Southeast Cities Advocate To Stay Together: That Includes Bell Gardens

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Representatives of southeast cities told redistricting officials during a hearing hosted in Whittier last week that they want to stay together due to the similarity in demographics of the people living in those cities.

Some of the speakers were officials from cities like Bell Gardens and the City of Commerce who weighed in on maps of proposed political districts released June 10.

Officials from Bell Gardens were concerned their city was excluded from a district of southeast cities on the commission’s proposed Congressional district map.

Instead, Bell Gardens has been grouped with cities with slightly more affluent populations. “We’re very concerned. We have been informed we will be split up in the Congressional map, all the southeast cities, and be paired up with cities that we really don’t have anything of common interest. Our communities have had a tradition of working together for many years on issues of common interests… to split us up would be detrimental to our communities,” said Bell Gardens Mayor Jennifer Rodriguez, who identified herself at the meeting as a resident.

Bell Gardens Mayor Jennifer Rodriguez addressed the redistricting commission in Whittier, urging them to keep Bell Gardens together with other southeast cities. (EGP photo by Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou)

Rodriguez said the southeast cities are Cudahy, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Bell, Lynwood, and Maywood. “We need to be part of cities that again we can relate to, both socially, economically, and demographically. So please do consider that when making your final decision,” she said.

The commission’s deadline for completing the redistricting maps is August 15, 2011.

Rodriguez added that the southeast cities have worked together on public safety and transportation issues, such as the projects on the 710 Freeway, the Long Beach corridor and the Alameda Corrdors, “so there is a good partnership there and we would hate to see that partnership divided so please do reconsider.”

Bell Gardens Councilman Sergio Infanzon told EGP prior to the meeting that together with other southeast cities they are able to work on getting social programs and funding to deal with issues such as sending their youth to college, domestic abuse, teen pregnancy, and gang activity.

The residents of Bell Gardens will have less representation on these matters if they are grouped with people who care less about these matters, he said.

Commerce Mayor Joe Aguilar also spoke during the meeting in favor of including Bell Gardens, advocating for keeping all the southeast cities within one political district.

He described the residents of Commerce as “mainly Hispanic, blue collar workers.” Their city also has a “large number of employees in surrounding southeast communities with jobs that are related to manufacturing and warehousing,” he said.

Their residents are also impacted by the pollution that comes from the transportation corridors that surround the city, including the I-710 and the I-5 freeways, and the presence of two railyards, he said.

The redistricting commission’s draft Congressional district map “will greatly diminish voting clout of [residents in] the city,” he said, adding that all the maps, including the state Senate and Assembly district maps should keep Commerce together with “other communities with interests that are more relevant and responsive to our community.”

The hearing was held June 17 at Wray Theater of Rio Hondo College in Whittier and a video of it can be viewed online at

Comments can also be submitted through email to, by fax at (916) 651-5711, or by mail to the Citizens Redistricting Commission, 901 P Street, Suite 154-A, Suite 101, Sacramento, CA 95814. The deadline to provide comment is Tuesday, June 28.

County Supervisor Previews $3.5 Million Youth Jobs Program

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

A Los Angeles County supervisor Tuesday previewed a plan to create jobs for teens and young adults to combat all-time high youth unemployment of 26.9 percent statewide.

“This sobering statistic only underscores the importance of subsidized employment for economically disadvantaged youth,” said Supervisor Don Knabe.

Knabe and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky recommended funding the $3.5 million program, which they said would create opportunities for at least 2,200 economically disadvantaged county youth, including those in foster care, on probation or receiving welfare from the state or county.

“The unemployment rate among young people is staggering,” Knabe said. “Hopefully, we can provide more opportunities for young people to learn skills, build confidence and develop work experience that will benefit them for a lifetime.”

Over the past five years, the county has created jobs for almost 17,000 young people through similar jobs programs.

The plan is expected to come before the board for a vote next week.

City Council Confirms Mayor’s Housing Authority Appointees Despite Protest

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles City Council voted yesterday to confirm two of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s nominee to fill open seats on the board of the city’s housing authority, which oversees public housing.

