Your Council District Five staff and I are starting off the New Year with a great sense of partnership and accomplishment. Recently, I received a report from the Bureau of Street Services detailing the work they are doing to maintain our quality of life the past seven years I’ve been in office.
Urban Forestry Division:
Trees Trimmed: 17, 678
Stumps Removed: 359
Trees Planted: 365
Street Cleaning & Maintenance Division:
Small Asphalt Repairs: 619,290 square feet
Special Projects Division:
Bus Pads Completed: 36
Access Ramps Completed: 296
Street Resurfacing & Reconstruction Division:
Total Lanes Miles Resurfaced: 444.96
Slurry Seal Lane Miles Completed: 732.57
Lot Cleaning Division:
Weed Abatement: 249 cubic yards
Alley & Illegal Dumping: 4, 148 cubic yards
As always, I welcome your feedback and appreciate your continued support.
Proposal to Ban Developer Campaign Contributions
Unlike the City’s ban on campaign contributions from those seeking city contracts, no such ban exists for developers seeking city approval on their potentially lucrative projects. Recently, Councilmember Paul Koretz and four other councilmembers introduced a motion to tackle the issue. They requested the City Attorney to draft a new law prohibiting donations from development companies and their principals during, and shortly after city review of their building projects. Koretz does not believe a “pay to play” culture exists at City Hall, however, it’s time to address the issue.
Councilmember Introduces Legislation to Help Deter Firearms Suicides
Working with Women Against Gun Violence, Councilman Paul Koretz proposed a measure to address firearm suicides, calling on the City of Los Angeles to do its part in providing information to our most vulnerable community members about confidential and emotional support in their moments of distress. The Councilmember is requesting the City Attorney to prepare and present an ordinance that would require all gun stores and firing ranges to display posters and other forms of literature with suicide prevention information, including a suicide prevention hotline number, inside their business. The motion will now go to the Council’s Public Safety Committee.
Taking a Stand Against the President’s EPA Selection
Councilman Paul Koretz of the Fifth District introduced a resolution objecting to the President’s pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Koretz said that Attorney General Scott Pruitt has made a career suing the agency that he would oversee. During Pruitt’s career, he sued the EPA to block implementation of The Clean Water Rule which protects drinking water sources. In addition, Pruitt brought more lawsuits against its various air protection programs and is also a main party to a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s landmark legislation and the most significant step ever taken to fight climate change. Koretz said we need an administrator that will be guided by science and who will enforce the laws and rules to protect our air, water, soil, the health of our great city and the health of our children.
City Council’s Legislative Housing Agenda Includes Koretz’s Proposals
On January 24th the City Council approved a package of housing-related legislative proposals that will become a part of the City's 2017-18 Legislative Program for the current state and federal legislative terms. Among them are ideas for amendments to the Ellis Act, the state law that allows landlords to go out of the rental housing business and evict tenants in the process. In his June 2015 housing motions, Councilmember Koretz called on the City Housing Department to develop several approaches for making the Ellis Act more tenant-friendly which ended up being part of the package. Among them are allowing all tenants subject to Ellis evictions to automatically remain in their units for up to a year after being notified. Another is a proposal to require building owners to hold onto their property for at least five years before being able to invoke Ellis.
City Council Tackles Mansionization Issue
Good news on the McMansions front. We are getting closer to finalizing the Baseline Mansioniziation Ordinance (BMO). The Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) recently approved most of Councilman Paul Koretz’s amendments. The City realized one size does not fit all so we amended codes for particular neighborhoods including 45% base for single family zones and includes articulation requirements that would restrict the development of box type structures. This is quite an improvement from the way things were eight years ago when the BMO laws weren’t strong enough to prevent the type of over building that impacts our neighborhoods today. The main issue here is not to restrict building size but to reduce large scale homes that are also inconsistent with the motif of a neighborhood. The amended BMO protects our neighborhoods from out of scale development. The City Council will have a final vote sometime in February.
City Council Approves Project Near the Beverly Center
Recently, the City Council approved Councilmember Koretz’s recommendations for the project at 333 S. La Cienega Boulevard. The building will go from 240 feet to 185 feet, roughly 20 to 16 floors. The developer, Rick Caruso, will be required to contribute an additional $500,000 to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The project will have 10% affordable housing, have a design that won’t encroach on nearby condos, have outdoor seating, enhanced crosswalks at San Vicente and La Cienega, new bike lanes along San Vicente and Burton Way with safety light, and maintaining medians around the project.
