“In a democracy, people get the kind of government they deserve.”
Election Day for Highland Park’s District 1 is today, May 21. The choice is between termed-out state legislator, Gilberto Cedillo and Jose Gardea, Chief of Staff to our retiring CD 1 councilmember, Ed Reyes.
Council District 1 is the most densely-populated district that occupies the central and most historic core of the city. The district covers the diverse neighborhoods of Highland Park, Mount Washington, Cypress Park, Glassell Park, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Solano Canyon, Dodgertown 90090, Chinatown, Elysian Park, Echo Park, Angelino Heights, Westlake, Pico Union, and portions of West Adams and Koreatown.
On one side of the ballot, you have Jose Gardea who has spent nearly all his life in Council District 1 and worked as the Chief of Staff for Ed Reyes for the last 10 years. (To say he is familiar with CD1 is quite the understatement.) Gardea is endorsed by the LA Times, Eric Garcetti, Ed Reyes, Jimmy Gomez, and Highland Park’s other councilmember, Jose Huizar among others. On the other side is Gil Cedillo, who has represented the heavily Latino 46th California Assembly District, later the 45th Assembly District, and the 22nd California Senate District for a combined total of 14 years before being forced out by term limits. Cedillo is endorsed by Governor Brown, Mayor Villaraigosa, and essentially every Who’s-who of the California Democratic Party. (Interesting to note he also claims to be endorsed by Eric Garcetti, but is not.)
Gil Cedillo has done a lot for California. He is among the top five Latino politicians in the state. No legislator has fought more for immigrant rights in this state than him. His greatest achievement is authoring the California DREAM Act for undocumented students of California. He has stood with union workers and championed the core Democratic causes. And yet, in this race, in this district, he represents the Right Wing of the two candidates. He is actually the most conservative candidate this area has seen since Sam Yorty prodigy, Art Synder ran the adjacent District 14. He is for Big Business, heavily supported by Chevron and the billboard industry (as if you haven’t noticed). He wants to build a Walmart in Chinatown. He is also THAT GUY, who for reasons most of Northeast Los Angeles, Pasadena, and South Pasadena can’t understand, keeps voting to spend millions and millions of dollars on trying to extend the failed Interstate 710 Freeway by any means necessary.
Cedillo likes to ask people when he meets them if they need a job. Which is a pretty clever way of getting people’s attention. That has been his focus for his CD1 Campaign: Jobs. How the Reyes administration hasn’t created jobs, how he will create jobs, how it is all about jobs. Because we all want a job, don’t we? The problem is, his approach to job creation is about empowering his corporate donors, rather than empowering the people of Council District 1. When I think about what the a city councilmember can do for their district, I think about how they can make our city safer, how they can improve transportation, how they can enhance our neighborhoods, how they can effectively provide a high standard of city services.
If you want to understand what a candidate’s campaign is really about, all you have to do is follow the money. When looking at who is contributing to who, one soon realizes this election is being bought by outsiders. Simply look at the zip codes and amounts being contributed to the different candidates: 38 people in 90042 contributed to Gardea, compared to Cedillo who received funding from only seven. (And that is with his campaign headquarters being located here.) On Cedillo’s donor list, you are more likely to find contributors outside Los Angeles (Beverly Hills, Sacramento, New York, etc…) while Gardea’s contributor list is made up almost entirely by individual donors who reside in the district he serves. This election comes down to promoting the man who has done the day-to-day administration for this district for over ten years to the elected position of City Council; verses electing a seasoned Sacramento politician who needs the job with its $178,789 annual salary. (Highest city council salary in the nation.)
The City Council is all about the myriad of day-to-day little things that make a big difference. It is about administrating the city resources effectively and providing the services constituents need. It is about adding value to the quality of life in our fair city. Our city is about abandoned couches, dead opossums, graffiti, housing, health services, dogs and cats, sanitation, utilities, small business development, parks and recreation, public transportation, public safety, police and fire service, building codes, historic preservation, community redevelopment, neighborhood empowerment, urban planning, roads, sidewalks, street trees, arts and culture, libraries, museums, street lights and parking. There is only one candidate that is well-versed in all those departments, one candidate who has made his career to serve the city, and has worked with all of these Los Angeles interests to make our city a better place.
