1,500 Underserved Youth Receive Loaded Backpacks from Mother In Action’s 23rd Annual Back to School Health Fair & Giveaway

Read Original Article at Los Angeles Sentinel 

Mothers In Action’s highly-anticipated 23rd Annual Back to School Health Fair & Supply Giveaway efforts did not disappoint.  Over 1,000 underserved children in the Los Angeles area and surrounding communities received fully loaded backpacks, ppe supplies, and a recyclable bag with a plethora of valuable resource information on health, free and/or low-cost insurance, educational and mental health services, nutrition, childhood lead poisoning, and COVID -19 testing/safety/vaccine opportunities. Approximately 500 of the backpacks were distributed directly to individual families and programs serving foster care, the homeless, and mentoring youth prior to the grab-and-go event on August 7, 2021, at Exposition Park. Over 1,500 underserved youth have received fully loaded backpacks due to this year’s efforts by MIA and their sponsors.

Some of the children received bicycle safety equipment, such as helmets, glow-in-the-dark slap bracelets, lights provided by California Highway Patrol (CHP), lunch sacks, water bottles, coloring books on nutrition, and so much more. 7-Eleven franchisees from Adams Blvd. and Grand Ave., San Pedro Ave. and Washington Blvd., and Figueroa Blvd. and MLK, Jr. Blvd., provided water for the event. The owner of four 7-Eleven stores, Mr. Isingh, was on-hand serving refreshments of fresh fruit, water, drinks, donuts, and coffee to the attendees and volunteers. LA County Office of Education (LACOE) even had their new beautiful school bus on display that opens up to a full-size preschool classroom (but could not be opened due to COVID-19 restrictions)

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Mixed-income housing slated for city-owned site in South L.A.

 

Read Original Article at Urbanize Los Angeles

Mixed-income housing, commercial space, and a new park could be coming to a large, vacant property in the Florence neighborhood under a proposed arrangement between the City of Los Angeles and a local real estate firm.

Earlier today, the Los Angeles City Council voted to authorize the initiation of an exclusive negotiation agreement with a team led by the Bakewell Company to redevelop a roughly eight-acre site at the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Wall Street.  The Leimert Park-based firm, which submitted the highest scoring proposal out of five applicants, is planning the construction of:

  • 280 "workforce" apartments;
  • 245 affordable units reserved for families and seniors earning between 30 and 80 percent of the area median income level;
  • a 60,000-square-foot central park space;
  • a new supermarket operated by Superior Foods;
  • business incubator spaces;
  • community centers;
  • shops and restaurants; and
  • parking for 565 vehicles.

The project site is to be subdivided into five separate parcels, three of which will be purchased by Bakewell, and one which will be retained by the City of Los Angeles for development with the proposed 1.4-acre park.  The fifth parcel, owned by the Brothership Crusade, would be retained by the organization to be redeveloped with a community center.

200 E Slauson AvenueGoogle Street View

The total cost of the proposed project is estimated at $239 million, pending the removal of all toxic substances and soil contamination from the site, which is bounded by Wall Street to the west and Los Angeles Street to the east.  The land was previously developed with a series of warehouse structures.

In addition to the Brotherhood Crusade, which is contributing land at 200 E. Slauson Avenue to the project, other members of the development team include the Michaels Organization and Capri Investment Group.  The negotiating period between the developers and the City of Los Angeles will run for an initial term of 12 months, with an optional 12-month extension.

The Slauson and Wall site came under the control of the City of Los Angeles in 2013 following the dissolution of the Community Redevelopment Agency, which purchased the land in 2010.  A request for proposals seeking developers for the property was issued in 2020.

In a motion initiating the search for a developer in 2019, Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price noted that the property sits two-and-a-half miles south of the tourist attractions of Exposition Park, including the Lucas Museum of Narrative Artand the California Science Center.  A staff report to from the Housing Department also acknowledges that the site sits along a historic freight rail right-of-way on Slauson Avenue which Metro is planning to convert into a $34-million active transportation corridor.

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LA's Black leaders don’t want community members to get left behind in pandemic

Read Original Article at Our Weekly

Local, state and federal elected officials are joining forces in Los Angeles to encourage Black people to get vaccinated in Los Angeles County. JOHN W. DAVIS / OUR WEEKLY LA

Black leaders are urging everyone in the African-American community to get vaccinated, so that the pandemic that is disproportionately affecting the Black community across Los Angeles County, can end once and for all.

