Vernon Analyzes Feasibility of Switching to County Fire

January 9, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Like many cities across Los Angeles County looking for ways to cut costs, the city of Vernon is looking into whether they should disband their city-run fire department and contract those services out to Los Angeles County Fire Dept.

During one of the last city council meetings of 2013, Vernon Fire Chief Michael A. Wilson took council members through a feasibility study prepared by LA County Fire that analyzes the costs of making such a change. He told the council he has concluded Vernon would lose fire resources needed for the unique city that is almost exclusively industrial with only 100 or so residents.

Vernon’s Fire Department owns the hazardous waste fire engine, pictured, fitting for the mostly industrial city.  (City of Vernon)

Vernon’s Fire Department owns the hazardous waste fire engine, pictured, fitting for the mostly industrial city. (City of Vernon)

“We have a unique and specialized jurisdiction,” Wilson said. “We encounter many incidents with hazardous materials.”

Wilson said Vernon would lose its Class 1 fire department, a rating given by the Insurance Services Office that indicates the highest level of fire protection. He said the change would result in a Class 4 rating for the city, which means insurance costs would go up, hurting the city’s “business friendly” reputation.

“We have a vast knowledge of our customers,” said Wilson, citing the various services his department offers businesses. “It’s a localized approached that uses an efficient use of industrial based knowledge and experience by our personnel.”

Contracting with the county, however, could save the city nearly $2.3 million a year, according to the county’s proposal. The savings would benefit the city’s General Fund, which has at times struggled with large deficits. Currently, the city’s fire department costs $14,173,358 to run; that would drop to $11,877,578 by turning services over to the county.

But Wilson says taking into consideration revenue acquired through business fees, grant reimbursements and fire and filming permits, the city’s net cost is actually $11,455,679, a real savings of only $420,000.

“Based on the data provided, it’s far more beneficial to stay with Vernon Fire,” recommended Finance Director William F. Fox.

Fox emphasized potential concerns, including conversion costs, repairs and any capital costs in excess of $25,000 and a ten-year contract with no early exit clause. Fox told the council the city could potentially lose revenue previously invested by transferring all fire equipment with no monetary reimbursement and renting the fire stations to the county for $1 a year as outlined in the county’s proposal, a preliminary assessment of what the county believes to be the cost of providing fire service to Vernon.

Should the city council decide to pursue negotiations with the county, city staff would be authorized to negotiate a reimbursement agreement to cover the county’s costs for preparing a more detailed assessment, including calculating conversion costs and an evaluation of the city’s facilities, equipment and vehicles.

The county is proposing to use three of the city’s four fire stations, and would reduce the number of fire units stationed in the city from 9 to 5, including a paramedic squad able to transport patients.

Vernon’s Fire Department, pictured, encounters incidents involving hazardous waste. (City of Vernon)

Vernon’s Fire Department, pictured, encounters incidents involving hazardous waste. (City of Vernon)

But Vernon would also have at its disposal services located in adjacent cities like Maywood, Huntington Park, Bell and Commerce, which also contract with the County.

The move would mean “increased staffing and units” for Vernon, according to county documents.

“Contracting with the Fire District [LA County Fire] could produce significant savings for the City [Vernon], thereby providing a potential long-term solution for reducing City general fund expenditures,” reads the report.

But the reduction of firehouses concerns Vernon’s fire chief who says the four stations are strategically placed below and above the Los Angeles River in case the bridge connecting parts of the city are destroyed during a major earthquake. More importantly, fire resources would not be exclusively for Vernon but shared with all of the contract cities in LA County’s jurisdiction, Wilson said.

The 5.2-mile radius city, made up almost entirely of warehouses, factories and other fire-prone businesses, would also lose its Hazmat and Search and Rescue squads and its Battalion Chief. Fire personnel in the city would be reduced from 22 to 15, according to the county’s proposal.

The reduction in staff and fire units is a concern to Councilman Richard Maisano, who said cuts could impact response time, which he emphasized is important to local businesses.

Less staff means less accountability, said Wilson, who added current staffing levels allows for maximum oversight and accessibility, something the city tries to make sure it addresses as it attempts to recover from years of alleged corruption and near disincorporation.

With mutual aid agreements already in place with nearby cities, Wilson told the council he does not recommend changing fire service. He noted that other nearby cities, like Montebello, Monterey Park and Downey had decided against switching to LA County Fire after feasibility studies were conducted.

Dean Richens, president of Vernon’s Firefighters Association, said the union agrees with the fire chief that it is “important to stay Vernon” run. But he did warn the council that their position does not mean the department is not in need of capital improvements.