The Los Angeles Housing Authority, mostly funded with federal dollars, has been in disarray since the ouster of its chief, Rudolf Montiel, in March and the May resignation of the board’s president, Beatriz Stotzer, who is under investigation by the district attorney and federal Housing and Urban Development authorities.

On Tuesday morning, The Los Angeles Right to Housing Collective protested in from of City Hall on Tuesday and demanded that Mayor Villaraigosa call off his appointments to the city’s housing authority, and that he include housing tenants in the appointment process. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

The council unanimously confirmed the appointment of Kimberly Freeman and Dennis Hernandez, who will serve four-year terms on the board. Commission members—all of whom are nominated by the mayor—are paid $50 per meeting.

The confirmation of a third nominee, Mitchell Kamin, was put off until the Ethics Commission could finish a conflict of interest investigation, which it does on all new city commissioners.

Several council members quizzed the nominees about how they would pick the Housing Authority’s next chief.

“This is a real opportunity to find the best and brightest in the country, a real thought leader, that can have HACLA be the model for the nation, taking into account all the concerns of the residents,” Hernandez said.

Asked by Councilman Jose Huizar about what the new board members would do to improve the board’s oversight of the Housing Authority, Hernandez said: “I think we do need to address the issue of ethics.

I’ve discussed doing a review of our ethics standards, acting consistent with the law, looking at our Brown Act policies, and maybe even going beyond that.”

Freeman has been the director of community relations for the Southern California Gas Co. for the past 10 years and is an adjunct public policy professor at the University of Southern California.

Hernandez is an attorney with the law firm Luna & Glushon.

The council did not take up the nomination of Isabel Ayala, a Ramona Gardens public housing resident since 1961. No explanation was immediately available from the mayor’s office, but according to Sarah Hamilton, the Mayor’s press aide, he has not rescinded any of his nominees.

On Tuesday morning, the Los Angeles Right to Housing Collective denounced the mayor’s  “rushed” nomination of new HACLA commissioners.

The collective, which includes tenants of public and Section 8 housing, said the mayor’s staff lied to them when they said he would consider a list of nominations proposed by public housing stakeholders.

Steve Diaz of the Los Angeles Community Action Network said a Villaraigosa staffer told him no new housing authority commissioners would be appointed until ongoing investigations wrapped up. But just a day later, the mayor announced his nominees on June 9.

Pamela Walls of the same group said she was “disgusted at the lowdown, dirty backdoor politics of the mayor.” She said “the housing collective’s opinions and list of qualified candidates have been totally ignored.”

Primer Centro de Padres de LAUSD tiene Techo en la Escuelita Histórica de Vernon

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Los padres juegan un papel importante en la escuela Primaria Vernon. Ellos traen la comida, ayudan a limpiar, y hacen todo lo posible para proporcionar asistencia.

Por eso, cuando pidieron las clases de Inglés, no hubo vacilación. “Se lo dimos a ellos,” dijo la directora April Diedrich.

Al principio las clases de más o menos 10 padres estaban en constante movimiento, dependía sobre la disponibilidad de espacio. A veces se encontraban en un salón, a veces en el auditorio.

La escuelita esta ubicada en E. Vernon Ave y S. Santa Fe Ave. Foto de EGP por Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou


Pero el jueves pasado, encontraron un lugar propio—una escuelita con solo un salón con paredes amarillo llamativo que hace 134 años sirvió como sede para la escuela original de la Ciudad de Vernon.

Una inauguración reciente ha convertido a esta escuelita en el primer sitio bajo una iniciativa de $20 millones del LAUSD para abrir o actualizar cerca de 300 centros de padres.

“Este centro será un centro de recursos valiosos para los padres para que ellos puedan apoyar la educación de sus hijos,” dijo la miembro de la junta del LAUSD Yolie Flores durante la ceremonia de corte de la cinta.

El martes, la clase de Inglés para padres realizó su primera reunión en el Centro Para Padres y Familias de la Primaria de la Ciudad de Vernon. Esta instalación contará con programas para otros padres, incluyendo clases de nutrición y ejercicio, cursos para capacitar a los padres de niños preescolares, con alrededor de 25 padres anticipados a usar estos programas diario.

“Todo se esta materializando,” dijo Diedrich, quien explicó que estaban en el proceso de restaurar la escuela cuando el distrito se acercó preguntando acerca de espacio adicional para albergar un centro nuevo para padres.

