Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Curren Price toured businesses and met with residents of South L.A.’s 9th District last week as part of the mayor’s efforts to examine how districts around the city tackle issues such as homelessness, employment, youth empowerment and community beautification.
By Emily Goldberg
Street-side bacon-wrapped hotdog carts arguably contribute to L.A.’s identity just as much as its traffic and celebrity sightings. Although the delicious service that street vendors provide has remained illegal throughout the city, that may soon change.
In its meeting Tuesday, the Economic Development Committee approved a framework for citywide street vending regulations, moving the long awaited policy goal one step closer to completion. The framework outlines the tasks and responsibilities of several city departments including the Bureau of Street Services and the Los Angeles Police Department.
“I agree with my colleagues that this plan, as we would say in Sacramento, is not cooked yet,” said councilman Gilbert Cedillo. “But …this is an idea whose time as come. This process of legalization is a process that cannot be stopped.”
More farms might begin cropping up around South Los Angeles thanks to a proposed bill by the Los Angeles City Council.
Council members Curren Price and Felipe Fuentes recently introduced a motion to provide a property tax adjustment for private landowners who convert their vacant plots into “urban farms,” which the city council defines as commercial ventures that sell food.
The authors of the bill, entitled the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act, said they see the property tax adjustment as a way to encourage landowners who are not using their property. Parcels of land between 0.10 and 3 acres in size would be eligible for the tax breaks.
The Los Angeles Food Policy Council, which has supported previous green initiatives taking place in South L.A., estimates 8,600 parcels in the city could be eligible. To get the tax adjustment, the land must be used for agriculture and educational purposes.
See also: Green alleys to take root in South LA
South L.A. residents working in the hotel industry might see their hourly wages rise by just over a half beginning next summer.
The Los Angeles City Council took a vote on the issue Wednesday, with 12 out of 15 council members agreeing to raise the minimum wage to $15.37 per hour for workers employed in the city’s largest hotels. The minimum wage is currently $9 per hour.
Council members Bernard Parks, Mitchell Englander and Paul Krekorian dissented. Because the city council did not reach a unanimous decision, it will revisit the issue next week for a final vote. The city council must reach a unanimous decision during next week’s vote for the higher minimum wage to take effect. [Read more…]
Nearly 950 members of the USC community gathered Monday morning in 90-degree weather to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new USC Village, a project that aims to raise USC’s reputation around the world.
“There will be no one to catch up to,” said USC president C.L. Max Nikias about the appeal of specific project features to incoming students. These features include the 2700 beds to be added by 2017, and the retail space that will open up and about the McCarthy Honors College, which Trustee Kathleen Leavey McCarthy donated $30 million to build for incoming merit scholarship students. “Everyone will want to go where the action is.”
In the days leading up to the groundbreaking, admissions officials were excitedly anticipating how to market these features to next year’s freshmen. During the ceremony, President Nikias spoke of how USC was committed to transforming from a commuter university to a residential one, like “other preeminent universities.”
“This is special for us,” said Timothy Brunold, USC Dean of Admissions, in a phone interview in the days leading up to the groundbreaking. “The students we’re currently recruiting will be able to use it.” [Read more…]
“South L.A. is a tech desert, but URBAN TxT is changing that,” proclaimed Oscar Menjivar, founder of Urban TxT (Teens Exploring Technology) at the organization’s Demo Day 2014, held Saturday at the University of Southern California’s Salvatori Hall.
URBAN TxT, which announced it is rebranding itself as TxT, is a non-profit that works with inner-city boys to develop tomorrow’s technology leaders and to bring change to their communities. [Read more…]
The 19th annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival last weekend brought out crowds of L.A. residents to enjoy authentic Mexican and soul food, local crafts, and, of course, the sweet sounds of jazz. This year, the Jazz Festival was bigger than ever, with two music stages, kids activities and a plaza offering health screenings, stands representing local organizations and businesses, and artists making and selling a variety of crafts.
Watch the audio slideshow below for the sights and sounds of the festival.
Politicians and community members have made a concerted effort over the past few months to clear away trash and debris from South L.A. streets. Meanwhile, they are also working to give something back in its place — trees. The organization City Plants L.A. (formerly Million Trees L.A.) partners with the city, nonprofits, community groups, businesses and residents to plant trees in barren areas — often low-income, underserved communities with limited park space. The group’s aim is to create comfortable shady areas, combat pollution, provide fruit and simply bring natural beauty to blighted streets. In April, City Plants took its project to the blocks between Slauson and 69th St. on Broadway in the Ninth District, where it planted more than 100 trees.
Flip through the slideshow below to view photos from the planting. (Roll over each image for the caption.)
Three Los Angeles City Council members have launched a bid to increase the wages of the city’s hotel workers to $15.37 an hour, a major pay jump for more than 40 percent of the industry’s workers who live below the poverty line.
The raise would affect hotels with more than 100 rooms — 87 of them in L.A. — and an estimated 10,000 employees. Union workers said the increase could lift housekeepers, busboys and maintenance workers out of poverty.
That could be especially significant in South L.A.’s 9th District, an area with the city’s highest poverty rate.
“Income inequality is a persistent issue plaguing our country, our city and especially our under-served South Los Angeles community,” said District 9 councilman Curren Price, who is pushing for the wage increase along with councilmembers Mike Bonin and Nury Martinez representing West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, respectively. [Read more…]
When more than 100 children, teenagers and adults gathered on the corner of Vermont and 60th streets last March to enjoy a four-hour block party complete with face painting, booths offering food coupons and a live disc jockey encouraging people of all ages to dance by blasting R&B, rap and Latino music, onlookers may have assumed the occasion was a national holiday or neighborhood fundraiser. Instead, the festivities were meant to mark the re-opening of Alba Snacks & Services, one of South L.A.’s few grocery stores.
The approximately 51 square mile area of South Los Angeles is largely considered a “food desert” — a space where finding food that is both affordable and high-quality is difficult.
See also on Intersections: South LA creates healthy food options
The Alba re-opening was part of the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network and the Community Market Conversion Program, an initiative run by Los Angeles’s Food Policy Council, an independent multi-stakeholder entity of the Mayor’s Office. These dual programs, said Director of Policy and Innovation Clare Fox, aim to transform convenience stores in neighborhoods with limited food access to full-service grocery stores. [Read more…]