At the first session of the City Council in the new fiscal year, Council President Wesson offered his vision for the Council for the coming year. A major part of his remarks included several legislatively focused plans to combat hate and bigotry in our City. Combating discrimination has always been a priority of my office and the reason why I continue to prioritize support and recognition of programs that engage on this issue.
This is one of the reasons why I am pleased to support the prominent SHADES program, dedicated to combating hate, which is active in the 5th Council District. The SHADES program (Stop Hate and Delinquency by Educating Students) is a collaborative project of the Los Angeles Superior Court, the Museum of Tolerance, and PESA (Parents, Educators/Teachers & Students in Action), that is designed to accomplish these goals. A diverse group of high school students residing in all parts of the City of Los Angeles attend one week of training on tolerance each summer at the Museum of Tolerance, located in the Fifth District.
These SHADES students are then given the opportunity to educate the community on what they have learned through the outreach programs of PESA. This past year, my office was instrumental in the PESA community outreach program entitled “Take a Stand against Hate, Oppression and Bullying.” A diverse group of students came together to make presentations to the community on the value of not allowing hate, oppression or bullying to occur in our community. I would like to thank Judge David Wesley, Director of the Superior Court Teen Court Program, and Seymour Amster, Executive Director of PESA, for all of their hard work administering the program. For more information, please visit http://www.lacourt.org/generalinfo/communityoutreach/GI_CO008.aspx and http://parentsinactionforbetterschools.org/teen-court.html
Meaningful tolerance is not something that can be legislated, but needs to be woven into the fabric of society and our best chance for healing humanity is to provide tools to future generations.
Public Safety and Quality of Life Meetings
Team Koretz has been out in force this week addressing neighborhood concerns joined by the LAPD, the LA Fire Department, the City Attorney's office, LA Department of Building and Safety and FilmLA at a variety of community meetings.
Greg Martayan, CD5's Chief Deputy of Public Safety and Jeff Ebenstein, CD5's Director of Policy and Legislation, attended the Bel Air Ridge Homeowner's Association. Robert Oliver, CD5's West LA Field Deputy and Communications Director Alison Simard also attended meetings with the Mid City West Community Council and neighbors in the Beverly Grove/ Fairfax District to listen to neighborhood concerns, suggestions and valuable input.
Councilmember Koretz and his staff want to thank everyone for their productive and informative dialogues. While the efforts to address issues are ongoing, neighbors were reassured of the measures the City is taking to direct resources toward solutions. Individuals were also given information on how the public can help. The public safety officials continue to urge residents to call 9-1-1 should they ever feel their life is in danger, and in the case of a non-emergency, call 1-877-ASK-LAPD. All were reminded to lock doors, windows and cars—and to never leave valuables in plain sight. These simple measure could help prevent about 40% of burglaries and thefts from ever taking place.
Update: Sepulveda Basin Clean-Up
Councilmember Koretz would like to thank LA Sanitation, Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, the Los Angeles Police Department (Valley Bureau, HOPE Team, and Off Road Unit Officers), Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), and the United States Army Corps of Engineers for their coordinated efforts to help restore the storm water channel in the Sepulveda Basin that began in March.
The Department of Sanitation hired a contractor to remove trash, debris, unattended items, health hazards and homeless encampments. LAHSA provided outreach services to various individuals in the area. Invasive trees were marked by the US Army Corps of Engineers for removal. This team effort took nearly two months to complete.
Thanks to the collaboration:
- Several homeless individuals were provided housing and accepted homeless-related services.
- Approximately 1,060 feet of the City easement located in the storm water drainage was cleaned. The total cleanup length is approximately 2,600 feet.
- Thirteen tons of trash, debris, and bulky items were removed.
The remaining trash and debris behind the storm drain is property of the Army Corps of Engineers who will begin restoration of their property next week. Currently, LAHSA and Park Rangers are conducting outreach to inform individuals living there that a cleanup is to take place starting July 31st.
We will continue monitoring the situation at the Sepulveda Basin and provide updates as they become available.
The Sidewalk Repair Program Environmental Review Has Begun
As you know, the City has engaged in a massive Sidewalk Repair Program in part to repair and upgrade sidewalks and curb ramps adjacent to City-owned pedestrian facilities, so that they are compliant with applicable accessibility requirements. Street tree removals and replacements, along with utility relocations, may be needed, as well. Additionally, the City may adopt policies and/or ordinances to assist in the administration of the proposed Sidewalk Repair Program and its objectives.
In order to do this, the City must engage in an environmental review of the project. A Notice of Preparation (NOP) and Initial Study (IS), which describe the proposed Sidewalk Repair Program and the anticipated scope of the Environmental Impact Review, are available for public review and comment at the following website: sidewalks.lacity.org/environmental-review-process.
