Homeowners and pet lovers got loud Monday night during a public hearing over a proposed dog park at Garvey Ranch Park in Monterey Park.
The meeting was heated, with both sides trying to convince the Recreation and Parks Commission to either axe or move forward with the proposal for the off-leash dog park, which if approved would be built on a vacant lot next to the tennis courts along Orange Avenue.
Nearly 50 residents attended the special commission meeting where the city’s Director of Recreation and Community Services, Dan Costley, reviewed the plans. He said the venue would only be open during daylight hours and the park would be divided into two separate areas: one for small dogs, the other for larger dogs.
But opponents of the project, many who said they live near the park, cited concerns that more noise and smell would be an unwelcome byproduct of the park’s opening.
“We have dog poop all over the area,” resident Leanord Lee said. “I know we have responsible pet owners, but we have a lot of irresponsible owners too.”
Others, like Peter Wong, said they are worried because the canine venue would be the first of its kind in the area, and would likely attract residents from other cities, causing more traffic in the park’s already congested parking lot.
“I talked to all my friends in other cities and they said. ‘Great, I’ll bring my dog over there,’” he said.
Supporters disagree with claims that the project will lead to unsanitary conditions at the park. Emily Sasha said in her experience people at dog parks “self regulate” and are “responsible pet owners.”
“When you go to a dog park people are watching, so you are more likely to clean up after your pet,” echoed Armen Sebastian.
Their insight held little sway with others at the meeting who demanded that the commission look into other uses for the project money and vacant lot.
Look at opening a community garden instead, suggested Pete Miller.
The city owns the lot in question but according to city staff, the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District underground pipes make it unlikely that they would approve a project that makes it difficult for them to quickly get to the lines in an emergency.
Sgt. William Estrada, the city’s sole animal control officer, tried to reassure residents about the project: “I’m not here to take sides,” he started to say, but was quickly ambushed with complaints about the city’s lack of staffing in the department.
“It looks like you can’t even handle one dog problem in the city,” one resident said. “Why do we need another dog problem?”
Estrada said fears that the dog park will lead to more injuries and barking are unwarranted. He said facilities of this type often help pets learn to socialize and become less aggressive.
Dog owner Christina Nuñez agreed with Estrada. She said there are many homes in the city with small yards and that a dog park would actually help ease barking issues.
“There’s hardly any dogs barking [at dog parks],” Nuñez said. “Dogs bark when they are tied up in the backyard and not getting enough exercise.”
Some of the opponents said they believe building the park is too costly.
Costley assured residents the city does not think the project will cost the entire $80,000 included in the 2013-2014 budget as part of the $3.2 million Park Master Plan for capital improvements.
Resident Henry Em, however, pointed out that project is a “long term investment,” and would require ongoing maintenance and insurance costs, given the potential for lawsuits.
The meeting at one point seemed to get out of control, as residents raised their voices to speak over one another in response to one woman’s statement that she’s worried the park will “attract undesirables” who will cause trouble in her neighborhood.
Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian pleaded with opponents to “open their minds” to the idea of a dog park “in their backyard” instead of trying to close the city off to people from other areas. She said she didn’t want the city to be known as a place where they labeled people as “undesirables.”
“Is that the type of community we are? If somebody would have said that to each one of us we wouldn’t be residents right now,” she said.
A dog owner and project supporter, Real Sebastian said if everyone who complains about “irresponsible pet owners” would just approach them [and let them know how they feel]; guess what they will [pick up after their pet] next time, she said.
The mayor also criticized city staff for not providing an updated visual of the project, as pointed out by resident Larry Sullivan.
“That land is not being used right now… the city should do something with it,” Sullivan said. “But [today] we don’t get a conceptual view of what is being presented.”
City staff originally considered locating the dog park at Elder Park, but withdrew those plans following a hearing in July where residents expressed concerns about the site’s close proximity to homes and schools.
The commission is expected to make its recommendation to the city council sometime next month.
