Residents Worried SR-710 Light Rail Would Burden East LA

April 16, 2015 by · 5 Comments 

East Los Angeles residents fear they will once again be forced to bare the brunt of efforts to relieve traffic in the region.

They remember all too well the disruption to businesses and residents extending the Gold Line east caused in their neighborhood.

Lea este artículo en Español: SR-710 Tren Ligero Podría Ser una Carga Para el Este de Los Ángeles

Those concerns were expressed Saturday during a public hearing at East Los Angeles College hosted by Metro and Caltrans to get feedback on the State Route 710 Study.

While a majority of people who spoke at the hearing appeared to support a freeway tunnel option, several eastside residents said support in other cities for a light rail train through their neighborhood has them worried.

A map viewing at East Los Angeles College Saturday allowed residents who live along the proposed SR-710 Freeway project to view the impact on their communities.  (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

A map viewing at East Los Angeles College Saturday allowed residents who live along the proposed SR-710 Freeway project to view the impact on their communities. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

More vocal communities along the route are getting all the attention, they complained.

In March, Metro and Caltrans released a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS), which outlined five alternatives for closing the gap between the 710 and 210 freeways. The options include a traffic management system, a rapid bus line, a light rail, a freeway tunnel and the required “no build” option.

About 100 people from Pasadena, South Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, El Sereno and East Los Angeles attended the hearing.

Many speakers supported the option to build a 2-way, 6.3 mile tunnel from Valley Boulevard in Alhambra to the connection with the 210/134 freeways in Pasadena.

The double decker option would have two lanes traveling in each direction and would run for 4.2 miles of bored tunnel. Vehicles carrying flammable or hazardous materials will be prohibited in the tunnel.

Residents from eastside communities and throughout the San Gabriel Valley spoke at the SR-710 Metro meeting, held at ELAC Saturday. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Residents from eastside communities and throughout the San Gabriel Valley spoke at the SR-710 Metro meeting, held at ELAC Saturday. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Several eastside residents claimed they “were left out of the conversation,” referring to the decision to include the Light Rail Train (LRT) alternative. They pointed out that some of the businesses hurt by construction of the Gold Line Eastside Extension in 2009 never recovered.

A light rail will destroy “one of the nicest corridors” and the East LA Civic Center on Third and Mednik Streets, they complained.

“We do not need the rail,” Martha Hernandez told Metro. “We can get to Pasadena on the Gold Line,” she said, adding that eastside residents can already get to Cal State LA by taking Metro’s Silver Line. There is also an express shuttle from ELACC.

Liz Sanchez lives one block from Mednik Street where a station could be built if a light rail is chosen. She told EGP a train would add to parking problems in her neighborhood because there’s no plan to provide public parking for rail passengers.

“I have a disability and even now it is hard to find parking… I don’t want to be selfish, but this is not a good option,” she lamented.

Clara Solis asked Metro and Caltrans to explain why East LA residents should bare the burden of other cities’ transportation problems. “Fifteen of our precious businesses that are walking distance from residences will be removed,” she said.

Yolanda Duarte, advisory chairperson for the Maravilla Community Center, said Metro 710 project spokespersons had gone to the eastside Center to give the community and businesses more information about the project.

Yolanda Duarte, an East Los Angeles resident, told Metro officials her concerns with the rail alternative.  (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Yolanda Duarte, an East Los Angeles resident, told Metro officials her concerns with the rail alternative. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

“On two occasions questions were asked if businesses or residences will be taken, the answer [by Metro] was no. [Now] The EIR states 15 businesses will be targeted” to make room for rail stations, she said, visibly frustrated. The businesses are on Mednik, south of the I-60/at Third Street: One home and a businesses on East Cesar Chavez could also be taken.

People were able to review maps and other visual materials pertaining to the five alternatives and ask Metro engineers questions before the public hearing got under way.

Metro planners explained that if the light rail is chosen, it would travel 7.5 miles, divided into 3 miles of aerial track and 4.5 miles submerged approximately 6-stories underground.

