As a service to our readers, Eastern Group Publications has for the last thirty-four years made recommendations to our readers about candidates seeking office and an array of issues on local, county, state and national ballots.
We have tried to research the platforms and qualifications of the candidates EGP endorses. We have conducted lengthy interviews with many of the candidates, (not all of them make themselves available), and we have made an effort to assess how well a candidate’s qualifications prepare him or her for the position being sought. EGP has also gone to great lengths to try and assess the impact of policies, proposition, and positions favored by the candidates will have on their constituents.
Is it a foolproof process? No.
In this election cycle, EGP has been impressed by the depth of knowledge of some candidates, while sadly surprised by the lack of knowledge, not to mention familiarity, demonstrated by some of the candidates on issues that have or will come before them if elected.
While there is a learning curve when seeking office, we were distressed by the lack of specifics and clarity shown by some candidates for office. If you don’t do your homework when running, how can we believe you will do it when elected?
While we respect a genuine desire to be of public service, our role is to recommend those we believe are best suited for the office they are seeking.
Bell Gardens City Council
Following years of often contentious and unnecessary squabbles that for a long time did more harm than good for the city’s image, the Bell Gardens City Council has for the most part always managed to put aside petty differences when it comes to getting down to city business.
How long will the new found civility on the council last? No one can say for sure, but the present members of the City Council we believe have not only changed the image of the council but also of the city.
We were particularly impressed by the depth of knowledge on issues impacting the city by two of the incumbents up for reelection, Daniel Crespo and Priscilla Flores. Yes we have been critical of them in the past, now we believe they have proven themselves hardworking, knowledgeable and sincere about the affairs of their city, and have therefore garnered our endorsement for another term of office.
While Sergio Infanzon has demonstrated a strong interest in building strong leaders for the future, and has generously volunteered his time to that end, we are concerned that despite his years on the council he seems less able to outline specific goals and projects for the city than he can for broader initiatives such as helping so-called Dreamers legalize their status and getting them civically involved.
Those are desirable goals, but in the end, being on the city council is about the nuts and bolts of running a city. It’s about keeping the streets clean, parks open and bringing in new business. For those reasons, we are unable to endorse Infanzon for reelection.
Montebello Unified School District
Probably one of most difficult elected offices to hold is school board member.
The treatment and education of our children is often a volatile issue. Parents, educators, activists and leaders of industry and nearly every cause, all want the best education possible for the students in the district. They don’t always agree, however, on how to go about it.
The Montebello Unified School District is the third largest district in the county. And while efforts to reshape and reform education have swept the country, giving rise to charter schools, pilot schools, independent learning academies, and more students being home schooled, MUSD has managed to avoid many of those outcomes by incorporating those educational strategies into its programming. The district has increased the number of dual immersion programs offered, it is including career pathways across the district and has opened a high school specifically designed to help students interested in career and technical studies. The continuation and adult schools are helping many students who would have been left behind get a second chance to succeed, and many are. The district has taken the issue of bullying head on, and supported social programs that shows it understands academic success is not achieved in a vacuum.
Do they do everything perfectly? No. Is there room for growth and improvement? Of course.
The race this time around is more confusing than usual. Four seats are up for grabs on the board. On one of the ballot questions, voters are being asked to select three members for the board. On the other ballot question, they are being asked to select one member for the board. Two of the current council members were appointed to fill vacancies caused when one member died and another was elected to the assembly.
For the first election, calling for the selection of three members, we recommend the reelection of Hector Chacon and Gerri Guzman. We believe they deserve credit for helping to set the policies that have allowed the positive work in the district to flourish. We also recommend the election of Ben Cardenas, who was appointed to the board. We are impressed with how quickly he has started to bring resources to the district and his understanding of funding and other issues the district faces. We urge a yes vote for Cardenas.
As for the fourth seat up for grabs, we believe a change is warranted. We feel the appointed incumbent, Paul Montoya, has failed to demonstrate any new initiative or a very good understanding about how to implement strategies to help the district. He seems unclear about his role on the board, despite being in the position for two years.
So, for the special election, our endorsement goes to Edgar Cisneros, who we believe has demonstrated an understanding of what it takes to bring resources to the district. We feel that he will add new insight and energy to the board.
I grew up in Southeast LA, attending Bell Gardens Elementary as a young child in the eighties. Right next to the 710 freeway, the area was industrial, with asbestos in the buildings and smog in the air. I had my first asthma attack in the third grade, and I still remember the wheezing and discomfort. The asthma attacks frequently landed me at the doctor’s office and in the hospital, impacting my time in school and affecting my grades.
