Thursday, September 30, 2010

Still Hope for Struggling Homeowners

You, like many of my neighbors are experiencing huge hurdles today--from reduced work hours and furloughs, to out and out unemployment. As a result, bills are becoming more difficult to pay. Cutting wherever you can (reducing power consumption, shopping with coupons, going without visits to the doctors) still is not helping.

For all of us in today's economy and today's situations, there is still help out there. Below are some resources you WANT to tap into.

SAVE THE DREAM TOUR...arrived today at the Los Angeles Convention Center and continues through Monday, October 4. This event will be open 24 hours non-stop until the end. This way you don't have to worry about taking time off from work (or can make that interview!). Simply attend off hours.

NACA’s historic "Save the Dream Tour" has been an incredible success with hundreds of thousands participants in thirteen cities. Thousands of homeowners received same day solutions having their mortgage payments permanently reduced by over $500 and many by over $1,000 a month often with interest rates reduced to 3% or 2% and sometimes a principal reduction. NACA has legally binding agreements with all the major lenders/servicers to achieve this. All of NACA’s services are FREE.

 Take advantage of this NOW! Visit NACA's website to sign up in Los Angeles and for more information.

HELP WITH THE FOOD BILL... there is an amazing organization out there called The Treasure Box. Basically once a month, they offer boxes of food worth $100 for only $30. A typical box can almost feed a family of four for a week and they have additional boxes (like Protein, Seafood, Seniors, Kids and Healthy) for purchase. Not only can you purchase for yourself, you can donate a box to continue the charity.

You can purchase as many boxes as you want as long as they are still available. The Treasure Box is then delivered to your area (most likely a church) for pick up.

I'm not just promoting this. I've used The Treasure Box myself and was very surprised. One, it is what was promised (a box of quality food worth $100 for $30). Two, with a few bucks left in my wallet, I was grateful to stretch my budget without having to impact the food lines and shelters for those who so desperately need those services.

Check out The Treasure Box.

THERE ARE STILL JOBS...even though it may seem that we are all fighting for the same jobs, there are still some out there. Visit Available Jobs in the City of Los Angeles.

In the meantime, I'll see you around the neighborhood.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

South Seas House Opens Doors for "LA Kids" Fall Schedule

As part of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks programs for youth, Carlton Stubbs--Facility Director for the South Seas House in the Benny H. Potter West Adams Avenues Memorial Park--announced the fall program is ready to roll with many programs.

All classes being offered, are free of charge and begin October 4, 2010 so be sure to sign up TODAY! Each class, with the exception of the Snack Program, continues for 8 weeks.

Snack Program
3:30PM to 3:45PM

Hip Hop Dance Class (ages 7 to 13)
4:00PM to 5:00PM

Fitness Class (ages 6 to 12)
4:00PM to 5:00PM

Arts and Crafts Class (ages 7 to 12)
3:30PM to 4:30PM

Basketball Clinic (ages 7 to 13)
3:30PM to 4:30PM

There are several other items of interest for you to be aware of:

After School Program (ages 6 to 12)
2:30PM to 5:30PM
Pick-up service is available from 24th St. Elementary and Mid-City Alternative Magnet
Providing help with homework, recreation and sports activities. 
$75 per month

MARK YOUR CALENDAR  Free Halloween Haunted House
Sunday, October 31, 2010
5:00PM to 8:00PM

For more information or to sign up, contact the South Seas House at
2301 W. 24th Street Los Angeles, CA 90018
Phone (323) 373-9483
Fax (323) 373-9774

In the meantime, see you around the neighborhood.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Keeping the City Safe

During the early morning hours on Saturday, September 25, 2010, many C-PAB Board Members (Community Police Advisory Board) attended the 17th Annual C-PAB Summit in Downtown Los Angeles. Focus on this year’s summit was on “Preparedness” and the city’s resources to help Los Angeles survive a disastrous event from wild fires, earthquakes and terrorism.

The first part of the summit provided many speakers who reported on what to expect, what to do, and how to do it.

