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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Hundreds of Local Children Join Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr. to Unveil New, State-of-the-Art Synthetic Soccer Field at Trinity Park

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On Sept. 1, I was joined by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and hundreds of wide-eyed, smiling youth from South LA for the grand opening of a brand new, state-of-the-art synthetic field at Trinity Park—one of latest upgrades and part of a nearly $1 million investment to the area. Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, we held a soccer programming clinic with National Soccer Hall of Fame member Hugo Pérez.

With almost one-third of the population that I represent under the age of 18, it is imperative that our families have clean, safe spaces and recreational programming that our youth need to be happy and prosper.

Unfortunately, our neighborhood parks have been historically underfunded and haven’t always had the resources they need or support they deserve. To say this is a high priority issue for my office is an understatement. Since taking office in 2013, I have helped secure more than $38 million for much-needed repairs and improvements at more than half of the 26 parks in Council District 9.

Improvements to-date at Trinity Park include: a state-of-the-art, synthetic soccer field; new custom playground equipment; and resurfaced basketball courts, among other upgrades.

Stay tuned for more upgrades coming to several of our parks later this year. I can honestly say that I'm very happy with the progress that we've made so far, but we have a lot more work to do.

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Local High School Students Participate in the 2nd Annual Youth Innovative Entrepreneurial Leadership Development

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In August, students across the Ninth District took part in the 2nd Annual “Youth Innovative Entrepreneurial Leadership Development” (YIELD), a program designed to offer area high school students an opportunity to experience hands-on, real world entrepreneurial training by trade experts.

The intense week-long program exposes local African American and Latino youth to valuable information and resources, giving them the tools to succeed and prosper. For five days, students in the program were exposed to a variety of industries such as Technology, Financial Literacy, Construction, Government and more.

It gives me great pride to bring programs such as YIELD into our community. It is my sincere hope that such opportunities inspire our youth to reach for their dreams despite the cultural and economic barriers they may face.

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Thanks for the Memories: Another Successful Central Avenue Jazz Festival in the Books

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A big thank you to all who attended this year’s Central Avenue Jazz Festival July 30 and 31, 2016. For more than two decades, the annual jazz fest has been a staple for our community—celebrating the area’s rich cultural past, present and future.

It gives me so much joy to see people of all ages and backgrounds embrace this free community event year after year.

I loved seeing our seniors get up and dance to jazz legends like Kenny Burrell and Ernie Andrews, and our youngsters gain a new appreciation for jazz with emerging talents like Ray Goran. This is a festival that truly has something for everyone.

Once again, the festival included three stages of live music; free health screenings; a children’s area; an arts pavilion highlighting artists near and far; resources and information for emerging businesses, entrepreneurs, job seekers and employers; and traditional cuisine from different countries.

But the festivities don’t have to end just yet. I’m pleased to announce that my office is sponsoring two fun contests!

If you fancy yourself as a star of next year’s festival, enter your talents into our “Search for the Next Jazz Star” challenge. In this challenge we’re looking for 2017 jazz festival performers—yes, you could be performing at the 22nd Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival. For more information, please visit indi.com/centralavejazz/nextjazzstar.

There’s more. We also want to hear about your most memorable jazz fest experience. Was it a favorite performer, some delicious food or your friend breaking down to some serious grooves? There’s still time for you to win an iPod nano, Best Buy gift card, and movie theater tickets. For more information on entering this contest, please visit indi.com/centralavejazz/favmoment.

 

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Central and Vernon Dedicated as Dolphin's of Hollywood Square

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On July 28, 2016, I had the privilege and honor to dedicate the intersection of Central and Vernon avenues in recognition of John Dolphin and “Dolphin's of Hollywood”—one of the first African-American owned record stores in Los Angeles.

John Dolphin and Dolphin's of Hollywood were instrumental in bringing rhythm and blues to Los Angeles. The special square dedication not only honored a pioneer and institution, but also commemorates the story of Central Avenue.

It gave me much joy to be joined by dozens of people—including family members; Michael Dolphin, John Dolphin's son; and Council District 9 residents—for this wonderful celebration.

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City Councilman Curren Price Presents One of the Biggest Fireworks Display of Light, Color and Sound in Los Angeles

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Thousands expected at this year’s 4th of July Community Festival

and Fireworks Show at Exposition Park

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — On July 4, Los Angeles City Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr. will host one of the largest and longest firework show in the state—a 30-minute firework spectacle at Exposition Park that includes more than a thousand aerial displays and a tribute to the late singer Prince’s “Purple Rain.”