De acuerdo con Diedrich, un 50 por ciento de los estudiantes asisten la escuela con un permiso, lo que significa que los padres hicieron una decisión consciente de colocar a sus hijos allí. Muchos de los padres trabajan en Vernon, por lo cual la ubicación de la escuela es conveniente. Otros podrían estar atraídos el alto rendimiento escolar de los 260 alumnos en la escuela que goza un promedio API de 791—cuando se le preguntó si ella piensa que la escuela superará la meta de 800 puntos, Diedrich respondió: “Más vale! Estamos tan cerca!”

Diedrich dice que la escuela fue designada un sitio histórico en 1975, cuando un grupo de estudiantes de la Preparatoria Huntington Park retaron la demolición del edificio y ayudaron iniciar su restauración.

Lea esta nota en INGLÉS: Vernon Schoolhouse Home To LAUSD Parent Center
La donación al centro de padres ayudó a financiar la última fase de la restauración de la escuela, ella dijo. Antes las mejoras se realizaban cada cinco años, según el ritmo monótono de disponibilidad de fondos.

Diedrich dice que los planes para el centro de padres incluyen realizar clases de tecnología usando las 25 nuevas computadoras portátiles. Con gran parte de la información sobre la educación de sus hijos ahora disponible en la Internet, estas clases darán las herramientas necesarias a los padres para observar el progreso de la educación de sus hijos, ella dijo, y agregó que los padres también tendrán un mayor acceso a los profesores, y viceversa, a través de correo electrónico.

Pero no todo en el centro de padres es el signo brillante de los tiempos—un fuerte tirón de una cuerda gruesa al fondo del salón causa que la campana antigua de la escuela suene, un llamado a los padres a participar en la educación de sus hijos.

Proyecto del Puente I-710 por Commerce Podría Afectar el Parque Bandini

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

La vista desde un parque de la Ciudad de Commerce podría cambiar si los funcionarios abren el camino para los planes de la agencia de transportación del Estado para ampliar un puente de la autopista I-710.

Caltrans quiere acceso a los bienes de una propiedad de la Ciudad de Comercio para que pueda ampliar el puente de la autopista al lado del Parque Bandini como parte de un proyecto más amplio denominado el Proyecto Vida Larga de Pavimento (Long Life Pavement Project)del I-710.

Lea esta nota en INGLÉS: Wider I-710 Bridge Through Commerce Could Affect Bandini Park
La propuesta forma parte de un proyecto para arreglar la autopista I-710 a través de varias comunidades en las zonas del Sudeste y el Este de Los Ángeles.

En Commerce, los planes son ampliar el puente de la autopista al lado de Bandini Park por 35 pies a cada lado, y poner en una barrera de seguridad de 3.5 pies y una pared de sonido de 12 pies. El proyecto también afectaría el terminal ferroviario de Union Pacific al otro lado.

Caltrans dice que el ampliar del puente mejorará las condiciones de seguridad y de la carretera. Habrá espacio entre la barda y el tráfico, y los carriles aumentarán de 11 a 12 pies de ancho.

De acuerdo con el Caltrans portavoz Markham Kelly, la construcción de ampliar el puente se encuentra sin fondos, pero está previsto a comenzar en 2014.

En este momento se le está pidiendo a la ciudad que de concesión de una comodidad temporal, tanto para permitir el acceso de Caltrans para la construcción, y una condición permanente para localizar la base de la columna de apoyo en el Parque Bandini, y darle derechos a Caltrans al voladizo del puente.

El proyecto del puente está separado del proyecto actual de expansión del I-710, y es un esfuerzo para rehabilitar la autopista I-710 a través de las ciudades de South Gate, Cudahy, Bell Gardens, Bell, Vernon, Monterey Park, East Los Ángeles y Commerce.

Una reunión comunitaria el próximo martes, 28 de junio a las 6 pm en el Centro Comunitario del Parque Bandini proporcionará información sobre el impacto local del proyecto. El aporte y las preocupaciones del público se presentarán en la reunión del consejo municipal prevista para el 5 de julio, cuando los funcionarios se les pedirá que firmen una carta de “concurrencia,” que establecería que el proyecto “no tendrá un impacto significativo sobre el medio ambiente y además que los elementos de diseño del proyecto servirán para aliviar los problemas ambientales y las preocupaciones de la comunidad, especialmente en respecto a los posibles efectos sobre Bandini Park,” según un informe de la ciudad.