My story is a common story. In fact, it’s a story you can chart geographically. School children who go to schools closer to the 710 in Commerce deal with more health problems related to asthma and allergies than other children. Thirty years later, I still see children walking around our schools with inhalers.
In addition to these health issues, our students also face the challenges of learning in older classrooms – often in portable classroom trailers. These out-of-date classrooms contribute to poor learning environments at schools and drain our school resources. Archaic lighting and air-conditioners are energy hogs that take away precious dollars from our students.
That’s why I was happy to see Proposition 39 pass last November. The proposition will help build energy-saving projects in schools, community colleges and other public buildings. Now, California is looking at how to spend about $2.5 billion over the next five years on buildings where our children are educated and young adults prepare to start their careers.
We need LA-area legislators in Sacramento to ensure that Proposition 39 funds make their way to the Southland. Although more than half of Californians live south of Ventura County, California’s northern counties closer to Sacramento have in the past received a disproportionately larger share of the state’s energy efficiency dollars.
Over the next few months the California Energy Commission will be deciding on guidelines on how to award Prop. 39 dollars. We need LA-area legislators to be alert and ensure that these guidelines don’t disadvantage Southern California schools.
Our community is represented in Sacramento by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, a former educator herself. She understands firsthand the challenges that our students face in going to schools in dire need of updates. With her expertise in this area, I urge her and all our local representatives to work to ensure that Prop 39 funds come home to our community.
With Proposition 39, we can invest funds into important school improvements. We can undertake projects that improve the ventilation in classrooms. We can finally pay to replace deteriorating rooftops – and we can replace them with cooling roofs that will simultaneously reduce school utility bills and keep students healthier.
After all, we know that where you learn affects how you learn. Our students need healthy educational experiences. It’s time to bring Proposition 39 funds home to our community and to build greener environments where our children can thrive and learn in the future.
David Vela is a member of the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education.
Hoping to fill a vacancy on the city’s Library Board of Trustees, Monterey Park is currently accepting applications to fill the last seat on the five-member board in charge of the library’s budget.
The Board of Trustees for the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library is made up of five members who each serve a three-year term. The board members are appointed by the City Council after the applicants are interviewed. Board members do not receive any compensation and are limited to two, three-year terms.
The board makes decisions regarding the library’s budget, circulation, exhibits, and internet usage. The five-member board is also in charge of hiring the City Librarian.
Applications are available on the city’s website or at the City Clerk’s office at City Hall located at 320 W. Newmark Ave.
The deadline for applications is November 7, 2013.
For more information, visit the city website at www.ci.monterey-park.ca.us or contact City Librarian Norma A. Arvizu at 626-307-1418.
A man who claimed he fell asleep while driving struck a fire hydrant near his Boyle Heights home and set off a chain reaction that damaged a neighbor’s car and another neighbor’s house, a Los Angeles police traffic officer said Monday.
The first accident occurred at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday at State and 2nd streets, said Officer Greg McMillan of the Los Angeles Police Department Central Traffic Division.
The man fell asleep, said McMillan. “That’s what he told us. Then he hit his neighbor’s car, and his neighbor’s car deflected and hit another neighbor’s house where there’s stucco damage.”
There was some damage to the sleepy driver’s car and the neighbor’s car, McMillan said. The fire hydrant broke away and water shot into the air until the fire department shut it off.
The motorist got a citation for “sleepy driving,” he said. The neighbors whose car and house were damaged took it in stride.
“They all acted neighborly,” McMillan said.
Saturday, Oct. 26
5-9pm: Opening Reception of En mi Corazón ~ Dia de Los Muertos/Day of the Dead Group Show at Corazón de Los Angeles at the historic Olvera Street Marketplace. Participating artists: Dave Sanchez, George Yepes, Jorge Guillan, Rosie Guajardo, Oscar Magallanes, Maryanne Luera, Paula Torres, Andrea Hibbard, Ozzie Carmona, Hugo Martinez, Rafael Cardenas, Daniel Esparza and Deborah Blanco Flores’ Offering from my Soul, a mixed media Ofrenda/Altar. Also take part in the Annual Olvera Street Novenario (procession) that same night. Corazon LA is on Olvera St., W-19a (upstairs). For more information, call (213) 617-0227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, Oct. 25
3-6pm—Aldama Elementary 2nd Annual Harvest Festival. Enjoy games, food, prizes & music. 50¢ per game or buy “Ultimate Play Pass” for $10. All proceeds will go to the school’s classrooms. Aldama is located at 632 N Ave 50, LA 90042. For more information call the school at (323) 255-1434.
