South LA landmark YMCA opens as 28th Street Apartments

News Release from the office of 9th District Councilwoman Jan Perry
Monday, December 3, 2012

Los Angeles, December 3, 2012—A distinguished landmark in South Los Angeles—the 28th Street YMCA designed by African-American architect Paul Williams—has been restored to serve low-income adults and youth transitioning from homelessness to independent living. Co- developed by Clifford Beers Housing (CBH) and Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD), the $21 million, 49-unit community also will serve homeless and low- income individuals, including those living with mental illness, CBH executive director Jim Bonar told an audience of dignitaries at the opening of the 28th Street Apartments today.

“With this milestone, we are witnessing the culmination of our shared dream to celebrate our rich history, develop quality housing for our young people and create a space in which they can grow and thrive, said Councilwoman Jan Perry (9th District) who worked closely with the developers to ensure this historic landmark was brought back to life and would continue to serve the community. “By reinventing this iconic Paul Williams building in the Vernon-Central community, we are moving our community forward, and I thank both CRCD and Clifford Beers Housing for investing in our youth and their future.”

Referring to the project, CBH’s Bonar said, “This building is far more than just an early design by the legendary Paul Williams. It was an integral part of life in the robust African American community which dominated Central Avenue from the 1920s to 1960s. Our plans for the renovation of the existing building and the new wing were guided by two imperatives: to honor the history of the building and revive its service to the community in the 21st century. “

In its new incarnation, the original YMCA accommodations have been transformed into 24 units including kitchenettes and private bathrooms—a far cry from its former configuration with 50 rooms, shared bathrooms and a common cafeteria. The new wing, comprised of 25 studio apartments, will accommodate low-income and formerly homeless individuals. Eight units are set-aside for 18-24 year-olds. Recreation amenities include a restored gym and a rooftop garden.

On the ground floor of the historic building CRCD will operate the new VCN City of Los Angeles YouthSource (no space) Center, which will provide educational and job training opportunities for young adults.

“The project and partnership with Clifford Beers Housing demonstrates our commitment to affordable housing and supportive services for our city’s most vulnerable populations and further affirms the mission and vision of CRCD and its work in this neighborhood,” said Mark Wilson, CRCD Executive Director.

Also playing a major role will be Kedren Community Health Center, a provider of mental health services. “We can’t over-emphasize the importance and need for affordable supportive housing for the community, noted Dr. John Griffith, President and CEO. “ Kedren is excited to partner in this endeavor. The services provided to the residents will make the important difference in helping to transform lives of the persons in recovery.”

Designed by Koning Eizenberg, the project was built to LEED Gold criteria.
“The design goal was to clarify the original 1926 work by Williams while also defining a complimentary addition that strengthened the overall development,” said architect Brian Lane.
New units are housed in a separate five-story wing behind the original building. The south facade is shaded by vertical photovoltaic panels and wrapped to the north with a perforated metal screen that reveals a pattern abstracted from the building’s historic ornament. An elevated roof garden provides outdoor social space that links old and new.

Funding sources for the project came from the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles; Corporation of Supportive Housing; Wells Fargo Bank; Los Angeles County Community Development Commission; Mental Health Services Act/Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health; California Housing Finance Agency; Los Angeles Housing Department; Community Development Block Grant (through the City of Los Angeles Community Development Department); California Tax Credit Allocation Committee.

Support Seniors for the Holiday Season


Urban Media Foundation offering workshops


History comes to life at the Angelus Rosedale Cemetery

Marilyn Monroe’s Grandmother, Buster Keaton’s Cameraman Join Vaudeville and Jazz Age Performers on this Unique Outdoor “Stage”

Flappers, singers, dancers, magicians, and even a celebrity chef – a host of colorful entertainers rest at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, one of the city’s oldest, most historically significant cemeteries.

On Saturday, September 29, at the 22nd annual Living History Tour, visitors will “meet” some of Los Angeles’s most interesting early performers and entertainment industry personages as costumed actors, at graveside, portray the lives of a Civil War-era escape artist, a headlining dancer who lost her life in the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, a mezzo soprano who fought for civil rights, and a Chinese-American dancer/actor/MC, among other quirky and wonderful characters.  Tours depart every 25 minutes from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Advance reservations are required.

This year’s tour commemorates not only Los Angeles’s longtime role as the center of this country’s entertainment industry, but also the roles several of these personages played in the larger history of civil rights.  In addition, the tour memorializes the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (1861-1865).

