Los Angeles Downtown News 04/17/2023

Page 1

The New Age

Jasper reimagines communal living

Setting the Standard Metro launches ambassadors program

+ District 9 Ultras

THE VOICE OF DOWNTOWN LA SINCE 1972 April 17, 2023 I VOL. 52 I #16

Battling Bureaucracy Committee for Greater LA calls for nonprofit overhaul

Los Angeles’ network of nonprofits have been vital to the city’s well-being, helping many Angelenos survive a pandemic, navigate financial insecurity, and escape cycles of poverty and homelessness. According to reports, 23% of all current city jobs are nonprofit positions, providing social and supportive services throughout LA.

The Committee for Greater LA, a civic leadership collective, recently released a report calling for an overhaul of changes to how the city of Los Angeles works with nonprofits, revealing the burdens

organizations face and recommendations on how to address them.

In the report, which represents the voices of over 200 LA nonprofit leaders, the three core recommendations were to pay nonprofits upfront, to pay nonprofits on time by establishing a payment process that must conclude within 30 days and to streamline the contracting processes by working with the mayor’s office to cut bureaucratic red tape.

“Nonprofits coming out of the pandemic have been struggling, and more so struggling with trying to just make government contracting work for them,” said Efrain Escobedo, president and CEO

of the Center for Nonprofit Management. “Now we’re realizing that there’s a better way to do this. … Bring labor together, the nonprofits, government, philanthropy, and we’ll reimagine our region.”

Escobedo explained that if the city government can partner with nonprofits to redefine the contracting process, the nonprofits will be more effective in serving communities that the city doesn’t typically reach. This capability was shown through the census, which helped identify hard-to-count communities and map which ones had access to resources like internet connectivity.

SINCE 1972

Los Angeles Downtown News

South Pasadena, CA 91031

facebook: L.A. Downtown News

twitter: DowntownNews

instagram: @ladowntownnews

1900 W.





EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Christina Fuoco-Karasinski DEPUTY EDITOR: Luke
STAFF WRITERS: Leah Schwartz STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER: Chris Mortenson GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Arman Olivares ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Catherine Holloway (213) 308-2261 Michael Lamb (213) 453-3548 Denine Gentilella (323) 627-7955 FOUNDER EMERITUS: Sue Laris ©2023 Times Media Group. Los Angeles Downtown News is a trademark of Times Media Group. All rights reserved. The Los Angeles Downtown News is the must-read newspaper for Downtown Los Angeles and is distributed bi-weekly throughout the offices and residences of Downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles Downtown News has been adjudicated as a newspaper of general circulation in Court Judgement No. C362899. One copy per person. EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Christina Fuoco-Karasinski DEPUTY EDITOR: Luke Netzley STAFF WRITER: Morgan Owen, Leah Schwartz CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Bridgette M. Redman, Ellen Snortland STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER: Chris Mortenson CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER: Cat Stevens ART DIRECTORS: Arman Olivares, Stephanie Torres ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Catherine Holloway (213) 308-2261 Michael Lamb (213) 453-3548 Denine Gentilella (323) 627-7955 FOUNDER EMERITUS: Sue Laris ©2023 Times Media Group. Los Angeles Downtown News is a trademark of Times Media Group. All rights reserved. The Los Angeles Downtown News is the must-read newspaper for Downtown Los Angeles and is distributed bi-weekly throughout the offices and residences of Downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles Downtown News has been adjudicated as a newspaper of general circulation in Court Judgement No. C362899. One copy per person. Los Angeles Downtown News PO Box 1349 South Pasadena, CA 91031 213-481-1448 PRESIDENT: Steve T. Strickbine VICE PRESIDENT: Michael Hiatt 1620 W. FOUNTAINHEAD PARKWAY, SUITE 219 TEMPE, ARIZONA 85282 SINCE 1972 facebook: L.A. Downtown News twitter: DowntownNews instagram: @ladowntownnews EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Christina Fuoco-Karasinski STAFF WRITERS: Andrew Checchia, Andres De Ocampo, Julia Shapero CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Sara Edwards, Kamala Kirk ART DIRECTORS: Arman Olivares, Stephanie Torres STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER: Luis Chavez CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Myriam Santos ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Catherine Holloway, Michael Lamb FOUNDER EMERITUS: Sue Laris
PO Box 1349
DTNEWS Bresee Foundation/Submitted
recommendations for how
city of LA can optimize the efficiency and impact of nonprofits.
The Committee for Greater LA has released a report with

“We started looking at digital divide, (and) it’s the same ZIP codes over and over,” Escobedo said. “What we’ve realized and have come to be a little bit more cognizant of … is that there are many communities and parts of the city where there isn’t a government building or there aren’t very many services, but there is a nonprofit.”

Escobedo also found that some communities were less likely to trust a government representative with a badge than they were a nonprofit member who routinely serves the area. By partnering with nonprofits, the city government could provide resources to the people who need them most.

“We don’t need to build these huge centers everywhere; we could work through community infrastructure to just be a little bit more personable,” Escobedo said. “That’s government being more community connected.”

The Committee for Greater LA’s report, titled “Resetting LA City to Meet Urgent Community Needs” and created in partnership with the Nonprofit Finance Fund and HR&A Advisors, also named a series of obstacles impeding nonprofits’ efficiency and impact.

