Man Dies in Officer-Involved-Shooting

Man Dies in Officer-Involved-Shooting
Near 8th Street and Sycamore Avenue

Edwin Folven; Park La Brea News/Beverly Press

LAPD Holds Community Meeting to Discuss Incident

Miracle Mile Residents Concerned by Increase in Crime

A man shot after a violent struggle with two Wilshire Division officers died July 1oth at Cedars Sinai Hospital. The unidentified man was fatally wounded the previous morning after LAPD officers responded to calls that a man was smashing storefront windows with his skateboard near the intersection of Wilshire and La Brea.

According to a LAPD press release: On July 9, 2015, around 8:40 a.m., Wilshire Area patrol officers responded to a “Vandalism” radio call in the area of 8th Street and La Brea Avenue. 

The officers responding to the radio call observed a man matching the description given in the details of the radio call who was reported to be breaking storefront windows with a skateboard. The suspect fled the scene on a skateboard. The officers caught up with the suspect at the 800 block of Sycamore Avenue, after the suspect jumped off or fell off his skateboard. 

The officers approached the suspect and gave him verbal commands to submit to the arrest, the suspect refused to comply.  A violent physical altercation ensued as the officers attempted to subdue the suspect using a variety of physical force. The officer used a Taser in direct contact mode in an effort to subdue the suspect but the Taser had no apparent effect. 

The violent struggle continued and the suspect at some point was able to gain control of the Taser and use it, injuring one of the officers in the leg. The tased officer alerted the partner officer who drew their weapon resulting in an officer involved shooting. 

The LAPD held a meeting at the Ebell Club on July 14th to brief the community on the shooting and to provide residents with an opportunity to address the incident – as well as any other public safety issue. Wilshire Division Captain Howard Leslie and West Bureau Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala took questions from the gathering of approximately 7o people, which included representatives from Sycamore Square, La Brea-Hancock, and the Miracle Mile.

Leslie and Girmala were prevented by department protocol from delving into the specific details of the incident pending the completion of the official investigations. They did go to great lengths to explain how the investigations are conducted and offered assurances that they would be comprehensive and objective.

LAPD’s Force Investigation Division and the Office of the Inspector General are conducting independent investigations into the incident. The results of these investigations will be reviewed by the Chief of Police and the Police Commission to determine compliance with the use-of-force policy.

Although a few people were frustrated by the lack of new details on the shooting, the overall tone of the meeting was civil and evidenced a mutual respect between the community and the police department.

Several questions were raised regarding the number of homeless individuals in the area, particularly those obviously suffering from mental illness. Deputy Chief Girmala said that the department was deploying teams consisting of an officer in civilian clothing and a mental health clinician to help the mentally ill access available services, including housing and treatment. She emphasized that homelessness is a complex problem that cannot be solved by law enforcement alone [see article below].

Five MMRA board members attended the meeting, including Vice President Alice Cassidy who raised concerns about the number car burglaries along Detroit Street. Tensions have been high in the eastern end of the Miracle Mile since a violent robbery occurred in the former Bank of America parking lot last April.

MMRA Vice President Ken Hixon also addressed the increase of crime along the La Brea corridor in his remarks. He said that Miracle Mile residents were pleased by the success of the restaurants and businesses that have revitalized the intersection of 8th Street and La Brea and that the safety of employees and patrons would be enhanced by a greater police presence.

Captain Leslie said that he had deployed foot patrols around the Grove and 3rd and La Brea and that he intends to expand these foot patrols south along La Brea – but he is somewhat constrained by budget and manpower issues.

For additional information:

Park La Brea News/Beverly Press, 9 July 2015: Police Shoot Suspect During Altercation with Officers on Sycamore Avenue

Los Angeles Times, 10 July 2015: Man Shot by LAPD During Mid-Wilshire Altercation Dies

Miracle Mile HPOZ Update ~ July 2015

HPOZ UPDATE ~ July 2015:
Historic Resources Survey
Fieldwork Completed

 

[Click on image to view video of survey team at work]

Katie Horak, Senior Associate with Architectural Resources Group [ARG], reports that the fieldwork part of the Historic Resources Survey has been completed. The survey documented every property within the boundaries of the Miracle Mile HPOZ [see map].

