Commuting Under Clear L.A. Skies

January 17, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

(EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

Times and technology may change but people know how to keep cool in East Los Angeles, and it’s not just about the weather. Under clear skies and chilly temperatures, the driver of a classic car cruises up East Third Street as the Metro Eastside Gold Line train follows close behind.

Heavy Opposition Leads County to Re-work Controversial Water Fee Proposal

January 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The idea of charging Los Angeles County property owners a fee to fund the cleanup of local waterways met with enough opposition Tuesday that the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to rework it.

“What is clear is that this is not ready for prime time,” said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, a champion of the proposal.

Nearly 200 people turned up at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration for the public hearing on the proposed Clean Water, Clean Beaches measure. The majority spoke in opposition

Those in favor hailed the plan as a cost-effective way to reduce urban runoff – including trash and toxic substances like industrial solvents, lead, mercury and infection-causing bacteria – into county waterways and the ocean.

“This measure is the most important water quality, water supply and flood control measure that the region has ever seen,” said Mark Gold, associate director of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and former president of the nonprofit Heal the Bay.

But those against the proposal characterized the fee as a tax that many could ill afford, argued that the measure offered little detail on how the money would be spent and said it duplicated other existing taxes and fees.

“God sends us rain and you figured out how to tax it,” said Santa Clarita City Councilman TimBen Boydston.

The ordinance, if passed, would raise more than $200 million annually. A typical single-family homeowner would pay about $54 on average, according to Phil Doudar, project manager for the initiative. About 90 percent of parcel owners would likely pay less than $100, he estimated, though large commercial property owners could be charged thousands of dollars.

Elected officials spoke out on both sides of the issue.

Malibu Mayor Lou La Monte said his city has invested more than $60 million – almost half its annual budget over the last six years – to clean up runoff before it flows into the ocean.

“The Los Angeles County Flood Control District has worked collaboratively with municipalities and other stakeholders, who drafted an initiative that will charge a fair and reasonable service fee for cleaning up the polluted storm water that comes from every corner of this 4,000-square-mile county,” La Monte said.

Burbank officials disagreed.

“We are committed to environmental stewardship,” said Burbank Vice Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, “However, we, the city of Burbank, remain opposed to this for a number of reasons,” including because, she argued it would divert tens of thousands of dollars from public education.

Representatives of many school districts asked Tuesday for an exemption for schools, saying the measure would otherwise result in cuts to already decimated education budgets.

“The Long Beach Unified School District will lose more than $700,000 and have to make even deeper cuts,” said Jim Novak, chief business and financial officer for that district.

Businesses – including those in aviation, real estate, construction and metals manufacturing – also raised concerns, some saying they are already paying to comply with environmental regulations they view as redundant.

Even some environmental agencies, largely in favor of the measure, called for changes before it goes to a vote.

Some residents argued that the mailing advising them of the proposed fee looked deceptively like junk mail and that the county was making it difficult to register their opposition. Others asked that the matter be put to a vote during an upcoming general election, rather than a mail-in vote by property owners, as originally planned.

More than 50 percent of property owners had to oppose the measure in writing in order to avoid a ballot on the proposed fee. Only about 4.3 percent had submitted an objection prior to the start of Tuesday’s meeting, according to the Department of Public Works.

But the concerns raised were significant enough that Supervisor Don Knabe asked that the protest process be continued for another 60 days. He also recommended that county staffers consider a way to allow protests to be filed by email or online, a process for putting the initiative on a general election ballot, a sunset date for the measure, a specific list of projects to be funded, alternative funding sources and a way to address concerns of property owners already capturing and treating storm water.

The board’s vote was 3-2 in favor of Knabe’s motion, with Supervisors Gloria Molina and Antonovich dissenting.

Antonovich suggested instead that the clean water measure be eliminated entirely, which was voted down 2-3, with only Knabe adding his support.

A report is expected March 12.

