Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Congratulations, Rosalia!

For the past few years my office has partnered with Belmont High School to present a Cash for College workshop to help local students access financial aid for college. At these workshops, trained volunteers give students and their families one-on-one assistance with completing the federal student financial aid application. State and federal funding to help college students goes unused every year simply because their families can't figure out how to properly complete the complicated form.

All students who participate in a Cash for College workshop also become eligible to win a Cash for College scholarship through a random drawing. Last week, I got to surprise one lucky Belmont student -- Rosalia Sebastian -- with a scholarship to help her pay for her studies next year.

Congratulations, Rosalia!

Congratulations to the Clean and Connected Communities grantees

Congratulations to all of the applicants who are being awarded Clean and Connected Communities grants for neighborhood beautification projects in our Council District.

You can read more about the program and access a list of the grantees by clicking here.

Upcoming Echo Park Time Bank events

Come learn about time banking at a free public workshop hosted by the Echo Park Time Bank on Saturday, June 11, from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Micheltorena School Community Garden (1511 Micheltorena Street). The event will be followed by bring-your-own- utensils member potluck.

Later in the month, the Echo Park Time Bank will also be hosting the June Saturday Social on June 25 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Echo Park Lake.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council townhall meeting - May 28

The Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council will hold a townhall meeting on Saturday, May 28, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Edendale Library (2011 W. Sunset Blvd.). Neighborhood stakeholders are invited to provide their input on 2011-2012 neighborhood council budget priorities.

For more information, please contact Jose Sigala at 213/308-2826 or jose_sigala@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

LADWP 2011 Business Development Expo

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power host its annual Business Development Expo on Thursday, June 9, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at LADWP Headquarters (111 North Hope Street, Auditorium and A-level lobby).

The Expo will provide valuable information on how to do business with LADWP, and is an opportunity to learn about contracts, programs, products, and services offered by LADWP and other city departments.

Expo participants will also have an opportunity to network with representatives from Merriwether & Williams Bond Assistance Program and the Southern California Minority Business Development Council.

Admission is free. RSVP at DWP.WKY@LADWP.COM. For more information, please call 213/367-EXPO or visit www.ladwp.com/businessexpo.

Check out the new Bicycle LA website

Check out the Bicycle LA revamped website! It’s got all the latest information on LA bicycle maps, parking, public transit access, safety guidelines, cycling resources, and bicycle engineering.

See you out on the road!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Free business workshop

Learn more about the resources available for business owners at the "Your Business Is Our Business" workshop presented by the City of Los Angeles' Community Development Department and the Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment.

Topics will include business tax benefits for those in State Enterprise Zones and Federal Empowerment Zones, opportunities with WorkSource Centers, and the Valley Economic Development Center's citywide finance program.

The event is free and will be held Wednesday, June 1, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Wilshire Boulevard Temple's Stalford Hall (3663 Wilshire Blvd.).

For more information or to RSVP, please contact George Smallwood of the Community Development Department at 213/744-7113 or george.smallwood@lacity.org.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Volunteers needed in Silver Lake

Come paint a mural and enjoy a free scoop of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream this Saturday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Micheltorena Elementary School in Silver Lake! The community-created mural will decorate the school's kindergarten yard.

You can get more information or sign up for event at http://flavorpill.com/thehookup/benandjerrys/enter.html.

14th Annual JVS Strictly Business Luncheon

Last Thursday, I had the honor of presenting an Inspiration Award to Staff Sergeant Steven Walker at Jewish Vocational Services' (JVS) 14th Annual Strictly Business Luncheon.

Walker (pictured with me at right) received help from JVS after returning from his military service in Kuwait. Through a program that serves veterans, JVS arranged for Walker to receive job training in the health care field. He recently completed his training and internship, and is now receiving job placement assistance from JVS.

Founded in 1930, JVS operates 18 training and counseling centers in Southern California, providing comprehensive career services to more than 30,000 people of all faiths each year. JVS serves a wide range of clients from at-risk youth to seasoned professionals to veterans to refugees and immigrants.

Click here for more information about JVS.

Citizenship training classes

The Los Angles Community College Workforce Readiness Academy is offering free non-credit classes to assist in acquiring U.S. citizenship. The courses prepare individuals for the citizenship interview and oral examination. Upon completion of the classes, individuals will receive a Citizenship Skills Certificate of Completion. Classes will be held Tuesdays 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 at the Cypress Park FamilySource Center (929 Cypress Avenue). Please call for registration information at (323) 226-1682.

