Huizar Donates New Flag to Veterans Memorial Square

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by LA1 News

Council District 14 Councilmember José Huizar has donated a brand-new all-weather nylon US Flag for the Highland Park community. It is his third Flag donation since taking the CD14 office. Huizar was contacted by Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council President Monica Alcaraz on Thursday afternoon and took action the next day. The Flag was raised on Saturday night by American Legion Post #206 Judge Advocate General Tony Howard and his daughter. The request to Huizar for another Flag came at the culmination of a series of delays and detours in a plan by local community groups to have a properly lit Flag installed at Highland Park Veteran's Memorial Square. The donation comes just in time for Veterans Day, and the Northeast Veterans Day Parade which ends its procession this year at Veterans Memorial Square on November 9.

The Square was fenced off and closed by former CD1 Councilmember Ed Reyes near the end of his term after serious homelessness and all-night party issues there. The fence was eventually taken down, but the lights to keep the Flag lit at the Square were suddenly inoperable. Reyes reached an agreement, he said, with LA City Recreation and Parks to have the parks department take over responsibility for maintenance and security at the Square in the future. When Councilmember Gil Cedillo took office, he was approached by local patriotic groups to install a properly lit Flag at the Square. 

After months of hand-wringing over the details, the Office of CD1 was finally able about a month ago to get the City street lighting department to get a single light working out of the three mounted around the Square. The others, including some of the actual street lights on the property, were still mysteriously inoperable after the street lighting workers checked them out. Community members were also told during a recent meeting held by the Northeast Patriotic Committee that the camping restrictions posted in signs at the Square, after the efforts by Reyes to put the property under the parks department, lacked enforcement criteria because the switch was never made through an official City Council motion.

Just this past Wednesday, graffiti at the Square spurred action. CD1 Field Representative Melinda Alatorre stepped up to have the graffiti abatement team remove the blight, and then a Twitter blast on the issue revealed an ample supply of community members willing to purchase a Flag with their own money. Huizar was approached by Alcaraz, who delivered his donated 8' by 12' Flag to the American Legion, which the Howard father and daughter combination hoisted up together on Saturday evening.

Looking north from York Boulevard, the Flag is lit by the single operable light and stands out as a glory to see after going so long without one. There are two more lights to fix and the next Flag could be a bit larger, but the community is off to a good start now. Highland Park is now ready to host the Northeast Veterans Day Parade.


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