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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

El Sereno residents battle Caltrans over blighted bungalow court

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Perhaps Caltrans should stick to managing freeways instead of apartments. A story in the August issue of The Voice (pdf format) chronicles the so-far fruitless effort by El Sereno residents to get the state highway agency to fix up or demolish 10 bungalows near Huntington Drive and Maycrest Avenue that have sat empty and boarded for more than a decade.

The property was one many that Caltrans purchased over the years as it prepared to extend the 710 freeway through El Sereno and South Pasadena. While the agency is now exploring building an underground freeway tunnel, the El Sereno bungalows it owns continue to deteriorate and infuriate neighbors. Residents got even angrier this year when they discovered that the pile of documents they had gathered to back up their complaints had been lost by the office of Councilman Jose Huizar. One resident told the Voice:

“Ever since we began working with the Councilman’s office it seems that we were not
getting anywhere because the staff at the El Sereno office seemed to change over every six months. There never has been continuity, it was like starting over every time a new staff member would replace the one before."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Transportation department moves to improve relations with neighborhood councils

The city's network of neighborhood council are supposed to be kept updated about municipal activities in their communities. But they are often kept in the dark. But, ever so slowly, the neighborhood councils and city departments are developing the process for keeping communities informed. On Saturday, representatives of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils Coalition will meet in Glassell Park with officials of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to hammer out an agreement - called a Memo of Understanding or MOU - to make sure the councils remain in the loop.

The proposed agreement would require that the department assign an employee to attend council meetings and respond to requests for information. Also, the LADOT would seek neighborhood council input about major projects or policy changes.

The meeting will be held at 10 am at the Glassell Park Community Center, according to officials with the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gloria Molina, the pre school

Eastern Group News reports the opening of the first public building named in honor of longtime County Supervisor Gloria Molina: the Gloria Molina-Para Los NiƱos Child Development Center in East Los Angeles. The Molina Center, as it is being called, will serve nearly 90 children in the East Los Angeles Civic Center complex:

“From the very beginning, we envisioned a central, welcoming and accessible Civic Center to serve our East Los Angeles families – we dreamt of a unique hub that included cutting edge learning facilities for our children and youth – and our vision became a reality with our state-of-the-art library, and now, our state-of-the-art Child Development Center!” Molina told the EGP News.

The naming of public buildings in honor of elected officials often comes near the end of their political careers or after they have left office. The 60-year-old Molina has indicated she is plans to remain in elected office for several more years. She is expected to seek reelection in 2010 for another four-year term on the County Board of Supervisors before planning to retire, according to the LA Times.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Silver Lake residents want to DASH to Los Feliz

Silver Lake residents have been trying for at least a decade to get the city to run a DASH bus line through the neighborhood without success. The most recent effort now underway is asking residents to contact Councilman Tom Labonge, who represents Los Feliz, and Councilman Eric Garcetti, who represents most of Silver Lake, to organize a community forum this fall to discuss extending the Los Feliz DASH bus line into Silver Lake. A sample letter reads:

"This community forum will give constituents the chance to learn about a proposed public/private partnership and what is required to bring DASH into Silver Lake. We need your leadership in this effort.

The current Los Feliz DASH is under-utilized. Extending the Los Feliz DASH through Silver Lake offers a practical solution to gridlock on Sunset Blvd, Hyperion Avenue, Rowena Avenue and Glendale Blvd. A public/private partnership to fund DASH will provide Silver Lake much-needed north-south local transit and give your constituents a better way to enjoy."

But are Silver Lake residents going to leave their Priuses at home to dine at Farfalla in Los Feliz?