Youth Development

I think that youth development is one of the best investments a community can make for its future. I’ve personally been drawn to it in my own life, so it was a great to learn that LPV has a culture of youth service.

Art + Practice is a nonprofit based in LPV that aims to use art as a conduit for foster care youth mental health and professional development. The organization partners with UCLA’s Hammer Museum and the RightWay Foundation, which provides mental health and career development services. The building contains headquarters for RightWay Foundation and Eso Won Books, an LPV anchor business.

Kaos Network is a historic node of youth empowerment in the LPV community driven by Ben Caldwell.  KAOS Network is a hub of media production education as well as an artistic outlet.  The organization’s thursday evening open mics are legendary and have helped cultivate young artists, such as Jurassic 5 and Abstract Rude.

LPV is also home to ReCharge, a youth led annual three day event dedicated to creating a safe space for South LA teens to create art, be entrepreneurs, and discuss issues important to them.

In creating our vision statement, we want to ensure that youth development and involvement is an important part of the process. The public lots and Botach spaces provide opportunities to develop campuses similar to Art + Practice’s that combine arts with local business development AND youth services.  Makerspaces can create opportunities for youth and adults to work in the same spaces, creating opportunities for mentorships, apprenticeships, and simply inspiration. In this kind of space, regular programs like Urban League’s youth BizCamp (a two week entrepreneurship intensive camp) may exist throughout the year, not only encouraging youth empowerment, but also perpetuating a local entrepreneurial spirit that strengthens for the long term the small, locally owned business spirit of LPV.




Flyer and Existing Strengths in LPV

I’ve been working on a flyer that gets out the word for Shark Tank in the LPV community:


We’re all so excited to see this roll out!

Working with the LPV business development team has been so much fun.  Part of what makes this group and community so awesome is their determination to take something that is seemingly a threat (evictions–> the looming threat of gentrification), and turn it into a huge opportunity for community development and growth. LPV 20|20 itself grew out of serious local community organizing and planning to get ahead of this threat of displacement and make sure that the future of LPV is in the hands of the local community, not speculators. LPV 20|20 is an inspiring group of individuals who are tirelessly working to bring LPV to its highest potential.

Our group is tasked in class with creating a vision plan for LPV.  I find that in this exercise, the first step must be to identify LPV’s existing strengths.  These are not difficult to find–the LPV 20|20 organization is highly conscious of them and wants to take advantage of them: a history steeped in art and music, beautiful historic buildings and park, retail and food that highlights African/African American/African Diaspora culture, an upcoming metro station, existing strong connections with regional agencies like Community Build and Vermont Slaussen, regular cultural events/festivals that help to strengthen local identity, anchor businesses that have a long history in the community, a strong local sense of community service, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit in the local community.




Busy at Work


Here’s a look at the Business Development team in action! The team is busy putting together materials for the Leimert Tank application. As we move into the second half of our term, we are gearing up for community visioning efforts. These include vision statements, and setting timelines for reaching identified objectives.

In addition, we are looking into business vision plans for the community. Although the team is starting to feel the pinch of time, we are hustling to draft a framework that can be passed onto the LPV 20|20 initiative, assisting their ongoing efforts.




Shark Tank Materials

Over the past four weeks, the student and LPV teams have collaborated to move the Leimert Tank process forward. After many lively and productive conferences and emails, we officially have event dates, “Shark” investors, and Part 1 of the Leimert Tank application.

The original timeline dates are revised to provide more time for the planning team to create materials, as well as more time for participants to apply. The current end date is May 14th, to coincide with the annual Leimert Park Village charrette.

Application Part One is an effort that spanned throughout our fall quarter.  This application asks applicants for initial basic information in order for the review team to assess 1. how well does this business/idea fit into the existing LPV community, and 2. how prepared is this business to present their idea to a panel of investors.  Questions asked include how the business operates and how duties are delegated, and what market/niche the business serves.

Once the first round of applications come in, the review team may decide to make some cuts.  Mostly, though, the review is meant for the review team to review how the applicants can strengthen their applications before they submit application 2. The review team may give advice to candidates themselves, or they may advise candidates to sign up for workshops provided by regional nonprofits that help participants gain the skills to do things like build business plans and start a business.

See Application One in the Fall Projects tab.





Stakeholder Expansion

One of the stakeholders in Leimert Park business development is citizen. It includes middle age people, African American, Youth people, homeless people, home owners and renters. In LPV, middle age people (aging 35-64) (45%) and African American (81%) are the vast majority. They are the main support in the community who form the cultural identity. In comparison, youth people (aging 18 and under) is the minority group, which takes only 22.6% of the total population. For the homeless people, although there is not a formal count, they are also the minority group, which is considered as the burden in business development. As for the homeowners and renter, because they are almost half and half, they are equally important in LPV.

In terms of potential controversies, each of these stakeholders has its desire. As the vast majority, African Americans want to create a stronger cultural identity in the community. But since there are still other races who want to have their culture presented, it might become a cultural friction.  For the middle-aged people, homeowners and renters, most of them want gentrification, which makes the community more beautiful. But since there won’t be enough funds in the city for the gentrification, it becomes a potential controversy in the short term. Homeless issue is a burden in business development in the community. As people are unable to afford to live in a house, they become homeless, which effects normal business, environmental beauty, and community safety. Brain drain is another potential controversy in the community that happens amongst youth. Because the community lacks enough attraction (beauty or economy) to the youth people, many of them choose to leave after they grow up or acquaint skills or degree.

