteem issues associated with lack of funds to buy name-brand clothes. While the LAUSD has discretion over whether to implement the City Councils recommendation, there is no doubt with about 250 LAUSD schools being opened up to private ownership with the Public School Choice legislation the school board recently passed, hundreds of LAUSD schools will soon implement a school uniform policy.
Pictured: Students in uniform at new Oscar de la Hoya Charter School in Boyle Heights.

Councilmember Huizar's Food Database Legislation Moving Forward
Councilmember Huizars legislation to create a City-wide policy to link food banks and non-profits that offer food services to City departments that have surplus food is moving forward. Earlier this month, Councilmember Huizar asked City departments to return to Council in 60 days or less to inform the Council what their formal policy will be to implement this policy. Also, Councilmember Huizars staff is currently working with the Citys 311 Information Service and non-profits to create a food-bank database, where callers can easily get information on nearby food banks to either call for food services or to donate food.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks this Thanksgiving

I just want to wish everyone a very happy and safe Thanksgiving. As for myself, I have much to be thankful for. First and foremost, like all of you, I am thankful for my wonderful family, my wife, Richelle, my children, Emilia, Isabella and Simon Luis (with another daughter on the way). I am thankful for my health. And as the Councilmember for District 14, I am thankful to you, my constituents, for allowing me to represent you. I have the greatest job in the world and I enjoy coming to work each and everyday to work on your behalf. I am also thankful for all the improvements that are going on in our district. We recently opened the Edward R. Roybal Gold Line Eastside Extension and had a fantastic block party celebrating its opening and the $1.4 billion in public improvement projects in Boyle Heights. I am thankful for community members like the late Ross Valencia, “Mr. Boyle Heights,” who we recently named a park after. I am thankful for a committed group of people in El Sereno who helped me fight against potentially dangerous development on Elephant Hill, or “The Heavens” as it once was known. I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to effect policy that protects our neighborhoods from the over-proliferation of unlicenced medical marijuana dispensaries. I am thankful for our veterans who have sacrificed so much so that we all can enjoy the freedoms we have in this great country and I’d ask you to please say a prayer for our men and women who are serving our country right now, many far away from their families during the holidays. Again, thank you for allowing me to be your representative. It is something that I take very seriously and to you, I am deeply thankful. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Ross Valencia Pic: Courtesy of Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Boyle Heights Block Pictures!

Enjoy these pictures from our Boyle Heights Block Party!
Thank you for making it such a great success!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Boyle Heights Block Party on Sunday!


Boyle Heights Block Party and Mariachi Festival
Sunday, November 15
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
First Street (between Boyle Ave. and State St.)
Contact: (323) 526-3059

Metro Gold Line Official Grand Opening
Boyle Heights Block Party and Mariachi Festival

Join me and tens of thousands of attendees as we celebrate the opening of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension and the numerous Council District 14 neighborhood improvement projects completed this year, including the brand new Mendez Learning Center High School, the Oscar De La Hoya Animo Charter High School, KIPP Charter School, the Boyle Heights Sports Center, and the new Hollenbeck Police Station.

The historic community of Boyle Heights is experiencing a rebirth as it undergoes more than $1.4 billion in upgrades. With several multi-million dollar projects completed this year, there is tremendous excitement surrounding the many great things coming our way.

Come celebrate with us and treat yourself to free entertainment, good food and friends from Boyle Heights' past and present.

One musical stage will highlight an eclectic mix of music, including reggae, Latin (cumbia, rumba, and Spanish Rock), headlined by the ever popular, Tierra. In addition to Tierra, this stage will feature:

Quinto Sol, Domingo Siete, UmoVerde, Dirty Hands, & Jahny Wallz

And playing a mix of mariachi music inspired by different regions of Mexico, this year's Mariachi Festival on the second stage will include performances by internationally recognized mariachis, including:

Mariachi Sol del Mexico, Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, Mariachi Mexicapan, Mariachi Voz de America, Mariachi Santa Cecelia and Mariachi Conservatory.

Along with the live entertainment, come and enjoy free giveaways and informational resource booths. All are welcome. Bring your children and participate in a free kids corner with oversized bouncers, arts and crafts, Chivas USA soccer kick, and a rock climbing wall.

Also featured will be a photo exhibit recognizing the men and women of the Bracero Program--the labor-contract program between U.S. and Mexico during WW II and on until the 60's. The exhibit is on the corner of State and 1st St., next to the Council District 14 office that will have an open house all day.

Sunday's Block Party is sponsored by my office, Metro, the Mariachi Festival Planning Committee, Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, Wells Fargo and others.

You won't want to miss out on all of the fun! Please call (323) 526-3059 for more information.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Elephant Hill Residents See Victory

This morning I gathered with El Sereno residents to celebrate a victory 25 years in the making. The long-contested battle to protect homes from potentially dangerous development in Elephant Hill in El Sereno will soon be over. At my urging, my colleagues on the City Council voted unanimously yesterday to support a settlement with a developer that will allow the City to buy the original 15 acres of contested land, plus four more acres for $9 million. Our court battle was about an old Environmental Impact Report putting our residents and hillsides at risk. Although a judge initially ruled against the City in this matter, he did not compel the City to issue the final permit necessary for the developer to start construction on the 24 luxury homes on Elephant Hill. At the end of the day, this is good for everyone involved. For El Sereno residents, it's environmental justice. Somebody said today that the Westside has its beaches and we in the Northeast have our hills. Having grown up in Boyle Heights, environmental justice issues resonate with me. I have made it a priority to fight polluters in my district, taking them to court (Shamrock, ISOCI, Vernon). And I have fought for better policies like the Northeast LA Hillside Ordinance, to make sure that hillside lots are developed in a way that is sensitive to the hillside and existing homes. And now that the residents of El Sereno have 19 acres of their beloved Elephant Hill back, they can start thinking about what they want to do with it. At the very least, it will be protected open space that people can enjoy now and in the future. Congratulations to all, especially Elva Yanez, who spearheaded the battle and sat me down in her living room for two hours when I was running for City Council to tell me the problems with this proposed development. Also thanks to Vanessa Yanez, Geneece Perez, Casey Reagan, Hugo Garcia, the National Resource Defense Council and the Latino Urban Forum. There are many others to thank. Unfortunately, some people involved in this struggle didn’t live long enough to see this through. They are people who used to enjoy the hills of El Sereno at one time and beyond the concerns over potentially unsafe development, they wanted future generations to enjoy those same hills and ravines. We honor them and we will not forget their contributions to this noble effort.
Press Release

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween in CD 14

The past couple of days of Halloween activities in CD 14 have been really great! From little princesses to Michael Jackson impersonators, take a look at our district-wide slide show of great costumes! Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!