Mayor Marks Signing of His Final Budget With Tree Cutting

June 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles workers trimmed an especially voluminous tree in front of an Elysian Valley home Tuesday to mark Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s official signing of the 2013-14 budget, his eight and final budget before he leaves office in less than a month and is replaced by Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti, who said during the mayoral campaign that he would focus on taking care of quality of life issues like paving streets and trimming trees.

Villaraigosa’s signature finalized a $7.7 billion spending plan the city will follow in the coming year. The budget – approved unanimously by the City Council last week – provides for the hiring of new firefighters and additional funding for tree trimming, street paving, graffiti abatement and the purchase of nearly 300 new police cars.

Police ranks will be maintained at a little over 10,000 officers under the budget, which also provides funding to upgrade medical care capabilities – going from “basic” to “advanced” life support – in 25 fire companies, and puts $15 million toward chipping away at police overtime costs.

The additional expenditures were made possible through a surplus of about $119 million in one-time revenue.

A better economic outlook, projected to bring in an additional $111 million in tax revenue, and $51 million in savings from pension reforms helped to close an anticipated $216 million deficit, according the city officials.

The budget also includes a $260 million reserve fund, which makes up 5.25 percent of its total. And it provides for a hiring freeze and for continued labor negotiations to keep down long-term labor costs.

It remains to be seen if labor unions will agree to Villaraigosa’s request that they give back a scheduled 5.5 percent raise in January and pay 10 percent of their health care premiums to help balance the budget. In the event city leaders cannot negotiate those concessions, the budget has set aside $21 million, according to city officials.

Union representatives have said they would not entertain the concessions and that there is no reason to reopen talks until their contracts expires in June 2014.

Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who advises city leaders on the budget, has said employee concessions will be needed, if not this year, then in future years.

The budget also funds a new economic development department and a consolidated planning and development department, combining offices such as Building and Safety, and Planning.

Retiring ELAC Professor Honored for 35 Years of Service

June 6, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

EGP photo by Mario Villegas

Retiring East Los Angeles College physical education professor Marilyn Ladd, right, is presented a certificate of appreciation by former ELAC President Ernest Moreno during a party held in her honor recently at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello. Before family, friends, ELAC administrators, faculty, and staff, and East Los Angeles Women’s Center officials, Ladd was honored for her 35 years of service to the college as a teacher, coach, athletic director and supporter of women and family services in the community. An outstanding and versatile athlete, Ladd grew up in South Gate and attended ELAC after graduating from Pius X High School in Downey. She went on to graduate from Cal State Fullerton and returned to ELAC as a teacher in 1978. Ladd retires after nearly 40 years of teaching overall.

Molina Receives East Los Angeles Pride Award

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(Photo courtesy of Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard)

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard presented the East Los Angeles Pride Award to Supervisor Gloria Molina for her contributions to East Los Angeles and L.A. County at the Maravilla Business Association’s 2013 Awards Reception. This was a unique presentation and award since it came from all three of the business organizations in East L.A.

Roybal-Allard said it was an “honor” to present the award to Molina, “her good friend.”

Pictured: Manuel Duran, President of the Maravilla Businesspersons Association, Gloria Molina, and Congresswoman Lucille Roybal

New White Memorial Medical Chief of Staff Has Local Roots

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Dr. Miguel Martinez was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, but has spent most of his life since the age of three living in the San Gabriel Valley, making him intimately familiar with the region’s diverse population.

That knowledge, along with his years in private practice at White Memorial — since 1989 — and as clinical instructor for the hospital’s teaching residency programs, will serve him well as White Memorial’s new medical chief of staff.

As chief, Martinez is responsible for the oversight of the medical staff appointment and peer review processes. Since being appointed earlier this year, Martinez has devoted a significant portion of his time reviewing medical center policies and improving communication between the hospital and physicians, and the delivery of services to White Memorial patients, according to a White Memorial written statement.

“Dr. Martinez is strongly committed to our mission at White Memorial. He continues to focus his efforts on improving the delivery of healthcare for all those who come to our hospital,” said Beth Zachary, White Memorial’s CEO and president.

