A Voice in Spanish for Immigrants During Challenging Times

February 2, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

I started working in Eastern Group Publications in the middle of the 1990’s, the decade when voters in California wanted to deny immigrants a public education, health care, and to allow authorities to stop and question anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally.

Yes, it was the time of Pete Wilson’s governorship, Prop. 187 – to eliminate social services for immigrants – and Prop. 227 to make California an English Only state.

It was a time of upheaval and change, some of it good, some of it – not.

It was the decade when some of the cities in Southeast Los Angeles County with majority Latino populations saw major changes in their leadership. Latinos swept into office in Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Bell, South Gate and Maywood. It was all happening as South Los Angeles, Inglewood and Compton started a demographic transformation as more Latinos moved in.

Because of the continued growth of the Latino community in Los Angeles, mainly from Mexico and Central America, the need for information in Spanish in this region was fundamental, so Eastern Group Publications Inc. (EGP) became the only bilingual publication in many of those areas.

Even though the newspaper’s circulation was mainly in East Los Angeles, EGP always published information that affected the Latino community as a whole and it wasn’t rare to cover events in South/Southeast Los Angeles, West Los Angeles and of course East L.A.

At the beginning of 1990, 85% of the population in Southeast L.A. was Latino, but still most of their political representatives were white, in part because of people’s apathy to getting involved in politics and because only 45% of the population was registered to vote.

In 1991, Bell Gardens, a city located nine miles south of downtown Los Angeles, where more than 90% of the population was Latino, a recall effort led by one woman, Maria Chacon, to oust four white city councilmembers and replace them with leaders that reflected the population succeeded.

For the people of Bell Gardens there was great hope that things would be different.

Chacon and other leaders with political ambitions in the city worked the political system and for the next decade were involved in political battles to maintain power. Sadly, while some things got better, the improvements came with charges and convictions for corruption.

This situation wasn’t unique to Bell Gardens. In 1994, other surrounding cities like Cudahy, Bell and Maywood went down similar roads, and EGP was there to report it.

Working at EGP gave me and the newspapers’ other reporters an immediate connection to the people in the area. Many times we were the first media outlet to carry stories from those cities and neighborhoods, which would later be published in the mainstream media.

Save Our State

In response to the growing number of Spanish speaking immigrants in California, new laws against undocumented people began to emerge in Sacramento.

Proposition 187, known as Save Our State (SOS), was approved by California voters in 1994, prohibiting access to education, healthcare and welfare benefits by undocumented families. Even though it never took effect, the courts ruled it unconstitutional, it still had an enormous impact on Latino families, particularly immigrants.

I recall writing stories about people not wanting to go to the supermarket because they feared being stopped and asked to prove their citizenship. Parents would not take sick children to the doctor because they feared the information they shared would sooner or later lead to deportation.

More than twenty years have passed, and those fears are as real today.

On the flip side, we offered extensive coverage on the growing activism in the Latino community, among citizens and the undocumented, to support and protect the most affected and vulnerable groups, including the more than 1.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the state.

They were always fighting inequality, fighting for better salaries, lower rent, and the right to educate their children in the language of their choice, whether it was English only or in a bilingual program.

There were so many issues affecting people’s quality of life. After the 1992 riots, many people decided to leave the area, creating an opportunity for a new group coming from south of the border to move into what were once predominately African American neighborhoods. Gang violence flared up and devolved into racial war zones between African Americans and the Latinos moving into their neighborhoods in search of cheaper housing, as well as in other parts of the city where Latinos were the majority.

EGP’s editorial staff was small. We didn’t have the resources of many large newsrooms, still we managed to report on so many issues and the many good things taking place in the communities we served. We got the stories because we were dedicated, ambitious and connected to the community; they would call to let us know what was going on in the neighborhood, the good and the bad. They wanted to be heard, and trusted us to listen and to tell their stories accurately.

An important aspect of EGP that I want to highlight is that in the seven years I worked for the paper, neither my editors or the owners of the company ever censured my stories; even the ones that weren’t too popular with the system or an advertiser.

The freedom to write or pick a topic to report on was what I most value about EGP. That’s why, when I heard a few months ago that the Sanchez family was going to sell, I felt sad. I knew that without the Sanchez family it would be hard to continue reporting to the community with that same level of commitment, especially now, in Trump’s era.

