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In this issue: Remembering Val Bassett, Graffiti and Murals, Aguascaliente and more!

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Published by City of Commerce, 2018-05-14 13:02:32

Commerce Connetion February Magazine

In this issue: Remembering Val Bassett, Graffiti and Murals, Aguascaliente and more!

We hope everyone is off to a great that vision a reality.
start for 2018. We started the year Next month, we will be hosting the 58th an-
celebrating the City’s 58th Birthday.
As you may know, the City was incorporated nual Miss Commerce Pageant on March 10.
During the pageant, the 2018 Young Man of
by people living in the area that wanted a bet- the Year Award will also be presented. Make

ter quality of life for sure to watch all
the excitement live
their community. on Channel 3 or
streaming online at
They wanted im-
proved green
If you are a Com-
space and services merce resident cur-
rently enrolled in
such as baseball college or will be at-
tending an accred-
fields, recreational ited college or
university this fall,
swimming facilities, we encourage you
to fill out an applica-
and a Library. With tion for the 2018
Commerce Schol-
their leadership and arship Program.
The application is
the vote of the peo- available online via
the Cityʼs website
ple who lived here, at and
the City incorpo- on the Commerce
Libraryʼs website at
rated in 1960 and

set out to build the City Hall and the
Commerce libraries
kinds of facilities, will be closed on
Monday, February
programs and serv- 12 and Monday,
February 19 in ob-
ices they desired. servance of President Lincolnʼs and Presi-
dent Washingtonʼs birthdays.
It is with great Happy Valentineʼs Day!

sadness that we

announce the

death of Valentina

Bassett, the last

surviving member

of the Commerce

Committee for In-

corporation, the

founders of our

Is a monthly magazine published by the City. As a member
City of Commerce and mailed to
of our community,
Commerce residents. The Connection is
also available at all City facilities. Val was inspired by

Staff Writers and Photographers a vision of what
Daniel Larios
Marie Hovik Commerce could be: a Model City that would

Graphic Design Layout & Illustrator provide outstanding services and a better
Anthony Aguilar
quality of life for its residents. Through her
To submit a story idea or a high
definition digital photo for hard work and dedication, Val helped make
publishing consideration,
please contact the VeteransHELP
Public Information Office
323-887-4453 OUR
[email protected] The Veterans Resource Center is looking for a few good men and women to become trained Veteran
Resource Coaches or Veteran Outreach Specialists.
What do they do? They direct veterans to resources re-
lated to education, health, housing and employment.
Another responsibility is networking with local busi-
nesses and the community to advocate for services
for veterans. They also represent the Commerce
Veterans Resource Center at events throughout Los

Call Veterans Library Supervisor/Veterans
Resource Coordinator Olivia Audoma at 323-
722-4805, ext. 2851 for information or to apply.

JANUARY 9 garding speed humps on Astor Avenue.
Appointed Isaias Cantu to the Measure AA Committee and Patty Ce-
Recognized Unplugged Performing Arts for their impressive perform- breros and Herbert J Flores to the Railroad Task Force.
ance in the musical production of Grease. Adopted an Ordinance relating to the prohibition against certain forms
Authorized the release of plans and specifications for the Senior Cen- of aggressive and unsafe panhandling.
ter/Library Plaza Improvement Project bidding.
Received and filed an update on the public outreach conducted re-

Is it too late to turn in my Exide soil sample agreement?

Residents can still have their property’s soil sampled. The Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will continue to accept sample
agreements and will schedule sampling with one of their contractors. However, if clean-up is required, residents would have to wait as the
DTSC has prioritized the 2,500 homes that will be cleaned up under Phase I. The DTSC would have to secure funding to clean up any ad-
ditional properties.

How do I know the bus is running on time?

You may access the CC Transit app, which provides real-time arrival information for City of Commerce Transit. This app is fun, easy to
use and best of all it’s free! The app can be downloaded on any smart phone. For more information, call the Transportation Department at
(323) 887-4419.

Where can I recycle electronics/used motor oil/paint?

