Eastside Youth Demand Inclusion in City Budget

May 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Feeling they don’t have a seat at the table during budget season, over 200 local students rallied outside Los Angeles City Hall Tuesday and invited the mayor and council members to sit down at the dining table they’d set up and “break bread” over a discussion on city youth services.

“You say youth are the future yet you don’t invest in our youth,” said 14-year-old Martin Raza as he stood across City Hall.

The students are members of the Invest in Youth Coalition which is campaigning to get city officials to invest in a youth development task force aimed at getting funds for community-based safe places and youth programs such as tutoring, mentoring, workforce development, college support and other services.

Although 800,000 young Angelenos live in the city, the Youth Coalition points out there is no specific department that addresses their needs.

Jackie Vargas, right, discusses the importance of involving youth in the city;s budget process with representatives from the mayor’s office Tuesday at a table set up outside L.A. City Hall. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Jackie Vargas, right, discusses the importance of involving youth in the city’s budget process with representatives from the mayor’s office Tuesday at a table set up outside L.A. City Hall. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

“We want a better future for ourselves and that starts with the budget,” Ariana Chavez, 17, told EGP. “We want a voice in our city.”

A number of students, sitting with representatives from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office and several council members, argued that the timing of budget sessions during school hours makes it hard for them to participate in the discussions.

The group estimates a $10 million budget allocation for youth development would allow for the creation of 50 programs citywide, something they want to see,.

Arlyn Nuñez, 18, of East Los Angeles, told EGP that Tuesday’s City Hall “dining table” discussion is the first step toward making sure city youth receive much-needed services.

“We’re in a low-income area, we don’t have many services available to us,” Nuñez said, explaining that tutoring and other after-school programs would benefit the region.

“Instead, money is being spent in incarcerating our youth.”

According to the coalition, 10,000 youth – ages 19 and under – are arrested annually: most are minorities.

The group points to the cities of San Francisco and New York, each of which has a youth development department, as examples of what can be done.

“Being a part of an after-school program helps students stay away from the streets and prevents them from getting locked up,” said Lincoln High School student Leslie Sanchez.

Garcetti’s representative pointed out there has been investments in youth through HIRE LA’s Youth Initiative and LA College Promise. Through HIRE LA, Garcetti hopes to see at least 20,000 youth employed by 2020. Under LA College Promise, LAUSD students will be guaranteed admission and a year of free tuition at a Los Angeles Community College campus.

Councilman Jose Huizar has asked city staff for a report on how the city spends its funds and how it can better prioritize youth services. “It’s a monumental task, but one Councilmember Huizar really wants to see done right,” stated Huizar spokesman Rick Coca in an email, adding that CD14 staff have had a series of meeting with youth advocates, one as recently as Monday.

Coca said his boss stands with advocates “in recognizing that the City’s youth stand to benefit the most from a thorough, well-researched comprehensive report on where our resources are going in funding youth services.

“ … So we convened a session with the CAO and the CLA and representatives from the Boyle Heights For Youth and LA For Youth campaigns to begin to figure out the scope and what we want the criteria to be since “youth programs and services” can cover so much ground.”

Eastside students rally outside L.A. City Hall Tuesday, urging elected officials to invest in youth services. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Eastside students rally outside L.A. City Hall Tuesday, urging elected officials to invest in youth services. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

A [dedicated] youth development department is imperative if Los Angeles hopes to address the issues young people face, said Lou Calanche, executive director of Legacy LA, a community based non-profit that runs youth programs at Hazard Park and the Ramona Gardens Housing development in Boyle Heights.

Last year, in response to multiple officer-involved shootings in Boyle Heights, members of 23 nonprofit groups called on city officials to fund a department focused on youth development services.

“Boyle Heights is about 50 percent under the age of 25, if youth voices aren’t front and center in times like today, then the city is saying that youth of color aren’t a priority,” said Joel Garcia, director of Self-Help Graphics, a community arts center in East Los Angeles.