“The simple and sad fact is that COVID cases are on the rise,” shared State Sen. Sydney Kamlager, who represents the 30th district, which spans from Mid-City, to Crenshaw, to Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, Windsor Hills, Culver City and parts of West LA. “We have the lowest rate of any ethnic group getting this shot.”

Kamlager said it is okay to have questions about the vaccine. She admits she had questions herself but in the end she said “getting the vaccine puts your health in your hands.”

Residents waiting in line to be vaccinated at Kedren Community Medical Center in South Los Angeles on August 12.

Residents waiting in line to be vaccinated at Kedren Community Medical Center in South Los Angeles on August 12. John W. Davis / Our Weekly LA 

“I wanted to keep myself safe,” Kamlager continued.

Kamlager went on to present a stark reality.

“If we’re not vaccinated, African-Americans will be shut out of more and more services,” Kamalger explained. “We have a responsibility to our community to get this shot.”

A news conference was held on Aug. 12 at Kedren Community Medical Center in South Central Los Angeles, where nearly a dozen elected officials took turns making passionate pleas to encourage all Blacks 12 or older, to get vaccinated.

As of that date, only 48 percent of Black people had been vaccinated in LA County. That’s compared to 78 percent of Asians, 68 percent of Whites and 58 percent of the Latinx community, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Elected officials are kicking off a two-month campaign to promote vaccines and COVID testing in the Black community because they believe vaccines are key to ending the pandemic.

“This is a public safety emergency… we need to make sure everyone is safe,” said Assemblymember Reggie Jones Sawyer, who represents parts of South LA, including the Florence-Graham neighborhood.

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-37), said it is time to recognize that there is a problem in the African-American community, especially with hindsight.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we knew that our communities would be hit the hardest,” Bass said.

However, some parents have expressed concern about sending their children back to in-person classrooms during the pandemic.

Dr. George McKenna, who serves on the LAUSD Board has a direct message for parents.

“Your children will be safe at school. It will be better for them to come to school,” McKenna said. “Get vaccinated… Do not believe the vaccine is a plot from somewhere. Listen to medical science.”

Across the spectrum, Black elected officials with ties to South Los Angeles are in favor of the vaccine. They believe in science and they don’t want anyone to feel like they don’t have access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents LA’s 8th District wants community members to know vaccines are free and they are available across the city, including at various locations in South LA.

This is a moment we have to rise to,” added Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, who represents LA’s 10th District. “Widespread vaccination is the key to beating this pandemic.”

Meanwhile, Ridley-Thomas supports vaccine mandates for all city workers and contractors who do business with Los Angeles.

“If you are in public service, you need to be vaccinated,” Ridley-Thomas said.

“The time is now to do the right thing,” added California State Senator Steve Bradford, who represents the 35th district in South Los Angeles County.

Bradford reiterated that although 70 percent of LA County residents are vaccinated, less than 50 percent of the county’s Black population are vaccinated.

“Black people, we’re always at the top of the list that no one wants to be on,” said Assemblymember Mike Gipson, who represents the 64th district, including Watts and the South Bay. “Our reality is hospitals and funerals… let’s break the cycle today.”

Gipson wants leery community members to push past whatever their particular hesitation is.

He along with countless others are committed to taking their vaccine campaign, door to door, offering mobile shots.

“This pandemic has exposed our most vulnerable,” said Councilmember Curren Price, who represents South LA’s 9th district. “We’re not going to stop until everyone gets their shot… so we can be free of this burden.”

Added second district Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell: “This (pandemic) is avoidable brothers and sisters.”

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Victims Of Botched LAPD Fireworks Detonation To LA Mayor: Fix Our Homes, Now

Read Original Article at LAist

Ron Gochez, who helped organize Monday’s action, delivers the letter —signed by more than a dozen residents of the neighborhood — to city hall. (Robert Garrova/LAist)

Residents of homes damaged or destroyed by the LAPD’s botched June 30 detonation of illegal fireworks are demanding the city immediately complete repair work.

They laid out their demands — which include financial help for everyone affected by the blast —in a letter delivered Monday to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti's office.

“It’s really shameful that we have to come here to city hall — more than six weeks after the explosion — to demand basic things,” said Ron Gochez, who helped organize the protest of more than two dozen people who marched from LAPD Headquarters to L.A. City Hall.

