Archive for jose huizar

The Answer to the Homeless Crisis in Los Angeles is Simple: House Keys, Not Handcuffs

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2015 by Cangress

State of Emergency Meme

City Leaders’ Proposal Lacks Resources for More Housing and Lacks Specifics about Changing the Policies of Criminalization

This morning members of the LA City Council and Mayor Garcetti announced a “State of Emergency” on homelessness and promised an investment of $100 million toward services and housing.  While this announcement is a step in the right direction, it is unacceptable that only $13 million in one-time funds were actually identified with no real plan for the additional $87 million or other long-term investments.  Additionally, increases in financial resources towards this crisis will only work if the City abandons what has been its primary approach toward homelessness over the past decade: criminalizing the lives of homeless residents.

Let’s be clear – the City has invested millions upon millions of dollars toward homelessness in recent years. But far too much of that money has gone to LAPD to enforce unjust and often illegal laws that simply punish people for being poor and that make it even more difficult to get out of homelessness. Just last year LAPD spent $87 million of the $100 million that went toward homelessness out of the City’s general fund to arrest homeless residents.  Citations, harassment, displacement, arrest, jailing – this is what that money is spent on, when there is only $10 million in general fund money in the City’s affordable housing trust fund. Is it any wonder then why homelessness is up 12% since 2013?

Lack of investment in housing production, poverty wages, an ever shrinking social safety net, and the most expensive rents in the country drive many of the 13,000 people A MONTH who are pushed into homelessness in LA County. But, make no mistake about it, it is the failed policy of criminalization through LAPD enforcement that prevents people from rising out of homelessness when the limited opportunities arise.

If the City Council and the Mayor are serious about ending homelessness, their announcements would include new and substantial sources of long-term funding combined with a call to end to laws, policies, and approaches that emphasize LAPD enforcement over services and housing.  Homeless outreach workers cannot be successful without actual housing units to connect people to, and they can’t connect with someone who is in jail for ticket given to them for sitting on the sidewalk.  What good is a meeting with a housing specialist if homeless person’s possessions are taken and potentially discarded during that appointment?  What good are more outreach workers without more housing?  We have a lot more questions than answers right now.

In short: You can’t use house keys when you are wearing handcuffs. We finally hear the City Council and Mayor talking about the crisis – now will they actually ensure house keys and call for an end to the handcuffs?

The February/March 2015 Community Connection is NOW AVAILABLE!

Posted in community connection with tags , , , , , on February 25, 2015 by Cangress

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Click HERE to read the February/March 2015 Community Connection.

Click HERE to download a high-resolution PDF version.

Join us THIS THURSDAY for Town Hall for Human Rights in Skid Row

Posted in human & civil rights with tags , , , on February 3, 2015 by Cangress

Town Hall FLYER

Join us for a Town Hall hosted by Skid Row residents and workers as we present the numerous projects, campaigns and community-based human rights initiatives taking place in our community. You’ll learn about what’s REALLY going on in Skid Row, how to support human rights projects and campaigns, and what we need from our policy makers. Click HERE to visit the Facebook Event Page.

Thursday, February 5, 2015 | 5:30pm – 7:30pm
James Wood Center 400 East 5th St. (Parking at Downtown Women’s Center)

WHY?
So that we can continue to live and thrive in OUR community. So that our innovation and achievements are not sidelined or misrepresented. So that our dignity is maintained and our contributions serve as the foundation while we continue to build our vision of Skid Row and DTLA.

WHO?
Panelists include representatives of the Downtown Women’s Action Coalition, LA CAN, Skid Row Housing Trust, AWARE-LA, UCEPP, Community Based Greening, Los Angeles Poverty Department, and individual residents Katherine McNenny, Tom Grode, General Jeff and many others.

CONFIRMED ATTENDEES: Councilmember Huizar, LA City Council; Greg Speigel, Office of Mayor Garcetti; Ben Polk, Office of LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis; LA City Department of Neighborhood Empowerment; LA City’s Housing and Community Investment Department; and more.

For More Information contact Steve at (213) 228-0024 or steved@cangress.org

The November/December 2014 Community Connection is NOW AVAILABLE!

Posted in community connection with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2014 by Cangress

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Click HERE to read the November/December 2014 Community Connection.

