Happy Holidays! I’d like to wish everyone the best the season has to offer. As 2016 draws to an end, we reflect on the work we’ve accomplished on our shared vision for our communities.
Throughout the year, we’ve collaborated on issues facing our District. We worked to bring our communities together to celebrate our neighborhoods, but we need to do more to help those who are homeless and food insecure.
Together we have learned about making our communities more resilient to climate change, but we need to do more to prepare for emergencies.
Let’s continue collaborating on these challenges with your ideas for positive change.
I look forward to 2017 as we continue the energy and momentum we share to keep our communities safe, healthy, and happy.
Have a safe and Happy New Year!
Councilmember, 5th District
City of Los Angeles Adopts New Standards against Mansionization
Recently, in response to my motion, the City Council unanimously voted to adopt an update to the existing Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) and Baseline Hillside Ordinance (BHO), which in effect establishes new development standards for single-family zoned properties citywide. The changes incorporate additional protections to further limit large-scale homes and related construction impacts. Some of the adopted changes to the BMO and BHO regulations include the following:
·Establishment of new development standards for single-family zones, including the usage of angled encroachment plane and side wall articulation requirements to reduce the visual impact of building mass;
·Modification of Residential Floor Area calculations to further reduce the impact of out-of-scale homes;
·Elimination of all bonus options in R1 zones;
·Counting of grading under a house to prevent what was previously an unlimited amount of hillside grading;
·Reduction of Floor area Ratio for single-family homes in R1 zones (pic with community members)
City of Los Angeles approves Historic Commercial Waste Program
The Los Angeles City Council approved a historic commercial and multifamily building waste collection program I proposed with Councilmember Jose Huizar in 2010. The plan aims to help the City meet state and federal waste mandates and to meet its own Zero-Waste goals. It includes cost-effective strategies to address the following elements: generate a higher recycling rate; promote more efficient truck routing to reduce truck traffic, vehicle emissions and noise; shift to cleaner trucks; ensure fair pricing and premier customer service; improve working conditions through facility certification; and advance the City’s Zero-Waste goals, including diversion/reduction of food waste. The new Exclusive Waste Hauling Franchise system will replace an uneven and hodge-podge system, where recycling, work conditions, and customer pricing and service varied widely from company to company and block to block since each property owner signed individual contracts with unregulated haulers throughout the City.
Celebrating another Council District 5 win
Recently, the Planning and Land Use Management Committee of the City Council recommended the approval of the Carthay Square Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ), which had overwhelming community support. I’m happy to report, on Wednesday, December 14th, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the HPOZ. Establishing an HPOZ for the area would help to further protect the historic buildings and guide change in the neighborhood.
WORKING FOR YOU
Fighting to #SaveOurSeniors from eviction in Westwood
For those of you who haven't been following the situation at the former Westwood Horizons Senior Living Center, let me briefly explain what’s been happening.
On December 1, the roughly 150 or so residents who live in the building, some for decades, were all served with eviction notices and must leave by April 27, 2017. Some of these people are holocaust survivors, some are World War II veterans, and all are 70 years old to over 100 years old!
Under the Ellis Act, owners are legally allowed to remove units from the rental housing market under certain conditions. In this instance, the owners are remodeling and converting the building to a luxury state-licensed residential care facility for the elderly. The potential for disruptive construction and temporary cutoff of utilities are reasons why Watermark claimed it was best for all tenants to vacate. However, after careful digging, I’ve learned there’s much more to this story.
The building’s previous owner got approvals to do a phased renovation, where the residents would not be evicted but would be moved to other floors while the upgrades were being completed on the vacated floors. Then, the Arizona-based corporation called Watermark bought the building and is now trying to use those same approvals to evict all the residents at once! This sure looks like another greedy corporation trying to force out tenants who are paying lower rents under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance.
I am outraged and disgusted by this entire situation, and since learning of the eviction notices on December 2nd, I have been working to do everything I can to stop the process. I introduced a motion and the Council unanimously approved my request for the Planning Department, Building and Safety, Housing and Community Investment Department, and the City Attorney’s Office to look at viable options, including seeking an injunction to stop the evictions, or at least look at ways to make Watermark apply for new permits to remodel based on their plan to evict every tenant at one time.
I’ve launched a PRESSURE CAMPAIGN asking friends, neighbors, family members of the residents, and residents in our City to inundate Watermark with calls, emails, and letters discussing your feelings behind their nasty decision. Let’s pressure these heartless executives to do the right thing. Visit my No To Watermark Facebook page.
Improving safety in our neighborhoods
Nearly two years ago, community members in the Westwood Hills neighborhood voiced their concerns about a restriction which was put in place on the newly rebuilt northbound 405 off-ramp at Sunset Boulevard. After hearing from many of you, I asked engineers at the Department of Transportation to take a look at this new restriction. Engineers concluded that there were no site lines or other safety concerns and they would recommend removal of the turn restriction once Metro relinquished control of this former project back to the City of LA. To expedite this project, I called Senior management at the Department of Transportation, the Metro Senior level management and Caltrans to negotiate the removal of this restriction, which was finally completed on November 16.
Meanwhile, I joined the Bureau of Street Services to celebrate the reconstruction of an alley north of Pico Boulevard between South Robertson Boulevard and South Clark Drive. Now, the frequently used alley will allow better access to commercial businesses and LADOT City Parking Lot 688 for the members of the community. Thank you, Bureau of Street Services.
OUT IN OUR COMMUNITIES
The Federation of Hillside and Canyon Associations
Councilmember Koretz joined president of The Federation of Hillside and Canyon Associations, Marian Dodge, for this year's holiday party along with many community leaders. The Hillside Federation focuses on protecting the life of residents residing in the Santa Monica Mountains and other hillside areas of Los Angeles. I’m grateful to partner with the Federation of Hillside in preserving the natural topography and wildlife of the mountains and hillsides.
Getting to know your Planning Department General Manager
Vince Bertoni is the City’s new General Manager of the Planning Department. I invited him to join me in Encino to meet our community members. He discussed his background, gave his goals for Council District 5 and offered suggestions on how residents could help shape a better City.
Visiting the Share and Care Site in Melrose
I had the pleasure of visiting the Share & Care Program at Cedars-Sinai. I gained a bigger understanding of what the program does for our schools. Thank you Cedars-Sinai for supporting our communities.
Getting Into the Holiday Spirit
There is no better time of year than the holidays! I was excited to be a part of the tree lighting ceremony on Roscomare Road with the Bel Air Hills Association. Thanks to the Bel Air Hills Association for putting together a wonderful community event.
HONORS & RECOGNITIONS
Celebrating Mizrhai in City Council
It was an honor and a pleasure to recognize the Mizrahi Commemoration during the LA City Council Meeting.
Recognizing the 'Share A Meal' Program
Tackling homelessness takes all of us. I'm grateful to the Khalsa Peace Corps’ Share A Meal program for driving around our communities and feeding our neediest community members.