"Greenlit" to screen as part of Sustainable Saturdays

The Silver Lake Public Library offers a series of free programming to provide information and guidance to residents on sustainable living.

Its “Sustainable Saturdays” lecture series will present a movie screening of Greenlit and a Q&A with director Miranda Bailey on June 4. Greenlit documents the production of The River Why as it works with a green consultant to maintain an environmentally-friendly set. The film screening is free and begins at 11:00 a.m. at the Silver Lake Library (2411 Glendale Blvd).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Come join the Big Parade!

The Big Parade - a two-day community walk - will take place this weekend, May 21 and 22. Angelenos are invited to walk all or part of the route on one or both days.

The 2011 route includes Echo Park, Silver Lake, Downtown Los Angeles, Los Feliz, and more.

For more information about start times and routes, please click here.

Santa Cecilia Orchestra concert

The Santa Cecilia Orchestra will celebrate the music of Mexican composer Daniel Catán at its performance on Sunday, May 22. In addition, the 80-piece symphony orchestra will perform Silvestre Revueltas’s La Noche de los Mayas (The Night of The Mayas) featuring 14 percussionists.

The concert takes place at Thorne Hall on the Occidental College campus (1600 Campus Road) at 4 p.m.
Tickets are $26 for the Level A Orchestra Section, $20 for Level B, and $7 for children under 17 years old (all sections). Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Congratulations to the Sunset Junction Streetscape Design Competition finalists

Thank you to the 59 individuals and teams who submitted their work for the Sunset Junction Streetscape Design Competition.

The jury has selected the following five finalists (listed in no particular order):
  • Meter (Henry Buckingham, Marco Vinicio Monter)
  • All That is Solid (Danielle Wagner, Alex Chew, Max Kuo, Heather McGinn)
  • B Plus U (Herwig Baumgartner, Scott Uriu)
  • bau10 LLC - Sustainable Design
  • Patrick Tighe Architecture

Please note that the Community Forum that was originally scheduled for May 23 will be rescheduled in June. Stay tuned for the new date.

A note for citrus tree owners

The Asian Citrus Psyllid has been found in Los Angeles County and can be a carrier of a tree disease called Huanglongbing (HLB). Although HLB is not harmful to human health, there is no cure for an infected tree and the tree will eventually die. Citrus tree owners can help stop the disease from spreading by inspecting their trees monthly.

For more information, visit www.CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org. Those who believe they may have found a psyllid can call the California Department of Food and Agriculture hotline at 800/491-1899 or the L.A. County Agriculture Commissioner at 626/575-5451.

Hollywood Farmer's Kitchen canning workshop this weekend

Learn to use a pressure cooker to can jams, jellies, pickles and more with the Hollywood Farmers' Market and Farmer's Kitchen this weekend.

The Pressure Canning for Beginners workshop will take place on Saturday, May 21, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hollywood Farmer's Kitchen (1555 N. Vine).

The workshop fee is $90 and students must register by Friday, May 20, at 6 p.m. Participants will take home one or more jars of pressure-canned food.

Click here for more information or to register.

Emergency Preparedness Fair this weekend

Learn how to prepare yourself and your family for an emergency at the Emergency Preparedness Fair this Saturday, May 21. From 10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments and the American Red Cross will host a free fair featuring presentations, demonstrations, and information booths. The fair will be held at Helen Bernstein High School (1309 N. Wilton Place) in Hollywood.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Last week, Amy and I had the honor of participating in the 13th annual awards dinner the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST).

CAST was established in 1998 in the wake of the El Monte sweatshop case in which more than 70 Thai garment workers were kept for eight years in slavery and debt bondage.

Amy and I have been involved with CAST for many years now, and we've been impressed with the comprehensive services it provides to victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery.

You can click here to learn more about the organization.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Check out the Echo Park Community Art Project

This weekend the Echo Park Community Art Project (EPCAP) will host a celebration of local artists and free art workshops. The organization will also be distributing Art Survival Kits.

The gallery (Sancho, 1549 W. Sunset Blvd.) will be open from noon to 7 p.m. through May 15.

Click here for a schedule of events.

Celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month

This morning we recognized Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month in Council Chambers with a festive celebration of the community and this year's three outstanding honorees: Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, the first Vietnamese American Article III judge in the United States; Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga, a community activist whose research helped lead to a major U.S. civil rights decision; and Tia Carrere, an actress, model, and two-time Grammy award winner who helped champion long-denied compensation for the Filipino Veterans of World War II.

