May 2, 2013 Issue

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Cinco de Mayo Quilters’ Showcase Celebrates TELAS de la Vida

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A club in East Los Angeles started by LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina and some of her close friends is taking the American craft of quilting and giving it a uniquely Latina and Mexican flair.

Better known as TELAS de la Vida, The East Los Angeles Stitchers will hold its first showcase of member produced quilts this Sunday, Cinco de Mayo, at Self Help Graphics & Arts in Boyle Heights.

The East Los Angeles Stitchers (TELAS) celebrate their passion for quilting and love for Latino culture by combing them in and sharing their knowledge with novice crafters. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

The “Quilted Rebozo & Quilt Show” will include one-of-a-kind quilts with Latino themes made by TELAS members. Colorful piñatas, Day of the Dead skeletons, cultural prints and colorful fabrics are some of the designs that will be featured in the show.

Quilting was born out of necessity, according to Molina.

“…People just took old blankets and covered them with new fabric or pieces of used fabric … But I think for us, what we are trying to do is take the tradition of quilting and all the different styles, from handwork and appliqué to machine quilting and patchwork … and add a Latino flair which is really uniquely different,” Molina told EGP.

“And we’re also introducing a whole new thing about our culture, which is the rebozo (shawl),” she said.  The quilted rebozo will be debuted as a new quilting form at Sunday’s exhibit, she added.

They do a particularly good job of showcasing the stitcher’s talent, Molina noted.

South San Gabriel resident Maria Morales has only been quilting for about a year and a half, but on Sunday she will be showcasing a quilted black rebozo with colorful large squares made to resemble papel picado (paper cutouts).

Another a quilt is themed “De Colores,” a folksong often associated with the United Farm Workers. As its name implies, the quilt is bursting with color.

Molina said adding an ethnic theme is not unique in the quilting world. She said other ethnic groups, like Hawaiians, Native Americans and African Americans, have also incorporated their culture into their quilting crafts.

But “they were just waiting for us,” she jokes.

She also noted there are Latina quilting groups in other parts of the country, such as Texas.

A quilt is basically three pieces of fabric, a front and back and usually batting in the middle and it’s quilted, according to Molina. At Sunday’s show people will be able to get a close up look at the quilting process, which will be demonstrated by TELAS members.

And while TELAS members are supportive of each other’s work, they are also a little competitive and have included a “Viewers Choice” rebozo and quilt competition as part of the show.

An array of handcrafted items reflecting the Latino culture, including some quilts and rebozos will also be on sale.

The nonprofit TELAS de la Vida was started in 2011 when a tight-knit group of 6 or 7 friends, including Molina, Gloria Flores, Ida Ramos, Yolanda Barrozo, and Maria Madariaga decided to start their own quilting group. The first gathering in April of 2011 attracted about 30 people. Today the group has close to 70 members, they said.

The group also engages in works of philanthropy, including donating quilts to comfort children in the Los Angeles County foster care system.

They have traveled to quilt shows to pick up ideas and fabrics in places like Kentucky and Puebla, Mexico they told EGP.

“We never expected it to become a passion,” said Molina who started quilting about 17 years ago.

While most quilting shows last several days, TELAS first show will last just one day.

The quilting industry is a billion dollar industry when you calculate in the cost of sewing machines, rulers, gadgets and fabrics, Molina explained. TELAS members are constantly looking for quilt shops and have acquired quite a collection of fabric and more than one sewing machine, she added.

The sewing skills of the group’s members, who come from as far away as San Diego County, Santa Clarita and Albuquerque, New Mexico, range from the novice to the very highly skilled. They meet once a month. The out-of-state member participates by mail in the “block of the month” exchange where members exchange blocks of fabric to create quilts.

The meetings are an opportunity to learn new techniques, share patters and ideas, and perhaps more importantly, a chance to socialize and make new friends.

Morales recalled that she did not know very much about quilting when she attended her first meeting. She took a note pad and pencil intending to take notes, but left having created an iron-on rose. “It was just so inspirational that within four hours I had learned so much,” she said.

A person’s skill level is not what matters, members say.

“Quilting is a very specialized craft, I mean you can either be very precise or you can be as we say ‘very artistic’, where none of the seems match and no one cares because its you expressing your artistic creativity through quilts,” Evelyn Martinez-Zapata said laughing. “It all has to do with colors,” said Martinez-Zapata, who won a ribbon last year at the Pomona Fair for one of her quits.

