It has been an honor and privilege serving you for the last four years, and I look forward to being your representative at City Hall for another five-and-a-half years. On July 8, I took the Oath of Office in front of my family, federal, state and local leaders, representatives of partner organizations, and the South LA community. It was a joyous day, and I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the faith and trust you have put into me. Because of you, I won a decisive victory this past March.
When I first decided to run for Los Angeles City Council, I knew I wanted a progressive platform for South LA. I was not going to let the status-quo stand, so I challenged myself and my staff at every turn to do better for a more than deserving community. I looked closely at the residents of Council District 9 and the systemic neglect that communities of color are met with and took action.
Income inequality is a very real barrier for families in South LA. In 2014, I introduced policy to raise the wage for hotel workers to $15.37 per hour. One year later, I led the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2020 for every Angeleno. To further strengthen job security, I brought key players to the table to make it mandatory that every employee, no matter their occupation, receive 48 hours of paid sick leave per year.
As I worked to strengthen working families, I knew more had to be done to remove unfair barriers to employment. Our policies were fostering unemployment and homelessness so we removed the “box” from job applications that asks candidates about their criminal record so people who have served their time will have a fair chance.
I’m proud to have championed these policies, but I’m equally excited about the economic boom happening in our backyard. Since 2013, we have ushered in more than $3 billion in development projects in CD 9. This includes projects like:
- The $250 million LAFC (Los Angeles Football Club) soccer stadium currently under construction at Expo Park
- The historic $1.2 billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
- The Reef, a transit-oriented, mixed-use development, which includes condos, apartments and on-site affordable housing units, a hotel, grocery store and pharmacy at 1900 S. Broadway
- A new $30 million, five-story Honda dealership at the corner of Martin Luther King and Hoover
- Vista Hotel on Figueroa Boulevard (replacing the Vagabond Inn Motel), which includes 275 hotel rooms and has a strong local hire agreement
Not only are these major projects helping to bring more than 8,000 jobs to the Ninth District, but I have insisted, and will continue to demand, commitments to local hire. To capitalize on these opportunities, my Office will work diligently to inform local residents of the upcoming training and employment opportunities. And we will keep project developers accountable for the local hiring requirements, ranging from 30 percent to 40 percent, that they promised our community.
As you can see, we have made solid gains, but my work is not done. During my next term, we will increase the supply of affordable housing in the District. To this end, my office has secured 13 sites in CD 9 that will provide more than 700 units of new affordable housing. Just as importantly for me will be to preserve existing affordable housing units that are currently at risk of conversion to market-rate. While there is a need to build more affordable housing in the region, we must also protect the affordable rentals we already have. Many of these agreements offering affordability protections are set to expire, and we have to look at the issue of affordable housing as a whole to keep more individuals from falling into homelessness.
Over the last couple of years, my Office has allocated $1 million to homeless service providers LAHSA and HOPICS to provide intensive outreach in the District. I want you to know homelessness will remain a high priority for my Office. We are also putting the City’s comprehensive homelessness strategy into action, which now includes a mobile shower and safe parking program here in the 9th District.
Furthermore, the success of Measure HHH—the $1.2-billion bond measure that voters approved in November and of which I was a co-sponsor—means that we’ll construct up to 10,000 units of permanent housing with wrap-around services for homeless people over the next decade. We’re poised now more than ever to combat homelessness Citywide, and I will be working very hard to reduce those numbers in my District.
Parks and green space will remain at the top of my priority’s list. During my first term, more than $40 million were invested into public parks for new playgrounds, exercise equipment, the re-opening of a pool, three new pocket parks and a whole slew of other upgrades! For the future, we’ll be working with LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) to bring art, cultural programs and instructional workshops to the Wetlands Park on 54th and Avalon. We will also continue to explore the possibility of building a dog park in the community, expand recreational activities for our youth and seniors, and make other repairs and improvements across neighborhood parks. Additionally, the recently adopted Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone policy will help address problems of food deserts and blighted lands by encouraging urban farming. I’m pleased to report, the first pilot project will take place in District 9.
Before getting elected to the City Council, I ran on a “Clean and Green” campaign, and I’m delighted to say we have delivered. Since taking Office, I’ve dedicated more than $4 million to clean up South Los Angeles streets and alleys, and install hundreds of new trash bins Districtwide. But we’re also fixing our crumbling sidewalks, trimming overgrown trees and removing unsightly graffiti. I have used millions of dollars in City funds to address these quality of life issues, and I am committed to securing funding year after year to make our neighborhoods more livable.
Looking ahead, it is important that the updates to the South and Southeast Los Angeles Community Plans reflect the assets and cultural resources that make our communities great. Last year, the federal government designated a vast portion of the District as a Promise Zone. I am working very closely with the Planning Department to ensure that the land use policies under these Plans promote neighborhood-serving uses, businesses with fresh foods, and a great jobs-housing balance for long-term economic vitality in the District. I am including in these Plans methods for strengthening first mile-last mile strategies to our vast transit networks while also promoting connections to the new Metro Rail to River multi-use trail on Slauson Boulevard, which will begin construction in 2018. Additionally, my Office is partnering with the Urban Land Institute – LA to develop a technical advisory panel for the Goodyear Tract and other industrial lands along Slauson Boulevard. This is an exciting project that will not only look to retain existing manufacturing businesses but also promote creative industries.
