The Pico Neighborhood Association (PNA), formed in 1979, is one of the oldest neighborhood groups in the City. Its boundaries are Lincoln Blvd. to the west, Centinela Ave. to the east, Pico Blvd. to the south and Colorado Blvd. to the north.Association members see their mission as “promoting social justice in the areas of public safety, housing, neighborhood conditions, community development, City Hall watch, youth services and park and traffic controls.” According to documents obtained from the PNA, its Board is currently working on “advocating for affordable housing options to sustain economic and ethnic diversity” and “ensuring that Pico Neighborhood youth and their families have culturally relevant programs at Virginia Avenue Park.” They are also addressing youth violence by working with law enforcement to develop a neighborhood-centered approach to community policing.PNA Co-Chair Maria Loya told the Mirror that her association is very interested in increasing voter participation and hopes to accomplish this by helping with voter education, and going door to door to help register voters. They are also interested in “working with the City Council” to ensure the Pico Neighborhood has representatives sitting on City Boards and Commissions. Other current PNA priorities are “working with youth serving agencies such as the Pico Youth and Family Center (PYFC) and our neighborhood schools to support after school programs, job training and a positive alternative to gangs and crime.” It also wants to work “to create job opportunities for youth and residents through development agreements and attaining a commitment from City staff to meet this need.” They are also participating to the ongoing update of the City’s General Plan. The PNA’s accomplishments in 2005 include collaborating with the PYFC on the December forum, “Preventing Youth Violence and Drug Abuse” that educated youth and their families on avoiding gangs and drug addiction. After a double homicide, it created a temporary relief fund called Victim’s of Violence Support Fund to assist the victimized families with funeral expenses.The PNA also teamed up with St. Anne’s church and Santa Monicans For Renter’s Rights (SMRR) to create a Renter Empowerment Zone in the Pico neighborhood to halt unlawful evictions. This program recognized over eighty Pico neighborhood youth for their academic achievement and leadership in association with St. Anne’s Catholic School and John Adams Middle School.The PNA board officers are Co-Chairs Maria Loya and Wes Thompson, Vice Chair Ana G. Jara, Treasurer Irma Carranza and Secretary Gina Ingineri. Board meetings are held on the second Thursday of every month, 7pm, at Virginia Avenue Park. For further information, email Co-Chair Maria Loya at [email protected] or call 310.383.4545.
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