Tag Archives: South L.A.

Register to have a say in the future of South LA.

What: Empowerment Congress Summit   (That’s the Second district folks.)

When: Saturday, January 15th 2011

Time: 8am-12pm

Where: USC’s Bovard Auditorium in the middle of its campus near Figueroa Street and Exposition Park Boulevard

Register: www.empowermentcongress.org

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *The Empowerment Congress attempts to engage the communitiy, encourage participation, educating and informing the community about how government works, developing strategies that shape policy and legislation and connecting the community with resources,

Founded in 1992 by then Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Empowerment Congress served as a model and precursor to the City of Los Angeles’ Neighborhood Councils. Now that Ridley-Thomas represents  nine cities (Los Angeles, Carson, Compton, Culver City, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, and Lynwood) and many neighborhoods of unincorporated areas (Athens, Baldwin Hills, Del Aire, East Compton, El Camino Village, Firestone, Florence, Graham, Ladera Heights, Lennox, Marina del Rey, Rancho Dominguez, View Park, West Carson, West Compton, West Rancho Dominguez, Westmont, Willowbrook, Windsor Hills, Wiseburn) as a county supervisor, the EC has expanded.

After the speakers, residents will break into small groups. Per the website:

Town Centers: Economic Development Strategies for Traditional Neighborhoods. A tremendous amount of assessment and planning has been done to develop targeted Economic Development Initiatives throughout the Second District with the goal of improving local economies through enhanced transportation infrastructure, local job creation and retention, and community asset building. This panel will provide an in depth overview of priority projects in the Second District and discuss their impacts on mobility, sustainability and job creation.

Citizen Participation in Policy Reforms at the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Troubles in the child welfare system have become a constant headline in Los Angeles. While much of the focus has been on a “child death problem”, Second District residents face many other concerns such as protecting parental rights in dependency disputes and ensuring that the department has proper information and technology to make informed decisions. In this session, participants will discuss policy issues that negatively impact children in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services and their families. Through an interactive dialogue session, participants will be empowered to design solutions to these issues.

Out of the Shadows: Strategies to Identify and Treat Mental Illness In a County. where one out of eight adults has been diagnosed with depression and 10% are known to live with frequent mental distress (stress, depression or emotional problems for more than 14 days in the last month), few families go untouched by the challenges related to mental health. Given the increased stress associated with the economic downturn as well as the increase in first-time homelessness, education around mental health issues is more necessary now than ever. This panel will inform and empower participants to recognize mental health indicators and discuss ways that families, friends, faith-based entities, co-workers and others can help.

Beyond Incarceration: Envisioning a New Probation Department. Los Angeles County runs the largest probation department in the world, with over 2000 youth housed in 18 probation camps and 2 juvenile halls at any given point in time. With a cost per probationer of over $7500 a month, an average camp stay of four and half months, and a recidivism rate between 50-75%, many have challenged the effectiveness of the existing system. Led by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, many organizations have called for a consent decree to require Federal oversight over probation camp reform. In addition, the progressive alternative models that are being implemented around the nation provide resources and examples of what the Los Angeles County Probation Department should aspire to. This panel will explore these alternative models and discuss how Los Angeles County can best move forward with reform.

Social Justice through the Arts: While art, in all its forms, is a source of creativity and self expression, it can also be an effective vehicle for advancing a social justice agenda. A noteworthy example of this is the Watts Towers, a collection of 17 interconnected structures, built by Italian immigrant construction worker Sabato Rodia in his spare time between 1921 and 1954. In this panel presentation, participants will dig into the historical, cultural, architectural and sociological significance of the Watts Towers, learn about the creative partnerships that have been forged to preserve this important work and identify opportunities to advance a social justice agenda through art. The panel will also explore other local examples of how social justice is being promoted through the arts.

Emergency Preparedness: Is Los Angeles Ready for the Big One? In an era of domestic terrorist attacks, hurricanes and mammoth oil spills, Americans have learned that both natural and manmade disasters are inevitable occurrences. Yet in each of these disasters, the role and action of both local and federal government has undergone significant scrutiny. In this session, panelists will discuss how prepared Los Angeles County is to handle a local emergency and learn how to prepare themselves and their families.

Urban Ecology and Green Technology – How It Applies To Your Community Communities throughout the Second District are faced with serious environmental concerns. Whether you live near an active oilfield or land that is currently being investigated for groundwater contamination, have concerns with air quality or lack of open space, an array of environmental issues can challenge your quality of life and wellbeing. This panel will engage community members in a conversation about how they can access the necessary tools and knowledge to take leadership roles in gathering environmental data and then use that data to improve their ecosystem and the social health of their communities. Participants will have an opportunity to join a year long program, sponsored by the Empowerment Congress and Loyola Marymount University that will provide them an opportunity to further hone their Environmental IQ!

