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Issue 18

2011

JUNE - JULY

COUNCILMAN HERB J. WESSON’S STATE OF THE DISTRICT ADDRESS Mid City and West Adams Bust a Move Crenshaw/LAX MTA Leimert Park DRAMA!

Crime Spree Ends CD10 Cavalcade of STARS

Willie Middlebrook Expo Line Artist Restaurant Reviews, Community Reports and Much Much More

Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens on Adams. Open to the Public

Connecting CD10 Communities Since 2008


Publisher/Executive Editor/Reporter Dianne V. Lawrence Associate Editor/Reporter Renee Montgomery Staff Reporter Carla Pineda Contributing Writers John Arnold Herb Wesson Jeff Camp Layout & Design/Executive Ad Sales Dianne V. Lawrence

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hen I start each issue I always wonder what’s going to come our way but TNN attracts the stories, people and issues like a large magnet.

For this issue we invited re-elected Councilman Herb Wesson to tell our community what his plans were for our district over the next four years and he generously took the time to outline the projects that have been generated in our community while he’s been in office and what is coming up. We encourage you, the readers, to send us questions you would like the Council Office to answer and we will pass them on and print the responses.

TO ADVERTISE OR SUBMIT IDEAS Contact us at: 323.871.8580 theneighborhoodnews@yahoo.com

Our intrepid reporter Carla Pineda is on assignment in New York City where she is covering the 2011 United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS for the UNITY Global Fellows Project for Young Journalists. You can read her blogs about the experience at http://facesofaids.wordpress.com.” I had mentioned our intention to share information about McCarty Church’s effort to establish a charter school in their adjacent building and the concerns some local residents had about code violations. One side asserting that violations occurred and McCarty claiming exemptions. Did CD10 exert undue influence on the outcome? The online discussion and subsequent effort to sort through the issues between the church and city agencies is complex and continues to be ongoing. We should have a report on this community concern by next issue. We haven’t forgotten so Stay Tuned! New places to eat, amazing local talent, historic building saved, crime spree ends and so much more. Sit back, have a cuppa joe, put your feet up and take a little stroll around your community.

Carla Pineda

Renee Montgomery

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State of the District Address Councilman Wesson

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Mutual Life Building Declared Historic Monument

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Restaurant Reviews: Lunch at PIPS, Breakfast at JacksNJoes

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CD10 Cavalcade of STARS!

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Mid City and Western Heights New Developments

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Artist Willie Middlebrook Crenshaw Expo Station

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UNNC & CD10 Sponsors 9th Annual HPOZ Conference

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MTA Vote Angers African-American Community

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Crime Spree Ends

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Community Reports; Neighborhood Councils, Donna Jones, Celia Bell COVER PHOTO D.V. Lawrence


Councilman Herb Wesson’s State of the District Address

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t has been my privilege to represent the 10th Council District since my election in November of 2005. As a Councilmember, I assist in overseeing a city budget of over $6 billion, making major policy decisions and providing services for 3.8 million residents. The challenge facing our city is dealing with a large budget deficit. We are working to confront this challenge while maintaining core services. I’m pleased to report that the state of our community is strong. Working in partnership with our stakeholders, it’s getting stronger. I’m grateful for the strong vote of confidence I received in our recent Council election. Having the support of over 73 percent of the voters is a mandate to continue the work in which we have been engaged.

I rely upon a hard-working staff who often work 7 days a week attending meetings and dealing with problems that arise in the district. Each District Deputy is assigned a specific area, and Neighborhood Councils, for whom they are a resource. My staff wears many hats and assists in many parts of the district. Constituent inquires are referred to the Deputy in whose area the constituent resides. Having the benefit of direct communication with constituents enables better communication and properly handled inquiries. If you are interested in which Deputy is responsible for your neighborhood, please call our District Office at 323-7338233. (editors note: or check our link on Neighborhood News website)

Jobs and Economic Development

Our office has been very aggressive in bringing new business development to the district because creating jobs and stimulating the local economy continues to be a high priority. Completion of the second phase of the $150 million “Midtown Crossing” retail development at Pico and San Vicente is near, as is the start of construction of the $93 million “District Square” retail project at Rodeo and Crenshaw. Together, these projects will create thousands of construction and permanent retail jobs. “Wilshire Vista Plaza,” another retail project located at Pico and Hauser, will soon begin construction, as well as a new $150 million 464unit apartment complex at Wilshire and Vermont. The $12 million “Angeles Plaza” at Jefferson and Crenshaw Boulevards

Nevertheless, communication with the community is an area where we want to improve. Our quarterly newsletter has been favorably received, but we are making improvements. Our new Facebook page (www.facebook.com/HerbJWesson), and a planned new “e-Newsletter” will provide more current information and updates. We are also creating a new website design that will offer more information about the staff, the communities and events in the district.