The rail line would run from south of Valley Boulevard, with the first aerial station on Mednik Avenue adjacent to the East LA Civic Center Station, and two more aerial stations on Floral Drive and at Cal State LA. It would then go underground with stations in Alhambra, Huntington Drive, South Pasadena and to the Fillmore Station in Pasadena where it would connect with the Gold Line.

Many eastside residents have long resented Metro opting to build the Eastside Gold Line above ground while  approving preferred but costlier underground subway options for other communities.

Several people said the eastside is once again getting the short end of the stick, complaining that the proposed rail line would run above ground through East LA, but then go underground through the more affluent communities north of Cal State LA.

“Why don’t we get a tunnel” like they do in Pasadena, one speaker demanded to know.

“Take out this project, do not even consider it,” said Gilbert Hernandez.

How to fill the 4.5-mile gap between the 710’s terminus in Alhambra and the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena is a debate that has raged on for more than six decades. If a route is eventually selected, a revenue source to cover the hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars needed to build it would still have to be found. The project could take three to five years to complete if the light rail is chosen.

L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis represents East Los Angeles and other areas impacted by the SR-710. She told EGP via email it is imperative to reduce congestion, improve air quality and enhance mobility for all residents, however, she does not yet see “any option as a natural choice” due to the many pros and cons.

“For example, the light rail alternative threatens the highest number of businesses and homes while the tunnel options could become a bottomless money pit. A combination of alternatives may end up being the way to get the most for our money,” she stated, adding that her staff is studying the various options and will hold community input meetings in addition to those scheduled by Metro.

“The communities I represent deserve a solution that absolutely improves their quality of life and environment … while improving mobility and using transportation to foster economic growth,” she said.

Metro and Caltrans have scheduled two more public hearings:

—Wednesday, May 6 at La Cañada High School auditorium, with a map viewing from 5-6 p.m. and public hearing at 6 p.m.

—Thursday, May 7 at the Los Angeles Christian Presbyterian Church, map viewing 5-6 p.m. and public hearing at 6 p.m.

The full study is available at  http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710study/draft_eir-eis and can be viewed at the Caltrans District Office, 100 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 and public libraries listed here:  http://www.metro.net/projects/sr- 710-conversations.

Comments will be accepted by mail through July 6: Mail to Garret Damrath, Caltrans Division 7, Division of Environmental Planning, 100 South Main Street MS-16, Los Angeles CA 90012.

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

—-

Twitter @jackieguzman

jgarcia@egpnews.com
Updated 2;50 p.m.

ELAC Men & Women’s Basketball In State Final 4

March 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

For the first time in East Los Angeles College history, both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are in the State playoff final four and will compete in the CCCAA Championship Tourney this weekend.

ELAC’s men’s team, with a record of 21-10 is designated as the No. 2 seed from Southern California, and will play Merritt College (25-6), the top seed from the North, in a semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday.

The winner will advance to Sunday championship game at 1 p.m. to play either Saddleback College (31-2), the top seed from the South, or North No. 2 Cañada College (24-6), who will play in the other semifinal on Friday at 7 p.m.

In the women’s competition, ELAC (29-3) also the second seed from Southern California, will play Chabot College (29-3), the North’s top seed, in a semifinal game at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The winner of the ELAC-Chabot semifinal will advance to Sunday’s championship game at 3 p.m. to play either Mt. San Antonio College (33-0), the top seed from the South, or North No. 2 San Joaquin Delta College (27-5), who play in a semifinal at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The ELAC men have traversed a long and rugged road to the final four. They were seeded 13th in the 20-team South playoff brackets and opened the postseason with a play-in victory against Victor Valley College (96-91) at home.

ELAC then went on the road to defeat No. 4 Antelope Valley College (111-106), No. 5 Southwestern College (79-65) and No. 8 Long Beach City College (92-73) to arrive in the CCCAA Championship Tournament.