Dr. Lucy Jones--Chief Scientist, United States Geological Survey

As stated in Dr. Jones presentation, it is her job to scare us…but rightfully so. Some highlights from her eye-opening presentation:

  • ·         Our next quake will come from the San Andreas fault and every southern Californian needs to be ready.
  • ·         It will have huge impact not only for southern California but much of the nation as well; 40% of US goods come through Los Angeles and ALL freeways and railroads cross the San Andreas fault.
  • ·         Water systems could be out for six months…”If you have some water stored for an earthquake, then store more. You will need A LOT of water.”
  • ·         The next California Shake Out will be October 21, 2010. Visit Shake Out for more information.

James G. Featherstone--General Manager, Emergency Management Department

Featherstone’s presentation focused on what city departments are preparing for to effectively manage response and systems in the event of a disaster from pandemic flu and terrorism to wild fires and earthquakes.

  • ·         When disaster strikes, remember this when reacting: Start with you, then family, move on to neighbors and finally your community.
  • ·         “Plan for REAL, not easy.”

Mary E. Grady—Public Information Director, Public Information Office

Grady’s presentation highlighted “”iWatch” a new program spearheaded by the LAPD and being adopted nationwide. It is a community based reporting program to help keep us safe from terrorism. By reporting suspicious behavior from chemical smells, unusual photographers to strangers asking about your building’s security we can provide crucial clues to potential terrorist attacks before they happen. To learn more visit iWatch.

Later in the afternoon, all C-PAB members from across Los Angeles, had the opportunity to participate in numerous activities from experiencing a 5.0 earthquake in the “Quakey-Shakey-Schoolhouse,” emergency shelter construction, and a demonstration in electrical safety from the DWP to seeing state-of-the-art emergency response vehicles and a tour of the new 911 Dispatch Center and the Metropolitan Detention Center.

In the meantime, I'll see you around the neighborhood.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Expo-tations Dashed

While the Expo Line (still without a "color" name) has been the focus of a ton of scrutiny, a ton of complaints and a ton of hopes for area revitalization--not to mention better transportation options--it now looks as though it doesn't matter anymore...except, that is, for more complaints to follow.

Los Angeles Times reporter, Sam Allen lays out many of the details in his article here.

In the meantime, I'll see you around the neighborhood.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Watch the speed of CD10 and YOURS!

As was mentioned in a previous post (see here) we are seeing activities and success by the speedy folks at Council District 10, who recently meet with West Adams Avenues' Quality of Life Committee.

Street Lighting...repairs were being completed on a street light control box on 5th Avenue. Even more impressive, the repair being performed was by a city crew with a female crew leader--one of the few and rare crews in Los Angeles.

Sign of the Times--SPEED...Council District 10's Field Deputy, Albert Lord, sent us the following picture. The mobile unit was brought in by Southwest Traffic Division and placed on 25th street at 9th Avenue. It will remind visitors traveling through our neighborhood (and those of our neighbors) that the speed on 25th Street is 25 miles per hour. If a vehicle is not traveling at that speed, it will let them know EXACTLY how fast they are going. So neighbors, set an example. The speed on 25th Street is 25 miles per hour and it is not the 10 Freeway.

In the meantime, I'll see you around the neighborhood.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

2nd Annual Quality of Life Brunch with Council Member Herb Wesson

Improving the neighborhood and surrounding areas never stops. You could say the same for Council Member Herb Wesson and his hard working staff! They even proved that by showing up for the second annual Brunch with the West Adams Avenues Quality of Life Committee (QOL) one resent Saturday morning.

A superb spread was provided for the QOL Committee and special guests Herb Wesson, Sylvia Lacy, Kimani Black and Albert Lord by our very own, Etchie Mura. Once everyone was seated the meeting--and eating--began.

