From Our Readers: Say Yes to the City of East Los Angeles

By Don Nakanishi and Alberto Palacios, East LA cityhood supporters

We are long-time residents of East Los Angeles, who would like to respond to Martha Jimenez’s alarming and misinformed letter against the current drive to make unincorporated East Los Angeles into a bonafide city; the 8th largest city among 89 cities in Los Angeles County.

Read this story IN SPANISH: Diga Sí a la Ciudad del Este de Los Ángeles

Related: From Our Readers: No to ‘City of East Los Angeles’

 

Don grew up in East LA and attended Harrison Elementary School, Belvedere Junior High, and Roosevelt High School, and his family have been home owners in East LA for 61 years.

Alberto has lived in East LA for 36 years where he raised his family and taught social studies at Garfield High School for 35 years.

We believe that Martha Jimenez loves East LA as much as we do, but we also believe she has done a great disservice by engaging in unnecessary AND unhelpful scare tactics. Why can’t we have a full and serious discussion about future cityhood without having it linked, as Ms. Jimenez does, with “imminent terrorism and insecurity” and “create an experimental arena for political corruption as has occurred in the infamous City of Bell”?

We definitely don’t want East LA to be run by terrorists or by corrupt city officials like Bell’s city administrator Robert Rizzo, but to argue as Ms. Jimenez does that this would be inevitable if East LA became a city is an insult to all the residents of East LA. We believe East LA residents are fully capable of electing knowledgeable, committed, and honest city elected officials, who in turn will hire individuals with outstanding professional skills, vision, and personal integrity to help us improve and advance East LA.

We agree with Ms. Jimenez that Supervisor Gloria Molina has provided effective leadership for East LA. However, in just 2 ½ years, she will be termed out and someone else will be elected to her position. There is no guarantee that the new supervisor will have the same interest, commitment, or time for East LA like Ms. Molina, especially since the 126,000 residents of East LA make up only 6% of the supervisor’s district.

We would prefer to have a City Council of East LA that devotes 100% of its time and energy to East LA than a supervisor, who at best would devote 6% of his or her time to us.

We also believe… that there is no better place for East LA residents to take community issues, concerns, and conflicts that negatively impact our daily lives, than to a city council composed of East LA residents elected by their neighbors. A city council, whose members and their families live among us and experience the same frustrations and irritations as the rest of us.

The difference being that, as OUR elected city government, we give them the authority to offer and implement solutions. We need a city council, whose main focus is the safety, economic well being, and enhancement of the quality of life of OUR community. There is no one more knowledgeable about our strengths or weaknesses as a community than those of us who call East LA home. There is no entity better qualified to determine what is best for an East LA community of over 126,000 residents, than the residents of that community.

Those of us who support the drive to form the City of East LA strongly believe that cityhood offers residents the best opportunity to address and offer solutions to current problems in the most expeditious manner possible. Who best to tackle those problems than members of our community elected by us to the city council for that purpose? Cityhood will also challenge us to create a vision of our community’s future and to be active participants in making that vision a reality.

For those East LA residents, who feel more secure by maintaining the status quo(no change-leave things as they are), as opposed to cityhood, you may want to read the August 18, 2011 article in the Eastside Sun, “LA City Councilman Wants to Annex Portion of East LA”. The fact is that over the years East LA has lost considerable and valuable territory to surrounding cities. And quite frankly there is nothing to stop this nibbling away of our community in the years to come… except by becoming our own city.

Hope and uncompromised determination to keep our community intact; to make it a better place to live in… for ourselves, our children and grandchildren… is what motivates us to work tirelessly towards forming the City of East Los Angeles.

As good as our very capable Supervisor Gloria Molina is, there really is NO substitute for a local government “of the people, by the people and for the people”.

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September 8, 2011  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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