Sheriffs’ Seize Over 1,000 Lbs. of Illegal Fireworks Near East L.A. Homes

July 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Deputies with the East Los Angeles Station seized between 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of illegal fireworks and 49 explosive-type fireworks, also described as “M-80’s” late Thursday night, the Sheriff’s Dept. Reported today.

Joseph Valencia, 46, and Daniel Guerrero, 44, were arrested for illegal possession of explosives and being in possession of dangerous fireworks without a permit, authorities said.

Deputies said they were patrolling the area of the 5200 block of Repetto Street when they observed Valencia selling illegal fireworks to another male Hispanic from a parked vehicle. Upon closer investigation, they found that Valencia only lived a few properties away, and when they searched the residence they discovered between 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of illegal fireworks and 49 explosive-type fireworks (M-80’s).

The illegal fireworks were taken to a local fire house and the explosive-type fireworks were turned over to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Arson and Explosives Detail personnel for proper disposal.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s East Los Angeles Station at (323) 264-4151. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.

East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station polices the Cities of Commerce, Cudahy, and Maywood, and the unincorporated communities of Belvedere Gardens, City Terrace, Eastmont, East Los Angeles, Saybrook Park, and Union Pacific.

 

 

Why Always Us? Ask East L.A. Residents

June 25, 2015 by · 4 Comments 

Angered by the possibility of another transportation project devastating their community, dozens of eastside residents expressed their opposition to a SR-710 North alternative they believe would once again require East Los Angeles to pay a high price for what is a regional problem.

“For decades, we have been the dumping grounds for the problems of other communities,” said Clara Solis Saturday during a Metro meeting in East L.A.

“Now we’re being asked once again to sacrifice for the greater good,” she said in disbelief.

[Read an introduction to the SR-710 North project here]
[Read about health concerns  http://egpnews.com/2015/06/health-concerns-weigh-heavy-on-east-l-a-residents/

It soon became clear that the majority of East L.A. residents at the meeting at Griffith Middle School believe the light rail train (LRT) alternative will disrupt a community already divide and surrounded by transportation projects.

Longtime East Los Angeles resident Margarita Sanchez, pictured left, scolds Metro officials for a SR-710 alternative she belives will devastate her community during a meeting Saturday at Griffith Middle School.  (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Longtime East Los Angeles resident Margarita Sanchez, pictured left, scolds Metro officials for a SR-710 alternative she belives will devastate her community during a meeting Saturday at Griffith Middle School. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

“East L.A. has taken their burden, they have taken a fair share of projects,” said Jeffrey Hernandez, referring to the 60 (Pomona) 5 (Santa Ana/Golden State) and 710 (Long Beach) freeways and Metro Gold Line that were built to benefit traffic in the region but have splintered the eastside community.

Many said they prefer a tunnel over an elevated light rail train that would stay above ground through East L.A., but go underground in more affluent communities, such as South Pasadena, San Marino and La Canada.

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard calls the light rail alternative an example of “environmental racism.”

“While the light rail is being proposed under the guise of a regional solution, the fact is it is nothing more than an irresponsible and unconscionable response to the more influential areas opposing the logical completion of the 710 Freeway,” she told EGP in a statement.

“Unfortunately, this light rail alternative is one more example of a minority community being sacrificed to appease more affluent neighborhoods.”

A similar statement from Roybal-Allard was read during Saturday’s meeting, drawing loud cheers from residents, heartened to hear an elected official speak so strongly in support of their community. Roybal-Allard represents East Los Angeles and Commerce, also located adjacent to the 710 freeway.

[Read her Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard’s full statement here]

The meeting was at times rowdy, as residents and business owners, often speaking loudly and passionately, demanded Metro officials give them a chance to be heard: something they said the agency failed to do during earlier scoping process.

When Metro officials refused to allow speakers who had gone over their allotted two minutes to keep speaking, the crowd at times responded angrily.

“Why not? Of course you can extend the amount of time,” one woman yelled out from the audience. Two minutes, “is not enough [time] for what we have to say.”

According to the Draft Environmental report, building the light rail would force the removal of 15 businesses.

“We in East L.A. have made a sacrifice to relieve traffic, we don’t need another Gold Line,” said Lily Hernandez. “What we need is jobs, we need progress and this alternative is going to hinder that,” Hernandez said.

