Greetings Highland Park!
I trust that you are all well and safe in this month of April that thus far is filled with sunshine and the rebirth of so many colorful flowers and butterflies. I want to begin with positivity because this is a bitter sweet moment for HHPNC. Much to my chagrin, this will be my last HHPNC president’s message. The time has come for me and the majority of the HHPNC board to bid you adieu as a new board and president are sworn in on May 2nd.
On April 13th, over 125 Highland Park stakeholders voted to elect 18 board members, who now compose HHPNC, which operates as a city government body on issues concerning the community of Highland Park, including city governance and services. Neighborhood councils cannot fulfill their purpose unless there is participation and involvement of all stakeholders, namely the community. The Highland Park community is composed of an array of Angelenos from all walks of life with diverse cultures, perspectives, demands and needs. Eighteen board members cannot do it alone, they need your active participation and voice. Here is a link to the unofficial voting results of the newly elected HHPNC board members, who will be certified by April 23rd once results become official.
I highly encourage everyone to become informed and involved with HHPNC operations, meetings and activities as much as you can. Inviting your neighbors to accompany you helps so that one more person from your block is informed. Depending on your availability, you can be involved in a myriad of ways, such as a visiting the website for updates on community activities and city information; or provide your input and experience by joining a committee that meets once a month, such as public safety, sustainability, housing and homelessness, to name a few. You can also email HHPNC board members to let them know of your interest in participating and how you can help based on your availability. You can volunteer to help at community events, such as clean ups at parks, main street corridors and your local public school. You can also attend community events, such as resource fairs and festivals where city and county information is available, and you have an opportunity to speak directly to city council staff, city department staff and other elected officials’ staff. The following community events may be of interest to you:
- On April 20 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, you can join the Highland Park Recreation Center in their Spring Eggstravaganza to enjoy activities for kids and their families.
- On April 27 attend a Garvanza Community Resource Fair at Luther Burbank Middle School from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm you will find city department resource booths and community organizations, including music, food and much more.
- On April 28 at the Rio de Los Angeles State Park is a community festival organized by Unidos por NELA to celebrate El Día Del Niño, The Day of the Child, that will include toy giveaway, food, music, arts and craft activities and informational resource booths. The festival is from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
You can also join HHPNC as a board member once a seat becomes open. Currently, the Treasurer seat is available and applications for appointment will be made available soon once the new board settles in. I also encourage all of you to read the HHPNC Bylaws posted on the website, https://highlandparknc.com/ to have an in depth understanding of the intentions and functions of HHPNC.
I guarantee that you will a changed person as you become more present and involved in the activities taking place in your neighborhood and city. I advise you to become an active participant because we all have to live together, and we all matter regardless of our differences. There are many leaders among us, especially in our youth, that are cultivated from grassroots activism and that starts in your own neighborhood. Our city and society can change to truly serve us, the people, if only we become more active and knowledgeable.
Before I bid you adieu, I want to emphasize the importance of exercising your right to vote as a way of having your voice heard. On Saturday, April 27th, if you are a registered Democrat, then you have an opportunity to vote once again for your Democratic delegates for Assembly District 51, which is represented by Wendy Carrillo. You can elect up to ten candidates (6 women and four men) to represent you in the California Democratic Party. The ADEM51 election is on April 27 at LA Rising located at 324 North McDonnell Avenue, 90022 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. You must be a registered Democrat and live in Assembly District 51. You can check on this link for the list of candidates and additional information of this ADEMS election. I hope to see you there! https://www.cadem.org/our-party/adem/ad51-new-election
On Tuesday May 14, the LAUSD School Board District 5 Runoff Election will be taking place to elect between two candidates. Absentee ballots have been mailed and so have voter information pamphlets that inform you of your precinct voting location. Please mark your calendars as this is a very important election!
Lastly, in June 04, 2019 a Special Election will be held to vote for Measure EE, which consists of a 16 cent parcel tax per square footage on habitable buildings that will generate much needed funds for public schools. There are exemptions for seniors, persons with disabilities and low income home owners. Additional information will circulate as the date of the election nears.
Serving Highland Park in the past three years has allowed me to I grow in so many ways as I stepped out of my own comfort zone to advocate for the city and community that I love and care for very much. I have nothing but humbling gratitude for the invaluable experience, knowledge and skillset gained from my involvement with HHPNC and all that it encompasses. I have met and collaborated with so many wonderful individuals that have touched my heart and changed my life for the better. I feel a deeper responsibility to build on what I have learned and experienced through my involvement in my community and standing up for what I believe in. You have not heard or seen the last of Rocio Rivas as I will continue to be actively involved in my community, city and state.
Once again, I am every grateful for serving Highland Park and Los Angeles. Please do not hesitate to say hello or smile if you see me around the community. I am still here to listen and to serve.