6-9pm—Opening Reception: Sacred Memories Exhibit at the Pico House-El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument in Downtown LA: 424 N. Main St. Open Sat-Wed through Nov. 24, 10am-3pm. Special Hours Nov. 1-3, 10am-8pm. For more information, visit www.elpueblolacity.org or call (213) 485-8437.
7pm—Olvera Street Merchants 9-day Novenario-Dia de los Muertos Processions & Celebration begins. Day of the Dead Celebration includes live musical entertainment, Aztec and folklorico dancers, great food, art exhibits & children’s art classes on Fridays & Saturdays through Nov. 3. All are invited to take part in the nightly novenarios, and to dress for the celebration. For more information, visit www.calleolvera.org.
7-9:30pm—Night of Horror Film Fest at Bell Gardens Neighborhood Youth Center. Bring your blankets to the free family-friendly outdoor screening of “World War Z.” Popcorn and snacks will be sold. NYC is located at 5856 Ludell St. For more information, call (562)806-7667.
Saturday, Oct. 26
11am-12pm—Preschool Halloween Storytime at Montebello Library. Children will listen to spooky stories and participate in an art activity. The event is open to children under 6. Costumes are optional. Montebello Library is located at 1550 W. Beverly Blvd. For more information, call (323) 722-6551.
3-4pm—Teen Spooktackular at Montebello Library. Get ready for Halloween with stories, music, face painting and more. Participants are encouraged to attend the event in costume. Ages 12-18 welcome. Montebello Library is located at 1550 W. Beverly Blvd. For more information, call (323) 722-6551.
Tuesday, Oct. 29
4-5pm—Dia de los Muertos Celebration at East Los Angeles Library. Participants will be able to decorate their own skull to celebrate the day of the dead. The event is open to ages 12-18. Library is located at 4837 E. 3rd St., LA 90022. For more information, call (323) 264-0155.
Wednesday, Oct. 30
4-5:00pm—Make Mexican Sugar Skulls at the Benjamin Franklin Library to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos. This activity is free but supplies are limited. Library is located at 2200 E First St, LA 90033. For more information, call (323) 263-6901.
3:30-5:30pm—Halloween Dance & Costume Contest at Bell Gardens Veterans Park. Dance to the scariest tunes and compete to win prizes for the most creative and scariest costume. Cost is $2 per child. Veterans Park is located at 6662 Loveland St. For more information call (562) 806-7667.
Thursday, Oct. 31
3:30pm–Halloween Stories & Crafts at the Benjamin Franklin Library. Wear your costume for a chance to win prizes. Stick around or come back at 5:30 p.m. for Benjamin Franklin’s 1st Halloween Family Movie Night. Library is located at 2200 E First St, LA 90033. For more information, call (323) 263-6901.
6pm—Commerce Halloween Parade & Festivities At All City Parks. Event is free and trophies will be awarded to various age groups for best costume, best decorated pumpkin, and best pet costume. For more information call (323) 887-4434.
Today, Thur. Oct. 24
10am-1pm—Free Health Fair at Arroyo Vista Family Health Center location in El Sereno and Saturday in Highland Park. Children and adults can receive free health screenings, vision, dental, blood pressure, hearing, podiatry, or get a health review for the entire family. Visit health education exhibits, nformation on how to enroll in insurance programs through Obama Care. Free PAP smears by appointment only. El Sereno location: 4837 N. Huntington Drive, LA 90032. Call (323) 225-0024 for more information. Fair repeats Saturday, Oct. 26, 10am-1pm, at the Clinic in Highland Park: 6000 N. Figueroa St., LA 90042. The clinic can be reached about the health fairs or services and programs offered by Arroyo Vista Family Health Center, call (323) 987-2000.
6:30pm—Montebello Town Hall Meeting with Caltrans at City Hall. Residents can ask questions & share concerns over CALTRANS maintenance: issues with flooding, freeway emissions, freeway noise and security. Montebello City Hall is located at 1600 W. Beverly Blvd. For more information, call (323) 887-1437.
Saturday, Oct. 26
7:30am-12noon—Community Cleanup Day at Barnes Park in Monterey Park. Help paint walls, handrails, picnic tables and playground equipment. RSVP required. Barnes Park is located at 350 S. McPherrin Ave. For more information, contact the recreation department at (626) 307-1388.
