The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council convened it's bimonthly meeting on Thursday evening at the Highland Park Adult Senior Citizen Center at 6152 North Figueroa Street. Here's a rundown of some of the most important announcements and actions taken.
Interim Senior Lead Officer Introduced
Officer Fernando Ochoa introduced himself as the new, interim Senior Lead Officer for the northern region of Highland Park. Ochoa was assigned to the position as part of Northeast Division's recent shuffling of their SLO Deck, which included former north region SLO Mark Allen being moved to the southern part of the neighborhood, former north section SLO Nina Preciado moving to Eagle Rock and former Eagle Rock SLO Craig Orange moving to East Hollywood.
Ochoa told meeting attendees that he grew up in Northeast Los Angeles, and has spent brief stints in the past serving as an interim SLO in Highland Park.
"I'm hoping to take on the position full-time, but ultimately that decision will be up to Capt. [William] Murphy," he said.
In a brief address to the audience, Ochoa said that the most daunting problem in Highland Park was gang tension along Monte Vista street near avenue 52.
He asked that neighborhood residents assist the department by reporting where graffiti tags are being drawn and where they are being crossed out, because that helps the division predict where violent crime could strike next. He asked residents, if they are able to safely photograph the tags, to send pictures to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ochoa said that rival gangs were sparring in the area in an effort to fill the power vacuum created by the 2009 multi-agency takedown of the Avenues street gang.
Ochoa also said that, becuase many of the Avenues gang members were arrested in 2009 coming up for parole, LAPD Northeast is preparing for the challenges of the ex-convicts potentially reverting to a life of violent crime.
He said the division keeps close tabs on the Sheriff's Department's parolee list, as it "give us an idea of the key players who are going to be starting problems."
Several major funding requests were granted by the HHPNC, including:
- $1,500 to help Yorkdale Elementary School fund music teacher positions for the remainder of the 2013 school year.
- $1,500 to the Lummis Day Foundation to pay for the printing of its annual Lummis Day Flier. Lummis Day will be held on June 2 this year.
- $1,500 to Tierra de la Culebra Park, to fund educational programs and a landscaping project at the park.
Letters of Support
In something of an unusual turn of events, the HHPNC was asked to consider three motions related to environmental issues with implications well beyond the neighborhood's boundaries.
The board heard a presentation from the Los Angeles chapter of Food and Water Watch on the issue of a twin tunnel system to divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to farmland and cities.
They heard arguments from the Los Angeles chapter of Food and Water Watch that the expensive tunnel project would have negative impacts on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ecosystem, and voted to support a campaign aimed at stopping the project.
The board also voted in favor of a motion to support a City Council measure against hydraulic fracturing authored by Councilmember Paul Koretz. A measure slated for consideration on Capitol Hill aimed at stopping the use of Expanded Polystyrene (Styrofoam) also received a letter of support from the board.