Saturday, October 31, 2009
Today I rode with Metro CEO Art Leahy, Mayor Villaraigosa and my fellow MTA directors for a test ride on the soon-to-open Gold Line Eastside Extension. With the media invited along, we rode from Union Station to the Soto Station, which has some very eclectic but beautiful art inside. The ride itself was very smooth and I look forward to riding the line more often once it opens on Nov. 15, 2009. I'm happy that Metro has committed to adding $4.5 million in additional safety improvements and I've asked that areas around Mendez and Ramona High Schools and El Mercado be given top priority, so that those new features, which will include buffers and fencing to discourage people from jaywalking across the tracks, will be installed as soon as possible. I will continue to monitor the situation well beyond the opening as safety is the top priority for me and the other MTA directors. Beyond that, I couldn't help but think today as someone who grew up in Boyle Heights, how much this train line is going to allow kids from Boyle Heights and East L.A. to explore other parts of the City. And visa versa. I like that idea. That we're not really connecting trains. We're connecting people.
During my time as School Board President for LAUSD, Steve Barr of Green Dot Charter Schools approached me about building a charter high school in my district. I suggested Boyle Heights since the two local schools, Garfield and Roosevelt, were severely overcrowded and they needed relief. Along with pushing to get the Mendez Learning Center built, I knew this would be an opportunity to improve the educational future of our local students. Yesterday, I had the great pleasure to celebrate the opening of the Oscar de la Hoya Animo Green Dot Charter School. Green Dot has shown great commitment to the community of Boyle Heights . And Oscar de la Hoya, who grew up in East Los Angeles and proudly attended Garfield High School , demonstrated yet again that he is absolutely committed to giving back to his community. By donating the property that once held the Oscar De La Hoya Resurrection Gym, as well as giving $4.5 million to the project, Oscar De La Hoya has proven to be a champion in and out of the boxing ring. Before finding a permanent home in Boyle Heights , students and faculty of the charter school have had several temporary homes since the school’s opening in 2003. Despite less than ideal conditions, over the last three years, 72% of graduates have gone on to 4-year universities and the school is ranked 53 among the top 100 charter schools in the nation. With a new home, we all expect bigger and better things out of the students of Oscar De La Hoya Animo Charter School. Go Boxers!
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Productions
Sunday, October 25, 2009
On Saturday, I joined LAPD Chief William Bratton, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and several of my colleagues on the City Council for the official opening of the police department’s new downtown headquarters, replacing the aging Parker Center. Located across from City Hall, the new headquarters is a stunning-looking building, with plenty of park space for people to enjoy. This week is also Chief Bratton’s last week on the job after 7 years at the helm of the department. During his tenure, crime has dropped in Los Angeles to the lowest mark per capita since the 1950s. He was very instrumental in helping the department engage more with the community and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for that.
Photo Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times / October 24, 2009
Photo Credit: 1)President Veitch, courtesy Occidental Facebook Page
2) Council Staff
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
On Sunday I was invited to the El Sereno Stallions Homecoming at
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
On Saturday I was joined by the Consul General of Mexico Juan Marcos Gutierrez Gonzalez and Sheriff Lee Baca at the USC Health and Wellness Community Fair at East Los Angeles Occupational Center. The USC Civic and Community Relations Health Sciences Campus presented the free fair to the community which included informational, health screenings and community booths. This event and partnership is important as it helps connect the resources at the USC Health Campus directly with members of the community. With the participation with the many organizations that partook in the fair, residents received medical services and information that they may otherwise not have access too. There are many things that we can do on a local level to ensure that people receive medical services. I look forward to continuing our partnership so that we can bring additional services to our community.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Pictured: With the mothers that organized when I was on the school board to make sure a new school was built in the community.
This weekend I attended the Ribbon Cutting for two fine new schools built on the Ambassador Hotel site, one of the campuses I fought to get done while serving on the LAUSD school board. The campus is significant to me for two reasons. One, it was ground-zero in our mission to end overcrowding at schools that resulted in year-round calendars and bussing children out of their neighborhoods – both severe detriments to a quality education. And two, the Ambassador is the site of one of the saddest moments in our nation’s history: the 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy, who at the time of his untimely death represented a new-found hope for change in this country. When complete, the Learning Center will have three separate school buildings for elementary, middle school, and high school students and all the schools will have a social justice philosophy to honor the legacy of Robert Kennedy. I think the final piece of the puzzle now is naming the school in Robert Kennedy’s honor, which I whole-heartedly support.
Enjoy these pictures of the event!
On a different perspective, beautifying the community has always been top priority of mine. With the help and recommendations of the residents, last year, the "Art Heals" mural in Ramona Gardens was completed. We made sure that this mural paid homage to our history. The City of Los Angeles has a great tradition of public street art, and preserving the many murals throughout my district and the city requires that we take pride in maintaining them free of vandalism.
Recently I announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the August 3rd death of motorcyclist Federico Porras. The 29-year-old man, who was raised in City Terrace, was a loved brother and father of a 4-year-old daughter and his family and friends attended a press conference with police officials and me to plea for the public’s help. Within a week of that press conference, police received a tip that led to the arrest of the alleged driver who is now facing felony charges. While nothing can bring their brother back, the Porras family did convey their heartfelt thanks to all whose help led to this arrest, which should bring some closure to them. I want to thank LAPD Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz, Capt. Ron Marbrey and their fantastic detectives for their work on this case. I also want to remind drivers that they are required under law to render aid if they are involved in an auto collision and somebody is injured, regardless who is at fault. If they leave the scene of the crash, they could be facing felony charges.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Bring your family and friends and enjoy an afternoon of great entertainment with more than 40 musical acts and great food!
Don’t worry about parking! We have a FREE parking and shuttle service at Eagle Rock Plaza on Colorado Blvd. between Eagle Rock Blvd. and Argus.
This is a great event the whole family can enjoy. See you there!
Photo by Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times