Saluting the 2017 SHero Recipients

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Flashback Friday: Group photo of the 9th Annual "Tribute to SHeroes" 2016 Recipients

It is my great privilege and honor to announce the 2017 “SHero” honorees. A SHero is a woman who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, pride and commitment to strengthening our community.

These exemplary women, with deep roots in the Ninth District, will be recognized at the 10th Annual Tribute to SHeroes Awards Luncheon and Ceremony on Feb. 19 at the Radisson Los Angeles Hotel.

I hope you will join me in celebrating their extraordinary accomplishments. They are the epitome of putting service before self! On behalf of Council District 9, I wish to extend my warm congratulations to…

Yosi Aguilar

Teacher, Ricardo Lizarraga Elementary School 

Orabelle Bolden

New 9th Community Volunteer 

Teresa Castro

New 9th Community Activist

Simone Charles

Principal, Mervyn M. Dymally High School

Jessica Clemmons

Parent Advocate & Community Outreach Champion,

Special Needs Network

Maria Espinoza

Member, South Central Neighborhood Council 

Jessenia Garcia

Homeless Services Program Coordinator, St. John's Well Child and Family Center

Marcela Garcia

Sergeant, LAPD Newton Area Community Relations

Danielle Green-Ssemugabi

Teacher, Santee Education Complex

Deisy Gutierrez

Promotora & Community Liaison for Best Start Metro LA, Para Los Niños

Dr. Desmonette Hazly

President, Friends of the Vernon Library

Ana Lasso

General Manager, Exposition Park

Elida Mendez

Community Coalition Member, Green Meadows Neighborhood 

Martha Mendez

Lead Case Manager, Volunteers of America Greater Los Angeles

Leticia Ortiz-Gonzales

FamilySource Center Program Coordinator, All Peoples Community Center

Theodora Oyie

Construction Manager for USC Village, Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co.

Diana Pinto

Executive Director, South Central Los Angeles Ministry Project (SC LAMP)

Cynthia Rodriguez

Program Manager, Harmony Project/YOLA EXPO

Natividad Rodriguez

New 9th Community Volunteer 

Yesenia Rodriguez

Officer, LAPD Newton Area - Community Safety Partnership Program at Pueblo del Rio Housing Development 

Claudia Romero-Lara

Teacher, 49th Street Elementary School

Christine “Ms. Pat" Smith

Owner, Smith’s Family Day Care

Karla Spivey

Vice Principal, Augustus F. Hawkins High School

Sue Vilas

New 9th Community Volunteer

Veronica Zamora

Parent Representative, Julian Nava Preparatory Academy  

For more information on this very special community event, please contact Nora Gutierrez at (323) 846-2651 or via email at Nora.Gutierrez@lacity.org. Once again, my sincerest congratulations to this year’s recipients, and I hope you will join us for the festivities on Feb. 19.

Sincerely, 

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Councilman Curren Price Named President of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission

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The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission voted unanimously on Jan. 26 to elect Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price, who represents the Ninth Council District, as president.

Councilman Price will be at the helm of the three-member panel, which is made up of city, county and state officials, for the remainder of 2017. The Councilmember represents Exposition Park—which includes the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum—for the Los Angeles City Council.

“I feel privileged and humbled by the chairmanship position,” Price said. “This is an exciting time, not just for the Coliseum, which will undergo a $270 million renovation, but all of Exposition Park. I’m enthusiastic for what the future holds!”

Currently, Exposition Park is in the midst of a revival that includes modernization of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; construction of the $350 million, state-of-the-art Banc of California soccer stadium for the Los Angeles Football Club (on the site of the former Los Angeles Sports Arena); and, most recently, George Lucas announced plans to build his futuristic-looking Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Expo Park.

These and other catalytic projects in the pipeline, are helping to create thousands of good-paying jobs and bringing much-needed job-training resources for Council District 9 residents. For more information on employment opportunities, please contact the Vernon-Central/LATTC WorkSource Center at LA Trade Technical College at (213) 763-5951.

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Happy King Day!

