This month's newsletter discusses homelessness, housing affordability, street improvements and the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Civil Unrest.
This month, we focused squarely on the issues of homelessness and housing affordability. Council adopted our motion to declare a homeless shelter crisis in the City of Los Angeles, as well as several motions intended to assist renters, including an anti-harassment proposal to protect renters from unscrupulous landlords, and address affordable housing. And my office teamed up with local Boyle Heights’ organizations to begin our Know Your Rent Control Rights Campaign to educate and empower the majority of Boyle Heights’ renters living in rent-controlled units.
We also moved important street improvement projects forward throughout CD14, with the Arts District being awarded $15 million in multi-modal transportation funding, new rubberized material and exercise equipment coming to the Evergreen Jogging Path in Boyle Heights, public art being installed at the Soto-Mission intersection as part of the $14 million transportation project in El Sereno, and Take Back the Boulevard hosting a meeting to showcase the scope of improvements coming to Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock.
And we mark a solemn memorial as the City recognizes the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Civil Unrest that occurred on April 29, 1992. As Angelenos, we must vow to continue the dialogue that began soon after 63 people lost their lives to that tragic event. And we must ensure fairness, equality and access to all the diverse people who call our great city home. I hope that this weekend, we all can take a moment to reflect on that day and vow to never to repeat it.
Table of Contents:
- Huizar Action To Declare Shelter Crisis Adopted by City Council
- Council Acts on Huizar Legislation to Protect Renters and Affordable Housing
- Know Your Rent Control Rights Campaign Begins in Boyle Heights
- In Memoriam of April 29, 1992 - LA Civil Unrest
- Arts District Awarded $15 Million in Multi-modal Transportation Funding
- Huizar, Community Favor Metro 6th St. Station
- Evergreen Jogging Path Update
- "A New Vision With the Civic Center Master Plan"
- Public Art Comes to Soto/Mission Intersection as Part of $14 Million Improvement Project
- TBTB Meeting Shows Scope of Colorado Blvd Improvements
- Women's Donation Drive Success
- Councilmember Huizar Featured on Noticias Telemundo's #GenteExtraordinaria
- Around CD14
In an effort to help people forced to live on the street find shelter and assistance, the Los Angeles City Council recently approved a shelter crisis declaration authored by Councilmember José Huizar and Councilmember Mike Bonin, allowing the city to open more shelter facilities to help get an estimated 28,000 homeless residents off the street.
The unanimous vote is a key step in a series of responses to the homelessness crisis, led by Huizar, Bonin, and Marqueece Harris-Dawson. Councilmember Huizar’s Planning Committee recently recommended removing self-imposed City restrictions, including ordinance language that previously only allowed a shelter crisis in the City of Los Angeles to be declared during winter months and limited them to 120 days a year, among other restrictions.
“While the recently adopted Measure HHH and the County’s Measure H offer a true sea change of hope in addressing homelessness in the long-term, with tens of thousands of people living on the streets of our City today, we are in the midst of a homelessness crisis of epic proportions,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “Today’s vote gives us the ability to act on that crisis in the short-term while giving hope, help and service to people who desperately need it.”
In advance of the vote, the LA Daily News endorsed Huizar's homeless shelter policy efforts with an editorial titled "Ease limits on shelter for L.A.’s homeless." Read the editorial here.
The City of Los Angeles currently has more than 28,000 people experiencing homelessness, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). Of those, LAHSA estimates over 21,000 sleep unsheltered on any given night.
Read more here.
The Los Angeles City Council approved today moving forward with a motion proposed by Councilmember Huizar aimed at protecting Los Angeles’ renters from harassing landlords and property owners.
On Wednesday, the City Council approved four other motions by Huizar to create a running publicly available tally of the City’s affordable housing stock, require more substantive information be given to renters in rent-controlled units at the time of signing their lease agreements, create a plan to monitor and expand the City’s affordable housing covenants, and implement Ellis Act notification to the local City Council Office when those proceedings are initiated, which property owners can use, per state law, to take rent-controlled unit off the market.
“Any action that we can take to increase both the City and the public’s awareness on affordable housing, Ellis Act proceedings and the rights of renters and the obligations of property owners, the better we all will be in preparing a line of defense in protecting our city’s precious affordable housing,” said Councilmember Huizar. “The legislation that we have introduced this week will lead to concrete reforms that will help us protect the homes of our fellow Angelenos.”
For the anti-harassment legislation, the Council gave direction to the City’s Housing and Community Investment Department (HCIDLA), to come back with a study on creating an ordinance to protect renters from landlord harassment, similar to anti-harassment ordinances in San Francisco, Santa Monica and West Hollywood. Housing advocates report that some unscrupulous landlords harass tenants to encourage them to “voluntarily” move-out by taking away services, such as parking or utilities, refusing to do repair work required by law, or using falsehoods and intimidation intended to make a tenant move out.
Another Huizar motion would require landlords to notify renters of their Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), aka rent-control rights, at lease signing. Among other things, Huizar’s motion will require property owners and managers to inform tenants of the maximum possible amount of relocation assistance the renter is entitled to for a no-fault eviction.