“We do have aging fire stations,” said Richens, noting that three of the fire stations are over 50 years old. “We do need to budget money for stations…In my opinion, our budget needs to be bigger.”

Richens said he was not making light of the $14 million current budget but compared other local fire departments and their budgets. He emphasized the department has frozen step raises.

“I know the city has had budget problems but these are things we need to consider,” he said.

Originally requested in June of 2012, the preliminary study was completed in November of last year. The city council chose to take no action on the matter at last month’s council meting, during which Vernon’s Reform Monitor John Van De Kamp urged the city to have the county fire department make its own presentation to the council.

Knowing “there are always two sides to the story… I wouldn’t recommend taking any action. Clearly, the kind of case presented is very persuasive in favor of keeping the fire department here,” Van de Kamp suggested. “We need to make sure [LA County] speaks to it.”

Twitter: @nancyreporting

Sheriff Baca Calling It Quits: Many Caught By Surprise

January 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Reaction was decidedly mixed this week to Sheriff Lee Baca’s retirement announcement, with some officials hailing his decades of public service but many activists saying his departure was necessary to improve the operation of the department and the jail system.

Baca said Tuesday he would not seek a fifth term in June but would instead retire by the end of this month.

“I’ve been proud and honored to serve the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the people of this greatest of counties, Los Angeles County, for the past 48 years,” Baca said, his voice occasionally cracking with emotion.



“I can’t even imagine anyone working 48 years at anything, but I’ve done that, which has made this decision in my life probably the most difficult.”

Baca, 71, said he wanted to “go out on my terms.”

“The reasons for doing so are so many,” he said. “Some are most personal and private, but the prevailing one is the negative perception this upcoming campaign has brought to the exemplary service provided by the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department.”

He denied that his decision to step down was prompted by the possibility of federal charges against him. Eighteen current and former deputies were recently indicted on a variety of charges, including mistreating jail inmates.

“My decision is based on the highest of concern for the future of the Sheriff’s Department,” Baca said.

Baca’s abrupt announcement caught many by surprise.

County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said he spoke with Baca Monday and the sheriff gave him “no indication” he was thinking of stepping down from his post. The supervisor said his feelings about Baca’s decision were mixed.

“He’s seen as one of the most enlightened law enforcement officials in the nation and I think in many ways he is,” Ridley-Thomas said. “Somewhat unpredictable, typically progressive, he tried his best to be responsive, so it’s mixed. You can’t deny the problems that are stalking the department.”

Ridley-Thomas has pushed for a permanent citizens’ commission to oversee the Sheriff’s Department. Discussion of that matter by the board was postponed today, but Ridley-Thomas said he and Supervisor Gloria Molina would continue to seek the third vote on the board needed to create such a body.

“The call for an oversight commission was without regard for who would be the sheriff,” Ridley-Thomas said. “This sheriff embraced the idea of a citizens’ commission.”

A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union was less conflicted.

“Well, the ACLU called for his resignation two years ago, so, yes, we are pleased with this,” said Peter Eliasberg, legal director of the ACLU of Southern California. “We believe that the major reform that is necessary for the Sheriff’s Department can’t happen with him at the helm

“But it’s not the only issue. It’s not only about who is the sheriff, but if the department really changes its direction and introduces a dramatic number of reforms.”

Supervisor Gloria Molina, one of Baca’s most vocal critics, said she was surprised by the decision.

“It was very shocking and very surprising and really caught me off guard,” Molina said.

She had no idea what ultimately prompted Baca’s decision, she said, but felt it offered a chance for a “new day” for the Sheriff’s Department.

“Very frankly, I think this job has gotten to a point where it became so overwhelming for him and his style of leadership, it gives us an opportunity,” she said.

The Board of Supervisors will need to appoint a successor to Baca, and staffers are researching the requirements for the post, which include residency. Baca suggested that Assistant Sheriff Terri McDonald “hold down the fort,” but mentioned two others, Assistant Sheriffs Todd Rogers and James Hellmold as possible candidates in the June election.

Ridley-Thomas said the list of potential appointees would include all the assistant sheriffs, adding Assistant Sheriff Cecil Rhambo’s name to the speculation. But the supervisor said he wasn’t ready to comment on the campaign.

Molina said she was looking for both a strong leader and a talented manager, someone who would follow all the policies set out by the Board of Supervisors. She said Baca had, over the years, relied too heavily on his second tier of managers.