Who Is Affected

There are about 25 households — roughly 80 people — who are still displaced because of the blast, according to Angelina Valencia-Dumarot, spokesperson for City Councilmember Curren Price, who represents the area where the incident occurred. Those families are staying at a downtown hotel as they wait for the completion of repairs.

“We are trying to fix those homes fast and furiously,” Valencia-Dumarot said Monday. She noted that Price’s office is covering the hotel costs, and has provided each household with a $10,000 check out of a $1 million fund Price set up.

Valencia-Dumarot added that three addresses were still red-tagged, with officials waiting on the owner of two addresses to sign off on a structural engineer’s assessment.

Photos displayed at LAPD press conference on the preliminary findings of investigation into botched fireworks detonation: (L) The damage to total containment vessel is seen with before and after photos. The after photo shows a destroyed truck (R) Some of the damage from fireworks detonation to surrounding community. A destroyed van and a damaged coin laundry business are pictured.
Photos displayed at the July 19 LAPD press conference
on the preliminary findings of the investigation into the fireworks detonation:
(L) The damage to the total containment vessel; (R) Some of the damage to the surrounding community.
(Robert Garrova / LAist)

What The Residents Want

The letter to Garcetti demands the city provide a written guarantee that it will continue to pay for displaced families' housing until they can return to their homes.

Price’s office is prepared to to keep covering people’s hotel costs or find longer-term housing if needed, Valencia-Dumarot said, adding, “they’re definitely not going to be left out on the street.”

The letter also calls on the city to provide financial help to everyone affected by the incident.

Mario Delgado said he has not received any financial assistance from the city. He said he was home with his family five houses down from the explosion when it happened, but Gochez said they were not forced out of their home. Delgado said he needs help because he was fired from his job as a window washer for missing three days of work after the blast.

The Back Story

It’s been more than six weeks since the LAPD failed to safely detonate part of a cache of more than 32,000 pounds of illegal fireworks, causing an explosion that ripped through the neighborhood around 27th Street and San Pedro in South L.A. The explosion injured 17 people, displaced dozens and caused severe damage to homes and businesses.

The protesters' letter also called on the LAPD to release the names of the bomb squad officers who gave the order to detonate the explosives, and to have criminal charges filed against those responsible for the explosion.

Dozens of community members and organizers attended a vigil last Friday night for two elderly residents of the neighborhood — Auzie Houchins and Ramon Reyes — who have died since the June 30 explosion.

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South LA families impacted by fireworks blast rally outside City Hall

Read Original Article at Spectrum News 1

South Los Angeles families Monday gathered Monday outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters and City Hall to demand the city immediately fix their damaged homes and hold officers accountable for a destructive fireworks blast set off by a bomb squad on June 30

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — South Los Angeles families Monday gathered Monday outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters and City Hall to demand the city immediately fix their damaged homes and hold officers accountable for a destructive fireworks blast set off by a bomb squad on June 30.

The families are seeking:

  • immediate repairs for their homes
  • the names of the officers who gave the order to detonate the explosives in the residential neighborhood
  • criminal negligence charges against LAPD employees responsible for the explosion
  • immediate financial assistance for everyone affected by the explosion
  • full access to facilities at the downtown LA hotel that is accommodating them
  • a written guarantee from the city that it will pay for housing until repairs are complete and it is safe for the families to return home

"More than six weeks have passed since the LAPD fireworks explosion in our community and the city of L.A. has not even started to repair our homes," Union del Barrio organizer and South Central Neighborhood Council Vice President Ron Gochez told City News Service ahead of the rally. "Most of the windows on our block continue to be boarded up. We demand that the city speed up the repairs because we want to go back to homes.

"We also continue to demand that the city release the names of the LAPD or bomb squad officers who made the decision to detonate the explosives in our community. We know that the explosion would have never happened in an affluent community because the LAPD would not have endangered their lives."

Regarding the families' demand to have full access to hotel facilities, Gochez said residents don't have access to the pool, gym and other parts of the hotel, and that they're treated like "second-class citizens."

Families also face fear about being removed from the hotels without having another place to go.

"We were told that we could stay at this hotel for 30 days, but now that time is up and we have no idea how long we will be able to stay here. That's why we are demanding a written statement from the city clearly stating how long we will be housed at this hotel," Gochez said.

