Ready for Some Holiday Cheer? Head On Over to the Annual East L.A. Christmas Parade

November 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s not quite Thanksgiving yet, but that doesn’t matter to the thousands of people who will line up Sunday along iconic Whittier Boulevard to take in all the thrills and excitement of the Annual East Los Angeles Christmas Parade.

Parade celebrities will include: Boxing Champ and Golden Boys Promoter Oscar De La Hoya serving as Grand Marshal; Legendary Marshal, Radio DJ Art Laboe; Celebrity Marshal, Actor and Restaurateur Danny Trejo. From “Telemundo – Acceso Total,” host Stephanie Himonidis, Weather Anchor Michelle Trujillo and stars from the upcoming Telenovela “Sangre de mi Tierra.”

2016 East LA Christmas Parade on Whittier Boulevard attracted 70,000 spectators. (EGP Archive Photo)

2016 East LA Christmas Parade on Whittier Boulevard attracted 70,000 spectators. (EGP Archive Photo)

Joining the celebration from ABC7 are Co-anchor Ellen Leyva, Weathercaster Danny Romero and Reporter Coleen Sullivan; Mandril from Radio Centro 93.9 FM, J Cruz from Power 106, CeCe from 93.5 KDAY, Anthony Citric Campos, William Garza, Thee Midniters, Violeta Martin, Richard Yniguez, Thee Commons, Leyo and many others!

And of course, what would a Christmas Parade be without an appearance by the jolly old man himself, Santa Claus.

For 35 years, the storied East LA Christmas Parade was one of the largest and longest running Christmas parades that focused on the Latino community. Then, in 2009, to the dismay of the community –which we should point out included people from all over Los Angeles County and points beyond – financial woes and other issues shut the parade down for the next 6 years.

Oscar De La Hoya (EGP Archive Photo by Fred Zermeno)

Oscar De La Hoya (EGP Archive Photo by Fred Zermeno)

Not to be held down, in 2016 the East Los Angeles Christmas made a triumphant return thanks to the support of many local education, government, and business partners, according to organizers, who said 70,000 people took in the 2016 festivities.

“New life has been brought into a cherished event that celebrates the community and the holiday season,” say organizers, who add that a special thank you is owed to Los Angeles County Supervisor Supervisor Hilda L. Solis “for supporting the parade as its Presenting Partner, and making the return of the East LA Christmas Parade possible.”

This year the parade promises to be even more spectacular, with dozens of talented local bands, drill teams, singers, folklorico dancers, lowriders, equestrian units, floats, and dignitaries joining celebrities for the trip down the historic Whittier Boulevard Shopping District, and on through the heart of East L.A.

ABC7 Co-anchor Ellen Leyva, Reporter Coleen Sullivan and Weathercaster Danny Romero will be among the celebrities taking part in the 2017 East LA Christmas Parade.

ABC7 Co-anchor Ellen Leyva, Reporter Coleen Sullivan and Weathercaster Danny Romero will be among the celebrities taking part in the 2017 East LA Christmas Parade.

The parade starts at 12 p.m., for its approximately three-hour long march down Whittier Boulevard. You can catch the entire parade from any spot along the route from Eastern Avenue to Goodrich Boulevard. Festivities continue at the East LA Parade Festival at the end of the parade route. where live entertainment and vendors will be selling food until the festival closes at 5p.m

For more information, visit the East Los Angeles Christmas Parade on Facebook.

Over Residents’ Protests, Sups Approve East L.A. Housing Project

July 27, 2017 by · 2 Comments 

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday turned down an appeal by East Los Angeles residents to block the development of affordable rental units at Whittier Boulevard and South Downey Road, pushing forward with plans to fight homelessness.

Supervisor Hilda Solis said such developments are sorely needed to keep more people from losing their homes.

“Were not even scratching the surface,” Solis said, noting that the county’s housing gap between supply and demand amounts to more than half a million units.

Corner of Whittier Boulevard and South Downey Road in East Los Angeles where one of two affordable housing sites approved by County supervisors will be built. (EGP photo by Carlos Alvarez- July 27, 2017)

Corner of Whittier Boulevard and South Downey Road in East Los Angeles where one of two affordable housing sites approved by County supervisors will be built. (EGP photo by Carlos Alvarez- July 27, 2017)

The two-building complex, to be built on two sites across from Calvary Cemetery, will replace vacant commercial buildings.

Downey I — a three-story, 42-unit, garden-style apartment building — will include 1,161 square feet of retail and parking space on the northwest corner of the intersection. Downey II will be four stories with 71 units and 3,208 square feet of retail and parking.

All but two manager’s units will be for low-income residents and 15 percent will include features for renters with special needs.

More than 100 residents signed a letter opposing the project, raising concerns about traffic, parking and the scale of the development in an area of single-family homes and duplexes.

“We acknowledge (that) some form of development on these land parcels is desirable,” the letter reads. “All we humbly ask is that … consideration be given to projects that the community actually wants and that enhance the quality of life for those who already live in this community.”

Many turned out to try and persuade the board, in both English and Spanish, not to move forward.

“There’s already impossible traffic … and I don’t understand how over 400 more residents are going to fit in this community,” said Estela Donlucas, telling the board that her family had lived in the neighborhood for more than 45 years.

Others worried about hazardous contaminants like lead and arsenic.

Soil samples showed “no significant concentration of lead,” but elevated levels of arsenic were found in two areas, one on each site, according to a county fire official in the department’s hazardous materials division.

The developer, Meta Housing, has agreed to handle environmental cleanup before beginning grading on the sites. Asbestos and lead-based paint in the buildings set for demolition will be managed through the permitting process.

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Many residents remained unsatisfied.

“Our houses will be very affected by all these toxins,” Enedina Paz told the board. “I believe you have children and grandchildren and you wouldn’t like for them to be inhaling toxins.”

Voters approved Measure H, a quarter-cent sales tax to fund the fight against homelessness, by nearly 70 percent. However, residents in many communities have pushed back against affordable housing development in their own neighborhoods.

Some Angelenos offered their support.

Fanny Ortiz, a Boyle Heights resident and single mother of five children, including one with special needs who requires 24-hour nursing, said access to affordable housing changed her life.

“I believe housing is a basic human right. We are in a housing crisis and development of affordable housing is an equitable solution,” Ortiz told the board, adding that she once lived in the neighborhood in question.

As a “transit priority project,” the proposed development was granted a California Environmental Quality Act exemption, which means it will not have to report on traffic impacts on global warming or the regional transportation network.

Solis defended the board’s decision, noting that poverty rates in the county have risen above 25 percent. The lowest income renters right now spend more than 70 percent of their income on rent, Solis noted, citing data from the Public Policy Institute of California.

Immediately following the board vote, Solis issued a statement.

“It is evident that both the community and Meta Housing are deeply passionate about quality of life of our residents. Every testimony we heard at the board today had one thing in common: the community and its well-being,” she said.

“I work every day to keep the safety, quality of life and environmental health of our neighborhoods at the highest quality possible, and those values are reflected by our vote to deny today’s appeal,” Solis said. “My colleagues and I agree that Meta Housing has met all requirements to develop this project, including a number of measures designed to meet the communities’ environmental health and safety concerns.”

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