“It gives me great pleasure to present our community with a top-notch fireworks show in a fun and safe environment where Angelenos of all ages can gather to celebrate the birth of our nation among family, friends and neighbors,” Price said.

The free, family-friendly celebration attracts more than 20,000 Angelenos annually. This year, the community event kicks off on Saturday, July 2 with carnival rides and games from noon-10 p.m. and continues through the 4th of July festivities on Monday, which include live music and entertainment by Radio Free 102.3 KJLH, food trucks, dozens of exhibitors, and much more.

The festivities culminate with what is considered one of the biggest and most attended fireworks show in the Los Angeles region, presented by Pyro Spectaculars.

“We are taking the fireworks display to another level this year by using bigger, more spectacular effects,” said Mike Toskstein, of Pyro Spectaculars. “Families will be treated to special effects that include happy faces with strobing eyes, jellyfish that actually look like jellyfish with tentacles, and ghost shells that appear to illuminate and fade in a wave across the sky.”

Councilman Price reminds Angelenos to leave the fireworks to the professionals and encourages local families to attend a public display. For more information on fireworks safety, please visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website. If you are experiencing any fireworks issues with no fire or injury, please call 1-877-ASK-LAPD. For fire or injury please remember to call 9-1-1 promptly.

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Video Recap: Relive "Mujeres Empowered for Success"

It gives me great pleasure to present to you a #fbf video to when my office hosted “Mujeres Empowered for Success,” the first-ever Latina Conference in Council District 9. 

On May 14, hundreds of local guerreras joined me at Los Angeles Trade Technical College for a day of action, featuring motivational speakers, insightful panel discussions, live entertainment, a fashion show, and more than 30 exhibitors.

Please click below to watch a video recap of the historic event honoring you, las mujeres del Noveno Distrito. Keep an eye out for details on next year's annual Latina conference. You won't want to miss it!

 

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Community Celebrates Vermont Square Park, Central Park Pool Re-Opening

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Summer is off to a good start in Council District 9 with the re-opening of Vermont Square Park and Central Park Pool in South Los Angeles. On June 9 and 10, I was joined by hundreds of enthusiastic parents and bright-eyed, smiling children to welcome the latest upgrades to both parks.

Community members came out in droves on June 9 to check out the improvements at Vermont Square Park, which include the installation of new playground equipment, barbeque pits, benches, trash receptacles, drinking fountain, new fitness equipment and refurbished basketball court.

The newly renovated park serves an estimated 11,031 residents within a one-half mile walking distance. This open green space is situated directly across the street from Vermont Square Public Library.

On June 10, residents took a dip in the newly renovated, neighborhood pool at Central Park, which had been closed for 12 years. The Central Recreation Center Pool—at 1357 E. 22nd St., between Washington and Adams—was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and closed its doors in 2004. Two years ago, Central pool began a multi-million dollar renovation to the 63-hundred square foot pool that now includes a children’s splash area.

To mark the festive occasion, nearly 100 residents attended an end-of-school-year pool party at Central Park—organized by my office. With the re-opening of Central Pool, the approximately 11,474 residents the facility serves in this South Los Angeles community now have a beautiful neighborhood pool for youth and adults to enjoy.

The pool is open all summer long and kids get in for free, adults can join for $3.50, and seniors only have to pay $1. In addition, Kaiser Permanente’s Operation Splash is offering free swim lessons for children and adults, and the LA84 Foundation is funding youth summer aquatics programs, including synchronized swim all summer long. 

Since taking office in 2013, I have committed more than $36 million in improvements and upgrades across 16 of the District’s local parks, and there are many future projects in the pipeline.

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Construction Underway on New Toyota Dealership of Downtown LA Facility

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The Toyota dealership of Downtown Los Angeles is undergoing an expansion just north of its existing site to accommodate growth. The four-tier, 290,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility will feature a 22,600 foot two-story showroom with vehicle display along Figueroa and Washington, a 40-car bay below grade service department and a wholesale and retail parts boutique.

The Shammas Group, which acquired the dealership in 2012, broke ground on the expansion project on June 10. The new facility is expected to be complete in late 2017.

As the Chair of the Economic Development Committee, I’m excited for the future of our local businesses and the role they play in job creation and stimulating the region’s economy.

Since Toyota of Downtown LA was established in 2012, they have grown by nearly 70 percent, while increasing sales tax revenue to the City by an additional $23 million over the past three years.

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