Horak explained to the Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee that ARG is now “cleaning up the data” and writing the Survey Report. A draft of the report will be submitted to the Committee for review by the end of July.

ARG is in the process of preparing individual DPR forms for each property and hopes to have the draft DPRs ready for the Committee’s inspection by mid-August.

“DPR” is an acronym for the California Department of Parks and Recreation. A DPR form is a standardized state form for documenting historic resources. It includes basic information – address and a property description – and a photograph of every property within a historic district.

Horak said that ARG is on track to submit the final report to the Los Angeles City Office of Historic Resources by September.

The Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee has been holding a series of “block meetings” to educate residents about the process and benefits of HPOZ. The Committee’s goal is to visit every block within the HPOZ boundaries. The Committee is also planning a community-wide meeting in the Fall.

If you would like to host an informal meeting for your neighbors to discuss HPOZ please contact Mark Zecca, Chair of the Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee: mark.zecca@MiracleMileLA.com.

For more information visit:

Miracle Mile HPOZ Website

Q & A: An interview with Mindy Lake and Michael Cortez, members of Metro’s Construction Relations Team

Q & A:

On the Front Lines of

Subway Construction in the Miracle Mile

An interview with Mindy Lake and Michael Cortez,

members of Metro’s Construction Relations Team

After almost two years of advanced utility relocation (and a couple more to go at Wilshire and Fairfax), the main event will begin soon at La Brea and Wilshire as preparations are made for underground subway construction. The Purple Line extension from Western Avenue to La Cienega Boulevard is a massive and complex endeavor. The multi-billion dollar, nine-year construction project through one of the most densely populated urban corridors in the country is fraught with potential impacts on nearby residents and businesses. It is the job of Mindy Lake [below right] and Michael Cortez [below left] to serve as a liaison between Metro and the community and help ensure that the mitigations implemented during the subway work go as well as possible.

 

Lake and Cortez talk about their jobs, the proper way to make a complaint about subway construction, and Metro’s Eat-Shop-Play program to support local business during the building process. They were interviewed June 8, 2015. The interview has been edited for length.

Q: What exactly are your jobs?

Lake: My official title is Senior Construction Relations Officer, Section One, West Segment. Which, in plain English, means I handle construction-related issues for the Purple Line Extension for the area west of Hauser Boulevard to La Cienega Boulevard, which includes the Fairfax station and the La Cienega station.

Cortez: And I’m the Senior Construction Relations Office for the East Segment. I cover everything east of Hauser to Western, which includes the La Brea station, the Crenshaw staging yard, and the tie-in to the station at Wilshire and Western.

Q: Mindy, what are your qualifications for this job?

Lake: Over 25 years of community activity and activism stemming back to the mid-1980s in this neighborhood, particularly west of Fairfax: from organizing the first Neighborhood Watch to being a founding member of Mid City West Community Council. I was also the co-chair of the Wilshire Division’s Community-Police Advisory Board for four years. I was born in the neighborhood and went to schools here. I’m basically a dyed-in-the wool community person. I took this job because I thought I had the qualifications to understand the needs of this community – and I thought I could be helpful to Metro with this transformative construction project.

Q: Michael, what are your qualifications?

Cortez: I have over 11 years experience working in the public sector. I worked many years for the Community Redevelopment Agency in the Hollywood and Central region. Prior to that I worked for two elected officials. I was born and raised in Canoga Park. I was president of my neighborhood council and engaged in community activism in the Valley. I believe in the importance of community engagement in the planning process all the way through to the construction of a project.

Q: Now that that a principal contractor –a design-builder in Metro jargon – has been engaged, how do you two specifically fit into the construction process?