“He’s a smart, talented, capable man,” Molina said of Baca. “I just think that he trusted people a little more than he should.”

Eliasberg said he would favor someone from outside the department.

“It’s been a very insular organization for a long time,” Eliasberg. “I think the Board of Supervisors should consider what the benefits would be of bringing somebody in from the outside.”

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck called Baca “a tremendous leader” who has “done an immense amount of good for the county.”

“All of us in leadership positions have to decide when is the right time for us to go and I talked to him last night and he feels this is the right time,” Beck said. “He feels this is in the best interest of his family and of the organization. I told him what I tell you — he should be proud of the work he’s done as sheriff of L.A. County.”

City Councilman Bernard Parks hailed Baca as “a remarkable public servant for almost 50 years.”

“There are very few that get the opportunity to start at the entry level of an organization and eventually reach the top leadership position,” Parks said. “Sheriff Baca should be commended for his many achievements and personal sacrifice. I wish him well in retirement and he will soon find out there is life after LASD.”

Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who is campaigning for the sheriff’s job and left the department after being named in a county commission report blasting management of the jail system, said that while he and Baca had their “differences,” he respected the sheriff’s work.

“He’s voiced his opinions publicly as have I,” Tanaka said. “I’ll talk about that during my campaign, but I want to put politics aside for today and applaud him for his dedication to public service. This is a tough job and I want to thank Sheriff Baca for his decades of public service to Los Angeles County.”

Former sheriff’s Cmdr. Bob Olmsted, who has been vocal in his criticism of Baca and is also running for sheriff, said Baca “can run from the job, but he can’t hide from the culture of corruption.”

“It’s like cleaning up after a hurricane,” he said. “The storm is gone, but the damage remains. It’s time to clean house, implement major reforms and restore honesty and integrity to this department.”

Patrisse Cullors, executive director of the Coalition to End Sheriff’s Violence in L.A. Jails, hailed Baca’s decision to step down, but said the county needs to continue working to ensure changes are made in the Sheriff’s Department to improve conditions in the jails.

“The Board of Supervisors’ moral burden is massive and their decisions will go down in history,” Cullors said. “Whether Sheriff Baca acknowledges it or not, there is no greater failure than stepping because of the shameful conditions of the department.”

Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said Baca has left the department “mired in controversy and shame” and “has been no friend to the immigrant community.”

“Whatever his reasons for leaving, Sheriff Baca will not be missed by our community,” she said. “We expect (Baca’s successor) will have a lot of cleaning up to do should it expect to regain some of the community trust it lost as a result of missteps, overreaches and violations gone unchecked under Baca’s administration.”


Plan to Fight Crime at Bristow Park In the Works

January 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Bristow Park in the City of Commerce is one of the busiest facilities in the city, but an increase in illegal activity there has residents worried about their safety.

The park borders East Los Angeles and according to city officials, many of the people who use the facility are not Commerce residents but come from nearby cities.

Residents say the park area has become more dangerous in recent months. They want the city council to take action to turn things around.

Commerce contracts its law enforcement services out to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Many of the services and patrol officers are based at the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station.  Now, a special task force – the Commerce Special Assignment Team – with deputies from the Sheriff’s Department, has been formed and given the job of coming up with a strategic plan for combating the area’s spike in crime.

Council members Tina Baca Del Rio and Ivan Altamirano told EGP the goal of the Bristow Park Action Plan is to “reduce the criminal activity in the park and improve the quality of the park experience.”

“…There is gang activity that seems to come in waves, and we have to address it for the safety of all involved,” Baca Del Rio told EGP via email.

As of now, the proposed strategy calls for additional sheriff patrol checks, black and white decoy vehicles, identification of transients in the area and tougher enforcement of laws, among other elements.

Commerce City Administrator Jorge Rifa said the first thing the Special Team did was survey area residents to come up with a list of priorities to be implemented.

“The principal concern of residents are people loitering in the park,” Rifa told EGP Tuesday. “As we move this [plan] forward we will stay open as to what the safety needs are,” Rifa said. “If it works properly we will implement it in all the [city’s] parks,” he added.

Sheriff’s deputies have already started work on some elements of the Bristow Park Plan, such as stepped up enforcement of Commerce’s “Zero Tolerance policy as it pertains to alcohol/drugs in and around the park,” Altamirano told EGP by email.

Baca Del Rio says she intends to closely monitor the program and that she and council members Altamirano and [Lilia R.] Leon will continue to visit Bristow Park residents “for their continued dialogue.”