8:30am-3pm—College and Career Fair at the Mendez Learning Center in Boyle Heights. Students and parents can learn about financial aid, college readiness for AB540 students, and more. Reps from over 20 colleges and universities will be available to discuss career and college prospects. Mendez is located at 1200 Plaza del Sol. For more information, call (323) 981-5400.
9am-3pm—Too Toxic to Trash: Free LA County Hazardous & E-Waste Roundup at the Huntington Park City Yard. Safely discard household hazardous waste such as antifreeze, unused pharmaceuticals, car batteries, used motor oil, paint, pesticides, home-generated sharps waste such as hypodermic needles, pen needles, syringes, lancets, and intravenous needles, universal waste including household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, and electronic waste (e-waste) such as TVs and monitors, computers, VCRs, stereos, and cell phones. The Huntington Park City Yard is located at 6900 Bissell St. Huntington Park. For more information, call County of LA Dept. of Public Works at 1(888) CLEAN LA or go to www.888CleanLA.com, contact LA County Sanitation Districts at 1 (800) 238-0172 or www.lacsd.org.
10am-12noon—College Fair at Schurr High School –Presented by MUSD & Sen. Ron Calderon. College & university reps. will discuss their schools, application process, financial aid and more. Schurr is located at 820 N. Wilcox Ave., Montebello 90640. For more information, call (323) 890-2790.
10am-8pm—White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights Invites the Community to 100th Year Homecoming Sabbath Celebration, a special day of worship, fellowship and various activities. Celebration begins with a Centennial worship service at 10am, followed by a complimentary lunch and a concert by Christian music vocalist Sandi Patty at 7pm. White Memorial is located at 1720 E. Cesar E Chavez Ave. LA 90033. For more information, visits www.whitememorial.com/Centennial
8am—Youth Fishing Derby at Whittier Narrow Recreation Area-North Lake, hosted by the Montebello Police Dept., Daniel Hernandez Youth Foundation & LA County Parks & Rec. Open to ages 5-15; no adult fishing allowed. Limit one rod per youth. Participants must register: begins at 8am; Fishing from 9am-Noon. Location: 751 S. Santa Anita Ave, South El Monte, Area D-Santa Anita Entrance. For more information, call (562) 865-3764.
To submit an event or announcement to the Community Calendar, e-mail email@example.com. All submissions are subject to space availability. Paid advertising available for guaranteed calendar placement. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 300 people took advantage of free health resources offered at the Beverly Hospital health fair held last weekend in Montebello, including many people who would otherwise not have access to health care services.
The event offered lectures, health screenings, flu shots and information booths from different departments at the hospital as well as outside agencies.
Especially popular were the free flu vaccinations, with the 200 available doses being administered within two hours of the fair’s opening.
Alicia Zavala, 62, attended the fair in hopes of getting one of the free flu shots, but was out of luck. She, and others like her, were however able to take advantage of other free services, such as blood pressure check ups done by a Beverly Hospital nurse.
Over 60 people also had their feet checked at a diabetic foot screening station and received information from RN Rocky Estrada on how to take care of their feet.
“Most people, if they don’t have health insurance, they aren’t getting professional help,” Estrada said. “They’re listening to what their friends and family tell them and it may not be the right thing” to do when it comes to caring foot problems that can be more complicated to handle when the patient has diabetes.
The hospital also offered blood screenings at a nominal cost, pulmonary screenings, CPR demonstrations and a glucose screening.
Rene Barraza, American Heart Association community educator, demonstrated to both adults and children how to perform hands-only CPR, a resource she says residents may not normally be exposed to.
“When you think of CPR you imagine you have to sign up, you have to pay for it and spend all day, and that’s really discouraging for people,” she said. “[Attendees] were able to leave today knowing how to do something.”
Lectures on what to expect during a heart attack and the complications of diabetes were also held. Each session included a question and answer segment with doctors from the hospital.
Montebello residents, like Sara Fierro, 78, were also able to get information from the a variety of participating organizations, such as the East Los Angeles Woman’s Center, The Los Angeles County Department of Health and various fitness groups.
“The fair is a wonderful thing for the city of Montebello,” Fierro told EGP. “Its very helpful for everyone, no matter what needs they have.”
Montebello resident Bernice Peralta told EGP she liked the different booths and screenings at the health fair because it helped people who might otherwise find it hard to see a doctor.
“They should hold these [health fairs] more often,” Peralta said. “They provide great information for people who don’t have health insurance, low-income especially.”