Click HERE to download a high-resolution PDF version.

Post-Operation Healthy Streets with Councilmember Jose Huizar

Posted in civil rights, human & civil rights, video with tags , , , , , on August 29, 2014 by Cangress

Much has been made of Councilmember Jose Huizar’s Operation Healthy Streets. And the plan SOUNDS good on camera – cleaning streets and connecting homeless residents in Skid Row to services and housing via street outreach (an idea that Huizar suggests has “never been done before”). However, when the cameras are shut off and you try to get into the details of what kind of “housing” will be made available, then the answers and talking points don’t sound so polished.

Also, homeless outreach as a strategy has been done (and done well) by many groups across the city for years.The real issue is not outreach, but the lack of sufficient services and complete lack of housing!

Councilmember Huizar’s “Complete Streets Day” Resolution Rings Hollow in the Completely Disregarded Streets of Skid Row

Posted in Media Advisory with tags , , on March 6, 2014 by Cangress

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               
 Contact: Pete White, Los Angeles Community Action Network (213) 434-1594

Councilmember Huizar’s “Complete Streets Day” Resolution Rings Hollow in the Completely Disregarded Streets of Skid Row

LOS ANGELES — This morning Councilmember Huizar introduced his Complete Streets Day Resolution at the Los Angeles City Council meeting. In doing so, he also introduced the many contradictions embedded in his political rhetoric that plague Council District 14—the district he is responsible for.  Today City Councilmember Jose Huizar confirmed what his low-income and homeless constituents already know – that while his district covers all of Downtown LA, he is keenly and solely interested in representing the affluent and business community.

“Complete Streets,” the resolution reads, “by improving public safety and democratizing transit options, connect neighborhoods, create destinations, support a vibrant street life, encourage active lifestyles and contribute to green space and strategies for dealing with trash, storm weather and water pollution.”  Yet not one street nominated by Councilmember Huizar for prioritization in his recent Downtown LA newsletter is among those prioritized by Skid Row residents for urgent attention and investment.

Huizar’s support for Complete Streets Day highlights the growing divide – a Dirty Divide – in Council District 14 that separates Skid Row and the “New Downtown.” West of Main Street you find basic amenities such as trash cans and clean sidewalks, as well as luxury amenities including public parking spaces that have been converted into recreation areas for the affluent. You actually find foosball tables, his and her swings, tables, barstools and benches along many streets and sidewalks.  Police enforcement of people on the sidewalks is practically non-existent, with restaurant and shop owners legally and illegally placing tables and chairs on the public sidewalk, oftentimes blocking most of the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, in the Skid Row community, simply sitting down to rest on a public sidewalk puts you at risk of being cited or arrested. The irony, of course, is that no street furniture is made available for the residents of Skid Row leaving them no choice but to fall prey to laws that are selectively enforced.  There are no bus benches, few trash cans, and limited/non-working public restrooms.  As one Skid Row resident said, “I guess they expect us to stand up all day…but that is impossible.”  Residents know all too well the penalties for placing a chair or crate on the sidewalk:  jail, citations, loss of personal property or all of the above.

In April 2013 LA CAN released its report entitled, The Dirty Divide in Downtown Los Angeles: A Call for Public Health Equity in Skid Row, to highlight the vast public health inequities faced by poor and homeless residents living in Downtown LA. The report, complete with recommendations, provides a framework to address the lack of public health infrastructure in Skid Row. Additionally, LA CAN members and other community residents joined the Skid Row Working Group convened by Council District 14 staff in hopes of working collaboratively to fulfill the promise of “complete streets.” Sadly, months have passed and the absence of street furniture and basic public health amenities still remain…so much for complete streets in the areas most in need.

We believe Downtown LA – and all of the resources that come with it – can and should be used to uplift and benefit all residents. Poor downtown residents know all too well the trappings of political sound-bites and experience something toxically different than the public proclamations uttered by politicians. This Dirty Divide along Main Street in Downtown LA takes us back to a Los Angeles where redlining and restrictive covenants were the norm and we can ill afford to return to that place.

