Commerce Voters Approve Half-Cent Sales Tax

November 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Sixty-seven percent of Commerce voters on Tuesday approved Measure AA; a half-cent sales tax aimed at increasing city revenues to protect services and city jobs.

The preliminary results made available yesterday by the Los Angeles County Department of Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk show that 1,935 of the city’s voters submitted ballots in favor of the measure, while 942 voters (or 32.7 percent) were against the sales tax proposal placed on the ballot by the city council.

The city estimates the sales tax will bring in about $4.5 to $5 million a year, beginning July 1st of 2013, to help fund major services like police and fire, road and sidewalk repairs, maintenance of public facilities, parks, libraries, and other city services.

“That the Measure passed by a significant margin is a clear signal that the community supports public investments which positively impact quality of life in Commerce,” the city said in a press release on Wednesday.

The revenues would help offset $6 million in cuts over the last four years, Mayor Lilia R. Leon said during a series of town hall meetings on the measure held in October.

A citizens’ advisory panel, to be formed in early 2013, will review expenditures of the revenues, according to the city.

Residents and labor leaders previously told EGP they support the sales tax increase especially because of businesses like the Citadel, Commerce Casino, Costco and others that attract consumers to shop and contribute to the city’s sales tax revenue.

Measure AA will remain in effect until rescinded by the Commerce electorate, according to city officials.

Housing Fair to be Held in Highland Park

November 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Hundreds of homeowners are anticipated to attend the upcoming Home Expo & Home Rescue fair on Saturday, Nov. 17 in Highland Park. Information and resources will be available to both first time homebuyers and homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Feria de Vivienda se Realizará en Highland Park

“Participants who are first time homebuyers will get information and resources on how to buy a home; how to get up to $55,000 in assistance if they qualify and learn of homes available for purchase in their area if they qualify. Homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure will be able to meet with HUD authorized counselors for home rescue assistance,” Conrado Terrazas, communications director in Assemblyman Gil Cedillo’s Los Angeles office, said in an email.

The event is presented by Assemblymember Gilbert Cedillo in collaboration with Congressman Xavier Becerra, State Senator Kevin De León, LAUSD Board Member Bennett Kayser, El Centro Del Pueblo, National Council of La Raza, U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The even is being managed by Montebello Housing Development Corporation (MHDC).

Homeowners can receive free HUD counseling services, meet with a mortgage servicer about their loan, discover other available tools and resources, and learn about their legal options.

Homebuyers can learn about good credit, sign up for free education classes, hear about closing cost assistance, learn how to qualify for up to $55,000 in down payment assistance, and learn the steps to qualify for a loan.

Wells Fargo and Union Bank are among the financial institutions supporting the event.

In order to ensure participants get the most out of this fair, they are asked to bring two copies of the following documents:

-Your loan number

-Two most recent pay stubs showing year to date earnings (within the last 30 days)

-Copy of any benefits statements reflecting amount, frequency and duration of benefits

-If self employed, the most recent quarterly or year to date profit and loss statement

-Copy of 2011 income-tax returns

-Two months of bank statements

-Household expense budget

-A letter explaining reasons for current financial situation

-A recent utility bill showing name and property address

-Copy of closing documents and most recent correspondence from your mortgage company

-Most recent property insurance and mortgage statements

The even twill take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Luther Burbank Middle School, 6460 N. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90042. For more information call (323) 722-3955, register at

East L.A. ‘Corner Stores’ Burglarized

November 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Yash La Casa and Ramirez Meat Market, two corner store markets that received a health-conscious makeover in late 2011 and early 2012 respectively, were burglarized over the weekend.

Yash La Casa, located at 3968 Hammel Street, was robbed at about 1 a.m. on Nov.3, and Ramirez Meat Market, located at 3618 Folsom Street, was robbed sometime in the early hours of Nov. 4, according to Nathan Cheng of Nathan Cheng Consulting, who worked with Public Matters through the UCLA-USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD) to publicize the markets’ makeovers.

Both markets were closed and there were no employees in the store at the time of the break-ins, he said.

“It’s clear who ever did this was not just some kid. They [the stores] have tempered glass, they knew how to break them,” Cheng said.

The markets remained open as police investigated the crime. Both locations suffered significant property damage, but Yash La Casa was hardest hit with about $3,000 in damages, and Ramirez Meat Market with $300 in damages, Chen told EGP.