Day of Service to Include Local Events

January 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former president Bill Clinton, will serve as honorary chair of this Saturday’s National Day of Service which will take place on the eve of President Barack Obama’s second term inauguration, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced this week. PIC Co-chair Eva Longoria will also preside over the event that calls on Americans to volunteer at service events around the country.

The National Day of Service is the president’s call for Americans to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the holiday weekend celebrating his birthday, and the federal holiday in his honor that is observed every year on the third Monday of January.

“There is no more fitting way to mark a presidential inauguration than a day of service. Coming together as a country to strengthen our communities has always been part of the American spirit,” said Chelsea Clinton in a statement released by the inauguration committee.

“I am deeply grateful that President Obama and his administration have put service at the center of the Inauguration weekend and I am proud to be part of a nation-wide service effort, honoring the service and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and building a brighter future for all of us,” the former first daughter said.

Besides Clinton and Longoria, the list of speakers and artists to participate in the National Day of Service includes actress Angela Bassett, singer Ben Folds and Iraq War veteran and Delaware Attorney General, Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden.

Also featured is American Heart Association spokesperson and television star Star Jones, gospel singer Yolanda Adams, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and the World Children’s Choir, said the PIC.

Each speaker will highlight one of seven themes of service: community resilience, economic development, education, environment, faith, health, and veterans and military families, according to the committee’s announcement. In 2009, President Obama and the First Lady started the tradition of holding a National Day of Service the weekend before the swearing-in.

Obama “has always believed that everyone has something they can contribute to their community, and that America works best when neighbors help neighbors,” the PIC said in a statement.

Both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and their families will participate in several events in the Washington area this Saturday. The inauguration ceremony will take place on Monday, Jan. 21, which is Martin Luther King Day.

Closer to home, large number of volunteers are expected to spend part of this upcoming weekend engaged in any number of community service type projects, such as cleaning local parks and beaches, painting schools, cleaning graffiti and landscaping local green areas.

There are a number of local groups still looking for volunteers; here are a few of the activities taking place:

Saturday, Jan. 19

8 a.m. to 12 p.m. – City of Montebello Community Beautification Day. Volunteers 13 years of age and older are needed to “Make Montebello Shine.” The volunteer projects will take place at Brant Rea Park, located at 600 N. Rea Dr., Montebello. Sign up in advance and submit your waiver. For more information call the Montebello Recreation Dept. at (323) 887-4540.

8 a.m. to 12 p.m.—City of Commerce 2nd Annual Community Martin Luther King Jr Volunteer Day of Service. Volunteers will clean tree wells, paint red curbs, remove graffiti and assist in bulky item disposal. Dumpsters will be located throughout the Bristow neighborhood area so residents can discard bulky items until noon. To volunteer, register at Bristow Park Library, at 1466 S. McDonnell Ave (323) 265-1787.

8 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Glassell Park 2nd Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service Community Pride Day Clean-up. Help improve Fletcher Dr, Eagle Rock Blvd, and San Fernando Road. Gather at the Glassell Park Community Center, 3750 N. Verdugo Road, for instructions. For more information, please contact the Neighborhood Organizer, Bradley at (323) 806-7477 or ebebradley@hotmail.com.

Monday, Jan. 21

9 a.m. to 2 p.m.— City Year LA Annual MLK Day of Service. Volunteer to give Belmont High School so much needed attention. Service projects include painting educational murals, inspirational quotes, and college logos. Registration opens at 8:30am; lunch will be provided. Belmont is located at 1575 West Second Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026. RSVP by contacting Morgan Plank at CYLAvolunteer@gmail.com or 213-293-9965.

8 a.m. to 2 p.m. – L.A. Works MLK Day of Service at Washington Irving Middle School. Join volunteers to revitalize this Glassell Park school, located at 3010 Estara Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065. Volunteer projects include planting and landscaping, painting, light construction, gardening work and more. All volunteers must create an L.A. Works account before signing up, register to volunteer at http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp1254106.jsp or for more information call (323) 224-6510.

