Creating Public Art: One ‘Box’ At A Time

August 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles has been called the mural capital of the world.

It’s a reputation Councilman Jose Huizar hopes to expand: one utility box at a time.

In 2012, Huizar spearheaded the adoption of a new citywide ordinance that gives artists greater latitude for creating murals on some private and some public properties. It was the reversal of an earlier ban on most murals, which some people complained were out of control.

Now the councilman is spearheading a campaign to transform nondescript utility boxes in his District into public art.

The latest effort is in Highland Park where the councilman, Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council and Highland Park Chamber of Commerce are running a voter-driven contest to find artists who will be allowed to paint their vision on one of 15 utility boxes along Figueroa Street and York Boulevard.

Huizar spokesman Rick Coca says the councilman was inspired to bring the transformative project while working on the mural ordinance. “…The Councilmember saw a couple of utility boxes that had been painted and he really liked them and thought this is something we should do on a big scale to promote public art,” Coca said.

To date, from Downtown LA to Boyle Heights and El Sereno, over 100 utility boxes have been painted in Council District 14. The utility boxes, which are really traffic signal cabinets, are now pieces of art showing the identity of each neighborhood.

The contest has already drawn over 50 submissions from local artists. Designs range from very simple and joyful letters and flowers, to more elaborate entries featuring a myriad of characters and city scenes.

Contest sponsors are hoping the community will become engaged in the project and go to Huizar’s website – www.josehuizar.com – to vote for their favorite sketches.

Utility boxes throughout city council district 13 will soon be covered with art. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Utility boxes throughout city council district 13 will soon be covered with art. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Artist Andrew Cervantes last year was chosen to put his art on a utility box in El Sereno. He says it is a very gratifying “to see your work on the street.” His utility box mural, featuring brightly colored hummingbirds and flowers, is on Valley Boulevard and Vineburn Street.

Cervantes told EGP the project is a great way to expose younger generations to art, especially as the work is being completed in public view.

“I was in a location near a high school and students would stop and ask me if they could do that too,” Cervantes recalled. Some “showed me sketches and they had talent,” he said.

Artist Ester Petschar Rose chose to feature renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo on her utility box, located on Huntington Drive and Monterey Road in El Sereno near the fire station.

“This is a great idea because it gives opportunity to artists and at the same time people can get to meet them,” she said.

Public art is such an important component of what it means to be a community, by reflecting the neighborhood and the people in it telling a story, Huizar said.

“Now through our efforts with the Council District 14 utility art boxes, we are home to far more art boxes than any other District in the City,” the councilman said.

Huizar’s staff had to get permission for the public art project from the city’s Department of Transportation, which controls the boxes that are part of the city’s infrastructure.

“They have a function, and they can get removed for a variety of reasons,” noted Coca. “It’s rare, but it happens. Often, we have artists come back and do another box when that happens,” he said.

Residents and stakeholders are encouraged to vote for their favorite sketches before the Aug. 20 deadline. Each voter can choose up to five sketches. The winners will be announced Aug. 24.

For more information, contact Councilman Jose Huizar’s Office at (323)254-5295 or email lauren.ballard@lacity.org.

Sewage-Odor-Reducing Facility Opens

August 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

 City officials marked the opening Friday of an $18 million sewage-odor-reducing facility that doubles as a “greenway” park space with plants, trees and a walkway near the Los Angeles River.

The Boyle Heights facility will reduce odors emanating from the East Central Interceptor and North Central Outfall sewers that intersect nearby, while also providing space for the public to relax near the river, officials said.

“I’m very excited about the completion of this project and the vital green space it is bringing to the residents of Boyle Heights,” Councilman Jose Huizar said.

The park will eventually connect to the Sixth Street Bridge, which is undergoing a major re-construction project, Huizar said.

The park and facility, both built on a one-third acre plot near the bridge, also includes benches and an entrance gate designed by artist Michael Amescua.

 

National Night Out

August 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Hundreds of residents from Boyle Heights gathered in front of the Los Angeles Police Department Hollenbeck Station Tuesday night to celebrate National Night Out.

(Courtesy of the Office of Boyle Heights Wolfpack)

(Courtesy of the Office of Boyle Heights Wolfpack)

“National Night Out is about law enforcement and the community coming together for a common goal: make our neighborhoods safer and promote peace in our communities,” said Councilman Jose Huizar.

Other areas celebrating the National Night Out to “take back the streets” and prevent violence and crime in their area included, Northeast, El Sereno, East Los Angeles, Montebello and Monterey Park.

Boyle Heights Business Joins Solar Power Grid

July 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A Boyle Heights rooftop with solar panels capable of generating 300 kilowatts of energy is the latest addition to a solar power grid providing energy for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, DWP officials and others gathered Wednesday at Angelus Grand plaza, which includes a Food 4 Less supermarket and a CVS pharmacy, to switch on the solar panel installation.