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Once again, it was an honor to take part in the annual Kingdom Day Parade—a celebration that pays tribute to an all-time hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’d like to leave you with some images from the event. To see all the pictures from the 32nd Annual Kingdom Day Parade, please click here.

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After Months of Anticipation, South Los Angeles Named Official Home of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

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Today, the force is with South Los Angeles. After long-awaited anticipation, what began as a dream is now a reality. Yes, Exposition Park, already home to variety of world-class museums and iconic institutions like the California Science Center, California African American Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, is the future site of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

As the local representative of the area, I stand ready to fulfill the vision for the $1 billion cultural institution. To say this project will be a game-changer for South Los Angeles is an understatement. The Lucas Museum will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs, educational opportunities for families, college students, and educators, increased tourism and economic growth for South LA and the City as a whole. 

The museum will benefit the entire community, helping to inspire the next generation of artists, makers and storytellers. Thank you, George Lucas for this blockbuster of a gift, and for giving the NEW 9th a real-life Hollywood story.

I am honored to have had the opportunity these past couple of months to meet with Lucas representatives to make our bid for this one-of-a-kind cultural institution, unlike anything my Council District or the world has ever seen. 

I also want to express my gratitude to the South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z)/Promise Zone partners, under the leadership of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College President Larry Frank. We couldn’t have achieved this historic success, without the full support of our dozens of SLATE-Z partners, President C.L. Max Nikias and the University of Southern California family, and Mayor Garcetti.

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Councilmember Curren Price Pledges Support for Proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Expo Park

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Los Angeles and San Francisco Locations Identified as Potential Sites 

As George Lucas weighs his options between Los Angeles and San Francisco as the future home of his Museum of Narrative Art, Councilman Curren Price said he is ready to fulfill the vision for the $1 billion cultural institution.

In September, Councilman Price introduced a resolution to support building the legendary filmmaker’s museum in Exposition Park. This Park is already home to a variety of museums and iconic institutions like the California Science Center, California African American Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. The proposed project would be a game-changer for South Los Angeles—leading to the creation of thousands of jobs, educational opportunities for families, college students and educators, increased tourism and economic growth for the City.

“There is no question in my mind that the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art should be built at the heart of the greatest city in the world, right here in Expo Park,” Price said. “The Lucas facility would enhance an already thriving campus that includes world-class museums and educational centers embraced by Angelenos from diverse backgrounds and socio-economic status.

Now is the time to make this dream a reality. Exposition Park is in the midst of a revival that includes a multi-million dollar modernization of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and construction of a new state-of-the-art soccer stadium—the future home of the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC).”

Los Angeles is one of two cities competing to bid for this one-of-a-kind cultural institution. The non-profit museum will focus on the visual arts that tells a story and includes pieces from Lucas’ personal collection across mediums, ranging from drawings and paintings to photography, film, animation and digital art.  

The museum would be uniquely positioned to serve the neighborhood surrounding the Expo Park campus by offering impactful programming and educational opportunities to youth in the NEW 9th.

“We are reimagining the future of South LA,” Price said. “The museum will benefit our community and will inspire the next generation of artists, makers and storytellers. I’m excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Museum officials are expected to decide on a site for the museum in early 2017. The location in Exposition Park is near public transportation, with convenient freeway access and in close proximity to a number of K-12 public and charter schools, Mount Saint Mary’s University and the University of Southern California. It will be fully financed and endowed by George Lucas at no cost to taxpayers. 

For more information, visit lucasmuseum.org.

What is the Lucas Museum of

Narrative Art? 

The non-profit museum, which features a bold new architectural design, will be a one-of-a-kind gathering place to experience collections, films and exhibitions dedicated to the power of visual storytelling and the evolution of art and moving images. The museum will present original work by world renowned artists, cutting-edge digital technologies, and daily film screenings in multiple, state-of-the-art theaters, as well as extraordinary educational opportunities for students of all ages.

Lucas’ collection includes works by Norman Rockwell and R. Crumb, along with Hollywood memorabilia from his “Star Wars” films. 