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will feature a new ‘Fresh & Easy” market and a new Union Bank building. We anticipate that the commercial areas along Jefferson and Crenshaw will see new opportunities emerge with the completion of the nearby Exposition Light Rail Line station at Crenshaw.

Exposition Light Rail

Phase One is near completion. The project has generated approximately 16,000 construction jobs, including design jobs. These jobs can be accessed through the Exposition Light Rail Construction Authority website (http://www.buildexpo.org/opportunities). As construction begins next year on the next phase of the line, employment information will be located there. Working with the community, we have a configuration that improves safety and is an improvement on the original design. Testing of the trains is now underway and will continue for the next several months. For the first six months, as many as 24 Rail Safety Ambassadors will be dispatched to key locations along the route to help the public get accustomed to the new rail line. Constituent inquiries regarding problems can be addressed by the Deputy who covers the area along the line where the problem is located. A call to our District Office will put you in order to attract new businesses and develground, ADA-compliant restrooms, and a touch with the appropriate Deputy. opment. rebuilt basketball court. The new Westside Park in the West Adams area will soon be Neighborhood Beautification We have also contracted with LANI (Los completed as well. We have invested over $26 million in Angeles Neighborhood Initiative) to create streetscapes/medians and beautification of a major new improvement in the expansive Protecting Historic Neighborhoods our neighborhoods. Trimming over 16,000 median that runs along San Vicente BouPreserving and protecting our historic trees; planting over 3,400 new trees; re- levard. neighborhoods has been an important primoved over 139,000 illegal signs; completority. We have been able to extend Historic ed over 70,000 asphalt street repairs; comImproved Parks and Recreation Preservation Overlay Zone protection to pleted over 97 miles of Slurry Seal street We have brought over $30 million in investthe communities of Wilshire Park, Country maintenance; and completed over 10 miles ments in new parks and recreation facilities Club Park, and Windsor Village. Jefferson of sidewalk repairs. The latest sidewalk for our youth and families. Among these Park will be added to that list, which should improvements are planned for the neigh- have been major improvements at Rancho be completed in the next several weeks. borhood at Washington Boulevard and Vic- Cienega Sports Complex, which include a toria Avenue. New medians are planned for new state-of-the-art artificial turf and track Supermarket Improvements Washington Boulevard between Redondo at the Jackie Robinson Stadium, a new socSome of our major supermarkets need a and Fairfax; and on Washington from Cren- cer field with state-of-the-art artificial turf, facelift, and important progress on that was shaw to Arlington; as well as Pico Boule- and a complete refurbishment of the tennis accomplished with a $4 million remodel at vard from Crenshaw to Fairfax. Irrigation courts has recently been completed. Two the Ralphs supermarket adjacent to “Midinfrastructure has finally been installed at new skate parks at Rancho Cienega and town Crossing.” Also planned is the dethe recently constructed medians on Pico, Lafayette Parks have been constructed, molition and reconstruction of a new Vons and landscaping is expected to begin in the and we celebrated the grand opening of the supermarket at Pico and Fairfax. next few weeks. These upgrades in our new Lafayette Park Youth and Senior Recpublic infrastructure along Washington and reation center. The Benny Potter Park has Continued on Pg. 6 Pico Boulevards are designed to improve received over $3 million in improvements the look and feel of these thoroughfares in that included a new ADA-compliant play-

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STATE OF THE DISTRICT Continued from P. 5

Suppressing Gang Violence

The greatest threat to our personal safety in Council District 10 is from gang violence. We continue to work in close cooperation with the LAPD to suppress the influence of gangs. Intervening in the lives of our at-risk youth to discourage them from joining gangs is also vital. CD10’s Project SAVE is continuing its important work in offering recreation programs, safe-passage programs, as well as annual events like our Camping Trip and our Winter Wonderland, which enables at-risk youth from troubled families to celebrate the holiday season.

The Arts in CD 10

The Ebony Repertory Theatre, the resident theater company at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, is continuing to provide quality productions which have received strong support from the community. Our office was successful in preventing an effort to privatize the William Grant Still Art Center. Under the leadership of Ami Motevalli, the new Director, arts and music programs have expanded and community support has grown.

Creating the Green Economy

As the author of the city’s Green Retrofit and Workforce Program, I am pleased that the program was kicked-off at the Vineyard Recreation Center in the West Adams area. Funded by the first $14 million of $37 million of federal stimulus funds, the program has identified the first 130 city-owned buildings, such as

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libraries, recreation centers, and fire stations that provide maximum energy cost savings and are located in low income communities. Since December 2010, the first 40 workers who had been laid off from the city are now working for the Department of General Services on these buildings while training for higher skilled green construction and maintenance jobs. Those seeking more information about the program should contact Teresa Sanchez, program director, in the Mayor’s office (teresa.sanchez@lacity.org). I’m also pleased to report that LEED-certified lighting is now lighting approximately 50 percent of Council District 10. We will not be satisfied until we have achieved 100 percent.