Montebello Settles With Developer Over HUD Funds

January 17, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

The city of Montebello will get back $1.3 million from Ku and Associates as part of a settlement agreement reached with the development firm over an affordable housing project that was never built.

The settlement was reached just days before a trial was scheduled to begin on Jan. 16 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

As previously reported by EGP, Montebello was ordered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to pay back $1.3 million after the federal agency learned the city had not built an affordable housing project that it had reported to HUD as completed.

The discovery and demand by HUD came at the same time the city was going through other inquiries into its handling of city funds, including by state auditors and the FBI. Questions about the city’s financial dealings had spurred a recall election that saw the election of new members to the city council.

With several new members on the council, Montebello filed a lawsuit against developer Danny C. Ku of Ku and Associates in June 2013 in hopes of recovering the $1.3 million in HOME funds the city had loaned him to help finance the development of a 62-unit mixed-use project on parcels located at 112 and 114 South Sixth St.

The city accused Ku of fraud, and inflating the value of a piece of property on West Whittier Boulevard that was used to secure the loan to offset any loss in profits from the developer’s deal, which included designating ten of the project’s units as very low to low-income housing.

The city also claimed that the loan was never approved by the city council as required, a point challenged by Ku who maintained that the deal was fully disclosed in valid agreement executed between the city of Montebello and the developer: The agreement had been signed by then City Administrator Richard Torres, City Clerk Robert King, and Matt Gorman, a city attorney representing Alvarez-Glasman and Colvin Law Firm.

Ku also denied any responsibility for repaying the city.

According to Montebello officials, the settlement agreement was reached without any admission of liability by either the development firm or the city.

Ku and Associates chose to payback the city as a form of cooperation and good will towards the city, the city stated in a press release.

“KU is glad to have resolved this matter in an amicable fashion so all parties can move forward,” the developer stated.

Montebello City Administrator Francesca Tucker-Schuyler said the settlement was mutually satisfactory for all parties involved and both parties hope that settling this matter will allow them to focus on creating other affordable housing opportunities.


Vernon Offers Early Retirement Buyout Plan to Employees

January 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Some city employees in Vernon will be retiring early this year, opting to take advantage of an early retirement program approved by city officials.

The city council approved approximately $1.1 million per year for the next five years to fund the Public Agency Retirement System (PARS) Supplementary Retirement Plan, an early retirement incentive program, in hopes of reducing the city’s budget deficit for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Through the supplemental program, employees will receive 8 percent of their final base pay in addition to their retirement benefits and a retirement medical plan that was enhanced to include dependants and a stipend.

With 35 employees voluntarily retiring to take advantage of the incentive, the plan is expected to give the city a net savings of $1.9 million this year and $8.1 million over the next five years, according to Teresa McAllister, Vernon’s director of human resources.

Adding the incentives helped speed up the retirement of some of the city’s employees who, if they had stayed on, would have cost the city more in the long run, she explained.

“The program expedited the savings for the city…” McAllister said. “So it’s a savings that we would probably not see for another two, three years out that we are able to see currently.”

The city’s estimated million-dollar savings incorporates the costs associated with replacing some of the employees and leaving some positions vacant.

As many as 68 city employees were eligible to retire early, but only thirty-five have opted to take the city up on its offer. Of those, five are from the police department, eight from the fire department and 22 from various other city departments.

McAllister said her department has recommended that some of the retiring employees be replaced, including the fire marshal, a police sergeant and police captain. Those positions, she said, would be filled through internal promotions rather than hiring from the outside. Going that route, said McAllister, would result in more cost savings to the city even though the promoted employees would likely receive an increase in salary. The lower level vacancies caused by the promotions would not be filled and that’s where additional savings would come in, according to the city.

