- Second District
Rafael Galdamez, a project engineer for Access Pacific General Contractors, knows that environmental and sustainable building is a rapidly growing market. And so, he enrolled in a special program that taught him how to qualify for government contracts to renovate buildings to be more environmentally sound.
Armed with his new knowledge and skills, Galdamez recently attended the Green Cities, More Jobs: Summit for Economic Development at the East Rancho Dominguez Library, seeking to expand his company’s business.
“I am here to learn about certifications and trainings to compete on green projects so our company is more competitive,” said Galdamez.The Green Cities, More Jobs: Summit for Economic Development was sponsored by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, Citi Development and Emerald Cities Collaborative. More than 30 business owners, contractors and city officials gathered together inside the East Rancho Dominguez Library, the only county-owned building that received LEED Platinum certification for its environmentally sustainable construction and design.
The academy is a collaborative effort between, the County of Los Angeles, Citi Community Development and Emerald Cities Collaborative to help contractors understand how to bid on green projects in LA County.
“E-Contractor Academy introduces small, minority contractors to the process of working on energy efficiency projects,” said Veronica Soto, Emerald Cities LA program manager. “The program is about building a completive capacity for contractors to compete and execute energy efficiency projects.”
Green building brings many advantages, including lower energy and water costs, reduced waste, less exposure to toxic materials and improvements in natural surroundings with drought tolerant and native landscaping. Los Angeles County spends approximately $150 million year to heat, cool and light its buildings.
The Green Cities, More Jobs Economic Summit is part of the larger Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN) pilot program authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission to provide greater local government control of energy efficiency initiatives. The SoCalRen includes more than 50 municipalities committed to lowering their buildings’ energy consumption.
“We are helping residents and contractors from low and moderate income communities compete for LA County projects and for over $2 billion a year of state and utility energy efficiency investments,” said Denise Fairchild, President/CEO of Emerald Cities, a national nonprofit sustainable development firm.
To learn more about the free E- Contractor program, please visit:
Hundreds turned out at Leimert Park for a “ready to work” rally demanding more job opportunities with the upcoming construction of the $2-billion rail line along the Crenshaw Boulevard corridor and other Metro projects planned in the near future.
At the rally, sponsored by UCLA’s Black Worker Center, speakers and attendees called for improving access to training and education programs that can facilitate employment for African-Americans. Black workers have long been underrepresented in the building trades and African-American unemployment rates are roughly twice the national average.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas was on hand to support those efforts and to discuss the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Project Labor Agreement and the Construction Careers Policy which were launched in 2009 and created the policy for local workers in high unemployment neighborhoods to be hired.
Chairman Ridley-Thomas told the crowd that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its contractors have agreed on hiring mandates meant to bring well-paying work to neighborhoods those along the Crenshaw corridor for the construction of the 8.5-mile line connecting the Expo Line and the Green Line to LAX.
Under the agreement, 40 percent of work hours on the railway must be performed by employees from economically depressed areas. There are also special provisions for trainees and the “disadvantaged” workers — a group that includes veterans, the homeless, chronically unemployed and applicants with criminal records.
“This is economic justice in real time,” said Ridley-Thomas, who serves on Metro’s board and was one of the most forceful proponents of the agreement. “I have a fundamental and passionate belief in the transformative value of a job. When it leads to a career that pays a livable wage, families are strengthened and neighborhoods are reinforced, communities are built and people aspire to achieve all that they can.”
Click here to read the Los Angeles Times article.
New residents of the Menlo Family Apartments recently gathered for their first building-wide barbecue. The Koreatown area apartments provide supportive housing to formerly homeless families, youths transitioning from foster care and those needing mental health services. Half of the complex’s 60 units are occupied by formerly homeless families. Most families moved in less than a month ago, and the barbecue was the first informal gathering for residents to get to know each other in a purely social setting. Menlo Family Apartments was developed by the Koreatown Youth and Community Center and the Little Tokyo Service Center.
Rosemary bushes, lush Japanese maple trees and succulent plants in large planters welcome new residents and visitors to the Normadie Terrance Apartments, a new 66-unit affordable housing complex in the heart of Koreatown.
The 79,265-square-foot energy and environmentally efficient facility, is part of Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas’ ongoing effort to substantially increase the number of affordable housing units in the Second District. Since 2009, Chairman Ridley-Thomas has overseen and supported the construction and completion of 15 affordable housing complexes for low-income residents in the district with an additional seven housing developments currently underway.
All of the affordable housing complexes are contemporary standouts, including the Normandie Terrace Apartments, which occupies the whole city-block between Normandie and Mariposa Avenue. Units in the newest complex are furnished with energy saving kitchen appliances, hardwood flooring and granite counter tops. Families can meet and children play in the community room, a large space bursting with colorful artwork on its walls, or use the computer lab with free Internet access. Social services are located on the first floor where resume writing workshops and money management classes are held. In the upcoming months, tenants will also be able to learn about nutritional eating and domestic violence awareness.
The new apartments are a welcome change for Seung Hee Kang, 42, who use to live in a three-bedroom, low-income apartment near Chinatown with his family of four.
“I’m married with three-kids, one boy and two girls,” said Kang. “I liked where I lived before, but this is better. Living in the apartments here is very convenient because I’m Korean and the apartment is in Koreatown. We are able to walk to the Korean market, my daughter’s school is nearby and learning ballet at the nearby studio, and my church is nearby.”
Located less than a mile from the Metro train station at Wilshire Boulevard and Normandie Avenue, tenants have easy access to public transportation. The units are available for families earning approximately $17,400 to $57,660 per year. In addition, 33 of the units at the complex are designated for families earning less than $25,000 a year.
The John Stewart Company, one of the largest affordable housing providers in California, is managing the units. The company received more than 3,500 applications for a unit in Normandie Terrace from eager residents hoping to find an affordable and decent place to live.
“There is a great need for affordable housing in our county—one of the country’s most expensive areas in which to live,” said the supervisor. “This project stands as a shining example of what redevelopment can accomplish – a facility that is not only beautiful but includes amenities and services that will help tenants to thrive.”
For too many years, the Slauson corridor, which stretches from La Brea Avenue to Angeles Vista Boulevard, has been a thoroughfare not a destination. But residents of View Park, Windsor Hills and Ladera Heights long to turn this corridor into a neighborhood hub. The Slauson Corridor Revitalization Project, spearheaded by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, includes plans to make the area more pedestrian friendly and a destination neighborhood hub for local merchants and community residents.
Now we need your help by voting for your favorite name:
Total Voters: 983
These names were the top vote getters on December 15th, when residents of these neighborhoods gathered for a stroll around the area to kick off the holidays, listen to some live jazz, patron local businesses, enjoy holiday treats and place their vote on the name they liked most. Many thanks to CJ’s Elegance and all of our local partners for making the event such a success!
The Slauson Holiday Stroll was the last in a series of creative engagement events hosted by Chairman Ridley-Thomas in partnership with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the local arts non-profit, LA Commons, which aims to identify and celebrate the unique and historic characteristics of the View Park, Windsor Hills and Ladera Heights neighborhoods. The information gathered at these events will be used by the environmental design firm, Sussman/Prejza, to develop a brand identity and some timely aesthetic improvements for this section of the Slauson corridor.
Please vote by January 25, 2013. The winning name and branding concept will be presented to the community in early 2013.