Eagle Rock refugee group gets boost | Chronicler of L.A.’s dark history dies in Echo Park | Huizar faces harassment allegations

Sep 22, 2018

A Roundup of Eastside News & Info

Eastsiders, it’s the last day of summer. While the season has gone, there’s still a lot of news to talk about. So here’s the latest, including another  allegation of sexual harassment against termed-out Eastside councilman Jose Huizar. An Eagle Rock group that helps newly arrived refugees is getting a helping hand. And on a sad note, we say goodbye to a wonderful chronicler of Los Angeles’ dark corners and other historical figures. Read on for details.

Echo Park investigative reporter that illuminated Los Angeles’ dark history dies

Investigative reporter and Echo Park resident Charles Rappleye, 62, died last week after a six-year battle with cancer, Los Angeles Times reported. A dogged reporter who illuminated overlooked corners of Los Angeles history, Rappleye had a long stint at the L.A. Weekly in its investigatory heyday and more recently turned to chronicling historic figures.

His piece on about a wheel-chair bound gang member “charged three times with resisting arrest, once after four officers manhandled him in his wheelchair, repeatedly slamming his head against a metal door frame,” was one many of the  must reads he wrote for the alternative weekly about the Los Angeles Police Department scandal that unfolded in the Pico-Union neighborhood during the 1990s and 2000s.

He also helped his wife of 15 years found L.A. art magazine, Artillery.

Eagle Rock group that helps Syrian and other refugees gets help

An Eagle Rock group started in 2016  by Miry Whitehill, a former marketing executive who wanted to helped newly arrived Syrian refugees,  got a big boost in the form of a $200,000 grant that will help them expand their services.

Miry’s List provides newly arrived families with the basics like groceries and later helps them settle into a home of their own. We profiled Whitehill’s grassroots organization last year.

The grant by the Goldhirsh foundation will help them expand, better connecting them with the city, service and and a broader community.

Termed out Eastside councilman faces harassment allegation

A harassment, discrimination and retaliation complaint lodged against termed out Eastside Councilman Jose Huizar over the summer will be examined by a special committee, the Los Angeles Times reported. If it’s found to be credible a  independent investigator will delve further.

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson ordered the committee to convene after he learned about the allegations made on the city’s new complaint website on Sept. 13. It was the same day Huizar’s wife, Richelle, announced she will run for his seat which represents communities running from Boyle Heights to Eagle Rock.

No word on details of the claim. Huizar told the Times he hasn’t seen the accusations was confounded.

“I take great pains to ensure that my staff and I conduct city business in a professional environment and treat all employees and visitors with the upmost dignity and respect,” he said. “Given that, he is “quite frankly confounded under what basis anyone would have to file a legitimate complaint.”

Five years ago Huizar’s former deputy chief of staff and once mistress accused him of sexual harassment.  But an investigatory panel formed by Wesson, a Huizar ally, found the claims unsubstantiated and a separate lawsuit by the accuser was settled privately.

Echo Park designer, Memphis Group member Peter Shire on his legacy


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The 1980s Memphis Group founded by Italian Ettore Sottsass made famous a colorful  design aesthetic of postmodern furniture, ceramic and glass. One of its central figures, Peter Shire, talks about the movement and his work with Surface magazine.

The sole American in the group, he said he was pulled in was because of his sense of joy and fun. Despite his success, he never felt there was a moment of celebrity where everything changed.

“It’s always been me in my studio, with the work, and my battles, and my demons,” he said.

Shire’s pottery studio is in Echo Park.

Rachel Uranga is a Los Angeles-based writer

Eastside Scene of the Day


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Rattlesnake Park Gates, Atwater Village

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