“I hadn’t touched a sewing machine since high school. It takes practice but I was so thrilled to be able to make a quilt for my granddaughter,” added Alhambra resident Ida Leon Ramos, who also explained that the group’s members are of all ages, the youngest workshop participant being an 8-year-old girl.

The women told EGP that the hours they spend working on their quilt-making hobby are “therapeutic.”

It’s “relaxing” and “fun,” and they really hope people will drop by for a half hour or so to see what they have created, and perhaps become inspired to take up quilting.

The group said Cinco de Mayo seemed like a good time to hold their first show, since the day is a celebration of culture and heritage.

“Come see… then go do the mariachi and tequila thing,” Ramos joked, referring to the other Cinco de Mayo events taking place that day.

“A Quilted Rebozo & Quilt Show” will take place at Self Help Graphics & Art, located at 1300 East First St, Los Angeles, CA 90033. The event is from 12p.m. to 5p.m. and admission is free. Refreshments will be available.

The next TELAS meeting will take place at Centro Estrella in East Los Angeles, from 10am to 1pm on Saturday, June 1st.

For more information, call Ida Leon Ramos at (626) 806-5512. TELAS de la Vida is on Facebook and on Yahoo Groups.


Thousands Rally in Support of Looming Immigration Reform

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Energized by the possibility of immigration reform, about 2,000 demonstrators marched through downtown Los Angeles yesterday at took part in May Day rallies aimed at pressing Congress to enact legislation ending deportations.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in downtown Los Angeles to take part in May Day rallies.(EGP photo by Fred Zermeno)

A massive rally organized by about 20 community groups began around midday at Olympic Boulevard and Broadway, then ended up three hours later at La Placita Olvera on North Main Street. A second march took place along largely the same route a few hours later.

“The ability of immigrants to come out of the shadows and find better jobs is something that’s never been more important,” according to Jacob Hay, spokesman for SEIU United Service Workers West, which helped organize one of the marches. “It’s being able to achieve their dreams in the country they’ve moved to.”

The marches were headed by community organizations, faith-based leaders and labor unions showing support for immigration legislation.

Participants said proposed immigration legislation on the table in Washington, D.C., gave this year’s May Day events special significance.

“We want to see immigration reform so that our students and our parents in our community can can have greater access to the resources that they need,” Erin Glenn, Alliance for a Better Community, told ABC7.

Brandon Lines told the station during the march that young immigrants who were brought to the United States at a young age “are just as American as you and I.”

“If you grow up here from 2 years old, how does that make you any different from me, who grew up from zero years old?” he asked.

Ira Mehlman, national media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group pushing to scale back both legal and illegal immigration, said massive May Day demonstrations don’t resonate with most Americans.

“These marches make the participants feel good, but I think the message the American public gets is quite different,” Mehlman said. “They see all these people demanding to be rewarded for breaking the law. It illustrates that something is wrong with the way we enforce our laws.”

As usual, the annual May Day event made life difficult for people trying to get around the downtown area. But organizers said they believed their cause would not be hurt if a few commuters were inconvenienced.

“This is planned so far in advance that the police have had plenty of time to close the streets and prepare,” Hay said. “If someone experiences a moment of frustration, once they see these families who so desperately want to be citizens, I think they’ll be inspired.”

New Lincoln Heights Traffic Light a Community Effort

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Thirty-three-year-old Cindy Gonzales on Monday morning crossed the intersection of Sichel Street and North Broadway in Lincoln Heights for the first time since that fateful day in 1993 when she was hit by a drunk driver while crossing the street.

As she and her mother Beatrice Gonzales crossed the street, two women exited Sloan’s Dry Cleaners and Laundry to cheer on Cindy. Their eyes full of tears, they reached out and hugged Cindy and her mother.

“A lot of bodies have been picked up here,” said Erica Gallo, 34, who was attending Sacred Heart Elementary with Cindy at the time of her accident. She was referring to the intersection where on Monday morning Cindy and Beatrice Gonzales joined Los Angeles Councilmember Ed Reyes and members of the Sacred Heart Elementary School community to flip on the switch for a new traffic signal where previously only white lines marked the crosswalk.

