Montebello Hills Project To Get New Fiscal Look

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The city of Montebello will be running the numbers again on a 1,200 unit housing project proposed for the Montebello Hills, especially in light of the state’s elimination of redevelopment agencies.

The original fiscal impact study was completed in 2009. The city is in the process of bringing in a third-party consultant to conduct a new study, and is waiting on the developer Cook Hill, LLC, to return with new financial data. In the meantime, the environmental impact study, a draft version of which was produced over three years ago, will be put on hold, said Montebello Planning Director Michael Huntley.

The 487-acre Montebello Hills specific plan project, the largest proposed project in the city’s history, is in a former redevelopment zone. The previous project analysis was based on a generous tax increment through the city’s now closed redevelopment agency, which no longer exists, said Huntley.

While the revenue yield from property taxes would be “less than anticipated,” Huntley said it could be used to directly fund city services, where funds are needed the most. Redevelopment agency tax increments could only be used for redevelopment purposes.

The developer, a subsidiary of oil and gas company Plains Exploration & Productions, proposed the project five years ago. They are looking to build park space and residential units on 172 acres of the hills. The remaining acres will be kept as a nature preserve and natural habitat for the endangered gnatcatcher bird. PXP plans to continue its oil extraction activities.

State Orders Metro to Replace Section of Expo Line Track

July 19, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

State utility and transportation regulators ordered local transportation officials to replace a stretch of faulty track where the Blue Line and recently opened Expo light rail line meet downtown, it was announced Tuesday.

The California Public Utilities Commission also ordered the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to finish installing an automatic train protection system near the intersection of Flower Street and Washington Boulevard downtown.

Regulators are worried that a southbound Blue Line train might derail as cars make a slow, but sharp 90-degree left turn onto Washington.

Metro staff noticed last fall that wheels on some Blue Line cars were experiencing excessive wear at the junction, commonly referred to as a frog.

Crews added a separate piece of metal to try and fix the problem, but at least two breaks were detected in the new weld, according to Emory J. Hagan, head of the CPUC’s Consumer Protection and Safety Division.

In a letter sent Friday to Metro CEO Art Leahy and Expo Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe, Hagan criticized the officials for not immediately notifying regulators of the cracks.

Hagan also said the automatic train protection system, which notifies operators of potential problems, has not been working — in violation of conditions set in March for opening the $930 million Expo Line.

Officials opened a truncated, 7.9-mile stretch of the Expo Line, including the junction, from downtown to near Culver City in April. A second station has since opened in Culver City.

“Our concern is with the safety of your light rail vehicles,” Hagan wrote.

Local transportation officials sought to assure riders that the trains are safe.

“We want to assure the public that Metro and the Expo Construction Authority have been monitoring these issues for some time, and at no time was safety ever compromised,” Leahy and Thorpe said in a joint statement. “Trains have made over 100,000 trips through this junction area traveling less than 10 miles per hour.”

The officials said the section of track in question was fixed on Friday, and they have been complying with orders to do visual and ultrasonic inspections of the track.

“Daily inspections will continue while we resolve this issue with the CPUC,’’ their statement said. “Metro and the Expo Construction Authority will ensure the work is performed to the highest standard and will accept nothing less.”

MUSD Board Meeting to Go On As Scheduled

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGPNews) – A previously canceled Montebello Unified School District Board of Education Meeting will go on as scheduled today at 7:30 pm. The board will discuss a new board policy on transitional kindergarten; a revision of policy for student use of technology resources; and appointments of personnel, including assistant superintendents.

Vernon Body Linked to Narcotics, Second Homicide

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGPNews) – Vernon police are investigating the death of a woman found earlier this month near the railroad tracks as a homicide, believing that it is connected with another body found in South Gate.

The body in South Gate belonged to the woman’s husband, according to officials. “This was not a random act and may be related to some narcotics activity,” said Vernon Interim Police Chief Daniel Calleros.

The woman identified as 24-year old Maria Castaneda was found at 7:30 am at the 4600 block of Fruitland Avenue with a penetrating wound to her head.
Anyone with more information about the slaying was asked to call the Vernon police at (323) 587-5171.