From the city government’s perspective, the type of contracts that they award has become a barrier, as the contracts given to nonprofits are the kind

geared toward for-profit entities, operating on a reimbursement basis.

“The type of contracts and payment structures used can either help or hurt nonprofits,” Escobedo explained. “It’s a difference between a fully reimbursed contract versus, ‘Hey, we’ll make a deliverable space where we’ll give you some money upfront. Then, when you hit a certain goal, we’ll give you more money just to keep you going.’

“These are pretty cash-strapped organizations, and we’re asking them to front all of the salaries, everything, and do the work. … It puts them in a bad situation, (and) they have to go look for the money from somewhere.”

The other obstacles facing nonprofits include payment delays, as many organizations operate on a month-to-month basis and it can sometimes take two or more months to be paid back, and bureaucracy latent with risk management restrictions.

“They’re giving contracts to this small nonprofit to do work in this specific neighborhood, and then in the contract there’s all these administrative burdens,” Escobedo said. “On the nonprofit side, there’s some capacity and technical assistance work that we need to do where some of them are new to administering some of these dollars, and so oftentimes how they structure their budget means

they don’t capture all the costs. The city can’t reimburse them if they can’t capture the costs. … These are the types of conversations and work that we’re hoping the report just helps to catalyze at this moment.”

Escobedo said that it would take a joining of the mayor’s office with nonprofits and city agencies for these changes to be implemented, whether it’s updating contract templates or removing bureaucracy to get payments done faster.

Mayor Karen Bass recently praised the Committee for Greater LA and said that “nonprofits confront so many obstacles every day, but city bureaucracy should not be one of them. … We will not be successful if they are burdened by unnecessary costs, red tape and delays. Nonprofits are also essential to the economic success of Los Angeles, so eliminating bureaucracy for them benefits us all.”

While the immediate call to action is to commence a policy dialogue with the mayor, Escobedo’s long-term goal is to see nonprofits operate with fewer restrictions and increased partnership with city and county government bodies.

“The idea here is a vision where we are demonstrating how nonprofits as a sector add that triple-bottom-line val -

ue to our region economically … where we’re showing that because we have the most resilient nonprofit sector, we also have one of the strongest economic sectors because they create the conditions for good business,” he described. “High-functioning nonprofits … create safer communities, healthier communities, which means better business and better work.”

The report also highlights racial inequities within the nonprofit sector and gives recommendations for how the city can reduce barriers faced by BIPOC-led nonprofits in providing critical services to their communities.

“It is a tremendous opportunity,” Escobedo said. “I think the Committee for Greater LA itself, this multi-sector kind of coming together problem solving, is proof that we already know how to do this; it’s just we haven’t maybe set the right goals, so this is the right goal for our region, especially when we think about the fact that in 2026 and 2028, the entire world is going to have their eyes on Los Angeles as the World Cup comes, as the Olympics come.

“Nonprofits are part of our social face, and so the better they’re working, the stronger and more resilient they are, the better foot will put forward when the world turns to LA.”


Searching for Solutions

LA Metro pilots ambassador program

In an effort to control the rising crime rates on public transport lines, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has launched its new Metro Ambassador Program. One of the largest of its kind in the country, the pilot program has deployed approximately 300 trained, unarmed ambassadors onto Metro lines to support riders with concerns around safety and navigation and to connect them with any resources they may need.

“In 2020, the board of directors for Metro voted to begin a process that reimagined public safety on Metro, and I think that the goal was to pursue a different direction with our policing on the system and to explore different types of alternatives that would build trust with our communities,” said Dave Sotero, communications director at Metro. “(Ambassadors) offer that element of being the additional ‘eyes and ears’ on the system that our customers have been calling for, so they really fill a very special and unique role. … It’s just an indication that we have such an important need on the transit system for the customers because they have really called for a lot of assistance in a lot of different areas, and I think the ambassadors really fill a lot of different roles in that respect.”

Dressed in green polo shirt and vests, the ambassadors are present seven days a week, working shifts that cover 14 to 16 hours of the day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. For ambassador Takiesha Harper, her role so far has felt “fulfilling” yet unpredictable.

“You have no idea what you’re going to run into in the course of the day. … It’s been challenging,” Harper described. “You can’t imagine some of the things that we actually go out and see. You have to remember, we are the virtual eyes and ears of Metro. We are there to experience the same experience that the actual riders experience. That’s why we’re not armed. … It makes us just as vulnerable to all of the things that the average rider will see.”

Before they’re deployed, each ambassador undertakes 40 hours of classroom and field training designed by Metro. The training includes de-escalation tactics as well as how to utilize Metro’s Tran-

sit Watch app, which both riders and ambassadors can use to report incidents on transit lines.

Despite its difficulties, Harper finds a deep sense of purpose in her work as she has helped people from all walks of life facing a wide variety of challenges. In one instance, she reunited two lost boys, who she estimates were 6 and 10 years old, with the rest of their family.

“They had stepped back onto the last train, and the doors closed and took them,” Harper described. “We jumped back on the next train to go to that station, and when we got there, the older of the two young ones, the 10-year-old, he was crying. … He was really, really hurt. And the younger one, I don’t think he really understood.

“I have two sons myself. And my God, if I could tell you, once we got those two kids and we took them back to the stop where their dad and the older brother were, and after we got them back with their dad, I could not stop crying. … I couldn’t imagine being separated from my own kids, and it hurt my feelings. I was glad that we were able to do it, but that just made me so emotional because I’m a boy mom, too, (and) I felt that kid’s energy.”

