Congressman Tony Cardenas

VAN NUYS, CA — The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council is pleased to announce the involvement of Congressman Tony Cardenas in the “Homelessness & Mental Illness” Summit next week. The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council is hosting this Special Council Meeting on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 at 6:30 pm to address homelessness in the San Fernando Valley and throughout Los Angeles.

“Congressman Tony Cardenas and his office have been delightful to work with over the past two years.  Congressman Cardenas co-hosted our last Summit in October, and his Chief of Staff Sam Jammal flew out from Washington D.C. to brief us on Immigration Reform and its progress in the U.S. House Of Representatives. The Congressman introduced the Marilyn Monroe Post Office Bill on behalf of the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, and his office has always been receptive to the issues facing Van Nuys and the San Fernando Valley.  I look forward to working with him to address homelessness in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, and to tackle this terrible epidemic head-on” said George Christopher Thomas, President of the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council.

Raised by hard-working immigrant parents, Tony Cárdenas was brought up with simple ideals – that integrity and dedication were the keys to success. These are the qualities that he has brought to his 16 year career as a public servant for the people of the North East San Fernando Valley, and that he continues to offer today as a United States Congressman.

Cárdenas was first elected to the California State Assembly in 1996. He went on to serve three terms in the assembly and was later elected to the Los Angeles City Council, in 2003. An engineering degree, and a business background, prepared him for the day-to-day duties of an elected official and his experience has allowed him to find practical and realistic solutions to difficult problems. Born in Pacoima, Cárdenas was raised with ten brothers and sisters and still resides in the San Fernando Valley with his wife, Norma, and their children.

As a state legislator, Cárdenas focused on ensuring that his community received the programs and services they needed, while he made sure the state’s finances were managed responsibly. As Chair of the State Assembly’s powerful Budget Committee, Cárdenas oversaw the most robust reserve budget in the history of California. His state reforms brought 78,000 new classroom seats to Los Angeles, as well as 15 universal playgrounds throughout the city. He also secured more than $650 million for new school construction in Los Angeles to help relieve overcrowded classrooms.

It was in the Assembly, that Cárdenas began working on juvenile justice issues. His state legislation included the overhaul of California’s gang prevention and intervention programs, with the passage of the Schiff-Cárdenas Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act. He brought his passion for juvenile justice to the Los Angeles City Council. As Chair of the City’s Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development, Cardenas identified millions of dollars overlooked by the City to help keep kids off the streets, and reduced crime while reducing expenditures on crime abatement programs.

As Vice Chair of the City’s Public Safety Committee, Cárdenas spearheaded the most comprehensive gang intervention model in the country. The Community-Based Gang Intervention Model standardized and defined the methods used by gang intervention workers to help stop violence in some of LA’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

In 2012, Cárdenas also passed landmark amendments to the City’s daytime curfew ordinance. The new policy eliminated costly fines, of up to $500 that students were facing. It also reduced lengthy court visits for parents and students, and gave students the opportunity to do community service to eliminate their citations.

As an animal rights advocate, Cárdenas also created Los Angeles’ first Animal Cruelty Task Force which, for the first time, targeted animal abuse city-wide. One of the task force’s first felony convictions put a known gang member away for three years for abusing a family pet. Cárdenas also co-authored the City’s mandatory spay/neuter ordinance, helping Los Angeles become the largest no-kill city in the country. Cárdenas also launched the city’s first Task Force on Human Trafficking and Child Prostitution, addressing an often overlooked crime. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 14,000 to 18,000 people are trafficked into the country annually in Los Angeles.

Attacking persistent blight in his community, Cárdenas launched district and city-wide efforts to improve the environment. Community clean-ups in his district collected more than 56,000 tons of trash and bulky items during his tenure and Cárdenas added more than 100 acres of new park. Cárdenas demanded that L.A.’s Department of Water and Power establish its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, laying out specific goals and timelines for their use of clean energy. And he consistently drafted and supported green energy legislation including his plan to convert the City’s taxi fleet to fuel efficient vehicles.

After 16 years in public office, Cárdenas has made history, becoming the first Latino elected to represent the San Fernando Valley in our United States Congress. He will continue his passionate commitment to the community in this new capacity. He currently sits on the House of Representatives Natural Resources and Budget, and Oversight and Government Reform committees.

“It is a great honor and privilege to work alongside all of the high profile speakers we have scheduled for the summit this December.  Each one brings an interesting and unique perspective to addressing homelessness in the San Fernando Valley.  This is a major issue in Van Nuys, as well as throughout the Valley and Southern California.  This summit is a perfect opportunity to come together with community leaders in our area, and really address this issue and propose solutions,” said George Christopher Thomas, President of the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council.

A list of confirmed speakers include but are not limited to: Don LeStrange, Van Nuys LAPD Volunteer and Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB) Homeless Committee Chair.  Representatives from the Office of Councilwoman Nury Martinez (CD6).  Anthony Gonzales from the Village Family Center in North Hollywood.  Ryan Bell from Community Outreach for PATH in Los Angeles.  Representatives from the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission.  Representatives from the National Coalition For The Homeless.  Representatives from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.  Representatives from the Weingart Center Association.  Representatives from the Homeless Health Care Los Angeles.  Representatives from the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.  And representatives from the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness.

The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council meets at 6262 Van Nuys Boulevard and the Summit will take place in the Council Chambers starting at 6:30 pm. If your Neighborhood Council or organization would like to co-host this summit with the VNNC, please email Council President George Thomas at For more information please visit  The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council is the largest Neighborhood Council in the San Fernando Valley, and the second largest of all 95 Neighborhood Council’s in Los Angeles. (


All media and the general public are invited to attend.  Please email any questions or comments to

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