Mientras que la autopista más amplia podría ofrecer algunos beneficios a los usuarios de la autopista, también tiene el potencial de crear un nuevo conjunto de problemas para los residentes de la zona y para el mantenimiento del parque, entre las que se añade la contaminación.

Esas preocupaciones incluyen preocupaciones por el personal de la ciudad que la contaminación y la basura de la autopista durante y después de la construcción podría afectar las canchas deportivas del Parque Bandini.

La proximidad más cercana de la autopista al parque también plantea la preocupación de que los escombros, los vehículos o partes de la pared de sonido planificada y la barrera de seguridad podría caer dentro el parque. Otras cuestiones transmitidas a Caltrans incluyen preocupaciones sobre la interrupción del tráfico debido a la construcción, el uso de la proyección del puente como refugio por personas sin hogar, y la posibilidad de que las pelotas del campo de softbol podría caer dentro de la autopista.

Caltrans ha respondido a algunas opiniones públicas presentadas por la comisión de asesoría local para el proyecto de expansión de I-710, quienes preguntaron si la construcción también podría afectar los barrios residenciales Ayers, especialmente sobre la Avenida Connor. Caltrans dijo que incluiría el uso de equipos limpios de construcción en las especificaciones de su construcción, y respondió que el túnel cerca de la Avenida Conner permanecerá abierta durante la construcción.

El comité también expresó su preocupación sobre el graffiti en las paredes de sonido y preguntó si las paredes serían eficaz en la reducción de ruido de la autopista. Caltrans aseguró que los muros de sonido ayudarían y dijo que el graffiti sería mínimo porque las paredes serían muy difícil acceder.

Lopez Pleads Guilty to Voter Fraud

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGPNews) Long-time immigration rights activist Nativo Lopez pleaded guilty on Wednesday to voter registration fraud after a judge said jury selection would begin without further delay, according to the District Attorney’s office. His trial was scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

After pleading guilty, Lopez, 59, a resident of Santa Ana, was immediately sentenced by Judge William C. Ryan to three years probation and was ordered to complete 400 hours of community service.

Seven additional felony counts, including perjury, filing a false instrument and fraudulent voting, were dismissed, according to the  district attorney’s office.

Lopez was charged with using leased office space in Boyle Heights to register to vote in 2006, although he lived with his family in Orange County. He was also charged with casting an illegal ballot in L.A. in the 2008 presidential primary.

Lopez is the president of the Mexican American Political Association and Hermandad Mexicana Nacional. Both groups advocate on behalf of undocumented immigrants. Last year,however, Lopez was highly criticized by fellow community activists when he called on Latinos to boycott the 2010 US Census unless immigration reform was passed.

The case was delayed several times because Lopez’s competency to stand trial  was called in to question when he refused to identify himself to the court, and demanded to be able to defend himself rather then use an attorney. He was ordered to undergo three psychiatric evaluations. In April, a judge ruled he was competent to stand trial.

Civil Lawsuits Target Former Bell Gardens Pastor

June 23, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

(EGPNews) The former pastor of Iglesia Luterana San Pedro y Pablo, a Lutheran Church frequented by Hispanics in Bell Gardens, is accused of sexually abusing children almost immediately from the time he arrived at the church in 1990, according to a law firm representing the alleged victims.

In lawsuits filed Wednesday, Lutheran Pastor Frank Brundige is accused by three un-named former church members of abusing them from 1990 until 2007. In 2007 he was arrested and convicted of molesting children, according to a press release.

Anthony DeMarco, an attorney affiliated with Jeff Anderson & Associates who represent the victims, says church officials received multiple complaints as early as 1991 but Lutheran Church officials ignored the complaints and warning and instead attempted to silence victims and witnesses.

A total of 8 young men have filed civil lawsuits accusing Brundige of sexually molesting them as children and claim that as early as 1991 Church officials knew of Brundige’s routine sleepovers with young boys one at a time and did nothing to discourage the practice.