Vernon’s city council approved funding for the program because they saw that despite the initial cost, the program would save money and reduce the deficit, McAllister said.

The supplemental program is a one-time offer and will not be available next year, she added, explaining that starting next year, under the California Pension Reform Act, cities will no longer be allowed to offer these types of programs.

“This was a take it or you will not see it return next year,” she said.

Employees who have opted to take advantage of the program can start to retire as early as Jan. 31.

“It’s a positive for the employees that are retiring and it’s a positive for the city that is saving” money, said McAllister.

The Year of Rookies, Record Breakers and Fierce Competition in the NFL

January 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Yes, its winter and Los Angeles is experiencing one of the coldest spells in recent memory. But that just adds to what has made football exciting this year.

(EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

A warm cup of tea, hot chocolate, your favorite cup of coffee, a good breakfast with the family then sitting on your couch wrapped in your favorite NFL blanket or dressed in your favorite team’s colors to watch some superb football.

If that sounds like the perfect Sunday morning, you’re right. And it couldn’t have been scripted any better for the month of January, even in a city like Los Angeles that doesn’t have a professional football team of its own.

But there’s no shortage of football fans in the city. Whether they cheer for long time, one time local favorites the Rams or Raiders, or our closest neighbors the Chargers or 49ers, Angelenos know the competition this year has been amazingly entertaining.

This year the NFL produced some of the best rookies, turning some of us into instant fans of their team or of them. Some of the ferocious veterans continued their quest to break NFL records and kept us entertained throughout the year as they helped keep their teams in the pursuit of Super Bowl XLVII.

Personally, I like to closely follow players in their rookie and second seasons. It’s when you can see what they are really made of, as they respond to the opportunities sent their way.

This season, I’ve watched coaches shape and mold some new offensive stars like San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Washington’s Robert Griffin III and his teammate Alfred Morris, along with Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck and running back Doug Martin from Tampa Bay. Except for Kaepernick, one of these extraordinary rookies will become the 2012 Rookie Of the Year.

Technically the 49ers’ Kaepernick is not a rookie because he’s in his second year, but he just made his first NFL start a few weeks ago. Yet this weekend, he will be starring in the NFC Championship game against the No. 1 ranked Atlanta Falcons.

New England Patriots Tom Brady’s quest for his sixth appearance in the big game will match him up against the Baltimore Ravens and veteran linebacker Ray Lewis this weekend in the AFC Championship game. Lewis, a 15-year veteran, has announced he will retire at the end of this season. It should be quite a show for football fans.

Your favorite NFL team may already be out, but for true football enthusiasts, the NFL season is far from over. There’s still the Championship games to be played, and then it’s on to the Super Bowl, the greatest Sunday in football.

The road to the Super Bowl has been marked with great stories, like that of Peyton Manning’s recovery from neck surgery and his drive to get the Denver Broncos to the playoffs. Their game last week against the Baltimore Ravens has already been rated by the NFL as one of the most exciting playoff games of all time, and one of the best stories of the 2012 season.

The 2012 season saw the St. Louis Rams tie the 49ers and go into two overtimes against the red and gold. That game was symbolic of a season full of overtimes and close finishes, hard-hitting scenarios that will change the way referees call games in 2013.

And 2012 was the season of long passes and plenty of 100-yard runners, including quarterbacks.

There were also some disappointing big moments this season. Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson’s quest to break Eric Dickerson’s all time rushing record of 2,105 yards in a single season set in 1984, fell short. Peterson ran for 2,097, just 8 yards shy of accomplishing that great feat.

But on a high note, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson broke Hall of Famer and Dancing with the Stars champion, San Francisco 49ers’ Jerry Rice’s record of 1,848 yards in a single season by nearly 100 yards for 1,964 yards, setting a new receiving record for younger players to try and beat.

Now it’s time to see if post-season play can live up to the excitement and glory of the 2012 regular season. I’ve got my spot on the couch ready, how about you?

