Melinda Reyes remembers always wanting to be a ballerina, but her family couldn't afford lessons when she was growing up in Lakewood. "I sort of carried the dream of dancing around with me until I got a chance at East Los Angeles College, where I fell into a wonderful dance program," said Reyes, 38, now of Montebello. She started dancing at 18, and has taught ballet in East Los Angeles for the past 10 years. Five years ago, she and one of her former students, Mae Mae Giang, formed Ballet East, and it has grown from 15 to 27 dancers between ages 6 and 32. "I wanted to give youngsters a chance I didn't get," Reyes said.
Now that lawyer and lobbyist Dan Garcia has been named to the Los Angeles Police Commission, veteran City Hall watchers say it is just a matter of time before the fireworks
start. A partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson, Garcia, 43, earned a reputation as a forceful leader during 12 years on the City Planning Commission. His appointment is seen as a move to strengthen Mayor Tom Bradley's hand in dealing with Police Chief Daryl F. Gates. "There needs to be a strong commission playing a role in the oversight and policy-making functions," said Garcia, a graduate of UCLA Law School. "To the extent, if any, that that hasn't been the case, I think the administration wants to make sure that it does occur."