Power from the solar array will be sold to DWP to add to the utility’s menu of renewable power sources.

The project is in what USC and UCLA consider a “solar equity hotspot ” which is a place where there is a low-income community and ample number of rooftops for potential solar projects.

This solar panel project is part of several in the DWP’s feed-in tariff program, known as CLEAN LA Solar, that allows commercial property owners to set up their own solar arrays to generate energy for the utility’s use, as opposed to just using the panels to power the buildings.

The company Edge3 Solar owns the solar installation at a 103,000-square-foot property owned by Levy Affiliated Holdings. The project was initially submitted by Solar Provider Group, which later sold it to Edge3.

The feed-in-tariff program, which began in 2013, has so far led to 14 projects able to generate 7.1 megawatts of solar energy, according to a release from the Los Angeles Business Council, which has championed this program. The DWP has a goal of setting up a grid of solar panel installations that can create 150 megawatts, under this program.

“I am excited to see a local business step up and join the CLEAN LA Solar movement in Boyle Heights,” Huizar said. “I hope it inspires others in Council District 14 and throughout the city of Los Angeles to apply to this valuable, environmentally friendly program, which creates jobs and clean, renewable energy while reducing pollution.”

Eastside Foot Patrols Next Step in Community Policing

May 21, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Authorities Monday announced a program to double the number of police footbeat patrols in the Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and El Sereno areas.

The “Hollenbeck Community Partners Program” will add four “corridors” to the existing four corridors that are patrolled on foot by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollenbeck Station.

Officers will work with businesses and residents to improve the quality of life in the community, LAPD officials said at a late-morning news conference at Mariachi Plaza, at First Street and Boyle Avenue.

The program takes LAPD’s community policing efforts to a higher level, Hollenbeck Capt. Martin Baeza told EGP.

Baeza said the timing could not be better given the recent nationwide focus on police interactions with the community, many of which have negative overtones.

Councilman Jose Huizar and officers from the LAPD Hollenbeck division announce community policing during a press conference last week.  (Courtesy of Councilmember Jose Huizar)

Councilman Jose Huizar and officers from the LAPD Hollenbeck division announce community policing during a press conference last week. (Courtesy of Councilmember Jose Huizar)

“What this program does is put our police officers out in the community, where they can get to know the community and the community can get to know them,” Baeza said. “They will get to know people’s name and hear their concerns,” the captain said.

Councilman Jose Huizar represents the area and strongly supports Beaza’s effort.

He said the community has been asking for footbeat patrols to be expanded to other areas for some time, but it took a while to marshal the resources and get everything in place.

“The timing is great,” said Huizar. “We’ve been working hard on the commercial corridors in the area, to make them more walkable, the police foot patrols will add to that,” the councilman said.

Residents will feel safer, business owners will feel safer and visitors to the area will feel safer, and that’s a positive thing for the community, Huizar said.

Growing up in Boyle Heights, Huizar said the LAPD did not always have a good relationship with the community, but times have changed and the majority of residents welcome the larger police presence in their neighborhoods.

While crime across the city has dropped significantly over the last decade, reaching lows not seen in decades, Baez says there’s still more to do.

But the police can’t do it alone, he said, adding that they need the cooperation of the community.

“That’s why I named it the ‘Hollenbeck Community Partners Program,’ to show that it takes everyone working together to solve problems,” Baeza told EGP.

“We are working with the [City Attorney’s] neighborhood prosecutor for the area, the chamber of commerce” and other groups to solve quality of life issues in these areas, emphasized the captain.

Footbeat patrol officers will not replace senior lead officers in the area, but will work directly with them, he said

Nor will the increase of officers walking reduce the number of patrol cars, he added, explaining the division was able to secure six additional officers to beef up the number of police assigned to Hollenbeck. “We had support from the top of the department.”

All of the 16 officers assigned to the footbeats volunteered for the assignment, according to Baeza. He said, like him, several of the officers have roots in the local community. At least one officer on each patrol team speaks Spanish, he said.

“And I think in our community, which is an immigrant community, I think it’s very important that the community have a trust with the police,” Baeza said.

“What Capt. Baeza has proposed is the next step in community policing,” said Huizar. “We will be looking at it, to see how it works, and if it’s something that will work in other neighborhoods.”

