Special City Attorney Jane Usher appearing before the Downtown Neighborhood Council Board of Directors concerning the Lavan injunction has resulted in two Skid Row community gatherings.
DLANC Skid Row Resident representative General Jeff Page organized the Skid Row Public Space Task Force to meet with Jane Usher in the Office of the City Attorney on May 9th.
Last night at the Vortex Community Center, Max Cee, DLANC Area Wide Homeless Representative, organized a community gathering with Jane Usher participating and DLANC Board Members Kevin Michael Key and Wendell Blassingame the main presenters of the point of view for Skid Row. Twenty five people were present for the two and a half hour meeting. Eight were from the general public and seventeen represented City and County agencies and community groups.
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was when Adel Hagekhalil, Environmental Engineer and Assistant Director of the Bureau of Sanitation, responded to Skid Row concerns that only the city trash cans are being emptied by saying he will make sure all trash cans that are full will be picked up by Sanitation workers. Hagekhalil is an overseer for Operation Healthy Streets.
While the decision between community leaders and Hagekhalil was a very specific step forward for improved quality of life in Skid Row, most of the evening was spent in people listening to the perspective of other people. Issues addressed included trash cans and public toilets, the status of tuberculosis in Skid Row, data from the County Health Department on improvements over the past year at the street level.
Sara Hernandez, Downtown Area Director for CD-14, presented Councilmember Jose Huizar’s “big picture” for Skid Row as having two aspects: policy and community outreach. Policy is to examine the City Council Policy of Containment passed in the 1970’s (the Containment Zone) and working with the County on how to de-centralize. Community outreach is primarily through the CD-14 Skid Row Working Group to gain community input and partnership in implementing policy. The current focus of the Working Group has been trash cans and pick up.
The final topic was a presentation by Jane Usher on the Lavan injunction. As she presented the specifics of the case with a view towards getting input and ideas on how to move forward, Kevin Michael Key emphasized to her the need for the city to build credibility with the community.
There was strong consensus to continue the dialogue begun and a tentative second meeting has been set for August 1st.
By Tom Grode
Blogger’s note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Trees on San Pedro Street Project editrix, Ms. McNenny. This is a Community improvement blog and not faith-based.