Several students acknowledged that organizations like Legacy LA and Self-Help Graphics were instrumental in keeping them out of trouble and on the path to college.

Araceli Rodriguez, a senior at Garfield High School will attend Sacramento State University in the fall. She told EGP it is especially important for the city to invest in youth at a time when the Trump administration is threatening budget cuts for education and other public programs.

“We need our leaders to send a message and put their money where their mouth is, that starts here in our city.”

Pedestrian Struck by Metrolink Train

April 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

EAST LOS ANGELES  – A pedestrian was struck by a Metrolink train and killed Monday in East Los Angeles.

The pedestrian was struck about 9 p.m. in the area of Whiteside Street and Bonnie Beach Place, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The victim, whose age and gender were not immediately available, was pronounced dead at the scene, a dispatcher said.





Suspect in Deadly Shooting Still on the Loose

April 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

EAST LOS ANGELES  – Authorities Tuesday identified a man who was fatally shot in East Los Angeles by a killer who remains at large.

The shooting was reported at 8:36 p.m. Monday in the 6600 block of Hereford Drive, said Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

Francisco Amaro Jr., 30, of East Los Angeles died at the scene, the coroner’s office reported.

Homicide detectives learned that Amaro had left his residence on foot after a brief argument with family members, Alexander said. A short time later, a gunshot was heard west of Amaro’s residence, and he was found lying on a sidewalk, the sheriff’s department reported.

Anyone with information on the crime was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Man Pleads Guilty to Trying to Kill Woman at East Los Angeles Taco Stand

February 10, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

A man pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempted murder and was immediately sentenced to 13 years behind bars for an unprovoked knife attack on a woman waiting in line at a taco stand in East Los Angeles.

Andres Contreras, 30, attacked the 23-year-old woman in the 5100 block of Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles last Sept. 7. She suffered a large laceration to her left hand, according to Deputy District Attorney Stefana Antonescu.

A good Samaritan who tried to intervene also suffered a laceration. Sheriff’s deputies, who were in the area, stopped the attack and took Contreras into custody.

Contreras – who did not know the woman – told deputies that he had been using methamphetamine all day, sheriff’s Lt. Alex Salinas said shortly after the attack.

Teen Killed in East L.A. Shooting

January 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Authorities Monday identified a 16-year-old boy killed in an apparent-gang-related shooting in East Los Angeles.

The shooting occurred at 2:40 a.m. Sunday in the 3800 block of Whittier Boulevard, Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.

Joanthony Rodriguez of Los Angeles died at the scene, coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said.

“When deputies arrived, they checked the area for any suspicious activity and found a bloody trail on a sidewalk, which they followed into an apartment building,” Jansen said. “The deputies found a male lying on the stairwell inside the apartment building suffering from gunshot wounds to his upper torso.”

The shooting is believed to be gang-related, Jansen said.

Anyone with information on the crime was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.


ELA Stabbing Death Victim Named

January 5, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A 20-year-old man who was stabbed to death near

Belvedere County Park in East Los Angeles was identified Wednesday by authorities.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon around 8:25 p.m. on Dec. 28 in the 4900 block of East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, said Deputy Trina Schrader of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

On arriving, they saw the man, identified by the county coroner’s office as Anthony Nelson III, lying on the ground in a parking lot suffering from a stab wound to his upper body, Schrader said. Nelson was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, she said.

Coroner’s officials did not have a residence listed for Nelson.

Reward Offered to Help Solve East L.A. Murders

December 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Police sought the public’s help Wednesday in solving the murders of two young East Los Angeles women whose bodies were found alongside two Los Angeles freeways a few years ago.

The Los Angles City Council, at the request of First District Councilmember Gil Cedillo, approved $100,000 in rewards, $50,000 for each murder, for information leading to the identity, arrest, and prosecution of the person or people responsible for the deaths of Michelle Lozano and Bree’Anna Guzman.