Commerce Mayor Pro Tem Lilia Leon and Councilwoman Denise Robles were served with Notices of Intention to circulate recall petitions at Tuesday night’s city council meeting; two other council members were served last month.
At this point, only the city’s mayor, Joe Aguilar, seems to have avoided the recall flurry.
The same backers of the effort to recall councilmembers Ivan Altamirano and Tina Baca Del Rio, who were served last month, also at a council meeting, are also targeting Leon.
A different group is spearheading the recall of Robles, who is often at odds with her colleagues on issues that go before the council.
On Wednesday, Leon told EGP that she “allowed” herself to be served at Tuesday’s meeting so that if the recall effort qualifies for the ballot the city will avoid the cost of two separate recall elections. She denied accusations that she had been hiding out to keep from being served, telling EGP that a recent hip surgery was making it hard for her to get around, as well as causing her a lot of pain.
Leon said she prefers being on the recall ballot with “Team L.I.T.” (Lila, Ivan and Tina) rather then forcing the city to spend “another $50,000 on another election.”
Robles’ recall, however, came as a surprise to many, except perhaps to her. According to Robles, at the Oct. 8 meeting she felt current council members who believe she is behind efforts to recall them were threatening her with recall.
According to Altarmirano, Robles told council members that a recall proponent had threatened to recall her as well if she kept pushing him to stop his recall campaign.
Robles called the recall efforts against her unmerited. In an email Wednesday to EGP, she said she plans to file a complaint against Altamirano, Leon and Baca Del Rio with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for their “bullying tactics,” and for “making threats against my person in a fashion unbecoming to elected officials.”
She said she also plans to report Commerce City Attorney Eddie Olivo to the California State Bar for ethical violations, specifically for allowing council members to “threaten” her and for not helping her assert her freedom of speech rights.
Mayor Aguilar has said the recall election could cost the city upwards of $33,000, not including staff costs.
Leon, Altamirano and Del Rio were elected just six months ago. Robles is up for reelection in March 2015.
Meanwhile the Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC) has confirmed that complaints have been filed against Altamirano and Del Rio by former Commerce council candidate Jaime Valencia and Resident Miguel (“Mike”) Alvarado respectively.
Valencia’s complaint against Altramirano alleges the councilman had failed to submit his campaign finance disclosure forms due on July 31. Altamirano told EGP on Wednesday that he filed the required 460 form 30 days late.
Alvarado’s complaint against Del Rio charges her with not filing required post-election documents, and inconsistencies in her pre-election financial reports, and also noted her history of not filing documents in a timely manner.n Tina was fined $26,000 in 2011 for not filing forms from 2005 to 2006, his complaint says.
The Commerce City Clerk’s Office on Wednesday confirmed that both De Leon and Altamirano are now current on their campaign filing statements.
The FPPC has confirmed they are in receipt of the complaints and are looking into them, but they have not yet made a determination as to whether the allegations have merit.
Valencia, who has identified himself as the spokesperson and primary proponent for the recall against Leon, Altamirano and Del Rio, denies accusations that he is just a disgruntled former candidate, and says the FPPC complaint and recalls have evidence behind them.
“…Like I said, the history [Del Rio’s campaign filings] goes back to before I got involved in politics,” Valencia told EGP on Tuesday.
“We’ll see how the recall takes course, I think I have more proof than I ever did before.” Valencia says other proponents of the recall are afraid to take the limelight because the council members—Del Rio in particular—are “vindictive.”
“One of the things I wanted to tell you, during last night’s council member reports, they were using last week’s [EGP] article to discredit me or to discredit the recall, and they were attacking me, I wanted to use this to show you how vindictive they are as to our last conversation,” Valencia said, underscoring his public admonishment as proof that council members retaliate against their critics.
Del Rio did not respond to EGP’s request for written comment on this article.
The Los Angeles Dodgers avoided elimination, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-4, in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, as Adrian Gonzalez hit two solo home runs and Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis hit one each.