During the rally, a South Los Angeles resident who identified herself as Kitty said that though her house was minimally damaged from the explosion, it has left a lasting impact on her and her mother. She said she suffers from pain in her ears, her head and neck, to the point that she sometimes can't move her neck.

She also said she has a permanent ringing in her ears and her mom fell because of the explosion. Kitty, who is from El Salvador, added that the blast was also traumatizing to them because it reminded them of living through war before coming to the U.S.

"She said that her mom, at that moment, felt that they were under attack again. Like it was part of war," Gochez said translating for Kitty.

Francisco Romero of Comites de Resistencia's South-Central sector said:

"The families here are organizing and they're banding together because part of the process of trying to bury families under paperwork and time is being isolated," Romero said.

"So what we're doing is forming this committee here of residents to make sure that we're all on the same page, to make sure that we're united in our fight, to make sure that this stays on the front page of the newspaper until the demands are met."

Councilmen Curren Price and Mike Bonin co-introduced a motion Wednesday asking for a report on the city's protocols for providing compensation to victims of city-caused disaster. The motion cited discrepancies in the city's response to compensate nearby residents after the fireworks explosion and a July 11 sewage spill on the westside.

"The discrepancy of these two responses, with (LA Sanitation and Environment) subsidizing residents to relocate due to the Hyperion sewage spill, versus households displaced by the LAPD explosion being left to wait for assistance found by their council member, lays bare inequities in the response by city departments to various communities throughout the city," according to the motion.

The June 30 detonation on East 27th Street, near San Pedro Street, sent 17 residents and first responders to hospitals, destroyed a bomb squad truck and damaged 22 residences, 13 businesses and 37 vehicles.

A preliminary investigation into the blast by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives' National Response Team found that the LAPD bomb squad significantly underestimated, based on a visual assessment, the weight of explosive material being loaded into the containment truck for detonation.

Displaced families were initially housed in local motels through Councilman Curren Price's office, which also established a $1 million emergency fund, but the city later rented 29 "corporate housing" units fit for long-term residency. As of last week, more than 80 people from 25 households were living in the units.

Two families blamed the blast for the death of two older men in the weeks after the explosion. Auzie Houchins, 72, and Ramon Reyes were evacuated from their homes without their oxygen tanks, according to Gochez, who said that both men already suffered from illnesses.

"When Houchins was taken to the motel, where the families were relocated to, the family says the food that they were provided by the city was really unhealthy and they had a lot of really sugary snacks. So, he was a diabetic and that really didn't help at all and his blood pressure went through the roof," Gochez told City News Service on Aug. 2.

On July 11, 17 million gallons of untreated sewage flooded the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant and discharged one-mile into the ocean. To help residents' quality of life amid the bad odor during cleanup and repairs at the facility, Los Angeles offered residents reimbursements for either air conditioning units or a hotel room from July 22-29.

"While this LASAN compensation is welcome and appropriate, the same level of assistance and compensation has not been offered by other city agencies in other circumstances, impacting less affluent communities and communities of color," Price and Bonin's motion stated.

 

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Campaña intenta llegar a las comunidades de color para que se vacunen contra el covid-19

Read Original Article at La Opinion 

La clinica Kedren del sur de Los Ángeles realiza pruebas de covid-19 y administra la vacuna. (Jacqueline García/La Opinión)

El jueves por la mañana docenas de personas esperaban en línea para hacerse la prueba del covid-19 o para recibir su vacuna en una clínica del sur de Los Ángeles.

Entre ellos estaba la señora Antonia Bernardo quien llegó con sus dos hijos, Eric y Stephanie Genaro para que se hicieran la prueba.

Bernardo dijo que su hija Stephanie, quien cursa el grado 8 ya está vacunada pero su hijo Eric, quien tiene 11 años y cursa el grado 6, todavía no es elegible para la vacuna.

“En cuanto se apruebe se la voy a poner”, dijo Bernardo.

La madre de familia añadió que ella también está inoculada y aunque hubo temor inicialmente para ponerse la vacuna, sabían que era lo correcto para hacer. Añadió que le gustaría ver a más personas vacunadas para poder terminar el contagio del virus.