Special Thanks

As a reporter and member of the community, I just want to thank the Sanchez family for being there for the people for the past four decades. But also, because during my time working for the paper, I always felt part of the family, even now, as the years have flown by. Every time we have a chance to talk, it’s as if no time has passed.

I want to thank Publisher Dolores Sanchez, and her late husband, COO Jonathan Sanchez, for giving me the opportunity to begin and develop my career as a journalist in Los Angeles. I will never forget that through EGP, I was given the opportunity to serve the community for a better future.

The Eastside’s Record Keeper

February 1, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

As someone who grew up in East LA in the 1960s and 70s, and worked as a newspaper boy first at the East LA Tribune and then the LA Herald Examiner, I grew up with an affinity towards the written word.

I was just entering high school when Los Angeles Times reporter and Spanish language TV anchor Ruben Salazar was killed in 1970, during the Chicano Moratorium. His death motivated me to go on to college and to get into writing. So, I actually began my writing career in 1972 with LA Gente newspaper at UCLA. But to make a long story short, after graduating college, my professional column-writing career got its start at Eastern Group Publications.

I remember EGP most for two of its signature publications: the Eastside Sun and the Mexican-American Sun. Because I had begun as a newspaper boy on the eastside, I could relate to this chain of community newspapers.

I started as a reporter at EGP, but with the support of the newspapers’ owners, Dolores and Jonathan Sanchez, I began to write weekly columns on topics ranging from plans to feed the homeless, graffiti, a softball playing grandmother and efforts to dismantle bilingual education. I wrote about the battle led by East LA and Boyle Heights residents determined to stop a prison being built in their neighborhood, a grassroots effort that succeeded.

Roberto Dr Cintli Rodríguez es profesor en la Universidad de Arizona y autor de Justice: A Question of Race, un libro que narra sus dos juicios de brutalidad policial; Our Sagrada Maíz is Our Mother(Nin Toanantzin Non Centeotl); y coprodujo Amoxtli San Ce Tojuan: un documental sobre orígenes y migraciones.

At that time, I was also assigned to write profiles of everyday people making a difference, new eastside professional organizations and their members, Latinos in public office and in government agencies.

After leaving EGP, I would go on to writing columns for La Opinion for many years, even after I moved to Washington DC, then co-writing a nationally syndicated column with Patria Gonzales for a dozen years for Chronicle Features and later Universal Press Syndicate.

I mention all this because I owe my successful column-writing career to EGP. By the way, nowadays, I still write, though primarily for Truthout’s Public Intellectual Page.

Truthfully, more than to EGP, I owe thanks to the family. Dolores and Jon brought me on board at a low point in my life. I was almost killed in 1979, an experience that led to two trials, the first in 1979 and the second in 1986 — causing seven and a half years of turmoil.

In the first trial, I had to defend myself against charges of trying to kill four Sheriff’s deputies with a camera. I had actually witnessed the brutal beating of a young man and photographed it, and as a result, I ended up in the hospital. After winning that case, I filed a lawsuit and in 1986 won a judgment against the same four deputies. Incidentally, it was civil rights attorney Antonio Rodriguez who  represented me in both cases. I was working at EGP during the second trial and remember well the full support I received from Dolores and Jon.

A small irony is that my lawsuit was actually against the Sheriff’s Department and one of the first assignments I received after it concluded was to interview the Sheriff at the time. He had a lot of bodyguards in his office during the interview; neither he nor I brought up my trials. Yeah, there was a big elephant in the room during that interview.

As we all know, EGP wasn’t just 9, then 11 and now 6 community newspapers. They were a Raza-owned bilingual chain of newspapers covering the eastside of LA; essentially the newspapers of record when it came to things on the eastside. That was their role because in those days the major Southern California media outlets didn’t deem the eastside worthy of a bureau. In other words, we weren’t worthy of coverage and, in effect, did not exist.

I can honestly say I have only good memories of my time at EGP. The same holds true for my memories of the Sanchez family.

Now, as a university professor and researcher, I believe the existence of EGP is worthy of study. I wish I could do more than study or comment about EGP. I wish I could buy EGP and keep the papers going because it has always served our communities well, and personally, I will always have ink in my veins.

At the moment, I can’t really do that and I’m hoping someone with the right resources will step in to keep it going.

I want to end by sharing an EGP-related story. It was kind of funny, but it wasn’t.