The Special Assignment Team is scheduled to present its plan in greater detail at the Jan. 21 City Council meeting.


Twitter: @jackieguzman

Proposed Small School Concerns Monterey Park Neighborhood

January 9, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

For some residents on Graves Avenue in Monterey Park, getting out of their driveway can be a daily struggle. The hilly street draws commuters rushing to get in or out of the neighborhood.

Now, a proposal to allow a private middle school to open at a church on that same street has some residents concerned another school will only add more noise and traffic to the area.

The Monteressori school is proposing to move some of its students to St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church on 133 Graves Ave. due to a lack of space at their Garfield Avenue location.

Meher Montessori School Founder John F. Page applied for a new school permit last year after parents and teachers asked school officials to look into opening an off-site location for middle school students. The school currently enrolls around 115 students, ages 3-12. If the permit is approved, four current students would be moved to the site on Graves, which could expand to accommodate as many as 30 students.

Signs reading “No New Middle School on Graves,” surround St. Gabriel’s Church in Monterey Park where a proposed middle school has residents concerned.  (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Signs reading “No New Middle School on Graves,” surround St. Gabriel’s Church in Monterey Park where a proposed middle school has residents concerned. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Neighboring residents sprang into action to stop approval of the permit as soon as they heard about the school proposal. They say there are already too many schools on the busy street, which already has two schools less than a mile from the church.

“We are for education, we are not against it and we are for church,” said David Chow a longtime resident near the proposed school. “We just think this is the wrong location.”

The school is not affiliated with the church but Page believes the location is “ideal” for the middle school’s 7th and 8th grade students, who will be taught in one of the church’s Sunday school classrooms. Extended childcare will also be available at the site.

“It’s difficult to find a location that is suitable for children,” he said. “Whenever anything involves children everyone gets hyper-vigilant, but that’s a good thing.”

Nicole Bravo is a lifetime resident of Monterey Park who lives near the church. She is helping to lead the campaign to stop the school, which she says means more traffic when students are picked up and dropped off.

“Traffic on Graves at that hour is out of control, specially during the time we’re trying to pull out of our driveways,” she said.

That concern has led to a sea of signs reading “No New Middle School On Graves Ave!” along the streets surrounding the church.

“I wouldn’t want my children attending a school in a neighborhood that doesn’t want them,” Bravo said.

But Page believes the outrage is based on “misinformation,” including rumors that up to 200 students would attend the school and that construction would be required on the roadway.

“All this is over four students,” he said, notably confused by the aggressive campaign being launched against his school.

According to Page, only four students would attend the school next year if the proposal is approved. Although it is not made clear on the city’s staff report, Page told EGP the proposal allows for no more than 30 students to be enrolled on the campus.

His number goes along with the traffic report and staff findings that the classroom could hold no more than 40 students. Even then, it would take up to 10 years to build enrollment up to 30 students, Page said.

The low number, however, doesn’t reassure Bravo who thinks the traffic report is wrong in its finding the project would not cause any significant impact to noise or traffic.

“That’s still 30 more cars that add to the chaos,” said Bravo.

Page said traffic would not be impacted because school policy requires parents to pull into the campus to sign their child in or out when they are dropped off or picked up.

Some residents find that process even more concerning, because they say it will stall traffic on Garfield and Graves as parents attempt to enter and exit the church driveway, making it even harder for some residents to get out of their own driveways.

“We’re not asking for traffic to get slower, we want something that will stop traffic so that we can get out of our driveways,” Bravo said.

The Monterey Park Planning Commission approved the proposal last November, but opponents are appealing the decision on the grounds that it was made without an adequate analysis of the impact to traffic.

“I don’t see why we need another school,” Chow said. “I’m concerned over the safety of the children.”

Michael Huntley, Monterey Park’s recently hired community and economic development director, told EGP the commission vetted out any issues that arose from the proposal during three separate hearings before making their decision.

“Based on the information and analysis, we believe the proposal is not going to have an impact,” he said, citing the limited number of students and the history of the location. “It’s an appropriate use.”

Bravo said she disagrees that the location is a safe place for a school, because she can’t imagine the number of students would be capped once the school is established and money is invested.

“Once they open the door they’re not going to take it back,” she said. “They’ll start small, get their foot in the door and grow from that.”

But any increase in the number of students would require the school to apply for a modified permit, says Huntley. If any part of the conditional use permit is violated, including the number of students attending the location or parents failing to follow drop off procedures, the city would have cause to revoke the permit, he said.

The city council will serve as the appeals board and decide whether to uphold or overturn the planning commission’s permit approval.

