The Garvanza Improvement Association has been active in the community for years, but it wasn't until Wednesday evening that their held the first ever public meeting at Luther Burbank Middle School.
"I used to hold neighborhood watch meetings at my house, and this was a way to get everybody together," Rivas said.
Wednesday evening's meeting focused on public safety, with Los Angeles Police Department Northeast Senior Lead Officer Mark Allen breaking down crime statistics in the neighborhood over the last six months.
Allen said the most prevalent type of crime in Garvanza was property crime. He said the most effective measures to prevent that type of crime was for people to not leave their valuables in plain sight in their cars, and to install alarms in their homes that will alert neighbors in the case of a break-in.
Among the community concerns among Garvanza residents, according to GIA Co-President Tina Gulotta-Miller, was a perceived increase in panhandling, drug dealing and drug use among homeless people around the Rite-Aid, 99-Cents Only Store and public sidewalks.
Allen said that many of the homeless people in Highland Park grew up in the neighborhood, and have declined services outside of the area.
"They don't want to go, and we can't force them," Allen said.
As far as the concerns around the 99-Cents Only Store and Rite-Aid, Allen said those were privately owned properties and that it was up to the owners to address panhandling and drug use.
"If the owner tells you to go pound sand, then he's not doing his job," Allen said.
Allen said that LAPD Northeast has been struggling for years to curb drug dealing and drug use in the Rite-Aid parking lot, including encouraging the owners to install a rolling fence around the large and often unused segment of its rear parking lot and sending a security guard to patrol the lot.
"We are not going to move this mountain ourselves," he said. "We have to move the mountain as a community."
Community members raised concerns about safety at the intersection of York Boulevard and Avenue 63, where motorists are notorious for failing to stop for pedestrians.
Council District 14 Field Representative said he was aware of the community concerns about the crosswalk, and had even witnessed an accident first hand. However, he said it was unlikely a speed bump would be installed in the area due to the city's budgetary restrictions.
LAPD Northeast will hold a holiday toy drive at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15. Anyone who wants to receive a toy through the drive, or knows someone who would like to receive one, is asked to call LAPD Northeast at 323-344-5701.
710 Town Halls:
Metro and Caltrans will host a series of town halls in January to dicuss SR-710 extension route alternatives.
Those alternatives include:
- No Build
- Transportation System/Transportation Demand Management
- Bus Rapid Transit
- Light Rail Transit
- Freeway Tunnel
The meetings are scheduled for:
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013
Maranatha High School
169 South Saint John Av
Pasadena, CA 91105
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013
San Marino Community Church
1750 Virginia Rd
San Marino, CA 91108
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013
Cal State Los Angeles
Golden Eagle Building – Ballroom
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032