Martinez received his medical degree from Yale Medical School in 1983, and completed a urology residency at UCLA, Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles and White Memorial Medical Center where he diagnosed, treated and managed diseases of the urinary tract and male reproductive system, including prostatitis, kidney stones and urinary tract infections.

His professional career also includes an active role in several medical associations, and has founded, or co-founded several Hispanic medical organizations, including the Orange County Latino Center for Prevention and Action in Health. Martinez was elected a diplomat of the American Board of Urology in 1995 and was a charter member of the National Hispanic Advisory Board at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

Martinez’ friendship with boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya has also involved him in Golden Boy Productions’ efforts to raise funds to establish White Memorial’s Cecelia De La Hoya Cancer Center, Oscar De La Hoya Neonatal Intensive Care Center and the Labor and Delivery Unit. He has received numerous awards and honors, including being selected by the Consumer’s Research Council of America as one of “America’s Top Physicians,” Pasadena Magazine’s “Top Docs” and “The Adventist Philanthropy Leadership Award.”

LBC-GLA Elects New Board Chairman

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The managing partner of a prominent Los Angeles CPA firm has been elected chairman of the board for the Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles, LBC-GLA.

Gilbert R. Vasquez, of Vasquez & Company LLP, takes over the job officially on June 11, replacing Jorge Coralejo who will continue on as the business group’s Chief Executive Officer.

Vasquez released a statement commending the group’s former leadership for LBC-GLA’s “achievements and meaningful contributions to the Latino business community.”

“Moving forward,” he said, “I see the Chamber’s role and significance in enhancing opportunities for Latino businesses in Los Angeles and throughout California, increasing steadily.”

He said he is “committed to the growth and success of Latino business, a passion which is shared by our LBC-GLA Board of Directors and Advisory Board.”

Vasquez is one of the founding members and past vice chairman of LBC-GLA. He has an extensive background in the business and professional community, having served as past-president of the California Board of Accountancy and ALPFA, the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting. His community and civic involvement includes serving on the boards of a diverse group of business and nonprofit organizations, including the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, Promerica Bank, California State University Los Angeles Foundation, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials), the National Council of La Raza, Blue Cross and others.

Vasquez presently serves as a board member of Manufacturers Bank, Entravision Communications Corporation, Green Dot Public Schools and the LA84 Foundation, the successor agency to the 1984 Olympic Organizing Committee, where he was also a member.

“I am pleased to have been elected to this important position with the Latino Business Chamber,” said Vasquez. “Working together and drawing from our combined experience will help us propel the Chamber to the next level of success, as we continue expanding our objectives while setting and attaining higher goals.”

Milestone Reached: A Garden at Every School In Bell Gardens

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(Bell Gardens Intermediate Garden Club)

An important milestone was recognized at last week’s end of the year garden club celebration at Bell Gardens Intermediate School, where city officials, sponsors and community members marked the official opening of the “Green Paw Garden” at Suva Intermediate School, achieving the goal to open a garden in all seven public schools in Bell Gardens.

Left to right: City of Bell Gardens Mayor Pro-Tem Sergio Infanzon; Yicel Acevedo, United Latino Fund; Heidi Lopez, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; Suva Intermediate School Principal Dr. Teresa Alonzo; Madalena Lopez, Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles; Marco Barcena; Bell Gardens Recreation and Community Services; Lani Cupchoy Project Coordinator for the Campaign for a Healthier Bell Gardens, John Garza, Co-Director for the Bell Gardens Intermediate School Environmental Garden Club, Dr. Albert Pacheco, CEO for Family Health Care Centers of Greater Los Angeles.

Be Aware of Phony SoCalGas Workers, Utility Warns

June 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Authorities are warning Southlanders to be wary of people posing as Southern California Gas Co. employees to get into a customer’s home.

“SoCalGas wants to assure customers that employees who perform in-home appliance services, work on gas meters, or service natural gas pipelines wear uniforms and carry official photo identification while on the job,” Javier Mendoza of the Gas Co. said.

