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Southland Communities Accomplish Late Spring Cleaning : Volunteers Spruce Up Their Neighborhoods

Times Staff Writer

Spring cleaning came a little late to several Southland communities Saturday, but no one was complaining.

“I think it’s marvelous,” said Eva Brown, of Los Angeles, who happened to be in the area as a brigade of hardy Korean-American senior citizens, armed with plastic trash bags, swept and raked its way down Wilshire Boulevard near Western Avenue.

The Korean-American group was participating in one of five separate volunteer cleanup drives that, by coincidence, all took place Saturday morning.

The beautification campaigns involved hundreds of volunteer workers in Van Nuys, Hollywood, South-Central Los Angeles, the mid-Wilshire area and San Gabriel Canyon.

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Organize ‘Sweep-Off’

About 500 residents of the area gathered in the Wiltern Theater parking lot at Wilshire and Western to take part in a “sweep-off” organized by the Wilshire Center Community Involvement Assn., a nonprofit beautification group.

Divided into four teams, the volunteers picked up trash on 6th, 7th and 8th streets and Wilshire Boulevard from Western Avenue to Hoover Street, using 500 brooms and rakes donated by Assemblyman Mike Roos (D-Los Angeles). They included youngsters wearing “Trash Busters” T-shirts, teen-age Explorer Scouts and members of 20 Korean-American community organizations. The largest contingent, 300 members, came from the Korean-American Senior Citizens Assn.

“The idea behind (this event) is to get the community together and show we can work toward a common goal,” said Frank Foster of the Wilshire Center group, which plans to follow up with a tree-planting day and a “paint-off” to cover graffiti.

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At Horace Mann Junior High School in South-Central Los Angeles, about 50 students and residents gathered to hoe weeds, sweep sidewalks and remove graffiti along Western Avenue between Florence Avenue and 69th Street.

Led by Principal

“We want to keep this a place we can be proud of,” said Principal Marguerite LaMotte, who founded the Horace Mann Florence Western Community Committee to promote cooperation among the area’s youth, businesses and residents.

“This is our neighborhood. Either we let it go and let the gangs claim it, or we take it back,” said Cliff McClain, who was using a sandblasting machine to remove graffiti from a wall at 71st Street and St. Andrews Place, across the street from the junior high school.

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Wiping sweat from his forehead, he said the sandblasting was hard work.

“It’s worth it if it gets people in the neighborhood to take notice and do something about these unsightly walls, instead of just complain about it,” he said.


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