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.

ELAC Names Building for Past President: Ernest H. Moreno

February 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A longtime educator and former president of East Los Angeles College has been recognized for his service with the naming of a new 5-story, 135,000 square foot building at the college in his honor.

“Ernest H. Moreno has enriched the lives of community college students for nearly a half century,” ELAC statement following The Ernest H. Moreno Building of Language, Arts & Humanities sign unveiling ceremony on Feb. 8.

Moreno served as Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) employee for 42 years as a faculty member, administrator and college president. In 2013, he was elected to the LACCD’s Board of Trustees.

The naming of the new facility pays tributes to Moreno’s tenure at ELAC, where he served as president from 1994 – with a brief interim assignment as President of Los Angeles Mission College – until his retirement in 2011.

“Ernie Moreno is a legacy in our community,” said Scott J. Svonkin, President of the LACCD Board of Trustees. “Ernie led the effort to build one of the preeminent community colleges in the nation, right here at East Los Angeles College. He took a community college that had buildings in disrepair and with decades-old bungalows in use for classrooms and led the way for ELAC to become one of the finest and largest colleges in California and the nation,” Svonkin said in praise of the San Gabriel Valley native.

With streamers flying into the air, Los Angeles Community College District officials celebrate the unveiling of the Ernest H. Moreno Building of Language, Arts & Humanities sign. (Photo by Mario Villegas)

With streamers flying into the air, Los Angeles Community College District officials celebrate the unveiling of the Ernest H. Moreno Building of Language, Arts & Humanities sign. (Photo by Mario Villegas)

“And then he joined our board and led the effort to rebuild our campuses across the district. World-class facilities are now the norm at each of our nine LACCD campuses,” Svonkin told those gathered for the tribute.

According to ELAC, the building bearing Moreno’s name will house several academic departments, including English, Foreign Language, Chicano Studies and Speech; and provides 40 classrooms, three labs and office space for more than 80 faculty. The new central plaza quadrangle the building faces, offers space for students to study, and relax.

Moreno said he is “honored and humbled” by the recognition.

“During my nearly 18 years as president I was able to transform East Los Angeles College from a relatively small college to one of the largest in the nation and plan and guide the rebuilding and expansion of the entire college,” Moreno said. “My vision for the college was motivated by my devotion to the wonderful students and community that ELAC serves. I must thank the dedicated faculty and staff that help make my tenure as president a success.”

“Trustee Moreno led ELAC through significant growth of students and spearheaded the building program at the college,” LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez said. “Under his leadership, the college has become a premier institution that proudly serves the surrounding community.”

Moreno taught business administration, supervision and management, and labor relations at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College from 1976 to 1986, and political science at West Los Angeles College from 1986 to 2006. Educated in the San Gabriel Valley Unified School District, he attended Cal State L.A. where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. He earned a Master’s in public administration from Cal State Long Beach.

Moreno is Chairman and member of the Board of Directors of Monterey Park Hospital and a member of the Board of Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health. He was a member of the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees from 1989 to 2006.


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.

Pedestrian Killed on Freeway

January 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A pedestrian was struck and killed by a car on the westbound Pomona (60) Freeway in the East Los Angeles area, authorities said Tuesday.

The 28-year-old man was hit by the car about 11:15 p.m. Monday west of Atlantic Boulevard, the California Highway Patrol reported. His name was withheld pending notification of his relatives.

The motorist was treated at a hospital for a minor injury, according to the CHP.

Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the CHP’s East Los Angeles Area office at (323) 980-4600.

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.

Eastside Children Go on Christmas Shopping Spree

December 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Thirty deserving children from the East Los Angeles area were able to cross off at least one thing on their Christmas list this year, after receiving a gift card to go on a shopping spree Saturday.

The National Latino Peace Officers Association – East Los Angeles Chapter and the City of Commerce Target Store hosted its First Children’s Christmas Shopping Spree Dec. 3. Each child received goodie bags and a $75 gift card to purchase clothes, shoes, toys, books, movies, games and more.

(Photo courtesy of Yvette Fimbres)

(Photo courtesy of Yvette Fimbres)

The children were referred and selected by NLPOA – ELA Chapter through various community resources such as churches, local schools, LA County Children and Family Services, and LA County Sheriffs VIDA program.


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