30 Years Covering the NFL

Fred Zermeno will mark a milestone in his career in 2013: The veteran journalist and photographer has been covering the NFL for 30 years from his home base of Los Angeles County.

His stories and photos published by EGP go back to 1983, and tell the stories of many changes in the local sports landscape, including baseball and basketball as well as football.

Zermeno told EGP recently that he has saved every field pass from games he has covered, over 225 in all, despite living in a town abandoned by two NFL teams, the Raiders and the Rams, during his career. He was forced to travel to San Diego, Arizona and Oakland to get up close with his camera.

“It’s truly unbelievable how time has passed. I covered the Rams for 10 years in Anaheim and the Raiders at the Coliseum for their years here,” Zeremeno told EGP, reflecting on his time as a reporter/photographer. “I have covered the Dodgers now for 25 years and NASCAR for 15 years, that’s a really long time, but it seems to have just flown by,” he added.

In addition to sports, Zermeno has photographed a wide spectrum of Los Angeles related events and people, from earthquakes to fires, to politicians and celebrities, parades, community meetings and milestones and so much more.

He is in the process of putting together a special photographic exhibit to open in L.A. later this year. Details coming soon, he told EGP.

New MUSD Board Member Refutes Residency Rumors

January 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Montebello Unified School District’s newly appointed board member, Benjamin Cardenas, is refuting rumors that he does not live within the school district.

Cardenas, who currently serves as U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano’s (CA-32) district director, was chosen by MUSD school board members last month to fill the seat left vacant by Ed Chau’s election to the State Assembly. Following a short round of candidate interviews, board members voted unanimously to appoint Cardenas, conducting the first of two swearing-in ceremonies on the same day his appointment was announced.

Soon thereafter, rumors started circulating that MUSD’s newly appointed board member did not live in the school district, raising concerns among some parents about his qualifications for serving.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Nuevo Miembro de la Junta Escolar de MUSD Niega Rumores

The Montebello school district includes the cities of Montebello, Commerce, Bell Gardens, and Pico Rivera, as well as a section of East Los Angeles where the address provided to EGP by Cardenas is located, and where he says he has lived since 2009.

EGP confirmed Cardenas’ address with Angie Comer, a media associate at the Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder County Clerk’s office.

“I think me residing in East L.A. might have created confusion,” Cardenas told EGP. “I think there’s a perception that you need to live in the city of Montebello in order to be a Montebello school board member.”

Possibly adding to the confusion if not concern, is where the new board member’s daughter attends school, which is not in MUSD.

After moving to his current residence, Cardenas and his wife decided to keep their daughter at a local charter elementary school that falls within the Los Angeles Unified School District, rather than changing schools, according to Cardenas.

He told EGP that his decision to enroll his daughter in the charter school was influenced greatly by the length of their school day. “We really liked the extended day [at her current school], it really works in terms of our work schedules,” Cardenas said.

“[Moving her] is a decision that my wife and I will make once my daughter finishes that school,” he said.

Although Cardenas has elected to send his child to a charter school, he said that does not mean he has any particular agenda for charter schools in MUSD.

“I’ll see what works,” Cardenas said. “Each school district has a model that works.”

Cardenas told EGP that he hopes once people realize he lives within the district they will be able to see the contributions he can make to the board.

“I’m more than happy to talk to anyone now that I’ve been given this opportunity,” he said.

As EGP previously reported, MUSD board members unanimously selected Cardenas to serve out the time remaining on a seat left vacant on the school board when Ed Chau resigned, following his election to the State Assembly.

To contact MUSD Board Member Bejamin Cardenas call the school district at (323) 887-7900 or email him directly at ben4musd@gmail.com.

Keppel Boys Roll Along in Almont League Basketball

January 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite having only one senior in its starting lineup, the Keppel High School boys’ basketball team is off to another impressive start this season.

