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DOWNTOWN : El Pueblo Panel Begins Its Mission

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A seven-member panel that will oversee operations at the historic El Pueblo de Los Angeles held its first meeting last week and began establishing priorities and a vision for the city’s birthplace.

The commission of five Latinos, one Chinese American and one Italian American agreed Tuesday to set up a committee to study El Pueblo’s staff of 44, comprised of people from the city’s parks department and contracted employees. The commission is taking over management of the historic area from the city parks department.

Commissioners, appointed in August, two years after the panel was created, are scheduled to meet again with Olvera Street merchants at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Merced Theatre.

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Following are the panel members’ names and views of how to improve the two-block Downtown area where 11 families founded Los Angeles in 1781:

* Philip W. Bartenetti, 52, of Glassell Park, a civil attorney and partner in the law firm of Clark & Trevithick. Bartenetti, whose term ends June 30, 1996, said promoting Olvera Street is a top concern.

* Antonio Cardenas, 31, a Mission Hills real estate agent and a Sylmar resident. Cardenas, whose term ends June 30, 1996, wants to look into developing a North American Free Trade Agreement information office, education center or museum at El Pueblo.

* Juan Gomez-Quinones, a UCLA history professor and Pacific Palisades resident. Gomez-Quinones, whose term ends June 30, 1997, said funding must be reviewed to determine priorities at El Pueblo.

* Stewart Kwoh, 45, executive director and co-founder of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. Kwoh, whose term ends June 30, 1997, wants to highlight the various cultures that once populated the site.

* Lydia Lopez, 52, of Lincoln Heights, owner of a fund-raising consulting firm. Lopez, whose term ends June 30, 1998, serves as the commission’s chairwoman.

“What I want to do is quickly start meeting with the merchants,” Lopez said. “We need to hear from them about their experience as business people on that street.”

* Josephine Ramirez, 36, of Venice, an arts consultant. Ramirez, whose term ends June 30, 1995, wants to incorporate Olvera Street into the city’s effort to revitalize the arts scene.

* Andres Topacio, owner of a Downtown architectural firm. Topacio, whose term ends June 30, 1998, wants to do more to promote El Pueblo and to look into closing Main Street “to make that whole block pedestrian-oriented without any (vehicle) traffic.”


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