E-waste can be recycled in at East Los Angeles S.A.F.E. Collection located at 2649 E. Washington Blvd on Saturdays and Sundays 9
am – 3 pm. For more information, call them at (800) 773-2489. Used motor oil can be recycled at Commerce Lube Center at 2432 S.
Indiana St. and can be contacted at (323) 261-5100. Paint can be recycled at Dunn Edwards at 4869 E. Slauson Avenue and can be con-
tacted at (323) 560-4400.

Connection 3

Graffiti and Murals
On a typical work day, the City’s graffiti that he sees artistic potential in the graffiti he artists. He firmly believes that anyone who
removal painters begin at 6 a.m. to re- removes. He also understands that tagging is pursues their art without damaging property
move over 40 to 50 instances of graffiti motivated by a need for attention, that youth can be successful. His own story of how he
throughout the City. The early start allows the may lack an outlet for their creativity. He en- found a way to positively impact his commu-
crew to remove graffiti from residential areas courages taggers and anyone who loves cre- nity serves as proof.
(even houses get
tagged) before most ating art to take art classes like he did. He When Diaz saw that the
residents begin their advises residents to take advantage of the Bristow Park mural
day. City’s programs and use them as a way to needed to be restored, he
exhibit their art. spoke up, submitted a
As in other cities, proposal and was
graffiti in Commerce Diaz said that in his art classes, he met awarded the job. Helpful
is also found on a va- many former taggers who have become park patrons showed him
riety of surfaces: photos of the original
bridges, center di- mural so he could restore
viders, signs, walls, it to its original splendor.
park benches and His own murals can be
tables, playground seen in Boyle Heights. He
equipment, busi- has also done other free-
nesses and trees. lance work and is also a
tattoo artist.
The job of removing
it on a daily basis is When some of the City’s
certainly not exciting facility signs needed to be
work and can be po- repainted, Diaz was as-
tentially unsafe, as signed the task. He could
there can be traffic, have simply repainted
trains and trucks them as they were. But,
loading cargo to con- as an artist, he saw an
tend with. Neverthe- opportunity to improve
less, City Painter them. He transformed the
Sean Diaz finds his look of the Teen Center
job immensely re- building’s sign by chang-
warding. ing its plain and rather or-
dinary letters to a larger,
“I enjoy cleaning up black, bold font. He also
the community and added a border, which
giving back,” Diaz gives the words more vis-
said. He enjoys inter- ibility and impact.
acting with the com-
munity, especially Sean Diaz Diaz likes knowing that
with the grateful his work, whether it is an
homeowners and business owners who ap- entire mural or a sign, will be seen by the
preciate the crew’s prompt and efficient serv- younger generation; his goal is to continue to
ice. In the eyes of these owners, Diaz and his reach them through his art. Ultimately, his
coworker Francisco Navarro are like heroes. work is also about his family. “It’s like leaving
a legacy for my kids,” he said.
Even though graffiti is vandalism, Diaz, who
is an artist and former juvenile tagger, admits

4 Connection


The City of Commerce places great im- Beach to the terminals of the Union Pacific dor Funds, LA Metro for Measure R and Meas-
portance on investing in infrastructure Railroad and BNSF Railway. ure C funds as well as Local Transit Funds. Of
and ensuring our residents, businesses, the $45 million budget, only $3.5 million was
and visitors have a pleasant experience in the Several improvements transformed the cor- funded by the City.
Model City. Our projects not only create better ridor. The roadway was widened from two
street conditions, they also win awards for in- lanes to three lanes in each direction, relieving Washington Boulevard, with its improved
novative and groundbreaking ideas. significant congestion and therefore improved traffic control measures, reduced traffic de-
air quality; the pavement was rehabilitated lays, and beautification transformation, has al-
The City’s Washington Boulevard Widening throughout the segment for better ride quality; ready enhanced the quality of life for
and Reconstruction Project earned the Amer- the signal equipment upgraded for better traf- commuters within the City and the surrounding
ican Public Works Association’s 2017 Project fic operations, sidewalks and ramps are ADA communities.
of the Year award, beating out over 100 agen- complaint, LED lighting throughout and raised
medians improved safety and brought much “Washington Boulevard project completion
cies for the prestigious award. needed beautification with streetscape and is the crowning achievement for a small City
Washington Boulevard serves as one of the landscaping. These improvements together like Commerce,” said Director of Public Works
set the stage for an economic development re- and Development Services Maryam Babaki.
significant connectors between the I-710 and vival along Washington Boulevard. Many did not believe the City could get
I-5 freeways carrying approximately 35,000 started, let alone complete such a mega
vehicles per day, 25% of which is truck traffic. Not surprisingly, it has taken years of plan- project which was the largest local project in
It is a key link in the regional movement of ning to get the funding and design the project, the region. We may be a small City but we
goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long which covers the expanse of Washington punch way above our weight.”
Boulevard’s 2.8 mile length in the City of Com-
merce. City staff pursued a number of sources For more information on upcoming Capital
of funding from the different funding agencies. Improvement Projects, please contact the
These agencies included the Federal Highway Public Works and Development Services De-
Administration for ISTEA funds, California partment at (323) 887-4451.
Transportation Commission for Freight Corri-
Connection 5