In between my two trials, I got very close to a group from Guatemala, here in Los Angeles. Most of them were political refugees and some of them had actually been tortured and eventually received political asylum. Those were dangerous times, there were even rumors of death squad activity in Southern California.

I don’t remember what the issue was at the time, but the group asked me if I would go to Guatemala and meet with community leaders, etc, since they could not return to their home country. They figured it would be easy since I was a journalist, and didn’t understand when I told them that I couldn’t go.

You see, my business card said EGP, the same initials of one of the primary rebel groups called… actually I forget what they were called. I explained that if I were to be stopped and asked to produce ID to prove I was a journalist, my business card with the EGP initials probably would have sealed my doom. So, in a way, it was funny and that’s why I never went to Guatemala. It’s interesting what will pop into your mind, like this, one of my [tangential] EGP stories.

I do want to thank the Sanchez family. I recognize EGP itself as a family, part of a much larger family and I’m very proud to have been brought into it and to continue to be part of it.

Roberto Dr Cintli Rodríguez is a professor at the University of Arizona and author of Justice: A Question of Race, a book that chronicles his two police brutality trials; Our Sacred Maíz is Our Mother (Nin Toanantzin Non Centeotl); and co-produced: Amoxtli San Ce Tojuan: a documentary on origins and migrations.

Police Chase Reckless Driver from East L.A. to Commerce; Driver Got Away

November 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

(CNS) – A reckless driver led police officers on a wild chase from East Los Angeles to Commerce before evading his pursuers by heading west on the Glen Anderson (105) Freeway moving through Lynwood, Hawthorne and Inglewood, authorities said.

The chase began shortly before 11 p.m. Monday on the northbound Long Beach (710) Freeway in East L.A. The driver then switched to surface streets in Commerce, where he blew through red lights along the way.

Authorities tracked the speeding driver and occasionally was forced to back off as the dark sedan traveled some of the time without lights. The driver was believed to have hit 60 miles per hour or more on surface streets in Compton and Willowbrook, according to authorities.

A passenger in the car was seen waving a balloon outside the window, according to media reports. At one point two people in the back seat fled from the car before the driver continued on his way.

The suspect finally lost police as he drove into Inglewood, near Los Angeles International Airport.

New Exhibit Captures Latinos’ Timeless Spirit

September 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles City Hall plays a supportive role in a exhibit of Rick Ortega’s art opening this weekend at the ChimMaya Gallery in East Los Angeles.

It’s a fitting inclusion given that L.A. City Hall on Friday will play host as it has for decades to “El Grito,” a festive commemoration on the eve of Mexico’s Independence Day on Sept. 16. It should be noted, that “El Grito” has been expanded over the years to include the independence days of Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador & Chile, and the month long observance of Latino Heritage Month.

With Latino Heritage month set to start on Sept. 15, the opening of two new exhibitions marking the 12th anniversary of ChimMaya – a gallery its owner says was established to support and highlight emerging Latino artists – is a visual reminder of Los Angeles’ deep Latino roots and culture.

Artist Rick Ortega says his art (pictured) is a reflection of modern day Latinos that still carry “the spirit” of past generations. His new exhibition, “Nuestro Espiritu/Our Spirit is Timeless,” opens Sunday in East Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy ChimMaya Gallery)

Artist Rick Ortega says his art (pictured) is a reflection of modern day Latinos that still carry “the spirit” of past generations. His new exhibition, “Nuestro Espiritu/Our Spirit is Timeless,” opens Sunday in East Los Angeles. (Photo courtesy ChimMaya Gallery)

Located on Beverly Boulevard near the border of East L.A. and Montebello, ChimMaya’s unpretentious exterior belies the Latino cultural beauty found in its four separate gallery spaces, showcasing Latino art, jewelry and classic furniture.

ChimMaya owner Steve Acevedo told EGP that he never intended to own an art gallery, but after opening his handbag and jewelry store, his customers started telling him about friends and relatives who were great artists, encouraging him to bring their works into his store.

“Once I decided to showcase artists work it became about connecting with the community and showcasing predominantly Latino art,” Acevedo said.

On Sunday, ChimMaya will hold an opening reception for two new shows at the gallery, one is a group show, the other highlights artist Rick Ortega who is returning to the gallery after a 7-year absence.

In an interview with EGP, Ortega recalled being a young artist in search of a place to show his work and ChimMaya opening its doors to him.