East Los Angeles College forward Abigail Vasquez, left, drives past Irvine Valley College’s Karli Kato in the second half. The Huskies won to advance to the State Championship Tournament this weekend at Cerritos College. (Photo by Mario Villegas)

East Los Angeles College forward Abigail Vasquez, left, drives past Irvine Valley College’s Karli Kato in the second half. The Huskies won to advance to the State Championship Tournament this weekend at Cerritos College. (Photo by Mario Villegas)

In fact, the Huskies were the lowest remaining seed in the state when they took the court Saturday in Long Beach.

But sophomore guards Je’ron Primus, a Westchester High School product, and Marcus Romain, who is from Brooklyn, N.Y., scored 20 points each to lead the Huskies to lead ELAC to the win.

Marquis Salmon, a freshman forward from Village Christian High, added 19 points and had six rebounds.

The ELAC women have been led by the outstanding guard tandem of Olivia Ochoa and Kyla Martin-Burnley.

Ochoa, a freshman from Roosevelt High School, is averaging a team-leading 16.3 points per game, and 4.8 assists and 3.8 steals per game. Martin-Burnley averages 15.1 points, 2.0 assists and 2.4 steals per game.

Up front, the Huskies are led by Jocelyne Diaz, a sophomore forward from Whittier High School, who is averaging 14.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Martin-Burnley is coming off her biggest game of the season in which she scored 24 points in ELAC’s 75-62 victory over Irvine Valley last Saturday to send the Huskies to the final four.

Ochoa had an excellent all-around performance, scoring 12 points to go with six assists, five rebounds and four steals.

Diaz also put in 12 points and grabbed six rebounds.

The Huskies got another outstanding effort off the bench from freshman forward Abigail Vasquez, who scored 15 points and had five rebounds, two assists and a steal, and scrappy freshman guard Vianey Chavez, who had six points and played tenacious defense.

Besides Irvine Valley, the Huskies, who were seeded second in the South Region, also defeated Antelope Valley College (66-60) and El Camino College (70-56) to advance to the CCCAA championship tournament.

Cerritos College is located at 11110 Alondra Blvd., Norwalk.

Monterey Park Candidate Forum Feb. 3

February 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

5-7pm–Monterey Park City Council Candidate Forum at East Los Angeles College. City council candidates running in the March 3 election will be. Forum will follow Meet and greet with the candidates. ELAC President Marvin Martinez will moderate the event. Event is hosted by the Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce, East Los Angeles College and the Pasadena Star News. ELAC is located at 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez. Forum will take place at Recital Hall near the Vincent Price  Museum. For info, call Deana Marie Sewell at (626) 570-9429  or deana@mpkchamber.org.

New ELAC Football Coach Has Big Plans

January 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

East Los Angeles College will have one of the premier football programs in the state, says new Huskie Coach Eric Marty.

“I believe that East Los Angeles College, with its location and resources, can have a tremendous impact on its players, the community, and become one of top football programs in California,” says Marty, who last season was an assistant coach and the offensive coordinator at Moorpark College in Ventura County.

Though only 28-years-old, Marty’s experience as a player and coach is extensive and impressive. Prior to Moorpark, he spent two seasons at Oklahoma Panhandle State University and two years coaching offense for two separate professional teams in Europe’s Italian League. Both of his offenses finished in the top two in nearly every statistical category.

New East Los Angeles College football Coach Eric Marty is aiming to lead the Huskies to prominence by building one of the top community college programs. (Photo by Mario Villegas)

New East Los Angeles College football Coach Eric Marty is aiming to lead the Huskies to prominence by building one of the top community college programs. (Photo by Mario Villegas)

The Washington native was also a three-years starting quarterback at Chapman University in Orange where he broke six school passing records, leading the Panthers to a 14-8 record as a starter, and consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1995-96.