Over the last couple of decades, Gallo and her mother, who owns the dry cleaning business adjacent to the intersection, have watched as paramedics take away pedestrians hit by cars. They signed the petition for a traffic light started by Beatrice a few years ago after a car there fatally struck an elderly man.

Cindy made a full recovery but not before spending three weeks in a coma and suffering a broken femur, fractured pelvis, hemorrhaging in her brain as well as paralysis and nerve damage on the right side of her limbs, she told EGP. That experience left her terrified, until Monday when for the first time in a long time she felt safe crossing the street.

“About five years after my accident I drove by this street and a girl had just been hit by a car,” said Cindy, adding she stayed with the girl who ended up not being seriously hurt. She gave the girl’s family her phone number in case they needed anything, she said. The hit and run driver in that incident was later arrested, Cindy said.

Beatrice and her supporters gathered over 1,8000 signatures on their petition demanding that the city install a traffic light at the dangerous intersection.

“I am not the one who did it, the community did this,” she said after receiving a commendation from Reyes.

The councilman reminded the children present to look both ways before they cross the street because crosswalk markings and traffic lights don’t always stop cars.

That’s something Reyes understands first hand.

When he was in the first grade he was struck by a car at the intersection of Daly and Broadway. His sister Letty was hit by a car at the same intersection in the 1970s and like Cindy, she too spent three weeks in a coma.

“So pedestrian safety is a very personal thing for me,” Reyes told the children.

He told EGP that during his last 12 years as a councilman, five traffic lights have been installed along the North Broadway corridor in Lincoln Heights. The Sichel Street intersection was one of the last scheduled to be cued up, but the petition helped speed up the bureaucracy, Reyes said.

He said it took about two years to get the signal, which cost $200,000 to $250,000, approved. Like the installation of historic streetlights, the process was slowed by budget cuts, he told EGP.

“The culture of the Department of Transportation has always prioritized the automobile. It’s been a tug-o-war and a fight to prioritize pedestrians. Especially when we have such a high number of transit dependent people because of their income, especially the seniors,” Reyes said.

Peel Away the Layers to Find East L.A.’s Giant Tamale

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Somewhere under the sea foam green paint and beauty parlor sign is the giant tamale-shaped building where countless tamales and hamburgers were once sold in East Los Angeles, but where today hairstyling is the main activity.

The property, often referred to as the “Tamale House”, was recently put up for sale to the dismay of some local residents who fear their neighborhood novelty could be torn down and replaced with just another run of the mill structure.

The tamale-shaped building can be seen on the 6400 block of Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

They want to see the Tamale House designated a historical landmark, as does Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina who told EGP she hopes the current owner will sign off on the idea.

The uniquely shaped building was constructed in 1929 and opened as “The Tamale,” a tribute to the cornhusk wrapped Mexican food it resembled and served in large quantities to its customers in its heyday.

Molina told EGP that numerous people have contacted her office to express support for the iconic building in the 6400 block of Whittier Boulevard becoming a historical landmark as a way to preserve a piece of local history.

“I have fond memories of the building and I think it deserves historic designation,” said Molina. The supervisor, however, cannot pursue the designation from the state without first getting the permission of the property’s owner.

While the Supervisor’s office has yet to contact the buildings owners, Buena Park-based Sky Realty Investments, according to Molina’s Press Deputy Roxane Marquez, they hope to engage in discussions with the owner in the near future to try to obtain the necessary consent.

“I hope it happens, it’s a win-win for everyone.” Molina said. “The community benefits by continuing to enjoy a piece of our local history and the property owner benefits by receiving certain tax credits that can be applied towards maintaining their historic structure.”

She is hoping to boost the incentive for preserving historically significant properties like the Tamale House by establishing a county ordinance that would provide tax benefits for buildings designated as historic in unincorporated East Los Angeles.

She told EGP she expects the ordinance to go before the Board of Supervisors sometime this summer.

In the meantime, Molina hopes more residents and people who work in the community will contact the property owner to express their support for the designation of the Tamale House as a historical landmark.

Century 21 Reality Masters listed the property last week. According to their listing, the $459,000 asking price includes a two-bedroom house in back of the commercial building.

EGP was unable to reach Sky Realty Investments for comment.

Suspect In Boyle Heights Fatal Standoff Identified

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Authorities on Wednesday identified a carjacking suspect who was killed in a shootout with deputies after he barricaded himself in a Boyle Heights apartment.