(EGP photo by Mario Villegas)

The Aztecs have their eye on a third consecutive Almont League title after starting fast and ending strong in defeating Schurr, 62-38 Tuesday to improve to 3-0 in league. Keppel (14-7 overall) also has league wins against Alhambra (69-62 in a three overtime thriller) and San Gabriel (57-28).

“We have a really good group of kids and I really like the way we’re coming along,” Keppel Coach Hung Duong said. “They bought into the way we want to run our program and that is to work hard, play smart and play solid defense. We try to win with solid defense.”

The Aztecs jumped out to an early lead and never looked back Tuesday. They led 20-8 at the end of the first quarter and were running away with it by halftime, holding a 39-16 advantage.

“Getting off to a good start and being able to play pressure defense were the keys tonight,” Duong said. “It’s our pressure defense that’s been helping us.”

Spencer Briglio scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the first half to lead Keppel. The 6-foot senior forward finished the game with four three-point field goals. Kyler Lee and Bertram Mak each had 13 points to also lead the Aztecs.

Duong credits the stellar play of Mak, the Aztecs’ 6-foot-4 sophomore center, around the basket and the leadership of sophomore point guard Bailey Kikuchi for a good portion of Keppel’s success this season.

“I don’t know the actual numbers, because we haven’t kept that statistic, but it’s like Mak averages seven to eight blocked shots a game,” Duong said.

But the Aztecs lack of experience remains a concern of their coach.

“For this group of kids we’ve just got to take it one game at a time,” Duong said. “We’re a young group and every game is a learning experience for us. All we can do is come out and play hard.”

Keppel will play Bell Gardens at home at 7 Friday night.

With the loss, Schurr (8-10 overall) dropped to 1-2 in league. The Spartans play host to Alhambra Friday night.

Community Calendar: Day of Service Opportunities

January 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Saturday, Jan. 19

8 a.m. to 12 p.m. – City of Montebello Community Beautification Day. Volunteers 13 years of age and older are needed to “Make Montebello Shine.” The volunteer projects will take place at Brant Rea Park, located at 600 N. Rea Dr., Montebello. Sign up in advance and submit your waiver. For more information call the Montebello Recreation Dept. at (323) 887-4540.

8 a.m. to 12 p.m.—City of Commerce 2nd Annual Community Martin Luther King Jr Volunteer Day of Service. Volunteers will clean tree wells, paint red curbs, remove graffiti and assist in bulky item disposal. Dumpsters will be located throughout the Bristow neighborhood area so residents can discard bulky items until noon. To volunteer, register at Bristow Park Library, at 1466 S. McDonnell Ave (323) 265-1787.

8 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Glassell Park 2nd Annual Martin Luther King Day of Service Community Pride Day Clean-up. Help improve Fletcher Dr, Eagle Rock Blvd, and San Fernando Road. Gather at the Glassell Park Community Center, 3750 N. Verdugo Road, for instructions. For more information, please contact the Neighborhood Organizer, Bradley at (323) 806-7477 or ebebradley@hotmail.com.

Monday, Jan. 21

9 a.m. to 2 p.m.— City Year LA Annual MLK Day of Service. Volunteer to give Belmont High School so much needed attention. Service projects include painting educational murals, inspirational quotes, and college logos. Registration opens at 8:30am; lunch will be provided. Belmont is located at 1575 West Second Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026. RSVP by contacting Morgan Plank at CYLAvolunteer@gmail.com or 213-293-9965.

8 a.m. to 2 p.m. – L.A. Works MLK Day of Service at Washington Irving Middle School. Join volunteers to revitalize this Glassell Park school, located at 3010 Estara Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065. Volunteer projects include planting and landscaping, painting, light construction, gardening work and more. All volunteers must create an L.A. Works account before signing up, register to volunteer at http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp1254106.jsp or for more information call (323) 224-6510.