Rick (Ortega) was rejected by a number of galleries on the Westside, recalled Acevedo, telling EGP that those galleries wanted Ortega to change the subjects in his work.

“It’s crazy,” Acevedo said. “How do you tell someone to change what they see?” he said incredulous. Rick, he pointed out,  “doesn’t put anything in his work that doesn’t have significance.”

Ortega’s new exhibit is titled “Nuestro Espiritu/Our Spirit is Timeless.” The artist said the exhibit has special meaning to him, capturing “a time in his life when he stepped away from his art while searching for inner peace.”

“Life takes you through some rough patches,” Ortega said. “When you come out of this darkness, this depression, you realize that life is good.”

According to Ortega, he had to transform his negative energy into something positive in order to be able to once again create art.

His work is a reflection of modern day Latinos that still carry “the spirit” of past generations, explains Ortega about the pieces included in the exhibition.

“Nuestro Espiritu/Our Spirit is Timeless” opens Sunday at ChimMaya Gallery in East Los Angeles

“Nuestro Espiritu/Our Spirit is Timeless” opens Sunday at ChimMaya Gallery in East Los Angeles

The artist describes his latest exhibit as a weapon against the Trump administration, and at the same time “a weapon of hope” that puts to rest misconceptions spoken by President Trump.

“No matter what politicians” say, one always has a voice and “mine is art,” Ortega said, adding that art has the ability to lift one’s spirit.

With this exhibit, “I’m showing the world who Latinos and Chicanos really are and what they stand for,” he told EGP, calling it an honor to be showcased at ChimMaya.

While the month-long celebration of Latino history is important, Ortega points out that Latinos celebrate all the time.

“We are always celebrating, through art, music and poetry,” he observed. “I’m just glad to be part of the movement of artists that continue to keep Latino history alive.”

Echoing Ortega, Acevedo said his gallery is a place where you can celebrate Latino heritage every day.

“It’s nice that Latino history is being recognized, but a month is just that, a month,” Acevedo said.

Quoting a famous line from the movie “Field of Dreams,” “If you build it, they will come,” Acevedo told EGP that ChimMaya has become a safe haven for artists and the surrounding community.

“We have artists that capture the beauty of our community,” he said. “And ChimMaya is that place close to home to come and view that beauty.”

The opening reception for ChimMaya’s new exhibitions will take place on Sunday, Sept.17 from 4-7p.m. The gallery is located at 5282 E. Beverly Blvd., L.A. 90022.

Barricaded Knife-Wielding Man Surrenders

September 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

EAST LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A man who threatened to stab a neighbor in East Los Angeles held deputies at bay for more than five hours Monday before being subdued and taken into custody.

Deputies from the sheriff’s East Los Angeles Station were called about 12:35 p.m. to the 3300 block of Winter Street to investigate a report of a person with a knife. When they arrived, a neighbor told them the suspect had tried to stab her, authorities said.

Deputies located the man, holding a knife in each hand, in front of a home, where he challenged them to a fight, according to the sheriff’s department.

A crisis negotiation team was called in. Around 6 p.m., the man was hit with less-lethal rounds and taken into custody, officials said.

He was then taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, according to the sheriff’s department, which reported that the standoff took place outside and not inside the home.

One person was at the residence while the standoff continued, but was not held hostage and no injuries were reported.

Man Convicted of Kidnapping, Making Death Threat Against Ex- Girlfriend

September 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

An East Los Angeles man was convicted Sept. 1 of forcing a former girlfriend into a car in Duarte, attacking her and threatening to kill her.

Alberto Casillas, 38, was found guilty of one felony count each of kidnapping, injuring an ex-girlfriend and making criminal threats, according to Deputy District Attorney Yoobin Kang Hernandez.

Casillas went to his former girlfriend’s home May 3, forced her into his vehicle and threatened to hurt if she got out, the prosecutor said.

He then drove the woman to his home, where officers found the victim in the driveway with injuries to her body, according to witness testimony.

Casillas was arrested that day by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and has remained in jail since then.

He is due back in an Alhambra courtroom for sentencing Sept. 28, when he is facing up to 24 years and four months in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Shared ‘Celestial’ Experience Captivates SoCal

August 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Friends, families and colleagues put life’s daily routines on hold for a few minutes Monday as they tried to get a look at the first total solar eclipse in the United States in 38 years.