Harper described herself as a “people person” motivated by a desire to help

others in need. It’s a trait Sotero said is inherent in the ideology of the ambassador program.

“The ambassadors are from the neighborhoods that Metro operates in, and they have the types of lived experiences that our customers have,” Sotero explained. “They’re very diverse, and they have experience with the challenges that our customers face.”

While the ambassadors’ primary role is customer service, the program acts as a supplement for the other resources Metro’s team has put into place to address public safety.

Shortly after the program was unveiled, Metro hired 48 new transit security officers to help ensure train and bus operators’ safety, as a recent Metro report revealed that there were 162 reports of assault against Metro operators in 2022. Metro has also dedicated resources to homeless outreach and drug addiction services.

“We have a multi-layered approach,” Sotero said. “I think we’re in a very overwhelming situation right now, not just the Metro system but the entire region of Los Angeles. We have a humanitarian crisis in homelessness that is affecting the entire area, and it does spill over onto the Metro system. So, we’re dedicating millions of dollars in helping just address

the homeless issue on the Metro system in addition to working with the county of Los Angeles to provide crisis outreach services for people that are in mental crisis.

“It’s kind of like an ecosystem of different resources that we’re applying to the Metro to keep the system as safe as possible for customers.”

Metro has also begun to bolster its drug enforcement following the launch of a recent anti-drug campaign, and each ambassador has been trained in the use of Narcan, a brand of the narcotic treatment drug Naloxone used for treating overdose.

According to reports, 22 people have died on the Metro this year, one more than the entirety of last year. There were five deaths on the system in 2019. The primary cause of death across the past two years has been drug abuse.

“We have a huge issue with fentanyl,” Sotero said. “It’s a poisonous drug. You take it once, you may never wake up. … Drugs are strictly forbidden on the Metro system, and we’ve been cracking down on that. … Law enforcement has been making arrests on the system. I think they’ve made over 200 arrests.”

Harper has witnessed the impacts of drug abuse on the Metro system firsthand, and the ambassadors have been

Chris Mortenson/Staff With increasing traffic congestion throughout Los Angeles, Metro has sought to address public safety on its system to make public transportation a more enticing option for the city’s travelers.

able to save lives in the event of an overdose.

“The other day I was at a train station and this guy, he nodded out and his friend was slapping him, like, ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ And the guy was literally unresponsive,” Harper described. “My heart was in my feet, but at the same time, I’m like, ‘God, let me hurry up and grab my phone.’ … You just don’t know how you are going to react in that split second. You don’t know until it actually happens, until you’re looking it right in its face.

“To us it’s not just like, “Oh, I have a job.’ It’s like … ‘I’m doing something that’s going to change how things happen here.’”

Sotero added that making the Metro system a safer place to travel will help encourage more riders to use the city’s transit lines and that increasing ridership on public transport is an integral step in helping solve LA’s mobility problems.

“It’s difficult to build new roadways in a built urban environment, and because it already has been built, it’s clogged with traffic,” he said. “If we’re going to have any ability to keep moving in LA, we have to incorporate public transit with our other transportation options. We can’t just exclusively rely on the automobile because that is not sustainable, and it’s not sustainable anywhere in the world. Any major city has transit. They have congested roadways, they

have congested freeways, and it takes all of those ways to keep people moving.

“With the crises of homelessness and drug use, it’s really taking a toll. But I think we’re going to make the improvements that need to be made. … We’re really taking this issue seriously, and we’re combating it with a number of different ways to help the customer get around LA safely.”

While Sotero said the ambassadors alone are not the solution to Metro’s public safety woes, he explained that they play a crucial part in making the Metro a more welcoming environment and in connecting those in need to existing resources.

For Harper, her position as an ambassador continues to be a testing yet rewarding pursuit.

“I grew up here; this is my city, my grandmother’s city, my great grandmother’s city” she said. “I’m proud of LA. I want LA to be beautiful and gorgeous. And sometimes it hurts me to go into some of the train station and see people … doing drugs and just throwing food and trash all over the place. … It becomes personal. You almost feel personally attacked in some kind of way.

“We are doing our job right now to make sure that LA is gorgeous for when the Olympics come and the World Cup. … I want our stations to be beautiful, and I want LA to thrive.”

Metro/Submitted Takiesha Harper is one of 300 new ambassadors deployed on the Metro system.

A First Look at Jasper New apartments reimagine wellness, communal living

Downtown’s newest apartment community, Jasper, pushes the envelope of communal living. The complex provides amenities for total well-being and curated spaces for communal living — everything a resident might need to thrive.

Located on Grand Avenue adjacent to the University of Southern California in the University Park East neighborhood, the mid-rise offers a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The 296-unit apartment community is pre-leasing, with an anticipated move-in date of June.

“At Jasper, we transformed a defunct bookbinding factory and other unused industrial buildings into nearly 300 units of premier multifamily housing,” Cityview CEO Sean Burton said. “We are looking forward to welcoming residents and

bringing our vision of an amenity-rich community in an unbeatable location to fruition.”

The apartment community’s central location offers easy access to Downtown and freeways connecting to greater LA for those looking to explore the area’s museums, nightlife, cafes and dining scene. Jasper is one of many new developments bridging Downtown and the South Park neighborhood, following the growth of areas like Koreatown and the Arts District.