Business owner Tony DeMarco, representing the Whittier Boulevard Merchants Association, said he believed the EIR/EIS process has been flawed since before it was expanded into East L.A.

“They should have allowed East L.A. to be in the discussion when there was 100 alternatives, not just when there’s 5 left.”

“The rich communities have had years to study this,” echoed Margarita Sanchez, a longtime East L.A resident. “You have the nerve to bring this to our community at the last minute.”

“It’s kind of like a take it or leave it attitude,” DeMarco said.

Many of those who oppose the light rail favor another controversial alternative.

“If you’re to give us what we need, give us a tunnel,” David Ibarra said defiantly.

However, Mark Lopez of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice warned attendees not to be so quick to support the tunnel.

“East L.A. was so late in the process, [it’s] a tactic used to instigate more support for the tunnel project,” he told EGP.

A map of East Los Angeles illustrate how the community is surrounded by freeways. (Google Maps)

A map of East Los Angeles illustrate how the community is surrounded by freeways. (Google Maps)

“We need to get back to the scoping, not picking an alternative,” he said.

Dr. Tom Williams, a Sierra Club member and El Sereno resident, said he opposes all current alternatives. He said a community group is getting ready to submit yet another community alternative. In May, the cities of Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, Pasadena, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena gave their support to the Beyond the 710 coalition’s “6th alternative,” not in the Draft EIR.

The plan calls for expanding public transportation, building a four-lane boulevard, and more pedestrian- and bike-friendly paths to reduce traffic congestion in the western San Gabriel Valley. Construction ends south of those cities. The 710 Coalition — which includes several cities and communities along the 710 freeway that favor the tunnel alternative — criticized the new initiative as too late in the game and just a guise for tunnel opponents to “undermine Metro’s ongoing DEIR/EIS process, which took four years to be reviewed, processed and released.”

On Saturday, County Supervisor Hilda Solis said the community must continue to make sure their voices are heard during the review process. She agreed that more information about the impact to the region is warranted.

“As I have stated in more than one occasion, I do not believe that the East LA community has enough information about the health impacts of the different options for the 710 N. extension,” she told EGP in an email; stopping short of answering if she agrees with Roybal-Allard that the light rail train is another example of environmental racism.

“I do not see any of the alternatives as a natural choice, especially when considering the health, development, and economic impacts to those in my district,” Solis said. “I will continue to push Metro and Caltrans to be inclusive, transparent and responsive, until we have all the information we need to make a choice that helps … all residents of Los Angeles County.”

For East L.A. Chamber of Commerce Executive Board Member Eddie Torres, the choice is clear. He says his Chamber, the Whittier Merchants, Maravilla Business Improvement Assoc. and new East Los Angeles Advisory Board all support the tunnel alternative.

“We surveyed people leaving the meeting and about 80% said they want the tunnel, not a light rail, he told EGP. “ We’re hearing that Solis says we don’t want either, but that’s not true,” he said.

“Congresswoman Roybal-Allard has it right, she knows the community, she knows what we need and supports us.”

Health Concerns Weigh Heavy on East L.A. Residents

June 25, 2015 by · 5 Comments 

At a meeting in East Los Angeles Saturday, resident after resident voiced concern that a “plague” of pollution and health issues could rain down on their predominately Latino neighborhoods if they are forced to endure more light rail construction.

Their comments came during a public hearing at Griffith Middle School on Metro’s draft environmental report and study on alternatives for closing the gap between the Long Beach (710) and Pasadena (210) freeways.

[Read an introduction to the SR-710 project here]

Earlier that week, Martha Hernandez attended a meeting at Centro Maravilla in East L.A. with USC-Medical Center doctors who explained the substantial health risks tied to pollution.

“We were told air pollution causes asthma, diabetes, autism, and other illnesses,” she told EGP in Spanish.

A map of East Los Angeles illustrate how the community is surrounded by freeways. (Google Maps)

A map of East Los Angeles illustrate how the community is surrounded by freeways. (Google Maps)

Like Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, many people at the meeting believe they are the victims of environmental racism and injustice, and were given little say on a project that could tear up their community.

[Read her full statement here]

“I’ve had enough of those who want to continue taking advantage of East L.A. because we are Latinos,” said Carmen Gonzalez, who lives near Mednik and Third Street, where a light rail station would be built if this option is selected.

Speakers said past transportation projects have already left them exposed to high levels of toxic pollution.