The meeting will be held at Monterey Park City Hall, Jan. 15 at 6:45 p.m. where both parties are urging supporters to attend.


Twitter: @nancyreporting

Board of Supervisors Votes 3-2 to Return Cross to County Seal

January 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Nearly 10 years after legal wrangling prompted Los Angeles County to remove a cross from its official seal, the Board of Supervisors narrowly voted Tuesday to add a cross to the depiction of the San Gabriel Mission.

When the county seal was redesigned in 2004 — removing a cross and other images under the threat of legal action by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California — it included a depiction of the mission, which at the time did not have a cross because it was being retrofitted after the Whittier Narrows earthquake.

The cross, however, was reattached to the mission in 2009, making the county seal’s depiction of the mission “artistically and architecturally inaccurate,” according to the motion introduced by Supervisors Mike Antonovich and Don Knabe.

Antonovich said the change was strictly a matter of making “a historical correction” and ensuring that the seal accurately portrays the mission. He pointed out that the story of the missions is part of public school lessons.

“In every fourth-grade curriculum in the State of California, you have the history of the missions,” Antonovich said. “The history of Los Angeles County began with the founding of the San Gabriel Mission by Father Junipero Serra in September, 1771.”

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky — who, along with Supervisor Gloria Molina, cast the dissenting votes — disagreed.

“It’s not just about history, it’s about the cross,” Yaroslavsky said.

“To say otherwise is disingenuous.”

If the county wants to honor the history of the missions, there are a “hundred ways” to do so other than replacing the cross, Yaroslavsky argued, including putting angels on the seal or a depiction of Father Serra.

Restoring the cross, Yaroslavsky warned, would expose the county to lawsuits it would be sure to lose on constitutional grounds.

An ACLU spokesman agreed.

“The ACLU of Southern California strongly opposes the motion,” said Peter Eliasberg, legal director for the ACLU Southern California. “Doing so would violate both California and the United States Constitution.”

After the county redesigned its seal in 2004 to remove the depiction of a cross, a county employee named Ernesto Vasquez filed a lawsuit claiming the action was hostile to Christianity

A federal judge rejected the suit, and a federal appeals court panel upheld the dismissal. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case.

Eliasberg said the issue was favoring one religion over any other.

“Los Angeles (is) the world’s most religiously pluralistic metropolitan area,” Eliasberg said. “Religious pluralism has flourished because the government does not favor or denigrate any particular religion. Adding sectarian religious symbols to the county seal runs against that grain.”

The Anti-Defamation League said it sent a letter to the board on Monday, opposing the motion, and was “deeply disappointed” by the supervisors’ move.

“Today’s vote … sends the divisive and exclusive message to Los Angeles County residents that not only does the Board of Supervisors endorse religion over non-religion, but it also prefers Christianity over all the other diverse faiths with the county,” said Amanda Susskind, ADL’s regional director for the Pacific Southwest.

“While a cross may be appropriate on a house of worship, private school or university, it is unsuitable on a government seal that represents a religiously and ethnically diverse county of over 10 million people,” she said.

Mules in Highland Park?

January 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Dogs and cats may be a common sight in Highland Park, but last Thursday it was two mules tied to a fence along an alley near Figueroa Street and Avenue 59 that had people turning their heads to take a second look.

Two mules tied to a fence last Thursday along an alley between Avenue 58 and 59 catch the attention of passersby. (EPG photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Two mules tied to a fence last Thursday along an alley between Avenue 58 and 59 catch the attention of passersby. (EPG photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

The mules at first glance appeared to be unattended, but according to the website imprinted on the mules’ saddlebags, their owner, a 65-year-old man who goes by the name Mule, intentionally walks away from the animals to call attention to the reality of urban life: “Open spaces where [the mules] once moved through freely, and sometimes spent the night in a secluded spot, were disappearing. More and more cars filled up the roadways, and the expanding urban infrastructure seemed to serve one purpose: accommodate more automobiles.”

“The mules have been traveling for nearly three decades through 16 states,” according to the website.

Surprised, and perhaps a little intrigued, several people walked up to pet or take a picture of the mules, only to walk away with little more than a web address – – to get more information about their presence in the northeast Los Angeles neighborhood.

“The space needed by The Mules to travel this country freely in all four directions on the landscape is being taken over by the suburban model of automobile usage, exclusively, and leaving no space for alternative venues of moving and living. In our travels, we carry that awareness and bring it to others. We’re a working model for that awareness, one step at a time, all day, every day,” informs the website.