A third Huizar motion is an action to notify respective Council offices when Ellis Act proceedings begin. Currently, there is no formal noticing practice between HCIDLA and the relevant Council office.
Another motion directing HCID and the Department of City Planning to track the cumulative net gain and loss of affordable housing units (i.e. covenanted units and RSO units) and post that information online will be reheard at Friday’s Council meeting, due to a clerical error and the need for public comment. The Huizar motion calls for the affordable housing data to also include quarterly and annual reports. Under the City’s RSO, 630,000 units are stabilized with limits on rent increases and other protections for tenants.
And a fifth motion by Councilmember Huizar asks Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department to report on strategies and funding needs for protecting existing affordable housing covenants and at-risk affordable housing covenants which may expire soon.
On two Saturdays in April, Councilmember José Huizar and CD14 staff were joined by key Boyle Heights’ community groups and volunteers to begin an extensive outreach effort to inform Boyle Heights’ rent-controlled residents of their rights. Boyle Heights has a high-rate of renters, approximately 75%, and of those, about 88% in approximately 16,000 units are protected against high-rent increases by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), which provides rent-control for multi-unit rental housing in the City that was built in 1978 or earlier.
Participating organizations included East LA Community Corporation (ELACC), InnerCity Struggle, Comite de la Esperanza, Union de Vecinos and Stevenson Middle School parents. The Know Your Rent-Control Rights Community Campaign will continue throughout the months ahead with other door-to-door campaigns, as well as mailers, community posters and flyer distributions at key community sites, such as schools, churches and community events. Other partners include LA Voice, Self Help Graphics, El Centro de Ayuda, Boyle Heights Neighbor Council, CASA 0101 and Proyecto Pastoral.
Huizar also announced that the City’s foremost authorities on rent-control and other housing issues - the Housing & Community Investment Department (HCID) – will be moving into the Boyle Heights City Hall as a tenant in the coming months. As part of the Know Your Rights campaign, they will host forums in Boyle Heights.
“Today, the Boyle Heights community is coming together with a common goal – we want to make sure the majority of our Boyle Heights’ families whose residences are protected under rent-control law know that they have rights that protect them from unwarranted evictions,” said Councilmember Huizar. “In the days and months ahead, we will work with our community organizations, as well as the City’s Housing department, to expand this outreach so that every resident knows their rights and we can protect our affordable housing stock and the people who have called Boyle Heights home for many years.”
RSO property owners, or their building managers, cannot arbitrarily evict residents without cause in order to increase rents without facing fines or other penalties.
Let's take a moment to remember the 63 people who lost their lives during the LA Civil Unrest that began on April 29, 1992 after the verdicts in the Rodney King case were read. The people who died were as diverse as our city - all races and backgrounds. Los Angeles began a dialogue within its diverse communities following that horrific event. We are not who we were in 1992, but we must continue to aim higher. Our unique, beautiful, and sometimes uncomfortable Los Angeles dialogue must continue. God bless our great City, and let's continue to do the work to honor each other and lift every Angeleno up. - José
In another step toward creating a more multi-modal Los Angeles, Councilmember José Huizar applauds the recently awarded $15 million in Active Transportation Program (ATP) funding to build sidewalks, enhance intersections and install bike lanes and street lighting in Downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District.
The $15 million grant was pursued after the City of Los Angeles finalized a lengthy application process spearheaded by Councilmember’s Huizar office with the support of Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, the Arts District Business Improvement District, BOE and Metro. Councilmember Huizar added $150,000 in CD14 funds as a local match, which improves projects ability to secure ATP funding.
“With the help and support of the Arts District community, we’ve worked diligently for a number of years to improve the Arts District,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “That work is paying off with billions of dollars in public improvements over the last several years, particularly on the future site of the new Sixth Street Bridge. With its bicycle- and pedestrian-focused improvements, the DTLA Arts District project will give the area a much-needed facelift that compliments the unique character of the Arts District. It was my pleasure to work with the community and our partners to bring this funding to the area.
The adoption of this program will bring two signalized intersections, pedestrian lighting, four pedestrian crosswalks, and one mile of bike lanes, connecting the Little Tokyo/Arts District Regional Connector Station with the new Sixth Street Bridge, which will ultimately improve pedestrian and bicycle access in and around the Arts District, Downtown and Boyle Heights, as well as the future LA River bike path.
See CurbedLA Story here!
Community support continues to grow for a new Los Angeles Metro 6th St Station, evidenced by a big turnout at this week's Metro Board’s Planning and Programming Committee meeting in support of the idea. The community-driven proposal, which Councilmember Huizar worked with Mayor Garcetti to turn into a Metro motion, would benefit the Arts District, Boyle Heights, the new 6th St Viaduct & Park, and LA River connectivity.
Nate Hayward, Councilmember Huizar’s Public Works Director, spoke in favor of the 6th Street Station proposal and submitted a letter from Councilmember Huizar to the board, as well.