“I have asthma and it’s harder for me to play football,” said Garfield High School student Timothy Williams.

“Think about the health of our children, emissions affect our community,” another speaker said.

“Air quality hasn’t been studied yet” but should be before anything is decided, said eastside resident Lili Hernandez.

Lea este artículo en Español: SR-710: Residentes del Este de Los Ángeles Preocupados por Su Salud

Living in an area with high levels of traffic pollution can lead to serious illnesses, according to a recent infographic, Living Near Busy Roads or Traffic Pollution, shared by the USC Environmental Health Center.

The infographic shows that women who are pregnant are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure, giving birth to low-weight and/or premature babies, who in turn have higher levels of behavior or learning problems and autism; smaller lungs, asthma, ear, nose, throat infections and obesity. In adults, long-term exposure to pollution can lead to higher levels of heart disease, stroke, lung problems, memory loss and a shorter life span, the report found.

“We have schools, parks, the senior apartments and businesses” close to where they want to build the light rail, and there’s no doubt that’s harmful, Gonzalez told EGP in Spanish.

Before the meeting started, stakeholders were able to review maps and other documents pertaining to the five alternatives under consideration in the Draft EIR. They also had the chance to grill Metro staff about the plans.

One group of women directed their frustration at a Metro representative, questioning him about a now retired Metro employee’s assertion that metal scrapings from the elevated train – two stories high in some sections – would be released into the air and breathed in by unsuspecting residents.

Rudy Torres owns a business in East Los Angeles and says he supports the building of a 710 tunnel. He says, “It is the only [option] that doesn’t put a burden on East L.A. and cost life.”

The East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce is actively fighting the light rail option, which they say will do nothing to relieve traffic on the 710 Freeway but will disrupt life on the eastside. The business group says a tunnel connecting the 710 to the 210 Freeway is a better solution for traffic reduction that will not be as harmful to the East L.A. community. “It will improve the flow of traffic and decrease traffic on surface streets north of Valley Boulevard, therefore reducing pollution in our local communities,” the Chamber states.

A little further south on the 710 corridor is the City of Commerce. The city’s residents on a daily basis experience the impact of diesel exhaust from the nearly 47,000 trucks that travel the 710 freeway everyday, and as many as 1,000 trucks an hour on the city’s main streets.

The daily exposure to high levels of exhaust causing pollution has raised Commerce residents’ risk for cancer, asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

Last October, Commerce approved a resolution strongly supporting the effort to close the 4.5-mile gap “as soon as possible.” City officials believe completion of the freeway will alleviate traffic in local neighborhoods, generate economic development and create jobs in the region.

On Tuesday, Commerce unveiled one of the 20 the new “No Idling” signs that will be placed throughout the city targeting truck drivers who leave their engines running while stopped in the city.

Mayor Lilia Leon calls closing the 710 a much-needed regional effort to improve transportation. “Because there is not a connector, everybody ends up in Commerce,” Leon said. “If there was one, probably they would keep going on the 710,” she told EGP. “I’m sure it will alleviate the traffic flow,” she said.

Councilman Jose Huizar (CD14), who represents El Sereno, an L.A. neighborhood that has for decades been at the forefront of efforts to block the 710 expansions, disagrees.

On his website he states that he strongly opposes the 710 freeway expansion and believes a “multi-modal approach” — which could includes things like street light synchronization and dedicated bus lanes — is the better alternative to alleviate traffic.

“I oppose any option that disrupts the community of El Sereno or brings additional traffic to the area. The five alternatives in the Draft 710 EIR fall woefully short in my opinion,” Huizar told EGP via email.

“Working with local stakeholders and community groups, my office has begun the process of asking El Sereno and the surrounding communities a question that no one has asked them up until now: What do they want? What traffic improvements can we make locally that help, serve and advance the community of El Sereno?” Huizar said.

The councilman hosted a meeting on the SR-710 alternatives in El Sereno last week, which according to his spokesperson Rick Coca was “well-attended.” The “focus was entirely on truly listening to local residents to get their feedback – something that has been lacking in this process,” said Coca.

Metro held a meeting Saturday at Griffith Middle School in East Los Angeles to allow eastside residents a chance to provide testimony on the SR-710 North project.(EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Metro held a meeting Saturday at Griffith Middle School in East Los Angeles to allow eastside residents a chance to provide testimony on the SR-710 North project.(EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

If the light rail train is constructed, 15 businesses will have to be moved and the new East LA Civic Center Plaza would be replaced with a train station. About 155 employees would lose their jobs according to the website East LA Against Injustice and Racism. Nueva Maravilla Public Housing and Kipp Raices Charter School—which will open in the fall—could also be taken.