People were urged to verify the uniform and proper identification of utility workers before letting anyone into their home or onto their property.

SoCalGas workers who perform in-home appliance services, work on gas meters or work on gas pipelines wear uniforms. However, some other employees do not.

Most authorized SoCalGas field service employees will be in uniform with a SoCalGas company logo, carry an official employee badge with a photo and, most of the time, drive a company car bearing the SoCalGas logo.

Most SoCalGas employee visits are in response to a service request. If no one scheduled an appointment, call SoCalGas before allowing anyone into the home.

To verify the identity of anyone claiming to be a representative of SoCalGas during normal business hours, customers can call SoCalGas at (800) 427-2200. Spanish speakers can call (800) 342-4545.

Visit for more information on staying safe.

Today, Thursday June 6

June 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

(Self Portrait by Lani Cupchoy)

8pm-2am-Vida Es Arte, a New Solo Art-Photography Exhibition by Lani Cupchoy at Cities Restaurant: 4512 E. Cesar Chavez Ave. LA. Her diverse body of work stems from her unique Mexican-Hawaiian-Chinese heritawge. Event will include Live Body Painting by Judith Bautista, Ritmo y Magia Latina Salsa Dance Team at 9:30 pm. Free admission. For more information, visit Art-by-Lani-Cupchoy on facebook.

Community Calendar: June 6, 2013- June 12, 2013

June 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today, Thursday, June 6

5pm— Screening of the movie “G-Dog,” a new film from academy award winner Freida Lee Mock at Home Industries: 1912 E. 1st St., LA 90033, hosted by Learning Works. 2nd screening  Tuesday, June 11, at 5pm at Learning Works Charter School: 90 N. Daisy Ave., Pasadena 91107. Popcorn and refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome.

7-8:30pm—State Budget Town Hall Meeting Hosted at Bell Gardens City Hall Hosted by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia. Garcia will discuss status of state budget & potential impact on local families & businesses across the district. Bring questions on budget & other legislative issues. City Hall: 7100 Garfield Ave. To RSVP or for more information, call the Assembly office at (562) 402-4893.

8pm—3-Day/3 Performances of Puppets Retake Northeast LA kicks off at the Highland Park Ebell Club: 131 S. Ave 57, Highland Park, 90042. Additional performances June 6th kicks off with Leslie Gray’s moving shadow puppet story of a river rescue (adult themed); June 7th (8pm) toy theater show about the development of LA; June 8th (12 pm) family friendly program includes Gina Pavlova’s sly use of ordinary objects to tell fairy tales and a special historic show recreation from the vaults of the International Puppetry Museum in Pasadena. Advance registration strongly suggested at: For more information, go to or call (323) 850-8566.

Friday, June 7

5-10pm—Celebrate LA! A Free Family-Friendly Street Festival at Grand Park In Downtown Los Angeles. Event will include live music, art, and food and a tribute to Mayor Villaraigosa by former President Bill Clinton. Main stage performances by Grammy-winning artist Pepe Aguilar, the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, and a special evening appearance by Plácido Domingo. Grand Park is multi-street open space stretching from City Hall to the Music Center – Spring St to Broadway, between First & Temple.  For more information visit or call (213) 365-0605.

Saturday, June 8

8-11am—Ready to Learn to Swim? Commerce residents can sign up for summer swim lessons at Rosewood Park: 5600 Harbor St. Slots fill up fast, so register early. For more information, call (323) 887-4427.

3-5pm—Opening Reception Arroyo Arts Collective’s “Birds of a Feather” Art Exhibit at the Audubon Center at Debs Park. Exhibit features five women artists concerned with the birds found in Northeast LA community working in a variety of media. Exhibit runs through Aug. 31, Tues-Saturdays 9am-5pm. Free admission. The Audubon is located at 4700 N. Griffin Ave., Highland Park, 90042. For more information, go to

Monday, June 10

6:30-7:30pm—Budgeting and Saving Class at the Benjamin Franklin Branch Library: 2200 E. 1st St. LA 90033. Make your money go further and set goals to save for future plans, such as college and retirement. For more information, call (323) 263-6901.

