Local and Community News
Los Angeles: Council OKs AIDS Memorial for Park
April 23, 2003
Despite vocal opposition from some Lincoln Heights residents, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the construction of an AIDS memorial in Lincoln Park in northeast Los Angeles. Council members voted 10-0 to approve the proposal, saying it was the right thing to do. Most on the council acknowledged it was difficult to go against the wishes of angry constituents, and several used the term "courageous" to explain their approval of the memorial. In the packed council chambers at City Hall, Councilmember Nate Holden turned to opponents of the plan and said, "[AIDS] won't go away. It is what it is."Adapted from:
The memorial at Lincoln Park has been a source on contention in recent months. Opponents have argued that the memorial, named "The Wall -- Las Memorias," was inappropriate for a park in an area with limited park space and that little outreach was done to inform residents about it. A few meetings of the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Council, including one last Thursday, have ended acrimoniously with the group unable to reach a consensus. Even the head of the city's Human Relations Commission, Rabbi Allen Freehling, said Tuesday that there was little common ground between opponents and supporters.
At Tuesday's meeting, attended by more than 100 people, each side was given just five minutes to speak. Supporters maintained that the nine-year effort to honor Latinos and others who have died from AIDS had widespread support. Opponents claimed that the controversy only recently surfaced because few in Lincoln Heights knew of the project. Resident Robert Vega, an opponent, said 1,000 signatures had been collected from those who opposed the monument. AIDS activist Richard Zaldivar, the force behind the proposal, said many residents knew of the monument, and countered that some Latinos just do not want to talk about AIDS.
Los Angeles Times
04.23.03; George Ramos