Several residents told Metro that more studies and health assessments must be made before they reach a decision.

In the past “People proposed a lot of ideas that were ignored said East L.A. resident Luis Garcia.

The deadline to submit comments has been extended until August 5th.

 

Comments will be accepted by mail addressed to Garret Damrath, Caltrans Division 7, Division of Environmental Planning, 100 South Main Street MS-16, Los Angeles CA 90012

The full study is available at 

http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710study/draft_eir-eis

The document can be viewed at the Caltrans District Office, 100 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012.

To read more about the SR-710, go to www.EGPNews.com.

—-

Twitter @jackieguzman

jgarcia@egpnews.com

 

 

 

SR-710 Expansion: 60 Years of Discord

June 25, 2015 by · 3 Comments 

More than half a century ago, transportation officials in the Southland knew that they would have to do something to relieve the inevitable traffic congestion that would pile up along the 710 Freeway headed north. They had plans to build a freeway extension to complete the 4.5-mile gap between the terminus of the 710 Freeway in Alhambra and the 210 Freeway in Pasadena.

Fearing disruption to their neighborhoods and the taking of their homes, residents filed lawsuits, effectively stopping the expansion for nearly 60 years.

During the ensuing years, traffic has increased dramatically, both in terms of goods movement and people driving to work, school, shopping or home.

For large diesel trucks traveling from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, hauling as much as 40% of all the goods consumed in the U.S., the 710 Freeway is a key transportation route to distribution centers and commercial markets to the east and north of Los Angeles County.

The crush of traffic has pushed more trucks and cars onto local streets, making it harder for residents to get around, and according to health experts, increasing their risk of cancer, asthma, learning disabilities and premature babies due to increased pollution.

In March, Metro released a Draft Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (DIR/EIS) with five proposed alternatives for improving traffic through the region; a freeway tunnel, a light rail train; a rapid bus line; a traffic management system and the required “no build” option.

Several public hearings on the draft report have already been held; the latest Saturday in East Los Angeles. Some groups are now calling the alternatives “outdated” for today’s transportation and environmental needs, and want to start the process over.

The two proposals getting the most attention are the 7-mile tunnel connecting the two freeways, and a light rail alternative that backers say will make it easier for people to leave their car behind.

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard represents many of the working class, predominately Latino communities caught in the 710 traffic snarl. Last week, she issued the strongest statement to date by any public official on the project:

“The proposed light rail route is an unacceptable alternative. It is one more example of the environmental racism with which East L.A. and Southeast citizens are only too familiar … one more example of a minority community being sacrificed to appease more affluent neighborhoods.” (See her full statement here ). She supports building the tunnel.

Metro has extended the deadline to comment on the on the Draft EIR from July 6 to Aug. 5. Comments will be used to create the final report and recommendation of an alternative to Metro’s Board of Directors.

Certified Chicano: Oscar Castillo Photo Exhibit Opens Sunday

June 12, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Chicano Certified-Oscar Castillo

Chicano photographer Oscar Castillo’s lens has captured the textures and layers of the East L.A. community,

Photographer.

Such an inadequate title when it comes to Oscar Castillo.

He’s an artist, visual historian, and yes a photographer.

For five decades, Castillo has used his camera to document the Chicano community, in all its glory, pain, joy and complexities.

On Sunday, an exhibit featuring works by this important Chicano artist will open for a month-long run at Tonalli Studio in East Los Angeles.

The exhibition —CERTIFIED CHICANO Photography Exhibit: A Sense of Time and Space … —is a look through Castillo’s lens at the people and places that are East Los Angeles, and whose many textures and layers have been at the heart of important cultural and political shifts important not only to the Chicano Movement, but to all Angelenos.

With his lens, like a paintbrush on a canvas, Castillo captures the essence and power of people who love their home and will do whatever it takes to protect it, especially with the ubiquitous presence of La Virgin de Guadalupe.

From his images of political uprisings to celebratory expressions through food, art, music and cultural pride, Castillo has captured the soul of this community, telling the stories mostly ignored by history books and corporate media.

CERTIFIED CHICANO opens Sunday with a reception from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. The event will also include a Vintage Car Expo by the Imperials Car Club.