The home runs were the Dodgers’ first of the series and tied their team record for home runs in a postseason game, initially set in Game 4 of the 1977 World Series and tied in Game 1 of the 1978 National League Championship Series.
Zack Greinke was credited with the victory, allowing two runs and six hits over seven innings, striking out four and walking one.
Brian Wilson pitched a perfect eighth inning with one strikeout. The Cardinals got two runs and four hits off Kenley Jansen in the ninth before a crowd announced at 53,183. Jansen struck out three.
Joe Kelly allowed four runs and seven hits over five innings and was
charged with the loss.
St. Louis leads the best-of-seven series, three games to two. Game 6 will be played Friday in St. Louis. Game 7, if necessary, would be played Saturday, also in St. Louis.
Gonzalez broke a 2-2 tie with his third-inning home run. Crawford homered in the fifth and Ellis in the seventh. Gonzalez hit his second home run in the eighth.
The Dodgers opened the scoring with two runs in the second. Gonzalez led off with a single, advanced to second on Yasiel Puig’s one-out single. Juan Uribe followed with a single, driving in Gonzalez and advancing Puig to second. Puig moved to third on Ellis’ foul out and scored on Greinke’s two-out single.
The Cardinals tied the score with two runs in the third. Carlos Beltran tripled in Matt Carpenter, who singled, and scored on Matt Holiday’s double.
Construction may soon begin on a new Huntington Park soccer field, a project that is moving forward with the help of a half million-dollar contribution from the city of Vernon.
At Tuesday’s Vernon City Council meeting, Huntington Park City Manager René Bobadilla and Public Works Director James Enriquez updated the council on the progress being made on the soccer field project at Salt Lake Park, which is estimated to cost $874,000.
Vernon last year contributed $124,000 to fund the design phase of the soccer field and this past August agreed to donate another $500,000 to fund construction. A $250,000 grant from Los Angeles County will cover the remaining costs, according to Enriquez.
Vernon’s contribution is being made as part of the “good neighbor policy” it adopted in response to efforts to disincorporate the city, and a deal brokered with State Sen. Kevin De Leon that called for the city to improve its relations with neighboring cities in order to mitigate the “decades of noxious air released from Vernon.”
The city council in 2011 established what is now known as the Vernon Community Fund (VCF), which was supposed to set aside $5 million annually for 10 years; a funding goal the city has yet to achieve.
Vernon set aside $3.2 million in the 2012-2013 fiscal budget and $2 million during the 2013-2014 fiscal budget. Revenue from the fund is being used to finance the city’s contribution to the Huntington Park soccer field project.
“There’s a long history with that field and without your funding we couldn’t make that happen,” Bobadilla told the council.
The project calls for the installation of two half-size, artificial turf soccer fields to accommodate seven-on-seven adult games, similar to the recently completed soccer fields at Bell Garden’s Ford Park. In addition, after speaking with residents and community members who would use the field, the project plan was updated to include a full-size soccer field that can be placed over the two smaller fields for more traditional adult use.
“The community is really excited,” Enriquez said. The project is not only important to the city of Huntington Park but to the community Salt Lake Park is the largest park in the city and surrounding area. Despite the field’s current uneven condition, residents from Huntington Park and neighboring areas continue to play there, Enriquez told the council.
“People love playing soccer there,” he said. “We keep having trouble keeping up the natural turf because of the very intense use that it gets year round.”
To address the “heavy usage,” they hope to surround the soccer field with decomposed granite or artificial turf, if it fits into the budget.
Existing lighting will allow the field to continue to be used for night play.
Bobadilla told the council that construction was initially delayed to ensure sufficient outreach to the public, a “vital component” of the project.
The field is expected to open in May 2014, “in time for the fall soccer season,” Enriquez said.
Councilmember Michael A. Ibarra said he is glad the public had input in the final design.
The longtime Vernon resident said he and his family have all played soccer at Salt Lake Park.
“I know a lot of people and soccer is a big item,” he said. “I’m happy that the city of Vernon was able to help.”