Creating and Maintaining Our Senior Centers

We have obtained funding for a new Senior Center to provide needed services for seniors in Koreatown, and replaced the roof on the West Adams Multipurpose Center (former Delta Center) which serves the West Adams area.

Moving Forward

Moving forward, we want to continue the great progress we have made in creating economic development opportunities and jobs. For example, our office has been working to bring the electric car manufacturer, CODA Automotive, Inc., national headquarters from Santa Monica to Council District 10. I have introduced motions to provide $1.2 million in infrastructure improvements at the northeast corner of Washington and Fairfax that will bring 700 executive and engineering jobs to the district. As our economy continues to improve, our budget problems will ease. Until then, what kind of community do we want? I want the 10th Council District to be a place where our families can safely live and work and thrive, and where the quality of life is the envy of the rest of the city. Believe me when I say that the best is yet to come, and I look forward to working with you in achieving great things.

City Council Votes to Declare Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building a Historic-Cultural Monument

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uilt in 1949 and located at the intersection of Adams Boulevard and Western Avenue in the West Adams area, the five-story Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building (GSM) is Los Angeles’s newest designated landmark. This commercial building exhibits character-defining features of the Moderne style, and was designed by architect Paul R. Williams (1894-1980). Williams was one of the foremost architects of Los Angeles in the mid-twentieth century, designing thousands of private homes as well as public and commercial buildings. Williams was also the first certified African-American architect west of the Mississippi River, the first African-American member of the American Institute of Architects, and also served on the first Los Angeles Planning Commission in 1920. The Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company was founded in 1925 by three African-American businessmen. Serving African-Americans who had been denied coverage by insurance companies because of racial discrimination, the company opened in a storefront in South Los Angeles and later built its own headquarters on Central Avenue (Historic-Cultural Monument #580; 1929). The company quickly grew to become the largest blackowned business west of the Mississippi River and in 1948 commissioned the construction of a new home office on Adams Boulevard. The building served as the headquarters for the company for over 60 years from 1949-2010. Inside, GSM’s double-height lobby features two famed murals, Continued on Pg. 20

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D. V. Lawrence

Classy AND Affordable Lunchtime at PIPS Pizza, Pasta and Salad

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t’s lunchtime, you want to impress a client but need to watch your pocket book. Or you want somewhere local to lunch that’s cheap and well….classy. What to do? Look no further than Pips Pizza, Pasta and Salads on La Brea just north of Pico, next to the Gas Station. They have opened up for lunch and offer one of the most delicious low cost uptown lunch menu’s around. I recently grabbed a copy of the Times, headed over and found a seat in the beautiful outdoor patio where I enjoyed gurgling fountains and the shade of a huge tree that keeps the patio cool on hot days. Everything on the menu is $7.99 and this includes a generous Caesar Salad with fresh grated cheese and homemade creamy dressing, a beverage of your choice (I ordered a coffee which was exceptional) and an entree. The categories include Panini’s; Tomato and Basil, Grilled Chicken or grilled Vegetable, which I ordered, The bread was fluffy and fresh and contained a wide variety of grilled vegetables. You could also choose Pasta; Canneloni, Fettuccini Bolognese and Fettuccini Alfredo.... or Salad; Spinach, Chopped Vegetable, Soup and Salad... or two slices of Thin crust Pizza; Cheese, Pepperoni or BBQ Chicken. Did I mention that you can also get a bottle of wine for half the normal price? As always the service is friendly and helpful. Check out the website to find out more about their Sunday Brunch, evening menu’s and jazz lineup. www.pipsonlabrea.com, See you there! 4 Stars on Yelp See Ad on this page for more details.

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The Joint is Jumpin’ at Jack’s N Joe!

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eeling like some good comfort breakfast at 2 in the afternoon? Want to take the pup along? Jacks N Joe (Pancakes n Coffee, get it?) serve up pancakes, French toast, omelets and coffee all day long in the West Adam’s community on Figueroa just ½ block north of Adams in a little side mall. Owners Mark and Vianney Bednorz, ex USC architectural students, identified a real need for a quality, affordable food hang out, not only for USC students and teachers but for the downtown and West Adams communities as well. The open airy design (with outdoor seating) and good solid straight up food has also become a popular lunch stop for the local police force. The incredibly delicious pancakes ($6.75) have names like Hula Girl (pineapple topped with coconut) Ruby Belle (cinammon apples, pecans and brown butter sugar) WTF? (crazy shaped pancakes with sweetened cream cheese and seasonal berries) and Totally L.A. (thin pancakes with fresh fruit and sweet lemon butter). You can choose from an assortment of omelets with names like Maui Wowie (portuguese sausage and spam) and Adams N Fig (special JNJ potatoes, bacon, sausage and jack cheese). A big plus if you are coming from the Crenshaw, Western Blvd. communities is the wonderful drive along Adams. I never get tired of looking at those stately homes. 4 Stars on Yelp. See ad for more details.