Today there is only one good choice for Council District 1: Jose Gardea.
It has been over two years since posting here. People have been born, people have died, many have moved in, many moved away. The wind has blown, the rain has fallen, the earth has shaken, and our planet continues to increase in temperature. Many things have changed, yet many things remain the same.
What has happened since the last 90042 post:
- The massive sewer project on Figueroa was finally finished
- Trees were felled, property damaged and we survived days without electricity after the December 1st Windstorm of 2011.
- Scores of Highland Parkers attempt to participate in the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, only to become disillusioned and walk away.
- In an effort to compete with the Tuesday Old L.A. Farmer’s Market at Highland Park Station, Figueroa Produce invites food trucks to its store for weekly parking lot dining. Figueroa Produce goes out of business and E.A.T. @ FigandYork remains.
- Los Angeles Veteran’s Square is fenced-off to the public in an effort to dislodge homeless from lodging there. The parking lot wall at the Highland Park Senior Center is removed to further discourage homeless congregating.
- The Metro Line 81 gets new buses.
- Metro Gold Line stops selling paper tickets.
- Voters forced the City of Los Angeles to restore staff and services to our Los Angeles Public Library.
- The Autry re-opens the Southwest Museum to the public. (Saturdays 10am – 4pm only, refers to it now as their “Mt. Washington Campus.”)
- Heritage Square gets Historical Cultural Monument status, and builds a new building to house the Colonial Drug Company collection.
- Maximiliano opens at York and Aldama.
- Proof that one cannot overestimate the need for caffeine in 90042, Highland Cafe opens four doors down from Cafe de Leche.
- King of the jackfruit tacos, Plant Food For People begin selling tacos around Highland Park and Eagle Rock.
- A plethora of restaurants, boutiques, bars, and art galleries open on York Blvd.
- The number of Highland Park record stores increases by 400%.
- Highland Park finally gets a book store! (And a comic book store too.)
- Rudy has yet to replace the street tree at 5137 York Blvd as he promised. (There is just a planter there now.)
- As part of the “New York Blvd” street enhancement project, the FIRST parklet in the city of Los Angeles opens at 5040 York Blvd.
- An agreement is made by Jose Huizar’s office to buy the vacant former Texaco gas station lot on the corner of York Blvd and Avenue 50 and create a public park.
- Bike lanes are extended on York Blvd from Avenue 55 to Figueroa.
- People are shocked to learn nice guy owner of Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, John Nese really really hates bikes.
- The Judy Baca mural on the AT&T switching building is restored.
- The worst-reviewed gangster film of the 21st Century uses Figueroa Street to recreate 1949 Central Avenue.
- The funky paintings by Will Palomares become more prevalent than ALZA’s.
- The rise of yarn bombing and guerilla knitting around Highland Park.
- Brian Mallman retires as director of NELA Art.
- To much delight, the first edition of NELAart News is published and distributed on newsprint.
- MorYork Gallery stops participating in NELA Art 2nd Saturday Gallery Night, begins “Secret Songs” concert series.
- THIS Los Angeles has its last opening.
- American Legion Hall continues to grow as a nightclub venue, becomes the epicenter for the Los Angeles square dancing scene.
- To many-a-patron’s chagrin, Mr. T’s Bowl continues to be mismanaged.
- Good Girl Dinette expands their hours.
- Dodgers donate a new baseball field at Highland Park Recreation Center.
- Highland Park cat herder and comedian, Marc Maron gets a TV show on IFC.
- Someone posts a flyer for “Dog Walking” in 90042.
- Aldama Elementary, Franklin High School, and Burbank Middle School have outstanding years.
- Jose Huizar is re-elected to City Council for District 14.
- Controversial local city councilman from the Sam Yorty-era, Art Snyder dies in Huntington Beach at age 79. Gets a room named after him by the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council at Eagle Rock City Hall.
- David Fonseca leaves Patch for Huffington Post.
- LA Eastside mysteriously closes and stops blogging for a year.
- Echo Park based Eastsider LA still thinks Eastside includes places on the map located WEST of downtown.