“It is my vision and desire to build a program so organized, so efficient, and so purpose driven that it is able to radically transform the lives of its players,” Marty said. “And I believe that if a program can demand accountability (academically as athletes, and as men of character) that this type of transformation in its players is inevitable and that there will be a windfall of success on the field and in the classroom.”

Key to his success, said Marty, will be recruiting, player development and academic progress, focusing on the game’s X’s and O’s, and maintaining ELAC’s success transferring players to four-year universities.

“Our vision will be realized by concentrating our focus, energy, and resources

on those four core areas,” Marty said.

Before Marty’s arrival, Moorpark was a dismal 3-17 over two seasons. He not only helped rejuvenate the offense, but also the entire program, which improved enough to go 5-5 in his first season in 2013 and in 2014 his offense finished 14th in the state in total offense.

Procession and Mass Honor Virgin of Guadalupe

December 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

(Courtesy of the Los Angeles Archdiocese )

(Courtesy of the Los Angeles Archdiocese )

Thousands of devotees marched along East Los Angeles streets Sunday during the 83rd Annual Procession and Mass to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico.

Considered the oldest religious procession in Los Angeles, the one-mile walk included colorful floats, equestrian groups, mariachis, indigenous dancers, among others. Catholic school students escorted the Peregrina, the official archdiocesan pilgrim image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The procession ended at East Los Angeles Community College (ELACC) Stadium in Monterey Park, where a Mass was celebrated by Archbishop José Gomez and white doves were released as the Virgin of Guadalupe entered the stadium.

The image of the Peregrina is a digital reproduction of the original image located in the Basilica of Mexico City. It was blessed by late St Pope John Paul II and was given as a gift to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from the Basilica.

CSULA, ELAC, Garfield High Partnership Targets East L.A. Students for College Pathway

May 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

An initiative aimed at encouraging more students from the East Los Angeles area to pursue a college degree by guaranteeing them admission to Cal State Los Angeles was unveiled last week by education officials.

“GO East L.A.: A Pathway for College and Career Success” is a partnership between Garfield High School, East Los Angeles College and Cal State L.A. Developed by LA Unified School Board Member Monica Garcia, ELAC President Marvin Martinez and Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino, the initiative gives students from Garfield High School and ELAC priority admission to Cal State L.A. if they meet certain qualifications.

The creators of the initiative say their vision is to develop a “community-wide cradle-to-career educational system” that supports area youth from pre-school through college graduation with the tools to be successful at each level of the education system, as well as give them a pathway to college. The goal is to ensure students attending Garfield High School and ELAC in East L.A. get the skills they need to “contribute to the health and economic vitality of the community,” according to a statement released by ELAC.

The GO East L.A. initiative was unveiled May 8 at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. (EGP photo by Jacqueline García)

The GO East L.A. initiative was unveiled May 8 at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. (EGP photo by Jacqueline García)

Through GO East L.A., students attending Garfield High School will receive support for achieving their after high school academic goals, whether they first attend ELAC or go straight to Cal State L.A. Students attending ELAC will also get targeted assistance to help them transfer to Cal State L.A.

Among other things, the initiative calls for gathering private and public resources to provide more academic and counseling support to Garfield and ELAC students to make sure they are successfully completing the classes they need to attend Cal State L.A. Students will be encouraged to take more college-prep classes and courses that qualify for college credit while still in high school.

Lea este artículo en Español: Se Refuerza Asociación Entre Garfield, ELAC y CSULA para Mejoras de Educación

Garfield High School, at one time one of the most over-crowded LAUSD campuses, currently enrolls about 2.500 students and had a graduation rate in 2011-12 of 87.3%, according to Garfield Principal, Jose Huerta.

Board Member Garcia said Go East L.A.’s objective is to remove obstacles faced by many eastise students so they can graduate in less time and enter the workforce with a degree in their hands. The partnership is committed to holding themselves “accountable” for the success of the students, officials said.