Edward Ramirez, 35, of Los Angeles, died at the scene of the shooting, which occurred about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday in the 500 block of Fairview Street, according to the coroner’s office and the sheriff’s department.

The incident began in the 300 block of Woods Avenue about five hours earlier, when deputies responded to a report of an armed carjacking.

Deputies saw the vehicle as it entered the westbound Pomona (60) Freeway, and when it exited the freeway they tried to stop it, but it kept going. During the subsequent chase, the suspect tried to run a deputy over, according to the department.

In the 500 block of Progress Place, Ramirez allegedly got out of the vehicle, jumped over a chain-link fence, and pointed a gun at the pursuing deputies, leading to a deputy-involved shooting, the sheriff’s department reported. No one was hit by the gunfire.

Ramirez allegedly ran into the apartment building on Fairview Street and forced his way into an occupied unit, where residents took cover in the bathroom. A sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau deputy with a police dog assisted in the search, and Ramirez allegedly fired at the deputy, but he and his dog escaped injury.

SWAT team deputies then contacted Ramirez, and a crisis negotiator tried to coax him out, but he remained inside, the sheriff’s department reported. Deputies rescued the occupants of the apartment through a bathroom window and also evacuated occupants of nearby apartments.

During the standoff, SWAT deputies fired several rounds of tear gas into the apartment, and Ramirez allegedly came out two times and pointed a handgun at deputies, who fired at him on both occasions, the sheriff’s department reported.

Ramirez later emerged from the apartment and allegedly ran toward deputies, firing at them with his handgun, and the deputies fatally shot him. A loaded .38 caliber handgun was recovered from Ramirez, the sheriff’s department reported.

In addition to the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, the shooting was being investigated by sheriff’s Internal Affairs Bureau, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and the County of Los Angeles Office of Independent Review.

Anyone with information on the case was asked to call the homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500, or Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

Aging Undocumented Immigrants – A Burden or Boon to U.S. Economy?

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As the debate over immigration reform tugs predictably back in Washington, an undercurrent of ageism and disability bias has been flowing beneath more obvious racial and class implications.

Take, for instance, the recent USA Today op-ed co-authored by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., now president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, which warned, “The truly enormous costs come when unauthorized immigrants start collecting retirement benefits.”

DeMint and his colleague continued, “Social Security, Medicare, food stamps and other entitlement programs already impose huge, unfunded liabilities on taxpayers.” The op-ed goes on to declare that “an amnesty” proposed for 11 million unauthorized immigrants will add significant taxpayer costs because unauthorized immigrants average only a 10th-grade education.

Doing the Right Thing

Rather than being a burden, however, according to the Social Security Administration’s chief actuary, those presumed drains on the system have been a boon. They add $15 billion a year to Social Security in payroll taxes, only taking out $1billion annually in benefits. In the long term, immigration reform would modestly cut Social Security’s deficit, not worsen it.

According to Pew Research, that’s partly because of future rising income and home ownership levels for those immigrants’ children.

“Those opposed to immigration reform have attempted to use vital programs, like Social Security, as an economic excuse to avoid doing the right thing,” said Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM).

In a policy brief last week, NCPSSM cited Edward Alden of the Council on Foreign Relations, who has said that immigration reform would actually lead to higher wages and allow immigrants to pay more towards Social Security.

“They’re going to pay more into the Social Security system. The CBO has run these numbers in the past, in the short-run there’s a big boost for the Social Security system,” Alden said.

White House and Senate ‘Roadmaps’

According to a new policy analysis by the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) and National Council on Aging (NCOA), today’s approximately 11 million unauthorized immigrants include 1.3 million individuals ages 45-54, and another half million who are 55 and older.

NHCOA’s Jason Coates and NCOA policy analyst Joe Caldwell examined “roadmaps” to citizenship outlined so far by the White House and the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” with legislation to come in a few months.

Both proposals signal long waits before eligible immigrants could even apply for lawful permanent resident status (green cards) and citizenship. And their access to health care and economic security benefits, especially important to elders and those with disabilities, is in doubt.

Under the current proposals, unauthorized immigrants could end up waiting a decade or more to qualify for health care and other safety-net programs.

While the Senate plan would link the waiting period for being able to apply for green cards to some assurance of border security, the White House has proposed allowing undocumented immigrants provisional status for six-to-eight years before they could become permanent residents. (Both the administration and Senate frameworks would expedite the process for “DREAMers,” agricultural workers, and highly skilled immigrants with advanced degrees in such areas as science and technology.)

