Recently elected Councilman Curren D. Price met at the Challengers Boys and Girls Club this past Saturday, for a “Community Meet and Greet.” On 50th and Vermont Avenue in the heart of the New Ninth district, the councilman laid out his plan for his first hundred days.
For about 35 minutes, he spoke to a group of around 60 community members explaining his goals and priorities for the New Ninth District before taking questions. In the outline, Price cited his three major areas of concern: creating and maintaining a “Clean and Green” community, developing economically, and empowering the youth.
Price was very particular about referring to the Ninth District as the “New” Ninth; in part recognizing the resent redistricting, which has left the districts boundaries new geographically, but also in light of what he calls “a renewed determination, a persistence to get the job done and a new spirit of engagement.”
Community members present seemed pleased with the councilman’s goals but also eager to voice their concerns. The group got a chuckle when one woman complained to the councilman about calling the city and being told she should wait a few years for the trees in front of her home to be trimmed. The councilman assured her that was not protocol, and that it is his concern “to make sure that city services are being delivered as they should. That the resources the city has are being utilized by people that are paying taxes and who expect services.”
Others stood up with more sobering concerns. One man spoke of a petition he created to get speed bumps on all residential streets after a slew of violent incidents in his neighborhood ranging from hit and run accidents, to drive by shootings. He’d been told the transportation department cut the program due to a lack of funding. “What can be done to raise the money?” He asked the councilman, “I’m willing to do whatever it takes.”
“There’s been an epidemic of these hit-and-runs,” responded Price after thanking the man for his question. He referenced a few other recent hit-and-run incidents in the community.
“Street safety is so very important,” said Price. “We’re certainly doing a review of troubled intersections trying to see where we can direct some attention,” he explained, relenting that it’s been difficult as funds just aren’t there. For that he encouraged the petition work to continue, “when there’s large community support, it’s more possible.”
The councilman also invited community members to visit the district office located at 4301 South Central Avenue and begin using the building as a “City Hall in the South.”
With a large community room on cite, multiple vacant cubicles, and a rooftop garden, District Director James Westbrooks says the building “is not being utilized as it should.”
“We’re working to get some of the city agencies to come in. Building and safety, sanitation, housing [these agencies] to come in, a couple days a week, a few hours a day so residents can come and have questions answered.” said Westbrooks, pointing out that “some folks don’t have the ability to drive downtown.”
Other plans for the building include non-profit organizations coming in to set up satellite offices, regularly held community events, and an enhancement of the rooftop garden as an enrichment facility for the youth.
With negotiations in progress with the city attorney’s office Westbrooks is expectant and hopeful about the buildings potential, “we have these resources there for the residents, so the community can come and get what it needs.”
Newly elected 9th District councilman Curren Price answers questions at a recent meet and greet in Los Angeles