This year’s portrayals include:
•    Della Hogan Monroe, Marilyn Monroe’s colorful grandmother; a religious devotee, Mrs. Monroe had baby Norma Jean baptized at the Hawthorne Foursquare Church in 1926;
•    Victor Dol, L.A.’s first chef trained in Paris, who opened an elegant French restaurant in 1876 that soon earned the nickname “Delmonico’s of the West”;
•    Rita Carewe, a Jazz Age starlet and “Baby WAMPAS” (Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers) winner who appeared in films with Delores del Rio, Edward Everett Horton, and Mary Pickford;
•    Sadie Cole, a Fisk Jubilee singer and a civil rights activist who helped desegregate L.A.’s cafes and beaches;
•    Byron Houck, baseball pitcher for the 1913 World Series Philadelphia A’s, who later became Buster Keaton’s cameraman on “The General.” Houck was the Vernon Tigers’ ace pitcher when the team was owned by Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle;
•    Mildred Washington, a vaudeville dancer and choreographer who headlined at Sebastian’s Cotton Club in Los Angeles;
•    Harry Cooke, Magician and Civil War Union Army “scout” who was America’s first Escape Artist;
•    Honorable Wu (Harry Gee Haw), actor, singer, dancer, and vaudeville impresario known as “The Broadway Mandarin.”

Angelus Rosedale Cemetery was founded in 1884, and is now home to many generations of Los Angeles’s citizens, representing every race, faith, and creed.  Each year, West Adams Heritage Association (WAHA) tells some of their life stories while touring the historic grounds and elaborately carved monuments of L.A.’s first lawn cemetery.


Advance Ticket Sales Only—No Walk-ins!  $25 in advance, paid by September 24.  $35 after that or on day of tour, space permitting.  (Children under 10 attend free.)

Tours depart approximately every 25 minutes, beginning at 9 a.m., with the last tour at noon. The public is invited. Tickets are by ADVANCE RESERVATION ONLY; each tour has a limited number of spaces. The Living History Tour is a three-hour docent-led walk through the cemetery, over uneven terrain; visitors are advised to wear appropriate clothing and walking shoes.

Address:  1831 West Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007.
For tickets and information, log onto  323-732-4223 or tours[at]

The tour will raise funds for the West Adams Heritage Association, a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1983 to support preservation of the community’s architectural and cultural heritage.  WAHA has grown from a small resident support group to a recognized preservation voice with hundreds of members who live in the many neighborhoods of the Historic West Adams District.

Community Leaders Endorse Jan Perry for Mayor

Community leaders from Jan Perry’s Ninth Council District joined the growing group of supporters to endorse Perry for mayor of Los Angeles. Among those announcing their endorsement today were Julia Botello of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and Gloria Mendez of the 25th Street Block Club. 

“Ms. Perry has always worked to bring effective solutions to our community. She has greatly improved our parks and worked to make schools secure for our families. Her unwavering support for the Safe Passages to Schools Program has made the streets safe for our children to go to school and improve their futures,” said Mendez has worked closely with Perry to address quality of life issues in her community. “I am proud to support Jan Perry because she listens to the needs of the residents she serves and creates results that make a real difference.”

“I have worked with Ms. Perry for many years and she has always been dedicated to representing all of her constituents, “said Botello, whose organization, ACCE, has worked with Perry to bring new housing opportunities to the neighborhood. “I believe that as mayor she will continue to be a thoughtful leader and get our city back on the right track.” 

“I am honored to have the support of leaders directly involved in the effort to improve their community,” said Perry. “It will take working closely with a broad coalition of elected officials and community members to bring the real change that Los Angeles needs.” 

In the race for mayor of Los Angeles, many small business owners and community activists have joined Perry’s growing coalition of support. Those announcing their endorsement today include:

Helen Torres, CEO of HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality)* 
Marcela Rangel, Coordinator Total Resurrection Church* 
Joe Gamez, Supervisor CRCD (Coalition for Responsible Community Development)* 
Juan Flecha, Valley Coordinator LAUSD* 
Rocio Ramirez, owner of Momma’s International Tamales* 
Juan Gamboa, President of the 111th and Stanford Farm Board of Directors* 
Rogelio Macedonio, Trinity Block Club Captain* 
Pedro Santos, Former President Southeast Area Neighborhood Council* 
Adela Barajas, Founder of L.A.U.R.A (Life After Uncivilized Ruthless Acts)* 
Blanca Rivera, Community Land Trust Organizer* 
Pedro Barrera, Community Activist/Urban Farmer
Daisy Garcia, Recreation and Parks-South Employee*
Yvette Beltran, Community Organizer
Mark Olvera, Ret. LAPD Captain* 
Guillermina Echeverria, Jefferson High School Parent Representative*
Hilda Samoya, 22nd Street Neighborhood Watch* 
Lupe Silva, APCH (A Place Called Home)* 
Veronica Sanchez, Coordinator Ascot Elementary* 
Roberto Vallejo, Bonsallo Block Club Captain* 
Guadalupe Hernandez, Stovall Terrace Senior Center*
Patricia Umana, Crystal Stairs Child Development Organization* 
Francisco Florez, 21st Street Block Club Captain* 
Holly Priebe -Diaz, Citywide LAUSD Operations Coordinator*

*For identification purposes only. Does not indicate organizational support.