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Councilman Curren Price Seeks to Bring More Affordable Housing Projects and Resources to the Ninth District

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Reaffirming his commitment to provide high-quality, affordable housing, Councilman Curren Price has identified more than 10 sites in the District that will provide 500 affordable housing units to Angelenos in the next few years. Making significant progress in 2016, 160 low-income families successfully obtained affordable housing this year alone.

Currently, Council District 9 has among the highest concentration of rent-restricted affordable housing units at 7,174. Price, who serves on the City’s Housing Committee, said increasing the supply of affordable housing is a key priority for the Ninth District because it is one of the most underserved areas in Los Angeles.

“Every individual—regardless of their background, income, zip code or immigration status—is deserving of safe, clean and quality housing,” Price said. “I pledge to expand access to affordable housing to keep our neighbors from losing their homes and end up living on the streets.

“Truth is, we are facing a serious crisis in this city. Making sure our residents have a decent, affordable place to live is very important to me.”

Most recently, Councilman Price joined local children and families to celebrate the grand opening of Park Plaza—an $18-million renovation of the troubled Park Vermont housing complex. For years, the building had been inundated with issues, including crime and gang violence, leaving many residents and families unsafe in their own home. 

The public/private partnership, which included The Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCIDLA), and community partners Thomas Safran & Associates and Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD), was crucial to redeveloping the 79-unit apartment complex and transforming an adjacent abandoned lot into a first-class park. Affordable and restricted rents at Park Plaza range from $760 to $1,051 per month.

“We are proud to have Councilman Price and so many community leaders as our partners to make a difference in underserved communities where we can brighten the future for children and their families,” said Thomas Safran, chairman of Thomas Safran & Associates.

Under Price’s leadership, the community also celebrated the grand opening of Paloma Terrace this October. It includes 59 units of affordable housing to local families complete with outdoor barbeque areas, play equipment, gardens, and a computer lab. The Council Office also ensured that The Lorenzo Project lived up to its promise to the community. As a result, 46 families were able to move into affordable housing units.

Councilman Price will continue to fight tirelessly to increase the District’s affordable housing stock to meet the needs of working-class families in the region. Currently, there are 10 such projects in the pipeline—more than any other Council District in the City. Once built, these developments will remain rent restricted to serve the Council District 9 low-income population for decades to come.

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Recent and Future Affordable Housing Projects in CD 9 include:

1. Paloma Terrace (5000 S. Main St., 90037) – GRAND OPENING SEPTEMBER 2016! 59 units of affordable housing, which complements the 81 unit senior housing project across the street at Broadwood Terrace. 

2. The Lorenzo (325 W. Adams Blvd., 90007) – ALL UNITS OCCUPIED FEBRUARY 2016! 46 affordable housing units for families in a 916 unit mixed use project.

3. Paul Williams (1010 E. Jefferson Blvd., 90011) – GROUNDBREAKING IN 2017! Renovation of a historical landmark, which will include 53 units of affordable housing and community rooms, and after school programming. 

4. Casa de Rosas (2600 Hoover Ave., 90007) GROUND BLESSING HELD AUGUST 2016! Restoration of a historic landmark into 35 units of affordable housing for veterans with wrap-around services. 

5. 722 Washington (722 Washington Blvd., 90011) – 55 units of affordable housing along the Blue Line. 

6. Florence Mills (3501 S. Central Ave., 90011) – 74 units of affordable housing targeted at seniors and families with community serving commercial amenities. 

7. La Opinion (206. E. Washington Blvd., 90011) – A mixed-use project that will provide more than 135 units of affordable housing and wrap-around services. 

8. Slauson & Wall (5867 S. Los Angeles St., 90003) – A 7-acre project that will provide around 120 units of affordable housing and 4 acres of open green space for the local community.

9. 52nd & Figueroa (5215 & 5260 S. Figueroa St., 90037) – A first-time home buyer’s opportunity on two vacant parcels of land. 

10. 59th & Crocker (5885 & 5887 Crocker St., 90037) – A first-time home buyer’s opportunity on two vacant parcels of land. 

11. 69th & Main (6901 S. Main St., 90003) – A multi-family housing project, complete with a community garden that will provide more than 20 units of housing for families. 

