Tag Archive for: GEPENC

Saturday is a big day for the Echo Park neighborhood council – the biannual elections take place, and there are a lot of new faces vying to represent you as representatives and board members.

A common theme from candidates at last night’s Echo Park Improvement Association forum included both the lack of outreach on the elections (and just overall) by the current neighborhood council, as well as concerns about the NC’s plagued reputation. “The dialogue needs to be richer, it needs to be understood, it needs to be clear. With mutual respect I think we could accomplish a lot in those meetings,” said teacher Cheryl Ortega, running in District 2.

Others like Todd Walker, running in District 1, are also concerned about development in Echo Park, citing the impending Barlow Hospital development as an example. “I see a lot of growth happening in Echo Park, and I think it’s exciting, but there are certain ways I think it can be better managed.”

President candidate Ari Bessendorf also attended last night’s candidate forum (Francisco Torrero, part of the current NC board, is also running but was absent last night), saying he believed that he can fix the NC’s credibility. “I believe in intentional community,” he said – meaning transparency, focusing on the right issues, and being a responsible council can mean accomplishing more for our community.

Whoever ends up representing us in the neighborhood council, we have a few suggestions and some unsolicited advice:

  • Re-evaluate the website: It’s difficult to navigate to meeting agendas and minutes
  • Post meeting agendas and minutes on the website (the minutes, for example, haven’t been updated in quite some time)
  • Improve outreach: Facebook, Twitter, and an online sign-up form for receiving email alerts are easy to set up and not at all costly
  • Collaborate with other neighborhood non-profits and organizations
  • Educate board members, committee members, and representatives on complicated land-use issues, Roberts Rules/Parliamentary procedure

Click here for a list of candidates and information on the Empower LA website. Election results could be announced as early as Saturday night.

Who can vote and how?

Click for larger map

Just in case, I would bring in some sort of identification. You can vote for board members (President, VP, etc.), as well as District Reps. For either of those, all you have to be is a stakeholder – which means you live, work, own property, or frequent the area (shopping, going to the dentist, etc.). You don’t need proof of being a stakeholder – just sign a piece of paper saying you are one. That’s it!

Getting out the vote

Be sure to vote! Election takes place on Saturday, October 6 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Edendale Library, 2011 West Sunset Boulevard.

Candidates can vote, but they can’t campaign within 100 feet of the library.

Community activist Christine Peters told the crowd at the EPIA meeting last night that the very first election in 2002 had 1,000 people show up to vote. The last election… 214 people voted. “I want to see 1,000 people come in,” she said, “I want to see 1,000 votes.”


The Echo Park Improvement Association (EPIA) is hosting a forum for candidates running for neighborhood council positions on Thursday, October 4, 2012. The forum takes place during the EPIA’s regularly scheduled town hall meeting at 7:00 pm in Williams Hall, Barlow Hospital.

The Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council (GEPENC) elections are just around the corner, on Saturday, October 6 (at the Edendale Library from 10am-2pm). This is your opportunity to hear directly from the candidates as they seek your vote to represent you in the neighborhood council. All positions are up for grabs, including all the board positions (President, VP, etc.) and District Representatives.

Click here to view the candidates who have filed, their statements, and more information about the elections on the Empoyer LA website.

More coming soon about these GEPENC elections and why they’re important!

Tonight, the Greater Elysian Echo Park Neighborhood Council (GEPENC) will discuss an application by Echo Park restaurant Señor Fish to add liquor to its existing beer and wine license, as well as to expand its seating to the adjacent building, formerly the tortilleria.

Señor Fish may have opened last May, but it would be difficult to tell if you were just walking by. Though a new sign has been installed on the corner of the roof, the restaurant chain has yet to repair the graffiti-riddled windows. General Manager Jesse Pimentel said in July, in an email, that the windows were to be replaced within a couple of weeks, saying, “The windows will be replaced first. We are also going to put some stools along the counter by the TV and also beautify the interior.”

In an article by The Eastsider LA from late August, the windows were again addressed and the new windows were only a “couple of weeks” away from being repaired:

Ramirez [the restaurant owner] said he has held off  replacing the windows for fear they would get scratched as soon as they get replaced. He said vandals can still scratch or cut their way through the plastic film that has been applied to many windows to protect them against scratches.  Currently, his family is working on a wood screen that would protect the windows at night but roll down and out of the way during the day time and create a wainscoating at the base of the building. If that does not prove practical,  the store will install some other type of metal screen or folding doors. What ever option is selected, expect new windows in a couple of weeks, he said.

Pimentel also mentioned the response to the restaurant opening had been great, but they may not get the community support for a full liquor license and restaurant expansion if the windows aren’t repaired.

