NELA Planathon: Updating the NELA Community Plan

Saturday, October 3, 2015, 11:30-1:30
A project of  the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College and sponsored by LA2050.

Swan Dumke West
Occidental College, 1600 Campus Road, LA 90041nela_planathon_flyer_english-page-0.jpg

The NELA Planathon is an opportunity to share your vision for the future of Northeast Los Angeles. It is designed to gather feedback on what should be in the next Northeast Los Angeles Community Plan, which covers 9 neighborhoods: Atwater Village, Cypress Park, Eagle Rock, El Serano, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, and Mt. Washington.

The existing Northeast LA Community plan was last updated in 1999- before the gold line was completed, before far-reaching plans for the LA River were adopted, before climate change and drought emerged as priorities for the state and region, before homelessness increased, housing costs rose & gentrification expanded.

The NELA Planathon is independent of any City of LA planning process. It is organized by the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College and sponsored by LA2050. We will share the ideas we receive with City Council Offices and the Planning Department. Maybe they will spark a process to update our local plans to meet priorities for the 21st century.

Please share this invitation with others who live, work or are involved in Northeast Los Angeles. We are especially interested in reaching those who may not typically participate in planning: youth, renters, non-English speakers, etc.

The Planathon will take place in Swan Dumke West close to the front entrance of Occidental College campus between 11:30-1:30 on Saturday, October 3rd. Food will be provided and if you stop by for 30 minutes, you will be able to provide input on the future of communities in Northeast LA.

We look forward to seeing you and to hearing your ideas!


Argus and Oak Tree

by Nina Zvaleko

At about 1:00AM this morning a water main ruptured on Argus Ave. near the corner of Oak Tree Drive sending thousands of gallons of water cascading down Argus and Chickasaw Avenues. LAFD blocked off the intersection awaiting Los Angeles Department of Water and Power workers who will hopefully cut off the water before the roadway collapses.

5000 Block of Argus

5000 Block of Argus

Argus and Oak Tree

Argus and Oak Tree

5000 Block of Argus

5000 Block of Argus

Water Main Break

Future of Policing: Days of Dialogue Tuesday, August 11, 6:00 pm

The Institute for Nonviolence in Los Angeles (INVLA), through its Days of Dialogue program, is planning large-scale dialogues throughout Los Angeles County on the “Future of Policing.”

This is part of an effort to ensure “constructive civic engagement” around the difficult issue of police violence.

Beginning August 11, hundreds of people will gather in sites across Los Angeles to share their perspectives on how to rebuild trust between community and law enforcement.

NELA is invited to attend an opening discussion:
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
6:00pm- 8:00pm
Glassell Senior Citizen Center
3750 Verdugo Road
Los Angeles, CA 90065

For more information Contact:
Phone: (323) 344-5717

Future of Policing

Fires in Eagle Rock! Arson???

1st 5 Photographs by Paco Alameda

A brush fire of suspicious origin burned a total 1.5 acres over 2 mile stretch of the Eastbound 134 freeway North of Colorado & Argus in Eagle Rock early Friday Evening.

The view looking north from Hermosa south of Colorado

The view looking north from Hermosa south of Colorado

Flames threaten the east bound 134 freeway

Flames threaten the east bound 134 freeway

LAFD going one on one with the flames to protect our community.

LAFD going one on one with the flames to protect our community.


Leaving no embers burning

Leaving no embers burning

LAFD Battalion 2 was first on scene at 6:18PM, four minutes after the initial call. Glendale Battalion 2 lent assistance with five companies and Burbank FD sent one company to augment LAFD’s 15 companies. LA County’s Firehawk 5 made multiple water drops around between 7 and 8:05PM.

arson - Copy

Six members of LAFD’s arson squad were seen debriefing firefighters in front of station 42 on Colorado Blvd. When asked if the brush fire was the result of arson, PIO Captain Daniel Curry said that calling in the Arson team is the standard response “Anytime you have multiple ignition points.” When asked how many ignition points were there, Captain Curry said “We saw three, there was also a fire on Figueroa Street just off the freeway so who knows, that might have been a fourth.” He added that as of 8:35PM “There were no leads.” and that the fire remains under investigation.

pio curry

In all, more than sixty firefighters were involved it the timely extinguishing of what could have been a much larger brush fire, as well as more dangerous given the close proximity of homes on the north end of Highland View Pl., Hermosa Ave., and Hill Dr.