The holiday season is all about hope, generosity pecially meaningful to our program families,” said
and goodwill towards our fellow human Social Services Coordinator Moyra Garcia.
being. However, there are those Recipients are incredibly grateful for the
around us who may have had a tough generosity and love that they receive
year, suffered through a bit of bad, or during the program, reminding us
are going through a tough time with all how tight knit our community
rising living costs. However, in the is.
City of Commerce, we take care “Sometimes I can’t afford
of our own because the com- Christmas presents for my
munity is one big family. This kids, so this program really
is why every year, the City of helps me,” said a mother of
Commerce offers its Holiday two children who has been
Cheer Program to Com- a recipient of the program
merce families who are in for years. “I give thanks
need and who deserve to that the City of Commerce
have a happy holiday sea- does this for us and that
son. our children are not de-
prived of happy Christmas
Through this past 2017 Hol- memories.”
iday Cheer Program, adminis- One of the highlights of the
tered by the City’s Social program is the Commerce
Services Division staff, 100 Casino’s Holiday Party, a festive
Commerce families received gifts, occasion which includes dinner,
food, toys, and gift cards for Christ- face painting, crafts, entertainment,
mas. The program is largely aug- toys and even a visit from Santa.
mented by donations from the City’s Events also include holiday library celebra-
businesses, City Departments, generous tions, food drives, and many other fun ac-
residents, and many other benefactors. No- tivities for children.
table donors include the Bandini Market, While it is important to help out during
Calwater, United Family of Bristow, Al- the holiday season, the spirit of giving
taMed, and much more. and generosity should be called upon
throughout the rest of the year. Busi-
The City is also indebted to the more nesses, organizations and individuals
than a dozen volunteers who donated wishing to do more for those less fortu-
their time to help in a variety of ways, in- nate are urged to call the Social Services
cluding passing out food, toys and deliver- Division at 323-887-4460 to learn about
ing Christmas trees. The community’s more ways they can help.
generosity never ceases to amaze the grate-
ful recipients and staff.

“Every year the sponsors, donors and the Com-
merce Casino’s acts of kindness make Christmas es-

6 Connection

The Heart of Mexico Mendoza was happy to spend time with the people at the homes,
eagerly listening to the residents tell their stories and play the gui-
Every year, Miss Commerce and the Young Man of the Year vis- tar.
its Commerce’s Sister City Aguascalientes in Aguascalientes,
The trip also included municipal functions, such as attending a
Mexico. The annual trip helps foster goodwill between the two Sister City board meeting. During the meeting, Canjura was hon-
ored to meet the Aguascalientes Mayor Licenciado Maria Teresa
cities and provides an opportunity for our young ambassadors to ex-
Jimenez Esquivel, who complimented her for the good
perience Mexican culture. job she was doing representing Commerce.