In a new age of luxury apartments, most working professionals look for amenities that will enhance their working and personal lives. Jasper’s community is equipped with amenities to encompass residents’ health, work and social needs.

The facility offers a CV Works co-working space with private meeting rooms, fiber-optic internet and Wi-Fi for those working from home. Pet owners can uti-

Cityview/Submitted Jasper, the new University Park East neighborhood apartment community, boasts nearly 300 units and a diverse array of amenities, including a co-working space, aquaponics rooms and rooftop decks.

lize the multiple green spaces, the dog park, and the on-site dog spa and wash. Communal spaces are peppered throughout the community, featuring a game lawn with outdoor activities and a built-in pizza oven, a resort-style pool deck, a two-story club room and two rooftop sky decks with sprawling city views, an outdoor cinema and Korean barbecue grills.

The project, developed by Cityview, a real estate investment management and development firm, is undergoing its Fitwel Certification, which assesses factors related to occupants’ health and well-being, such as access to green spaces, amenities and healthy food, among others.

Shane Robinson, vice president of property management at Westhome, Cityview’s property management affiliate, noted that in his 20 years in development, this is the first project he has worked on with an aquaponics room, which speaks to the project’s dedication to wellness.

The whole foods harvested from the space will facilitate a free, weekly farmers’ market for residents. The property also contains a rooftop fitness deck and a state-of-the-art fitness center with a private yoga studio.

“The diversity of amenities leans into different lifestyles — whether it’s health, fitness, business or play,” Robinson noted. “The entertaining spots that we have throughout the community really encourage socializing and getting people together, while the private areas around the community allow residents to work and get quiet time as well.”

Since potential residents began touring the community in the past month and a half, the Jasper team has received 28 leases and counting. “We’re just excited to bring housing to the market that’s fun and entertaining — a place where residents know that they’re going to get excellent service, great design and access to a plethora of amenities,” Robinson said.


Hey you! Speak up!

Downtown News wants to hear from people in the community. If you like or dislike a story, let us know, or weigh in on something you feel is important to the community.

Participation is easy. Go to downtownnews.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Letter to the Editor” link. For guest opinion proposals, please email christina@timespublications.com.

APRIL 17, 2023 DOWNTOWNNEWS.COM DOWNTOWN NEWS 7 Do you have type 2 diabetes? Are you treated with a GLP-1 receptor agonist like Trulicity, Ozempic, Victoza, Bydureon? Velocity Clinical Research 2010 Wilshire Blvd Suite 302 Los Angeles CA, 90057 Se habla español 1-866-700-6262 If yes, you may qualify to participate in a study with medication and receive compensation for your time. You may have Fatty Liver Disease. • Type 2 Diabetes • Prediabetes • High Cholesterol • High Triglycerides • High Blood Pressure • Overweight Jasper 2528 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles 213-466-0903 jasperla.com

Covered California will helpDT ARTS & CULTURE

The Month of Art LA Board of Supervisors, nonprofit promise 10,000 new jobs

In celebration and recognition of the city’s arts and creative workforce, nonprofit Arts for LA has joined the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to declare April as Arts, Culture and Creativity Month. The board also unanimously approved the Creative Jobs Collective Impact Initiative motion in support of Arts for LA’s mission to create 10,000 living-wage jobs in the creative sector, particularly from historically underrepresented communities.

The motion was introduced by Supervisors Hilda L. Solis of District 1 and Lindsey P. Horvath of District 3 to help Arts for LA’s seven-year effort of creating an influx of new creative sector jobs for both youth and adults, parity between the regional population demographics and a sectorwide median entry-level wage that is at or above the region’s living wage as determined by MIT’s liv-

ing-wage calculator.

“As it stands, artists and creative workers can’t afford to live and work in Los Angeles,” Arts for LA CEO Gustavo Herrera said. “Compensation for entry-level arts administrators in Los Angeles county is well below a living wage standard — this disparity is most pronounced for BIPOC creative workers, which stands at $32,027 for entry-level wage. It is no wonder that we hear from so many emerging arts leaders, particularly emerging leaders of color, that they cannot afford to work in the arts and culture field. It is going to take all of us, working across the sectors, to create a more inclusive and sustainable creative economy for all Angelenos.”

Arts for LA was incorporated in 2006 by a collective of arts leaders who wanted to address the burdens impacting LA’s creative industries. They have since expanded across the county to include 165 member organizations, 400 member ad-

vocates and 55,000 supporters.

“Investment in arts and culture today means a … richer cultural life for our communities and a stronger creative workforce for generations to come,” said Kristin Sakoda, director of the LA County Department of Arts and Culture. “This board of supervisors motion builds on decades of ongoing programs, grants, internships, research and coalition building by the department of arts and culture that have expanded access to creative career pathways; invested in the arts workforce; and cultivated the capacity of our region’s arts ecosystem of organizations, educators, artists, emerging leaders, funders and advocates. Yet there is more to be done to increase equity in our creative industries. I am excited to further this work with the Creative Jobs Collective Impact Initiative.”

Horvath described the arts and entertainment industries as cornerstones of LA’s cultural and economic landscapes

and said that the motion to create new jobs as part of the Creative Jobs Collective Impact Initiative provides an “enormous opportunity to develop a robust future creative workforce with diverse talent” from communities throughout the county.