Family Sues County Over Son’s Death

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

(CNS) – Family members of a man shot to death by sheriff’s deputies last summer in East Los Angeles have filed two lawsuits against the county and Sheriff Lee Baca, alleging civil rights violations and wrongful death.

The complaints were filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court in connection with the Aug. 20 shooting of 19-year-old Pablo Garcia in the 1400 block of Downey Road.

Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore declined comment on the allegations, but said the whole story about the shooting has not yet been told and that the department looks forward to doing so.

Montebello Woman Arrested for Bank Robbery

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

(CNS) – A 45-year-old Montebello woman suspected of robbing a Chase Bank branch in Mission Viejo June 29 was in custody on Tuesday.

Yvonne Marie Hernandez, who got $1,661 in the holdup at a Chase outlet in an Albertsons at 25872 Muirlands Blvd., was arrested about 6:15 p.m. Friday night near a place where she used to live in Montebello, Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said.

A thin, roughly 50-year-old getaway driver, who was in a green Toyota Camry with black rims, remains at large, he said.

Community Calendar: July 19, 2012 to July 26, 2012

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Today, Thursday, July 19
10am-2pm—Business and Health Expo at Ford Park Community Adult School. Bell Gardens Chamber of Commerce and Family Health Care Center of LA offer tips for business to build community and valuable information on health and well-being of Bell Gardens residents. For more information, call Carlos Cruz at (562) 806-2355 or email or call Dennis Grizzle at (714)-915-3382, email at

1-2pm—Open Circle Hosted by Highland Park Chamber of Commerce. Attend this open forum to get business strategies and other tips from local professionals. The theme will be “How to keep the customers we have.” Located at the Starbucks at the Renaissance Place on 1849 Green Bay Rd. For more information email

Friday, July 20
3-6pm—Chinatown Service Center Open House. Opportunity for general public to learn more about the services offered and to get a free guided tour of the office. Light lunch will be served. Located at 767 N. Hill St. Suite 400. For more information, call Kerry Situ at (213) 808-1760 or email

4-8pm—Official Community Unveiling of Monterey Park Farmer’s Market. Ceremony will include live entertainment, face painting, ready-to-eat foods and more. Located at the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library parking lot at 318 S. Ramona Ave. For more information call Dan Costley at (626) 307-1497 or email

6pm—Free Drum Circle Activity from JAM Session at East LA Civic Center. Join Chris Ramirez of Freedom Drum Circles for an interactive group activity. Drums provided. East LA Civic Center located at 4801 E. 3rd Street. For more information call (323) 461-3673.

Saturday, July 21
10am-2pm—Raza Studies Now Conference at Santa Monica College. Panelists will discuss the dismantled Tucson Mexican-American studies department and the newly adopted Ethnic Studies program at Santa Monica High School, and efforts to expand Raza and ethnic studies programs in LA high Schools. Located at 1900 Pico Blvd. in the Humanities room #165. For more information call (520) 271-6796 or email

12pm-2pm—44th Anniversary of the East La Blowouts and East LA 13 panel discussions. Aztlán reads and Cypress Park Library present Carlos Montes, Cruz (Olmeda) Becerra, and others for a discussion of their experiences in the Chicano Movement. Located at 1150 Cypress Ave in the Cypress Library Community Room. For more information call (323) 369-3552.

4pm-Midnight—4th Annual Perform Chinatown Showcase. Experience over 40 live performances in and around Chung King Road in Chinatown including Karen Finley’s first LA performance in over 14 years. For a detailed map of participating venues and program schedule, visit

Sunday, July 22
2pm— Author John Jung at Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library. Join the author of “Southern Fried Rice” as he talks about his experiences living in Georgia and Chinese immigration to the South. In the Library Friends Room: 318 S. Ramona Avenue. For more information call (626) 307-1333.

