November 10, 2017   

Dear Friends,

Every year, the Los Angeles City Council honors our Veterans in a special ceremony in which we recognize a Veteran from each district.  This year, I had the honor of recognizing Col. Ernest "Jack" Rokahr from CD5. Jack was unable to join us due to recent health issues but we were joined by his neighbors Jeff Stodel and son Charlie, who is ranked as “Wolf Scout” in the Boy Scouts. 

Jack answered the call to join the armed forces in 1940 at the age of eighteen while enrolled as a freshman at the University of Nebraska.  He served a total of 39 months of active duty during World War II, serving in active combat throughout Germany and France.  He was engaged in combat outside a German concentration camp at the time of its’ liberation by the allies and helped to free areas of Germany and France that had been held by the Nazis.

At the time of his retirement in 1976, Col. Rokahr had honorably served a total of 28 years in active and reserve service to his country.  His distinguished service in the Armed Forces earned him many awards, including the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.  In 2015, France awarded Col. Rokahr the rank of Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor for his sacrifice and service to France during World War II.

When Jack was told that he had received this honor from the City of Los Angeles, he said: “You must understand something:  I am not a hero.  I was loyal to my country and to the ideals that it stands for.  That is all.”

The City of Los Angeles respectfully disagrees.

Jack Rokahr risked his life to rid the world of fascism and to help bring liberty to the millions of people suffering throughout Germany and France.  Jack and every service man and woman who demonstrate such sacrifice and loyalty are indeed heroic and represent the best of who we are as Angelenos and as Americans.

Please note that we are closed today in observance of Veteran's Day.  

Please keep reading below for news and updates from Council District 5.

Have a good weekend.


Paul Koretz
Council Member - Fifth District



Fighting to Rein In Short Term Rentals

Short-term rentals remain a hot issue in Council District 5 and in various communities throughout the city. Councilmember Koretz recently testified before the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee to express his concerns about the “Home Sharing” (short-term rental) Ordinance the City has been working on for more than two years. 

During his testimony the Councilmember emphasized the need to limit the number of days that hosts can rent to short-term visitors.  After his testimony, he pointed out, "If it were deemed practical to differentiate between rentals done when the hosts are present and when they’re not, I would be inclined to allow true home-sharers to rent out rooms to visitors more days a year because I don’t believe the problems we are experiencing come from those situations."  But other cities are reporting that it is difficult to effectively police whether the hosts are present or not. If the City of Los Angeles is unable to do so, then Councilmember Koretz supports placing a cap of 60-90 days a year on these transactions at each location. 

LA is One Step Closer to Setting Rules for Cannabis Business Permits

Last week, the LA City Council approved a draft of new regulations for the cannabis industry along with a string of other related measures as it works to have its regulations settled ahead of when it becomes legal for recreational sale and use on January 1st.

The vote directed the city attorney to draft an ordinance addressing the procedure for businesses to get city licenses, along with rules for how the businesses can operate, including security requirements, ventilation standards, hours of operation and other guidelines. The vote moves forward a key portion of the city’s regulations around commercial cannabis activity, but other rules are still works in progress, including zoning regulations for cannabis businesses that are expected to greatly limit where such businesses can be located.

One amendment to the draft ordinance that was introduced at the meeting seeks to address a major outstanding issue -- the ;need for ;a procedure for provisional licenses for growers and manufacturers. In addition. it would also allow them to receive “limited immunity” from enforcement while such businesses wait for their applications to be approved. Another amendment that was added would create limitations on how many cannabis businesses could be located in each neighborhood similar to the regulations imposed on the alcohol industry. Councilmember Koretz was on of several members involved with these proposals.

The commercial cannabis business licensing and operating rules are expected to be taken up again at a meeting on November 20th, along with the other issues. The earliest chance for a vote by the full council is not expected to be until early December, not long before the time the State is expected to begin accepting applications for licenses on January 2nd.

Los Angeles City Council Honor Nathan Runkle, Founder and President of Mercy for Animals

Councilmember Koretz hosted a City Council presentation to honor Nathan Runkle of Mercy For Animals (MFA), an international non-profit animal advocacy organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies.  Nathan was cheered on by friends and fellow animal welfare advocates including Cheri Shankar (pictured alongside Mayor Garcetti who stopped by and showed his appreciation.)  In addition, Nathan was praised by Councilmembers Paul Krekorian (CD2) and Mitch O'Farrell (13) for his tireless work to reform the food industry and increase compassion for animals.

Councilmember Koretz presented Nathan with a Certificate of Appreciation proclaiming, “At the age of 15, Nathan Runkle established Mercy For Animals, which has grown to become the world’s leading farmed animal rights organization. Through education, corporate outreach, and advocacy work, MFA fights to protect farmed animals around the globe from abuse and promotes compassionate food choices and policies. It is, therefore, my honor to recognize Nathan who has dedicated his life to making the world a better, more humane place."    

This September, Nathan Runkle published Mercy For Animals: One Man’s Quest to Inspire Compassion and Improve the Lives of Farm Animals, which is a compelling look at animal welfare and factory farming.  Part memoir, part activist guide, the book explores the organization’s early days including the dangerous and dramatic details of undercover investigations that have exposed inhumane practices at some of the nation’s largest factory farms.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu Visits Los Angeles City Council

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu visited City Hall last week for a series of meetings with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss infrastructure innovation and transit growth in American cities. On Friday, Mayor Garcetti brought the New Orleans Mayor to the Los Angeles City Council Chambers to say a few words that included praise for Mayor Landrieu who presided over New Orleans' total reconstruction. In addition, he pointed out that Mayor Landrieu recently took the initiative to remove four prominent confederate-era monuments including a statue of Robert E. Lee. Mayor Landrieu will be leaving office in 2018 after serving two terms due to City term limits. Councilmember Koretz was delighted to spend some time together.