A local priest who has made it his mission to transform the lives of some of the region’s forgotten and ignored youth will be honored next week as a Local Hero by Union Bank and KCETLink.
Father Richard Estrada, founder and board president of nonprofit Jovenes Inc., is one of two individuals singled out for recognition during Hispanic Heritage Month: the other is Robert García, founding director and counsel of nonprofit The City Project.
The Local Heroes program recognizes and pays tribute to exemplary leaders who are making a difference and enriching the lives of others by improving their workplace, community, region and the world, according to the award announcement from Union Bank and KCETLink.
Founded in 1991, Boyle Heights based Jovenes Inc. helps homeless youth get off the streets and into a safe haven where they can start to turn their lives around with the help of supportive services and resources, such as case management, employment, life skills training, leadership development and mental health assistance.
Father Estrada told EGP that while he is personally honored to have been chosen by Union Bank and KCETLink, more importantly the award gives him the opportunity to talk about ministering to the needs of young people left behind by society.
“It’s recognition that they exist,” he said.
“So many of these young men, especially those who come from foster care, or who are separated by immigration, have a whole lot of pressure and problems, and this award allows me to talk to people in a bigger arena” about the challenges they face, Father Estrada told EGP during a recent phone interview. He said it gives him a chance to talk about the help they need to provide Jovenes’ youth opportunities and skills to reach their goals and become productive members of society.
Father Estrada told EGP that it means a lot that people he knows pushed his nomination.
“Wow, that’s a real honor,” he says he thought when he was informed of the honor.
“I am excited, people I am close to are very excited,” he said. “I’m 71 years old, I’m not retiring, I’ve been at this for a very long time,” he said.
“So many of us that have been around in the Chicano movement, immigrant rights movement, we have so many experiences and stories to tell. We really want to connect with young people to keep continuing in La Lucha (the struggle),” Father Estrada told EGP. “Not only as mentors, but as elders” of the civil rights movement, he said.
He acknowledges that progress has been made since he first started in the civil rights movement, but believes there is still a lot more to accomplish. He hopes it is a challenge that will be taken up by the next generation of young people, especially Latino immigrants, “the dreamers,” he said. “Hopefully their activism will continue, and they will not forget after they get their diplomas and citizenship,” he added.
He said the challenge to get people involved is greater today. “I have done this before, I am familiar with the territory. I want the great kids at Jovenes to become great men.”
“I would love for all the youth at Jovenes to become part of the movement, but I understand that they have a lot of work to do getting their life together, it’s really hard,” he said. “I’m inspired by them,” he said.
Like Father Estrada, Robert García has also been making a positive difference for many years. The City Project’s legal and policy advocacy team engages, educates and empowers communities of color and low-income communities.
Working with community allies, Mr. García and The City Project helped stop the building of 32 acres of warehouses near Chinatown, instead bringing about the opening of the Los Angeles State Historic Park, also known as the Cornfield. He also helped prevent land on the Rio de Los Angeles State Park at Taylor Yard to be used to repair railroad cars.
“We are proud to recognize these two remarkable men who give so much of themselves,” said Union Bank Senior Executive Vice President Pierre P. Habis, head of Community Banking. “Their passion for improving our communities is admirable, and while they positively influence all of our lives, the impact they have on our youth and underserved is extraordinary.”
Los senadores Kevin de León y Ricardo Lara el miércoles instaron al Tribunal de Quiebras de EE.UU. del Distrito de Delaware que permita las demandas por lesiones personales presentadas por los residentes locales durante los procedimientos de quiebra de Exide Technologies, la planta de reciclaje de baterías polémica ubicada en la ciudad de Vernon, según el comunicado de prensa.
Los residentes de Vernon y las comunidades cercanas que han sido notificados por el tribunal, tienen como fecha limite el 31 de octubre para presentar pruebas con su reclamación por daños incurridos debido a la planta de Exide, que se encuentra en procedimientos de quiebra.