5-8pm—Second Annual Galco’s Summer Soda Testing Fundraiser for the Southwest Museum Coalition. Have fun soda testing, enjoying live entertainment, and more. Advance tickets for $12 can be bought Galco’s of Friends of Southwest Museum’s website. Regular tickets sold at the door for $15. Located at Galco’s Soda Pop Stop: 5702 York Blvd. in Highland Park. For more information, email or visit

7:30pm—Center for the Arts Eagle Rock presents “Danielle Ate the Sandwich” with her band. Admission is $10 for this concert with ukulele playing singer-songwriter and her band. Located at 2225 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock. For more information, call (323) 226-1617 or email
Monday, July 23
2pm—Teen Computer Building Workshop at City of Commerce Libraries. From Monday to Thursday City of Commerce Libraries will offer free computer building workshops to teens and the finished computer will be raffled off as the grand prize for the winner of the Summer Reading Program. For more information and to sign-up call (323) 722-6660.

7pm—Chinese American Museum Presents Book Talk & Signing with Author Martin Gold, who will introduce his new book “Forbidden Citizens: Chinese Exclusion and the U.S. Congress: A Legislative History. Museum is located at 425 N. Los Angeles St. (adjacent to Olvera Street). For reservations, call (213) 485-8567 or email
Tuesday, July 24
4-5pm—Dream Catcher Workshop at East Los Angeles Library. Teens get to learn how to make their own dream catcher. Library is located at 4837 E. 3rd St. For more information contact the Teen Services Librarian at

5:30-7pm—Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce Mixer with Diverse Strategies for Organizing Inc. Raffle prizes and food and beverages provided at this educational business opportunity. Location: 930 Colorado Blvd. Building 2. For more information call DSO at (323) 349-0661 or email

Wednesday, July 25
8pm—LA Streetsblog Eastside Tour: El Haru Kuroi at Eastside Luv Wine Bar. Enjoy the first of Streetsblog’s summer event series to raise funds for the Eastside Streetsblog. Eastside Luv is located at 1835 E. 1st St. For more information contact Damien at

Celebrate National Dance Day July 28 at the Opening of Grand Park, from Grand Ave. to Hill St. in front of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, from 10am-2:30pm. Young & old can enjoy a free, interactive dance experience featuring Lauren Gottlieb, an All-Star from the dance show, “So You Think You Can Dance,” and Gina Grant, from Zumba. Go Metro to the two-day event and be entered to win a Grand Avenue Prize Package complete with gift cards, hotel stay, VIP passes and theater tickets! For more information, call (213) 974-1311 or email

Football Players at Lincoln High School Need Your Support! The Kenny Washington Stadium Foundation is looking for sponsors to help support current football players. Individuals who donate $100 will receive a 1962 game-ready throwback jersey, personalized with your number. The deadline to sign up for a jersey is Aug. 3. The 2nd Annual Kenny Washington Memorial Game is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22. For more information visit

Submit an event or announcement to the Community Calendar: email All submissions subject to space availability. Paid advertising available; for more information, email or call (323) 341-7970.

Vernon Approves Study of ‘Good Neighbor’ Projects

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Vernon city council on Tuesday approved a $124,000 engineering study of two projects, one to renovate a soccer field and another to build “interactive water play area,” at a city park in neighboring Huntington Park.

The council voted 4-0 to approve the study, which will be conducted by Lawrence Moss and Associates, the landscape architecture firm that also worked on Cesar Chavez Park in South Gate and Raul Perez Community Park in Huntington Park. They also did landscaping work for Vincent Lugo Park in San Gabriel.

Last August the city committed $5 million toward projects for Salt Lake Park in Huntington Park to show it could be a “good neighbor” to nearby communities. It was also done as part of a series of good governance reforms it agreed to enact in order to avoid being disincorporated. Vernon also committed $5 million to improving the Hazard Park Youth Armory in Boyle Heights.

The soccer field and the water play area, also called a “splash pad,” projects were approved by the Vernon city council last October. At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Huntington Park’s Parks and Recreation Director Josette Espinoza showed an aerial view of the soccer field currently used by their residents. She described it as more of a “dirt circle,” adding that soccer is an extremely popular sport in their community, and this renovation project was their top choice.

