Public Safety

$25,000 Reward Established for the Murder of a Security Guard in unincorporated Whittier

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a $25,000 reward today for information in last month’s shooting death of Reyes Armando Garcia, at the request of Supervisor Don Knabe.

Garcia was shot and killed on the night of February 9, while working as a security guard at Oceans Sports Bar located at 14314 Telegraph Road, in the unincorporated area of Whittier. On that night, a group of males was observed drinking beer in the parking lot of the bar. The security staff approached the individuals and informed them that they could not drink in the parking lot and asked them to leave. One of the individuals punched Mr. Garcia, and one of the other suspects pulled out a gun and shot Garcia several times. The suspects sped away in a light colored pickup truck.

"These types of heinous crimes will not go unpunished, said Supervisor Knabe. We need to find the men responsible for the death of Mr. Garcia, and it is my hope that this reward will help lead to new information and ultimately an arrest.

Any person having any information related to this crime is asked to call the Homicide Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at (323) 890-5500.

Homeless Housing Program Celebrates Milestone

It has been nearly three years since 45-year-old Lloyd Robinson last had a home; instead he has been sleeping in garages, cars and on benches, since he became homeless in 2004. Homelessness came to an end for Robinson earlier this month when he received the keys to his very own apartment in Whittier.

Lloyd Robinson is the very first participant in Supervisor Don Knabe’s pilot program that will create permanent housing opportunities for dozens of homeless individuals and families. The Access to Housing for Health (AHH) Pilot Project was proposed by Knabe and approved by the Board of Supervisors in December 2006. It utilizes $1.5 million of the $80 million in funding for Countywide homeless prevention initiatives that was approved by the Board of Supervisors last year. AHH is a partnership between the County, the City, and community service providers.

The primary goal of the program is to dramatically improve housing options for homeless men and women who seek care at County hospitals by connecting them with permanent housing opportunities once they leave the hospital. Upon leaving County hospitals, homeless clients are referred to Homeless Health Care Los Angeles, which provides case management services. The clients receive temporary housing, and either a Section 8 housing voucher or a public housing unit, and are then linked to supportive services designed to help them successfully remain in housing.

The pilot program is designed to place up to 115 homeless clients into permanent housing. The Housing Authority of Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles City Housing Authority each set aside 50 of their Section 8 vouchers for the program and Del Richardson and Associates assist AHH clients with finding suitable housing. In addition, the County Housing Authority has set aside 15 public housing units.

Lloyd Robinson became the first participant in the program after learning about it while being treated for pneumonia at Rancho Los Amigos – a County-operated rehabilitation hospital.

"A social worker at Rancho Los Amigos told me about Access to Housing for Health and I thought that might be my chance for me to finally get off the streets," said Robinson. "If it wasn’t for this program I would be still living in the street, but by the grace of God I was blessed."

Robinson officially enrolled in AHH on March 8, 2007, and is now connected to a network of support services, including case management, housing locator services, counseling, ongoing medical care, and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. He received the keys to his new apartment on April 24 and moved in a few weeks later.

"Before this program, we had virtually no way to ensure that homeless men and women leaving our hospitals would receive safe housing or appropriate care," said Supervisor Knabe. "Mr. Robinson was a wonderful story of redemption and courageousness and I look forward to hearing similar stories as this program continues."

"The program helped me gain my health back and gave me the opportunity to look forward to a better life," said Robinson. "I now have a beautiful home that I can call my own."

Marina del Rey Seawall Repair Project Now Underway

The first phase of a multimillion dollar construction project by Los Angeles County to repair several thousand feet of the seawall protecting Marina del Rey is now underway, Supervisor Don Knabe announced this week.

The Marina seawall consists of 728 reinforced concrete panels spanning approximately 7.2 miles of land within the Marina. Voids of varying sizes have been detected at the bottom of approximately 17,600 lineal feet of seawall resulting from consolidation and loss of underlying soils from groundwater fluctuations caused by tidal changes. The voids have the potential to compromise the long-term structural integrity of the seawall.

