Throughout its history, El Sereno has remained a stand-alone. As the City of Los Angeles began to grow, the surrounding territories became land grants, forming some of huge historic Ranchos we often read and hear about. Yet, El Sereno remained relatively unchanged.The El Sereno area and a small fraction of the Silver Lake community were the only portions of the historic planning area which were not included in either the Pueblo de Los Angeles or the 36,000 acre Rancho San Rafael. El Sereno was later part of the Rancho Rosa Castillo (in 1831), and the western edge of Silver Lake was part of the Rancho Los Felix granted to Vincente Felix in 1802 (visit HISTORY).
The territory that has been part of El Sereno since 1771 was split-up when the historic "Rancho Rosa de Castilla,” last owned by Batz's family, was partitioned to their various children. They then slowly sold off parts of their inherited land, becoming many smaller ranchos and sub-divisions. Some areas of the original historic Rancho Rosa de Castilla later became part of neighboring cities (South Pasadena, Monterey Park, East Los Angeles [City Terrace], and Alhambra).The official history of El Sereno as a community within the City of Los Angeles begins with the annexation of the Bairdstown Addition on June 10, 1915. Soon after, the City of Los Angeles rejoined part of the territory annexed from South Pasadena (in the 1912 Arroyo Seco annexation) with the Bairdstown Addition. This act rejoined the two territories previously split for many years, reuniting the historic territory and community of El Sereno.
From that moment to the present day, El Sereno has held a special place not only within the city, but also within the hearts of its residents.A little trivia fact: The City's boundaries extend from Sylmar on the north to San Pedro on the south, and from Pacific Palisades [west] to El Sereno [east]. From 1-El_Sereno_Factoid003.jpg
Throughout its long history, El Sereno has always seemed to be in the middle of everything, yet at the same time, skipping to the beat of its own drum. While other communities seem to be abuzz with building projects and fast paced living, El Sereno takes things slow and steady, with the same calm manner it's named after; El Sereno- calm, quiet and tranquil.
Despite the fact that El Sereno minds its own business and marches to the beat of its own drum, there have been times when others have tried to come in and impose their own selfish agendas. Most recently, Metro/Caltrans tried to carve out portions of our community to build the 710-freeway extension. As they soon found out, when it comes time to unite, to stand up and defend our community; El Sereno wakes-up like the proverbial sleeping giant, defying the odds and overcoming what seems impossible to do.
The community was once again put to the test as deep pocket developers tried to build unsightly and massive condominiums on our rolling hills. The developers thought they could pull a fast one on the hard-working community of El Sereno. Once again, the community of El Sereno awoke to stop the threat to our community.
Like others in the past, these people think our quiet, hard-working community will be just stand by, as if we're powerless to stop them. They have realized how wrong they were; the community has risen to the challenge, determined to stop this threat to our community. We all need to be part of the movement to inform, empower, unite, and preserve our Historic Community of El Sereno.Whether rich or poor; professional, blue collar or a just making ends meet; whether you're white, black, brown, or shades in-between; what really matters is that you have love and pride for our Community of El Sereno.
Our concern is not about what nick-names residents of El Sereno use for different areas of our community. We respect an individual's right to have a personal opinion and have no issue with the nicknames of particular areas in El Sereno. That's the beauty of living in this country: freedom.
What concerns us is the unfair support by Councilmember Jose Huizar towards these illegal
divisions of our community and the bias installation of community signs for Hillside VIllage and Rose Hills. Councilmember Jose Huizar's support for these illegal divisions is the reason we have the posting of unofficial community signs (7 city signs for hillside village and what would have been 5 rose hills signs had we not filed a lawsuit against them). We also take the misrepresentation of our history as a direct attack on the community, knowing that so much has already been twisted and manipulated. It is unfair to all of the residents of El Sereno who are against the division and who are ignored by the City Rep when they speak out.
These unofficial community signs misinform and confuse residents/visitors about El Sereno's boundaries, landmarks, and the uniqueness that makes it so special. We oppose anyone or any organization whose actions threaten to divide, manipulate, or disempower our community or its history.
