Thursday, April 30, 2009

CB Grant Featured in 2009-10 Budget Summary Book - Part 2

The Community Beautification Grant Program was cited as a "Community Win" in the Mayor's Proposed 2009-10 Budget Summary Book. Included in the budget book are highlights of the CB Grant, as provided below:
  • Since 1998, over 930 projects have been completed in partnership with the community. To view over 540 projects situated on an interactive map, follow this link (
  • The City's original investment of $5,460,000 to fund these projects has yielded over a 200% return of $16,403,000 in matching funds and labor from the community and its partners.
  • Over 102,000 people volunteered their time and expertise to complete the projects.
  • These projects have solved many problems plaguing our communities and were done so without incurring City of Los Angeles staff time or resources.
  • Some of the more innovative projects include a community-based recycling program in Pacific Palisades, a proposal to install solar-powered trash receptacles in Echo Park, and developing a community garden SECURED TO A WALL in Downtown LA's skid row.
  • Many community leaders have used the grant to spark revitalization efforts that have lead to further community investment, including Atwater Village, Pacoima, Downtown Los Angeles, Studio City, Venice, and Larchmont Square.
  • Many cultural communities have installed projects, such as the Japanese-American mural on Central Ave., the Thai Town angels on Hollywood Blvd., the dome representing ancient Latino culture on Huntington Blvd., and the landscaping project at the California African American Museum to name a few.

CB Grant Featured in 2009-10 Budget Summary Book - Part 1

The success of the Community Beautification Grant Program was recently recognized on two pages of the Mayor's Proposed 2009-10 Budget Summary Book. Grant recipient, Save Chatsworth, is profiled on page 54. The full text below:
In 2005, the area above the 118 Freeway at the end of Canoga Avenue was a 13-acre public site plagued with problems. Former trails were overgrown with non-native weeds and plants. The spectacular rock formations were covered with graffiti, and illegal campsites
were found throughout the area. That was before the organization Save Chatsworth received three grants for the area in 2006, 2007, and 2008. The grants were awarded to revitalize the area, including its trails, and to install informational kiosks highlighting the local flora and fauna. Even after suffering damage in the recent fires, the area continues to prosper. Hikers and horse riders now regularly utilize the area. Since the improvements have been completed,vandalism has been almost non-existent in the park.
Vanessa Watters, the Head of Save Chatsworth,said "I know times are tight and we all have to sacrifice a little bit but I am glad the City recognizes the value created by their Community Beautification Grants. Our experience has been extremely gratifying. The City worked with us and helped us when we encountered any problem and ours was not a typical project. Our goal was to clean up the sites of dumping and debris and make it a nice area for people to pass-through. We've had a great response to the informational panels we have erected that educate passers-by as to the fascinating history of Chatsworth and the local fauna and flora. Next on our list is to create a hitching post and add an information kiosk on equestrian life. Once you start these projects, the work goes on. In these times it’s difficult, but even a little bit spent on projects like this is so uplifting."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Attend the Free LANI Community Forum on May 14th at USC

The Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI) will host the 7th LANI Community Forum on May 14th from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at USC Davidson Conference Center, located at 3415 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA, 90089. The forum is a one-day conference focused on having community members connect, learn and share information.
This year’s forum offers a variety of workshops on diverse topics such as incorporating art into your commercial district, fundraising, and transforming alleys into vibrant, productive spaces. The full list of topics is on the brochure. Joyce Perkins, Co-Founder and Board Member of LANI, will be the Honorary Speaker at the event.
The presenters will include industry experts and representatives from private, public and non-profit sectors sharing their knowledge. From our office, Michael Espinosa, the Manager of the CB Grant program, will be moderating a panel on Neighborhood-based efforts to reduce waste.
Free parking, free food, wonderful conversation, and great speakers. What more could you ask for?
For more information and to reserve your spot, visit

The City of Los Angeles Provides Free Recycling Services for Your Big Event

Help the City of Los Angeles reach its goal of reducing waste by 70% by the year 2015. In support of this, the City of Los Angeles Special Events Recycling Program provides free recycling services for special events held throughout Los Angeles. Bins will be provided at events to recycle beverage containers (glass, plastic or aluminum) and/or cardboard. Special events can include dedications, workdays, or festivals.
Contact the Special Events Recycling Program at (213) 922-8301 to coordinate free recycling services at your next special event. Have the following information ready:
  • Name, date, time and estimated number of attendees.
  • Information for the crews and their trucks.
  • On-site contact information for the day of the event.
  • City Council District.
The program provides uniformed staff and colorful, clearly labeled yellow or blue recycling bins at the events free of charge. The staff will set up the bins with plastic liners, monitor and change the bins throughout the events and pick up bins and recyclables at the end of the event. The program does not provide trash removal containers or services.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mayor Villaraigosa's Proposed 2009-10 Budget

