Money Needed to Fund Cityhood Analysis

ELARA launches a fundraising campaign to continue the next phase in quest for cityhood.

By Gloria Angelina Castillo, EGP Staff Writer

Gathered in front of Mission Furniture on Whittier Boulevard in the Historic “Heart of East Los Angeles,” the East Los Angeles Residents Association (ELARA) last Friday thanked all the people who had contributed to the successful signature petition drive to authorize a comprehensive fiscal analysis of unincorporated East Los Angeles’s potential to be an independent city. But ELARA has little time to celebrate, as they now need to raise $100,000 in 30 to 45 days to pay for the analysis.

“This is historic in many ways, the residents of East Los Angeles want to embrace politics as many people did on Election Day,” said Oscar Gonzales, ELARA president. “The East Los Angeles Residents Association will raise the $100,000, the same way we did it with the signatures: going door to door and business to business…”

Tony de Arco, owner of Western Loan and Jewelry on Whittier Boulevard, kicked off the fundraising campaign by presenting ELARA with a check for $100 on behalf of his business.

State Sen. Gloria Romero said the successful petition drive was an overwhelming “Si se puede!” by the people of East Los Angeles.

“We want LAFCO to open the books and show us the money,” said Romero, adding that she has no doubt the area is a viable and revenue producing community.

Romero is the author of SB 301 that permits areas seeking to incorporate, such as East L.A., to use funds generated through Vehicle License Fees to pay for the process. SB 301 funds, however, will not be available until voters approve incorporation or cityhood for East Los Angeles, said Gonzales.

Romero, responding to questions about the difficulty of raising funds during a recession, said she expects they will be successful, noting they had already raised $50,000 to get this far.

Romero told EGP that there are many benefits to East Los Angeles becoming a city, including better representation through an elected mayor. EGP asked Romero if this movement is a criticism of County Supervisor Gloria Molina who is the only elected representative for the area?

“It’s not about any one person, the movement of 30 years ago also tried to create a city,” said Sen. Romero. Cityhood is about the community’s spirit and giving people hope that conditions can improve, she said.
The last time LAFCO studied the area was in 1974.

Although ELARA says it has no deadline, they hope to raise the needed funds in the next month, to keep on track with their goal of getting the cityhood question on the June 2010 ballot.

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January 15, 2009  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


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