The fact that current City Councilmember Jose Huizar continues to promote these small groups is a large part of the problem. Without Councilmember Huizar's support, these small groups would have disappeared years ago and the fake divisions would vanish. This is also part of what we are focused on changing. Councilmember Jose Huizar has been in office since 2005 and he knows very well that the City of LA has a process for the renaming or naming of an area. Yet, he has allowed the illegal division to continue; promoting "Hillside Village" (and "Rose Hills") as if they were an officially recognized community.
We take a hard-core stance on these issues because we see so much GOOD POTENTIAL in our community that is being neglected instead of being nurtured. This neglect will ensure the stagnation of our El Sereno Community. We want to make sure that our community is given the funding and opportunities it deserves in order to reach its full potential. We stand firm against these divisions, biases, and the disempowerment of our community. Councilmember Jose Huizar is accountable for these transgressions and we will not allow this to continue; he must stop ignoring the community he was elected to represent in the first place: EL SERENO.
When did the community of El Sereno agree to rename part of El Sereno "Hillside Village", or "Rose Hills", or "University Hills"? The answer is never. We've contacted the City Clerk's Office, searched the City Council files, and City's archives for documentation that shows "Hillside Village" or "Rose Hills" has gone through the legal process to be named a separate "community.” The many phone calls, e-mails, and letters have come back with replies stating that no records or documents exist which officially recognizes a ”Hillside Village" or Rose Hills community. In other words, officially, there are no documents to support the claim that "Hillside Village" and "Rose Hills" are recognized communities.
The concern over legality of Hillside Village has been brought to the attention of former El Sereno Area Director, Arturo Gonzalez. Mr. Gonzalez voluntarily quit his position as CD-14 El Sereno Area Director as of September 2012. Some believe his departure was due to the pressure he was under from not being able to meet the legal request made by the El Sereno Historical Society concerning the unethical divisions of El Sereno and the legality of these so-called communities might have also been a factor for his departure. Besides the unkept promises and lies Mr. Gonzalez made, the constituent's concerns were largely ignored.
El Sereno does not need to have part of it renamed a "community" because El Sereno is a community. It makes no sense to have a community within a community. That's like saying you need a different address for the kitchen area of you home just because it looks different from the rest of the house. If you already have an official and recognized address for your home there is no point in having another for your kitchen, and a third for your living room. Doing this doesn't make any sense and has no real purpose.
Yet, that's exactly what a few narrow-minded residents are trying to do by creating "Rose Hills,” "Hillside Village,” and "University Hills".
On December 9, 2011, Councilmember Jose Huizar presented motion 11-2057, requesting to have "Rose Hills" grandfathered as a community and for the installation of 3 Rose Hills community signs. Councilmember Jose Huizar has given his bias support for this fake Rose Hills division, going as far as using tax-payers' money to promote "Rose Hills" as an official community. He has called Rose Hills a community on City documents and on his official website, these even before City Council has approved Motion 11-2057. These are a few examples of Huizar's bias support and illegal promotion of Rose Hills, without anyone ever having a voice in the matter. (See Examples: 2007 Year End Report pg 51, LA-32 NC Website, J. Huizar District 14 Website).
Again, who does this new community of "Rose Hills" benefit? Councilmember and the few Rose Hills supporters can't even agree on where Rose Hills is, since each person has their own opinion of what they consider "Rose Hills" to be (Motion 11-2057) (Click on LACityClerk to see actual City Council File Search Link). El Sereno Historical Society did some research and presented the Office of the City Clerk a strong rebuttal to the motion's claims. (Rebuttal Letter pdf)
Something very concerning about motion 11-2057 is the fact that "Rose Hills" has no official boundaries. Although motion 11-2057 specifies location of the the 3 Rose Hills signs, the signs do not mark any real boundaries. Joe Manzano, Anthony Manzano's father, has falsely stated that "only cities and states have boundaries." This statement makes no sense; how can residents and community stakeholders set roots in a community and have community pride if you don't even know what community they live in?