Veteran Actress and BFA Co-Founder Has Died

January 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Veteran actress Carmen Zapata, who appeared regularly on television, in movies and on stage during a nearly 70-year career, died of heart failure at her home in Van Nuys Sunday night, according to the Hollywood Reporter. She was 86.

Zapata also co-founded Los Angeles’ Bilingual Foundation of the Arts in 1973 to showcase Latino talent and culture, especially for young audiences. The 99-seat Carmen Zapata Theatre in Lincoln Heights was named in her honor.

“Thousands of young people have been exposed to the theater arts, helping them to develop their minds, character and maybe the most important for many of them – to be in touch with their Hispanic roots and feel proud of their culture,” Foundation officials said in a statement.

Carmen Zapata, left, earned many honors during her 70-year acting career.  (EGP Archive)

Carmen Zapata, left, earned many honors during her 70-year acting career. (EGP Archive)

BFA has given many Hispanic actors, such as Andy Garcia and Lupe Ontiveros, their acting starts in L.A.

The native New Yorker, born to a Mexican father and an Argentine mother, was knighted by King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1990. In 2003, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Like many Latina actresses of her generation, Zapata, who could sing and dance as well as act, was often hired to play a maid or some other role steeped with ethnic stereotypes.

Nonetheless, “she did go on to do some great work, appearing in over one hundred movies and TV shows,” according to the Latin Heat Entertainment website.  Her dozens of film roles include “Boulevard Nights” and “Death in Granada”, but she may have been best known for her role as one of the nuns in the 1992 hit movie “Sister Act,” and its 1993 sequel, “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.” She also starred on the NBC daytime soap, “Santa Barbara.”

One of her longest-running roles was on the bilingual children’s program Villa Alegre, where for nine years she played lead character “Doña Luz”, according to Latin Heat.

The Screen Actors Guild Ethnic Minority Committee was co-founded in 1972 by Zapata and actors Ricardo Montalban, Edith Diaz and Henry Darrow.

At various times she was also a teacher, producer, translator, lecturer and narrator.

“She was vital, she was intense, she was dynamic and rooted in the things that she believed in, Lina Montalvo,” the Foundation’s managing director, told KPCC. “She worked very hard.”

Fellow actors, community groups and others this week hailed Zapata as an accomplished actress and trailblazer in the arts.


Montebello Hospital Settles Patient Dumping Case

January 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A Montebello hospital will pay $200,000 in civil penalties to settle allegations of dumping a homeless patient on Skid Row, the City Attorney’s Office announced last Friday.

Beverly Hospital, which did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, will also adopt protocols for discharging patients who do not have a fixed residence at night, as well as pay $50,000 in attorney fees to the city.

City attorneys accused Beverly Hospital of failing to perform a medical screening on the homeless patient, failing to stabilize and transfer the patient and improperly discharging the patient to Skid Row.

The hospital, working with city attorneys, has since drawn up homeless discharge policies and revised its rules and procedures for medical screening and involuntary psychiatric holds, according Feuer’s office.



Man Shot in Boyle Heights Bar Brawl

January 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A 40-year-old man suffered a bullet wound to the buttocks when shots were fired into a crowd after a nightclub brawl Wednesday.

A security guard at La Zona Rosa nightclub in the 1000 block of East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue in Boyle Heights returned fire after an unknown number of shots were fired from a vehicle in a parking lot at the club, Los Angeles police Sgt. Kevin Moore reported.

Moore said the incident began as the club was closing, around 2 a.m. when a fight between patrons inside the nightclub spilled outside.

After club security personnel broke up the fight, six of the combatants got into two cars, a black Camry and a black Suburban, with one of them then firing shots across the parking lot into the crowd from the Suburban, he said.

The man was hit by one of the shots, Moore said, and was hospitalized in a stable condition with a non- life-threatening wound.

Moore said one of the security guards fired three rounds back at the Suburban, but it was not known if any of them found their mark.

Police have been unable to identify the suspects, Moore said.


Monterey Park Art+Film Lab Opens Friday

January 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Presents the Monterey Park Art+Film Lab Jan. 10-Feb. 9 at East Los Angeles College.

The lab will offer free art & film programming to the community of Monterey Park & surrounding cities. Programs include interactive film workshops, a diverse line-up of film screenings, and an oral history project; all of which is free to the public.

At the conclusion of the project, residents are invited to spend a day at the museum where they will receive free admission. For more information about the project and a full lineup of Monterey Park’s workshops and films, go to .

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