President’s Message – August

Greetings Everyone!

Happy beautiful August!  This month is flying by so fast we will be saying goodbye to summer soon, but not so much the heat I’m afraid.  However, I am happy to report all the great things that HHPNC is working on and contributing to the community and people we serve.  The August HHPNC board meeting consisted of items for neighborhood council online voting, participating in various community events and supporting teachers, children and public education.   Because it’s important to participate in neighborhood council elections, this past board meeting HHPNC voted to submit a Community Impact Statement (CIS) supporting on-line voting for the upcoming neighborhood council elections for Spring 2019.  Stakeholders will be able to vote from the comfort and convenience of their own home for the candidates they feel will have their and the community’s best interests at hand.  There will also be in-person on-line voting locations for stakeholders without computer access or require assistance logging on to vote.

Collaborating with other neighborhood councils, community artists and organizations is important and essential for HHPNC to reach out to the community in order to be of service.  We always enjoy partnering with Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council (ASNC) for family movie nights at Sycamore Grove Park and Ramona Hall.  Keep on the lookout for flyers announcing the family movie nights, which are scheduled for September 15, October 13 and November 9.  HPPNC will be providing moviegoers with popcorn and yummy snacks.

Participating in community events is the best way to connect with our stakeholders in Highland Park and that is exactly what HHPNC did during National Night Out at Rio de los Angeles State Park and El Mercado in Highland Park along York Blvd. and Avenues 53 and 50.  The Northeast Los Angeles National Night Out Touch-A-Truck, that took place on August 7th, is a community-building occasion that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.  The kiddos (and adults too!) had an opportunity to “Touch-a-Truck,” an interactive way that allows kids to see, touch, and safely explore some of their favorite big trucks and emergency vehicles. They got a chance to be behind the wheels, honk the horns as many times as they pleased, and meet the skilled and hard-working men and women who drive the trucks to service our communities.

The love for creativity and unity is all that El Mercado is all about! El Mercado is an arts and crafts fair where vendors have an opportunity to showcase and sell their creativity and love for all things unique and different.  This community occasion is organized by Highland Park Chamber of Commerce and Council District 14 represented by Councilman Jose Huizar.  This year was extra special as Mi Vida Boutique participated and organized a display of classic cars.  Angelenos from Highland Park and neighboring communities enjoyed great food from local food trucks and music by Highland Park’s very own The Travelling Troubadour with lead singer Hector Sanchez and Ernie Valens Band.  Can’t wait for next year’s El Mercado!

Back to School Alert! Many students are returning to school this week, so I ask you to please give yourself a little more time in the morning commute and slow down.  Let’s also not text and drive as we must always be present and aware of our surroundings!  With that said, I want to share that HHPNC distributed 300 backpacks and school supplies to students at the Highland Park Recreation Center during Summer Night Light activities.  Children had an opportunity to receive free haircuts, make some slime (always fun!), color, and enjoy a free meal.  School readiness is important for all students, especially for low-income children who don’t always have the essential supplies needed for their education.  I receive so much joy and satisfaction to provide a little help for the students and motivating them as they return to their schools.

In giving back to the families and children we serve, HHPNC is collaborating with Council District 14 to clean-up the underground pedestrian/school tunnel along Poppy Peak Drive and Figueroa Street in front of Annandale Elementary School.  Artist Joe Bravo will paint a colorful and happy mural in the school/pedestrian tunnel to brighten up the students’ school days.  We need to show students that people in their community care about them and want to motivate them to learn and stay in school with the beauty of murals.

HHPNC is always at the service of public schools and students, which is why we approved a Neighborhood Purpose Grant for MySafe LA., a life and fire safety education program.  Their mission is to provide life-saving, necessary services within neighborhoods by teaching fire safety in schools, providing CPR training, and life safety education for older adults.  With this grant, we create a long-lasting partnership with our Fire Department, students, and residents to help make Highland Park a strong, more resilient community.  Currently, 60% of homes in Los Angeles don’t have working smoke alarms and their goal is to reduce that number by as much as possible.  The safety and wellbeing of communities starts with outreach, education and preparation.

In support for public school teachers, which also translates into supporting our public schools and students, HHPNC has signed on to Give Kids a Chance platform, which is a partnership with Reclaim Our Schools LA and UTLA.  We all want fair, livable wages for teachers and a better future for all students.  Therefore, we stand with Reclaim Our Schools LA Coalition and the teachers’ union, UTLA, in calling for a real investment in our neighborhood public schools, so that ALL students have an equal opportunity. For over a year and a half, UTLA has been bargaining with LAUSD, but the school district has refused to bargain issues that would give our teachers the respect they deserve and give students a fighting chance. You can view the signed Give Kids a Chance platform here.

Lastly, HHPNC approved to submit a letter to the LAUSD Board of Education and Superintendent Beutner asking for a special election for LAUSD’s District 5 seat left vacant by Dr. Refugio Rodriguez, who resigned after pleading guilty to a felony conspiracy charge and four misdemeanors for reimbursing donors to his 2015 election campaign.  You can view the signed letter here.

I want to wish all of you a wonderful August! Please be safe, hydrated and kind to one another.



Rocio Rivas, President
Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council (HHPNC)