Links/Attachments:
The Dirty Divide: A Call for Public Health Equity in Skid Row
Map: Trash Cans of Downtown Los Angeles, April 2013
Map: Redline Amended Map March, 2013

UNACCEPTABLE: Councilmember Huizar creates a Pershing Square Task Force that doesn’t include any low-income residents

Posted in human & civil rights, organizing with tags , , , , , , on August 28, 2013 by Cangress
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LA CAN at Pershing Square promoting the Share the Wealth Platform and making sure that the park remains public and open to EVERYONE.

This week 14th District City Councilmember José Huizar created a Pershing Square Task Force without any representation of low-income Downtown residents, who have utilized Pershing Square for decades. Rather than creating a body that is representative of the broad diversity of Downtown, Huizar chose to create a 21-member Task Force of “stakeholders” that draws nearly exclusively from the business and developer community (and a few others from law enforcement and other city departments).

Huizar had this to say: “We have a huge task ahead of us, but it’s an open one.” It’s hard to believe that the task of creating a long-term plan for the park will be open when those in charge of creating the plan exclude the voice of a significant segment of Downtown – low-income and homeless residents.  LA CAN members had requested directly of Huizar’s staff to be included on this task force, as Pershing Square represents limited open space that has been a resource for both low-income and higher income downtowners.

The composition of this task force is unacceptable. As part of promoting our Share the Wealth Platform, LA CAN has been working for months to ensure that Pershing Square remains open to NOT just the so-called “New Downtowners”, but ALL Downtown residents. Huizar is relatively new to representing all of Downtown, but by now he should know that he is supposed to know that he represents all of the community’s residents – not just developers who are intent on gentrifying the neighborhood.

Members of the task force are:
Kevin Regan, Recreation and Parks.
Mathew Rudnick, Department of Cultural Affairs.
Nick Maricich, Planning Department.
Captain Horace Frank, LAPD.
Mike Arnold, Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority.
Amy Yeager, Pershing Square Advisory Board.
Dawn Eastin, Downtown News.
Blair Besten, Historic Downtown BID.
Sean Krajewski,  Blue Cow Restaurant GM.
Carol Schatz, CCA, Downtown BID.
Peklar Pilavjian, St. Vincent’s Jewelry Center.
Karen Hathaway, LA Athletic Club.
Siobhan Talbot, Brookfield.
Jeffery Fish, Pershing Square Building.
Chris Rising, Rising Realty.
Robert Hanasab, City National Building.
Brian Glodney, Gensler.
Rick Poulos, NBBJ.
Katherine Perez-Estolano, USC.
Melani Smith, Melendrez Design Partners.
Gail Goldberg, ULI.

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LA Times Uncovers Amerland Group / Council member Cardenas Connection

Posted in civic participation, education, grassroots policy, housing victories, legal, organizing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2008 by Cangress
City Councilman Tony Cardenas.

City Councilman Tony Cardenas.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2008/10/tony-cardenas-r.html

When Ruben Islas, Jules Arthur and their San Diego based Amerland Group arrived downtown they were met with open arms. Without question, dollars were funneled in their direction as they paraded a solid wall of prestigious supporters before a mayor appointed Community Redevelopment Agency [CRA] board.  LAPD Captain Andy Smith, Richard Montoya of Culture Clash, Council-members Perry & Cardenas, just to name a few of the “dignitaries” in attendance.

In one particular CRA hearing–Council-members Cardenas & Perry waited hours to give Amerland Group the firm backing of their offices–it became clear that the majority of people & organizations that supported Amerland had a financial incentive to do so. LA CAN did extensive digging and released a story in their March/April 2008 Community Connection that began to show a disturbing pattern. It appeared, in the cases of Council-members Huizar & Cardenas, that campaign & special contributions coincided with their favorable votes for Amerland Group project’s.

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On July 10, 2008 Tibby Rothman of the Los Angeles Weekly would also release a story similar to LA CAN’s Community Connection article further delving into the questionable activities by council-members in what appeared to be a “pay to play” scheme.

http://www.laweekly.com/2008-07-10/news/los-angels-city-hall-as-slumlord/

Now, David Zahniser of the Los Angeles Times, has released yet another story pointing to questionable relationships between Tony Cardenas, Amerland Group and their hiring of his step daughter. We leave it to you to be the judge but we believe that something fishy continues to go on here.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2008/10/tony-cardenas-r.html

Buckle your seat belts because this story surely will not stop here.