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Council District 10, A Cavalcade of STARS

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D. V. Lawrence

lthough the first Neighborhood News sponsored Council District 10 Talent Review at Locals Sports Bar and Grill was modestly attended, the audience that did show up stayed to the end and left with exclamations of “Really Amazing!”, “Wow!! That was fantastic!” and “When will you do this again?” When we do, it won’t be on a holiday weekend! Everyone kept the audience rapt with attention and the evening ended with an astounding performance by Dansa Azteca Xipetotec that cleaned out any bad karma for miles around. Check out our website in Seen on the Scene for links to video of the Aztecs.

Dansa Azteca Xipetotec Traditional Aztec Dance

Iby Glynn brings the LA Dream Cheer Team

Mitzi March Mogul Singer/Songwriter Ben King Jazz Guitar

Romy Flores Singer Dana Flores Guitar Sunshine Rainbow Gospel Singer

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Grandmaster Goode’s Karate Kids

Mathew Peterson Irish Dance

Jameel Bruner Jazz Piano

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Councilman Wesson’s Eye on Pico’s Shopping District

Development in Mid-City and West Adams Busts A Move!

Pico Blvd. & Hauser, Ex Car Repair Shop May 2011

D. V. Lawrence

Washington Blvd. and Harvard Comes Alive

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Pico Blvd.& Hauser, Wilshire Vista Plaza April 2012

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Photo’s by D V Lawrence

photo: D.V. Lawrence

ose Villasenor is a new and welcome developer to our community. He bought the property on the south east corner of Harvard and Washington, a series of 7 storefronts. Young and savvy with previous Jose Villasenor Edgar Prado development experience, Jose understands the importance of being a part of the community as opposed to imposing himself on or being disconnected from it. In one of his first actions he approached the Harvard Heights HPOZ (Historic Presevation Overlay Zone) to consult on the design improvements for the façade. Local neighbor and HPOZ member Steve Wallis said Jose was very receptive and solicitous of neighborhood input. Along with the installation of awnings and plants, he is keeping the building’s night lights that hang over the street like Trumpet flowers. Images of what he plans are provided on easels in the windows of the storefronts that are now under renovation. Jose promises to rent to businesses that enhance the cultural feel and needs of the community. Currently there is Iguanas Arte’ a body art/gallery and home to Aztec dancers. The anchor corner store will become a designer denim boutique and Jose recently signed on another gallery/artist studio but the biggest buzz is for the Blu Elefant Café owned by Edgar Prado. A coffee shop within dog walking distance of a community thirsty for a good cuppa local joe. The Neighborhood News welcomes Jose Villasenor and our new neighbors!

Councilman Wesson flanked by property owners Mr. and Mrs. George Amram along with reps from Community Development Department, Housing and Urban Development, US Bank, Telacu

Councilman Wesson and staff’s hard work, co-ordinating the different funding agencies with property owner George Amram, paid off May 26 with the ground breaking ceremony for the Wilshire Vista Plaza. The plaza will be a welcome boost to the vision of Pico as a shoppers dream destination. Welcome to the Neighborhood!

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Willie MIddlebrook Brings His Vision to the Crenshaw/Exposition Metroline Station Renee Montogmery

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ust when we thought the iconic Crenshaw Boulevard was losing its grip to vanilla-flavored strip mall development, in streaks an unlikely savior, the MTA with its selection of artist Willie Middlebrook for the exclusive decoration of the Metroline station at Crenshaw and Exposition.

Middlebrook is a nationally-known artist, the recipient of numerous awards and exhibitions at stellar museums, including LACMA, the Chicago Art Institute, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Studio Museum of Harlem, to cite a few. Middlebrook is also the recipient of two NEA Visual Artist Fellowships, a Getty Trust Visual Artist Fellowship and the Brody Individual Arts Fellowship through the California Community Foundation. Entitled “The Wanderers,” Willie’s work for the Expo/Crenshaw stop, currently under construction, consists of 24 glass mosaic panels based on the theme of communication between diverse populations. Known for his sensitive portraits or representational imagery based on photographs, Willie’s artwork is planned on two archways framing the station entrance and exit, as well as on 12 benches. The planet earth is the reoccurring theme between panels. “My goal is to make art that speaks to us about how we relate to each other, life, love and our relationship to the environment,” writes Middlebrook. The mosaic and color scheme is meant to echo the stained glass panels at the adjacent West Angeles Church of Christ. “Because the station is very close to the large church, I wanted to do something spiritual but not alienating,” states the artist. “The mosaic archway when passengers enter or leave is like offering a gift, the idea that visitors are always being welcomed, coming