Lake: We liaison with all of the entities connected to subway construction. We work with Metro’s project management; we work with community relations; we work with the community; we work with the design-builder and the sub-contractors still working on utility relocations. Our job is to keep an eye on what’s going on so that we can deliver that information to the community – and be available when there are issues or complaints. We try to stay out in front of everything so that we can anticipate if something might create a problem for the community.

Q: It seems that one of the problems Metro sometimes had keeping the noise disturbances under control during nighttime utility relocation work was the large number of sub-contractors involved. Each contractor had to be educated on proper noise mitigation methods. Will it be easier for you to control this problem now that you are dealing with only one main contractor for the actual subway construction?

Lake: Absolutely. I think the challenge with the utility relocation sub-contractors was that what we asked of them was so much more than they were accustomed to providing. It required us to really stay on top it. We had a heightened degree of mitigation measures we were implementing. It was a learning curve for them and a trust issue for us. We had to work very closely with them to make sure the understood the community they were working in.

Q: Speaking of which, how do you find this community to work in?

Cortez: I would say I’ve been able to work well with the community. I’ve started to build relationships with various organizations. I go the community council meetings. I meet with folks individually. I want people to have a face they know during the construction process. Here in the La Brea area I’ve been introducing myself to all the businesses. I am available to them and try to keep them informed. Like Mindy, I respond to anyone who contacts me by phone or email in 24-hours or less.

Q: Let’s talk about complaints. If residents or businesses are having issues with dust, noise, construction traffic, or any other subway related problems, what is the proper way to get Metro’s attention?

Lake: We have are hotline phone number, 213-922-6934, which can translate into an immediate, real-time response if its an urgent construction related matter. Or we can be reached by email. [See below.]

Q: What determines urgency and prompts a real-time response?

Lake: My definition of urgent, for example, would be if you were experiencing an extraordinarily loud construction disturbance at night or your driveway was blocked by a truck during construction. You would call the project hotline; go through the menu options; indicate that it is urgent; a live operator will come on the line; you tell them where you are located and what the issue is; they would call or text me or Michael; and we would respond right then and there.

Q: And then you or Michael would contact someone at the construction site to find out what’s going on?

Lake: Yes. Or, in my case, I live in the Miracle Mile, right here in the construction zone, so, often I’ll just go to the site to investigate the problem.

Q: That was a big mistake, wasn’t it? Moving into the Miracle Mile when you took this assignment? You didn’t put much distance between yourself and your job.

Lake: (Laughing.) It speaks on some level to either my insanity or my commitment to this project. I think it’s the only fair way, that when I say to someone that I know what you’re going through, that I can be perfectly honest.

Cortez: When there is a complaint or problem, we sit down with the contractor and discuss the situation – and remind them to continue to implement our mitigation efforts.

Q: So, simply put, the best way to complain is to call the project hotline: 213-922-6934.

Lake: It’s been a very effective method. The response time is excellent. Michael and I are on top of it. We also cover for each other if one of us is indisposed.

Q: The Miracle Mile Residential Association has a keen interest in supporting small businesses and restaurants. Obviously, the enterprises located closest to the staging sites at La Brea and Fairfax are going to be economically impacted by subway construction. Metro has created a marketing program called Eat Shop Play to promote these businesses to help counteract any damage to their bottom line. What sort of response have you been getting from Miracle Mile business owners?

Lake: Once they wrap their heads around the idea of what we’re doing – and understand that this is something we’re providing to them at no cost – they are quite engaged. They have to grasp the potential construction impacts; right now they’re not really feeling it. So, we’re trying to be pro-active and educate them. Once we get through that process, they are very interested in participating. We’ve had very positive responses.

Q: Have you gotten many Miracle Mile businesses to participate in the program?

Cortez: Yes, so far almost 50 businesses in the La Brea, Fairfax, and La Cienega areas.

Q: I know you promote the Eat Shop Play program online, but will you promote it in other media outlets – like local newspapers?