Ways to provide input: Make a comment at a scoping meeting:
Submit comments at sidewalks.lacity.org/environmental-review-process;
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Ronald F Deaton Civic Auditorium
100 W 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Monday, August 14, 2017
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Mid-Valley Senior Citizen Center
8825 Kester Avenue
Panorama City, CA 91402
Thursday, August 24, 2017
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Westchester Senior Citizen Center
8740 Lincoln Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “SRP” in the subject line and a valid mailing address in the email;
Mail written comments to:
Shilpa Gupta, Environmental Supervisor I
Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering
Environmental Management Group
1149 S. Broadway, Suite 600, Mail Stop 939
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Exciting Updates for the Westwood Recreation Complex
New play equipment, including a zipline and a swing set, have been added to the Westwood Recreation Complex. In addition, the outdoor basketball courts are scheduled to be resurfaced over the next several months. New, safe and clean bathrooms are being installed for all park patrons. A new dog park is expected to be completed in the next 60 days. Councilmember Koretz would like to thank Friends of West LA for installing free WiFi in the park, and LA Department of Recreation and Parks General Manager Mike Schull for his personal involvement in this endeavor.
Save the Date: August 1st is National Night Out 2017
LAPD Wilshire Station and Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz present National Night Out, a community safety event happening on Tuesday, August 1st at Pointsettia Park Recreation Center, located at 7341 Willoughby Ave., from 5:30PM to 8:00PM. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. Join us and the Melrose Action Neighborhood Watch for food, music, safety exhibits, pet adoptions, free giveaways and fun for the whole family.
Metro’s Westside Subway Extension Project Reaches Key Milestone with Completion of Wilshire Blvd Restoration
On Sunday, July 16th, the contractor for the Westside Subway Extension (Purple Line) project completed the restoration of the roadway on Wilshire Blvd. at Fairfax Avenue for the future Fairfax subway station. The full Wilshire Blvd. roadway has now been restored after about a year of reduced capacity operation.
Most of the work for the future Fairfax station will continue excavation and the building of the station under the temporary concrete deck panels that will hold the Wilshire traffic until the station is completed in 2023. Council District 5 wishes to thank the residents of Warner St., Del Valle St., Orange Dr. and Sixth St. for their great patience through the increased traffic congestion on their residential streets during this process. Congratulations also goes to Metro and their contractor Skanska, Trailor Brothers and Shea (STS) for a job well done and finishing this mammoth task ahead of schedule.
Leaf Blower Exchange Program Now Open
Leaf blower noise and exhaust can be complicated issues in Los Angeles. Many people don't like the noise, and the exhaust contributes to the overall air quality problem in the City. At the same time, the blowers have made professional gardening and yard maintenance more efficient, and lots of homeowners and commercial properties hire gardeners who use them. Still, the number of complaints was such that it led to the City Council regulating the devices back in the '90s.
This regulation specifies that leaf blower noise in excess of 70 decibels is illegal within a certain proximity to residences, conceivably addressed the main problem in our neighborhoods. However, enforcing the regulation has proven to be tricky. Like many laws, enforcement requires that an agent of the City, either the LAPD or the Bureau of Street Services, actually catch the perpetrator in the act. Unfortunately, the blowers tend to only be in use for a few minutes at a time in any given location, making it almost impossible to get a Street Services Inspector out to the scene in time to cite the offense. It is also possible for the LAPD to issue a citation for improper use of leaf blowers. However, patrol officers have so many higher priorities that they rarely, if ever, divert their attention from more serious crime-fighting to chase down a gardener with a leaf blower, assuming they could get to the scene on time.
Councilmember Koretz has heard from constituents over the years who wonder why the City doesn't just ban gas-powered leaf blowers altogether. Although Councilmember Koretz is very sympathetic, if someone is intent on violating the regulation they are likely to get away with it unless and until a City inspector can catch up with them. So contemplation of whether to revisit the idea of a full ban (which was attempted before the City Council finally adopted the current law) is a work in progress.
In the meantime, our friends at the South Coast Air Quality Management District are offering a great program to encourage leaf blower users to ditch the noisy, exhaust-polluting gas models for quieter, clean electric models. The program offers a variety of electric blowers at steep discounts in exchange for gas-powered blowers. Eligible participants include professional gardeners and landscapers, school districts, cities and county governments and other local agencies.
The AQMD is staging exchange events all over the Southland from August 14-31, including in Van Nuys and North Hollywood. For more information on these events, or the program in general (which also includes lawn mowers,) please call (888) 425-6247 or visit their website at www.aqmd.gov/home/programs/community/.