Furthermore, Councilman Price has been leading a vigorous effort to save hundreds of soon-to-expire affordable housing covenants in CD 9. Once this protection is gone, there is no guarantee they will remain affordable since a landlord can opt to rent the units at market-rate.

“Due to the magnitude of the housing crisis facing our city, we need to find innovative solutions to not just produce more low-cost housing in the region but protect existing ones,” added Price.

For more information on affordable housing options in the City of Los Angeles, please visit http://www.housing.lacity.org/

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Historic Central Avenue Corridor Transformed Into Winter Wonderland

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On Dec. 20, I was honored to play host to thousands of NEW 9th residents in the first-ever South LA Winter Wonderland.

The historic Central Avenue corridor was transformed into a Winter Wonderland complete with 40 tons of snow, a Santa’s village and holiday music. Children and families were treated to free food and beverages, train rides and fun arts & crafts activities. 

But the highlight of the Council District 9 holiday extravaganza were the presents for the little ones. I’m talking thousands of new toys, bikes and skateboards. For hours, hundreds of local families waited in line for toys and the chance to win a new bike! Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces allowed me and my Office the opportunity to experience the true spirit of the Holiday Season.   

Thank you for the honor and privilege of spreading Holiday cheer in our district. There was an overwhelming sense of camaraderie and I’m delighted to see that we have reignited a strong sense of community and pride in CD 9.

I hope you all have some time to reflect on the true meaning of the Holidays. My wish is that the spirit of this Season carries over to the New Year. Remember to be kind to one another. Be generous to those in need. And never get tired of doing good.

I’d like to leave you with some images from the event because as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. To see all the pictures from the South LA Winter Wonderland, please click here or on the image below.

Once again, thank you to everyone who came out and also to those who attended the Vermont Square Winter Wonderland on Dec. 15, 2016. It has been my sincere pleasure to meet with all of you and spend some quality time together. From my family to yours, wishing you Happy Holidays! 

Sincerely,

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Working on Behalf of Immigrant Families

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Last month, I had the privilege of being appointed to the Council's newly-formed Ad Hoc Committee on Immigrant Affairs, which will oversee and coordinate the issues of immigration and federal funding.

As the topic of immigration continues to divide the country, I want to reassure you that I stand by our Latino community. On that note, it gives me great pleasure to present to you a guest column by Isabel J. SanchezPolicy Advocate with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

 Guest Column

By Isabel J. Sanchez

Throughout the Presidential Elections, an issue that remained on the forefront was immigration. Today, our reality is President-elect Trump, who is to assume office on Jan. 20, 2017. His task and that of the new Republican-led Congress, is to govern and honor our diversity and values, which will require working and engaging with others instead of insulting and belittling our communities. His election brings forward many unknowns, fear in immigrants, unaware of what the future holds for them, and plenty of questions.

In the wake of the election results, state officials, and local officials, including Councilmember Curren Price, have expressed their continued support for the immigrant community. Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck affirmed that policies governing how the department handles unauthorized immigrants will not change. The Los Angeles Unified School District has also stated that the district will resist any requests from the federal government to release students’ information for immigration purposes. Additionally, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White has declared that campus police will not honor federal hold requests. These are a few of the measures California, and the City of Los Angeles, are upholding to ensure that our communities remain safe, while continuing to serve as a leader and a visionary for our nation.

At this time, no drastic changes have been made to our existing immigration law, and our community should not expect any changes until after President-elect Trump’s inauguration. This is the time for our communities to become and stay informed, learn what your rights are should you be apprehended, perhaps even create a family contingency plan in the event that there is a deportation. Furthermore, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has indicated that there will be no increase in raids or massive deportations.

When seeking legal counsel, make an appointment with an immigration attorney, or a local community organization, such as the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), who will provide you with guidance at a very low cost. Be aware of dishonest notarios or immigration attorneys who may counsel to apply for programs unknown to you to “protect yourself.” During your legal consult ask questions to better inform yourself, get a second opinion, become educated on the options presented to you before investing your hard earned money into something that may be out of scope for you.

