Archived: Letters to the Editor: August 14, 2008

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Re: Fallen Officer was Salesian High School Alumnus (Officer’s Death Unites Law Enforcement with Residents by Paul Aranda Jr., Aug. 7, 2008)
Juan A. Escalante was a Salesian High School Grad, Class of 1998. His brothers attended as well. The entire school community is mourning the loss of this fallen Mustang brother.

Guillermo Vidaurri
Bishop Mora Salesian High School

Re: Comments on “Activists Concerns over Plans for Hazard Park Armory” (by Gloria Castillo, Aug. 7, 2008)
Reporter Gloria Castillo does an excellent job of giving both sides in the Hazard Park Armory Controversy equal time in expressing their views on what is the best course of action, in returning the Hazard Park Armory to public usage.

In that theme, I would like to offer some follow-up to some of the comments from Legacy LA representatives and their supporters:

“Executive Director of Legacy L.A. Lou Calanche grew up in Ramona Gardens and says the majorities of the people who make up the organization are from the area and are excited that the armory (which was off-limits to civilians in the past) may be used by the community.”

As a person born and raised in Ramona Gardens, I can positively state that Lou Calanche never grew up within the Ramona Garden Housing Project. Second, I created a petition that was given to Councilman Jose Huizar and Recreation and Park, which asked that a “Needs Assessment” be undertaken to identify the best way to integrate a restore Hazard Park Armory into the Hazard Park Infrastructure. Third, the Advisory Board of Legacy LA is made up of perspective tenants of the Armory.

“Jose Navarro, Planning Community Chair of Legacy L.A. also grew up in the area and says their intentions are to provide services with the community in mind and to help the community.

‘There are no guarantees in life,’ Navarro told EGP. ‘Change will happen—and what’s so terrible about change? This is a community in economic blight, high school student’s graduate at low rates.’

The area also has serious gang related problems and the area has been designated as a “Gang Reduction and Youth Development Zone” by the city. Navarro said Legacy L.A. has the best intentions for the community and insists that time is allocated at their meetings for public comments and concerns.”

Change is good when the community as a whole is involved in the process. What Legacy LA does not explain is the need for an “Advisor on Redevelopment”, Dalila Sotelo who was a former vice-president with “McCormick, Baron, and Salazar”, a major developer of affordable housing. Does this mean that Legacy LA will become involved in building affordable housing and where?

“In a statement responding to questions from EGP, Councilman Jose Huizar pointed out that often community programs are created without community input, and said, “this will be the opposite.”

‘Contrary to some fringe opinions, the board is not uniformly filled with supporters of one group over another,’ Huizar wrote. ‘There was a lot of painstaking effort to ensure it included a fair mix of people and it obviously includes community members. Again, the whole basis of the program is to promote community ideas and community support and that will continue throughout the duration once the community decides what programs it wants.’”

Those making comments in this story representing the concerns over the Hazard Park Armory, represent or serve with groups such as the Sierra Club, Hazard Park Advisory Board and are dues-paying Union members, not exactly “fringe” organizations. “We are doing everything we can do be transparent,” Krusoe said. She also said the Web Site does not contain more information because they currently don’t have the funds to update it.”

For the sake of transparency, Jenny Krusoe has been asked by the Hazard Park Advisory Board to provide records on the finances and expenditures associated with the Legacy LA Project. Currently, no data has been released.

Scott Johnson
Community Activist

Re: City’s Donation Keeps Kids Splashing all Summer Long (EGP, Aug. 7, 2008) Vernon Donation is a Smokescreen for Polluting Power Plant
The City of Vernon’s donation to the Oldtimers Foundation to benefit local children by keeping a community pool open is hypocritical and disingenuous.

For Vernon’s Mayor Pro Tem Hilario “Larry” Gonzalez to say Vernon is committed to helping children throughout the area thrive by investing in their education, happiness and well being is a contradiction. Vernon is currently trying to ram a polluting 943 Megawatt Power Plant down the throat of everyone living in the southeast area, which is designated an Environmental Justice Area by the Air Quality Management District. This means our people already have and suffer more from air pollution than people in other areas of the State and Los Angeles County.

If approved the Vernon Power Plant, which was misleadingly renamed “The Southeast Region Energy Project,” can spew upwards of 600 tons of particulate matter and other air pollution into our immediate area. This means increased asthma, allergies, cardiovascular illnesses, lung cancer and death for the very same children Vernon claims to want to help. Don’t be fooled by this obvious public relations effort. Vernon cannot win our hearts, minds and health with blood money. Say no to the “Southeast Area Energy Project.”

Jason Stinnett
City of Commerce

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