Whenever I’m considering policy, seeking to attract investment to South LA, or debating how to use finite resources, I always put the interest of our families first. I will continue to be your voice on the City Council, stand up for what’s right and always pursue the Promise of the NEW 9th! If you ever have any questions about what’s going on in our community, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my District Office at (323) 846-2651.
Thank you again for this amazing journey. I firmly believe our best days are ahead of us. To see all the photos from my swearing-in ceremony and community celebration, please click here.
Councilman Curren Price helps secure historic $1.2 billion project for Expo Park
The Ninth District made history when the City Council unanimously approved in July the $1.2 billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Dedicated to the power of storytelling across all media, the project is the largest private gift to an American city that will transform two parking lots along Expo Park into a 300,000 square-foot, five-story, state-of-the-art cultural institution.
The world-class museum will include exhibition spaces, theaters, a library, lecture halls, classrooms, a cafe and restaurant. It will house the legendary filmmaker’s collection of paintings, illustrations, photography and movie memorabilia. Its unique design will allow for the designation of 11 acres of publicly accessible green space.
“My sincerest thanks to George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson for choosing to leave a footprint and a piece of their hearts in District 9,” said Councilman Curren Price, whose district includes Expo Park.
“I am delighted for the huge investment that will take place in the heart of our Promise Zone where 46 percent of residents live below the federal poverty line and stand to benefit from this project.
I share George and Mellody’s goal of inspiring, engaging and educating individuals from all walks of life!”
Councilman Price applauded George and Mellody for engaging the local community in this project, both during construction and in its long-term operation. This includes thousands of new construction and permanent jobs with a commitment to local hire; inclusion of opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses; and the development of a robust arts education and local artists program.
Once built, the museum, which is expected to draw more than 1 million visitors annually, will offer public lectures and classes, hands-on workshops and other programs year-round for children and adults. George Lucas will fully fund the Museum at no cost to taxpayers.
“South LA is fast-becoming an exciting frontier for economic development,” Price said. “What’s more rewarding is that we’re bringing world-class facilities to our community because our working-class neighborhoods deserve better, and our children are worthy of high-caliber projects like the Lucas Museum.”
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be a perfect fit for Expo Park, which is already home to a variety of museums and iconic institutions, including the California Science Center, California African American Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. The museum is surrounded by more than 100 K-12 public and charter schools, Mount Saint Mary’s University and the University of Southern California.
Construction is expected to begin January 2018. The museum is scheduled to open its doors in 2021. For more information, visit http://lucasmuseum.org/
To see all the photos from this historic announcement, please click here.
Mike Castillo—a former Field Deputy in the 9th District since 2013—was recently appointed by Councilman Curren Price as the Executive Director of the Business Resource Center (BRC). In this role, Castillo is responsible for helping local entrepreneurs and small businesses thrive.
The BRC brings resources, information and activities year-round to businesses in District 9. Castillo will operate from the BRC Office located in the Constituent Services Center on 43rd Street and Central Avenue.
“For the past four years, Mike has worked fervently to support and empower our local neighborhoods,” Councilman Price said. “He understands the opportunities and challenges affecting our community, and that local knowledge will allow him to dive right in and make a difference.”
Castillo’s decades-long experience includes work in the California State Assembly, California State Senate and the City of Los Angeles. Most recently, as a Field Deputy for Councilman Price, he oversaw constituent and business related issues in the Northeastern and Eastern portion of the Ninth District.
Castillo, who was a Polanco Fellow of the California Latino Caucus, has a passion for community and public service. As a Polanco Fellow, he worked at the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) in the agency’s Global Equity Unit and Corporate Governance division.
The Los Angeles native worked with Councilman Price during his previous tenure in the California State Senate, and would later join then-Assemblyman Steve Bradford’s staff. His professional background consists of working for a number of political campaigns, as well as issues related to commerce, labor, public safety and immigration.
Mike Castillo has dedicated his life to being a public servant since graduating from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Chicano Studies.
To reach the Business Resource Center, call (323) 846-2651.
To effectively meet the needs of young adults ages 18-30 years old, and families in the Ninth District, Councilman Curren Price—in partnership with Community Build—announced this year Project S.A.V.E.
Funded by the Office of Councilman Price, the CD 9 program provides a range of support and services free of charge to South LA residents. This includes vital information on housing, education, employment and health care.
Since rolling out the program in February, more than 60 local clients have been helped, including homeless individuals. So far, 24 people successfully obtained a job through the program.
To speak with a Case Manager with Project S.A.V.E, please call the District Office at (323) 846-1811. Other services include: GED prep, pre-employment services, job placement, career training, assistance applying for college and more.