Redrawing the Map: Citizen Participation in LA County’s Redistricting Process Redistricting is the process by which governments re-allocate populations within their respective jurisdictions to ensure that district boundaries contain roughly equal numbers of residents for purposes of representation. As such, the boundaries created by decennial redistricting define the terrain of electoral competition and, ultimately, the composition of legislative bodies at the local (city council, county board of supervisors), state and congressional levels. While the Board of Supervisors and local cities will soon gear up for redistricting, the public must understand the impact it may have on them, and how they can engage in the process. This panel will provide a technical overview of the redistricting process and discuss the opportunities and importance of local participation.

Youth Voices: Creating Opportunities for Youth Empowerment in the 2nd District (Youth Only: 15-21) There are few safe and welcoming spaces that provide a venue for frank and honest dialogue about the issues of importance to youth. This session will allow for a self-inspired and facilitated dialogue among youth to discuss important issues related to education, health, safety and justice. Participants will have an opportunity to put pen to paper and visually depict their ideas and opinions on a board, followed by a chance to tour the “gallery” space and share their renderings.

The Power of Multi-Organizational Networks: Limited space with 1st Priority to 2nd Saturdays participants. As nonprofits are forced to thrive in an environment in which resources are scarce, the power of working in multi-organizational networks provides great opportunities for coordination and systems change. The purpose of this session will help organizations identify opportunities to form a network and develop a foundation upon which a network can begin to operate. With the right structures and planning in place, networks of diverse organizations can successfully work together as equal partners to pursue a common social or civic purpose over a sustained period of time. This will be open to participants in the Second District’s 2nd Saturday’s program, with limited space available.


Bike Ride

Check this out. There’s going to be a fun bike ride going on in South LA this Sunday! This is a repost from Eddie of University Park Family:

Join us for an Informal bike ride to explore some potential streets for South L.A. CicLAvia. All you need is a working bike and some free time – ride will be about 15-25 miles – about 2.5-3 hours – liesurely pace. I did the Crenshaw Crush with these guys last year and it was a blast – 20 miles and it was easy.

Streets to Explore:
Jefferson Blvd.
Hoover Street
Vermont Blvd.
Central Blvd.
Figueroa Blvd.
Vernon Ave.
Slauson Blvd.

Los Angeles hosted it’s first Ciclavia last year and it was a blast. The city closes the streets for a long ways and opens them up to people on foot and bikes. It’s a temporary creation of a park connecting the city.

In Bogata, Columbia they host ciclovía every Sunday on 80 miles of city streets.

“A Ciclovía is not just for recreation. It is social integration,” the website says.

The organizers were your typical do gooders that make LA a better place -like the LA County Bicycle Coalition, Jenn Su of GOOD and who I worked with as an intern at Public Matters,and Joe Linton, an artist who took me and dozens of others on tours of the bridges that cross the Los Angeles River. And a whole lot more.

152 W. 32nd Street
Los Angeles, CA

January 9th 2011



Fresh and Easy on Crewnshaw Approved!

Rendering of freshandeasy store via KL Architects

There have been plans for at least the past year (possibly more) to put in a freshandeasy grocery store on the now empty lot at Crenshaw and 50th. For so long this space was an empty. It was an empty storefront,  then it was torn down and sat as an empty lot for over a year. I am so sick of the empty empty empty space here. Finally! It’s getting filled and it’s by something this community needs and wants. A grocery store with quality and organic produce. The neighborhood has long been asking for a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or something similar.

I actually worked on the entire fresh&easy branding and packaging before they opened a couple years ago and can tell you, this grocery store is AWESOME. Whole Foods quality at Walmart prices. Tons of organic options. I love their ready meals and the piece of mind I have buying the freshandeasy brand. No preservatives or added junk. And the employees get health care and sick days. So all around, great product and they treat their employees well.

And as an added inside scoop. At a meeting I was in about a year or two ago, we went to present some new designs to the Chief Marketing Officer Simon Uwins. He was pressed for time and was eating his lunch. Guess what it was? Freshandeasy food. One of their salads and the sushi. So even the heads of the company shop there. They not only stand behind their product, they love it. And I respect that.

There was some debate about the store, not about freshandeasy coming in, most everyone’s on board for that, but about the parking lot. The “Crenshaw Specific Plan” mandates that parking need to be in the back of developments or on top to keep/make the Crenshaw area pedestrian friendly. The current plans have the parking lot in front.

I shop at the one they opened over on Adams, and am extremely excited to have one even closer to home.