To better help to soften these potential controversies two involvements are proposed and on stages: existing stakeholder meeting and outreach. Existing stakeholder meeting are regular meetings that are held in Community Build, discussing the development of the community. By attending it, stakeholders will know the first-hand news about what is going on in the community. Outreach is the visit and cooperation for homeless people, existing residents, and local youth workshop. The desires of these groups can be clearly and patiently heard during the outreach.

To help these citizens, several funds will be available: MBDA, LA Fund and Continuum of Care Program. MBDA is an agency that links minority-owned businesses with the capital, contracts, and markets they need to grow. (They) advocate and promote minority-owned business with elected officials, policy makers, and business leaders. They serve as subject matter experts and advocates for the minority business community. The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education partners with LA schools to invest in innovative, results-oriented programs designed to ensure every student has a chance to succeed. The CoC Program provides funding to states, localities, and nonprofit organizations to provide permanent housing, transitional housing, supportive services, HMIS, homelessness prevention.

Universal College of Beauty is the only educational stakeholder in LPV. It is providing professional training / technique to local people. Because it is a private education agency, the education scales are the main controversy. Factors like funding, location, and students are limiting its development. By attending LPV committee meeting and Shark Tank event, Universal College of Beauty can know which policy will be beneficial to enlarge its education scale and who are the potential businesses that they can provide assistance to. As for the available assistance, school improvement grants might be one of the available funds. It mainly provides funding to recruit, retain, and support effective educators. But since Universal College of Beauty is small private education agency, further check regarding its qualification is needed.


-Minority Business Development Agency

-LA Fund

– HUD Exchange: Continuum of Care (CoC) Program

– U.S. Department of Education: School Improvement Grant


Tax Assessment

One of the important tasks of our business development is to analyze and assess the property tax situation in Leimert Park Village (LPV). To begin the tax assessment, the first step is to look for the net taxable value of each property in LPV. Based on the data from Zimas, Los Angeles Assessor Map and LA Open Data Project, 40 properties are found and the map is shown as below

apn map

It is obvious that the LPV has more than 40 unique addresses. But because many of them are under a unique Assessor Identification Number (AIN), there are only 40 properties are being studied. For different types of property, the tax rates are different, which ranges from 0 (government owned) to 1% (general commercial property). Besides pay property tax, property owners in LPV also need to pay tax to water district, school district and community college district. The tax summary in LPV is calculated as below

 Total Property Tax $152,150.19
Average $3,803.75
Median $3,137.17
Max $12,807.62
City $3,100.50
Water District $277.66
School District $15,579.64
Community College District $1,573.39
Total Tax Due =$172,681.38

From the table above, we can see that LPV is paying total $172,681.38 to the community annually. Compared to a normal resident property ($4200 annual tax payment), $172,681.38 is about 40 times greater, which fulfills the 40 property parcel in LPV. But since this area is mainly of business, such annual tax payment indicates that the properties in this area need improvement and revitalization. By introducing more businesses into LPV, only the businesses demographic will become more variety, but property owner will have more income. It will be a win-win situation to both property owners and the community. When the community gets prosperous, the property owners have more income to invest into their property, which ultimately indicates higher tax payment into the community.


LPV Updates

Post by Maria B. Rodriguez

The LPV 20|20 Vision leaders hosted a meeting earlier this week at the Vision Theatre. The facilitators, Sherri Franklin, Johnnie Raines and Clint Rosemond discussed ongoing 20|20 plan initiatives and their progress thus far. Other active community stakeholders that participated in the discussion included Brian Bowens, Kenny Rogers (West Angeles CDC) and prominent anchor business owners’. On the agenda, the meeting consisted of updates on negotiations with B.K. (Botasch), three accelerators, homelessness, achieving more community input, and recent crime in the area.


There was a lot of emphases placed on LPV functioning as an economically thriving cultural node. The three accelerators describe the type of commercial business the Vision leaders aspire to obtain in LPV. They are as follows: 1. Production hub, 2. Cultural Retail Hub, and 3. Fast Fresh Hub. These concepts help the Business Development team when deciding what applicants from Shark Tank will fit best into these accelerator types. In addition, Brian Bowens spoke of ongoing negotiations with B.K. regarding the properties being sold. He also insisted that the community needs to provide more input and get involved with making changes in the community by outreaching and thinking “like a developer”. Another topic discussed was homelessness in the park and in the vicinity of the community. Sherri spoke of continuing the ‘Brother’s Keeper’ program and perhaps acquiring a space to open a drop-in center for the homeless. The last part of the meeting consisted of a police officer from the local department providing an update on recent crime activity in the area. Criminal activity, such as homicides and drive-by shootings were rather high on the days prior and after New Years.

2015 in review

Settling into 2016, the new year presents our group with opportunities of growth. As we embark on the second phase of our partnership with the LPV 20|20 Vision Initiative, we highlight efforts undertaken in 2015.

Our group was given the task of creating a business directory for Leimert Park Village.  Over 70 businesses are located in Leimert Park Village. In forming the directory, we compiled past information, and updated any inaccurate information, including changes in business type and ownership, filling in gaps in the process. After, we were able to categorize the businesses into nine types, including a section highlighting anchor/featured businesses. With this information, we created a mock template of what the directory and featured business could look like on the LPV 20|20 site.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 12.15.41 AMmock template of the featured business page

Once completed, the directory will be placed on the LPV 20|20 Vision Initiative website. As we move into 2016, we hope to pick up where we left off, and see our template go live.