During their recent five-day stay in Aguascalientes,

Miss Commerce Wiley Canjura and Young Man Although Commerce is very young in compari-

of the Year Marcos Mendoza visited many cul- son to Aguascalientes, the cities share many
tural centers, including museums, orphanages, similarities for caring for their citizens and fos-
and cathedrals and had the chance to celebrate tering loving and generous spirit. .

the 442nd anniversary of the founding of the city One day delegation was reminded of home

of Aguascalientes. when they saw a Montebello Unified School Dis-
Canjura told the Connection she did not know trict bus driving the streets of Aguascalientes. In
order to show appreciation for donated buses and
what to expect in Aguascalientes; she knew that vehicles, Aquascalientes officials decided to leave
the city is called “El corazon de Mexico” (the heart

of Mexico), describing both the location of the state original making and names on the donated vehi-

in the middle of the country and the warmth and cles.
generosity of the people. Leaving Aguascalientes was not easy for Men-

“I was excited to get up every day and start our doza and Canjura; both of them felt like they were

scheduled activities just to be a part of the environ- leaving their second family behind.

ment,” Canjura said of the hospitable people. “It is a trip I will never forget and I sincerely thank the
The ambassadors were also moved by the determination and City of Commerce for sending me as an ambassador on their
behalf,” Mendoza said.
hope exhibited by the residents who live in the orphanages and con- Canjura enjoyed the knowledge and understanding she gained
valescent homes. Canjura and Mendoza both agree that these visits

were the most enjoyable part of their trip, and impacted them the by visiting the sister city.

most. “Going on this trip helped me to appreciate and love my culture
“The children were very happy and excited to share their home more,” she said. “It motivated me to continue to practice my Span-
ish and I am honored to have been a part of this extraordinary cul-
with us,” Canjura said. “If I could return to the homes, next time I

would would bring art supplies and make crafts with them.” tural experience. I will cherish the memories forever.”

Connection 7

Preschool/Toddler Drive-In Movies Brain HQ

Saturday, February 3 11:00 am at Bristow Library The Commerce Public Library has a new service available
Make a cardboard car with your child (ages 2 – 5), enjoy a snack, and to library patrons called Brain HQ. Brain HQ helps improve
focus, memory, and more to keep our brains healthy and ac-
watch a “drive in” movie! A few boxes will be available, but please bring a tive. Patrons can register through the link on our website for
cardboard box your child can sit in comfortably (maximum size approximately full, free access to the brain training site and app. To register,
24”x18”x18”). Space is limited. Pre-register at any Commerce library, or by patrons must click through the Brain HQ link on our website
calling 323-722-6660. at

Life’s Simple 7

The American Heart Association will be visiting the libraries
the first week of February to share 7 simple ways to keep
your heart healthy. The first program will be in Spanish on
Monday, February 5 at 5 p.m. at Bandini Library. The second
program will be in English on Thursday, February 8th at 6
p.m. at Rosewood Library.

Seinfeld Trivia Night (for adults 21+ only)

Join us for an evening of Seinfeld themed trivia, fun &
games celebrating this beloved TV show on Friday, February
9, at 6 p.m. at Rosewood Library.

Food Smart Workshops

The final two Food Smart Workshops with AltaMed will be
on Tuesday, February 6, 6:30 p.m. at Rosewood Library and
Tuesday, February 13, 6:30 p.m. at Bandini Library

2018 Bookmark & Essay Contest

Bookmark contest for grades K – 3.
Essay contest categories: 4th – 5th grades, 6th – 8th grades,
9th – 12th grades Essay contest theme: “If I Could Travel
Anywhere, I Would Go To…”

Contests deadline is March 31, 2017. Entries may be sub-
mitted at any Commerce library. First, second and third
places awarded in each age category. First Places will re-
ceive a $50 Target gift card. Second and Third Places will
receive $25 gift cards.

Read Across America/Dr. Seuss’ Mommy & Me Yoga Storytimes

Birthday Celebrations for Preschoolers & Toddlers

February 26 6 pm Rosewood Library February 7 11:30 am at Rosewood Library
February 27 6 pm Bandini Library
February 28 6 pm Veterans Library February 9 11:00 am at Veterans Library
March 1 6 pm Bristow Library
Mothers, fathers or caregivers are invited to join their little
Join our special guest readers for storytime, with prize drawings and a visit ones (ages 2 – 5 years) for stories and simple stretches. No
from the Cat in the Hat, followed by refreshments. experience necessary. Wear comfortable clothing and plan
to participate with your child.

