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In cities, towns and counties across the country, public safety and protecting people from crime will always be a priority of the highest magnitude.
That’s why, here in Los Angeles, July 8th was a day of tremendous significance, as our newest Police Officers graduated in the Los Angeles Police Department Recruit Officer Graduation Ceremony for Class 1-16.
The event was held outside police headquarters, in the LAPD Administration Building Plaza which was packed with officers, friends and families of the graduates. Chief Charlie Beck was among the many on hand to honor and congratulate these officers.
The nation has been much focused, recently, on recent tumult and tragedy involving police and policing issues, and Chief Beck gave a moving speech that touched on the slaying of police officers in Dallas as well as on other matters of heated concern and controversy, and urged that as a society, we replace violence with dialogue.
He told the graduates, “You often will see people on the worst days of their lives. Have empathy. Try to look into people’s hearts. Help them. Always, always give more than you take."
An LAPD news release detailed that of the 37 graduates, there are 25 males and 12 females with the following ethnic breakdowns: eight Caucasian, twenty-two Hispanic, one African American, five Asian, and one Filipino. Graduating officers will have completed 912 hours of training over the course of 24 weeks. All were applauded mightily in a ceremony which also included special awards and honors for those who particularly excelled.
Councilmember Koretz and the 5th District, and the City as a whole, wish the very best and brightest of futures to every graduate. We hold them dear.
Councilmember Koretz hosted a meeting with community leaders and the Planning Department to discuss approving a Ridgeline Ordinance to protect the City's peaks from over development. The Department will be submitting a report back to the City Council with options to deal with the City's ridges and peaks and the process in moving forward with new legislation and planning tools to protect them. Pictured from left to right are Tom Rothman (Planning), 5th Council District Senior Planning Director Faisal Alserri, 5th District Chief of Staff Joan Pelico, Don Loze of the Benedict Canyon Association and Bel Air Beverly Crest NC (BAPCNC), Kevin Keller (Planning), BAPCNC President Robin Greenberg, Councilmember Paul Koretz, Nickie Miner of the Benedict Canyon Association and BABCNC, and Bob Schlesinger of BCA and BABCNC.
Update re BMO/BHO
On July 14, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission moved the BMO/BHO Ordinance forward to the City Council.
The Commission's hearing regarding the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance/Baseline Hillside Ordinance drew many dedicated constituents and neighborhood activists.
Councilmember Koretz has championed anti-mansionization efforts, and therefore greatly appreciates all the hard work such community leaders have put into creating a much more balanced ordinance, and so he is pleased that the Planning Commission moved things forward.
The Commission did modify the ordinance as follows: Exempt only 200 square feet of an attached garage in the front of the house, and continue the exemption to 400 square feet of a garage if it is located in the rear of the property.
Councilmember Koretz and his staff will be reviewing all that has transpired, including comments from the community, and are devoted to getting a reasonable and meaningful ordinance passed by the full City Council. The next step will be at the Planning & Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee: the earliest date for this would be sometime in August, and then on to the full City Council.
Charlie Mims, President of The Federation of Hillside and Canyon Associations, Inc.; Marian Dodge, Chairman of The Federation of Hillside and Canyon Associations, Inc.; Jan Reichmann, President of the Comstock Hills Homeowners Association; Jeffrey Ebenstein, 5th Council District Legislative Deputy; and Harold Burns and Susan Gordon of the Comstock Hills Homeowners Association, at the July 14 hearing.
Joan Pelico, 5th Council District Chief of Staff, with Marilouise Morgan, President of the Carthay Square Neighborhood Association, outside the Council Chambers after the July 14 hearing.
Funding the Homelessness Strategy
One of the major challenges facing the City is fully funding the Comprehensive Homelessness Strategy approved earlier this year. The new City Budget includes an allocation of $138 million split roughly in half between funding of services and programs and financing the provision of housing for the homeless. However, the latter half requires further action to ensure that there will be funds available, so the Council over the past several months has worked to develop ideas to do so.
During the last week of June the Council considered two prospective measures to place on the November election ballot that could provide funding streams for the foreseeable future. The one chosen for the November ballot is a $1.2 billion bond measure to finance the construction and/or acquisition of housing. 80% of the funds would be restricted to providing units for the truly homeless, while the remaining 20% could be used for low income housing to help address another of the City’s critical needs. The funds would become available as bonds were sold to provide cash-flow for the housing projects. The measure, which would add a small annual surcharge to property taxes, would require a 2/3 vote of the electorate to pass.
Mitigating the Impact of Big House Projects
Responding to a rash of very large homebuilding projects being undertaken in locations both within the Fifth District and all over Los Angeles, Councilmember Koretz introduced a motion on June 24th proposing that any single family home project of 20,000 square feet or more undergo an environmental review of traffic impacts, water usage, roadway impacts, fire safety, air quality, traffic safety and construction hours before being approved. The motion was referred to the Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee for consideration.
A new campaign, “Home for Renters,” has been created by the City to help protect renters from displacement by arming them with information about their rights under the RSO. It aims to close the information gap by, among other things, providing online resources that make detailed information about the RSO accessible to both tenants and landlords.
Protecting Your Apartment
Councilmember Paul Koretz, who has been working with City departments and other Councilmembers over the last year to strengthen protections for apartment tenants, wants Fifth District renters to know their rights and responsibilities.
Currently, one out of every two L.A. families lives in an apartment subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), a City policy designed to protect Angelenos from runaway rents and displacement from their neighborhoods. But a recent Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) survey found that only a third of those families understand how the RSO can help them.
To learn more about "Home for Renters," please visit this site: http://hcidla.lacity.org/home-for-renters.
Pet of the week
Ebony is a seven-year-young Cocker Spaniel. She is a gorgeous girl looking for her new family to take her home. Ebony is pretty good on leash, super friendly and loves people. She doesn’t always get along with small dogs though so she’d prefer to be the only dog or have a big sibling. Ebony’s ID number is A1581241 and she is available for adoption at the West Valley Animal Shelter, located at 20655 Plummer St., Chatsworth, 91311. For more information, visit http://www.laanimalservices.com/or call 888-452-7381.
Help Operation Blankets of Love Provide Comfort to Animals in Shelters
You can help keep cats and dogs in City Animal Shelters warm and comfortable by supporting the efforts of Operation Blankets of Love. The San Fernando Valley-based non-profit organization gathers donated blankets, towels and pet beds and distributes them to animal shelters.
Donation items can be dropped off at Healthy Spot (1100 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica) and Trixie’s Pet Depot (10531 W. Pico Blvd).
You can also donate money to support Operation Blankets of Love (operationblanketsoflove.org) or calling Brad Smulson at(818) 402-6584.