7pm – “The Taco Maker/El Taquero,” a “Chicano slasher dark comedy” film set in Boyle Heights presented by Teatro Urbano – Chango Cinema at the Hayworth Theatre: 2511 Wilshire Blvd. LA 90057.

Tuesday, June 11

5-7pm – CALARTS & Self Help Graphics’ Digital Media Student Art Exhibition. Free event featuring visual and digital art works created by local students. Self Help is located at 1300 East 1st St. LA 90033. For more information call (323) 881.6444 or visit

5-9pm—CERB, Collaborative Eagle Rock Beautiful Fundraiser at La Fuente Restaurant, 2256 Colorado Blvd., LA 90041. A portion of every purchase benefits the Eagle Rock Canyon Trail Purchase. Tell your server you are with CERB.

6-8:15pm—Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council Talks Bike Lanes: Presentation on bike lane alternatives to follow up the LADOT presentation last month in Montecito Heights. Location: Ramona Hall Community Center, 4580 Figueroa St.  just south of Sycamore Grove Park. It concludes at 8:15pm.


Attention DREAMers! Free DACA/ Deferred Action Workshop June 13 at the Robert L. Stevenson Branch Library: 803 Spence St., LA 90023. Bring your passport, photo ID, matrícula consular, school records, medical records, immunization records, bank statements, etc. Workshop in Spanish 5-6pm; English 6:30-7:30pm.

Father’s Day Event at the Lou Costello Jr. Recreation Center on June 14. Fathers, grandfathers and father figures invited to BBQ and Indoor Soccer Tournament. RSVP Required for BBQ. The center is located at 3141 E. Olympic Blvd., LA 90023. For more information, call (213) 485-9111. Sponsored by: Council District 14 Jose Huizar, PEPSI, WILL-I-AM, Hollenbeck PAL, Smart & Final, LA Dept. of Recreation and Parks.

Free 12-week Series of Citizenship Classes at the Benjamin Franklin Branch Library, starting June 15, 10am-12:15pm. Prepare for the citizenship interview and exam. The classes are presented by CARECEN in English and Spanish. The library is located at 2200 E. 1st St., LA 90033. For more information, call (323) 263-6901.

Roosevelt High School Music Scholarship Benefit Concert on Wed., June 19, featuring the Roosevelt Alumni Jazz Band & R & B Group performing jazz, Latin jazz, soul and R & B. Admission: adults $10 at the door; High & middle school students with ID $5; elementary students free.  Location: Roosevelt Auditorium, 456 S. Matthews St. LA 90033.

Los Angeles Residents to Vote On City Health Department Proposal

June 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Backers of a ballot initiative to establish a city health department got enough voter signatures to qualify for an election, the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office announced Tuesday.

The city clerk certified 69,480 signatures submitted by the measure’s proponents. Just 41,138 were needed to qualify to be placed on a ballot.

The City Council voted last week to oppose the initiative, saying the county — with about 10 million residents and 88 incorporated cities — was the logical entity to handle public health.

The city dissolved its own health department in 1964 in favor of having the county handle public health services.

Councilman Herb Wesson introduced the resolution to oppose the measure. He said city leaders shifted to county for health services “for financial reasons.”

County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka told the City Council last week that setting up a separate city public health department would create a “very, very difficult and disastrous situation.”

Fujioka said public health services are best handled at a regional level, and “when it comes to the diseases that we monitor … there are no boundaries.”

County Department of Public Health’s Director Jonathan Fielding said fees could go up, and the city may be ineligible for funding now available to the county.

Michael Weinstein, president of the initiative’s sponsor, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said Los Angeles needs a health department that is “nimble and efficient enough to respond in the event of a virus outbreak or epidemic.”

He said members of his organization decided that the “best way to go about it was take to it to the voters, start a debate on how to provide public health services in the county.”

Proponents said voters could expect to see the measure on the June 3, 2014, statewide ballot.

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