Although the eclipse reached “totality” in a roughly 70-mile-wide path stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, the Southland saw only about 62 percent of the sun obscured.

Nonetheless, the celestial event was not something to be missed, nor did it disappoint the thousands of star-gazers at the Griffith Park Observatory and dozens of other local venues who waited hours to view the eclipse in what turned out to be one of the biggest social media events in recent times.

Dozens of people showed up at the Montebello, East Los Angeles and other city and county of Los Angeles libraries.

They gathered as families or groups of friends, and a few lone individuals wanting to share the experience with other eclipse watchers.

At the East L.A. Library, four-year-old Nathan Solano, appropriately sporting a t-shirt with an image of the U.S. Flag — after all, this was the first time in history a full solar eclipse was exclusively visible from U.S. soil — was excited to put on his approved, solar viewing glasses. With his father watching, he got his first look in his young life at a solar eclipse, a “wow” moment that brought a broad smile to his face.

For Suzanne Johnson, who attended the viewing event at the Montebello Public Library, it was a chance to share a rare and exciting experience with her eight-year-old son Jacob Johnson Rico.

Johnson recalled seeing the 1978 eclipse at the age of nine. “It was a special moment” that she shared with her parents, Johnson excitedly told EGP.

“I want my son to have that same memory when he’s older,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t miss this opportunity to share it with him!”

While Johnson was reliving her childhood, others like Tracy Fish and Lilian Pineda were excited to be making first-time memories with people close to them.

Tracy on Monday sat in the grass with her nine-year-old son Connor, reading to him from a book about eclipses as they patiently waited for the solar event to begin. Connor, his eyes focused on the book, sat still as his mother read, eventually reacting excitedly to what he’d just heard; “Wow that’s amazing,” he said, his face lighting up as his mother showed him pictures of a solar eclipse.

While Tracy, a Montebello resident enjoyed the proximity of the viewing event, Pineda and her friend Jesus Tejada made the hour plus drive from Northridge to take part in the Montebello Library activities. They pair wanted to watch the eclipse from where they’d grown up, Tejada explained.

Solar-watchers at the East Los Angeles viewing event were treated to snacks as they watched live coverage of the eclipse on a large screen.

Outside the library, guests shared solar viewing glasses with those who didn’t have any. Others used handcrafted projectors of paper and foil to track the movement of the moon across the sun.

There for her first solar eclipse experience, East Los Angeles resident Ofelia Alonso witnessed the celestial phenomena through solar viewing glasses, photographing the image on her cellphone.

It’s “beautiful” she said, passing her phone to others so they too could see her captured moment in time.

Residentes de East L.A. Temen Perder Casas en el Proyecto I-710

August 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Un plan propuesto para ampliar y hacer renovaciones a un segmento de la autopsita 710 (Long Beach) en el corazón de Los Ángeles podría terminar costándole a las familias sus hogares y dañar la salud de los residentes que viven cerca del corredor de trafico congestionado, según un grupo do propietarios enojados en el camino del proyecto de transporte.

Se refieren a las varias alternativas esbozadas en el Anteproyecto de Informe de Impacto Ambiental del Proyecto de Corredor I-710 (Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report for the I-710 Corridor Project, en íngles) para mejorar la ruta de conexión principal el movimiento de mercancías entre los puertos de Los Ángeles y Long Beach y los patios de ferrocarril en las ciudades de Commerce y Vernon y puntos más al este. Una de las áreas principales que las agencias de transporte estatales y locales han apuntado es el intercambio 710 e I-5 (autopsita de Santa Ana) a través de Commerce y del este de Los Ángeles.

La planificación para las mejoras de la autopsita ha estado en marcha durante años y los residentes en esas áreas han temido durante mucho tiempo el plan de Caltrans y Metro de tomar hogares en su vecindario para el proyecto, que podría ser el caso si la Alternativa 5 o 7 en el Draft EIR es finalmente adoptada.

Evelin Guzmán se mudó al vecindario adyacente a Commerce hace unos tres años y dice que puede que no pierda toda su propiedad, pero podría perder aproximadamente 30 pies del pequeño pedazo de tierra que llama a su patio trasero. (EGP foto por Carlos Alvarez)

Evelin Guzmán se mudó al vecindario adyacente a Commerce hace unos tres años y dice que puede que no pierda toda su propiedad, pero podría perder aproximadamente 30 pies del pequeño pedazo de tierra que llama a su patio trasero. (EGP foto por Carlos Alvarez)

Ellos han testificado en una reunión pública y han proporcionado un comentario escrito que desacredita cualquier intento de remover hogares, y están indignados de que “hayan sido ignorados”, dijo Juan Vásquez, maestro del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles y líder del Grupo de Vecindarios de Sydney Drive.

