Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lights over Elysian Valley

Originally uploaded by CD-13.
When I first walked through the neighborhood of Elysian Valley in 2001 as a candidate for the district, residents told me two things: fix the sidewalks and give us new lights.

Six years and $1.5 million later, I gathered with the Elysian Valley community in celebration as we activated 135 new lights near the intersection of the 2 and 5 freeways, the first installation in a three-step process that will illuminate a wide swath of the area. We enlisted the support of the Bureau of Street Lighting and worked with the community to identify the darkest corners of Elysian Valley, seeking to light safe passages for families and children and prevent crime in those very same spots. We then went to the office of Congressmember Xavier Becerra, who found federal dollars to match the city's investment. Street Lighting erected uniquely designed lights and installed more than 26,000 feet of underground conduit.

With the first phase complete, the only thing left to do was to turn the lights on. More than 100 Elysian Valley-ites, including scores of students from Allesandro Elementary, turned out in the pouring rain to partake in the official activation of the lights. The lights represent more than safe places for our community at night, more than just another tool in our effort to fight crime that has already seen a 33% drop over the last two years. They stand as 135 new symbols of the resurgence of Elysian Valley, and will light the way for a new generation of children who will thrive in a safer and brighter community.