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and going. And once inside the station I wanted passengers to have an entirely different feeling from the benches.” The project has been rooted in the community from the beginning. Before the artist was even selected, the MTA conducted a series of workshops in the area, then released a Call for Artists from which the Metro Expo Line artists were chosen through a peer review process including a panel of arts professionals, artists with experience in public art, and community representatives. Middlebrook competed with 200 artists for the important commission. He is delighted to have been selected for this station, having been an active participant in the Crenshaw art scene for decades. Despite Continued on Pg. 20

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Council District10 Hosts the 9th Annual HPOZ Conference

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Steve Arnold

ouncil District 10 and the United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council (UNNC) district were chosen this year to host the 9th Annual Citywide HPOZ Conference, sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning and the Los Angeles Conservancy. The all-day event was held on May 7th at the McCarty Memorial Christian Church, a beautiful, historic structure on West Adams Boulevard. The event provided an opportunity for all citizens to learn about the City’s HPOZ (Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, or historic district) program through a series of morning seminars and afternoon neighborhood walking tours. Approximately 100 people attended the event, with Councilmember Herb Wesson giving opening remarks. Seminars this year included topics such as drought-tolerant landscaping for historic houses, city enforcement of the building and zoning codes, and conducting research on historic properties. Three tours in the area were offered at the conference - the stately homes of West Adams Terrace HPOZ, the charming bungalows of Jefferson Park, and the 1887 Starr Farmhouse, a city Historic Cultural Monument and one of the area’s oldest structures. Awards are also given at the event to recognize outstanding efforts in the HPOZs. The UNNC area is home to many historic districts and individually important buildings, which made it a natural choice to host the conference. With the pending adoption of the Jefferson Park HPOZ, fully one-half of the UNNC area will be included in HPOZs, one of the highest concentrations in the City. 1077 W. 30th St, award for paint scheme 1053 S. Bonnie Brae (Pico Union HPOZ), award for restoration 1757 Buckingham Road (Lafayette Square HPOZ, CD10), award for restoration 2309 Scarff St. (University Park HPOZ), award for restoration after severe fire damage

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who make that point until it’s a project that they want to do”. He insisted there were several options and ways to get the money including money that is available from Red Line improvement projects, highway transportation funds and other areas. and appeared frustrated with the lack of will and creative problem solving on the part of the Board.

Metropolitan Transit Authority Decision Causes Uproar in African American Community D. V. Lawrence

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he Crenshaw-LAX light rail will connect LAX to the Expo rail at Crenshaw. Supervisor Mark RidleyThomas, a Metropolitan Transit Authority Board member spearheaded the movement to persuade the MTA to support and fund $120 million for a Crenshaw-LAX light rail stop at Leimert Park, an historic center of Los Angeles African American culture. He was also asking for another $200 million to place the line safely underground in the Park Mesa Heights community. But on May 26 the MTA board voted to reject the underground option and voted to show support for the Leimert Park but stopped short of allocating funds for it. They voted instead to allow the Leimert stop to be included in budget proposals from contracter’s bidding for the whole job. As long as they found a contractor capable of including the Leimert stop while staying within the original 1.7 billion dollar budget, it was a go. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, also a board member, expressed hopefulness. “The bids have been coming in much lower than expected. I believe we will be able to build that station within the projected amount.”

Mark Ridley-Thomas

Damien Goodman, community activist and leader in the effort to hold the MTA accountable to the black community was not impressed with the Mayor’s appearance of support, claiming that the mayors office has a history of working against the Crenshaw/ LAX line. “The reality is that the Mayor and in particular Deputy Continued on Pg.20

Angry and frustrated black leaders cried foul. L.A. County Supervisor and Metro board member Zev Yaroslavsky argued that the line was already over-budget and there were restrictions on Measure R transit money. A mayor staffer explained in an email, “If bids with the station exceed the project budget then I would say that there’s still work to be done. First, we need to work with our Congressional delegation to seek federal funds for this station. Second, we should seek additional transportation funds or bonds from the State of California. Also, we should undertake additional “value engineering” to bring project costs down. Finally, when we know the real costs of the station and the whole project, there is still the final vote on internal funding priorities, and that decision is still ahead of us all with the planning for the Leimert Park Station still having been moved forward.”

