BREAKING: Just before printing this edition, the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) turned into a global pandemic. In the interest of providing you with important information, I “stopped the presses” and revised the front page. With daily changes happening, even this breaking news may be outdated by the time you receive it. So, I’ve created a webpage-covid19.haidarhawthorne.com – to answer your questions and deliver current links to government and institutional sites that have the relevant information you need.
As we go to press, the Governor of California has issued a Statewide order for everyone to “stay at home except for essential needs” along with Los Angeles County’s “safe at home order.”
Both call us to “further restrict and limit the gathering of person and require the closure of malls, shopping centers, children’s playgrounds, and non-essential retail businesses in an effort to stem or slow the spread of COVID- 19 withing the greater Los Angeles community.”
You can read more details on the front page of this newspaper. Although we are to maintain safe “social distancing” to protect our most vulnerable, I encourage you to reach out to your neighbors-especially seniors and check on their wellbeing. You can talk through doors and use the phone to stay in contact. As “Good Neighbors” let us help one another. We can do this and still be safe.
For our protection, I’ve ensured that all city buildings and park facilities remain closed and all city meetings and events are canceled until further notice. Our local school districts have done the same, and schools are officially closed through April spring break-but that may be extended-you can find links to their information at COVIDI9.haidarhawthorne.com
The city council and I continue to function and make necessary decisions, and I am personally in contact with our county, state and federal elected officials to make sure that Hawthorne is represented and receiving all the support we need.
As your city councilmember I can promise that essential city services will continue and as Chair of the South Bay Regional Public Communications Authority that paramedic, fire and police services will be there when you call. Further, I’ve directed our city staff to maintain direct contact with county, state and federal authorities, especially the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, to coordinate public safety activities and take needed precautions.
In Hawthorne, there is a moratorium on parking enforcement during street sweeping since you will need to keep your cars parked on city streets. And I voted along with my colleagues to place a moratorium on evictions in Hawthorne if you are unable to pay rent due to job loss or business closure.
You can find more information on support for Hawthorne residents in this paper and on my webpage COVID19. haidarhawthorne.com. My family and I continue to pray for you-our residents-our city, state and country as we combat this disease with optimism and hope but above all, neighborliness. As we settle into 2020, it’s natural to reflect on the past while planning for the future. I look back at 2019 and even the past four years and I’m proud to say I’ve made a difference in Hawthorne. Before I joined the council in 2015 as the only new member, our city’s financial outlook was horrendous-unable to meet payroll, in debt, and recovering from a scandal to defraud the public. Yes, it was pretty bleak. I gladly lent my financial experience and leadership to push for changes that were long overdue. In that first year, I created a Financial Oversight Committee to watchdog the city’s finances, so the corruption of the past was not repeated. I led the charge for greater transparency in city finances that resulted in clearer and detailed pubic budget meetings and the posting of all budget materials on our city’s website. And with these reforms, Hawthorne has turned around financially. There is more work ahead, and I’m committed to a secure financial future for Hawthorne.
Hawthorne is better when we have local businesses, restaurants and shopping that make our city a desirable place to live and work. I’ve pushed forward an assessment on blighted property to force absent owners to either clean up their property to community standards or better yet to develop their property. This “blight fee” that I proposed when I first ran in 2015 has gone into effect and is already getting results. This paper will do an in-depth story on this subject in future editions.
It’s important to feel safe in our homes and on the streets of Hawthorne. I’m proud that crime levels have decreased during my tenure. We’ve even added cameras in our parks to make them safer. I’m working closely with our Police Department to prevent crime and bring them added resources through grants and other programs.
I committed to do more for our Veterans and the education of our children and can proudly say I’m making a difference. You can read about the Veteran Family Housing project I spearheaded with help from prominent Veteran organizations including our Hawthorne Veterans Commission, and I’m entering my sixth year of handing out two scholarships per school to high school graduates from Leuzinger, Lawndale, and Hathorne High Schools.
I want to say thank you to the numerous residents who sent me congratulatory messages upon my graduation from the USC Marshal School of Business. USC’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) provides a management, analytical, and policymaking focus that I intend to use for our city’s benefitfurther safeguarding and wisely utilizing your tax dollars.