Police Warn Monterey Park Citizens of Recent Scam

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGPNews) Monterey Park Police officials are warning residents that con artists have already bilked one local resident out of $5,000, and may be looking for more victims.

Police say on June 8 a local resident was approached by a male in the parking lot of the Shun Fat Supermarket on N. Atlantic Blvd, who said he was looking for the nearest church so he could deliver over $90,000 in cash. The suspect allegedly showed the victim a bag containing the cash and the victim agreed to transport the suspect to a church on S. Atlantic Blvd.

Upon arriving at the church, a second suspect convinced the victim to give him “good faith” money in exchange for the large amount of cash under the premise that he could distribute the money to more local churches. The victim withdrew money from his bank account and was later also convinced to give up his jewelry, only to receive nothing in the end.

The first suspect was described as a black male, 50 to 55 years old, 6’ tall, 200 lbs, black hair and brown eyes. The second suspect was described as a male Hispanic, 45 to 50 years old, 5’ 06” and 180 lbs. Both suspects wore jeans.

Citizens are reminded that if it sounds too good to be true, then most likely it is not true.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Monterey Park Detective Bureau at (626) 307-1242.

Breves de la Comunidad

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Highland Park

Angélica Escalante, residente de Highland Park de 19 años de edad, y Emmanuel Berry, residente de Los Ángeles de 15 años de edad, fueron identificados el martes como los victimas de un tiroteo desde un coche rodante en Watts. Las victimas murieron de sus heridas en el tiroteo que se llevo acabo el sábado, 18 de junio, a las 10 p.m., informaron las autoridades. No hay información sobre los responsables, se les pide a personas con información que llamen a los detectives al (213) 972-7813.

City Terrace y Los Ángeles

Joyce Hsin, quien dirige el programa bilingüe de Chino e Ingles en la Primaria City Terrace, al igual que Zachary Weiss, maestro de matemática en la Secundaria Burbank, y Pamela Chirichigno, maestra en la Primaria Buchanan, están entre 14 maestros destacados como Maestros del Año en el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles (LAUSD). Los maestros ahora califican para ser reconocidos en los premios “Maestro/a del Año del Condado,” informó el distrito escolar. 

Condado de Los Ángeles

La Mesa de Supervisores del Condado de Los Ángeles el martes aplazó un voto acerca de una ordenanza que podría prohibir que se vendan autos en ciertas calles. La Supervisora Gloria Molina, quien recomendó la ordenanza, dijo que algunas calles se han convertido en estacionamientos para la venta de autos usados. Autos, con pancartas anunciando su venta, están llenando las calles causando problemas para peatones y conductores, informaron oficiales del condado. La ordenanza está programada a ser considerada de nuevo por la mesa durante la reunión del 5 de julio. Si es aprobada afectaría a varias comunidades no-incorporadas del Condado de Los Ángeles.

Boyle Heights

Este domingo, 26 de junio, se realizará el primer anual Festival del Taco de Los Ángeles, un evento gratuito presentado por Jovenes, Inc., una organización sin fines de lucro que proporciona techo y servicios de apoyo a jovenes desamparados. El evento familiar con música en vivo comienza a mediodía en el Plaza del Mariachi, ubicado en las calles 1st y Boyle. Personas que presentan su pase de Metro para comprobar que viajaron sobre el tren ligero Línea de Oro, recibirán una refresco gratuito mientras que las existencias se agoten.

Four Local Teachers Honored as ‘Teacher of the Year’

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

(EGPNews) Zachary Weiss, a math instructor at Luther Burbank Learning Complex, Pamela Chirichigno, who teaches multiple subjects at Buchanan Street MST/Magnet Elementary School, Terry Little, a 4th-grade teacher at Ascot Avenue Elementary School, and Joyce Hsin, who leads the Mandarin Chinese- English Dual Language Program at City Terrace Elementary School, have been selected as “Teacher of the Year” (TOY) along with 10 other educators across the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
The award-winning educators have been recognized for their outstanding and creative teaching, according to LAUSD. They now qualify for the for the 2011-2012 L.A. County Teacher of the Year competition, which is part of the California and National Teachers of the Year programs.

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