Sylvia Lacy, Etchie Mura, Herb Wesson and Cordell Hinton

Donna Jones and Albert Lord
Fredrick  Douglas...many of our neighbors have experienced the problems at the Fredrick Douglas school from parking and traffic issues to the more important issues of safety. Through the work of West Adams Avenues QOL Committee, Council District 10, United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council and the school itself, many of these problems have been eliminated. With the new school year having just started, we will continue to work with Fredrick Douglas and our resources to keep improving the situation. Council District 10 is also looking into ways to mitigate remaining issues on the impact of buses parking and waiting as well as parents that continue to put their children at risk.

Parking in West Adams Avenues...many neighbors have been asking for ways to reduce the amount of parking that impacts West Adams Avenues from surrounding apartment buildings on Adams. A study was performed by the Council District 10 and showed that most of the vehicles were coming from apartments in the area. While many plans have been looked at from residential parking zones to no overnight parking, nothing has happened as yet. After a very inventive presentation by QOL Committee member Linda Marais, the problems with parking and coming to our quiet streets was made painfully clear. The West Adams Avenues QOL Committee will continue working with Council Member Herb Wesson and his staff to find solutions.

"Mini" 10 Freeway on our own 25th Street...the West Adams Avenues QOL Committee has been working on how to encourage pedestrian use of 25th Street and compliment our beautiful neighborhood and the amazing Bennie Potter Park. As many of us know, 25th has a speed limit of 25 miles per hour, but that is not slowing the cars down and increasing the safety risk to neighbors, children and strollers going to the park, and dog walkers, people walkers and bikers as well.

Council Member Herb Wesson, listened to many suggestions on how to accomplish this. Not only were some very good ideas and solutions presented, but the Council Member was open to and would like to see 25th Street become a model project for other neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Below is a picture of various proposals (from bike lanes, roundabouts and curb extensions). Let the West Adams Avenues QOL Committee know your thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

Speaking of which, if you would like to help out and make your neighborhood a better place, start with the West Adams Avenues Quality of Life Committee. If you are interested in joining, contact QOL Chair Cordell Hinton or West Adams Avenues Association President Donna Jones.

In the meantime, I'll see you around the neighborhood.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New School in the Neighborhood

Yes, we have a new school in West Adams/Western Heights. Being new in this neighborhood myself (12 years), this project has been ongoing and started long before I was a "neighbor." From its inception, the plan was fought by many communities, embraced by many communities and mired in design complaints that almost rivaled the environmental complaints. Regardless, we have it now and we should be proud.

Being a board member of the United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council, many board members were invited to a tour of the school with Principal Kurt Lowry. Several accepted the invitation and were pleasantly surprised by what we heard and saw.

First things first...the design. Yes, many wanted to see a building that represented the historical nature of the neighborhood. I personally think that we ended up with something better. While not historic in design, it is a clean-lined, striking modern structure. But not overly so. It is a distinct enough building that it will stand out in our neighborhood and help strike the balance we are seeking for commercial development on Washington Boulevard.

Second...the environmental impact. Many people were concerned about the school's location being placed on an old oil field and sandwiched next to a Chevron gas station that may be leaking into the surrounding area due to old fuel tanks. ABC 7 did a story on this and I feel that many of the issues were aggressively taken head-on, unlike other schools in Los Angeles. I must say that my fears have been allayed. Why? I think it has turned out to be a very good job. I also must say that before the school came in, many children, families and homes were already in an environmental muck before this project came along. Now that it has, the school and the surrounding areas are in a much better place.

Third...the impact of the school on the community. While at first there may be traffic and safety issues, these will be worked out through the help of neighborhood volunteers manning cross walks, the 10th Council District hearing issues that may be corrected, and combining the strengths of our neighborhoods to provide safe homes and watches.

Kurt Lowry, Principal
Fourth...until you have met him, you won't know how marvelous Kurt Lowry is as a principal. During the tour, he made it very clear that he was in-touch and very appreciative of his hard working teachers and staff. Kurt Lowry also has many new and forward-reaching ideas to advance the LAUSD system by reducing class sizes to placing science and ecology first--not only on the campus--but in lessons to the students as well.

Is this what we needed? I can't answer that. All we can do is keep our eyes on things but also let a newly seeded plant have a chance to bloom.

In the meantime, I'll see you around the neighborhood.