As part of APIA Heritage Month, the city also released a report, Who We Are, How We Matter, which provides a snapshot of the APIA community’s involvement and progress in the areas of business, labor, government, politics, the environment, arts and entertainment, education and public safety. Among the findings are:
  • According to the 2010 Census, APIAs comprise 11.4% of the city’s total population, the third largest ethnic group after Latinos and non-Hispanic whites. There are more than 420,000 Asians and more than 4,000 Pacific Islanders living in our city.
  • APIAs contribute more to the national economy than any other minority group, with APIA-owned businesses ranking second after whites in the amount of payroll dollars and number of employees.
  • APIAs voted in record numbers in the 2008 general election.
  • APIAs are more likely to call themselves “environmentalists” than most California voters.
Many thanks to the Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month Committee and its chair, Public Works Commissioner Paula Daniels, for all of their work to make this year's recognition of the APIA community such a success.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Play ball!

Saturday was Opening Day at the Elysian Valley Rec Center where neighborhood boys and girls are having fun, getting exercise, and learning good sportsmanship on the baseball teams.

Good luck to all of the sluggers who are participating in the 2011 season.

Play ball!

New park opens in Historic Filipinotown

On Saturday I was pleased to join the Historic Filipinotown community in celebrating its newest addition -- a park at the intersection of Rockwood and Colton.

It’s hard to believe that this beautiful park was once an empty, contaminated lot filled with trash and covered in graffiti. Now, it has
new landscaping, a children’s play area, and solar-powered lights.

The park is located in the heart of the Los Angeles Oil Field where the city’s first successful oil well was drilled in 1892. The City of Los Angeles’s Brownfields program and voter-approved state parks bond funds helped make it possible to transform the property into a park for children of all ages to enjoy.

4th Annual Peace in the Northeast March and Resource Fair

The 4th Annual Peace in the Northeast March and Resource Fair will be held on Saturday, May 14, from 10:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

The kick-off event will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the front of the Glassell Park Senior and Community Center (3750 Verdugo Road). Starting at 11:00 a.m., participants will then march for three miles to Florence Nightingale Middle School (3311 N. Figueroa Street), to join the Community Resource Fair.

Bus transportation to and from the event will be available. Buses to join the kick-off event and Peace March will leave promptly at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Drew/Estara, and at 9:45 a.m. at all other locations that include:
  • Washington Irving Middle School
  • Florence Nightingale Middle School
  • Burbank Middle School
  • Franklin High School
Buses will depart from the Community Resource Fair at 3:30 p.m.

The 4th Annual Peace in the Northeast March and Resource Fair is a community-driven effort that brings together local churches, schools, police, businesses, city officials, youth serving agencies, neighborhood councils, and residents who are committed to ending gang violence and promoting peace in Northeast Los Angeles.

For additional information, please contact Ben Castro at (323) 258-7878.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

LA's Gun Buyback is this Saturday

In an effort to reduce gun violence on our streets and in our neighborhoods, the City of Los Angeles will host a Gun Buyback program on Saturday, May 7.

Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., individuals may bring their firearms to law enforcement officers at the locations listed below. In exchange, they will receive a gift card to Ralph's or a VISA pre-paid card. The amount of the gift card will depend on the type of firearm that is submitted -- up to $200 for assault weapons as defined by California state law and up to $100 for all handguns, rifles, and shotguns.

Since the Gun Buyback program was launched in Los Angeles in 2009, the program has collected more than 4,200 firearms.

Here is a list of 2011 Gun Buyback locations:

Florentine Gardens
5951 Hollywood Boulevard

LAFD Fire Academy (Frank Hotchkins Training Academy)
1700 Stadium Way

Park and Ride Parking Lot
1300 West Pacific Coast Highway

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
7900 South Western Avenue

Santa Barbara Plaza
3900 W. Martin Luther King Blvd.

Facey Medical Center Parking Lot
11165 Sepulveda Blvd.
Mission Hills

Free immigration law clinic - May 21

The Rosewood Neighborhood Immigration Clinic will host a free legal clinic offering counsel on immigration issues on Saturday, May 21. The clinic begins at 10:00 a.m. at Rosewood United Methodist Church (4101 W. Rosewood Ave).

Attendees will be able to consult with a licensed attorney on all immigration law matters. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. For more information, please call 323-662-1194.