Monday to Saturday 9 am - 6 pm

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who also represents the Leimert Park community wasn’t buying any of it and countered “Those who argue that (there are not enough funds) are those

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Local Crime Spree Ends With Arrests At Washington Market Square

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hree people were arrested May 11 in connection with a series of armed robberies in the Koreatown, Harvard Heights and West Adams areas. The suspects are also linked to the slaying of an MTV music coordinator. Officers swarmed the Washington Market Square shopping plaza on Washington Boulevard and Tenth Avenue and took two people into custody at gunpoint. They also impounded a light blue sedan that appeared to match the general description of a vehicle used in the crimes. By late afternoon, one of the suspects who had been detained was arrested, and information he provided led them to a third suspect, police said. Arrested were: Richard Edward Anderson, a 33 year-old Male, Black of Reseda who was booked for 211 PC-Robbery, Destiny Young, a 29 year-old female white, from Los Angeles who was booked for 2 counts of 187 PC, Murder, and Jabaar Vincent Thomas, a 26 year-old, male Black of Los Angeles who was booked for multiple counts of robbery. Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Matt Blake said police believed the same suspects may have been involved in as many as nine robberies that occurred in the area beginning April 29. Detectives were able to develop information linking two of the suspects to the murder of Marcello Aragon and Gabriel Ben Mier. The robberies included at least one instance in which a victim fought back, prompting one of the suspects to open fire, Blake said. The victim was not injured. Blake also noted that a person was killed by a shotgun blast in the area on April 30 during an apparent attempted robbery. “When he [the victim] didn’t give up his property, he [the suspect] turned the shotgun on him, and he is deceased,’’ Blake said. Blake said the robbery suspects also had not been linked to that killing, although he conceded there were similarities in the crimes and that “shotguns are kind of a rare weapon to be used in a street crime.’’ The most recent robberies included one that occurred at about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday near Eighth Street and Normandie Avenue, Los Angeles police Detective John Skaggs of the Olympic Station said. In a second robbery, the suspects approached a pedestrian on the street about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday near Sycamore Avenue and Westhaven Street, Skaggs said. In a third robbery, a pedestrian was robbed about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday in the 1800 block of South Oxford Avenue, near Washington Boulevard, Skaggs said. Victims of all three robberies had the same description of the suspects, Skaggs said. From the Wilshire Division Website

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Neighborhood Councils Rush to Spend Before It Ends Carla Pineda The local and statewide budget shortfalls are forcing virtually all government entities to tightening their belts. Among them, Los Angeles neighborhood councils are approaching their budgets as most California redevelopment agencies – spend it while ya still got it. The city is revoking all councils’ rollover funds and is cutting their budgets for the coming fiscal year by almost half of what they received in 2010. Whatever is unspent by each council in June, will be swept into the city’s empty coffers.

OLYMPIC NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL OPNC Conversations at Olympic Park Neighborhood Council’s May 5 meeting focused on how fast the council could spend its remaining 2010 funds. Some of the items recently approved for OPNC funding include: - $12,500 for the purchase of trees and maintenance for Korea Youth Cultural Center to plant along Olympic and Pico. - $4,500 for emergency kits, as proposed by the American Red D.V. Lawrence Cross - $300 for the creation of adhesive labels with OPNC logo for neighborhood trash cans - $30,000 to LANI for a new pocket park, walking path and beautification along San Vicente from La Brea to Pico. - $2,000 to Wilshire Division Police Station for new furniture & t-shirts for the kids basketball clinic.

P.I.C.O. NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL A visit from Melvin Canas, neighborhood empowerment analyst for the city’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, brought clarity to a frustrated Pico Neighborhood Council board at a May 11 meeting. “Neighborhood councils have gone on a dash to spend their budgets,” Canas said. As the board debated a number of previously proposed projects and spur-of-the-moment expenditures, Canas advised that the closer the councils get to June 15, the trickier it will be to get expenditures approved. The larger fund allocations are likely to be challenged at DONE headquarters because this is not normally how spending is approved, he said. Among the projects approved by the board in their rush to disburse funds into the community were: - $14,000 tree maintenance by Los Angeles Conservation Corps (in lieu of DONE’s rejection of a previous tree maintenance proposal) - $9,600 Summer Parks Program to fund supervision at Saturn Street Elementary School and Carthay Center Elementary School; $9,720 for Garden as Living Laboratory Project at same two schools - $8,375 for Wilshire Youth Athletic - $5,000 in additional funds for San Vicente Medians project for a total of $20,000

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THEUNITEDNEIGHBORHOODSNEIGHBORHOODCOUNCIL UNNC D.V. Lawrence At the May 5th meeting, The Western Heights Homeowners Association requested funds for up to $3,400 for landscaping materials for the three permanent traffic barriers they want to install at Arlington and Western. Resident Dianne Lawrence made the point that the group had not yet raised the $45,000 needed to finish the project. The motion passed with the condition that the barriers have begun construction prior to any UNNC payments and that the funds are spent prior to the June 15 funding deadline. At the June 3 meeting Board Member Andrea Dunlop raised the request to $8,000 which was approved by the majority of the Board. “We have the money we may as well spend it before the city takes it back” commented supportive President Stevie Stern. Resident Dianne Lawrence raised the point that the request did not include a line item describing how the money would be spent. President Stern told the Board the money could not be spent on the installation of the gate but could be used to help pay for the cement curb barriers and landscaping. - The William Grant Still Community Center held an annual music education program for 18 year olds and under. This year they presented a recital on May 7 based on the music of Nina Simone. Director Ms. Motavelli made a request for $750 for sound equipment and engineering and $500 for food and drink for the reception afterward. $750 approved. - Myrna Allen made a request to fund promoting and generating an Arlington Heights outreach email list and website. $640 was approved for flyers and refrigerator magnets. - Stevie Stern requested $500 to host coffee and pastries for the annual HPOZ conference held on May 7. Approved. - Jessica Bravo requested $584.33 to fund a new drip-line at the Mid-Wilshire Technology Center. Approved. - The Board approved the appointment of Chris Carlson as Chair of the Education Action ad hoc Committee. - Verizon Wireless previous proposal to install a cell phone tower

