- A welcome reception for Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, whose 14th District now includes Little Tokyo, was held March 26 at Far Bar on First Street with more than 80 people in attendance. Huizar, who rode in the Nisei Week Parade with his family last year, said, “As a young boy I used to see that parade each year, and to be part of it really meant a lot.” He also recalled delivering both The Rafu Shimpo and The Kashu Mainichi as a kid, and the The Rafu invited him to relive those days by once again donning a newspaper bag.
To show that he hasn’t lost his touch, the councilmember rolled up some newspapers, wrapped rubber bands around them, and tossed them.
Rafu Publisher Mickey Komai presented Huizar with a framed copy of a recent issue featuring the councilmember. Also pictured is Mike Okamoto of the Little Tokyo Community Council, who kicked off the event by telling Huizar, “Welcome back!” Other speakers included Consul Toshio Odagiri, who said that Consul General Jun Niimi and the staff of the Japanese Consulate look forward to working with Huizar “for the future of Little Tokyo.” Helen Ota served as emcee.
Huizar is pictured with his mentor, Masamichi Kiyomiya, who encouraged him to get into public service. When Huizar was 12, Kiyomiya hired him to work at his video store on Second and Los Angeles streets. “I’m forever grateful to him because when I would get to work he’d allow me to finish my homework,” said Huizar, adding that he “learned the values of trust” from Kiyomiya. The councilmember said he looks forward to “serving in a different capacity, to help out a community that helped me out.”
Huizar chats with Gail Miyasaki and Patty Nagano. At left is photographer Gary Miyatake. Special guests at the event included former Assemblymember George Nakano and Los Angeles Fire Department Deputy Chief David Yamahata. Huizar thanked Okamoto, Dean Matsubayashi and Craig Ishii for organizing the event and also introduced his wife, Richelle, and members of his staff.
Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo
Reported by J.K. Yamamoto/Rafu Shimpo