Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As the city made tough choices in our work to balance the budget, I wanted to make sure that key programs in my district -- particularly for kids -- were protected.

I won't bore you with the accounting details, but working with my staff, we identified "GCP" funds that we could personally direct to mitigate cuts to parks, youth programs and other important services across the district, particularly during the summer when kids are out of school.

We are funding two skate parks, La Conte Skate Park in Hollywood and the Marsh Street Skate Park in Elysian Valley. These parks give young people safe places to hang out, but limited funding has threatened the good they are able to do. Marsh Street, for example, is only open Tuesday through Saturday from 3 pm to 7 pm. Through the funding we provided, the park will be open from 12 pm to 8 pm every day during the summer. In addition, we directed funding to protect the Hollywood Hot Spot summer youth program at Helen Bernstein High.

We also directed funding to the park at Beverly and Union in Historic Filipinotown. Right now, the city cannot assign anyone to open and close the park, making access dependent on when volunteers can be there. This funding will guarantee the park can operate daily from 8 am to 8 pm.

Other initiatives to which we are directing GCP funds include a campaign to make sure people know how they can report graffiti, potholes, trash or other issues by calling 311 or using the new "Garcetti 311" iPhone app; murals on walls and utility boxes, which beautify and prevent graffiti; and initiatives to introduce and attract businesses to Historic Filipinotown.

In addition, we are funding a Nonprofit Leadership Academy to help groups facing tough budget times of their own with tools and assistance to continue providing critical services.