On April 20, Mayor Villaraigosa released his 2009-10 Proposed Budget for the City of Los Angeles's Fiscal Year 2009-10 (July '09 to June '10). The budget will be discussed, debated, changed and adopted during the next two months by the Los Angeles City Council and then approved by the Mayor.
The budget will go before the Council's Budget and Finance Committee starting April 27 and hearings will continue until approximately May 12. It will then be vetted in front of the full council where a final budget must be approved or modified by June 1st. The details of the process can be found in the City Charter, sections 310 - 315.  
The Mayor's Proposed Budget allocates $525,000 for the 2009-10 Community Beautification Grant cycle, cut from last year's amount of $600,000 (which was reduced to $480,000 in mid-year).  The Office of Community Beautification is looking at how to stretch the available dollars to fund the maximum number of projects in Los Angeles.  We are considering returning to a maximum grant amount of $5,000 to allow for the maximum number of community projects.  We'd like to hear your thoughts. How will a $5,000 cap affect the projects you are considering for the next grant cycle?  If you have comments, please send us an e-mail at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day at Los Angeles City Hall

Today, we spent our morning in the beautiful Tom Bradley tower of the City Hall building honoring special citizens and organizations that are making a difference in each Council District (CD). We went as a guest of Ida Tallala, a recent grant recipient and staunch neighborhood advocate. Also present were former recipients, Kent Smith of the Fashion District and David Kietzman of Project Youth Green.
The full list of honorees at the event were:
  • Los Angeles River Keeps (CD1)
  • The Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City (CD2)
  • Wilbur Avenue Elementary (CD3)
  • Toluca Lake Garden Club (CD4)
  • Jonathan Weiss (CD5)
  • Glenn Lopez (CD6)
  • Project Youth Green (CD7)
  • City Year Los Angeles (CD8)
  • Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) (CD9)
  • Renee A. Gunter (CD10)
  • The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission (CD11)
  • Chatsworth Neighborhood Council (CD12)
  • Ida Tallala (CD13)
  • Los Angeles Fashion District (CD14)
  • Lori Moilov (CD15)
We would like to congratulate these groups for their hard works making Los Angeles a cleaner and greener city.The PROGRAM has all the descriptions of the groups' outstanding achievements.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Friends of Atwater Village Poem

Some of the organizations that we work with have been blogging for years. Sandra Caravella, of the Friends of Atwater, put together a poem for our 10th year anniversary a few years back and posted it on their blog
It was the year 2000
And a few understood 
There were things we should do
To beautify the hood
We formed a non- profit
Let’s call it FAV
And started to plan 
What projects to have 
Now ideas were plentiful
And poured out with no end
But where to start, how to start
And just where to begin.
Money the road block
Without it we can’t
Then Netty said, “I have this app 
For a city funded grant”...
CLICK HERE to see the full poem on their website,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2008-09 CB Grant Awardee Banner

For the last five years, the Community Beautification Grant has presented the recipients of the grant a banner to display on their project. The banner has a signature "AWARDEE" displayed across the top of the banner. This is to alert passers-by that their neighbors are striving for something more.
The image above depicts the 2008-09 banner that was presented to each organization at the Awardee Recognition Ceremony on March 16th, 2009 (full list of awardees). The 16 project pictures that grace the top and bottom of the banner are from exceptional recently completed projects. They represent a variety of projects and areas, including a new recycling program in Pacific Palisades, elegant new community signs in Harvard Heights, the transformation of a neglected space to a school haven in Sunland, and a community garden attached to the side of a wall in Skid Row. All the organizations shown on the banner are listed below with the name of their projects:
Top row, left to right:
Bottom row, left to right:
Look for the banner in a neighborhood near you.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Learn How to Use Web-based Tools to Promote Projects. Free Talk on May 16th at the Garden in Every School Resource Fair

Do you have a community-based project that you'd like to promote, but lack the money to advertise it? With the internet and a few minutes a week, you can open new avenues for your project and organization.
Michael Espinosa, Editor of and Grant Manager of the Office of Community Beautification, will be sharing his knowledge on how to use web-based tools to promote projects. The workshop, "Expand your web knowledge! Blogging and tweeting, picture-taking and video-making your way to success", will take place on May 16, 2009 at the Garden in Every School Resource Fair at the innovative Venice High School Learning Garden located at 13000 Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90066. The Fair, open from noon to 4 p.m., is completely free of charge. Michael will present the 45 minute talk three times, at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
The Garden in Every School Resource Fair will offer information on support programs and resources. In addition to our web tools workshop, there will be workshops on composting, worms, earthboxes, nutrition gardening, fundraising, and teaching strategies. More information can be found on their FLYER.
See you there!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Transformation of the Historic Hoover Steps

The dedication of the CB Grant funded mural, "Fluid City Rising", on the Hoover Steps on March 26, 2009 was glorious.
It was glorious because it transformed the staircase at the end of Hoover Street from being a neglected dead end known for attracting vandalism and dumping to a vibrant cul-de-sac.
It was glorious because it celebrated the successful pairing of the acclaimed muralist, Ricardo Mendoza, with the caring, yet persistent Mary Frances Smith-Reynolds of the Franklin Hills Residents Association.
It was glorious because the muralist, City of Los Angeles' staff members, and the community behind the project bestowed the triptych mural to the residents and the many students that use the steps to get to and from school.
It was glorious because the project was finally done. This project had slowly simmered to completion -- people constantly asked Mary Frances, "Is it almost done, yet?"
Yes, it's done now.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Birth of the Community Beautification Grant Blog

Hello everyone. Thank you for visiting the new CB Grant blog. We will be sharing information that is relevant to the grant-seeking community, information about Los Angeles, and exciting information related to the Community Beautification Grant. On the right side of this page we have a photoshow displaying pictures of completed projects. To see the pictures situated on an interactive map, click on the map image. What can you do with this map? well...

More coming soon. Stay tuned....