Tonalli Studio is located at 4539A E. Cesar Chavez Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90022. For more information, visit Tonalli Studio’s on facebook or call (323) 793-7609.

Valuable Bird Stolen from East LA

May 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Authorities Tuesday sought the public’s help in tracking down a macaw stolen from a cage at the home of the bird’s owner in East Los Angeles.

Mickey, a 28-year-old miligold macaw, was heard screeching loudly when its owner saw a man in his mid 20s taking the bird from the cage at a home in the 4600 block of Michigan Avenue around 10:40 a.m. Thursday, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez said.

Maria Chavez told Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies that she confronted the thief, but he left the property with the bird in hand, Navarro-Suarez said.

At 28, Mickey is in the prime of life. The wholesalebirdandcage.com website says the species can reach 60 to 85 years of age. It says the miligold macaw is a hybrid resulting from a cross between the military macaw and the blue and gold macaw.

Arizonaparrots.com says it sells week-old miligold macaws for $865, or $1,045 at five weeks, a rate of appreciation that, conceivably, could make a 28-year-old miligold worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Navarro-Suarez said Chavez was “very distraught” at Mickey’s disappearance as she regards him as a family member.

Anyone with information on the theft is urged to call Det. Sanchez at the sheriff’s department’s East L.A. Station at (323) 264-4151. To provide information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Fire Hydrant Sheared in East Los Angeles

February 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A truck hit a parked car and then a fire hydrant Saturday morning near East Los Angeles, causing water to gush from the sheared hydrant until the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power shut it off more than an hour later, authorities said.

The hit-and-run crash occurred at 1:49 a.m. at 5263 East Borland Road, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Kevin Moore. The truck hit a parked car and the hydrant and fled.

A witness noted the truck’s license plate, Moore said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was unable to stop the water gushing from the hydrant, and the DWP shut it off at 2:41 a.m. said spokeswoman Kim Hughes.

Workers had to shut down the main, but were working diversions to minimize the number of customers impacted, Hughes said.

East L.A. Stabbing Injures Two

January 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Two men were stabbed in East Los Angeles, both in the upper torso, by two other men, authorities said.

It happened about 10:45 p.m. this past Sunday near Olympic and Atlantic boulevards, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Lt. Roberto Medrano said.

“The victims flagged down deputies and said they were walking in the area and got into a physical altercation with the suspects and were stabbed,” Medrano told City News Service.

The victims told deputies they did not know their attackers, he said.

The suspects fled the scene.

The men were transported to a hospital for treatment of their wounds which were “apparently not life-threatening,” Medrano said.

Deputy Shoots Fleeing Suspect

January 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A 16-year-old boy suffered a graze wound to his upper torso in a deputy-involved shooting in East Los Angeles, a sheriff’s deputy said Monday.

The teenager was in a vehicle wanted in connection with a possible assault with weapon attack that occurred in the area of South Indiana and Dennison streets, said Deputy Tony Moore of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

Deputies responding to the scene at 9 p.m. Saturday spotted a vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle and tried to conduct a traffic stop. One of the occupants got out and ran eastbound on Dennison Street, Moore said.

Deputies chased the suspect, who turned around and pointed a handgun at them, which resulted in a deputy-involved shooting, he said.

The suspect continued running and additional deputies were called in to search for the boy.

He was later found hiding in the backyard of a home in the 1000 block of South Townsend Avenue and taken into custody. The firearm pointed at deputies was also recovered, Moore said.

The teenager was treated at the scene by paramedics then transported to sheriff’s East Los Angeles station and booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.

13-Year Old Charged With Murder in Middle School Stabbing

January 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A 13-year-old boy accused of fatally stabbing a 14-year-old high school student outside Griffith Middle School in East Los Angeles was charged Tuesday with murder.

The boy, whose name was not released because he was charged as a juvenile, is expected to appear in court tomorrow at the Eastlake Juvenile Courthouse.

He is accused of stabbing Steven Cruz, a student at Garfield High School, shortly after 3 p.m. Friday in front of the nearby middle school.

Friends said Cruz was walking home when he stopped by the middle school to see friends. The suspect, a reputed gang member, asked Cruz where he was from, a common tactic by gang members to determine gang affiliation, then stabbed him in the torso, officials said.

Next Page »

Copyright © 2015 Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews, Inc. ·