The eight footbeat patrol corridors are:

— Cesar Chavez Boulevard between State Street and Evergreen Avenue;

— North Broadway between Avenue 21 and Lincoln Park Boulevard;

— Huntington Drive between Eastern Avenue and Pueblo Street;

— Whittier Boulevard between Indiana Avenue and Lorena Street;

— Soto Street between Olympic and Whittier boulevards;

— Olympic Boulevard between Soto and Camulos streets;

— Eastern Avenue between Huntington Drive and Klamath Street; and

— First Street Between Boyle Avenue and Soto Street.

 

Duplican Número de Oficiales de Policía a Pie en la División Hollenbeck

May 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Autoridades anunciaron el lunes un programa para duplicar el número de oficiales de policía a pie en zonas de Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights y El Sereno.

El “Programa de Socios de la Comunidad de Hollenbeck” agregará cuatro “Corredores” a los cuatro existentes que se patrullan a pie por los oficiales del Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles, División Hollenbeck.

Los oficiales trabajarán con las empresas y los residentes para mejorar la calidad de la vida en la comunidad, dijeron funcionarios del LAPD en conferencia de prensa el lunes por la mañana en Mariachi Plaza, en la calle Primera y la Avenida Boyle.

Concejal José Huizar (CD-14) anuncia expansión del programa junto a oficiales de policía de la división Hollenbeck. (Foto cortesía de la oficina del Concejal Huizar)

Concejal José Huizar (CD-14) anuncia expansión del programa junto a oficiales de policía de la división Hollenbeck. (Foto cortesía de la oficina del Concejal Huizar)

“Este es un esfuerzo de base”, dijo el capitán de policía de Hollenbeck Martín Baeza a CBS2. “Creo que en nuestra comunidad, que es una comunidad de inmigrantes, es muy importante que [tengan] confianza con la policía”, agregó Baeza.

Los ocho corredores con oficiales de policía a pie son:

-Bulevar César Chávez entre la Calle State y la Avenida Evergreen;

-North Broadway entre la Avenida 21 y el Bulevar Lincoln Park;

-Huntington Drive entre  la Avenida Eastern y la Calle Pueblo;

-Whittier Bulevar entre la Avenida Indiana y la Calle Lorena;

–Calle Soto entre los bulevares Olympic y Whittier;

–Bulevar Olympic entre las calles Soto y Camulos;

–Avenida Eastern entre Huntington Drive y la Calle Klamath; y

–Calle Primera entre la Avenida Boyle y la Calle Soto.

 

Concejal José Huizar Defiende Revitalización de Broadway

May 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

El concejal José Huízar (CD-14), autor del proyecto “Bring Back Broadway” (Devolver Broadway), defendió el lunes esta iniciativa que pretende revitalizar la calle Broadway, situada en el centro histórico de Los Ángeles y que agrupa doce teatros, el mayor número del país en una sola avenida.

Estamos creando más trabajos en el centro urbano de Los Ángeles y en Broadway de los que había antes de que comenzáramos, y esto es crítico para la gente de toda la ciudad”, señaló el concejal.

En declaraciones a Efe, Huízar aseguró que este sector angelino se encontraba en decadencia y que parecía una “ciudad fantasma”, pero que con este proyecto de renovación se están invirtiendo miles de millones de dólares para reactivar la zona en un plazo de diez años.

Sin embargo, las restauraciones de edificios abandonados y la llegada de nuevos negocios está encareciendo el precio del alquiler y de la vida, una circunstancia que ha llevado a muchos residentes, especialmente latinos, a criticar este proceso que a la larga puede significar que trasladen sus residencias o negocios.

Según Huízar, entre las décadas de los años 70 y 90 la comunidad hispana era una parte fundamental de la vida en Broadway, a donde se acercaban para realizar sus compras, pero luego los “números comenzaron a caer dramáticamente conforme los latinos empezaron a comprar en zonas más próximas a sus casas -en comunidades latinas como Huntington Park o en centros comerciales locales”.

El objetivo prioritario del concejal es reconvertir los espacios vacíos en las plantas superiores de los edificios históricos en ambientes residenciales o de negocios.

El Sereno Disfruta Un Día de Papalotes

April 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

El Quinto Festival Anual de Papalotes en el Parque Ascot Hills atrajó a más de 1,500 personas a lo largo del día domingo. Las personas pudieron disfrutar el volar papalotes sobre las montañas del parque en El Sereno y se repartieron 1,000 papalotes gratis.

(Cortesía de la oficina del Concejal José Huizar)

(Cortesía de la oficina del Concejal José Huizar)

El evento familiar patrocinado por el Concejal José Huizar y el Consejo Vecinal LA 32 se ha hecho muy popular a través de los años atrayendo a visitantes de todas partes de Los Ángeles. El festival incluyó otras actividades como manualidades, carpintería para niños y música.

(Foto cortesía de la oficina del Consejal José Huizar)

 

L.A. City Council Incumbents Make Strong Showing

March 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

City Councilman Jose Huizar fended off a spirited challenge from former Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina to retain his 14th District seat, headlining a winning night for council incumbents.

