What a month September was! We announced our expanded Clean Sweep Team to remove tons of illegal dumping and trash from our Council District 6 streets, as well as Phase 2 of the Sepulveda Basin encampment cleanups in our effort to improve public safety for all and enforce sunrise to sunset park hours at the basin.
Also as the Madrina (Sponsor) of the City’s Latino Heritage Month, it was a joy to host the “El Grito” concert and celebration, and to honor in City Council the godfather of Latino actors, Edward James Olmos, and award-winning journalists Andrea Gonzalez and Azalea Iñiguez.
I even made it down to the Harbor area to kick off our 7th LAFD Girls Camp at Drill Tower 40 in San Pedro. Always a fun, empowering weekend for our City’s young women and girls.
And no September would be complete without the Van Nuys Arts Festival, which reactivated the Van Nuys Civic Center into a glow-in-the-dark wonderland with live performances from The Gr818ers and Selenamos!
Read on for more stories about the work my team and I are doing with our families-first agenda to make life better for the residents of Council District Six.
Doubling Council District’s 6 “Clean Sweep” Team to Remove Illegal Dumping
Very soon after taking office, it became clear to me that District 6 would benefit from additional crews to pick up bulky items and illegal dumping. I took it a step further in 2014 when I became the first Councilmember to hire a full-time employee, Luis Hurtado, whose sole job was to pick up illegal dumping in CD6. The LA Times was so impressed by his work, that they wrote about him!
In September, I announced the expansion of my “Clean Sweep Team” (formerly called the Strike Team), with two employees (Luis and Franklin Perez), in two trucks working all areas of my district five-days-a-week and on weekends during cleanups.
Since January, the CD 6 Clean Sweep Team has removed approximately 50 tons of trash from the district.
But the Clean Sweep Team is about more than just picking up trash. So to go along with it, we have launched a Districtwide Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign, which includes Clean Sweep Team and 311 signage that you can find on bus benches and bus shelters throughout Council District 6 over the next month.
The Clean Sweep Team system works. Now we need to make sure everyone knows about it and uses it! So we’re encouraging residents to contact the City’s free 311 phone service or download the MyLA311 app to report illegal dumping and request bulky item pickups. I also introduced new legislation calling for a pilot 311 permanent sign program in our District to further increase awareness. Finally, I want to thank all of you who have reached out to my office asking for help with illegal dumping and trash on our streets. I hear you. It’s all about #KeepingCD6Clean.
If that sounds like something you're interested in, join our next community cleanup! You can find dates and times at the bottom of this newsletter.
And to find out what day of the week our Clean Sweep Team will be in your neighborhood, check out our schedule:
Arleta – Wednesday & Friday
Lake Balboa – Thursday
North Hills East – Tuesday & Friday
North Hollywood & Sun Valley – Monday & Thursday
Panorama City East – Tuesday & Friday
Van Nuys – Monday & Wednesday
Committed to Public Safety and Cleanups in the Sepulveda Basin
After the launch of our districtwide Clean Sweep initiative, I focused on the progress of our City-led cleanup of the Sepulveda Basin. I joined the rollout of the 2nd phase of a multi-city agency, comprehensive cleanup effort of homeless encampments. This effort, led by the Department of Recreation and Parks, with support from LAPD, LA Sanitation, LAHSA, LA Family Housing, and with careful supervision from Park Ranger Captain Albert Torres as well as my office, took place at Haskell Creek and remained focused on public safety given it is illegal to camp overnight in the basin.
Crews removed 51 tons of disposable solid waste and approximately 253 pounds of hazardous waste during that cleanup.
On July 30, 2019, just days before a previously scheduled Phase 1 cleanup was set to begin, a 10-acre fire in the Sepulveda Basin became even more dangerous as City and County firefighters fought back flames while propane gas tanks in the encampments exploded. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed in that incident.
But the fire underscored why a cleanup of this nature is so necessary in the first place. Since then, the Department of Recreation and Parks together with LAPD have succeeded in preventing folks from returning and setting up camp in the burn areas.
The Phase 1 cleanup saw the removal of more than 140 tons of trash and 200 tons of green waste.
While we will continue to offer services and shelter through our partners LAHSA and LA Family Housing to people living in the Basin, the City has a duty to keep its park space safe and accessible for everyone's sake. And that's what we have to do. We will continue to work with the Army Corps of Engineers and the state's Fish & Wildlife Dept on any necessary approvals to clean the remaining space at the basin.
Thank you, Captain Albert Torres - A True Public Servant
For the people of Los Angeles, Captain Albert Torres was more than a Park Ranger, he was the epitome of what it means to be a public servant. Park Ranger Albert Torres dedicated over 40 years of service to the parks of Los Angeles. He was beloved by our community and went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our parks and open spaces were safe and accessible to the people of Los Angeles. Sadly, Captain Albert Torres passed away on Saturday, October 12. Only the night before, he was working on the Saddleridge Fire, doing what he loved, and keeping us all safe.. We miss him already. My heart goes out to his family, loved ones, and fellow park rangers. He is survived by his wife Cheryl Torres, daughter Elizabeth, and son Brian.