8 Connection

Valentina “Val” Bassett, a resident of In late 1959, Val joined a group of residents History Project Advisory Committee and the
the Commerce area since 1947 and and businesspeople in a venture to create a Senior Volunteer Food Distribution Program.
the last surviving member of the orig- city where citizens and industry could thrive
inal Incorporating Committee, passed away while enjoying city services and benefits. Val was honored as the 1996 Los Angeles
on December 21, 2017. She was 96 years County Democrat of the Year for the 50th As-
old. Bassett -- a Girl Scout Leader, secretary of sembly District by former Assemblywoman
Martha Escutia and received the Commerce
Val was a community activist, a lifelong De- the Rosewood Park Property Owners League Senior Citizens Advisory Commission nomi-
mocrat and a die-hard Dodgers fan. Her and member of the Rosewood Park Coordi- nation for the 1993 Older American Recog-
loss is felt throughout the community and her nating Council -- was one of the thirteen orig- nition Award presented by the Los Angeles
warm and tender smile will be missed by all. inal members of the Citizen’s Committee for Commission on Aging. She also received
Incorporation who advocated cityhood. several commendations and awards
throughout the years from Congresswoman
The Committee walked neighborhoods and Lucille Roybal-Allard, State Senators Tony
talked to area residents about the benefits of Mendoza and Ricardo Lara, and Assembly-
cityhood. This work resulted in the incorpora- woman Cristina Garcia for her many years
tion of the City of Commerce on January 12, of volunteer work and community activism.
1960, which was then approved by a vote of
the people. Val had a lifelong passion for reading and

On January 20, 1960, Val’s work to help in- literacy, instilling in her children a love of
corporate the City of Commerce was suc- books. It is with this spirit that the Commerce
cessful, but her work to make Commerce “the Public Library dedicated their family reading
Model City” was just beginning. room as the Valentina Bassett Children and
Family Reading Room in 2015.
For the next 57 years, Val was a vital mem-
ber of the Commerce community, helping to Val is survived by her partner of 33 years
establish the Commerce bus system, the former Commerce Mayor Joe Aguilar, her
Model City Democratic Club, and the Sister children, her grandchildren, great grandchil-
City club. dren and great-great grandchildren.

Val worked to improve the “Model City,” first Connection 9
as a candidate for City Council in 1960 and
then as a board member for countless civic
and charitable organizations including the

Holiday Cheer Party

Competitive Dance

The Commerce Competitive Dance Team placed first in 6 categories at the Sharp International com-
petition at Monrovia High School.

Children enjoy entertainment at the Holiday Cheer Party, courtesy of the Spreading Holiday Cheer
Commerce Casino & Hotel.
The Commerce Employee Choir brought joy and cheer to the Senior Center during their annual Holi-
day Party.

Happy New Year Bandini Park

Seniors move to the groove during the Senior Center’s New Year's Eve party. Coco was the theme of the Children's Holiday Faire.

10 Connection


MARCH 1 2 3

SMT W T FS Hecho a Mano Video Games Preschool/Toddler
123 5:30 p.m. Rosewood Library Drive-in Movies
Bristow Library
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Veterans Library 3:30 p.m. 11 a.m.
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Parks and Recreation Teen Advisory
25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Commission Group(TAG)
6 p.m. Rosewood Library

3 p.m.

4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Ignorance, allied Life's Simple 7 City Council Meeting Senior Citizens Community Services Mommy & Me Yoga
with power, is (en Español) 6:30 p.m. Commission Commission Storytime
Bandini Library 12:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m.
the most ferocious Veterans Library
enemy justice 5 p.m. Financial Aid & FAFSA Education 11 a.m.
can have. Workshop Commission
-James Baldwin English Book Club Teen Advisory Group
Bandini Library Rosewood Library 6:30 p.m. Rosewood Library
6 p.m. 6 p.m. 3 p.m.