Citywide Economic Development Stakeholder Survey

The City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department has been tasked with developing a Citywide Economic Development Strategy and Five-year Implementation Plan. Your feedback will help us identify the importance of various business, workforce, and community issues, as well as actions that the City's economic development strategy should prioritize. This survey is critical to ensuring that the Strategy represents a robust and equitable Los Angeles economy in the years ahead. Take the survey at



Be A Food Waste Warrior, Join the Los Angeles Food Waste Grant Challenge

The City of Los Angeles is proud to announce a new Food Waste Grant Challenge as part of the City’s ongoing efforts to divert waste from landfills. Over 40% of edible food moving through LA goes to waste, yet more than half a million Angelenos struggle with food insecurity. Wasted food is a social, environmental and economic problem. Combating food waste regenerates resources, saves money for households, and feeds people.

Grant proposals are due on December 8, 2017. Awards will be announced in mid-December, with a target start date of all projects on January 22, 2018. Project categories include food waste prevention, food donation, upcycled use (including animal feed or fuel) and composting.

For more details, visit


San Fernando Valley Council NA’AMAT USA Annual Gala

CD5 Director of Policy and Legislation Jeffrey Ebenstein presented Certificates of Appreciation to the honorees of the San Fernando Valley Council NA’AMAT USA annual gala on behalf of Councilmember Koretz. This year Barbara Yaroslavsky, Gail and Myles Simpson, and Dr. Francine Kaufman, M.D, were recognized.

The San Fernando Valley Council NA’AMAT USA is part of a worldwide organization which supports an extensive social service network in Israel. These services include 250 day care centers, 22 vocational high schools, schools for teens at risk, shelters for abused women, and a legal aid department to promote women’s issues.

Encino Chamber of Commerce’s 15th Annual Justice Armand Arabian Leaders in Public Service Awards

Councilmember Koretz and his staff joined members from the Encino community for the annual Justice Arabian awards to honor those in public service and to thank the LAPD and LAFD for their dedication and efforts in keeping the San Fernando Valley safe for residents. Special thanks goes out to the Encino Chamber of Commerce for everything they do for the community and for hosting this annual event, now in its 15th year. 
[TOP PHOTO (Sitting L to R: Laurie Kelson, Debra George, Councilmember Koretz, Chief of Staff Joan Pelico)] (Standing  L to R CD5 staff: Faisal Alserri, Aviv Kleinman, Gurmet Khara and Greg Martayan.) BOTTOM PHOTO (L to R) Councilmember Koretz, Ricky Gelb, Dep. Chief John Sherman)]

Congratulations to Brian Hale, Chief of Parking Enforcement 

Councilmember Koretz offers his warmest congratulations on a well-deserved promotion to Chief of Parking Enforcement Brian Hale.  

Councilmember Koretz, his staff and all of CD5 are so grateful for Chief Hale's hard work and we are all very lucky to have him!



The Hills Are Alive with Wildlife

This week an uncollared mountain lion was photographed in the hillsides of Laurel Canyon and is now only the second known mountain lion in this portion of the eastern Santa Monica Mountains.  The other known Hollywood Hills mountain lion is the internationally celebrated P-22 mountain lion that was collared by the National Park Service and lives in and around Griffith Park. The wildlife nature camera that lucked into this shot belongs to Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW,)  a non-profit environmental organization who placed it atop a 17-acre open space for which the organization has been fundraising.  CLAW has been working with the Laurel Canyon Association and a variety of State, County and City agencies with a plan to purchase the as a nature preserve to be managed by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority through a campaign they called "Let's Buy A Mountain."   

Although the property is in the fourth Council District for which its Councilmember Ryu has been extraordinarily supportive, Councilmember Koretz has been instrumental in promoting this habitat protection project as critical central habitat hub for wildlife connectivity spanning throughout the adjacent hillsides. 

Subsequently, Councilmember Koretz authored a motion for a Wildlife Corridor Ordinance that unanimously passed the LA City Council. The ordinance is now before the Department of Planning which is working to strategize its implementation.  In addition, Councilmember Koretz established a working panel of scientists and environmental organizations managed by the Mayor's office and under the Department of Sanitation to identify the vast and unique biodiversity of Los Angeles.

Councilmember Koretz said, "This one wildlife camera in the Hollywood Hills is providing ample and indisputable evidence of the rich wildlife population that is still surviving despite their declining habitats.  Hillside development has drastically reduced wildlife territories and is threatening genetic diversity in native species.  More than ever we need to move to implement our wildlife corridors and until the City can get it done, projects like the Let's Buy A Mountain charitable campaign provides alternative opportunities for permanent habitat protections."

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 City Animal Shelter. Please come meet our dogs and cats – they need homes now. The shelters are open Tuesday through Saturday 8 am to 5 pm; Sunday 11 am to 5 pm (closed Mondays). Click on any photo below for details.

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Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz
200 N. Spring Street, Rm. 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-7005