OW WEB EXCLUSIVE: Citizens ask for help
L.A. planning department ponders requests
A standing-room only crowd of at least 100 community residents and activists turned out for a meeting to hear how the Los Angeles City Planning Department can help continue the revitalization of the Western Avenue Corridor between King Boulevard and Foshay Learning Center.
Residents asked for three basic things from Planning Director Michael LoGrande: public hearings to address the alleged nuisance businesses in the area of 39th Street and Western Avenue—the Pine Tree Motel, W & W Recycling and Century Market—a public hearing to address how well the DanMar Motel has been complying with special conditions placed on the facility; and a chance to meet again with the director.
Residents presented LoGrande with a petition consisting of 300 signatures and various other documented and written complaints.
Saying that was exactly the kind of evidence needed to bolster the call for a public hearing, LoGrande promised to report back to the group within 30 days about the hearings.
He also noted that the DanMar will have a review hearing on its compliance on Nov. 20, and said he would come back to talk with residents within the next six months.
The meeting was held Monday in the newly refurbished Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, located adjacent to the renovated park of the same name.
In addition to being the recipient of a Dodger Dream Field, the park now has a soccer/football field, basketball courts and a children’s play area.
This has all come at the urging of community residents, who worked with city officials, organizations like the Community Coalition, Brotherhood Crusade and Community Fathers, as well as the police department to clean up the park.
Celia Castellanos, who grew up in the area during the 1980s and 1990s, recounted how her parents sent her to Jefferson High School rather than nearby Manual Arts partly in an effort to have her avoid walking by the then-drug-prostitute-and-gang-infested park. She has returned to the neighborhood after attending the prestigious Wharton School of Business.
While residents are pleased with what has been accomplished thus far, they stress that more is needed. They feel the motels and recycling center continue to attract drug dealing and prostitution.
As they await the planning department’s decisions, the coalition of organizations behind Monday’s meeting will come together next Thursday (June 22) at 6 p.m. in the Exposition Park/Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library to plan its next steps. The library is located at 3900 S. Western Ave., L.A.
Perhaps Manual Arts student Joshua Ham said it best when he attempted to walk the Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color in California through a day in his school life.
He talked of the police cars around the campus, the helicopter flying overhead, the gates around the campus, searches by school security guards and cops patrolling the grounds. . . .
“How can we truly be expected to achieve at a high academic level when we’re treated more like we’re in prison than in school?” he asked.
Community Coalition, a nonprofit organization that has been helping the South Los Angeles community for 20 years, will hold a free summer program for young kids in grades 3-8.
This program will run six weeks in a fun and safe environment beginning July 5. It will be held at Foshay Learning Center from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for five days. Space is limited, for more information please contact, Aaron Burleson at (323) 750-9087 or email him at aaron@CoCoSouthLA.org.
Founded in 1968, the Brotherhood Crusade’s principal mission is dedicated to building and sustaining an institution that raises funds and resources from within the community and distributes those funds directly back into the community. Brotherhood Crusade has a history of building alliances with other organizations, corporations and foundations of good will that are committed to and understand the tremendous need for helping our community and people grow and prosper.
“You fit the description of someone we’re looking for . . .”
The Los Angeles Unified School District board voted Tuesday 5-2 to adopt the School Climate Bill of Rights, which consists of a resolution that bans “willful defiance” suspensions and directs LAUSD to enact common-sense approaches to school discipline and expand programs that support all students in becoming healthy, thriving adults.