“Artists and organizations in the creative space have never fully recovered (from the pandemic), and passing this motion is another important step to fixing that,” Solis added. “By focusing on cross-sectoral partnerships, funding and culturally responsive practices for the betterment of all residents, we can prioritize intersectional and real-time responses to disparities in the creative sector exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m proud to lead this effort during Arts, Culture and Creativity Month and call on all Angelenos to take some time this month to support artists and creative workers — a critical backbone of our economy.”

Arts for LA/Submitted From left to right are Gail Lopes, Arts for LA board member and policy chair; Ricky Abilez, Arts for LA director of policy and advocacy; Gustavo Herrera, Arts for LA CEO; Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, District 1; Gabriel Gutierrez, Arts for LA creative jobs collective and operations associate; Melissa Flores, Arts for LA director of programs; and Yamily Pardio, Arts for LA programs associate.

Covered California will helpDT ARTS & CULTURE

Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp

Poison’s Rikki Rockett brings advice to participants

Poison drummer Rikki Rockett says he has a lot to offer participants of Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp: “’80s Anthems.”

After all, he was in the thick of it, scoring hits like “Every Rose has Its Thorn,” “Talk Dirty to Me” and “Unskinny Bop.”

“I’m going to share how to prepare for a tour, how to prepare for shows mentally and physically,” Rockett said. “There are a million things to worry about when you’re playing a show. Maybe I can help with that.”

Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp features John 5 (Mötley Crüe, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson); Richie Fortus (Guns N’ Roses) and Rockett, among others. It runs Thursday, May 4, to Sunday, May 7 in Los Angeles, culminating with two live performances by campers: one at the Viper Room on Saturday, May 6, and one at the Whisky a Go Go on Sunday, May 7. To register, visit rockcamp.com.

Past Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp mentors

have included Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Joe Perry and Roger Daltrey, the latter of whom said, “It’s an amazing experience and it makes you remember where you came from.”

Rockett co-founded Poison in 1983, and the band achieved success in the 1980s and 1990s. He has been a key member of Poison for over four decades. In addition to his work with Poison, Rockett has also worked as a producer and songwriter. Rockett is looking forward to the camp.

“When you have people who are interested in what it is you do for a living, things you hold dear to your heart and spend your life doing, it has to be awesome,” he said. “

Rockett has more than music on his mind these days. Through his “Legend Tripping” YouTube channel, he shares his love of the paranormal and the topic is being considered for a TV show. He also enjoys urban exploration, checking out abandoned buildings.

APRIL 17, 2023 DOWNTOWNNEWS.COM DOWNTOWN NEWS 9 DTLA-FEMBA-DTNews-QP-4.81x5.72-092622-outlined.indd 1 9/15/22 3:29 PM
CALL TODAY CATHERINE: 213.308.2261 MICHAEL: 213.453.3548 The Los Angeles Downtown News publishes a wide array of special sections and quarterlies throughout the year on topics like Health, Education, Nightlife and Residential Living. Los Angeles Best Advertising Source Advertising is a Great Way to Keep Your Customers Informed VOICE DOWNTOWN SINCE 1972 Holiday Guide THE VOICE OF DOWNTOWN SINCE 1972 ‘In the Heights’ Emotional, upbeat film recalls old Hollywood Page Summertime Cooking Vegan chain selling plant-based BBQ kits Page20 A Thriving Scene Museum Tower is in a prime location LADTNews-06-07-21.indd VOICE OF LA SINCE 2021 THE VOICE LA SINCE 1972

Covered California will helpDT ARTS & CULTURE Supporting Artistic Ecosystems

The Mike Kelley Foundation awards $400K in grants

Like many, arts organizations struggled in the face of the pandemic, threatening the vital artistic ecosystem of Los Angeles. Recognizing this, the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts began the Organizational Support Grants, an unrestricted grant designed to support these organizations during the pandemic’s bleakest moments.

Earlier this month, MKFA announced the 16 arts organizations set to receive grants totaling $400,000, with each grant award ranging from $10,500 to $30,000, targeting small to midsize institutions. The institutions chosen reflect various artistic disciplines, including dance, poetry, performance, music and multimedia art. The grantees were selected based on upcoming projects and need, reflecting the growing number of in-person events and performances.

The organizations set to receive the grant include the Armory Center for the Arts, Avenue 50 Studio, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Feminist Center for Creative Work, Fulcrum Arts, Human Resources, The Industry, LA River Public Art Project, Los Angeles Filmforum, Los Angeles Nomadic Division, JOAN, LA Artcore, Los Angeles Poverty Department, Pieter Performance Space, Vincent Price Art Museum Foundation and Velaslavasay Panorama.

Grant applicants were selected by an independent panel featuring local artists, writers and educators like Clara Kim, chief curator and director of curatorial affairs at MOCA; Taylor Renee Aldridge, visual arts curator at California African American Museum; Michael Ned Holte, faculty at CalArts, independent curator, and writer; Alexandro Segade, faculty at UC San Diego and Los Angeles-based artist; Clara Kim, chief curator and director of curatorial affairs at MOCA; and Rosten Woo, Los Angeles-based artist.

“The impressive list of 2023 grantees all share the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts’ core values of risk taking and provocation. Each grantee has accomplished critical work in the face of tremendous challenges over the past few years, and we are encouraged by their movement and commitment toward furthering safe in-person programming throughout Los Angeles County,” said Mary Clare Stevens, executive director of the foundation. “We are heartened that these organizations

also foster resources and spaces for communities, and it is our honor to award unrestricted funds to these 16 vital organizations.”