SoCalGas Pipeline Replacement Project on Sepulveda Scheduled to Start August 7
As part of their Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan, that tests and updates the natural gas pipeline infrastructure in Southern California, SoCalGas will be conducting pipeline safety work on South Sepulveda Boulevard between Sepulveda Way and Casiano Road beginning in August and continuing through late December 2017 (Monday through Friday between 9:00am and 3:30pm, and Saturdays between 8:00am and 6:00pm.)
No interruption to natural gas service is anticipated. Customers may smell the odor of natural gas. Although this is normal when crews are working, SoCalGas encourages anyone who has concerns about the smell of gas to call them from a safe location at 1-800-427-2200. SoCalGas is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
PUBLIC CONTACT: Customers with questions or concerns about the construction work may call SoCalGas’ Customer Contact Center 24-hours a day, seven-days a week at 800-427-2200.
2017 Homeless Count Data Available for LA County Communities
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) has released its 2017 Homeless Count data for 210 communities across Los Angeles County. The data were collected during the Point-in-Time Count conducted over three nights in January.
The released data show the number of sheltered and unsheltered – excluding youth -- persons experiencing homelessness, community by community. An accompanying data visualization displays the same categories for 2016.
The data visualization can be viewed by clicking this link: https://www.lahsa.org/homeless-count/opt-in-communities
The detailed data by census tract can be downloaded by visiting this page: www.lahsa.org/documents?id=1495-homeless-count-2017
In 2017, Skid Row had the highest population of people experiencing homelessness, estimated at 4,485. Of that total, 2,546 were sheltered and 1,939 were unsheltered. Several communities reported no people experiencing homelessness in 2017.
The data for all 210 communities does not include unsheltered youth experiencing homelessness, defined as adults between the ages of 18 and 24, unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 without a parent or guardian, and children in young families with the head of household aged 24 or younger.
LAHSA is a joint powers authority of the City and County of Los Angeles, created in 1993 to address the problems of homelessness in Los Angeles County. LAHSA is the lead agency in the HUD-funded Los Angeles Continuum of Care, and coordinates and manages more than $243 million annually in federal, state, county and city funds for programs providing shelter, housing and services to homeless persons. For more information visit www.lahsa.org
National Parks Lifetime Senior Pass Rate Increase
There are more than 400 National Parks in the U.S. and visiting them may become more difficult as entry passes become more expensive. As of August 27, 2017, the cost of the National Parks Lifetime Senior Pass (available to seniors 62 and over) will be increased from the current rate of $10.00 to $80.00.
The LIFETIME PASS for seniors allows entry to more than 2,000 sites managed by five federal agencies, including the 400 National Parks in the US. The pass comes in the form of a vehicle hang tag.
Seniors can take advantage of the current low price before the rate goes up at the end of August by obtaining passes through the National Park website, application by mail, or by buying the pass at a National Park location. (If a pass is purchased via website or mail there will be an additional $10.00 processing fee.)
The closest National Park locations that issue senior passes in the Los Angeles area are:
LA River District in San Fernando, CA, 818-899-1900, www.fs.fed.us/r5/angeles/contact
Main Office in Arcadia, CA, 626-574-5200, www.fs.fed.us/r5/angeles/contact
Please call ahead to the local National Park locations to insure that they currently have passes available.
For more details, check the website: www.nps.gov or call: 202-208-6843 or toll free 877-860-6787.
Fallen Firefighter Kelly Wong Memorial Fund
29 year old firefighter Kelly Wong was honored by the City Council after his tragic and untimely training accident in June. He is survived by his wife and his infant son. The Wong family is currently asking for donations to financially support their family through this tragedy. The family has garnered much aid thus far; however, donations have significantly declined in the month since the accident. If you would like to make a charitable donation to the Kelly Wong Memorial Fund, please visit their website, www.firefighterwong.la. Thank you to the Cheviot Hills Homeowners Association for their $1000 contribution to the fund. Homes for Heroes has also made a generous donation of $2500.
Shakespeare By the Sea Presents The Taming of the Shrew
Shakespeare By the Sea Presents The Taming of the Shrew at Los Encinos State Historic Park, Saturday, August 5, 7pm. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket, a beach chair, and your friends and family for a classic performance under the stars. Come early and watch the cast assemble the stage and see blacksmith demonstrations. Admission is free. Donations suggested.
Adopt Some Love
Looking for a new furry companion? Check out these LA Animal Shelter Dogs and Cats of the Week from the East Valley & West Valley City Animal Shelters. Please come meet our dogs and cats – they need homes now. Both shelters are open Tuesday through Saturday, 8:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm (Both shelters are closed Mondays). Click on any photo below for details.