Friday, August 20, 2010

Fighting Illegal Dumping in the City of Los Angeles

Yesterday I joined with the Bureau of Street Services (BSS) Gary Harris, Estela Lopez from Central City East Association, LAPD Central Capt. Todd Chamberlain and local business representative Jim Bickley to publicize the City’s new program that allows us to more easily fine violators who illegally dump in our streets, alleys and parkways.

The new amended ordinance is primarily designed to go after large-scale offenders, usually businesses or contractors, by allowing the BSS to issue administrative fines based on evidence found to combat illegal dumping, the No. 1 environmental crime in the City and State. In the City of Los Angeles we spend more than $12 million a year to deal with illegal dumping, and in this tough economy that money could certainly be used elsewhere. As the Chair of Public Works, I helped usher this legislation through and I want to thank BSS and the Board of Public Works Commission for bringing this idea to my committee.

The amended ordinance means we will no longer have to catch perpetrators in the act to effectively go after them. The program allows BSS, or trained organizations, such as Business Improvement Districts or Neighborhood Councils, to gather evidence from a dumping site that links the garbage to an address, business or individual. From there BSS will issue citations in the amount of $500, $750 and $1,000 for successive violations in a 12-month period. After the fourth violation, it will be referred to the City Attorney’s office for prosecution as a misdemeanor offense.

If your organization is interested in getting trained to help enforce the illegal dumping ordinance, please call 311, the Bureau of Street Services or my office for assistance.

Please call the City’s 311 line or any one of my district offices for FREE bulky item pickup. Council District 14 also sponsors a roving bulky item truck throughout the district.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Honoring Felipe Esparza at Boyle Heights Farmers’ Market Friday

Friends: this Friday we're hosting a very special “Gran Festival” at the Boyle Heights Farmers Market at Mariachi Plaza. We are honoring comedian Felipe Esparza, who recently won this season’s “Last Comic Standing” competition on NBC.

Felipe is one of our own, raised in Boyle Heights. We are honored he is going to join us.

The Boyle Heights Farmers’ Market Festival, which runs from 3 p.m.- 9 p.m., will also feature radio personality Humberto Luna, live performances by Mariachi Monumental De America con Alicia Juarez; Amidst, Casa de Calacas and Rocio Ponce Flamenco. There will also be a horse exhibition by Rancho Armendariz.

Please join us each and every Friday as we promote a healthier community, with vendors offering a myriad of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Boyle Heights Farmers’ Market takes place Fridays, 3 p.m.-8 p.m., at Mariachi Plaza Station on First and Boyle.

We are fortunate to have three Farmers' Markets in Council District 14 and I encourage you to visit the ones in Eagle Rock and El Sereno, as well.

We will also be honoring Felipe Esparza in City Council Friday morning at 10 a.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall (3rd floor). Call my Boyle Heights office for more information (323) 526-3059.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

El Sereno Gains a ‘Serene’ Gateway Monument

Councilmember Jose Huizar-El Sereno Gateway Monument

I am pleased to announce that this past Friday, for the first time in modern history, there is a sign welcoming visitors to El Sereno. The Monument dedication ceremony honored El Sereno at a busy thoroughfare serving 40,000 commuters daily. I want to thank the Community Redevelopment Agency, the Bureau of Street Services, the El Sereno Gateway Monument Advisory Committee and the residents of El Sereno for their help in getting this monument built.

This all comes to a town that was originally established in 1771—a full decade before the City of Los Angeles.
The El Sereno Gateway Monument is not just a marker for the Historic El Camino Real and Route 66, but also a reminder of the importance of pride in one’s community and city. The special design of the sign pays homage to the community’s iconic hillside and is just one of many upgrades Huntington Drive has seen recently, including decorative sidewalks, business fa├žade upgrades and street and crosswalk improvements designed to increase pedestrian traffic.

Other recent improvements include the Valley Boulevard Bridge, which ends 35 years of frustration by allowing commuters to avoid up to 30 freight-train crossings per day. Phase II construction on Ascot Hills Park is currently underway, which will make it the largest City-run open-space park on Los Angeles’ Eastside when it is completed in early 2011. I also helped the City purchase 19 acres of land on Elephant Hill, which will protect the land as open space.

Enjoy the slideshow and video of the event.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Safe Youth Fun Summer for Dolores Mission

Today was the first day of the Dolores Mission's "Jovenes Seguros - Verano Divertido" program (Safe Youth - Fun Summer). Along with LA Voice, I worked with Dolores Mission community leaders to help launch this program, which just like the name says, is meant to give 60 children a safe and fun alternative this summer while keeping them out of harm's way. Besides educational and arts programs for the kids, they'll also sponsor workshops for parents on topics such as home safety and tenants rights, as well as hosting movie nights for youth and adults.