- The historic Manning’s Coffee sign is restored and re-lit, along with the Highland Theatre sign. (Unfortunately, half the bulbs have already burned-out.)
- Bicycle Station closes on Figueroa, Riffi’s Bike Shop opens on Figueroa.
- Ten more beauty salons open in 90042.
- Frank’s Camera at the Kress building is still for sale.
- Little Cave becomes La Cuevita.
- Auto Zone opens in the former Pep Boys building.
- MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Council) opens their west coast offices on the corner of Avenue 50 and Figueroa.
- Both candidates for Council District 1 choose Figueroa Street in Highland Park at their campaign headquarters.
- The promised Northeast LA City Hall in the historic Security First National Bank building on Figueroa still sits empty.
- The Avenues and Dogtown gangs nearly disappear from our neighborhoods as the Highland Park gang works to fill in the void.
- I am no longer the only guy in the neighborhood reporting gunfire.
- Seven people have been murdered here in two years. Including homeless man, Carey Snyder, aged 63, stabbed to death on the corner of Avenue 58 and Figueroa on the night of December 29, 2011. His murder remains unsolved.
This list could go on with all the many things have happened in and around Highland Park in the intervening two years. But why return to this blog now?
Highland Park is at a particularly pivotal point in its history. There are a few important events on the horizon in 2013 that have compelled me to start-up this blog again. For me, this blog has always been about participating, sharing, reflecting and advocating for 90042. In the coming posts I hope to illustrate the opportunities we as a community have, and how our choices will affect the path we take.
While I may be using the HLP90042 twitter account from time to time, I do not plan on maintaining the robust tweeting regiment it had previously. This blog while active again, won’t be that active. More like that Sunday ride you take out to cruise every now and then.
Thanks as always for taking the time to read 90042, thanks even more for taking the time to comment. I look forward to further exploring this place we call home.
Before this blog goes to sleep, want to include this never-before-seen photo of Highland Park circa 1905.
This view is looking Northeast up toward the San Gabriel Mountains from where today is the upper parking lot of the Southwest Museum on Mount Washington. On the left is the The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, that we know better today as The Metro Gold Line. On the right is Figueroa lined with power, trolley, telegraph poles and Echo Street running east to Avenue 52. In the foreground are homes of Professor’s Row on Sycamore Terrace. The large buildings to the left are Occidental College on Figueroa Street at Avenue 50. On the other side of the railroad tracks along between Avenue 50 and 51 where court apartments are today is a very large government-like structure that I can only assume was part of Occidental college. Also, next to the tracks on the south side of Avenue 50 is a building where today is that empty lot with a cement slab and steps to nowhere. In the distance on the left around Avenue 55 is another large building I’m guessing is Saint Luke’s Methodist Church. The hills around Highland Park are largely undeveloped. If this photo were in color we could likely see patches of orange on Poppy Peak to the left.
On the right side of the photograph, just as automobiles do today, the blur of a horse and buggy can be seen speeding down the hill on Figueroa Street (Then Pasadena Avenue) in front of the newly built Pillar of Fire church building. The building closest building to the camera is now where the Arroyo Seco Magnet School is. At this point in 1905, the branch of Arroyo Seco creek has already been graded and bridged over by the Attison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, and Figueroa Street. Just across Figueroa from Professor’s Row, it looks like there was a park where the Hillside Baptist Church is between Avenue 50 and Echo. Way off in the distance on the right is The Raymond Hotel (the new 1901 one) in South Pasadena. Along Figueroa, what looks like little bushes are growing, those will become the towering palm trees we see there today. The photo is similar to one found in the LA Library photo archive dated 1908, taken near the same spot, but I haven’t seen this particular photo anywhere before. It’s amazing how many of the homes are still there. Amazing how familiar this place looks. It looks like home, it looks like a place with a history, a place awaiting its future.
Resolutions. –That is what the New Year is for. Resolving to do something different. So too has come time for me to do something different here at the 90042 Blog.
This blog started out as an effort by me, Waltarrrrr, as a way to sharpen my abysmal writing skills (paired with dyslexia) while documenting my Highland Park experiences. I soon found out readers actually came to depend on whatever information and perspective I had on this place in Northeast Los Angeles.