The first phase of the project is now underway and will target repairs along 1,600 feet of the seawall. The $5,350,000 budget for Phase I of the project will fund repairs on the largest and most critical gaps in the seawall. Construction includes grouting voids, placement of filter fabric and bedding stone, and installation of a 3-foot minimum layer of armor rock protection at the base of the wall.

Most of the work will be completed by a team of divers and a water-based derrick crane. In some areas, the rock will be placed using a land-based crane with the contractor coordinating the construction schedule with local businesses to minimize disruption of services and access to docks.

These seawall repairs are absolutely critical and will be completed as soon as possible, said Supervisor Knabe. This project is designed to further increase the safety of the residents and visitors of Marina del Rey.

Marijuana Dispensary to Close

The marijuana dispensary currently operating in Hacienda Heights will be closing soon, Supervisor Don Knabe announced today.

The dispensary, which is located at 15838 Haliburton Road in Hacienda Heights opened in May 2005 and was the first medical marijuana dispensary in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County. At that time, there were no regulations in the County that governed marijuana dispensaries. Supervisor Knabe led the effort to make sure that these dispensaries would be adequately regulated in order to keep neighborhoods safe, and on May 9, 2006, the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that regulated marijuana dispensaries in the County.

The new ordinance had a clause which stated that a marijuana dispensary must be at least 1,000 feet from a sensitive location like a school, church, library, etc. Under the new regulations the dispensary in Hacienda Heights was out of compliance with that clause. The operator of the dispensary, California Medical Caregivers Association, has settled with the County and agreed to cease all operations in the unincorporated area of the County for which they have not obtained permits or licenses required under the new regulation and will vacate the Hacienda Heights location on or before April 30, 2007.

This is a big victory for us, said Supervisor Knabe. As I have said before this issue is not about whether medical marijuana is right or wrong – the voters have already answered that question. What is most critical is ensuring the safety of our children and our neighborhoods. Closing this dispensary ensures we are keeping our neighborhoods safe.

Street Name Sign Upgrade Coming to Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works has embarked on a project to upgrade street name signs in the Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights areas. The project is part of a County program to increase the visibility of street name signs along roadways with speed limits of 30 mph or greater.

Working with the Department of Public Works and Chief Administrative Office, the Board of Supervisors has selected the communities of Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights as the next areas to implement the new street name signs. These new signs will have larger lettering and greater reflectivity at night to increase safety and mobility on the major streets of the communities. The signs will also include the community names of Hacienda Heights or Rowland Heights along with the Los Angeles County Seal to help bring a unifying theme of neighborhood to these unincorporated areas. Over 740 signs will be installed along the major streets of these communities.

"These new street signs will not only bring increased safety to these communities, but they will act as a Community Branding of sorts," said Supervisor Knabe. "Most of the cities throughout the County have street signs that signify the city, and our unincorporated areas deserve the same. Hopefully, these signs will help to bring these neighborhoods together."

Colima Road and Azusa Avenue have been upgraded with the new signs already and Hacienda Boulevard is currently under way. The remaining streets in the Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights communities will follow Hacienda Boulevard. Public Works expects to complete this project by this spring.

Free Golf Lessons Offered at County Golf Courses for Youth Ages 4 to 18

The County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation kicked off its Junior Golf Program last week at La Mirada Golf Course. The Junior Golf Program will offer free golf lessons to youth ages 4 to 18 at a total of six participating Los Angeles County golf courses.

Celebrating its sixth year of introducing youth to the game of golf, the County of Los Angeles Junior Golf Program offers youth an opportunity to practice and learn the game of golf from professional instructors. Each one-week Junior Golf session takes place every day from 3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The County of Los Angeles Junior Golf Program will offer free lessons at the following locations and dates:

La Mirada Golf Course

15501 East Alicante Road

La Mirada, California 90638

January 22-26, January 29-February 2

Chester Washington Golf Course

1930 West 120th Street

Los Angeles, California 90047

February 19-23, February 26-March 2

Santa Anita Golf Course

405 South Santa Anita Avenue

Arcadia, California 91006

March 19-23, March 26-30

Mountain Meadows Golf Course

1875 Fairplex Drive

Pomona, California 91768

April 23-27, April 30-May 4

El Cariso Golf Course

13100 Eldridge Avenue

Sylmar, California 91342

May 14-18, May 21-25

Diamond Bar Golf Course

22751 East Golden Springs Drive

Diamond Bar, California 91765

June 11-15

For more information or to enroll in the program, contact Los Angeles County Junior Golf Director Mike McMonegal at (626) 821-4648.