El grupo se formó hace unos dos años y sirve como un refugio local para los residentes que desean expresar sus preocupaciones o proponer cambios en el vecindario.

“No estamos siendo representados” en este proceso, dijo Vásquez quejándose durante la reunión del grupo la semana pasada. “¿Por qué es que cuando se planea un nuevo proyecto tiene que afectar al este de Los Ángeles?”, dijo con enojo. “No es justo”.

Hay varias otras alternativas enumeradas en el borrador de EIR, pero las alternativas 5 y 7, si elegidas, tendrían el impacto más grande en los residentes en la impulsión de Sydney Drive en el este de Los Ángeles no incorporado, donde docenas de hogares podrían ser programados para ser removidos.

 

Mientras Vásquez vive en Sydney Drive, no se verá directamente afectado, pero le dijo a EGP que no quiere que ninguno de sus vecinos pierda su hogar, ni quiere que se construya una pared para separar su casa de la autopsita.

En una reunión poco asistida el jueves pasado en la casa de Vásquez, los residentes enfatizaron que lucharían para mantener a los residentes de la impulsión de Sydney Drive de perder todo o parte de sus hogares.

Evelin Guzmán se mudó al vecindario adyacente a Commerce hace unos tres años y dice que puede que no pierda toda su propiedad, pero podría perder aproximadamente 30 pies del pequeño pedazo de tierra que llama a su patio trasero.

“Es un espacio pequeño para mis hijos”, dijo Guzmán, señalado a la pared que separa la autopsita de su patio trasero.

Mientras que perder el área de juego de sus hijos es una preocupación, Guzmán dice que ella está más preocupada por la salud de sus hijos, explicando que su hija Katelyn fue diagnosticada recientemente con asma y los cambios propuestos en las alternativas 5 y 7 la pondrían en un mayor riesgo de enfermedades relacionadas con la contaminación. Eso haría difícil para que ella permanecerá en su casa, dijo Guzmán.

Carlos Ibarra y su madre Modesta pueden enfrentar el mismo destino que Guzmán. Ibarra dijo a EGP que sus padres han vivido en Sydney Drive desde 1974, y cada pocos años los funcionarios de transporte proponen planes para reestructurar la autopista y los planes siempre llaman a despojarlos de parte de la tierra en la que se sienta su casa.

“Siempre hay unos metros aquí, por esto y aquello”, pero “nunca es suficiente”, dijo con frustración.

Vásquez le dijo a EGP que, a lo largo de dos años, los residentes en el este de Los Ángeles no incorporado han tenido proyectos de transporte onerosos que confían en ellos sin el aporte de la comunidad.

Dijo que los residentes deben informarse sobre lo que está sucediendo en el vecindario, y agrego que él quiere que la supervisora del condado Hilda Solís – su única funcionaria local elegida directamente – se reúna con los propietarios y escuche preocupaciones.

“Nos hemos tratado de comunicar con ella y siempre nos contesta un representante” de su oficina, pero no ella, dijo Vásquez. “La ex supervisora Gloria Molina estuvo más involucrada, nunca vi a Solís en ninguna de las audiencias públicas”.

Drive desde 1974, y cada pocos años los funcionarios de transporte proponen planes para reestructurar la autopista y los planes siempre llaman a despojarlos de parte de la tierra en la que se sienta su casa, dijo Carlos Ibarra y su madre Modesta. (RGP foto por Carlos Alvarez)

Drive desde 1974, y cada pocos años los funcionarios de transporte proponen planes para reestructurar la autopista y los planes siempre llaman a despojarlos de parte de la tierra en la que se sienta su casa, dijo Carlos Ibarra y su madre Modesta. (RGP foto por Carlos Alvarez)

Mientras Vásquez expreso su disgusto con Solís, otros residentes creen que finalmente se reunirá con ellos.

Ernesto Rodríguez, de 71 años, ha vivido en el vecindario desde 1950, y le dijo a EGP que cree que Solís es una mujer con integridad.