2nd Annual Latina Conference in the NEW 9th: A Day of Empowerment, Advocacy, Leadership and Learning
It was a beautiful sight seeing hundreds of women turn out this past May for the 2nd Annual Latina Conference in South LA. The free conference at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College featured leaders and experts working in the areas of Business, Civic Engagement, Education, Health, Immigration, Social Justice, Women’s Rights and much more. Attendees were treated to motivational speakers, panel discussions, live entertainment, and essential resources and valuable information. Each year, this community event grows bigger and better! See you ladies in 2018.
To see the entire photo album from this uplifting event, please click here.
The 22nd Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival is just days away, and I hope you can join us for the FREE celebration. One of the largest and longest-running jazz festivals, the South LA party will take place July 29-30 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. along Central Avenue between King Boulevard and Vernon Avenue.
The two-day festival, expected to attract about 70,000 concert-goers, will feature dozens of performers on three stages. This year's jazz fest also includes the first-ever beer and wine garden, with proceeds going to arts and youth programming in CD 9.
For more information on the 22nd Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival, including a list of performers, pavilions and family-friendly activities, click here.
I am delighted to inform you that, in partnership with the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), my Office will once again be hosting a FREE citizenship workshop in South LA. Details below.
Please keep in mind that you must schedule an appointment first to find out if you’re eligible. CARECEN will provide free legal assistance at recurring workshops taking place in the Ninth District through 2018.
For more information on this CD 9 program, please call my Constituent Service Center at (323) 846-2651.
Me da gusto informarle que en asociación con el Centro de Recursos Centroamericano (CARECEN), mi oficina estará organizando una vez más un taller GRATIS de ayuda para la solicitud de ciudadanía en el sur de Los Ángeles. Detalles a continuación.
Por favor tenga en cuenta que tendrá que programar una cita primero para ver si usted es elegible. CARECEN proveerá asistencia legal en estos talleres recurrentes que se llevaran a cabo en el Noveno Distrito hasta el 2018.
Para más información sobre el programa del Distrito 9 del Concejo, por favor comuníquese con mi Centro de Servicios para el Constituyente al (323) 846-2651.
Join CD 9 for a conversation about race and politics between the African American and Latino community
The empowerment of adolescent girls and women is a top priority for my office. I sincerely believe that if our communities are to prosper, we must invest in, encourage and support women of all backgrounds.
In 2016, history was made in South Los Angeles as hundreds of Latinas joined my office at the inaugural "Mujeres Empowered for Success," the first-ever Latina Conference in the Ninth District. I am delighted to announce that I will be hosting the 2nd Annual Latina Conference on Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (400 W. Washington Blvd., LA 90015).
This will be a day of day of networking, education and empowerment so please help us spread the word to family, friends and neighbors. I can honestly say that it is one of my favorite yearly events because it celebrates women of color in our community.
The free conference will feature leaders and experts working in the areas of Civic Engagement, Education, Health, Immigration, Social Justice, Women’s Rights, and much more. Like last year, attendees will be treated to motivational speakers, insightful panel discussions, live entertainment and essential resources and valuable information. Thanks to the generosity of our partners, guests will also receive complimentary breakfast, lunch and other goodies.
I look forward to meeting you on May 20 as we honor the outstanding contributions of women and help shape the leaders of tomorrow! Please register online here. However, if you would like more information, please call my District Office at (323) 846-2651.
¡Gracias y que vivan las mujeres!
Big day for CD 9 yesterday as we broke ground on a new Honda dealership—one of the largest retail and commercial investments in our community at more than $25 million.
After decades of neglect and a lack of meaningful investment, I am proud to usher in a new era for economic development, job creation and a strong economy in Council District 9. I’m delighted to say, the NEW 9th is undergoing dramatic improvements unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
In fact, many people are looking to South Los Angeles as the next frontier for economic development, with exciting projects like the LAFC Soccer Stadium and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art – all of these projects in the pipeline, both big and small, will bring more than 6,500 jobs to the Ninth Council District alone!
The groundbreaking of the state-of-the-art, vertical facility is especially important because this dealership was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, and now the ownership have turned it into one of the top performing Hondas in the country. With the expected growth from this new location, the dealership expects to become the number one Honda dealer in America. What a story!
I want to thank Joe Shuster and Ted Bessen of Downtown Honda for having the vision to invest in South Los Angeles, being a responsible company and good community partner. Honda of Downtown Los Angeles is creating a jobs program specifically for residents living in the District, donating $100,000 to Los Angeles Trade-Tech Community College to stimulate education in the automotive service-tech fields, and will donate $50,000 to the Figueroa Corridor Business Improvement District to continue innovation and beautification of the south Figueroa corridor.
With partners like Honda, we will continue to see growth and transform these surface parking lots into thriving hubs that provide jobs, housing and other wonderful resources for our local community. The project—at 740 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.—will rise out of an empty lot that had been abandoned for decades, and is expected to be completed by summer 2018.