“We did it!” Huizar shouted at his election-night party Tuesday night at Salesian High School, drawing cheers from the crowd.

Huizar’s battle with Molina – billed a heavyweight bout between two Eastside political veterans – turned out to be a largely one-sided affair. Huizar grabbed a commanding lead when vote-by-mail ballots were tallied, and he never looked back.

As a former county supervisor, city councilwoman and assemblywoman, Molina was the best known of the four challengers attempting to unseat Huizar, who will return for his third and final term representing the district that stretches from downtown Los Angeles to Eagle Rock.

Huizar — whose most recent term was marred by sexual harassment allegations — insisted the 14th District has seen improvements thanks to his efforts to secure funding for graffiti removal, repair work on a City Hall building in Eagle Rock, initiatives to help the homeless and other programs to address local needs.

“Last night’s results are a testament to the great work that we have accomplished together over the last 9 years,” Huizar said in a statement posted Wednesday on his campaign’s facebook page.

“We move forward with a commitment to prioritize basic services in the city budget and improve their systematic and procedural delivery,” his post said.

He went on to say that more needs to be done to “ensure that working and middle-income families have housing options” and the city implements new affordable-housing policies and deals with its  “disgraceful lack of an approach to homelessness.”

In the eastern San Fernando Valley’s 6th District, incumbent Nury Martinez emerged victorious in a rematch with former Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez.

Montanez was the top vote-getter in the 2013 primary election to complete Tony Cardenas’ unexpired term, but she lost to Martinez in an upset in the runoff election. Martinez said during her more than 18 months on the job, she has fought prostitution and human trafficking crimes, brought in economic opportunities and jobs, and worked to clear up blight.

Herb Wesson, who represents the 10th Council District, cruised to victory over Koreatown activist Grace Yoo, who last clashed with the powerful council president during contentious proceedings to redraw district lines in the Koreatown area.

Councilman Paul Krekorian also held onto his early lead in his bid for a second term representing the 2nd District — which includes North Hollywood, Studio City, Valley Village and Van Nuys, against challenger Eric Preven, a television writer who is a regular gadfly at City Council and County Board of Supervisor meetings.

Councilman Mitch Englander ran unopposed in the 12th District, which includes Reseda, North Hills, Northridge, Chatsworth and Porter Ranch.

In the 8th District, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a former executive director of a nonprofit founded by Rep. Karen Bass to improve economic conditions in South Los Angeles communities, defeated three other candidates to replace termed-out Councilman Bernard Parks.

The race to replace termed-out Tom LaBonge in the 4th District will move to a May 19 runoff election, with 14 candidates splitting the vote and preventing any candidate from earning the more than 50 percent needed to win the seat outright.

The council members elected today will serve 5 1/2-year terms. The passage of Charter Amendment 1 will mean a one-time lengthening of the terms of city and school board officials elected in the 2015 and 2017 elections, with future elections being held in even-numbered years.

March 3, 2015 Election Preliminary Results

March 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles Unified School District

Member of the Board of Education 

District 5

**Bennett Kayser 1,558 (39.5%)

**Ref Rodriguez 1,792 (45.5%)

Andrew Thomas       593 (15%)

**Runoff

 

City of Los Angeles

City Council District 14

Mario Chavez     385 (2.3%)

Nadine Momoyo Diaz     742 (4.4%)

*Jose Huizar       11,081 (65.8%)Gloria Molina 4,033 (23.9%)

John O’Neill     612 (3.6%)

 

Charter Amendment 1 – Shall Elections Change to Even Number Years for L.A. City?

*Yes     109,948 (76.9%)

No 32,968 (23%)

 

Charter Amendment 2 – Shall Election Change to Even Number Years for LAUSD?

*Yes     114,605 (76.5%)

No       35,277 (23.5%)

 

 

City of Commerce

City council seats (2)

*Hugo Argumedo   510 (38.8%)

John Diaz360 (27.4%)

Denise Robles   440 (33.5%)

*Oralia Rebollo       499 (38%) Sonia Rodriguez   257 (19.6%)John Sonria   247 (18.8%)

 

Voter Turnout 1,313 (20.4%)

Total registered voters   6,429

 

 

Monterey Park 

City council seats (3)

Joe Ray Avila     537 (4.8%)

*Mitchell Ing 2,847 (25.5%)

*Stephan Lam   2,346 (21%)

Delario Robinson       599 (5.4%)

*Teresa Real Sebastian 2,643 (23.7%)

Anthony Wong 2,182 (19.6%)

 

Voter Turnout 4,588 (16.7%)

Total registered voters   27,474

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