Thanks again LAFD , GFD & BFD!

                                                                                                                        Photos by Paco Alameda 

Artist Discussion with Roberto Gutierrez and Friends

Artist Discussion with Roberto Gutierrez and Friends

When:  Saturday, July 25, 2015 from 2-4 pm

Where:  Avenue 50 Studio, 131 North Avenue 50, Highland Park, CA  90042

What:  In conjunction with our Elegy to the 6th Street Bridge exhibition, Roberto Gutierrez, Armando Duron, Domingo Rodriguez and Jose Orozco will discuss Chicano Art post Phantom Sightings, questions on collecting and Roberto’s work as it informs Chicano Art.

Our esteemed panel:

Domingo Rodriguez:  Professor of Humanities Rio Hondo College, Photographer and Art Collector.

Jose Orozco:  Professor Jose Orozco is an expert in modern Mexican and Latin American history, as well as Chicano History.  He is a Photographer and an Art Collector.

Armando Duron:  Board Member of Vincent Price Art Museum Foundation, President of the Mexican Cultural Institute.


Roberto Gutierrez:   Roberto was born in Los Angeles in 1943 to a large family at the edge of poverty and is the youngest of nine siblings. During his childhood, his family moved around a lot but always within the Los Angeles area: From Lincoln Heights, to Chinatown, to Highland Park, and then to Boyle Heights, graduating from Roosevelt High. Like so many others of his generation with no job prospects, Roberto volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps and was sent to Vietnam.  When he returned, he used the G.I. Bill to attend East Los Angeles Community College where he was introduced to artists Chaim Soutine, Monet, Van Gogh, Manet, Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, films like The Battle of Algiers and Los Olvidados, books like The Souls of Black Folks, Nobody Knows My Name, Native Son, and the political culture of protest that surrounded him.  Around this time he took up painting to deal with the trauma experienced in Vietnam and the angst of his childhood as if reconciling the wrongs he had observed or were imposed on him.  Ever since, Gutiérrez has worked in the company of peers at Self-Help Graphics and in his studio. His work has been widely shown in galleries throughout the Southwest and extensively distributed through the medium of posters depicting el barrio and Los Angeles. Gutiérrez’s deepest source of satisfaction comes from the knowledge of who he is and what he has to offer the community–a vision of life as it is lived.  — Elia Esparza

Please join us.

Light refreshments will be served.

FIRE in Debs Park, Knocked Down in 78 minutes!

3pm, view of the fire at in Debs Park from Avenue 51, by Occidental college

3pm, view of the fire at in Debs Park from Avenue 51, by Occidental college

At approximately 2:3pm on Sunday July 5th, the LAPD got a call, “Fire in Debs Park!” The fire was above Griffin Avenue between Avenue 52 and Montecito Drive, on the hill north of the Audubon Center.

Units BC2, E16, and E47 were initially dispatched, but eventually engines from battalions 42, 15 and 29 were on the hill with water hoses while helicopters 1, 4 and 5 (of the seven available), repeatedly dropped water on the fire. Several additional engines lined Griffin Avenue at the ready if needed.

LAFD Helicopter 5 drops water over smoking trees

LAFD Helicopter 5 drops water over smoking trees

In addition to the Los Angeles City and County Fire trucks, several Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members from Montecito Heights and West LA were on the scene. The CERT teams are trained in emergency response and are able to assist with traffic control, communications, first aid, and general support to the Fire Fighters. In this instance passing out water bottles was enough.

Several neighbors stood watching and talking about “their back yard.” A family strolling by with ice cream was not worried about the fire spreading towards their home. As one young lady put it, “The fire department has it covered.”

Another neighbor, who hikes in the park on a daily basis, pointed out that since the homeless encampments have been rousted from the Arroyo, she has seen encampments in Debs Park. She has seen some brush clearance around their camps. While she considers the encampments along the Arroyo to be unsightly, she agrees it was safer to have them there than having camps in Debs Park.