The neighborhood council meeting is tonight, Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm. The Community Center where the meeting will be held is located at 1572 Sunset Boulevard behind the Bank of America.

The meeting agenda also includes discusion of five single family small lot dwellings at 1516 Echo Park Avenue.


The corner of Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard has a new addition – an approximately nine foot banner stretched across the intersection with the words, “Celebrating ten years of community service.”

The banner was installed in advance of the ten year anniversary celebration for the neighborhood council, taking place on Monday, April 16 at Taix Restaurant. The celebration has been a bit controversial because of the cost – they plan to spend $1,000 for the “outreach event,” and what one board member called “inappropriate and in bad taste, especially now in these times.” (The anniversary party is a free event that will feature founding members, and past presidents and members.)

The cost of the banner? Approximately $1,000 was allocated (they came “under budget” according to CIO Lisa Baca-Sigala), and while the city waved the installation fees, it’s a pretty penny for a tax-payer funded organization facing budget cuts.

But we don’t mean to complain outright – we don’t attend GEPENC meetings or participate in the neighborhood council (usually only two people show up to their meetings). Maybe it’s time for everyone to get involved so we can have a say in these types of expenditures?

Yesterday The Eastsider LA published a story about the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council’s plans to celebrate its ten year anniversary with a party – with a cost of $1,000.

This not only raised concern from community members who attended the Tuesday night meeting – but also members of the governing board itself, according to the article:

One board member suggested cutting $1,000 approved for another project to pay for the party. Another spoke about reducing the scope of the event into a smaller and cheaper affair.

Spending $1,000 would “be  inappropriate and in bad taste, especially now in these times,” said one board member. “I could not attend such a thing.”

Despite opposition, seven members voted in favor, two opposed, and two abstained.

Then the flurry of comments (which are always entertaining, depending on how civil it remains) range from “Who cares?” to more overall condemnation of the neighborhood council’s behaviors at meetings (not a new thing). One commenter suggested the neighborhood council president Jose Sigala, who is hoping to replace Eric Garcetti’s seat in Council District 13, is taking advantage of the opportunity to campaign.

Today, Lisa Baca-Sigala (CIO of GEPENC and wife of Jose Sigala) sent out a mass email to stakeholders on the issue:

Read more

The Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council is collecting canned foods for the Cathedral Center of St. Paul’s Food Bank program.

“The state of the economy has had a negative impact on the ability for many of our neighbors to provide basics, such as food, for their families during this holiday season,” GEPENC states in the flyer, “Please help us make this holiday season a little better for our neighbors in need here in Echo Park by dropping off any donated canned or non-perishable food items.”

You can drop off those items at the GEPENC office, located at 1572 Sunset Boulevard (behind the Bank of America). The office will take your donations on the following Saturdays:

November 12, 19  and 26 from 9:00 am -12:00 noon
December 3, 10, and 17 from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon

For more information or to arrange for a pick-up of donated items, please contact Jose Sigala at (213) 308-2826 or by email at jose_sigala@yahoo.com

Flickr photo via Stuart Fingerhut

Fix Coffee owner Marc Gallucci hopes to turn his thriving Echo Park coffee shop, Fix Coffee, into a place for a little nightlife as well – he applied this year for a Conditional Use Permit for the sale of beer and wine inside the cafe as well as outside on the 450 square foot patio. The application is up for review at City Hall early next month.

The notice provides the hours during which he will serve alcohol, which is limits sales from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm weekdays, and 10:00 am – 10:00 pm on weekends. This might be helpful for direct neighbors, who have raised concerns that the quiet streets of that residential area will be interrupted with loud bar noises. Add additional stress on already limited parking, and the elementary school directly across the street, there are reasonable concerns. But not all residents are opposed, as we mentioned in a previous article about the issue on Echo Park Now. In a previous article publish by The Eastsider LA, resident Susan Borden is quoted as saying:

This is the first step in turning our neighborhood from a residential one into a commercial one.  When he moved in three years ago Marc Galucci (FIX owner) could see that this is a residential not a commercial neighborhood.  He wants to change it.  All along Echo Park Avenue businesses will try to get alcohol licenses and bring the club-goers up from Sunset.  Some people will enjoy that—they are [usually] the ones who are not adjacent to the businesses and don’t have to deal with the noise and trash. Most of us like the non-commercial nature of our canyon.

Like it or not, the hearing is set for Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 10:30 am at City Hall. Click here for the public notice PDF. If you support or don’t support the application and would like your opinion on public record, contact Christine Saponara at Christine.Saponara@lAcity.org and reference case number ZA-2011-2029(CUB).