Spring Job Fair -- May 18 in Hollywood

My office will be co-hosting a job fair in Hollywood in partnership with the Youth Policy Institute and Los Angeles Valley College. The event will be held on Wednesday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Lemon Grove Park (4959 Lemon Grove Ave.). Participants should bring resumes and be dressed and prepared for job interviews.

For more information, please call the Youth Policy Institute's Hollywood FamilySource Center at 323-836-0055. They will also be able to provide assistance with resume writing and interview practice.

May 2011 is CalFresh Awareness Month

May 2011 is CalFresh Awareness Month, a comprehensive effort in Los Angeles County to increase access and participation in food assistance programs and to reduce hunger and promote good nutrition.

CalFresh is the new name for Food Stamps in California. It seeks to help low-income families put healthy food on their tables. However, according to L.A. County, only about half of eligible Los Angeles residents participate in the CalFresh program.

If you think you may be eligible for CalFresh benefits or know someone else who might be, you can learn more about the program at www.dpssbenefits.lacounty.gov.

Welcome, Ambassador Ali

This morning the City Council welcomed African Union Ambassador Amina Salum Ali to Los Angeles.

Ms. Ali is visiting our city to witness the signing of an agreement to build a political and economic partnership with the Africa-USA International Chamber of Commerce. Later this year, Los Angeles will play host to the 2nd Annual Pan African Global Trade Conference.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Rockwood-Colton Park opens this Saturday!

Join Council President Eric Garcetti for the grand opening of Rockwood-Colton Park in Historic Filipinotown! The festivities will be held on Saturday, May 7, at the park (1571 Rockwood Street) starting at noon.

Come check out HiFi's newest green and open space, which features a children's play area, landscaping, and solar-powered lights.

Hope to see you there!

Help protect Los Angeles - report suspicious activity to LAPD

In the wake of President Obama's announcement of Osama Bin Laden's death, Los Angeles law enforcement agencies are stepping up to protect our communities from potential threats and asking the public to help do the same.

To be clear, there are no specific threats to the Los Angeles area, but out of an abundance of caution, we are deploying law enforcement to protect critical infrastructure and high-risk targets such as water and power facilities, religious institutions, LAX and the Port of Los Angeles.

We also want people to help law enforcement by reporting potential threats to 1-877-ATHREAT or www.lapdonline/iwatch. These reports should focus on suspicious behavior -- not someone's race, religion or ethnicity.

We owe a tremendous debt to those who fought and lost their lives in the 10-year battle to bring Bin Laden to justice. Our ultimate victory over terror can only come if Americans of every color and creed stand together.

FREE tire recycling

The City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation will host FREE tire recycling events in May and June.

Here are the guidelines:

  • Recycling services are open to City of Los Angeles residents only -- please bring a copy of your DWP bill or California driver's license to show proof of residency.
  • Those transporting more than nine tires per trip must obtain a Tire Transport Form one week prior to the event. These forms are available from the Department of Public Health (626-430-5540).
  • Only passenger and light truck tires will be accepted.
  • Tires on rims will NOT be accepted.
Each person who brings tires for recycling will receive a coupon for 15 percent off the purchase of Firestone or Bridgestone tires.

The event closest to Council District 13 neighborhoods will be on June 4 at the North Central District Yard (452 N. San Fernando Road). Click on the flyer at right for a complete list of events and locations.

Congressmember Xavier Becerra to host townhall for seniors

Those of us who serve in city government often work together with our partners in Washington to help our shared constituents. Congressmember Becerra and his office have been wonderful resources for me and my office -- we've worked together on a number of projects from bringing more street lighting to Elysian Valley to renovating the Echo Park Boathouse to improving the busy intersection at Santa Monica and Western.

On Friday, May 20, Congressmember Becerra will host a town hall where seniors can get information about Medicare/Medi-Cal, Social Security, consumer protection, and more. The event will take place at the Highland Park Adult Senior Center (6152 N. Figueroa Street) from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

For more information or to RSVP, please call Congressmember Becerra's office at 213-483-1425.

Taste of the Eastside - May 15 at Barnsdall Art Park

On Sunday, May 15, get a "Taste of the Eastside" at an afternoon event being held at Barnsdall Art Park (4800 Hollywood Blvd.) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. to benefit SEE-LA, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Rose Scharlin Cooperative Nursery School, and the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation.

The festivities will include food and drinks from restaurants from neighborhoods including Silver Lake, Echo Park, Atwater Village, Highland Park, Los Feliz, Eagle Rock, and more. KCRW's Garth Trinidad will provide music.