It is important for you to know, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program remains intact and has not been terminated. DACA beneficiaries that have applied or received Advanced Parole to travel outside the U.S. are recommended to complete their trip and return to the U.S. before Jan. 17, 2017 and should not apply for Advanced Parole to leave the U.S. during that week. If your DACA has an expiration date between today and June 20, 2017, we advise that you proceed with your renewal as soon as possible. If applying for DACA for the first time, please consult with an immigration attorney and have all of your necessary documentation with you to initiate your filing process.

CHIRLA will continue to work with Councilmember Price to inform the community about upcoming “Know Your Rights” workshops and forums within Council District 9, and of other actions that may be taking place in the weeks to come.

For more information, please feel free to contact CHIRLA at (213) 353-1333, stop by our South Los Angeles office located at: 3965 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles 90037 or 2533 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles 90057. You can also visit our website for upcoming workshops at www.chirla.org.

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Reducing Barriers to Employment for the Formerly Incarcerated

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On Nov. 30, I was joined by dozens of advocates, faith-based organizations and formerly incarcerated individuals to urge the City Council to approve the “Fair Chance Initiative.” The new law will remove the box from job applications that asks candidates about their criminal record and delays the background check inquiry until a conditional offer of employment has been made

I want to thank my City Council colleagues for supporting this very important legislation that I introduced in 2014 and doing what is ethically and morally right. This week's 13-1 vote, demonstrates strong support for the policy. We expect the new law to go into effect January 2017.

Without the stigma of a criminal record, job seekers will soon be evaluated solely by their skills, qualifications and merits. We have to remember people are incarcerated to serve time. Once they serve their time, we shouldn’t be punishing them further. Not allowing people to find employment, is a cruel form of punishment.

I’m proud to say the City’s version of “ban the box” is one of the most progressive in the nation. Not only does Los Angeles’ Fair Chance Policy apply to contractors doing business with the City, but it also applies to private employers with 10 or more employees.

This truly was a significant day for tens of thousands of Angelenos, and I want to thank our partner organizations—including Homeboy Industries, All of Us or None, New Way of Life Re-Entry Project, and LA Voice—for their counsel and leadership, which helped us get to the finish line.

I proposed the Fair Chance Initiative two years ago because for far too long, there has been discrimination in employment on the basis of criminal record. I personally have met individuals who have been haunted by past convictions and no matter how hard they try, are unable to get their lives on track. I’m happy to say, today is in fact a new day!

“Though it may seem exclusion has won the day, today, our city reaffirms its vow to struggle until all are included and none are left behind, left out, or thrown away,” said Rev. Zachary Hoover, Executive Director of LA Voice, a federation of 55 churches, synagogues, and mosques in LA County. “Yes, banning the box makes economic and political sense.

“More importantly, it speaks to our belief in the potential of every Angeleno, no matter their past, to seek and find redemption and rehabilitation—to embark on a new journey. Just as the father welcomed the prodigal son home with a feast, so too do we declare LA a city of joyful returns—and one with a greater opportunity to work and provide for ourselves and our families, even when we’ve made mistakes.”

Added Jose Osuna, Director of External Affairs at Homeboy Industries, “At Homeboy Industries, we believe that when people have paid their dues, they do not deserve a life sentence of joblessness. That’s why we’re thrilled that today the City of Angels has passed the Fair Chance Ordinance, giving tens of thousands of Angelenos—including the 75 percent of men and women who come through Homeboy’s doors each year with a felony conviction—a fair shot at employment. We are so proud to have worked alongside LA Voice, Mayor Garcetti’s office, and Councilman Price to ensure that our city has embraced the ban-the-box movement.”

Another fantastic partner that joined us in this fight were members of a New Way of Life Re-entry Project and All Of Us Or None.

"Today, by passing the Fair Chance Ordinance we are knocking down one of the most pressing obstacles faced by formerly incarcerated and convicted people," said AmberRose Howard, a community organizer with All Of Us Or None. "We are honoring the human dignity of those who have been disenfranchised for far too long by acknowledging that everyone deserves a fair chance at opportunities that will help enhance our lives. The city of Los Angeles is demonstrating what liberty and justice for all truly looks like."

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Mark Your Calendar; It's Going to Snow in the NEW 9th!

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