The grant honors the life and legacy of the late artist Mike Kelley, who began the organization in 2007, by awarding organizations that reflect Kelley’s innovative and multifaceted artistic process.

One grantee, Fulcrum Arts, will use the grant to support its project “Procession,” a collaborative performance with Indigenous artists tracing Los Angeles’ geographic and cultural memory through the legacy of the Los Angeles River (Paayme Paxaayt).

“We are so grateful for the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts’ continued support for experimental and interdisciplinary arts organizations,” remarked Robert Crouch, executive and artistic director of Fulcrum Arts. “Los Angeles has long established itself as a proving ground for the radical and the new, and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts is one of a handful

of funders that have made a long-term investment in speculative and transgressive art practices.”

Other projects supported through the grant include artist Kang Seung Lee’s current solo exhibit, “The Heart of a Hand,” at the Vincent Price Art Museum. The show celebrates the late Goh Choo San, a Singaporean-born choreographer who passed in 1987 from an AIDS-related illness at 39.

Similarly, Avenue 50 Studios will present a new show, “The Politics of Portrayal: Three Generations of Chicana Portraiture in Los Angeles.” The exhibit features six prominent painters, including Barbara Carrasco, from in and around Los Angeles.

“We are thrilled and honored to receive the seed funding from the Mike Kelley

Foundation for Arts, which will enable us to kick-start the House of Yùn exhibition at LA Artcore,” stated Pranay Reddy, executive director, LA Artcore. “This grant represents an important step in our efforts to secure funding for the project, and it provides critical support to us as we begin the research and development process. With the foundation’s support, we can shed light on the little-known history of the Chinese diaspora community and foster meaningful dialogue about the challenges and triumphs of the diaspora experience. We are deeply grateful for this investment in our vision and look forward to continuing our fundraising efforts to fully realize this project’s scope and impact.”

Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts


7019 N. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles 323-257-7853
Milly Correa/Submitted Pasadena-based visual arts organization Armory Center for the Arts is set to receive an Organizational Support Grant through the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts.


Covered California will helpDT

Reimagining Community

LA Metro’s latest exhibit celebrates 20 years of transit art

No one is more equipped to tell the stories of the places they love than those who live there. In Metro Arts’ latest exhibit, “Journeys Continued: LA Communities Through the Eyes of Artists,” each artist reflects and reimagines their neighborhood and community, displaying the wide breadth of diversity that exists throughout LA.

The exhibit will be unveiled at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 18, at the Union Station Passageway Art Gallery, which connects the historic Union Station to the newer East Portal. The gallery is a working pedestrian corridor dotted with train platform entrances, which might take passengers across the country or down the street.

This liminal space is the ultimate connector, and the art within it speaks to the limitless possibilities of travel and continuity. The thousands traversing Union Station daily will see their destinations reimagined by artists living and working in those com-

munities. Metro’s executive officer of art asset management and cultural programming, Maya Emsden, hopes that the exhibit sparks curiosity about less-known facets of the neighborhoods shown. Viewers may uncover sections of the city they might never have heard of before.

The exhibit will consist of 12 posters, each designed by a different artist representing a neighborhood or city in the LA metro area, encased in lightboxes that line the corridor, highlighting the art and illuminating the space. “When you’re walking along, it’s just wonderful to be able to experience artwork,” Emsden noted.

The coming exhibit builds on “Journeys: LA Communities Through the Eyes of Artists” and features metro service areas like South Gate, East Hollywood, San Pedro, El Sereno, Marina del Rey, Studio City, Pacoima and Canoga Park, among others.

Both “Journeys” and its continuation, “Journeys Continued,” present artworks initially created for the “Through the Eyes of Artists” poster series, which celebrates 20

years in 2023.

The initial series began in 2003 after a push to include art on metro buses, which previously only sported advertisements. The artworks were designed in the vein of traditional travel destination posters from the perspective of resident artists, encouraging riders to explore communities and neighborhoods throughout the expanding metro transit system.

While 20 years may have passed, the neighborhoods and communities immortalized through the project have stood

strong. “Featuring those neighborhoods are just as relevant today as they were 20 years ago,” Emsden said. “With over 2,000 metro buses operating daily, this very well could be one of the most viewed ongoing exhibitions in the country.”

The opening will begin the yearlong celebration of the program’s anniversary. Prints from the collection and collectible TAP cards with featured artwork from the series will be available, along with free art tours of Union Station, including the new exhibition.

“Journeys Continued: LA Communities

Through the Eyes of Artists Reveal”

WHEN: 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 18

WHERE: Union Station Passageway Art Gallery, 800 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles

COST: Free

INFO: art.metro.net

Metro Art/Submitted
Artist Ja’Rie Gray reflects upon her South Gate neighborhood through her art.

Covered California will help DTSPORTS Black and Gold

The District 9 Ultras live and breathe LAFC

From the billowing smoke to the roaring songs, BMO Stadium’s north end is an influential symphony of sight and sound, known to tilt the balance of victory and defeat. It’s an atmosphere that Jose “Rey” Salcedo revels in.

Salcedo, a founding member of LAFC supporters’ group District 9 Ultras, described a game day as far more than what happens on the pitch.