La clinica Kedren del sur de Los Ángeles realiza pruebas de covid-19 y administra la vacuna. (Jacqueline García/La Opinión)

Para abordar estas preocupaciones, esa misma mañana un grupo de políticos estatales y locales, representantes del sur de Los Ángeles, se reunieron en la clínica Kedren Health para anunciar una nueva campaña de dos meses que intentará atraer al mayor número de personas indecisas para vacunarse.

El asambleísta Reggie Jones- Sawyer dijo que pese a que por meses se ha estado haciendo promoción para que las personas se vacunen, en los vecindarios más pobres como el sur de Los Ángeles, el mensaje no ha llegado.

“Por eso estamos aquí porque nos preocupamos por los más pobres, los inmigrantes, los previamente encarcelados y los ancianos”, dijo Jones-Sawyer.

El asambleísta añadió que mientras hablaba con sus colegas políticos del sur de Los Ángeles, se llegó a la conclusión de que los eventos públicos son los mejores lugares para llegar a la gente y animarlos a que se vacunen.

“Hay muchos eventos públicos donde llegan afroamericanos y latinos y todos están en un área grande de 7,000 a 10,000 personas”, dijo Jones-Sawyer. “Si sumamos todos los diferentes eventos como de jazz y cosas que normalmente tenemos durante el verano, vemos que podemos hablar con miles de personas a la vez”.

La supervisora del condado de Los Ángeles, Holly Mitchell, quien representa el sur de Los Ángeles, dijo que aunque hay un incremento del 1.2 en las vacunas también se ha demostrado que las comunidades de color están muy por debajo del nivel de vacunación.

Indicó que es impresionante ver que en el sur de Los Ángeles hay muchas personas que continúan renuentes ante la inoculación.

“Me preocupé profundamente cuando escuché ayer a algunos líderes comunitarios y trabajadores de divulgación que dijeron que la gente les decía no solo que se fueran de la puerta de su casa, sino ‘¡salgan de nuestro vecindario!’”.

Mitchel dijo que esto se debe a que muchas de estas comunidades no solo son difíciles de alcanzar, pero apenas si han recibido la más mínima información sobre las vacunas.

“Así que tenemos que cambiar eso y encontrar formas en las que cada miembro de la comunidad se sienta escuchado, respetado y reconocido”, dijo Mitchell. “Y cuando la gente de la comunidad llama a la puerta, como lo hacemos durante el censo, para traer recursos e información, realmente es lo mejor para todos”.

La supervisora Holly Mitchell en el anuncio de la campaña. (Jacqueline García/La Opinión)

La vacuna es la solución

El doctor Jerry Abraham, médico de familia y epidemiólogo de la clínica Kedren Health, dijo que hasta el momento se han administrado más de 300,000 vacunas en la clínica y no se debe bajar la guardia.

“No hay momento que perder ni una gota de vacuna que desperdiciar, la variante Delta es real. Sabemos que la gente se está muriendo, la gente está sufriendo en el hospital cuando les ponen los ventiladores y eso es prevenible”, dijo el doctor Abraham.

En su clínica móvil, él es uno de los doctores de Kedren que ha estado visitando diferentes áreas del sur de Los Ángeles como parques, escuelas, centros recreativos y cualquier lugar que le permitan motivar a las personas a que se inoculen.

 

“Estas vacunas son nuestra mejor herramienta, nuestra mejor defensa para protegernos del covid-19”, indicó

Datos del condado de Los Ángeles muestran que el 94% de las hospitalizaciones entre el 1 de mayo y el 17 de julio de este año fueron personas que no estaban completamente vacunadas. Adicionalmente, el 94% de las muertes entre el 1 de abril y el 24 de julio se produjeron entre las personas no vacunadas o parcialmente vacunadas.

Algunos eventos programados para hacer alcance a las personas son el 21 de agosto en el festival de Jazz de Long Beach y el 28 de agosto en Baldwin Hills. Adicionalmente, el 17 de agosto las primeras 200 personas que lleguen a la oficina de campo del concejal Curren D. Price a ponerse su vacuna recibirán unos audífonos Beats gratis.

Los residentes o trabajadores del sur de Los Ángeles interesados en vacunarse pueden visitar la clínica Kedren localizada en el 4122 S. Avalon Blvd en Los Ángeles. No necesita cita para recibir la vacuna.

