More Help for Families of Foster Children

Committed to supporting grandparents, uncles and aunts who unexpectedly take in a young family member, Board Chair Hilda L. Solis introduced a motion that increases County services offered to them.

“Relatives who care for a young family member who would otherwise end up in our foster care system need to be supported," Solis said. "We embrace the fact that these caregivers come from all cultural backgrounds so they may need information in their respective languages to better understand the services the County can offer them."

Fifty percent of children in the County's foster care program live with a relative. Many of these extended family members find themselves unexpectedly having to raise a child.

Solis added, "Help is available. We need to let them know of resources in their languages."

Probation Department Oversight Committee

"Based on my visits to our juvenile halls, it is clear that there are things that need to change within the Probation Department. I have seen a deeply ingrained culture that treats these children as future criminals rather than as traumatized kids,” said Los Angeles County Board Chair Hilda L. Solis at a recent Board of Supervisors meeting.

On Feb. 2, County Supervisors discussed whether the Probation Department needs an Oversight Committee, much like the recently approved Civilian Oversight Committee that will monitor the Sheriff’s Department.

“Oversight is one important way to move forward to change this culture within the Probation Department. We also need to focus on looking at where and how we hire new probation officers and on how we train them," said Solis, who added the timing for this committee is appropriate given that the County is currently searching for a new probation chief.

“It is critical that we hire a leader that not only has a vision for a truly rehabilitative County Probation Department, but also the experience in driving the massive cultural change necessary to turn this vision into a reality,” Solis said.

Community Action

Little Tokyo
Metro’s Business Interruption Fund Helps Small Businesses Keep Going

The Little Tokyo/Arts District Gold Line station is closed until March 21 due to construction, but thanks to Metro’s Business Interruption Fund, small businesses in Little Tokyo have not slowed down.

In January, the Little Tokyo/Arts District Gold Line station closed for several months so that construction workers could continue on the light-rail's extension. Local merchants were concerned that they would lose business as a result. Metro's Business Interruption Fund was started to assist these "mom and pop" businesses.

More than $1 million in grants have been awarded since April 2015 to qualifying merchants in areas affected by the construction throughout Los Angeles.

Kato’s Sewing Machine Company is one of them. Located on 1st Street just east of Alameda, Kato's has kept its doors open in Little Tokyo for more than half a century. Kato’s specializes in the repair and sales of new and vintage sewing machines. Recognized regionally for its excellence and thorough service, the company’s clientele includes Cirque du Soleil, Ice Capades and many high-end fashion designers.

Since the mid-1980s, Alvin Kato has been a fixture at Kato’s. His father, Frank Kato, founded the business in 1961. Since then, the Kato family has continued the tradition of being the “go-to shop for any sewing machine needs.”

To find out if your business qualifies for assistance from Metro's Business Interruption Fund click here. For more information, click here.

(Alvin Kato of Kato’s Sewing Machine Company. Photo credit: Gary Leonard/Metro).

Bell Gardens
'Immigrants Deserve to Live with Dignity'

Sofía Cruz, the little girl who ran to hand the Pope a letter asking that he advocate for immigrants while he visited the United States, surprised everyone when she showed up unexpectedly at a citizenship workshop in Bell Gardens.

“All immigrants deserve to live with dignity and respect because they are hard-working individuals," said the 5-year-old South Gate resident to participants.

The Council of Mexican Federations (COFEM) recently hosted the free workshop that provided legal advice for those filling out citizenship applications. Attorneys were also available to answer questions.

Supervisor Solis’s staff were also on hand to assist with citizenship applications.

Downtown Los Angeles
LA Phil Symphonies for Schools

South East High School ninth-grader Angela Hernandez beamed with excitement as she waited for the LA Phil to perform in the Walt Disney Concert Hall during a recent field trip with her class. "I know we're going to hear great music," she said.

Sitting nearby, Emily Luevano chimed in saying teenagers nowadays enjoy all genres of music.

"We have different tastes. We like classical music, but then others might like Justin Bieber," said the South East High School ninth-grader. "I love classical music, though. I love it here!"

Each year, the Los Angeles Philharmonic performs free concerts for school children at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Teachers who accompany their students to these performances attend a workshop that helps them integrate the field trip into their classroom lesson plans.

Cesar Hernandez, a Bell Gardens High School eleventh-grader, felt inspired when he looked out onto the stage. He plays 13 instruments, including the flute, trumpet and drums. A member of his school's marching band, he sat with friends who perform in Bell Gardens High's orchestra.

“Knowing these musicians are on a higher level is an inspiration to us," Cesar said while motioning to fellow student musicians, Sheila and Alejandra. "This makes us feel that we'll be on there - on stage - one day, too."

Click here for more information about the LA Phil's Symphonies for Schools program.

Boyle Heights
Restoring Hispanic Veterans Memorial

Concerned that the National Hispanic Vietnam Veterans Memorial has suffered from neglect and graffiti, a group of community members banded together to restore the site to its former glory.

Antonio Chapa and Kristine Hesse, both Los Angeles County Veterans Advisory Commissioners, organized a group of veterans and community members to come together one recent morning to clean the country's first memorial dedicated to Hispanic Vietnam vets.

On Jan. 13, 1988, local residents and veterans unveiled the memorial to much fanfare. But, in the past seven years, the symbolic site, located at 269 N. Soto St., has been neglected and ignored.

Actor Edward James Olmos was among those who came out to restore the memorial, along with fellow actor, writer, director and producer Enrique Castillo. Visual artist Ignacio Gomez also helped trim overgrown vegetation that had hidden the site.

Keeping the Exide Issue Front and Center

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez visited East Los Angeles to meet with families affected by lead contamination from the nearby Exide plant. Read his Sunday column here.

Supervisor Solis penned this touching profile of families who have been adversely affected by Exide’s lead contamination. The piece appeared in the Huffington Post. To read the blog, click here.


Call for Artists for a Cooler Grand Park
Design new permanent shade structures to improve visitors’ park experience.
Informational Meeting: Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 (Time/Location TBD)
Application Deadline: 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, 2016
For more information, please email:

Contracting Connections:
For Small Businesses in Los Angeles County
Department of Public Works
900 S. Fremont Avenue
Alhambra, CA 91803
Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016
8 a.m. – noon
For more information, call:
(323) 881-3964
RSVP online on Event Calendar at

Toy Loan Open House
Department of Community and Senior Services
Centro Maravilla Service Center
4716 E. Cesar Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90022
Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016
2:30 p.m.- 4 p.m.

Funding Available for Veterans in Need!
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles
For more information, visit


East Los Angeles Field Office
4801 East Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90022
Phone: (323) 881-4601
Fax: (323) 887-7286

Hall of Administration Office
856 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 974-4111
Fax: (213) 613-1739

El Monte Field Office
3400 Aerojet Avenue, Suite 240
El Monte, CA 91731
Phone: (626) 350-4500
Fax: (626) 448-1573

Southeast Field Office
2677 Zoe Avenue
Huntington Park, CA 90255
Phone: (323) 826-6370


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