11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Lincoln's Birthday Measure AA Meeting Task Force Committee Valentine Kids Teen Advisory Group You really can
Program Rosewood Library change the world
City Hall & Libraries 6 p.m.  3 p.m. 3 p.m. if you care enough.
Closed Bandini Library
Food Smart Workshop Video Games 4 p.m. Dinner and a Movie -Marian Wright
Bandini Library Veterans Library Bandini Library Edelman
6:30 p.m. Hecho a Mano 5 p.m.
4 p.m. Bandini Library

Traffic Commission 5:30 p.m.
6:30 p.m.

18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Never be limited Washington’s Birthday City Council Meeting Video Games Spanish Book Club Teen Advisory
by other people’s (Observed) 6:30 p.m. Bandini Library Rosewood Library Group(TAG)
Rosewood Library
limited City Hall & Libraries 3:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m.
imaginations. Closed 3 p.m.
-Dr. Mae Jemison Hecho a Mano Library Commission
Bristow Library 6 p.m. Video Games
Rosewood Library
6 p.m.
3:30 p.m.

25 26 27 28

Virtual Reality Read Across Read Across
Veterans Library America/Dr. Seuss’ America/Dr. Seuss’
Birthday Celebration Birthday Celebration
5 p.m.
Bandini Library Veterans Library
Read Across 6 p.m. 6 p.m.
BirthdLiabryarCieseClelobsreadtion I-710 Local Advisory Planning Commission
Rosewood Library Committee 6:30 p.m.
6 p.m.
6 p.m.

City of Commerce 2535 Commerce Way, Commerce, CA 90040
(323) 722-4805 Fax (323) 888-6841

Connection 11

2535 Commerce Way
Commerce, CA 90040 U.S. POSTAGE


Important Phone Numbers

Aquatic Center 323-887-4404 Residents 50+ years & people with disabilities
Public Safety 323-887-4460
Animal Control 323-887-4460 FREE ride (curb-to-curb) to the store, bank, etc. within 12
Weekend/Evenings 562-940-6898 miles of City Hall. Make your reservation at
Calmet 562-259-1239 least 24 hours in advance
SCE St. Lights Out* 800-611-1911 Transportation Department 323-887-4480

Mayor Oralia Y. Rebollo *Provide Light Pole # for Report
Mayor Pro Tem Ivan Altamirano
Councilmember Hugo A. Argumedo E.L.A. Sheriff’s Dept. 323-264-4151
Councilmember Leonard Mendoza
Graffiti Hotline 323-887-4444
Councilmember John Soria
Vector Control 562-944-9656

Union Pacific 888-877-7267

BNSF 800-832-5452


City of Commerce 2535 Commerce Way Commerce, CA 90040 • (323) 722-4805 Fax (323) 888-6841 •


Channel 3 City CABLE Guide

Award winning cablecasts of the City Council LA County Services App
Mondays 8 a.m, Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. Los Angeles County has a phone app called “The Works.” The app provides
(Live every 1st and 3rd Tues.), Wednesdays at 10 a.m., government agency contact information and more. You can also use it to report
Thursdays at 5 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and and track services such as
Sundays at 10 a.m.
•Flood Maintenance/Storm Damage •Water Waste
“In A Council Minute” •Road Safety/Maintenance •Graffiti
Mondays at 4 p.m., Tuesdays at 9 a.m., Wednesdays at 1 •Homeless Encampment •Bike Path Safety and Maintenance
p.m., Thursdays at 4 p.m., Fridays at 3 p.m., Saturdays at •Parks Safety and /Maintenance •Private Prop Violations/Safety
11:00 a.m., Sundays at 5:00 p.m.
If a particular service is handled by the user’s own city, that city’s information will
Commerce City News be provided. You can download the app by visiting the website
Mondays at 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 8 a.m., Wednesdays
at 3 p.m., Thursdays at 9:30 a.m., Friday at 5:30 p.m.,
Saturdays at 5:30 p.m., Sundays at 3:30 p.m.

A Look Back at the Miss Commerce Pageant 2017
Mondays at 12 p.m., Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m., Wednesdays
at 4 p.m., Thursdays at 3 p.m., Fridays at 9 a.m., Saturdays
at 6 p.m., Sundays at 8 p.m.

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