A homeless gentleman reported carrying twenty seven gallons of water into the park on Saturday night in case of fire due to fire works. “I don’t want all of my belongings to burn.” He also reported several “kids” in the park setting off firecrackers and cherry bombs. He shook his head, exclaiming, “I had better sense than that by the time I was 12.” He also thought there should be legal action if the fireworks prove to be the cause of the fire.

The Command Post

The Command Post

By 3:10 the fire was surrounded and contained at 2 acres, about the size of a similar blaze last month at Occidental College. A neighbor who lives on Griffin sends Kudos to the LA Fire Department for shear speed of response, “It’s amazing how quickly they got here.” According to the command center, the winds being fairly low at the time was very lucky, a strong wind could have turned this into a major incident.

The fire was declared officially knocked down at 3:48pm, although the helicopters made a couple of water drops on the remaining smoldering area.


A line of fire fighters with shovels, rakes and Pulaskis (a hatchet/hoe combination) finish the job by going over the scorched area one square foot at a time, ensuring the elimination of hot spots

A line of fire fighters with shovels, rakes and Pulaskis (a hatchet/hoe combination) finish the job by going over the scorched area one square foot at a time, ensuring the elimination of hot spots

Police Surround Home of Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Leader


Eagle Rock CA- June 27, 2015 – 2:47 p.m. (updated at 3:10)
L.A. Police have blocked off the streets around the 2100 block of Laverna Avenue in Eagle Rock, where a woman with a gun has allegedly barricaded herself in.

Sources near the scene report the woman who barricaded herself in, is the girlfriend of former ERNC leader Peter Hilton.

He said she pulled a gun on him after getting in an argument earlier this afternoon. He reportedly grabbed his 9 year old son and ran out of the house and called police.


Fire and police officials have Laverna Avenue and nearby streets blocked off while negotiators try to get a woman with a gun to give herself up.

Fire and police officials have Laverna Avenue and nearby streets blocked off while negotiators try to get a woman with a gun to give herself up. (photo by Chili Laverna)

He recently took up with a new girlfriend after splitting from his wife Rita, several months ago.  The special weapons and tactics team (SWAT) has reportedly been called out, while officers are trying to negotiate with the woman. This could turn out bad, but I sure hope it doesn’t.

Peter Hilton was one of the most vocal members in 2012 as the council went after Medical Marijuana Shops with a vengeance. in the Stay tuned for more.

Ivy, the girlfriend of Peter Hilton who threatened him with a gun surrendered and was taken into custody at about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. No injuries were reported.

The suspect, (Ivy) surrendered and was taken into custody at about 5:30.

The suspect, (Ivy) surrendered and was taken into custody at about 5:30. (photo by Chili Laverna)


Elliott Caine 4tet @ Colombo’s, 6/27

Post-Summer Solstice Event!

The Elliott Caine Quartet (EC-trumpet, Gary Blumer-piano, Bill Markus-bass, Darryl Moore-drums) performs at Colombo’s Italian Steakhouse & Jazz Club, 1833 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock (LA) 90041, on Saturday, June 27, from 9:30 to Midnight. No cover charge. Several guest artists expected to sit in. For more information/reservations, please phone 323-254-9138.

How About Remove a Freeway That’s There Now?

Protest a New Freeway Tunnel?
How About Remove a Freeway That’s There Now?

Beyond 710 Coalition Makes Their Case


On Thursday June 18, the office of Councilman Jose Huizar put on a forum to inform El Sereno residents of a proposal regarding the 710 freeway issue.