Once an immigrant waited through those years on provisional, or temporary status and qualified for a permanent status (the green card), he or she would begin the five-year process toward naturalization. During that time, the White House and Senate proposals would deny them access to federal benefits, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). President Obama’s proposal would deny access to subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. People could have to wait more than a decade for assistance.

Older adults would also have to wait that long to access Medicaid, which is the primary payer of long-term care in the U.S. States can waive the five-year waiting period normally required once someone becomes a permanent resident, but only for pregnant women and children, not for individuals with disabilities or seniors.

Statistics show that six-in-ten undocumented Hispanics is without health insurance.

They would also have to wait another five years – that is about a decade after starting on the path to citizenship – to qualify for federal Medicare.

Many of those 11 million undocumented people are overrepresented in low-paying and often physically demanding occupations, frequently incurring high rates of work-related injuries, and contributing to high rates of disability and chronic conditions over time.

Looming Shortage of Care Workers

The NHCOA-NCOA report also calls on the government to strengthen and stabilize the shrinking direct-care workforce, such as the nursing aides who assist patients with such crucial daily activities as getting dressed, taking medication, preparing meals and managing money.

The advocacy groups say reforms should afford these workers the same streamlined and expedited visa process as those proposed for scientists, engineers and workers in other high-need areas, because the nation is facing a looming shortage of care workers.

The paper explains that as the U.S. population ages, U.S. demand for long-term care will leap from today’s 12 million to 27 million by 2050. The country will need 1.6 million additional direct-care workers by 2020 and 3 million by 2030.

Immigration reform is vital for meeting that projected need, say NHCOA and NCOA, because almost one in four current direct-care workers is foreign born. About half today are naturalized citizens and others have legal status, “but a significant portion is estimated to be unauthorized.”

Policy changes offering these workers authorized immigration status would improve the quality of care, says the paper, by allowing for improved background checks, providing workers opportunities for training and career advancement, building registries to assist individuals and find workers, and enabling workers to legally drive.

“Comprehensive immigration reform will help millions come out of the shadows. Many of the half million older adult immigrants [among them] have worked for decades and contributed millions to Social Security,” said NHCOA’s Jason Coates. Rather than begrudging them income and health security protections they have earned, he added, “We should reward their contributions to the United States.”

Montebello Man Charged in Federal Probe into Drug Ring

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A Montebello man was among nine people charged Wednesday in a federal probe of a drug-trafficking ring allegedly led by two brothers who oversaw the distribution of cocaine to Italy and methamphetamine sales throughout the United States.

Eliseo Carrillo Duarte, 45, is currently in federal custody in Indianapolis after being arrested there in March on unrelated drug-trafficking charges stemming from the seizure of about 10 pounds of meth, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He was among those charged in a seven-count indictment unsealed in Los Angeles which targets the Urena family drug-trafficking organization.

The investigation, dubbed ‘Operation Family Guy,’ resulted in the seizure of about 40 kilograms of cocaine being smuggled into Italy from the Dominican Republic and Mexico, according to federal prosecutors.

The cocaine was being trafficked by female drug couriers allegedly recruited by siblings Milton and Rafael Urena, who were allegedly assisted by their uncle Francisco Javier Vargas-Oseguera and others.

The probe also uncovered a conspiracy to distribute significant quantities of meth and cocaine throughout the United States through the use of vehicles with hidden compartments, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The indictment also alleges that members of the narcotics-trafficking operation laundered drug proceeds from the Dominican Republic through the use of Western Union wire transfers sent to Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga.

Those also named in the indictment are:

—Milton Urena, 29, of the Dominican Republic, who is currently being sought by authorities;

—Rafael Urena, 27, of Rancho Cucamonga, who was arrested Wednesday;

—Daniel Alejandro Agredano Vazquez, 22, of the Dominican Republic, who allegedly oversaw the distribution of cocaine from the Dominican Republic to Italy and conspired to launder drug proceeds, and who is currently being sought by authorities;

—Francisco Javier Vargas-Oseguera, 51, an uncle of the Urena brothers, previously of Seattle and recently of Fontana. He is currently in federal custody in Seattle after being charged in federal court there in relation to his alleged possession of eight pounds of methamphetamine in a case unrelated to Operation ‘Family Guy’;

—Leonel Urena-Partida, 49, of Guadalajara, Mexico, another uncle of the Urena brothers, who allegedly conspired to transport cocaine to Italy, and who is being sought by authorities;

—Carmen Garcia, 35, of San Bernardino, who was arrested Wednesday for allegedly supplying methamphetamine and assisting with the recruitment of drug couriers;

—Jenna Michelle Martin, 25, of Upland, an alleged drug courier who was arrested Wednesday; and

—Beth Rene Ford, 26, formerly of Ontario and now living in the Denver area. The alleged drug courier is expected to self-surrender soon to authorities.