Lake: Yes, we’ve also bought pole banners for Wilshire Boulevard. We’ll also advertise on billboards and bus shelters. Our official launch for the program is July 1st. That is why we want to reach out to all of our community partners. We want to get word out.


Metro Purple Line Extension
Construction Relations

24-hour telephone: 213-922-6934

Mindy Lake (west segment; Hauser Blvd. to La Cienega Blvd.):
LakeM@metro.net

Michael Cortez (east segment; Hauser Blvd. to Western Ave.):
cortezmic@metro.net

Metro Purple Line Extension links:

http://www.metro.net/projects/westside/
Twitter: @purplelineext
Facebook: facebook.com/purplelineext

 

“Sleepless in the Miracle Mile” Update:

The MMRA collected nearly 800 signatures in our petition campaign to stop nighttime subway construction in the Miracle Mile. Although we have not yet succeeded in stopping all nighttime work (which we continue to oppose) our well-publicized campaign did motivate Metro to limit or rearrange nighttime construction to minimize complaints.

Now that a prime subway contractor has been engaged – Skanska, Traylor and Shea (STS) – officers of the MMRA are meeting regularly with representatives of Metro, STS, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and the Los Angeles Police Commission (which issues permits for nighttime construction).

The MMRA is adamant that the community have a direct voice in how subway construction in general is conducted in the Miracle Mile, including: the selection of haul routes; sound mitigation at the staging yards; loss of public parking; and protecting our small business and restaurants.

The residents of the Miracle Mile welcome the Purple Line subway extension. The MMRA will work closely with all parties involved to help manage the impacts on our community – while continuing our efforts to stop the noise disturbances of nighttime work.

Miracle Mile HPOZ Update ~ June 2015

Miracle Mile HPOZ Update

June 2015:

New Videos of Historical Survey Team at Work
+ HPOZ Progress Report from Katie Horak

 

Click on image to view video.

An Historic Resources Survey is the foundation of an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, it documents the history of every property within the boundaries of an HPOZ. The Miracle Mile Residential Association engaged the services of Architectural Resources Group [ARG] to perform the survey of the Miracle Mile HPOZ [see map].

Watch the video above to see the ARG survey team at work in the Miracle Mile. You will also learn what “contributing” and “non-contributing” properties are and how they are evaluated.

Click on image to view video.

For a progress report on the Miracle Mile HPOZ watch the interview [above] with Katie Horak, Senior Associate, Architectural Resources Group. Research of original building permits reveals that several renown architects designed homes in the Miracle Mile.

HPOZ Info Packet Mailed to Miracle Mile Property Owners

Earlier this month, the HPOZ Committee – as part of its ongoing outreach campaign – sent out a mailing to nearly 1600 property owners within the boundaries of the Miracle Mile Historic Preservation Overlay Zone. A letter from HPOZ Chairperson Mark Zecca was accompanied by an informative HPOZ pamphlet published by the City Department of Planning.

If you are a renter and would like to receive a copy of the letter and HPOZ pamphlet, email your name and address to: HPOZ@MiracleMileLA.com.

Host an HPOZ Informational Meeting
on Your Block

Sierra Bonita resident Esther Diaz hands a $250 check to MMRA
Treasurer Joe Steins. Diaz’s personal donation – the first we have
received – will help the MMRA with the substantial costs of
establishing the Miracle Mile HPOZ. (Photo by Cari Lutz.)

On Saturday, June 6, an informal gathering of residents on South Sierra Bonita Avenue [see story below] had an opportunity to learn about HPOZ and have their questions answered by HPOZ Chairperson Mark Zecca and MMRA Treasurer Joseph Steins. If you and your neighbors would like to host a get-together to learn more about HPOZ please contact us and members of the HPOZ Committee will be happy to attend. You can email us at:

HPOZ@MiracleMileLA.com

For additional information on the Miracle Mile HPOZ visit:

MiracleMileLA.com/HPOZ