“The proposal to add a 6th Street Metro Station is an option that began with the community, and I want to thank the Mayor and all the signers for working with my office to make sure our stakeholders were heard,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “Whether considering train efficiency, proximity to the new 6th Street Bridge, Park and LA River, or effectively connecting the Arts District with our County's transportation system, a Metro station at 6th Street is the superior option. We need to make sure it moves forward by placing it on Metro’s Long Term Transportation Plan, so it can receive project status and we can begin the process of turning a brilliant community idea into a gold-standard transportation reality.”
Read Councilmember Huizar’s letter here.
As part of our ongoing improvements along 1st St., the City's Bureau of Street Services (BSS) recently removed a portion of the rubber jogging path along 1st St. between Evergreen and Fresno to allow for sidewalk repair underneath the path. Working with our office, once complete, BSS will replace the material with a new synthetic rubber material that is less strenuous on joints and will provide a more comfortable walk or run.
Additionally, we are widening a portion of the existing sidewalk near the Dacotah intersection to install exercise equipment and street furniture that jogging path users can use as they make their way around the cemetery. This sidewalk extension (bump out) will be protected by four foot decorative panels.
These improvements will continue through the summer so please use caution when walking, running, or driving on 1st St. along the Evergreen Cemetery.
During the workweek, the Civic Center is one of the busiest parts of Downtown, with thousands of city, county, state and federal workers navigating the sidewalks and filling a dozen-plus large office buildings.
Beyond work hours, however, the district regresses to a collection of dead blocks with a bare sliver of foot traffic.
Altering that reality amid a quickly changing Downtown Los Angeles is one of the priorities in the recently approved Civic Center Master Plan. The document, prepared by the office of the City Administrative Officer, IBI Group and Ernst & Young and completed in January, lays out six distinct phases of work spread over 15 years, with strategies that mirror Downtown’s current embrace of density and uses that mix residential, retail and office with fewer seams.
The issue came into sharp focus late last month, when the City Council unanimously voted to approve the Master Plan, which was originally introduced in 2015 by 14th District City Councilman José Huizar. The council also voted to raze Parker Center, the former police headquarters, to make way for a 27-story city office tower.
“The Civic Center Master Plan provides an exciting blueprint for the future of Los Angeles that will open up City Hall and the Civic Center to increased public interaction through paseos and open space intermingled with multi-use City towers that will provide ample space to more efficiently do the city’s business, while also providing for other uses, such as retail, residential and restaurants,” Huizar said in a March 24 statement after the council vote.
Read the full story here.
Councilmember Huizar also appeared on KPCC's Larry Mantle's AirTalk to discuss the Councilmember's plan to reimagine the Civic Center through his Civic Center Master Plan, turning the City's center into a 24-hour experience, complete with office space, housing, retail and plaza and public space. Listen to the report here!
Crews installed sculpture artwork by artist Michael Amescua at the new Soto and Mission St. intersection - part of major $14 million improvement project. We've worked to remove the Soto St. Bridge and the poorly designed roads here, making it safer for automobiles and pedestrians. Want to thank our community partners for their input on these improvements.
Thank you to the Eagle Rock residents who came out to see the scope of work planned for Colorado Blvd improvements. Councilmember Huziar worked with Take Back the Boulevard to secure $12 million to make Colorado Blvd safer for people walking, biking, and driving. Thank you to the Eagle Rock Association (TERA) and the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council (ERNC) for leading the way on this great project. If you weren't able to make the meeting, you can check out the presentation and scope on here.
In honor of Women's History month, Councilmember Huizar's office held a CD 14 toiletry donation drive to help women experiencing homelessness. The response was inspiring - community members from Boyle Heights, El Sereno, NELA, DTLA and beyond, donated hundreds of items to assist in this cause, with proceeds going to Proyecto Pastoral in Boyle Heights and the Downtown Women’s Center. Whether they donated anonymously, gathered friends and co-workers to assist, or just went out on their own to do some good, please join us in thanking these Angels in the City of Angels, and our hardworking staff, for their act of kindness to help our most vulnerable population.
Councilmember Huizar was honored to be included on Noticias Telemundo's Gente Extraordinaria. Huizar said that he is "Proud of all our accomplishments, but when I think of extraordinary people, I think of my parents - Mexican immigrants who came to this country with nothing but a dream to make a better life for their children." Check out this short video to learn more.
Councilmember Huizar gave thanks to Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles for granting wishes to kids with life-threatening illnesses for 34 years. Make-A-Wish LA needs volunteers, especially Spanish-speakers - go to la.wish.org for more info!
Great times at the 7th Annual Kite Fest at Ascot Hills Park! Thank you to the LA-32 Neighborhood Council and all who came out.
Eagle Rockers turned out to beautify the neighborhood at their Earth Day Clean-Up.
Spring was in full swing in Eagle Rock as both Yosemite and Eagle Rock Rec Centers kicked off opening day of their baseball seasons. Both parks also hosted egg hunts and spring activities for all the kids.
Councilmember Huizar joined the hardworking men and women of LAPD's Hollenbeck Community Police Station and the community in honoring and remembering our fallen officers, Jerry Maddox and Steve Gajda. The monument by artist Nijel Binns, pictured above, pays a moving tribute to our officers and will serve as a daily reminder of their sacrifice. Thank you to all the community members who led the effort to make this happen.