Additionally, the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council is also expected to take a vote on whether or not to support the application by Fix at tonight’s Planning, Public Works, Parks and Land Use Committee meeting. In addition to Fix, GEPENC is discussing and/or taking action on conditional use permit applications from other Echo Park restaurants, including Xoia, a proposed 7-11 store on Glendale Blvd, as well as the new Echo Park Blvd. restaurant Red Hill. Click here for the PDF agenda for tonight’s meeting.

If you’re intersted in attending the Neighborhood Council meeting tonight, it takes place at 6:30 pm at the St. Paul Cathedral Center, located at 840 N. Echo Park Avenue.


The Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council (GEPENC) are hosting a neighborhood cleanup this weekend in partnership with the Historic Filipinotown Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Historic Filipinotown, and neighbors and friends.

They’ll be focusing on the Historic Filipinotown neighborhood for the cleanup.

With Earth Day coming up this month, now’s your chance to contribute to a clean environment in your neighborhood!

Meet at Lake Street Park (227 N. Lake Street) on Saturday, April 9th, 2010 from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon.

For more information about the clean up or to RSVP, please contact
Jose Sigala at 213-308-2826 or by email at jose_sigala@yahoo.com

Refreshments and lunch provided by the GEPENC and the Rotary of Historic Filpintown, with tools and supplies provided by the City of Los Angeles Office of Community Beautification.

Click here to download the full flyer.

The Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council (GEPENC) announced in a recent press release it would be supporting a Echo Park Rec Center scholarship program, one which will be funded through a new and very fun series of Zumba classes.

The classes will be held weekly on Wednesdays from 7-8:00 pm at the Echo Park Rec Center gym (formerly the Boys and Girls Club) located at 303 Patton Street. Four, ten-week sessions will be offered at the cost of $40 per person, per session.

Jose Sigala, President of GEPENC, said in the press release, “The goal is to have a minimum of forty participants per session and raise $1,600 for the Echo Park Recreation Center on a quarterly basis. This will provide ongoing revenue for athletic scholarships and help more youth to stay involved with sports in Echo Park.”

Thanks to the generous support of the Silver Lake Medical Center, all instructor and class fees have been 100% underwritten.

Designed for beginners, the classes will be taught by Zumba instructor, Cindy Ruiz.

To sign up for a class, please email bacasigala@earthlink.net

The first session starts tonight (I know, we are late in announcing this!). Here are the session details:

  • Session 1 – February 2, 2011 to April 6, 2011 (with a break the week of April 13)
  • Session 2 – April 20, 2011 to June 29, 2011 (with a break the week of July 4)
  • Session 3 – July 13, 2011 to Sept. 14, 2001 (with a break the week of September 21)
  • Session 4 – September 28, 2011 to November 30, 2011 (with breaks for the holidays in December)

If you’re curious about what’s going on in Echo Park and the greater area, there’s a GEPENC meeting tonight at 6:30 pm at the Rosemont Avenue Elementary School Auditorium, located at 421 N. Rosemont Avenue.

Why go? Besides being involved in your community, there are some items posted in the agenda that have been of particular interested to the Echo Park community:

  • May be voting on supporting the new Sunset Beer Company’s application for a Conditional Use Permit (CUB) and a Mitigated Negative Declaration (ZA 2010-2048 CUB/ENV-2010-2049 MND). Those permits will allow for on-site sales of wine and beer for their 14-seat tasting room, as well as the sale of beer and wine for off-site consumption.
  • 64-unit complex on Sunset Blvd. and Elsinore: Will review without committee recommendation. If you want to know if there are any updates to this project, this will be the time as the developer has been working with the Neighborhood Council on design plans.
  • Discussion/possible allocation of $2,500.00 dollars to the Echo Park Historical Society for the repair and maintenance of the Jensen’s Recreation Center sign. This is great as the sign has been left unlit for quite a few years now, and the money is coming in from GEPENC as a matching grant.
  • May vote on authorizing a letter to the bidders of CRES #14 (EPN wrote about this issue recently) emphasizing the support of parental and community involvement in the process, and GEPENC’s role in outreach to the community.

You can review the full agenda here.

This corner definitely needs some love!

Your neighborhood council (GEPENC) is teaming up with Clifford Elementary School for a cleanup on the corners of Glendale Blvd. and Allessandro Street (right by the 2 Freeway Terminus) in Echo Park. The area is riddled with trash and needs some love!

Join your neighbors and help out your neighborhood on Saturday, October 23. Meet up at the cleanup site at 9:00 am – refreshments, lunch and tools will be provided by GEPENC!

Click here to download the flyer.