The water park would be built on a wading pool that was cemented over and shut down ten years ago. Both projects went out to bid last year, and those who won the bids were asked to wait until July. “Most have said yes, but now it’s getting late in the game,” Espinoza said.

The cost for the soccer field project is estimated at around $2.8 million and could involve putting in artificial turf, bathrooms, seating, and lighting; while the water park could cost around $700,000, Espinoza said.

In 2010, the city of Vernon donated a $500,000 mobile computer lab to nearby southeast cities. The city has also solicited donations from the business community to get a new playground built at Vernon Elementary School, and presented awards to students there for their achievements in various educational contests on topics ranging from anti-drug awareness to recycling used oil.

Stolen Car Had Been Listed on Ebay, by East LA Dealer

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The owner of a 1967 Austin Healey stolen from him over 40 years ago, on July 15 reclaimed his vehicle that had been listed for sale on Ebay by a car dealer in East Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Robert Russell reported his car missing in 1970 and never stoped searching for the white convertible sports car. After finding the Vehicle Identification Number matched his stolen car, he contacted the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station Detective Carlos Ortega who investigated the issue, ultimately helping Russell take possession of his car. There was no evidence to suggest that the car dealer knew the car had been stolen, according to the sheriff’s department. (Photo courtesy of LA County Sheriff’s Department)

One In Six Small Business Owners Is An Immigrant, Report Finds

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A new report from the Fiscal Policy Institute’s Immigration Research Initiative states that more than one in six small business owners in the U.S. is an immigrant and immigrants make up a striking 18 percent of all small business owners in the country.

The report reveals the significance of immigrant business owners to the larger U.S. economy, according to David Kallick, FPI’s director of Immigration Research Initiative and the report’s author.

“It’s a helpful reminder of how immigration is about more than just immigrants seeking jobs, “ Kallick said. “It’s also about immigrants adding to consumer demands and even offering employment opportunities through business ownership.”

Small businesses make up 30 percent of the American economy and knowing that immigrants make up 18 percent of that sector is striking, Kallick said.

The report is the first of its kind to use previously unpublished data from the Census’ Survey of Business Owners. It allowed researchers to eliminate the long-held proxy that classified everyone self-employed as a business owner, thereby narrowing down and clarifying the results. Other data used came from the American Community Survey and the Current Population Survey.

According to the report, among small businesses with fewer than 100 employees run by immigrants had $776 billion in receipts and employed 14 percent of the nation’s small business employees. Additionally, the report showed that 20 percent of high tech business owners are immigrants, though it also debunked the stigma of education’s role in immigrants becoming business owners.

“You hear a lot about highly educated immigrants, but the majority of immigrant business owners don’t have a college degree,” Kallick said.

Instead, the report states that most immigrants resort to owning local businesses with 37 percent of restaurants, 49 percent of grocery stores, and 54 percent of laundry and dry cleaners being owned by immigrants.

Overall, businesses owned by immigrants cover a wide range, according to James Parrott, chief economist and deputy director of the Fiscal Policy Institute.

“That immigrants are prominent among businesses ranging from doctor’s offices to apparel factories, grocery stores and restaurants reflects the economic diversity and vitality of immigrant communities in the United States,” Parrott said in a press release.

While Mexicans are arguably the largest immigrant group, the report revealed that they are less likely to own businesses than their Middle Eastern, Asian, and Southern European counterparts who produced the highest rates of business ownership.

Kallick said the report demonstrates the significant economic role immigrants play in the US, and sheds some light on the current debate over immigration reform and the treatment of immigrants nationwide.

“It’s a reminder of what’s at stake for getting immigration policy right,” Kallick said.

Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Frank Mauro agreed with Kallick’s sentiments in a press release, saying “in some communities, we see a political climate that creates a hostile environment for immigrants.”

“With immigrants making up one in six of all small business owners, a climate that is hostile to immigrants is also a climate that is bad for business,” Mauro said.

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