“We will start by getting our professors and our teachers talking to each other,” Garcia told EGP. “The counselors at the campuses talking to each other too,” she said. “…Garfield High School class of 2014 is already connected with ELAC and Cal State L.A.” she added.

Garfield senior Julia Soto told EGP the initiative is a great resource for her because she plans to get her Associates Degree or enter a nursing program and to eventually get a Bachelors of Science degree. “This program is encouraging [us] to go to ELAC and then transfer to Cal State L.A. with priority registration,” she said following the press conference held May 8 at Garfield.

Soto said she is currently taking college classes on the weekends to accelerate her college degree. “People from ELAC come on Saturdays to give us classes,” she said. “They motivate us to continue with our studies.”

Huerta told EGP he is “very impressed and honored” that Garfield’s achievements are being recognized.

For now, the high school portion of the initiative is limited Garfield, but Garcia said she hopes other eastside schools, such as Esteban Torres and the Solis Learning Academy will be added in the next round.

While the three educational institutions have always had a relationship, Garcia said she hopes this new effort will make the relationship and objectives clearer. “What we want to see in the GO East L.A. program is better organization around the programs, the supports and the outcomes,” she told EGP.

Local businesses will also provide help to needy students. Among the local supporters, Grifols Worldwide, a global healthcare group adjacent to the Cal State L.A. campus, has donated $50,000 for scholarships for students in the program.

GO East L.A. will also develop support programs geared toward helping students earn a college degree or career required certificates, as well as build college awareness through outreach to middle schools and partnerships with community groups and parents to promote college attendance and college-ready skills.

GO East L.A. hopes to include East L.A. area middle schools, such as Belvedere, Griffith and Stevenson, to the outreach effort.

Garcia said she hopes to see programs that work eventually expanded to schools outside of East L.A.

“We want to see a GO Lincoln Heights, GO Boyle Heights,” she said. “We need to see all of them to get to the finishing line.”

—-

Twitter @jackieguzman

jgarcia@egpnews.com

Se Refuerza Asociación Entre Garfield, ELAC y CSULA para Mejoras de Educación

May 15, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

La semana pasada funcionarios de educación anunciaron una iniciativa que se enfoca en motivar a estudiantes del Este de Los Ángeles para que obtengan educación superior garantizándoles admisión a la universidad Cal State Los Ángeles.

“GO East L.A.: Un Camino para la Universidad y Éxito Profesional” es una sociedad entre la preparatoria Garfield, el Colegio Comunitario del Este de Los Ángeles (ELAC), y la universidad Cal State L.A.

José Huerta, presidente de la preparatoria Garfield muestra la firma del documento de  asociación con las entidades ELAC y CSULA para promover educación superior a estudiantes del Este de Los Ángeles. (EGP foto por Jacqueline García)

José Huerta, presidente de la preparatoria Garfield muestra la firma del documento de
asociación con las entidades ELAC y CSULA para promover educación superior a estudiantes del Este de Los Ángeles. (EGP foto por Jacqueline García)

El programa creado por la Miembro de la Junta Directiva del Distrito Escolar de Los Ángeles, Mónica García, el Presidente de ELAC Marvin Martínez y el Presidente de Cal State L.A. William A. Covino, ofrece a los estudiantes de Garfield y ELAC prioridad de admisión a Cal State L.A. si reúnen los requisitos necesarios.

Los creadores de la iniciativa dicen que su visión es desarrollar una “comunidad que sea un sistema educativo de la cuna a la carrera profesional” que apoye a los jóvenes del área desde el preescolar hasta la graduación de la universidad con las herramientas necesarias para tener éxito en cada nivel del sistema educativo. El objetivo es asegurar que los estudiantes que asisten a la preparatoria Garfield en el Este de Los Ángeles obtengan las habilidades necesarias para “contribuir a la vitalidad económica y de salud de la comunidad”, según un comunicado difundido por ELAC.