Considering that the City has specific records of every community's boundary, especially new ones, it's bizarre that Rose Hills is allowed to have no set boundaries. A community needs to have specific and clearly designated boundaries. Community boundaries help to build community pride and encourage civic participation. It gives residents a sense of belonging and helps voice their community's specific needs to those City and State representatives. Rose Hills has none of this because it’s not a true community. What Councilmember Jose Huizar is trying to do is unethically create a “Rose Hills” community with no set boundaries.
We speculate that the reason behind not having specific boundaries is because it allows "Rose Hills" to slowly claim street after street as part of "Rose Hills". No one would know the difference, since there would be no City record of what is or is not "Rose Hills". There are those that believe that the real reason for making it Rose Hills is because Councilmember Jose Huizar has plans to develop the empty hillsides along Huntington Drive North, the hill known as Paradise Hill. Although Paradise Hill is technically in Lincoln Heights, Huizar was able to manipulate and use the El Sereno (LA-32) Neighborhood Council, via then NC President Anthony Manzano, to get part of Lincoln Heights re-districted from Council District to Council District 14.
Why would Huizar care to have an almost empty hillside re-districted into CD-14? Maybe there is something behind the idea that he wants to develop the hill. Considering that USC Health Science Campus is nearby and there are plans see it develop and enlarge to three times it's current size over the next 35 years, maybe Huizar thinks the hills can be developed into housing for USC students. We can only wait and see what plans Huizar has.
Hillside Village POA’s only cares about the area they consider their “community”, as it states in their By-Laws (Purpose and Goals). Even more concerning is the fact that this group has been given the unfair privilege to decide the boundaries of what they consider their community to be. Their By-laws clearly state what they consider the boundaries of their “community" to be (see Admission). It’s comes as no surprise that posted community signs for Hillside Village are lined up exactly to the POA’s By–Laws description of their boundaries. You have to remember that the City does not recognize Hillside Village as a community yet someone has funded and installed 6 community signs that look official but none of the City Departments or officials we contacted recognize it as such. No official documentation or files concerning this “community” could be found at any level or in any City Department. Yet, the bias promotion of this “community” continues by the City Councilmember supposedly elected to represent EL SERENO.
To dispel any doubts about the bias promotion, lets review some facts. First, the Hillside Village POA boundaries are not based on any historic evidence or official record. What is a historic fact is that Eastern Ave, from Huntington Drive to Valley Blvd, used to be called El Sereno Avenue (see historic map of El Sereno). What is also fact is that this area was part of the Farmdale District, which later became Bairdstown. Bairdstown was annexed into the City of Los Angeles in 1915 and was renamed El Sereno soon after. Another fact is that Ascot/Legion Ascot Speedway was located within this area. So too was the un-finished El Sereno Country Club, all within the community of El Sereno.
We know that Wilson High School has been within and part of the El Sereno community since the historic Farmdale School House was built in 1889. A much larger more modern school was constructed in 1937 (Wilson High School Website). It was later to become El Sereno Junior High when the new Wilson High School was built at top of the hill in 1970. The City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District both recognize Wilson High School and Multnomah Elementary as schools within the community El Sereno (L.A. Times Multnomah Elem) (Council File Number 00-0566--Multnomah Elementary located in El Sereno). Last and most troublesome to the members of Hillside Village POA is the FACT that you can't find a community called Hillside Village on any official City map, and for good reason.
Yet, despite all these well documented facts about El Sereno's Wilson High School, this Hillside Village POA group has been allowed to put up six (6) signs that read "Hillside Village" around our Wilson High School. Residents of El Sereno living within this "Hillside Village" area who do not want the area to be renamed and who do not want Hillside Village POA to represent them are simply ignored. Also, the parents’ of every child attending Wilson High School or Multnomah Elementary are stakeholders who also have a say in what takes place within our schools area. They have not been allowed to have their opinions heard. Those who have spoken up have been ignored and their rights to have Transparency, Fair, and Equal representation by our elected City Official are violated. We know firsthand that this is true, having experienced it for ourselves.