Verizon awards grant to educate boys about abuse prevention in South L.A. school

imageLos Angeles, Calif. —  Verizon awards a $24,900 grant to the Junior Firefighter Youth Foundation (“Foundation”) for its signature Junior Fire Cadet Program (“Program”) enabling the Foundation to include a domestic violence prevention training component. The grant presentation took place on Friday, December 9 at the site of the training – Wisdom Academy for Young Scientists at 706 E.  Manchester Blvd. in South Los Angeles.

“Wisdom Academy for Young Scientists is the first of several schools that provides life-changing training as a part of the Program’s curriculum,” said Foundation Founder Captain Brent Burton of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.“The Foundation’s after school program focuses on making smart choices, and targets 4th and 5th graders, it runs for seven weeks and meets for 1 1/2 hours one day per week on the campus of selected elementary schools,” added Burton who runs the program with the assistance of Firefighters Derwin Pitts and Cliff Taitt.

The Verizon grant will help fund a domestic violence educational training program taught by Dr. Dayatrice Darrington, a clinical psychologist, who will begin the discussion by exploring the five categories of domestic violence – physical aggression, assault, emotions, pain, and shame.“I ask the children how they perceive abuse and if they can give examples,” she explained. “My goal is to educate the children about what is abuse, how to identify abusers, how to take proactive actions, how to react in the situation, where to find and get help, and provide them with coping skills about how to handle their own conflicts.”

“Domestic violence is a troubling issue that affects communities everywhere. Verizon is proud to partner with community organizations like the Junior Firefighter Foundation, who are on the front-lines of domestic violence prevention,” stated Gene Eng, vice president of Strategic Programs for Verizon.

About the Junior Firefighter Youth Foundation
The Program was founded in 2003 by Burton who is the current president of the African American Firefighter Museum and former President of the Stentorians of Los Angeles County.Assisting Captain Burton are LAFD Firefighters Derwin Pitts and Cliff Taitt.For more about the Foundation or the Junior Fire Cadet Program, go to

About the Wisdom Academy for Young Scientists
Wisdom Academy for Young Scientists (WAYS) a public elementary charter school. Founded in 2006, WAYS serves kindergarten through grade five students. WAYS has quickly gained a strong reputation as an academically high performing charter successfully serving a population of students traditionally labeled as underperforming.The After School program provides an opportunity to merge the rigor and instruction that occurs during the regular school day during after school hours. For more information about Wisdom Academy of Young Scientists, visit

About Dr. Dayatrice Darrington
Since 1996, Dr. Darrington has worked with diverse children from the age range of infancy to 18 years old who were in the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services’ system as victims of domestic violence. Studies estimate that 10 to 20 percent of children are at risk for exposure to domestic violence.


>b>From the Community Coalition

Innovative Partnership Mixes Traditional and New Community Engagement Tools To Win Neighborhood Improvements

We are all used to mapping tools to locate restaurants or other commercial services in a neighborhood. But some local South Los Angeles residents are using similar mapping strategies and tools to fight crime in their neighborhood. At a Community Public Safety Meeting, 60-75 South L.A. residents will gather to identify and map their public safety concerns and areas for improvement in their neighborhood.

Residents of the Martin Luther King Park neighborhood have employed traditional methods and tools like petitions, community meetings, door-to-door surveys and questionnaires to find ways to improve safety in their community. But a unique partnership between Community Coalition and Healthy City is bringing innovative tools and methods like mapping technology to the mix to continue to impact the transformation of this neighborhood.

WHEN & WHERE: Saturday, Dec. 10th, 2011 from 9am to 12pm at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center [3916 South Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90062].

“The traditional methods of collecting data like community surveys and questionnaires still work, but we now have the opportunity to use exciting and innovative technology that can really help us understand residents’ public safety concerns and pinpoint exactly where people feel safe, where they don’t and why,” said Alberto Retana, Executive Vice President of Community Coalition. 

It elevates the voices and perspectives of those who live in the neighborhood by taking their input and using it to advocate for specific policies or resources to address the community’s concerns.”

“Healthy City and Advancement Project are dedicated to leveling the playing field, so that high-need communities can make their most effective case for change. In this case, our partnership with Community Coalition is an example of how our data and mapping expertise supports community mobilization and will increase safety for the residents of South L.A.,” said John Kim, Director of Healthy City, a project of the Advancement Project.

