Watts Group Protests at Svorinich's Office

Members of a Watts group staged a sit-in at the City Hall office of Los Angeles Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. on Wednesday to demand that he meet with residents and address the problem of nuisance alleys in their community.

About 15 people marched to Svorinich's office, sat on the floor and chanted, "Open the door, Rudy!" for about 20 minutes until Svorinich's chief of staff agreed to meet with representatives of the group.

"We want him to clean the alleys and for our neighborhood to be more clean," said Josefina Garcia, 49, who has lived in Watts for 15 years. The mother of five complained that alleys are full of trash, needles and sometimes dead animals. Residents want the city to close off the alleys, where children often play, she said.

The residents, carrying a "Worst Councilman of the Year" sign, were members of the Watts chapter of the Assn. of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a national grass-roots group that aids low-income families. They said they have tried for eight months to meet with the 15th District councilman but that his staff denied them a meeting until Wednesday.

But Barry Glickman, Svorinich's chief of staff, said that staffers in the Watts office met with the group twice last week.

Glickman said Svorinich's office has informed the group for years on the process for closing nuisance alleys. Their petition to close five alleys in the area has been submitted to the city's street services department and is pending along with other petitions.

"We're working with the LAPD to see if there's any documentation that would warrant their alleys to be moved ahead of others," Glickman said.

He also defended the councilman's record in Watts, saying he has brought the community a new library and civic center in the six years he has been in office.

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