Most of you are aware of South Pasadena’s 50 year old fight to stop the 710 freeway through their fair city. Many of you know that Northeast L.A. was also involved lately in fighting possible alternatives that would connect the 710 through Eagle Rock, Mt. Washington, Highland Park and Glassell Park.
However, don’t be ashamed if you hadn’t hear about a movement underway not only to stop the completion of the 710 (Long Beach) freeway, but to remove the two ends of the freeway that had already been built some 50 years ago.
Appropriately named, “Beyond the 710 Coalition,” it is an effort started through a consortium of five San Gabriel Valley cities, Pasadena, La Cañada, Glendale, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena.
You can probably include at least a 1/15 portion of the City of L.A. in that column as well, as the ideas displayed in yesterday’s El Sereno work shop (which was organized by the office of Jose Huizar) fit right in with Huizar’s recent embrace of the complete streets movement (bike lanes, pedestrian friendly, etc.).
Paul Moore, of Nelson-Nygaard, made his presentation regarding CalTrans’ recent draft environmental impact report, conceived after literally years of outreach and planning, as they were looking for “710 Alternatives.” (I must add that the presentation was completely one sided, there was no one there in any official capacity to counter the claims of Nelson-Nygaard, or their claimed facts or figures.)
The five alternatives studied and brought before the affected communities were pared down to just two, which are addressed in the report. The first is a 710 tunnel, connecting both stubs of the 710 freeway, Pasadena at the North end and El Sereno at the South. It would tunnel underneath El Sereno and South Pasadena to connect the two “stubs” of the 710 freeway.
The other is to tunnel under with a light rail subway, connecting to the Goldline, probably near the Huntington Hospital, and continuing South all the way to the other end of the Gold Line in East L.A.
None of these options seem satisfactory to the coalition, or “No on 710” advocates, and today, Mr. Moore pulled apart CalTrans’ plans brick by brick.
First, he identified that the extra trips and traffic that would be generated by the tunnel would increase greenhouse gas emissions. Then, he argued that the connecting of that freeway would probably relieve congestion on some streets but make it worse on others. Finally, he argued that “If you build it, they will come!” Saying that building more road capacity only serves to attract more traffic, and after a short period of time, the road will be congested just the same.
He drove his points home by claiming that 6 billion, if spent this way, would not improve traffic, and indeed, would only serve to worsen traffic as well as the quality of life. He said that spending 6 billion in a way that gives people an incentive for getting out of their cars, like buying metro passes for all students, would actually improve traffic in a measurable way (As well as training a new generation to get around town with the use of the automobile).
At this point, I think I should mention that his company, Nelson Nygaard, was founded by two former transportation managers from the city of San Francisco, which, incidentally, is where Seleta Reynolds, the recently appointed head of the Los Angeles City department of transportation, is from. (Not a Portlandia reunion, but close enough!)
His next part of the meeting was showing a vision for Mission Road that includes a road diet and bike lanes, and making Huntington into a “Grand Boulevard.”
However, what came next was a real shock. We’ve heard about the “no build” alternative that Caltrans had to consider along with the other ideas of a tunnel, subway and bus route. But this went one step further in the opposite direction. Brand new was the idea of “un-freewaying” those end stubs at either end of the 710 gap (El Sereno and Pasadena).Artist rendering of proposed park for North end of El Sereno 710 stub.

Artist rendering of proposed park for North end of El Sereno 710 stub.


He showed artist renderings of narrowing the road and eliminating those multi-lane end stubs altogether. Proposed was taking back all that real estate and turning it into a narrow, meandering, street. Included were bike paths, green space, more campus for Cal State, and possibility of bringing back El Sereno’s Arroyo Rosa, a river that was taken when that part of the freeway was built decades ago.

Artist rendering of South end of El Sereno 710 stub.

Artist rendering of South end of El Sereno 710 stub.

As this issue has been brewing as far back as when the freeway construction began, it will be years before any visible changes will start to take effect, but NOW is the time for people to be heard, no matter which way you feel!
More at

(This story was updated to correct that the tunnel would NOT go under Alhambra, however, Alhambra has been pushing for it because they’d like to get rid of all that traffic that comes off the freeway and clogs Fremont Avenue in their city.)


710 Freeway Extension Meeting – Tonight 6 pm

A meeting will be held tonight to announce a proposal to extend the 710 Freeway at the El Sereno Senior Center in El Sereno. The address is 4818 Klamath Place, which is located just East of Eastern Avenue. Northeast Residents can get there by taking Monterey Road to Huntington, then go East to Eastern Avenue, where you make right and go south about 8 blocks to Klamath. You will see park on the right before you turn left and go to 4818.