Traffic Relief Has Arrived
Navigating our streets can be challenging especially during peak hours. To help with traffic congestion on Mulholland Drive, the Councilman funded traffic officers for the next three months. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, in the evenings, you will see a Los Angeles Police Department officer directing traffic at Beverly Glen. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, at night, an officer will be located at Nicada. Five days a week, in Encino, an officer will be posted at Sepulveda and Ventura Boulevards. The Councilmember believes your commute times will significantly decrease. Please keep an eye out for the officer as you travel safely to and from your home.
Expo Light Rail
The Expo light rail Culver City station parking lot will close to the public beginning February 14 to make way for Culver City's new Ivy Station transit-oriented development. Metro provides parking at other Expo line Metro sites for $3 per day for Expo patrons, including replacement parking at the Culver City Parking Garage at 9099 Washington Boulevard. Metro also has a parking garage available at the Expo La Cienega / Jefferson station. The new Ivy Station project will offer 300 parking spaces for Expo patrons upon completion of the project. Please plan ahead and be patient during this time.
Overland Avenue Traffic Concerns
For those drivers who have been having trouble with the traffic congested northbound section of Overland Avenue approaching the westbound Santa Monica Freeway, the Department of Transportation (LADOT) in conjunction with California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has found a solution. In a nutshell, the #3 northbound lane to the westbound #10 will become a second right turn lane. The traffic signal will have a button for pedestrians to push to create an additional phase for those who need to cross the two westbound 10 freeway ramps entering and exiting the freeway. There will be some changes to the striping on the street and to the signs approaching the on-ramp as well. Additionally, Caltrans will be requiring a new large overhead sign on the bridge to demarcate the northbound lanes. As the project moves along, we’ll keep you abreast of its progress. In the end, it’s our hope these changes will dramatically improve northbound traffic on Overland Avenue.
Saving the Westwood Horizons Seniors Remains a Work-in-progress
In early December more than 120 seniors living in Westwood Village's Westwood Horizons senior apartments were shocked to receive eviction notices from the building's new owner, the Tucson, Arizona-based Watermark Senior Communities. Watermark is looking to totally renovate the 60-year old structure and bring it up to modern code. As soon as he heard about the notices, Councilmember Koretz immediately came to the residents' defense, calling on Watermark to come up with a new game plan. Since then, the Councilmember has met with residents, their attorneys, the City Attorney and other City departments, as well as with Watermark management, to seek a solution that will allow residents to remain in the building during the renovations should they desire to do so.
Addressing Quality of Life Matters at the Benedict Canyon Association’s Annual Meeting
Councilmember Paul Koretz attended the Benedict Canyon Association’s 70th Annual Town Hall meeting speaking on quality of life matters, especially environmental issues near and dear to so many of us.
An Invitation to Speak at the Encino Neighborhood Council
The Councilmember presented certificates of appreciation to members of the Encino Neighborhood Council after briefing community members on Council District Wide matters including homelessness, mansionization, repairing our sidewalks and transportation.
Everyone Counts, No Matter Where They Live
For three days, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) with hundreds of volunteers, fanned out across Los Angeles to count our homeless neighbors. The Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count enables LAHSA to gather important data that is key to bringing about an end to homelessness in the City. The data collected will inform the state of homelessness in LA, bring vital community resources and increase engagement bringing together leaders, residents and stakeholders.
Catching up with the Carthay Circle Neighborhood Association
Councilmember Koretz was delighted to attend the Carthay Circle Neighborhood Association's annual meeting on Monday, January 23. He presented the President of Carthay Circle Neighborhood Association, Ivan Light, with a Certificate of Appreciation for the organization's work on behalf of the community. Councilmember Koretz talked to the neighborhood about local and city-wide matters. Koretz is grateful for the work of the neighborhood association.
Improving Safety in Our Neighborhoods
The Councilman had the pleasure of joining the South Robertson Community to activate newly installed traffic signals at Pico and Wooster and Pico and Bedford. Thanks to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation for helping keep our communities safe.
Creating Safer Routes for Communities
The City of Los Angeles has made a historic commitment to invest $1.4 billion over 30 years to fix sidewalks around the city and make them accessible to everyone. There are three ways to request sidewalk repairs:
- Access Request Program: The Access Request Program makes repairs requested by/for people with a mobility disability who encounter physical barriers such as broken sidewalks, missing/broken curb ramps or other barriers in the public right of way.
- Rebate Program: The City is also offering a limited-time rebate to property owners willing to pay for their own sidewalk repair through the Rebate Program.
- Report a Sidewalk Problem: To report any other sidewalk issue, go to Report a Sidewalk Problem.
Click Safe Sidewalks LA for more information.