WILSHIRE CENTER-KOREATOWN NC D.V. Lawrence There was no money left at the end of WCKNC fiscal year so the end of the fiscal year meeting focused on other issues. - Motion approved to support the Immediate Response Team by writing a support letter. IRT is organizing a petition drive regarding the Acupuncture Board Examination Language Policy. The Acupuncture Board issued the Korean exam with 90% of the characters written in Chinese. Only 30% who took the exam passed. The IRT is asking for re-evaluation of the exam. - Motion approved to sponsor the Los Angeles Mongolian Association’s Community Festival from June 2nd through June 4th. This festival introduces Mongolian Americans to all Americans who live, study, and work in our multinational city and to establish friendly and sustainable relationships amongst all Los Angeles. - Motion approved on ZA-2010-2014 (CUB) 608 New Hampshire. Conditional Use Permit to allow a full-line of alcoholic

Keep our Local Businesses in Business. Use local Services!


Community Activist Celia Bell Says Goodbye to Beloved Community

For this issue’s Featured Resident we celebrate

the contributions of two Community Activists.

Community SHEro Donna Jones Receives Much Deserved Recognition Jeff Camp

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n Sunday, May 15, 2011, West Adams Avenues Donna Jones was awarded the annual SHEro Award from Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. (26th Senate District). Donna was one of 26 women who received the honor based on her demonstrated leadership, volunteerism and commitment to her community. During the ceremony, Donna received her SHEro Award from Senator Price himself and was praised by Michaela Periera from KTLA-TV’s Morning Show. Said Michaela regarding Donna, “Donna is described by the residents of West Adams Avenues as a force of nature. Her primary strength is somehow managing the endless “to do” list of her community, with extraordinary efficiency. She is their air traffic controller, juggling multiple phone calls, texts and meetings all while being dedicated to her job teaching pregnant high school students and raising her two sons.” “Donna’s secondary strength is her ability to get others to take on some of the tasks of keeping the Avenues on track” continued Periera. “If there is a local resident with a talent for anything that would benefit the wider community, she’ll find a way to encourage that resident to become a volunteer. And if one of her neighbors has a good idea for improving the area, Donna will back up that idea to the hilt, find out how to get it done, and shepherd the idea through the process of putting it into reality.” The Neighborhood News salutes SHEro Donna Jones. Wilshire Center-Koreatown NC continued

beverages in an existing restaurant with karaoke. Hours of operation are from 11:00AM to 2:00AM. Item passed unanimously by Land Use Committee. - Motion approved on ZA-2010-2859(CUB) 338 S. Western Avenue. Conditional Use Permit to allow On-site consumption of Beer & Wine in conjunction with proposed restaurant. Closing time is 11:00PM. Item passed unanimously by Land Use Committee. Discussion and action ZA-2006-2356-ZV-ZAA-SPR 3150 Wilshire Blvd. Plan approval for previously approved project consisting of 464 unit twin tower mixed use project at Southeast corner or Wilshire Blvd. and Vermont Avenue. Motion passed.

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D. V. Lawrence

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efore her recent move to Las Vegas, forty-six year Council District 10 resident, Celia Bell, was a tireless community activist. Her work as creator and President of the Longwood Highland Neighborhood Watch, representative of Region 5 on the Mid City Neighborhood Council, and member of Women for Wesson allowed her to keep her local neighborhood informed, active and connected to the larger Council District 10 community. Celia had an active professional life working with the County for thirty-seven years as Head of Internal Affairs of the Department of Public Social Service. Longtime friend Lottie Taylor tells us “Celia was a kind, Christian woman and a minister in The Marantha Church. She was always involved with politics and we went to many political events together. ” Gracie Santana and Celia Bell Five years ago during an increase in local robberies, Celia organized and created the neighborhood watch. Working with the local police department, crime went down and stayed down. The organization started with 27 members and has settled into an enthusiastic 10 – 15 regulars who meet monthly. Along with keeping an eye on the neighborhood, they enjoy seasonal parties and collect funds that go to local neighbors in distress. Because of Lupus, Celia had both hips and shoulders replaced yet her work as a volunteer never wavered. When she recently took a bad spill the recovery wasn’t easy and it was clearly time for a change. She relocated to a “FABulous” (her word) assisted living facility in Las Vegas to be closer to her family and is quite happy there. She has left the group in the capable hands of neighbor, Gracie Santana who claims“She has something special about her and was never discriminating. She taught me how to be supportive of other people. She liked everybody”. Celia most enjoyed making sure her neighbors got out and voted for everything that came along. One can’t help but imagine that her living facility will see an increase in voting residents over the next few years. The Neighborhood News, and all of her community groups, wave a fond farewell to Celia Bell, Community Activist and beloved neighbor.