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Councilmen seek to address discrepancies in response to districts’ disasters

Read Original Article at Spectrum 1 News

 

The remains of an armored Los Angeles Police Department tractor-trailer are seen after fireworks exploded Wednesday evening, June 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The remains of an armored Los Angeles Police Department tractor-trailer are seen after fireworks exploded Wednesday evening, June 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Citing discrepancies in the city's response to compensate nearby residents after a July 11 sewage spill on the westside and a destructive fireworks explosion on June 30 in South Los Angeles, Councilmen Curren Price and Mike Bonin co-introduced a motion Wednesday to instruct a report on the city's protocols providing compensation to victims of city-caused disasters.

"The discrepancy of these two responses, with (LA Sanitation and Environment) subsidizing residents to relocate due to the Hyperion sewage spill, versus households displaced by the LAPD explosion being left to wait for assistance found by their council member, lays bare inequities in the response by city departments to various communities throughout the city."


What You Need To Know

    • A motion introduced Wednesday by Councilmen Curren Price and Mike Bonin cites discrepancies in the city's response to compensate nearby residents after a July 11 sewage spill on the westside and a destructive fireworks explosion on June 30 in South LA

    • Councilmen Curren Price and Mike Bonin co-introduced a motion Wednesday to instruct a report on the city's protocols providing compensation to victims of city-caused disasters

    • Displaced families in South LA were initially housed in local motels through Councilman Curren Price's office, which also established a $1 million emergency fund, but the city later rented 29 "corporate housing" units fit for long-term residency

  • To help westside residents' quality of life amid the bad odor during cleanup and repairs at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, Los Angeles offered residents reimbursements for either air conditioning units or a hotel room from July 22-29

The motion — which was also co-introduced with Council President Nury Martinez — would instruct the Department of Civil + Human Rights and Equity's Office of Racial Equity to report on an equity framework for all departments to use when providing victim compensation in the event of a city-caused accident or disaster. That framework would take a "culturally informed approach" and include considerations of public notifications in accessible languages and forms.

The June 30 detonation on East 27th Street, near San Pedro Street, sent 17 residents and first responders to hospitals, destroyed a bomb squad truck and damaged 22 residences, 13 businesses and 37 vehicles.

A preliminary investigation into the blast by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives' National Response Team found that the Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad significantly underestimated, based on a visual assessment, the weight of explosive material being loaded into the truck for detonation.

Displaced families were initially housed in local motels through Councilman Curren Price's office, which also established a $1 million emergency fund, but the city later rented 29 "corporate housing" units fit for long-term residency. As of Tuesday, more than 80 people from 25 households were living in the units.

Two families blamed the blast for the death of two elderly men in the weeks after the blast. Auzie Houchins, 72, and Ramon Reyes were evacuated from their homes without their oxygen tanks, according to South Central Neighborhood Council Vice President Ron Gochez, who said that both men already suffered from illnesses.

"When Houchins was taken to the motel, where the families were relocated to, the family says the food that they were provided by the city was really unhealthy and they had a lot of really sugary snacks. So, he was a diabetic and that really didn't help at all and his blood pressure went through the roof," Gochez told City News Service on Aug. 2.

On July 11, 17 million gallons of untreated sewage flooded the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant and discharged one-mile into the ocean.

To help residents' quality of life amid the bad odor during cleanup and repairs at the facility, Los Angeles offered residents reimbursements for either air conditioning units or a hotel room from July 22-29.

"While this LASAN compensation is welcome and appropriate, the same level of assistance and compensation has not been offered by other city agencies in other circumstances, impacting less affluent communities and communities of color," the motion stated.

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Council wants to bring equity to how LA treats city disaster victims in different neighborhoods

Read Original Article at Los Angeles Daily News

Council members point to disparities between city responses to incidents that happened in two areas, one less affluent than the other

Residents are allowed back to retrieve items from their homes in the 700 block of 27th Street in Los Angeles where the LAPD detonated fireworks in their explosives vehicle and caused damage to much of the neighborhood.  Residents were allowed back to their houses Thursday to collect more of their belongings.  (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Residents are allowed back to retrieve items from their homes in the 700 block of 27th Street in Los Angeles where the LAPD detonated fireworks in their explosives vehicle and caused damage to much of the neighborhood. Residents were allowed back to their houses Thursday to collect more of their belongings. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

 

The city was less responsive to a South Los Angeles community rocked by a major explosion from the police department’s detonation of fireworks, than to the more affluent, seaside neighborhoods affected by a sewage spill from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, the Los Angeles council members representing those two areas argued on Wednesday, Aug. 11.