The feedback gained from the Saturday session will help inform the ongoing campaign led by residents of the Martin Luther King Park neighborhood to create a safer, healthier and cleaner neighborhood.

The maps created from the Public Safety Meeting will be available to the public and media.

Obama campaign offering field organizer training


Greg Akili announces candidacy for Assembly seat in South LA

News Release from Greg Akilil

Community Leader Greg Akili Announces Candidacy for the 59th Assembly District with Strong Community Support

Los Angeles, CA—November 4, 2011— Longtime community leader Greg Akili has officially announced his candidacy for the newly drawn 59th Assembly District in South Los Angeles. 

“Next year’s election is about choosing the type of leadership that will bring people together to successfully fight for the resources and support we deserve. My ability to do so is the reason I’m endorsed by my neighbors, community activists and elected leaders,” said Akili.

As a result of his years of leadership, Akili has already attracted a diverse group of supporters. Among his endorsements include former Lieutenant Governor and retired U.S. Representative Mervyn Dymally, Rev. Chip Murray, civil rights leader Rev. James Lawson, current School Board member Marguerite LaMotte, retired State Senator Tom Hayden and a growing list of community residents and leaders. 

“While the boundaries of this district have changed, many of the dynamics remain the same. I have witnessed firsthand the struggles of my neighbors to find decent jobs, enroll their children in good schools and receive the critical services our state has promised to provide,” stated Akili. “No matter what the District is called, I am running because our community needs someone who will work tirelessly with stakeholders to create quality jobs, invest in our public schools and maintain lifesaving social services. I’m excited about taking my forty years of fighting for social justice and my understanding of the Assembly to make the office work for the people of the 59th District.”

For over four decades, Akili has fought to increase safety and security for our community on the local, state and national level. He became active in the Civil Rights movement as a young adult, worked as an organizer for the United Farm Workers (UFW) under the leadership of Cesar Chavez and co-founded one of the first unions for home care workers. Akili later emerged as a leader in some of the most important campaigns of our time, serving as an organizer with organizations like the NAACP, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Obama Presidential campaign in 2008. Additionally, he has served as a special assistant to two past Speakers of the California Assembly and former Lieutenant Governor Dymally. Currently, Akili is the National Field Director for the campaign to save Social Security from cuts proposed by Republicans and Tea Party activists.

Greg Akili is a proud Democrat and longtime resident of the Vermont Knolls community with his wife, Carolyne, and their sons, Tayari and Gregory. For more information, go to his website


Compton Comm College District Accepting Apps for Citizens’ Oversight Committee

imageThe Compton Community College District (CCCD) is currently accepting applications for consideration from those who are interested in serving on the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee. Applications will be available beginning October 19, 2011, and must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on November 18, 2011. Interested applicants may obtain an application at or by calling 310-900-1600, Ext. 2000. Upon selection, Bond Oversight Committee members serve a term of two years and do not receive any compensation or benefits for their service. The Bond Oversight Committee will meet on a quarterly basis beginning in January 2012.

There will be an information session for potential applicants on Wednesday, November 2 at 6:00 p.m. in the CCCD Boardroom.

As outlined in Education Code Section 15278, the role of the District Citizen’s Oversight Committee is to inform the public concerning the District’s expenditure of revenues received from the sale of bonds authorized by the voters. The Bond Oversight Committee will provide oversight to ensure that:

·      Bond revenues are expended only for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of district facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of district facilities, or the acquisition or lease of real property for district facilities.

·      No bond revenues are expended for any teacher or administrative salaries or other district operating expenses other than the salaries for district employees who provide administrative oversight for the bond program or individual bond projects.

Qualifications for Membership

The Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee consists of at least seven members, including at least one representative from each of the following categories:

1.  A member active in a business organization representing the business community located within the district;

2.  A member who is a resident of the district and active in a senior citizen’s organization;

3.  A member who is a resident of the district and active in a bona fide taxpayer’s organization;

4.  A member enrolled as a student at the El Camino College Compton Educational Center and active in a campus group; and

5.  A member active in an organization supporting the District such as the foundation.

To qualify for appointment, a member must meet the criteria listed in one of the above categories. A member cannot be an employee, official, contractor, consultant, or vendor of the Compton Community College District. Elected officials are also disqualified from service on the committee.

Applications should be submitted to Keith Curry, Interim CEO of the Compton Community College District, at 1111 E. Artesia Boulevard, Compton, CA 90221, by November 18, 2011, at 4:30 pm. For more information, call 310-900-1600, Ext. 2000.

About the Compton Community College District

Board meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month and are open to the public. The District is located at 1111 E. Artesia Boulevard, Compton, CA, 90221.