“I have had the pleasure to invite many, many people that have never been to a soccer game, and I usually take the time before they walk in the stadium to tell them, ‘Hey, your life is about to change,’” he said. “As soon as they walk into the tunnel and they see the drums, the flags and everybody … (they) fall in love.”

District 9 Ultras was born from the ashes of Chivas USA, the former MLS club that shared a stadium with LA Galaxy for over nine years. The team was a subsidiary of Mexican side C.D. Guadalajara, who were originally named Club Union, and Salcedo was a member of a supporters’ group called Union Ultras. Chivas USA eventually folded in 2014, and LAFC was established that year.

“We were named Union Ultras to symbolize and pay respects to Guadalajara, but this was a totally different ballgame,” Salcedo described.

The group’s new name, District 9 Ultras, was inspired by the location of LAFC’s stadium, built in Los Angeles’ 9th District. Their crest depicts a top hat and skull, representing each supporter’s loyalty until death.

“We’ve been working countless hours and putting in so much effort since ‘day zero,’” Salcedo recalled. “Going back to the early days, I remember when we would go out to the bars. Because one of our slogans was ‘one by one,’ we were going bar by bar inviting people to the new project.

“They would ask us, ‘So when are you guys playing?’ We’re like, ‘Oh, we’re playing in three years.’ ‘You guys are (expletive) crazy. … You guys don’t even have colors. You don’t even have a crest, and you already believe in this?’ I was like, ‘Hey, you have to believe the project.’”

The group has since witnessed their team lift the MLS Cup in what has been regarded as one of the most thrilling finals in league history. It was a day that

Salcedo said he will never forget.

“We committed everything, not only us but our families … so to us it was very special,” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling for you to know that you were part of that; you were part of that goal that happened … because you were singing your

lungs out and you were encouraging the players to keep on pushing and not give up.

“(Before the game,) there’s a guy that was asking me, ‘How do you feel?’ I told him, ‘Look, tomorrow we’re going to cash in a big check. Out of all those three years

of hard work, you’re going to see it tomorrow in the stands, in the north end. … (Then) magic just happened.”

Today, the District 9 Ultras supporters’ group stands as one of the guiding lights for LAFC’s fan culture. Salcedo called it a family.

Luke Netzley/Staff The District 9 Ultras support LAFC from BMO Stadium’s Section 105.

“Every time somebody walks in … you’re always going to get a handshake. And if you drink, you’re going to get a beer. If you’re not drinking, you’re going to get a water, you know? You’re going to get a warm welcome,” Salcedo said. “It is just about the community, about having a good time and having that feeling of belonging. A lot of us and a lot of people there are immigrants. I’m an immigrant, and when you come to this country, you don’t have family and there’s nothing for you to rely on other than just work and go home, work and go home.

“Almost 99% of the people that were born across the border, they love soccer and they grew up with it. For them to have the same feeling like when they were in their hometown, to come in here and just buy a $35 ticket, go inside the stadium, get a beer and have a good time … that’s priceless.”

The District 9 Ultras community also extends to their tailgates and away days, when buses full of LAFC fans will travel to another city to support their team. Salcedo said it’s “the best feeling ever” when all of the groups in the 3252, LAFC’s supporters union, sing together in unison to drown out an opposing team’s home support.

“Every single group in the 3252 operates different, but at the end of the day we all come together because our main goal is for LAFC,” he described. “Everybody has their different ideas; that’s what makes the 3252 great, because we all come together and not everybody thinks the same. … All those ideas keep us afloat, keeps everybody moving and always being hungry to be the best (fans) in MLS.”

Despite the animosity shown between the opposing sets of fans during a match, Salcedo explained that, after the full-time whistle blows, every supporter is united in their passion for the game, regardless of their club. This unity has helped inspire local, national and global community service events.

“We work with different supporter groups from rival teams, and we have done amazing things,” Salcedo said. “We have worked with Colorado, we have worked with San Jose, we have worked with Utah, and we’ve done community activations.”

Ahead of LAFC’s CONCACAF Champions League game against Costa Rican club LDA Alajuelense, the District 9 Ultras participated in a clubwide effort with hu-

man rights nonprofit Global Diplomatic to provide beds, toys, food and a game day ticket for 31 girls living in an orphanage.

“It’s about sharing that love,” Salcedo said. “It’s about saying, ‘Look, we can be rivals for 90 minutes, but our communities need so much that we can help each other out.’”

Salcedo has witnessed and felt the transformational power of the sport and said that there is not a single hour that passes that he doesn’t think about soccer.

“We live and we bleed this,” Salcedo explained. “It does two things to you: either brings a smile to your face when you win, or it makes you walk away when you lose.

I think that’s what makes football something very special, because it generates those emotions, and when you have hundreds of people that feel the same way as you and everybody’s pulling the weight to the same side, you know you’re making an impact.

“We have had guys that have been in the rock bottom, and we’ve helped lift them up, and we continue doing that work through them because we all go through different stuff in life. But that’s the sense of community that the 3252 has.”

Salcedo hopes that this impact and the legacy of his work with District 9 Ultras will last for generations and inspire others to pursue their passions and seek community, starting with the youth.

“A lot of our kids growing up, they’re lacking of identity and not feeling that they belong in the world, and that’s very sad,” Salcedo said. “Unfortunately, that’s the world that we’re living in right now, … and football, it gives you a sense of belonging, a sense of something to look forward to. Even if you have a bad day on a Wednesday, you know that it’s almost Friday and Saturday you’re going to go to the stadium; you’re going to see your buddies, you’re going to go hang out, and you’re going to forget about everything for four or five hours.