In a motion introduced Wednesday, Mike Bonin, who represents the coastal communities near the plant, and Curren Price, who represents South Los Angeles residents affected by the blast, called for a review of the way the city compensates the victims of disasters or accidents caused by the city, pointing to a disparity between the way the city responded to the two recent accidents.

When 17 million gallons of raw sewage poured into the Santa Monica Bay from the reclamation plant, nearby residents reported experiencing rashes, nausea and burning eyes from the fumes and odors. Eleven days later, the sanitation department announced it would reimburse residents for air conditioners, if they stayed in the area, or provide hotel vouchers if they wanted to leave.

Meanwhile, in South Los Angeles, officers from the Los Angeles Police Department detonated fireworks taken from a residence in the area, sending six civilians, an ATF officer and 10 police officers to the hospital, as well as damaging homes and businesses. Two elderly men who lived in homes damaged by the blast later died. Not only was the city’s preparation and notification of the detonation inadequate, the area’s councilman, Curren Price later needed to step in to move $1 million from an emergency relief fund to book hotel rooms for several dozen people, affected by the resulting explosion, the motion said.

Price said in a statement that as his South Los Angeles district “reels from the reckless damage and devastation caused at the hands of LAPD compared to the sewage leak at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, it is clear that the city’s response in lower-income, black and brown communities does not receive the same level of attention, resources or sense of urgency in relation to more affluent parts of Los Angeles.”

He also noted that more than a month later, there are still “more than 80 people displaced, dozens of homes and cars damaged, businesses suffering financially and a community demanding action from its government.”

He said the constituents in his area deserve to have “an equitable framework in victim compensation and support to ensure all victims are treated the same no matter where in the city they live.”

Bonin and Price are now calling on legislative staffers and the City Attorney’s Office to review the protocols for providing compensation to victims of accidents and disasters caused by the city.

“The discrepancy of these two responses, with (the sanitation department) subsidizing residents to relocate due to the Hyperion sewage spill, versus households displaced by the LAPD explosion being left to wait for assistance found by their council member, lays bare inequities in the response by city departments to various communities throughout our city,” the motion read.

The motion also called for the city’s office of racial equity to come up with an “equity framework that can be used by all departments in providing victim compensation in the event of a city-caused accident or disaster.”

According to an aide for Price’s office, the motion still needs to move through the approval process, so it could take several months for staffers to report back on the issues raised in their motion.

The motion, which was also backed by Council President Nury Martinez, was assigned to the Immigration, Civil Rights and Equity Committee.

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LA City Council votes to create 25,000 units of homeless housing by 2025

Read Original Article at ABC7

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday voted to create 25,000 new housing units for the homeless by 2025 as part of Councilmember Kevin De Leon's "A Way Home" initiative.

The motion, which passed 13-0, was introduced by De Leon. It seeks to create resources including but not limited to permanent supportive housing and Project Homekey, as well as scattered site housing, tiny homes and safe parking, and other resources that don't qualify for the city's regional housing needs assessment goal as required by the state.

De Leon said he understands people's frustrations of not seeing bona fide results in stamping out homelessness on the heels of billions of dollars in funds raised through the voter-approved measure HHH several years ago.

"The city of L.A. can hold us accountable now because we must produce come hell or high water, by hook or crook in some form way or shape those 25,000 units by the year 2025," De Leon said.

The legislation doesn't set consequences for not fulfilling the goal or provide funding for the units, but De Leon said if the City Council doesn't add 25,000 units by 2025 then voters can hold them "on the hook" and vote them out of office.

"We are seeking all creative solutions possible to address the problem, but we got to do more and we got to do it quicker," said Councilmember Curren Price.

The city council is eager to use some of the billions dollars in funding coming from the federal government to help stamp out the homelessness crisis.

"There's an allocation of $12 billion that's coming down the pipeline for the next two years," De Leon said.

De Leon says some of that money can be used by creative minds to find ways to alleviate delays and cost overruns to get the ball moving faster on creating more housing for the homeless.

"We can take advantage of all the vacancies through master leasing," De Leon said. "We can do adaptive re-use by purchasing old buildings and converting them right away."

The councilman says when it comes not only to the homeless crisis, but also the mental health dilemma, the city must have continued support from Washington.