The vandals took the stores cash registers that were connected to scales and miscellaneous inventory item, the remainder of the estimated damages are for the repair of the windows y window frames,” he said.

The UCLA/USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities’ Corner Store Makeover, funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to reduce high rates of cardiovascular disease among Latinos in East Los Angeles. Local organizations, such as Volunteers of East Los Angeles (VELA), also participated in the stores transformations.

Hundreds Apply for Jobs at Downtown L.A. Walmart Neighborhood Store

November 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A temporary hiring center at the Chinatown Service Center has so far received about 650 in-person applications for job openings at a new Walmart Neighborhood Store scheduled to open in early 2013 in Downtown Los Angeles.

Walmart began accepting applications for the new 33,000 square-foot store —located at 701 W. Cesar E. Chavez on the ground floor of a mixed-use and senior housing complex — and as of Oct. 31 had already ready received more than 1,500 applicants for the approximately 65 jobs at the new Neighborhood Store.

“We are thrilled with the number and quality of applicants we’ve interviewed, including those who have a job, but are looking for a better one and an opportunity to start a career with an established company,” said Kenney Tran, store manager, Walmart Neighborhood Market, Downtown Los Angeles in a company issued press release. “There’s been positive reception from the community about the jobs and affordable, healthy food options the store brings to this underserved area.”

Tran said the company is still accepting applications, adding that they are “seeking strong, smart applicants to join us and offers competitive pay, good benefits and the opportunity to build a career.”

On a personal note, Tran said he started with Walmart six years ago and now he is running a new store, calling his career “a testament to the company supporting associates in achieving career goals.”

Construction began on the store in June 2012, despite efforts by some local labor groups and the local councilman to overturn a Los Angeles City planning department decision to grant the corporation the necessary permits to move forward.

Smaller in size than the traditional Walmart store, neighborhood stores offer fresh produce, a full line of groceries, including frozen foods, meat and dairy products, some gluten-free and organic items, as well as a self-serve deli, meats, cheeses, prepared foods and a self-serve bakery, including a cake case.

“I’m thrilled to be an assistant manager after starting my Walmart career in 2003,” said Maria Hernandez, assistant manager, Walmart Neighborhood Market, Downtown Los Angeles.

Interested applicants can apply online at or apply in person at the temporary hiring center located in the Chinatown Service Center, 767 N. Hill St. # 400, Los Angeles, Calif. 90012. The hiring center is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to note that Walmart received 1,500 applications by Oct. 31.

Ex-Commerce Councilman’s Campaign Treasurer Gets Probation

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The sister-in-law and former campaign treasurer of ex-Commerce City Councilman Robert Fierro was sentenced Monday to three years probation for her role in a scheme to sway a federal probe into the campaign’s financial dealings.

Ana Maria Perez, 46, pleaded guilty in January to a conspiracy charge, admitting that she and others tried to obstruct an FBI probe into an illegal reimbursement scheme involving Fierro.

The ex-councilman was sentenced in May to five years probation for his part in the scheme, and his wife faces trial next year.

According to court records, the case stems from Fierro’s recruitment of family and friends to make contributions to his 2004-05 election campaign, in which he secretly reimbursed contributions in cash.

Fierro never disclosed the contributions or reimbursements to the state or on his campaign’s finance records, prosecutors said.

In the spring of 2006, Fierro, his wife and Perez learned that the FBI was conducting an investigation into the illegal-reimbursement scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. At that point, Perez and Fierro tried to influence a contributor to deny the reimbursements in an interview with FBI agents, prosecutors said. They also provided the unnamed contributor with lies he could tell the grand jury to explain how cash ended up in his bank account, according to court papers.

Fierro resigned from his Commerce council post shortly after pleading guilty last February.

Eastmont Benefit Draws Education Leaders

November 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

(Photo courtesy of Pan American Bank)

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Thelma de Santa Ana Melendez, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and Los Angeles Unified School District Board President Monica Garcia on Nov. 2 attended a Casino Night Fundraiser hosted by Pan American Bank. During the event, the Eastmont Community Center Board of Directors presented Melendez the “Inspiration Award” for her work to improve K-12 education. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Eastmont Community Center, which provides a variety of services in Unincorporated East Los Angeles. Pictured left to right: Torlakson, Melendez, Garcia and Pan American Bank CEO Jesse Torres.

November 8, 2012 Issue

November 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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