Additional Graffiti Clean Up Services Coming to Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights

Graffiti cleanup services will soon be offered in the communities of Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights seven days a week thanks to a recent expansion of community services approved after a request by Supervisor Don Knabe.

Currently, graffiti cleanup crews operate in the two communities during weekdays only.

Today’s approval will now extend that coverage to include Saturdays and Sundays. Although crews will focus efforts on graffiti near schools, parks and major intersections, the crews will also be available to respond to individual service calls.

This service extension will go a long way to removing graffiti in these communities, said Supervisor Knabe. By focusing on rapid cleanup of these crimes, I confident we will take a positive step forward to curbing the escalation of graffiti incidents.

For graffiti removal in the unincorporated areas of the Los Angeles County, including Hacienda Heights and Rowland Heights, anyone can contact the County’s Graffiti Hotline at (800) 675-4357.

The graffiti removal hotline is available with live operators 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Los Angeles County Adopts Green Building Construction Plan

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a series of changes this week to building design policies for County construction projects. The new standards will require all new County buildings over 10,000 square feet to meet strict sustainability guidelines set by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Among the sustainability rules adopted by the Board are requirements that buildings commissioned by the County include drought-resistant landscaping, water use efficiencies, natural indoor lighting and recycled construction materials whenever appropriate. The County Data Center, currently under construction in the Fourth District on the campus of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, was designed to meet the new standards and will be the first County facility to apply for LEED certification once construction is complete.

This is an opportunity for Los Angeles County to be a leader in sustainable construction. We already own or operate over 5,000 buildings, from animal shelters to office buildings, to fire stations and we are building dozens of new facilities every year, said Supervisor Don Knabe. Using sustainable design techniques in the construction of these buildings will have an important impact in reducing the use of resources needed to operate our facilities.

The new construction policies adopted this week are not the only changes the County has made in the area of sustainable operations recently. The use of recycled water for landscape irrigation is already occurring at several County parks and golf courses. At Supervisor Knabe’s direction, the Department of Public Works is currently investigating ways to expand uses of recycled water for other purposes across the County.

Commercial Vehicle Ban Approved for Portions of Hacienda Heights

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a ban today on the parking of commercial vehicles of 10,000 pounds on the west side of Countrywood Avenue, between Pepperbrook Way and Colima Road in Hacienda Heights.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works will post adequate signs along all of the affected streets, so that the public is aware of the new parking prohibition. The parking ban will be in effect 24-hours a day and violators will be subject to fines.

$10,000 Reward Renewed for Information Related to Hit-And-Run Death In Marina del Rey

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has unanimously renewed a $10,000 reward today, at the request of Supervisor Don Knabe, for information related to the hit-and-run death of Marina del Rey resident, Patrick Conarpe.

On Saturday, October 28, 2006, at approximately 7:55 p.m., Conarpe, an employee of Ralphs Supermarket, was tragically killed by a hit-and-run driver at the intersection of Mindanao and Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey. While taking a break from his duties at the market, Conarpe was crossing Admiralty Way with his friend and co-worker when he may have dropped some personal articles in the crosswalk. While retrieving his personal items from the roadway, he was struck by a vehicle traveling eastbound on Admiralty Way suffering fatal injuries.

"This was tragic and unnecessary death, said Supervisor Knabe. We need to continue our efforts to find the person responsible for the death of Mr. Conarpe, and it is my hope that this reward will help lead to new information.

Any person having any information related to this crime is asked to contact CHP Investigator Dan Morrison of the California Highway Patrol at (310) 642-3939, Ext. 244.