More Info:
Check out this video by Leimert Park Beat : Here
La StreetsBlog : Here

CSU Fun November Events!

A great South Los Angeles group CSU (Community Services Unlimited) is having two really cool earth friendly events in November. One’s a gourmet food party featuring Caribbean Cuisine and the other is the start of their monthly gardening workshop.

P.S. If you’re looking for locally grown organic produce you can sign up with CSU and for an incredibly reasonable fee, pick up a bag weekly. It’s the best. Read more about it at : csuinc.org And now the events!

Friday, November 12th : 6pm to 8pm.
Caribbean Cuisine Food Party!
featuring Kamilche Sea Farms Mussels
Hosted by Shema Muhuga, a friend of CSU at his Playa Del Rey residence, this food party will feature the mouthwatering flavors of the Caribbean. Soca and Calypso will be the music playing for the evening along with video footage from the October 2010 Los Angeles Carnival and the February 2010 Trinidad and Tobago carnival. As always local seasonal produce will be highlighted, but a special item for this evening will be a treat for sea food lovers. Kamilche Sea Farms has been farming mussels in the Puget Sound since 1981 and since 1986 has specialized in the culture of the premium Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis).  These mussels, common to Spain, are believed to have been brought over to the Pacific centuries ago on the bottoms of Spanish Galleons.  Today Kamilche Sea Farms grows these mussels starting with premium hatchery seed.  Suspended from long lines in the rich deep waters of the Puget Sound, a premium mussel is ready for harvest in less than a year. Kamilche Sea Farms’ growing waters, in Totten Inlet, have been state certified since 1926. This bay is designated by the Washington Department of Ecology as a “Unique Growing Area” due to its pristine waters and high shellfish productivity. Strict watershed protection measures ensure that it will remain pure for generations to come. A huge thank you to Kamilche Sea Farms for the donation of the mussels for this Food Party, we encourage you to check out http://www.kamilcheseafarms.com and support those businesses that support sustainable communities. A detailed menu and address for the event will be sent to those that RSVP, but you can be sure to get home cooked gourmet food, featuring locally grown and beyond organic produce, at an incredible price of $20.00, along with great company and the knowledge that your dollars are supporting a great cause.
Spaces are limited, so RSVP soon to Dyanep1@csuinc.org or call 323 299 7075.

Saturday, November 13th : 9am to 1pm.
Garden Gateway Workshop Series
Planting to Amend Soil + Healthy Greens
EXPO Center/CSU Urban Farm, corner of King and Bill Robertson Lane (formerly Menlo Ave), 3980 S. Bill Robertson Lane., LA, CA 90037, next door to the senior center, enter from Bill Robertson Lane. Garden Gateway Project Workshop Series takes place on the 2nd Saturday of every month. The Community Gateway to Building Food Self-Reliance –  Free Gardening, Nutrition and Cooking Workshop! In partnership with: The EXPO Center, UNO and USC Keck School of Medicine Childhood Obesity Research Center.
To RSVP call 323 299 7075
and please be prepared to attend the entire workshop.  Download flier at http://www.csuinc.org

Kitty in the Clouds

Literally. I’ve got all these clouds in my living room right now, a gift from Robert. He made them for a set he designed. He asked me if I wanted them when the show was over, so I could put them in the arts center I’m working on. (When we get a space.) I of course said “Hell Yes!!!” Cause they’re awesome!

Squawker the cat likes them too. I found her in them just the other morning. You can kind of see her paw in the photos, she’s totally buried herself in there.

Seed Bombing Proof!

The photos are in people. Just like I promised. A little bit of color and happiness on the 110 freeway. Pretty!

Last year my buddies and I made seedbombs on my birthday, (that was my birthday party) and this is the result. Next year there’ll be EVEN MORE! There are a few more spots where they’ve sprouted up that I didn’t get photos of. It took me forever just to get these. Taking photos and driving at the same time equals car wreck!  So I had to have someone else driving and it had to be during the day. Two tall orders.

It’s all coming together! Woot!

Seedbombing Works!

So excited! I was driving on the 110 and saw some california poppies that had sprouted from the seed bombs I’ve been throwing. YAY! There’s a strong little patch on the entrance to the 101 off the 110 as well.

It’s not a ton of flowers. I liken it to a bald man with a few hairs, but it’s still GREAT news. The thing about most wildflowers is that they’ll reseed themselves for next year. So if there’s a spot where 2 sprouted, then next year that spot will have 7 all on its own. It’ll grow exponentially. AND my buddies and I will continue to make more seed bombs so that’ll add to it as well!

Some day in the future people in LA will say, “oh hey, lets drive on the 110, it’s spring and that’s when all those colorful flowers pop up.” Yep. A scenic drive on the 110.