A través de GO East L.A., los estudiantes que asisten a la preparatoria Garfield recibirán apoyo para sus metas académicas después de graduarse de la preparatoria, si quieren asistir primero a ELAC o ir directamente a Cal State LA. Estudiantes que asisten ELAC también recibirán asistencia específica para ayudarles a transferirse a Cal State L.A.

Entre otras cosas, la iniciativa pide la recopilación de recursos privados y públicos para proporcionar más asesoramiento académico y de apoyo a los estudiantes de Garfield y ELAC para asegurarse de que están completando con éxito las clases que necesitan para asistir a Cal State L.A. Se animará a los estudiantes a tomar más clases de preparación universitaria y cursos que califiquen para créditos universitarios mientras estén en la preparatoria.

La preparatoria Garfield, que en algún momento fue una de las escuelas más sobre pobladas de LAUSD, actualmente matricula alrededor de 2.500 estudiantes y tuvo una tasa de graduación de 87,3% en el 2011-12 , según el Presidente de Garfield, José Huerta.

García, dijo que el objetivo de GO East L.A. es eliminar los obstáculos que enfrentan muchos estudiantes para que puedan graduarse en menos tiempo y acceder al mercado laboral con un título en sus manos. La asociación se compromete en ser ellos mismos “responsables” en cuanto al éxito de los estudiantes, dijeron los funcionarios.

“Vamos a empezar por conseguir que nuestros profesores y nuestros maestros hablen entre sí”, García le dijo a EGP. “Los consejeros de los campuses que hablen el uno al otro también”, agregó. “… La clase del 2014 de la preparatoria Garfield ya está conectada con ELAC y Cal State L.A.”, anunció.

Julia Soto, estudiante del 12 grado en Garfield, le dijo a EGP que la iniciativa es un gran recurso para ella porque planea obtener su título Asociado o entrar en un programa de enfermería y posteriormente conseguir una licenciatura en Ciencias . “Este programa [nos] anima a ir a ELAC y después transferirnos a Cal State L.A., con prioridad de inscripción”, dijo después de la conferencia de prensa que se llevó a cabo el 8 de mayo en Garfield.

Soto dijo que actualmente ella está tomando clases de la universidad durante los fines de semana para obtener más rápido su título universitario. “Gente de ELAC viene los sábados a darnos clases”, dijo. “Ellos nos motivan a continuar con nuestros estudios”.

Huerta le dijo a EGP que él esta “muy impresionado y honrado” de que los logros de Garfield estén siendo reconocidos.

Por ahora, la iniciativa se ofrece solo en Garfield, pero García dijo que espera que otras escuelas del Este como Esteban Torres y la Academia de Aprendizaje Solís se añadan en la próxima ronda.

Mientras que las tres instituciones educativas siempre han tenido una relación, García dijo que espera que este nuevo esfuerzo convierta la relación más fuerte con objetivos más claros. “Lo que queremos ver en el programa GO East L.A. es una mejor organización en torno a los programas, el apoyo y los resultados”, le dijo a EGP.

Las empresas locales también proporcionarán ayuda a los estudiantes necesitados. Entre los partidarios locales, Grifols Worldwide, un grupo mundial de la salud localizado junto a Cal State L.A., ha donado $50.000 para becas para estudiantes en el programa.

GO East L.A. también desarrollará programas orientados a ayudar a estudiantes a obtener un título universitario o certificados de carrera necesarios, así como edificar conocimiento sobre la universidad mediante el alcance a las escuelas secundarias y asociaciones con grupos comunitarios y los padres para promover la asistencia a la universidad con las habilidades necesarias.

GO East L.A. espera incluir escuelas intermedias del Este como Belvedere, Griffith y Stevenson, para acrecentar el esfuerzo.

García dijo que espera ver que los programas sean eventualmente expandidos a escuelas fuera del Este de Los Ángeles.

“Queremos ver un GO Lincoln Heights, GO Boyle Heights”, dijo. “Tenemos que ver a todos llegar a la meta.”

—-

Twitter @jackieguzman

jgarcia@egpnews.com

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