Patt Morrison for March 30, 2011

Take a walk through Boyle Heights and see the problems & the promise of L.A.

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Eric Zassenhaus/KPCC

A woman makes her way past a mural in Boyle Heights.

Walk through the neighborhood of Boyle Heights, just east of downtown Los Angeles, and you see the history of the city unfold before your eyes. From the Boyle Hotel built in 1889 to historic synagogues and Mariachi Plaza. The cultural, religious and ethnic melting pot that is Los Angeles starts in Boyle Heights and emanates outward. The challenges facing the residents of Boyle Heights are familiar: access to affordable housing and high-quality health care, but some are unique. Boyle Heights has a disproportionate share of public housing developments, some of which were at one time the largest west of the Mississippi. The conversion of those units to private ownership threatens the low-income residents who inhabit the decades-old buildings adorned with vibrant murals. Boyle Heights is faced with mitigating the environmental health impacts of its surroundings—freeways and rail lines that run next to children’s playgrounds, housing and schools and diminishing the influence of gangs and helping to heal the psychological wounds of violence. But the promise of Boyle Heights is unmistakable and hopes are high as crime is down, education reform comes into focus, middle class families work to gain prominence and economic and cultural development begins to blossom. Join us as we take a walk through Boyle Heights and take in the past, present and future.

Guests:

Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of the City of Los Angeles

Maria Cabildo, president and co-founder of the East L.A. Community Corporation

Jose Huizar, L.A. city councilman representing the 14th District, including Boyle Heights

Father Gregory Boyle, founder & executive director of Homeboy Industries & pastor of Dolores Mission in Boyle Heights

George Sarabia, former gang member and current gang interventionist for Legacy LA

Lou Calanche, executive director of Legacy L.A

David Kipen, owner of Libros Schmibros bookstore & lending library in Boyle Heights

Dr. Astrid Heger, pediatrician and executive director of the Violence Intervention Program in East LA

Josefina Lopez, artistic director or Casa 0101, theater and art space in Boyle Heights

Sanford Riggs, housing services director for the Housing Authority for the City of Los Angeles (HACLA)


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