Wells Fargo to Award More Cash Prizes In College Sweepstake

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High students who sign up for a college planning and financial management program offered by Wells Fargo could win $1,000 to pay for college or other expenses if they enroll by June 30.

The Wells Fargo’s CollegeSTEPS program offers helpful college planning and money management tips for parents and students, including how to find scholarships, apply for financial aid, make campus visits, save, budget and manage student loans. Eligible high school students between the ages of 14 and 20 who sign up for the program will be automatically entered in the sweepstakes, which has been expanded to award 520 cash prizes of $1,000 each; $520,000 nationally.

“There is no question that tuition costs continue to rise across the country and can be daunting to college students and their families. There’s also no question that a college degree can increase earnings potential and decrease the likelihood of unemployment,” said John Rasmussen, head of Wells Fargo Education Financial Services.

The deadline to enroll in the sweepstakes is June 30, and will be done automatically when you enroll in the CollegeSTEPS program by visiting http://www.wellsfargo.com/expandedcollegesteps.com. High school students already enrolled in the CollegeSTEPS who want to enter the expanded sweepstakes, should visit http://www.wellsfargo.com/expandedcollegesteps.com and re-enroll by June 30. For complete sweepstakes rules, visit http://www.wellsfargo.com/expandedcollegesteps.com.

Wyvernwood Protesters Join May Day Manifestations

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A boisterous contingent of May Day marchers trekked from Boyle Heights to the steps of City Hall yesterday to protest a proposed $2 billion mixed-use development that would replace a World War II era, 69-acre apartment complex that is home to about 6,000 people.

Later this month, the city Planning Commission is expected to consider a plan by Fifteen Group LLC  to demolish the existing rent-controlled apartments along East Olympic Boulevard and build a mixed-use complex that would include 4,400 residential units, 300,000 square feet of retail and office space, and 10 acres of parks.

City Councilman Jose Huizar emerged from City Hall this afternoon to address the group from Wyvernwood apartments and their supporters, including Comite de la Esperanza and the East L.A. Community Corp., who claim the project would displace 6,000 people, many of whom they say are low-income Spanish-speakers.

“Our community is in danger of being demolished … to make way for high rises and luxury condominiums,” Rigo Amavizca, a life-long resident at Wyvernwood, told City News Service.

Huizar said he opposes the developer’s plan because “it’s too dense,” doesn’t preserve historical areas and lacks community support.

“We are close to the Planning Commission and I haven’t seen anything from the developer yet,” Huizar said. “The developer needs to come out with something that makes sense, and I haven’t seen anything yet.”

Fifteen Group LLC bought the apartments in 1998. The environmental impact report for the redevelopment was completed last December.

The project is supported by unions, including the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

One resident who supports the project said claims that people will be involuntarily displaced are false.

“No one’s being evicted. No one’s being kicked out on the streets,” said Rosario Guerrero, who led another rally comprised of 40 supporters of the project.

Guerrero said the developer’s plan allows for rents to remain the same. In some cases, residents may be given an opportunity to buy units.

She said the vintage-1939 buildings have outdated plumbing and wiring and lack central air conditioning.

“I don’t see why people would not want to improve their living conditions,” she said.

Huizar also questioned claims residents would be displaced, saying residents would be given first dibs on the new units.

“The housing plan, on its face, is a very good one. It’s affordable,” he said. “The issue is density.”

Huizar said he planned to talk to both sides.

“There may be a midpoint here,” he said.

Guerrero said she was not affiliated with the developer and had been a Wyvernwood resident most of her life. She claims she and more than 100 residents have tried unsuccessfully to get a meeting with Huizar.

According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Wyvernwood Garden Apartments was the “first large-scale garden apartment complex” in Los Angeles.

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