LAFD Girls Camp Arrives in San Pedro
This fall, the LAFD Girls Camp that I worked with our female firefighters to establish made the journey to San Pedro for a fun, empowering weekend of fire training exercises and bonding. Designed for girls ages 14-18, the LAFD Girls Camp invites young women to experience one of LA’s bravest jobs with a two-day weekend program taught by our very own City female firefighters and cadets. I’ve participated in every single LAFD Girls Camp Since we started it in 2016, and I was thrilled to see it expand to San Pedro thanks to the stewardship of my colleague Councilmember Joe Buscaino.
As I like to say, you can't be what you can't see. Girls Camp is all about giving young girls a chance to see themselves as future members of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Sound interesting? The LAFD Girls Camp returns to Council District 6 and Panorama City this Spring. Stay tuned for details! Check out this great video for more info on our visit to San Pedro.
Southland Celebrates El Grito with the ‘Tigers of the North’
As a proud member of our City Council’s Latino Caucus, I was given the extraordinary honor and responsibility of hosting and organizing this year’s El Grito festivities. Besides having deep Mexican roots related to its founding in 1781, Los Angeles is home to the second-largest population of Mexicans outside of Mexico City. I hosted the annual celebration once before in 2015, but so much has changed in our country since then. At a time when Latinos and immigrants are vilified, insulted and attacked by our President almost daily, it was important to me to make sure we hosted a Mexican Independence ceremony that uplifted Latinos and our proud culture here in the City of Los Angeles.
I think it’s safe to say that we did just that! You can’t celebrate our heritage without music. So we packed Grand Park with the legendary and Grammy-award winning band, Los Tigres Del Norte, along with an eclectic lineup of Los Angeles-based talent, such as Banda La Maravillosa, La Mera Candelaria, Las Colibri, and Ballet Folklorico Ollin.
My thanks to Marcela Celorio, our outstanding new Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles, and only the second woman Consul General to Los Angeles in the office’s history, for her cooperation in the planning of this great event!
I'm overwhelmed with pride for our City, our culture, and our community. Special thanks to El Comité Mexicano Cívico Patriótico, Mayor Garcetti and our Latino Caucus Councilmembers and all our sponsors for their assistance. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, I couldn't be prouder to have been your madrina, LA. Thank you.
He Stood and He Delivered - Edward James Olmos Honored at City Hall
Following the El Grito’s celebration, I was excited to host our Latino Heritage Month City Council Presentation where the City Council and I honored the iconic Latino actor, Edward James Olmos, star of Zoot Suit, Blade Runner, Stand and Deliver, American Me and Selena, for his 50-plus year career as an actor, director, and humanitarian. I also recognized Emmy-award winning journalists Andrea Gonzalez of Univision 34, and Azalea Iñiguez of Telemundo 52. And a big shoutout to one of our other honorees, the great Dunia Elvir of Telemundo who could not join us in person but has earned her reputation as an excellent journalist.
In his remarks, Mr Olmos, who is a native Angeleno, reminded us all about the importance of culture and honoring who we are as communities, but that wherever we come from and whatever our background is, we should remember “that there is only one race: and that is the human race.” Well said, Mr. Olmos.
Van Nuys GLOWS UP
The Van Nuys Arts Festival came roaring back for its 3rd great year of bringing, art, culture, and incredible food to the Van Nuys Civic Center. The Arts Festival is about celebrating the incredibly diverse selection of talented artists, musicians, and designers who call the San Fernando Valley home. It is also a great opportunity to re-active an important public space in our community and allow the Valley to take center stage.
We chose artists and acts that showed the bright and burgeoning arts scene of the Valley through the lens of this year’s theme: The Glow Up. Live art exhibits like Debi Cable’s 3D Blacklight Experience brought beautiful colors and illumination to the early evening.
After dark, Black Light King’s daytime mural transformed when exposed to black light adding new dimensions of purple and violet. Across the Civic Center, booths, exhibits, and even people Glowed in the Dark thanks to free face-painting by @Amusefacepainting and @ShanahDesign.
And live performances by Selenamos and the Gr818ers and our local talent from Panorama High School and Champs Charter High School for the Arts, showcased the Valley’s incredible talents in music and dance. Truly a special night!
A Smooth Ride Down Vanowen
Across CD6, work continues to make our streets safer and smoother for drivers and pedestrians alike. Most recently, work was completed on Vanowen Street from Sepulveda Boulevard to Haskell Avenue. Thanks to the Bureau of Street Services for helping to make this happen. We will be announcing other major resurfacing improvements in Council District 6 soon. So please stay tuned!
Frontline Communities First
I was honored to give the keynote address at the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s 5th Environmental Justice conference and talk about the need to reject decades of prejudicial policies that polluted low-income, communities-of-color and build a Green New Deal that puts the health and wellbeing of those frontline communities first.
6 From CD6
The 6 photos that tell the story of CD6 This September!
1. A dancer from The Gr818ers performs at the Van Nuys Arts Festival.
2. Speaking at the Annual State of the Valley luncheon with Valley Councilmembers on homelessness and other pressing issues.
3. A boy creates his own design for a new skateboard as part of the Sheldon Skate Park Art Program in Sun Valley.
5. This little girl dressed to impress for our costume contest at our screening of Grease at the retro Pink Motel in Sun Valley.
6. Can’t believe we got Los Tigres!