All-too-often I posted the only notices of shootings or murders in our community that real media outlets ignored. I’m quite proud of what I managed to accomplish over the past four-and-a-half years. Stories that would have otherwise never been told, were shared, and history was remembered. I feel the community was better off for whatever contribution was made. I tried to keep it interesting and avoided being too self-indulging. (Sorry, my blog, my indulgence.) So many stories I wanted to do but never had enough time. As small as this zip code seems, or as non-affluent as it may seem, I could have written a story about it every day and never fully told the story of this place we call home.
Some people I have to really thank for inspiring me, and making this blog what it is. Pasadena Adjacent, your encouragement and interest was always appreciated. The local neighborhood bloggers that kept me from seeming like a howling madman in the wilderness: El Chavo!, Chimatli, El Random Hero, and the other fine folks at LA Eastside. Above The City, Ryan? from York Blvd wherever you disappeared to. LA City Nerd and Militant Angeleno for reminding me place matters. (Especially when it is the best place on Earth!) Scott Beale at Laughing Squid. Sean Bonner (where this WordPress Vigilance theme was first seen), Will Campbell and the rest of the folks at blogging.la. Micheal Schneider at Franklin Avenue (the original L.A. neighborhood blogger as far as I can tell) Highland Park historian, Charles Fisher. Charlie Lummis who spoke to me in my dreams. Thanks to Jesus Sanchez and The Eastsider LA, despite the cartography-challenged view of the Eastside from what is really the Westside, they ALWAYS gave props, credit, and the very important Hat-Tip; which made it worth while. Thanks to the “Repo Man 90042 Scavenger Hunt Team” that inspired the name for this blog. Thanks to Marino Pascal and Christopher Howard for starting the NELA List in 2001. Pat Griffith, Eliot Sekuler, Bill Murray, Martha Benedict and the ASNCAlert List. And special thanks to transportation photographer extraordinaire, Alan Weeks whose photos on the Metro flickr stream inspired me to research and discover Highland Park’s rich history as a streetcar suburb. Last, but never least, the amazing editor who never missed an opportunity to correct me, my darling wife and muse, Cris.
May or may not write more about the March Elections. Or express my opinion on York Blvd., the Highland Park Transit Village or other local developments. Can’t say. What I can say is this blog is going to sleep for a while. The weekly posts just won’t be there anymore. Instead, I plan to focus on my first love, Art. I’m a painter by trade. As a byproduct of putting my efforts into writing and researching this blog, I haven’t actually made a painting in some time. In my studio sits a pile of blank canvases awaiting my attention. This year I resolved to start painting rather than writing, to start sketching rather than tweeting. I’m a craftsperson, a maker. At this juncture I need to create tangible objects more than web posts.
It has been a fun trip, but the time has come to put the blog to rest. Thanks for sharing the ride.
The project has been approved. The road work is funded. The only problem now is how to configure the extension of bike lanes from Avenue 55 to Figueroa Street as planned?
Option 1: Remove one of the two westbound motorized traffic lanes, leaving one traffic lane heading west, a turn slot in the middle, two eastbound lanes for motorized traffic, and a lane on each side for bicycles.
Option 2: Remove both a westbound and eastbound lane, leaving one motorized traffic lane each way with a turn slot in the middle and bike lanes on each side of the boulevard, exactly as it is configured west of Avenue 55.
The good news is that no boulevard parking will be removed for either option.
Personally, I’d prefer the maximum road diet of Option 2. It promotes a safer, slower boulevard that’s better for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers. According to LADOT, the peak amount of cars on York Boulevard is about 1000 per hour heading east (to The 110?) during the morning commute. A thousand cars per hour per lane is considered to be a lane’s capacity. So reducing traffic lanes to one each east of Avenue 55 shouldn’t have adverse effects to the ebb and flow.