En una carta al Juez Kevin J. Carey, León pidió, en nombre de los cientos de miles de componentes que pueden haber sido afectados por las emisiones tóxicas e ilegales provenientes de Exide Technologies, que la corte permita que los residentes tengan más tiempo para someter sus reclamaciones.
“Las demandas por lesiones personales de este tipo no sólo son complicadas, pero también son difíciles de investigar, evaluar y documentar. Ese trabajo no se puede lograr en cuestión de unas pocas semanas, o incluso meses. Nuestros constituyentes han sido objeto de contaminación proveniente de Exide durante décadas, y debido que las posibles reclamaciones no involucran daños físicos o económicos inmediatamente obvios, se merecen más tiempo para ser evaluados por los daños que han sufrido”, escribió De León.
Una respuesta por la corte no fue rápidamente disponible.
El grupo Vigilancia Vecinal Resurrección en Boyle Heights durante su próxima reunión, este lunes 21 de octubre a las 6 p.m., tratará el tema de los formularios de reclamación. La reunión se realizará en la sala de la Iglesia Resurrección, ubicada en 3324 Opal St, Los Angeles, CA 90023.
Se les anima a los residentes que busquen consejos legales de un abogado si desean someter una reclamación al Tribunal de Quiebras antes del 31 de octubre, fecha tope.
La cuestión de las reclamaciones se planteó en la reunión acerca de Exide en Boyle Heights el pasado 8 de octubre. Durante la reunión De León, acompañado por Lara y el Presidente de la Asamblea John Pérez expresaron su compromiso a ayudar a los residentes de Boyle Heights y otras comunidades afectadas, para cerrar la planta que ha repetidamente emitido químicos dañosos en el aire y a la tierra mientras operaba bajo un permiso temporal por mas de 30 años.
Durante la reunión los residentes y los funcionarios expresaron su descontento con los reguladores locales y del estado acusándolos de no hacer lo suficiente para proteger la salud de cientos de miles de personas que viven y trabajan en el área.
“Generaciones se sienten ignorados por las mismas personas que los deben de proteger,” Pérez dijo a los funcionarios de calidad de aire y control de sustancias tóxicas. “Cuando vemos las décadas de daños a esta comunidad, es imperativo que ustedes hagan todo lo que puedan para cerrar a los ofensores.”
Durante la junta, residentes y activistas pidieron la cierre permanente de la planta. El público estaba insatisfecho con las respuestas de los reguladores a sus preguntas, e irrumpió gritando en coro “¡ciérrenla [planta]!”
Senators Kevin de León and Ricardo Lara on Wednesday called for the District of Delaware U.S. Bankruptcy Court to exempt personal injury claims by local residents from the bankruptcy proceedings of Exide Technologies, a lead battery recycling plant in the City of Vernon.
Residents of Vernon and surrounding communities have been notified by the court that they have until Oct. 31 to submit proof if they want to file a claim for damages against Exide, according to a statement from De Leon’s office.
A meeting will be held in Boyle Heights on Monday to help residents fill out claim forms.
But according to De Leon and Lara, potential health victims of Exide’s harmful emissions are not like other possible claimants.
“On behalf of hundreds of thousands of constituents that may have been harmed by illegal toxic emissions by Exide Technologies, we respectfully request that the Court explicitly exempt personal injury claims from the General Bar Date in the Exide reorganization proceedings,” state De León and Lara in their letter to Judge Kevin J. Carey.
“Personal injury claims of this sort are not only complicated, but difficult to research, evaluate and document. That work cannot be accomplished in a matter of a few weeks, or even months. Our constituents have been subject to Exide’s pollution for decades, and because the nature of their potential claims doesn’t involve immediately obvious physical or economic harm, they deserve more time to be evaluated for injury,” their letter states.
De León asks that if an exemption is not possible, the Court should extend the filing date for residents for at least another six months to “give them a realistic opportunity” to prepare their claims.
Residents who have received a claim form regarding Exide’s bankruptcy may be interested in attending the next Resurrection Church Neighborhood Watch meeting in Boyle Heights, where the discussion will focus on how to file a claim.