Lozano, who was a 17-year-old Lincoln Heights resident at the time of her murder, was last seen on April 24, 2011, and her body was found the next day alongside the Cesar Chavez Avenue offramp from the southbound Golden State (5) Freeway in East Los Angeles, according to a Los Angeles Police Department statement.

On December 26 of that same year, 22-year-old Guzman disappeared after walking to a Rite-Aid store at 111 E. Avenue 26, the statement said. Her body was found on Jan. 26, 2012, alongside the Riverside Drive on-ramp to the southbound Glendale (2) Freeway.

During the course of the investigations, detectives obtained evidence that links the two murders, the statement said.

Anyone with information about the murders was asked to contact the LAPD’s Robbery and Homicide Division at (213) 486-6890.

Authorities Search for Armed Robbery Suspects

December 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Sheriff’s detectives Monday continued investigating an armed robbery in East Los Angeles that led to a crash and one of several suspects being arrested.

The robbery occurred about 4:25 a.m. Friday at a gas station in the 200 block of South Atlantic Boulevard, according to Lt. Ed Alvarez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s East Lost Angeles Station.

The victim reported that he was robbed by several adults, and that a handgun was pointed at him and he was ordered to hand over his wallet, jewelry and cell phone, the lieutenant said. Alvarez said the victim complied and the suspects fled south on South Atlantic Boulevard in a vehicle.

“Assisting deputies saw one suspect exit the vehicle at Union Pacific Avenue and South Atlantic Boulevard,” Alvarez said.

The suspect vehicle was then involved in a traffic collision as the driver tried to merge onto the Santa Ana (5) Freeway on the Woods Avenue on-ramp, Alvarez said.

“The suspects fled in different directions,” he said. “A containment was established, resulting in one suspect being arrested. A handgun and stolen property were recovered from the suspect vehicle. Detectives are actively looking for outstanding suspects.”

Descriptions of the suspects have not been made available, nor has the name of the suspect taken into custody.

Authorities reported in the hours after the robbery that it had occurred at the Citadel Outlets in Commerce, but that turned out not to be the case, according to Alvarez, who said the gas station is several miles away from the shopping center.

Citadel Outlets officials stressed Monday that the robbery did not occur at the mall, saying the “safety and security of our shoppers is of the utmost importance.”

“We’re very happy that the same officers who keep our center secure were able to identify and apprehend suspects in an incident that took place miles away,” according to a statement from the Citadel Outlets.

Anyone with information about the robbery or the outstanding suspects was urged to call Alvarez at (323) 981-5030. Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.


Three Men Shot in East L.A. Store

November 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Three men were shot while in front of a convenience store in East Los Angeles and one of them died at an area hospital, the Sheriff’s Department said Sunday.

The victim was later identified as Juan Carillo Ortiz, 18, according to Deputy Lisa Jansen of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

The Bureau did not release a place of residence for Ortiz.

The shooting was reported at 5:56 p.m. Saturday in the 4100 block of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, said Deputy Ryan Rouzan of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

Ortiz, a 19-year-old man was standing outside a convenience store with a 66-year-old man when witnesses reported hearing several gunshots fired, Jansen said.

The victims were rushed to an area hospital, where Ortiz, who was shot several times in the torso, was pronounced dead. The other two victims were listed in fair condition, she said.

Sheriff’s homicide detectives asked anyone with any information regarding the shooting attack to call them at (323) 890-5500.

East Los Angeles Christmas Parade Returns after 7 years!

November 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Sunday, Nov. 27
12Noon–East Los Angeles Christmas Parade Returns after 7 years! The Parade will travel down Whittier Blvd. (between Eastern Ave. & Goodrich). Supervisor Hilda Solis will serve as Grand Marshall. Stop by and meet the cast of East Los High, Lupita Infante, and more. For more information, call Solis’ East LA Field Office: (323) 881-4601.

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