Community Calendar: Jan. 17-Jan.23

January 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Thursday, January 17

8:30-10:30am—MUSD Head Start Parenting Workshop-Session I at the Chet Holifield Library in Montebello. The session will focus on dental health and will be held primarily in Spanish. The library is located at 1060 S. Greenwood Ave. Montebello, CA 90640. For more information, call (323) 728-0421.

Friday, January 18

6-9pm—You’re Invited Grand Re-Opening of Camino Real Chevrolet-Family Owned and Operated in Monterey Park since 1976! Take a look at what’s new and enjoy refreshments with old friends. Camino Real is located at 2401 Atlantic. Blvd., Monterey Park. For more information, call (800) 690-2794 or go to www.chevyofmontereypark.com.

Saturday, January 19

8 a.m. to 12 p.m. – City of Montebello Community Beautification Day. Volunteers 13 years of age and older are needed to “Make Montebello Shine.” The volunteer projects will take place at Brant Rea Park, located at 600 N. Rea Dr., Montebello. Sign up in advance and submit your waiver. For more information call the Montebello Recreation Dept. at (323) 887-4540.

8 a.m. to 12 p.m.—City of Commerce 2nd Annual Community Martin Luther King Jr Volunteer Day of Service. Volunteers will clean tree wells, paint red curbs, remove graffiti and assist in bulky item disposal. Dumpsters will be located throughout the Bristow neighborhood area so residents can discard bulky items until noon. To volunteer, register at Bristow Park Library, at 1466 S. McDonnell Ave (323) 265-1787.

9:30am-Noon— League of Women Voters Forum: “Initiative and Referendum in California: A Legacy Lost?” Event will explore the pros and cons of California’s initiative and referendum process. Location: LWV Headquarters – 3303 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 826, LA 90033. For more information, visit www.LWVlosangeles.org.

2-4pm—‘Rainbow Fish’ Storytime & Activity at the Bell Gardens Library: 7110 S. Garfield Ave. Bell Gardens, 90201. Make a colorful collage of the Rainbow Fish. Play Loteria. Free. For more information, call (562) 927-1309.

Monday, January 22

11am-4pm—“Hail to the Chiefs! An inauguration Day Celebration at Grand Park in Downtown LA. The free celebration will include live entertainment: Locura, Ferraby Lionheart, Anthony Valadez of KCRW, KLSY and Mathai, Pinot. Grand Park is an outdoor park located between the Music Center and LA City Hall. For more information, go to grandparkla.org.

Tuesday, January 22

6-7:30pm—The Cypress Park Library host Richard Santillan, co-Author of  “Mexican American Baseball in the Inland Empire” and “Mexican American Baseball in Los Angeles.” The program will also be streamed live at www.livestream.com/cypressparklibrary. The library is locates at 1150 Cypress Ave., LA 90065. For more information, call (323) 224-0039.

Wednesday, January 23

6-8pm—Metro’s All Communities Convening Open House: State Route 710 Environmental Study Alternatives Analysis Report Information about the five Alternatives that will be further analyzed in the draft environmental document. The meeting will be held at Maranatha High School-Student Center / 169 South Saint John AV / Pasadena, 91105. For more information on the SR 710 Study preparation and process, visit http://www.metro.net/sr710study or call (855) 4-SR-710-0 / (855) 477-7100.

Upcoming

Metro’s All Communities Convening Open House on Jan. 24 from 6-8pm. Meeting will review State Route 710 Environmental Study Alternatives Analysis Report Information about the five Alternatives that will be further analyzed in the draft environmental document. The meeting will be held at San Marino Community Church: 1750 Virginia Rd. San Marino, 91108.

Opening Night Reception of ‘Boyle Heights: Arte Vida y Amor,” on Jan. 25, 6-8pm at LAC+USC—The Medical Village: 2010 Zonal Ave. LA 90033. Show is a selection of work by artists who have lived, loved, worked and played in Boyle Heights. Runs through March 30. For more information, call (323) 258-1435.

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