"Everyone's on the hook," De Leon said. "If anyone believes that it's the City Council's exclusive responsibility to deal with schizophrenia, bipolar (disorder), to deal with deep entrenched systemic and generational poverty or dealing with structural racism, they are delusional. That's why our friends in Congress have to step up and if not, they need to step out, because it's all hands on deck today."

City News Service contributed to this report.

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2 people died after LAPD fireworks explosion in South LA, neighbors say

Investigators survey damage after an LAPD bomb squad truck failed to handle a planned detonation of seized explosives. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Investigators survey damage after an LAPD bomb squad truck failed to handle a planned detonation of seized explosives. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

It’s been more than a month since a botched detonation of illegal fireworks by the Los Angeles Police Department’s bomb squad tore apart a neighborhood in South L.A., scattering residents and leaving them unsure when they’ll be able to return home.

At least 88 residents remain displaced, LAPD officials said. All of those people are living in apartments rented for them by their city councilman, Curren Price. There are uncounted others living in hotels or with family.

This week, some of those residents — their homes and apartments still boarded up and empty — expressed their rage at the city and LAPD during a news conference Monday. Activists and frequent LAPD critics similarly let the Police Commission have it during their Tuesday meeting.

Their ire was piqued over the deaths of two men who were longtime residents of that 27th Street neighborhood. Both men were elderly with health issues, and died following their displacement.

Neighbors and family members said they believed both men, while not seriously injured in the explosion, died as a result of the stress of the ordeal.

Auzie Houchins, 72, died on July 22, according to his longtime partner, Lorna Hairston, who spoke to reporters on Monday. Before the explosion, he was confined to a wheelchair.

“It was just too much, too much,” Hairston told Spectrum News Channel 1. “He’s not the kind of man to accept any change.”

On Monday, Ron Gochez of Union del Barrio, a South L.A. based community organization, said Ramon Reyes was the other man who died. It wasn’t clear if he was seriously injured, but they said he was inside his home when the roof started to collapse from the force of the explosion.

Some money has been made available to the victims of the blast: Price’s office announced a $1 million fund for displaced residents last month. But residents and activists said they were frustrated at the seeming lack of urgency from city government. A group of residents have already filed a claim with the city over the explosion.

“Do not make these residents wait for their money. Do not make them turn in receipts,” one speaker said in the Police Commission meeting. “They do not have the money to deal with the damage that you created … This is your fault. You need to pay them up front.”

In his weekly report Tuesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore at first did not mention the report of the deaths of Houchins and Reyes, though he did so after prompted by a question from Commissioner Maria Lou Calanche.

Moore said LAPD officials “do not believe (the men’s deaths were) the result of the explosion, and were due to more long-standing underlying health issues.”

He said, regardless, he was still “concerned” about the men’s deaths. But it wasn’t clear Tuesday what effect, if any, the report of the men’s deaths would have on the continuing internal investigation at LAPD into the incident. An investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also continuing.

The chief’s failure to bring up the deaths of the men in his report incensed some of the speakers at the virtual commission meeting.

“That is a classic example of not accepting responsibility. Not even mentioning it is offensive, and that alone should be grounds for Moore to be fired,” said Baba Akili, a long-time L.A.-based activist and an organizer with Black Lives Matter-L.A.

Since she moved to the neighborhood in the early 1990s, Maria Velasquez got to know both Reyes, who lived across the street from her, and Houchins, who lived houses down. She described both as longtime block residents known among neighbors as kind men.

When she was young, Velasquez said, she’d see Houchins take a stroll around the block, always stopping to greet her and ask how she and her family were doing.

Velasquez, who along with her daughter, sister and parents, remain displaced by the June 28 blast and are living in a downtown Los Angeles hotel, said she knows firsthand the toll of stress caused by the explosion. She said it could have been the stress from the tragedy that led to Reyes’ and Houchins’ deaths.

“Come on — they worked so hard for their houses,” Velaseuz said. ‘Within minutes, to have their homes blown away. You don’t play with those kinda things — people’s health.”

Velasquez just received word that she and her family were among those to receive $10,000 from Price’s emergency fund. Yet she still feels it’s up to the city to cover the repairs to her home, which she said has structural damage.

The grant money, she said, will be saved for another emergency, in case she is ever displaced from her home again.

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