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WASHINGTON MUTUAL Continued from Pg. 7

most anonymous except Willie’s own self-portrait which has been discretely included. Too often artwork selected for public sites inspires us to grumble “My taxpayer money went to that??!!” Middlebrook’s work is sure to have the opposite effect. We shall think “Of course! Perfect! Finally, art that I get, that’s talented, noteworthy and inspiring!” The Chili Factory, Leimert Park Jazz Festival, classic low riders, art deco May Company building , Paul Williams’ original West Angeles Church, add one more to the list of Crenshaw boulevard icons. Whittier Boulevard ain’t got nothing on us. CRENSHAW-LAX LINE/LEIMERT PARK STOP Continued from Pg. 16

each 16’5” long and 9’3 1/4” tall and specifically commissioned for the building, depicting events in California’s African American History from 1527 to 1949. The murals were painted by artists Charles Alston and Hale Woodruff under the direction of architect Williams. The murals were included in the landmark designation, but they remain threatened. The State Department of Insurance is litigating over its claims to ownership of the murals; if the department wins in court it may try to remove the murals from the building to sell them. Until it closed its doors in 2011, Golden State Mutual was the largest black-owned insurance company in the western United States for most of its existence. More importantly, GSM literally changed the landscape of Los Angeles. The company made life insurance widely available to tens of thousands of its African American citizens, and in constructing the GSM Home Office in West Adams, the company expanded black enterprise and residency in Los Angeles. A 1978 company history sums up the present-day historic significance of the Golden State Mutual Life Home Office, that it “Stands today as a symbol of black enterprise and of loyal service to many thousands.”

WILLIE MIDDLEBROOK Continued from Pg. 14 his imposing appearance, the well-spoken Middlebrook couldn’t be more business-like. Growing up in Compton and graduating from Compton Community College, Willie now lives in Inglewood and teaches art at El Camino College, in addition to being a busy professional artist. While a growing reputation has taken him more and more to other big cities, historically, Middlebrook has been deeply involved at the old Leimert Brotman Gallery, at the William Grant Still Art Center, and several other projects with local city-treasure Cecil Fergerson featured in a recent TNN issue. Middlebrook designed the panels over several months with the fabrication studio Perdoma turning his drawings into glass mosaics. Currently in the final stages of fabrication, the panels are scheduled for installation in the next month but will remain under wraps for a special unveiling date tentatively planned in November 2011. Then you’ll see the many profound human images,

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ballooned up to $4.5 billion. Believing that if the will were there the money would be found he explained, “Now I’m not a mathematician but I think $0 to $4.5 billion is a much bigger leap than $346M to $2.2B.” Leimert Park is a recognized center of black culture in Los Angeles where African American history, food, music, theatre, art, a famous book store and clothing stores have given the community a vital and historic position in the city. It was also home to Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley and currently hosts Tavis Smiley’s studio’s. “This is an old story in America. An old story where when it comes to transportation, communities of color get left out,” Smiley said. African American studies professor Cornell West of Princeton University said “The times that we spent in jazz clubs, talking on the corner, philosophy, politics, wrestling with the God question. And here we are wrestling with the rail question,” The stop would give the Leimert Park businesses the critical boost they need and local retailers are concerned that the rail, which will drop people off at the busy Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza instead, is bypassing them literally and figuratively. The fight isn’t over and influential black leaders, some of whom find themselves at odds with each other are joining forces to keep this issue front and center and to ensure that the Leimert stop will happen. Letters of support for Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion came from Congresswoman Karen Bass, Congresswoman Laura Richardson, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Senator Curren Price, Assemblymember Steven Bradford, Assemblymember Warren Furutani, Assemblymember Holly Mitchell, Councilmember Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Bernard Parks, Councilmember Jan Perry, Councilmember Herb Wesson, City Controller Wendy Gruel, & LAUSD Board Member Marguerite LaMotte. ANSWER TO RIDDLE: A PROMISE

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TNN ISSUE #18 June2011  

CLICK ON MAGAZINE TO OPEN Councilman Wesson's State of the District Address, Crenshaw/Lax MTA Leimert Park Drama!, Willie Middlebrook Artist...

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