On Tuesday, March 3, Eagle Rock residents will cast their vote for who they want to represent the neighborhood on the city council. On one end, the incumbent, Jose Huizar, and on the other those looking to unseat him, most notably Gloria Molina and Nadine Diaz. While many have already decided who they will vote for, there are some that remain undecided. For those falling into the latter category, this post urges a vote for Jose Huizar.
Any politician can promise to trim trees or to repair sidewalks. Indeed, all candidates say this is a priority. However, as councilmember, Huizar has demonstrated this quite successfully through actions. He sets aside discretionary funding to fix sidewalks during a time when the full city council merely discusses the idea of fixing some sidewalks in front of city-owned property. Prominent locations where sidewalks have been repaired in and around Eagle Rock thanks to Councilmember Huizar include: Eagle Rock Library, the westbound bus stop at Colorado Blvd/Mount Royal, Women’s 20th Century Club, York Boulevard, and the Highland Park Senior Center.
All these sidewalk repairs have come as part of a broader initiative Councilmember Huizar introduced called “Clean Communities Initiative.” The initiative has provided the kinds of services people expect, but have been neglected too long on a citywide basis. Under the initiative, Huizar has organized community clean-ups, repaired sidewalks, removed graffiti, and trimmed trees. And all this has been performed at a pace, scale, and quality unparalleled in any other district. For example, the City sometimes hacks tree free of any leaves in an attempt to reduce maintenance costs while Huizar’s tree trimmings are done with care to keep the trees looking beautiful and functional in providing shade. Such subtle details should not go unnoticed.
Councilmember Huizar also has among the most responsive and personable staff who take all constituent concerns seriously. Anyone who visits one of Huizar’s district offices quickly learns that his staff members love their jobs and know the neighborhoods they represent very well. This undoubtedly explains why Huizar and his staff respond to constituents on social media as well, off the clock and during weekends too. The council office also has good relationships with community organizations and city departments, which always helps in getting things accomplished.
However, a councilmember is more than a point of contact to city departments and a representative that maintains a quality of life. We elect council members because of their vision. A good councilmember does not just think about the present, they think about the future too, and in this regard there is nobody quite like Jose Huizar.
Although the Clean Communities Initiative is about restoring basic services, it also acknowledges the importance of quality. Unlike most sidewalk repairs performed in the City that are fixed with asphalt because it is cheap, Huizar sets aside money for sidewalks to repaired with concrete because it lasts longer and looks better– a more cost effective solution in the long-term that does not impact aesthetics with a black asphalt patch.
Huizar also recognizes the importance of streets that are business-friendly and accommodating to ALL travel modes. In addition to sidewalk repairs, Huizar has championed crosswalks and bike lanes. In Eagle Rock, Huizar collaborated with various neighborhood organizations to implement two new crosswalks and buffered bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard.
Councilmember Huizar also helped get parking hours extended along Colorado Boulevard. This encourages people to park once, and take their time when they visit local businesses. Most might not notice this, or have attributed it to Huizar, but it was his doing and just another example of the small-scale but effective interventions he has introduced to his district.
Additionally, Huizar has initiated an update of Eagle Rock’s Colorado Boulevard Specific Plan to remove an out-dated restriction on operating hours imposed on new businesses. The restriction should formally be removed by next year and then locals will not have to drive to Glendale, Pasadena, or Highland Park for evening plans, they will be able to walk to more destinations along our main boulevard.
In Highland Park, Huizar helped the neighborhood craft the York Boulevard Vision Plan, a community-drive document that lays out plans to make the street more vibrant and friendly. Changes that have been introduced along the street as a result include: the City’s first bike corral, the City’s first parklet, and the implementation of bike lanes extending from Eagle Rock Boulevard to South Pasadena. But perhaps the most significant change on the boulevard has been the addition of a public park on the corner of York Boulevard and Avenue 50. Getting the park was not easy, and make no mistake, it took a lot of work and simply would not have happened without the support and dedication of Councilmember Jose Huizar.
And there is so much more. Jose Huizar has:
- Secured funding to restore historic Eagle Rock City Hall and replace the exterior lawn with drought-tolerant landscaping.
- Held several community building events annually, such as July 4th fireworks displays, that bring people together.
- Alerted Eagle Rock to Glendale’s plans to expand the Scholl Canyon Landfill, formally shared his opposition to landfill expansion during the Draft Environmental Impact Review (DEIR) period and encouraged residents to speak out against it too.
- Opposed any extension of the 710 Freeway, which for a long time was proposed to cut through Northeast Los Angeles. In fact, he authored a motion for the City to formally oppose the project, which was approved. Instead, Huizar favors investment in light-rail because he understands the concept of “induced demand” (if you build a freeway it will only temporarily relieve congestion before filling up with cars) and realizes Angelenos need alternatives to driving to create a more sustainable city.
- Protected local hillsides from development to preserve them as open-space
- Funded the planting of nearly 300 street trees in Eagle Rock and Highland Park (the largest tree planting in 50 years).
- Installed trash cans along Colorado Boulevard and Eagle Rock Boulevard.
- Implemented a crosswalk at Townsend Avenue (pictured below), improving the safety of children as they walk to Eagle Rock High School, and upgraded crosswalks by Delevan Elementary.
The changes that have occurred under Councilmember Jose Huizar’s two terms reflect true leadership. He has worked tirelessly to not only maintain, but actually enhance the neighborhood and make Eagle Rock a safer and more sustainable place for generations. He has successfully collaborated with neighborhood organizations to bring long-sought improvements to reality. He has delivered basic services as well as bold vision.
If elected to a third term, there is so much more we have to look forward to. Among other things, Councilmember Huizar hopes to: revitalize Eagle Rock Boulevard to be more vibrant like Colorado Boulevard through making it a more pedestrian friendly boulevard; see further streetscape improvements to Colorado Boulevard; and bring the neighborhood a much needed dog park. Vote Jose Huizar for city council on March 3rd, he has been great to Eagle Rock and has the right vision to make it an even better place to live.