The fact that this tiny group has been allowed unprecedented influence over part of our community is unethical and has a negative effect on all of El Sereno. WILSON HIGH SCHOOL IS PART OF THE FABRIC THAT MAKES OUR COMMUNITY OF EL SERENO UNIQUE--IT'S AN IMPORTANT INSTITUTION WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY. NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO TAKE AWAY OUR BELOVED HIGH SCHOOL, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT'S A GROUP OF BIGOTS WHO DON'T CARE ABOUT THE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES THIS HAS ON OUR COMMUNITY.
This is very much at the heart of the issue we have with this Hillside Village group. The majority of residents in El Sereno never had a choice, were never allowed to voice their opinions and concerns on this illegal change, and when they took their concerns and issue to El Sereno District Office Area Director, A. Gonzalez, he lied to them and/or ignored them. Arturo Gonzalez is long gone, but the problem and illegal division still remains. We plan to see it become a problem no longer.
The questions remain the same: Why is this group allowed to cause divisions, misinformation, and receive favorable treatment from Councilmember Jose Huizar when Huizar was elected to represent EL SERENO?
They don't get any faker than this. Stickers, really?!
Hillside Village P.O.A. must have not double-checked their FAKE SIGNS closely enough!
Official Community in Los Angeles for 100 Years, yet,
El Sereno Only Has 1 Community Sign?!
While Councilmember Huizar called the new bridge on Valley Blvd the “El Sereno Bridge” on the day the bridge was officially opened and has said that Ascot Hills Nature Park was more open space for El Sereno to enjoy, for all intents and purposes, Councilmember Jose Huizar has tried to make El Sereno "disappear" from these areas (see El Sereno Bridge, El Sereno Bridge PDF and Ascot Hills and Ascot Hills PDF). If you look around the "El Sereno Bridge" on Valley Blvd or Ascot Hills Park, you can’t find one single city sign promoting the community of El Sereno.
As a matter of fact, thanks to our current Councilman, our community only has 1 (ONE) El Sereno sign in all of El Sereno. One sign for all 4.2 square miles of our community. While Councilman Jose Huizar pretends to respect the El Sereno community in his public relations speeches and news bites; in reality, Councilman Huizar is not representing the El Sereno community at all, and seems to be working towards making sure our community is completely erased.
Instead, what you do find around El Sereno Bridge and Ascot Hills Park are signs with “Hillside Village” and “University Hills”. While we will address "University Hills" in the next section, both of these divisions are a negative and serious concern for the El Sereno community. What Councilman Huizar is doing and allowing in our community El Sereno is shameful, inexcusable, and wrong. You can take the evidence we have, or you can do your own research, and then take your concerns to the Councilman's office, City Attorney, and Ethics Commission.
POA Standards: Misinforming Whenever Possible
Multnomah Elementary Principal’s Letter
Hillside Village....University Hills...Rose Hills...and El Sereno....all different communities encompassed by the zip code 90032. Just as, obviously, some people are proud of "El Sereno"...others are proud of THEIR communities. Anthony Manzano (whom we all know you despise)....and many other people I know personally are very proud of their "Rose Hills". Raymond Rios and many many others are proud of their "Hillside Village"....and so on...and they SHOULD be! People taking pride in their neighbors....their neighborhoods...their communities is not a bad thing.
Mr. Garcia....I don't know you personally.....but I would love to meet you Sir. What I DOOO love about you, though, is your passion. I just feel that all the energy you put into this anger you have....can be better served in a more productive...positive manner. Keep up the good work Sir. But...instead of struggling to control the masses with anger & hostility....lets work TOGETHER...and make ALL of our communities a better place for everyone!
Just so there is no confusion of who I am...I'm Isaac Aquino.
President- El Sereno Community Coordinating Council
El Sereno Park Advisory Board Member
El Sereno Stallions-Conference Rep
Coach-El Sereno Park
Former resident of East Los Angeles & Boyle Heights! ;)
....and resident of Hillside Village (est. in 1976).