For more information about the clean up or to RSVP, please contact Jose Sigala at 213-308-2826 or by email at jose_sigala@yahoo.com

The Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council (GEPENC), along with the Positive Energy Group, are hosting the 2nd Annual Echo Park Elementary Principal/Teacher Appreciation Reception on Thursday, October 7th, 2010 from 3:00 – 6:00 pm.

Join your fellow neighbors to help honor the hard working teachers and principals of our community! Food and refreshments will be served.

The event is open to the public – please RSVP to Lisa Baca at 323-660-7234 or by email at bacasigala@eartlink.net by Tuesday, October 5.

2nd Annual Echo Park Elementary Principal/Teacher Appreciation Reception
Thursday, October 7th, 2010 from 3:00 – 6:00 pm
El Centro del Pueblo located at 1157 Lemoyne Street

Click here to download the flyer.


The event has been rescheduled due to weather conditions tentatively for Thursday, November 4 from 3-6:00 pm.

There are a couple of things going on this week that I recommend you, as interested and super excited Echo Park residents, attend this week. See you there!

Must-go-to Meetings:

Echo Park Lake Rehab Project meeting:

  • Wednesday, August 4 at 6:30 pm at Barlow Hospital (Williams Hall)
  • Big items are: the Draft EIR and the accomodations being made for the Lake birds.
  • There will be a shuttle, picking up at 5:00 pm at the corner of Park Avenue and Echo Park Avenue (departure times are 5:30, 5:50, and 6:10). RSVP with the number of people in your party to Olga Morales at (213) 978-0329 or olga.morales@lacity.org by Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.

Echo Park Improvement Association meeting:

  • Thursday, August 5 at 7:00 pm at Barlow Hospital (Williams Hall)
  • This is a potluck! Bring your favorite dish or dessert and share with our council district and police division representatives.


GEPENC Budget and Finance Committee meeting:

  • Thursday, August 5, at 7:00 pm at the GEPENC Office and Community Center
  • Agenda items for the month of August include:
    • Discussion and/or Possible Action for Budget & Finance Committee to recommend Board approval of a one page letter with the concerns of the community regarding vending at Echo Park Lake, acknowledging the vendors rights as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by article I, section 2 of the California Constitution,  and include Sec.42.14.1 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code on the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council letter head to distribute to the vendors of Echo Park Lake and take an account of the names, addresses and any other contact information provided to the members of the Budget and Finance Committee by the vendors to relive congestion and ensure public enjoyment of Echo Park Lake where those vendors are currently set up with out restriction.
    • Discussion and/or Possible Action for Budget & Finance Committee to recommend Board approval for the modification of the fiscal 2010-2011 budget to be consistent with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment’s request and call for a special meeting of the General Board approving the modified fiscal 2010-2011 budget.

Oh yes, and tonight is also National Night Out in Echo Park!

Community Concerns, Outreach, Housing and Transportation Committee Meeting Agenda

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm

GEPENC Office and Community Center: 1572 Sunset Boulevard


  1. Call to Order
  2. Roll Call – Committee Members
  3. Adoption of Committee Meeting Minutes


Comments from the public on non-agenda items within the Committee’s jurisdiction. Two minutes per speaker.


  1. Chair
  2. Vice Chair
  3. Committee Members

MOTIONS & RESOLUTIONS (Discussion Items/Possible Committee Action):

  1. Discussion and/or Possible Action on development of a GEPENC Outreach strategic plan.
  2. Discussion and/or Possible Action on request for the committee to recommend the allocation of neighborhood council funds for outreach materials and collateral.




Click here to view the GEPENC website page. The Board of Governors is also meeting tomorrow, same location, at 6:30 pm.

The Executive Committee of the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council (GEPENC) will meet tonight, Thursday, July 22, at 7:00 pm

Meetings take place at the GEPENC Office and Community Center located at 1572 Sunset Boulevard

The agenda is extremely long, click here for the full agenda. Here are some “highlights”:

Allocation of NC funds of:

  • $1,650 for the 2009 and 2010 Echo Park Community Parade
  • $750 for the 2010 Echo Park National Night Out Festivities, which takes place on Tuesday, August 3 from 5-800 pm
  • $2,500 for the upgrade and maintenance of the GEPENC website (which is so badly needed!)

And a couple of other action items:

  • Discussion on the approval of a full liquor license at Rodeo Grill, as well as on proposal to extend hours to 7:00 am-1:00 am.
  • Discussion on the approval of establishing a monthly district “walk to focus on identifying bulky items, graffiti and other public works needs in the GEPENC area.”

The public is welcome to attend Executive Committee meetings (speaker cards are provided).