City Council candidate Jabari Jumaane calls for more community involvement

This story is a part of our series of interviews with the candidates for Los Angeles City Council Districts 8 and 10.

On March 8th, voters in Council District 8 will vote for city council. Incumbent Bernard Parks is facing challenges from Forescee Hogan-Rowles, Community Development CEO and Jabari S. Jumaane, Los Angeles City Firefighter. Armenak H. Nouridjanian is a write-in candidate.

Listen to an audio interview from Annenberg Radio News:


Jabari Jumaane: I’m running, first of all, because it is my belief truly that all of us who want to affect social change need to give whatever talents we have to make a difference. I was taught as a youngster that there are three types of people in this world: those that make things happen, those that watch things happen and those that wonder what the heck happened. So, in an effort to stay out of category three, and get in and stay in category one, I had to get in this race. I watched this city grow in some areas, and I watched it stagnate in some others.

Albert Sabate: Tell us about your district and your experiences in it.

Jumaane: My history in the 8th district goes back almost 40 years. I started high school in the 8th district, I finished college here at USC in the 8th district. I’m a member of the Los Angeles City Fire Department and have been so now for 25 years. I founded the AFIBA organization back in 1992. AFIBA is an acronym for the African Firefighters in Benevolent Association. For the last decade, we’ve run some upward of 300 programs a year out of that building.

Sabate:What are you committed to changing or improving?

Jumaane: Well, it starts with the people. The masses really don’t feel that they have a say-so in how their communities develop. People feel side-lined in the process, don’t feel that they get a voice. What we want to do is engage people. Our plan is to have quarterly meetings throughout the year, in different parts of the district. Sometimes the furthest south-east portion gets neglected. We don’t want to neglect anybody. We want to encourage people to get in the process that develops a 20-year plan for themselves. Often times, we don’t have a 20-minute plan. One concern people have is Marlton Square. It’s been a ghost town for the last 20 years. We’ve been getting feed-back from individuals on what kind of businesses they want there. They want that place to come alive again. That’s 22 acres where nothing has been done in th e last almost 20 years.

Sabate: I was down in the 8th district yesterday, and I was surprised at how many businesses were closed. Is it really a good idea to open more businesses when the establishments that are there are struggling or no longer there anymore?

Jumaane: I think it’s always a good idea to start businesses. With business creation comes jobs. The 8th district of all the 15 districts has the lowest level of jobs per person.

Sabate: What do you see as your number one priority?

Jumaane: The most important thing to do for me would be to get the community involved. We can talk about public safety, job creation, quality of life issues. All that is true. But what we really need to attack is the level of apathy. People think of themselves as powerless. We need to change that. Once we change that particular process in someone’s mind, these other things will follow.

To contact Jumaane, email him at [email protected]

Photo courtesy of KPCC

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Los Angeles grocery stores receive low grades

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Los Angeles grocery chains did not make the grade. That is what community members said as they addressed the issue of food deserts in front of a Vons in West Los Angeles.

“Food desert communities are not being served well by the entire grocery community,” said Elliot Petty, director of the Alliance for Healthy and Responsible Grocery Stores.

The alliance gave grades to the major grocery chains after it evaluated the food, job quality and, most importantly, the grocery stores’ presence in food deserts. The grades ranged from a B- for Food 4 Less to a D+ for Smart & Final.

Please feel free to access the report at

The grocery stores in the report did not comment.

Apartments offer studios for homeless and low-income people

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A series of unfortunate events left Robert Smith without money or a place to live. For years, he struggled with homelessness and economic instability. But now, he has his very own studio apartment.

“You ought to see my apartment,” Smith said. “I have my own bathroom. This is a big deal.”

Single Room Occupancy Housing Corporation celebrated the grand opening of its latest housing project. Renato Apartments offers 96 studio apartments on San Julian Street for homeless and low-income individuals.

Councilwoman Jan Perry was among local and congressional representatives attending the opening.

“This community has demonstrated that we believe in mixed income communities, and that they can and do do work,” Perry said.

There are still thousands of homeless across Los Angeles. But with Smith and others moving in to these new apartments, a small bite is taken out of homelessness in the city.

Jan Perry and Tuskegee Airmen remember pioneer pilot in South Los Angeles

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Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. remembered one of its own today. The group dedicated a square and street in South Los Angeles Tuesday in the pioneer pilot’s honor. Councilwoman Jan Perry and others gathered at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church on 28th Street and Stanford Avenue to honor Roger “Bill” Terry, who was also a civil rights figure.

“His contributions have helped to positively shape our future, and it is only fitting that we recognize this local hero,” Perry said. “Roger ‘Bill’ Terry Square will stand as a memorial for his brave and important work.”

Four original Tuskegee Airmen attended the ceremony and told stories about their friend.

“We’re very proud of Bill Terry,” said Ted Lumpkin, president of the Los Angeles Tuskegee Airmen.

Terry was not only part of Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American pilots who served in World War 2, but he was also instrumental in integrating African Americans into the military. He was part of the Freeman Field Mutiny of 1945. The mutiny is credited with having changed segregation within the armed forces.