“Su historial es el de la gente”, dijo Rodríguez. “Ella se preocupa por la gente y la comunidad”, dijo, lo que implica que él cree que en última instancia tomara un paso al frente en sus nombres.

En marzo de 2015, Solís presentó el Movimiento 22.1 a Caltrans y a la junta de Metro, de la cual es miembro, solicitando que los diseños de autopistas minimicen los impactos mientras maximizan los beneficios de la comunidad.

 

Solís le dijo a EGP por correo electrónico que está profundamente comprometida con una mejora de la calidad de vida, la reducción de contaminación del aire y la reducción de la congestión del tráfico con poco impacto negativo para la comunidad.

“Mi responsabilidad es asegurar que todos tengan un asiento en la mesa para ayudar a informar la decisión final”, lee el correo electrónico de Solís.

La supervisora aún tiene que aprobar cualquier alternativa en particular, pero dijo que favorece “un enfoque equilibrado y comprensión de los beneficios”, agregando que “pesar todos los impactos es absolutamente crítico”.

Por ahora, residentes como Vásquez, Guzmán, Ibarra y Rodríguez continúan informando a sus vecinos de Sydney Drive sobre cómo las propuestas de transportación I-710 bajo consideración podrían cambiar sus vidas por completo.

“Me involucré para ser una voz para mis vecinos”, dijo Vásquez, explicando que “es desalentador a veces cuando tenemos estas reuniones y sólo 15 personas asisten”.

Vásquez le dijo a EGP que seguiría de casa en casa para que la gente sepa que tiene que unirse en contra de las alternativas en el I-710 Draft EIR que podrían cambiar sus hogares y vecindarios.

Una audiencia pública está programada para el miércoles 23 de agosto en el Commerce Senior Center (el Centro para Mayores de Commerce) ubicado en el bloque 2555 de Commerce Way, en la cuidad de Commerce desde las 6 a 9 de la tarde.

“Estaré allí”, dijo Vásquez mientras caminaba por el vecindario y entregaba folletos de reunión a los residentes.

ELAC Student Charged in Sexual Assault of Teen Girl

August 3, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

East Los Angeles Community College student Joao Affonso, 27, was arrested July 21 and charged with three sex- related counts in the sexual assault of 16-year-old fellow student.

East Los Angeles Community College student Joao Affonso, 27, was arrested July 21 and charged with three sex- related counts in the sexual assault of 16-year-old fellow student.

Police Tuesday announced the arrest of an East Los Angeles College student who allegedly befriended and sexually assaulted a 16-year-old fellow student, and investigators said they suspect there may be other victims.

Joao Affonso, 27, was arrested July 21 and later charged with three sex- related counts, to which he pleaded not guilty. He has since been released on $200,000 bond, police said.

Los Angeles Police Capt. Ruby Flores, commanding officer of the LAPD’s Hollenbeck division, said the alleged victim told investigators that Affonso befriended her at East Los Angeles College, where both attended classes.

“She relayed to family members that she had met an individual, Mr. Affonso, and he befriended her and started wooing her by asking her to study, go get coffee, kind of hang out with her, become friends,” Flores said.

“Ultimately it progressed where … the suspect eventually lured the juvenile victim to his place of residence here in Boyle Heights. He did sexually assault her.”

Police said they are aware of at least one other possible victim, although detectives were still investigating that case. But Flores said police fear there may be other victims who have not come forward.

“We do have a tendency for victims of domestic violence or rape or sexual assault not to come forward, so we’re using this as an opportunity again to encourage women to know and understand what a healthy relationship is all about — what they should tolerate, what they should not and what is illegal,” Flores said.

The captain also said victims “can come forward without any fear of deportation or any questions about their (immigration) status.”

Any other possible victims or anyone with information about Affonso was asked to call police at (323) 342-8900.

Affonso is due back in court Monday. He was charged with two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and one count of oral copulation with a minor.

Two Wounded in Drive-by Shooting

August 3, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

EAST LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Two men were hospitalized Monday with gunshot wounds inflicted in a drive-by shooting in East Los Angeles, authorities said.

The shooting took place around 11 p.m. Sunday in the 700 block of South Williamson Avenue, said Lt. Rick Mejia of the Sheriff’s East Los Angeles Station.

The two victims were taken to hospitals for treatment, Mejia said, adding that they have not been able to provide information to investigators.

The assailants were described as four males in a car.

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