(Photo Credit: Michael Owen Baker)
The USC Village opened to much fanfare and excitement this Thursday, signaling a turning point for the University of Southern California, the City and South LA community.
The mixed-use development USC Village features 15 acres of new construction, including housing for more than 2,500 USC students, as well as new retail and restaurant options for the entire community to enjoy. Among the popular retailers now open for business are Target and Trader Joe's.
“This is another giant step in the right direction for my District,” said Councilman Price, who represents CD 9 where USC is located. “The completion of the USC Village is very special for me because it’s another piece of the puzzle to a more prosperous and thriving South LA.
“Throughout this entire process, USC listened and understands that college students and community members have a lot in common such as the need for good-paying jobs, shopping options and special places to connect.”
The USC Village created thousands of temporary and permanent jobs with a local hiring commitment. In addition, the project is part of a robust development agreement that is taking economic development efforts in the New Ninth to major level. The immediate and surrounding South LA community will receive public benefits that include a $20 million commitment for affordable housing; a community room open to everyone, along with much-needed open space for all to enjoy; a new fire station; and partnerships with local schools and local small and diverse businesses.
(Photo Credit:Gus Ruelas)
In collaboration with Councilman Curren Price, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), celebrated this week the opening of the first-ever South LA satellite office.
In February, Councilman Price designated a $500,000 grant to CHIRLA to provide a range of immigration services to the South LA community. The funding allows one of the most trusted immigrant rights organization in the country to offer direct legal services to the community, including help with U.S. citizenship applications and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA requests.
“Having a CHIRLA satellite office in my Constituent Service Center will strengthen protections for immigrants, helps to restore peace of mind and offer much-needed relief to South LA residents,” said Councilman Price. “I am proud to support CHIRLA’s efforts to expand legal services where they are needed most, and that’s right here in Council District 9. For me, no greater investment can be made than in the lives of our local families.”
The CD 9 program includes financial assistance to address steep application fees that discourage low-income legal permanent residents who are eligible to apply for naturalization. It also includes support to DREAMERS who are renewing or applying for DACA.
I am excited to announce that Council District 9 will present throughout the month of August FREE Movies in the Park at several of our local parks. The family friendly events are open to the public. Spread the word with your neighbors as we will have snacks and refreshments for everyone!
For more information on these and other upcoming community events in the Ninth District, please call our Constituent Services Center at (323) 846-2651.
Below please find information on the different screenings taking place at four neighborhood parks.
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.