General admission is $25 for adults and $5 for children ages 2 to 12 years old (children under 2 are free). VIP tickets are also available for $65, and entitle holders to enjoy cocktails by mixologist Talmadge Lowe of Heirloom LA and Pharmacie.

For more information about participating restaurants or to purchase tickets, please visit www.tasteoftheeastside.com.

Griffith Park Lions Club Atwater Village Pancake Breakfast - May 7

The Griffith Park Lions Club will hold its annual Atwater Village Pancake Breakfast and Silent Auction this Saturday, May 7, starting at 7:30 a.m. The event will be held in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot (3250 Glendale Blvd.) where you can eat all the pancakes you want for $5.

The Lions Club will be collecting used old eyeglasses to be refurbished and given to those in need. They will also collect pull tabs from all cans -- soda, beer, pet food and many others -- to support the Ronald McDonald House for parents of children needing major medical care.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Sustainable Silver Lake presents "Building a Better, Bike-able Los Angeles"

Join Sustainable Silver Lake on Saturday, May 7, for "Building a Better, Bike-able Los Angeles" -- a talk with Alexis Lantz, Planning and Policy Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) who will provide an overview of the new City of Los Angeles Bike Plan and what it means for Silver Lake.

The event will be held at the Silver Lake Public Library (2411 Glendale Blvd.) beginning at 11 a.m.

Echo Park Stories and Enchiladas fundraiser to benefit Elysian Heights Elementary School

On Saturday, May 7, the Friends of Elysian Heights and the Echo Park Improvement Association will host "Echo Park Stories and Enchiladas," a fundraiser to benefit Elysian Heights Elementary School. The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Elysian Heights Elementary (1562 Baxter Street).

Admission is free and enchilada plates will be sold for $5. There will also be live music and a silent auction.

This fundraiser will directly support the Elysian Heights School and Community Garden, which provides an opportunity to enhance students' outdoor education and promote healthy lifestyles.

Community volunteers are welcome. Please contact friendsofelysian@yahoo.com if you are interested in helping the day of the event or have something to donate to the silent auction, have an interesting Echo Park story you would like to share, or if you have any questions about the event.

Construction on the Cahuenga alley project has begun

Today I was thrilled to join Hollywood business community leaders to break ground on a project that will transform the alley behind local businesses into a safe, thriving pedestrian thoroughfare. The alley is located west of Cosmo Street between Hollywood Boulevard and Selma Avenue, and will be the first pedestrian alley of its kind in Los Angeles.

The alley's concept was developed with local property owners and business tenants and will be an outdoor open space for visitors to stroll, relax, and enjoy outdoor dining options and patio space. The project will include major rehabilitation and construction, including the addition of new drainage, lighting, pavement and a security system in the alley. The existing potholes, pools of stagnant water, and orphaned dumpsters will be removed as part of the project.

I particularly want to thank the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance for helping to spearhead this effort and the East Cahuenga Alley Corridor Association for their work to make this project a reality.

When this project is complete, locals and tourists alike will be able to relax and enjoy our beautiful weather in this new outdoor space.

Apply now for an Emergency Management Internship

The City of Los Angeles has one of the premier emergency management programs in the nation and now applications are available for its Emergency Management Internship. The deadline to apply for this summer program is May 13, 2011. However, filing may close at any time without prior notice if a sufficient number of applications have been received.

Applicants must be enrolled in or have completed a graduate degree program at an accredited university, preferably in emergency management, homeland security, public administration, strategic planning, or a related field.

Internships are a minimum of two months. Compensation may be available.

Interested applicants can get more information by visiting http://www.laemuc.org/

Youth Policy Institute Gala Dinner and Auction

On Thursday, May 19, the Youth Policy Institute will be hosting a Gala Dinner and Auction at the W Hotel in Hollywood (6250 Hollywood Boulevard). The reception will begin at 6:30 and dinner will be served at 7:30. The evening will feature music by Calé as well as live and silent auctions.

The event will honor actor Hill Harper, LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, and Antonio Manning of JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy.

Money raised from the gala will benefit the Youth Policy Institute, which provides education, training and technology services to lift families out of poverty. YPI offers families saturation, place-based education and training services in the areas of after school, charter and pilot schools, job training, summer jobs for youth, physical education, adult education, computer literacy, case management, parenting, tutoring, and college preparation.

For additional information or to R.S.V.P., please contact Rebecca Swisher at 213.797.4902 or rswisher@ypiusa.org