“We push you, shoulder to shoulder, and we try to grow and move forward because we want to leave a legacy here in Los Angeles, a legacy of really embracing our colors, the black and gold, and the community, and for our kids to one day say, ‘My dad was part of it. My uncle was here when this started. We had season tickets since every everything started.’ All those things give you pride. … When you are passionate about something, there’s a lot of things that you can gain.”

LAFC vs. Houston Dynamo

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29

WHERE: BMO Stadium, 3939 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles

COST: Tickets start at $55

INFO: ticketmaster.com

Covered California will help DTBUSINESS

Time for Change


Health board welcomes

new members

PIH Health added two new members to its fiscal year 2022-23 board of directors, Jay Brown and William Roth. Their terms began March 1.

Brown is the president and chief operating officer of Bentley Mills Inc. in City of Industry.

With more than three decades of expertise in operations and sales, Brown oversees all facets of Bentley Mills’ finance, human resources, supply chain, manufacturing, logistics, research and development, marketing and sales. Brown earned his undergraduate degree from Auburn University and his juris doctorate degree from Faulkner University.

Roth has led some of the health insurance industry’s most successful business transformations and has years of experience in business turnarounds, division startups, and merger and acquisition integrations and expansions.

Roth is a certified public accountant and earned a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and accounting and a bachelor of science degree in business from Indiana University. He is an avid learner and is enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts program at the University of Chicago, where he previously earned a certificate in liberal arts.

“Our newest board members are highly qualified individuals who will contribute their professional experience, ideas and best practices to our enterprise,” said James R. West, PIH Health president and chief executive officer.

“Their expertise and leadership will help guide PIH Health in furthering its mission to provide outstanding care to our communities.”

The board of directors includes physicians and business and community leaders who meet periodically to discuss the current state and future of PIH Health. Brown and Roth join the following 14

directors who comprise the PIH Health Inc. Board of Directors: Alex Alvarez, J. Richard Atwood, Melanie Batiste, Paula Cowan, Dr. Blayne Cutler, Jane Dicus, Marissa Goldberg, Dr. Peter Greaney, Jeffrey Hamar, Dr. Robert Maloney, Patrick Monroe, Paul Treinen, Dr. Charlotte Weaver and Kenton Woods. The board officers are as follows: Monroe, chair; Weaver, vice chair/chair elect; Greaney, secretary; and Hamar, treasurer.

PIH Health/Submitted Jay Brown is the president and COO of Bentley Mills Inc. PIH Health/Submitted
William Roth has led some of the health insurance industry’s most successful business transformations.





14 DOWNTOWN NEWS TWITTER: @ DOWNTOWNNEWS APRIL 17, 2023 St. Turibius School Catholic STEM School Open Enrollment TK-8 Grade Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) School Stem fosters creativity, innovation, collaboration, and problem solving
faculty and staff safe and caring environment
Formation Programs After School Daycare Program Small class size Tuition Assistance Hot Lunch Program Integrated 1:1 technology Counseling Program After School sports and clubs APPLY TODAY TEL: 213-749-8894 Website: www.stturibius.org Address: 1524 Essex Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021 St. Turibius School Catholic STEM School Open Enrollment TK-8 Grade Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) School Stem fosters creativity, innovation, collaboration, and problem solving
faculty and staff safe and caring environment
Formation Programs After School Daycare Program Small class size Tuition Assistance Hot Lunch Program Integrated 1:1 technology Counseling Program After School sports and clubs APPLY TODAY TEL: 213-749-8894 St. Turibius School Catholic STEM School Open Enrollment TK-8 Grade Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) School Stem fosters creativity, innovation, collaboration, and problem solving Dedicated faculty and staff safe and caring environment
Formation Programs After School Daycare Program Small class size Tuition Assistance Hot Lunch Program Integrated 1:1 technology Counseling Program After School sports and clubs APPLY TODAY TEL: 213-749-8894 Website: www.stturibius.org Address: 1524 Essex Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021 St. Turibius School Catholic STEM School Open Enrollment TK-8 Grade Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) School Stem fosters creativity, innovation, collaboration, and problem
Dedicated faculty and staff safe and caring environment
Formation Programs After School Daycare Program Small class size Tuition Assistance Hot Lunch Program Integrated 1:1 technology Counseling Program After School sports and clubs APPLY TODAY TEL: 213-749-8894 St. Turibius School Catholic STEM School Open Enrollment TK-8 Grade Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) School Stem fosters creativity, innovation, collaboration, and problem solving Dedicated faculty and staff safe and caring environment
Formation Programs After School Daycare Program Small class size Tuition Assistance Hot Lunch Program Integrated 1:1 technology Counseling Program After School sports and clubs APPLY TODAY TEL: 213-749-8894 Website: www.stturibius.org Address: 1524 Essex Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021 213-749-8894 • www.stturibius.org 1524 Essex Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) School Stem fosters creativity, innovation, collaboration, and problem solving Dedicated faculty and sta safe and caring environment
Formation Programs Open Enrollment TK-8 Grade St. Turibius School Catholic STEM School After School Daycare Program Small class size Tuition Assistance Hot Lunch Program Integrated 1:1 technology Counseling Program After School sports and clubs OPENHOUSE April29th!
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.