According to Neighborhood Watch member Teresa Marquez, the Monday Oct. 21 meeting will focus on the imminent filing deadline for seeking damages from the international corporation, which has been under scrutiny for emitting cancer-causing toxins into the local environment.
In an email to EGP, Marquez said it is their understanding that any resident who fails to file the proof needed to file a claim by the court’s deadline will lose their right to go after Exide [later] “for possible wrongdoings due to the toxic pollution [they’ve] released in the area for years.”
Residents are highly encouraged to seek legal advice from an attorney.
The meeting to discuss filing claims will take place at 6pm at Resurrection Church, in the auditorium, at 3324 Opal St, Los Angeles, CA 90023.
La vise alcaldesa de Commerce Lilia León y la concejala Denise Robles el martes por la noche durante la reunión del ayuntamiento, recibieron notificación que son el objetivo de esfuerzos para destituirlas. Además de ellas, dos más integrantes del concejo municipal el mes pasado recibieron su notificación de intención para circular una petición para autorizar una elección de destitución.
Al momento, sólo el alcalde Joe Aguilar parece haber evitado ser incluido como blanco de los esfuerzos de destitución.
Los mismos partidarios del esfuerzo para destituir a León también buscan destituir a los concejales Iván Altamirano y Tina Baca Del Río, que recibieron su notificación de los esfuerzos de destitución el mes pasado.
Otro grupo lidera la destitución de Robles, que seguido esta en desacuerdo con sus colegas sobre asuntos de la ciudad.
El miércoles, León dijo a EGP que ella “permitió” que le entregaran los documentos de destitución en la reunión del martes. Ella dijo que prefiere que si la destitución califica para la boleta electoral, la ciudad se evite el costo de tener que realizar dos elecciones ya que desde el mes pasado anunciaron los esfuerzos de también buscar destituirla, pero por una razón u otra no le habían entregado la notificación.
La noticia de los esfuerzos para destituir a Robles, sin embargo, fue una sorpresa para muchos, excepto tal vez para ella. Según Robles, en la reunión del 8 de octubre se sentía amenazada por los concejales actuales que según ella la sospechan de ser la responsable de los esfuerzos para destituirlos.
Sin embargo, Altamirano afirma que Robles dijo que un residente la había amenazado con destituirla a ella si ella trataba de desalentar los esfuerzos para destituir a los titulares Altamirano, Del Río y León.
El martes en un correo electrónico Robles dijo a EGP que ella planifica presentar una queja en contra Altamirano, León y Del Río con la oficina del Fiscal del Distrito de Los Ángeles por “tácticas de intimidación” y por “hacer amenazas contra mi persona en una manera impropia de funcionarios electos”, ella dijo a EGP.
León, Altamirano y Del Río fueron elegidos apenas hace seis meses en la pasada elección en marzo, mientras que el mandato de Robles se acaba en un año y medio (marzo de 2015) cuando ella puede buscar la reelección.
So, congressional leaders and the president agreed yesterday to end the suspense on whether the debt limit will be raised or not.
Yes, they have decided that it was time to arrive at an agreement that they could have arrived at months ago, without the circus performance.
But it’s only a short reprieve the two sides have agreed to.
U.S. government workers wound up not receiving their pay and vital U.S. government services critical to the public were not performed as a small faction of Tea Party Republicans attempted to hold the budget hostage in order to prevent the funding of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
We don’t believe that the damage they caused to the country’s image and financial stability will go away easily or very soon.
Americans who just recently went through a deep recession, many of them losing their homes, their pensions losing much of their value, and millions of workers losing their jobs, did not deserve the kick in the stomach the threat of another recession had on their already fragile nerves.
And as if the consequences of their actions weren’t serious enough, the U.S. Congress will repeat the whole sorry mess in a few months, since the continuing resolution to hike the debt limit is only good through February of 2014.
We suppose it’s both the Senate and the House of Representatives way of telling Americans they want them to be able to enjoy the holidays. We hope they don’t expect us to thank them.