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DOWNTOWN : Walters Wants Blacks on El Pueblo Panel

October 30, 1994|TINA NGUYEN

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Rita Walters has proposed expanding the city panel that oversees operations of the historic El Pueblo de Los Angeles to include blacks.

Walters is seeking to add two seats to the seven-member El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument Authority Commission, which manages the park around Olvera Street.

"It is of the utmost importance that the monument reflect the tradition of racial diversification that is inherent in the history of the city," Walters wrote in proposing the expansion.

The board consists of five Latinos, a Chinese American and an Italian American.

Some commissioners questioned whether the expansion is necessary. "It's good to get the African American perspective," said Commissioner Stewart Kwoh. "But I also think we can provide that perspective with the current commission."

Commissioner Lydia Lopez said she supports the councilwoman's motion, but said Walters needs to address the racial composition of other local bodies as well.

"To try to fix this challenge, we have to make sure every other commission is also representative of the city," Lopez said. "I hope she uses this same energy to look at other commissions."

Formed in August, the commission is seeking a general manager and staff members to manage the birthplace of Los Angeles. Members of the Olvera Merchants Assn. are concerned that a larger board may delay the commission's agenda and add to its bureaucracy.

"We want it to be less formal and more progressive," said Viven Bonzo, an Olvera Street merchant.

The City Council's Arts, Health and Humanities Committee will consider Walters' proposal at a future hearing.

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