What we do in the ESCCC is plan fundraising events to raise money to give back to the community. Schools...parks...etc. So we're kind of like event planners/fundraisers, per se.
If you look at a map of El Sereno and compare it to that of the area covered by 90032 zip code, you'll see that parts of the zip code falls into the communities of Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights and Monterey Hills (See Maps 90032 zip code, LA-32 NC boundaries, Map of El Sereno). What you don't see is any area called Rose Hills-- contrary to what Joe & Anthony Manzano, Councilmember Jose Huizar and his staff say to everyone.
The obvious question is why don’t Anthony & Joe Manzano ask for signs to be installed within Lincoln Heights or Montecito Heights, or even Monterey Hills? Why are they trying to have Rose Hills signs only installed within what is El Sereno? Why? They know the residents and the Neighborhood Councils' of those communities would laugh in their faces if they brought their so-called evidence of Rose Hills. The residents of those communities are also very aware that "Rose Hills" community is a load of crap, and would never allow any such renaming or chopping-up of their community.
The reason that it’s only being tried in El Sereno is because this little Rose Hills group has co-opted the NC. Current and former LA-32 board members advocating "Rose Hills" (Joe, Manzano, Anthony Manzano, R.J. Andrade, and Johnny Carbajal) claimed "Rose Hills" as the area covered by the 90032 zip code in Lincoln Heights and Monterey Hills. But, the signs they want will only be posted within the community of El Sereno and they tried to manipulate the NC to do this.
That’s also part of the reason why we have a Neighborhood Council called LA-32. Instead of it being called the El Sereno Neighborhood Council (which is the only community the LA-32 Neighborhood Council really represents), these people want to dis-empower, confuse, and manipulate the community. They figure that if the Neighborhood Council doesn't say which community it represents people won’t feel as much pride for El Sereno. So instead of saying that it represents El Sereno, the NC claims to represent a zip code. The LA-32 NC (really, the El Sereno Neighborhood Council) is the only NC out there that uses a zip code (NUMBERS) instead of the community's name.
This person seen above is RJ Andrade, former El Sereno (LA-32) NC Board Member. It’s easy to see the level of hate these people have against El Sereno. Our message: Be proud residents of El Sereno, it’s a great community. If people like RJ don't like living in El Sereno and are not willing to put in the effort to improve it, maybe they need to move.
The City of Los Angeles, through the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (D.O.N.E.), created the NC's in order to empower and represent a community, NOT A ZIP CODE. Calling the Neighborhood Council "El Sereno Neighborhood Council", while at the same time trying to chop it all up, would make no sense; the community would see through that right away. So they got a little crafty and put a different name on the Neighborhood Council, which really covers the area of the El Sereno community.
That's the main reason the LA-32 Neighborhood Council has been used for in the last ten years: to try to chop up and splinter our historic El Sereno community. We are again seeing what others have tried to do with our Neighborhood Council; hijack it and use it for their advantage and against our community. This has been tried in the past, with these made-up "Hillside Village" and "University Hills" areas trying to pull the same stunt on our community of El Sereno. We'll address more about this in the "Ugly" section below.
We have formally written to and requested from the L.A. City Clerk’s office, and L.A. Department of Public Works-Bureau of Engineers for copies of all the files, records, or any legal documents pertaining to the formation of a “Rose Hills” community, and there is none (See CONTACT INFO below). Yet, Councilman Jose Huizar has unfairly and unethically promoted "Rose Hills" for years as an official community.
Above: Councilmember Jose Huizar mis-using City funds, tax-payers money, to biasly promote Rose Hills and Hillside Village.
Reallocating the original $190,000 is essential to complete the Clubhouse upgrades and refurbishment. Councilmember Jose Huizar needs to reimburse this money back to the Clubhouse’s account.
12-006 Clubhouse Quimby $$ Transferred - Senior Center
El Sereno (LA-32) Neighborhood Council supports refurbishing and restoring the historic El Sereno Clubhouse for the community to use. ESNC Letter of Support