What reducing the lanes should do, is increase business and quality of life for the stores and homes on York Boulevard. Narrowing streets in municipalities the world-over has proved to better develop a community’s sense of place, and create more village-like atmosphere where people shop and live, rather than just drive through. While returning to the original York Boulevard design with two traffic lanes and two trolleys in the middle may be decades off, reducing to two lanes and adding bike lanes seems to be about the best York Boulevard improvement one could hope for at this time. As for now, no decision has been made on what to implement and won’t likely be made until after a certain someone is done with the March 8th Election.
*Thanks to City of Los Angeles, Bicycle Advisory Committee, Bikeways Subcommittee Chair, Joe Linton for the tip.
You can tell a lot about a candidate by how they treat the community. In this case, how they treat community property. Namely, a city tree.
It is election season in Highland Park once again; this time the seat for Los Angeles City Council District 14 is being contested by a number of candidates, most prominently, Northeast Los Angeles entrepreneur, Rudy Martinez.
Mr. Martinez opened his bar, Marty’s at 5137 York Boulevard in 2007. When he opened there was one of the many York Blvd Bottle Brush street trees out in front of his place. Not much of a tree really. Trimmed as small as possible, but healthy. It was a place where a pedestrian could get some shade on a typical hot Highland Park day. Soon after the photo above was taken, the tree was surreptitiously removed, and the city’s sidewalk planter space was cemented over to prevent the replanting of any other trees in front of Mr. Martinez’ business.
Flash forward to 2011, Mr. Martinez now wants to be the head of our community in the roll of Los Angeles City Councilmember for the 14th District. A district that serves the diverseness of Highland Park, Mount Washington, Eagle Rock, El Sereno, Boyle Heights, Downtown Broadway and smaller neighborhoods between. Among the challengers to incumbent, Jose Huizar, Mr. Martinez has the largest war chest, making him the front-runner and only true threat to unseat Councilmember Huizar. The bulk of his campaign funding has come from his house flipping, mortgage, and restaurant businesses, as well as contributions from members of the real estate industry. According to the LA Weekly, his largest in kind contribution has come from an attorney for an Australian developer that is at odds with Downtown Broadway historic preservation.
Apparently, Mr. Martinez decided to run against his former friend when the city required him to remove an over-sized smoking patio behind Marty’s. So now we have this candidate with a vendetta, who according to reports, has a misdemeanor conviction for battery, and doesn’t seem to care about community property or preservation, while being in the hip pocket of developers.
It would be nice to give Mr. Martinez a chance to tout his qualifications as a community leader, or civic experiences if there are any. But the only news that comes from Mr. Martinez are accusations being made against his opponent. Look at his Twitter stream. It is mostly mud being slung at Councilmember Huizar. My question is, what has he done for Council District 14? How has he personally improved our community beyond his businesses here?
Mr. Martinez’ campaign reeks of someone who just wants to get back at somebody and gain a powerful position with one of the highest-paid elected positions in the country. Rather than represent and fight for all the people of the 14th, his victory would be likely be victory for those that would want to demolish our heritage and flip out stucco boxes for maximum profit. His election would likely mean more laissez-faire capitalism, and less protection for people who live here, the people who walk the avenues, the people who seek shade on a hot summer day.
So where’s the tree Rudy?
Do you love libraries? Well do you???
Did you know that it has only been in the recent 100 years of civilization that libraries have been public and “Free?” Before that, libraries were secluded and relegated to only wealthy scholars. Libraries weren’t for common people. But then at the turn of the previous century, people started noticing how awesome and advanced a society could be if libraries were open and free for everyone. Our very own Arroyo Seco Branch library was originally built by a wealthy industrialist, Andrew Carnegie. Why? Because he knew knowledge is power, and that every person deserves a place to read, a place to learn and to grow.
But while libraries are best when they are available to everyone, and better when they cost users nothing, in actuality, they have a price. And that price was more than our Mayor was willing to pay in the current city budget crisis. Luckily, we voters will have an opportunity to remedy the situation that has shuttered our much-loved library on Sundays and Mondays. In the upcoming March 8th Election there is Measure L that will reassign funds from the city’s general operating budget to the library system. No bonds involved, no new taxes, just budget adjustment.
So put our money where your inked fingers and squinting eyes are, and support Measure L come this March 8th at the polling booth!!!
-See Jill Stewart’s story on Measure L in LA Weekly.