We are sending gratitude and prayers for a speedy recovery for the two LAFD firefighters who sustained injuries in Thursday night’s residential fire on Bellagio Rd., in Bel Air.
Our hearts also go out to the homeowners whom I met at the fire that evening. As I walked the scene with Fire Command and my Chief Deputy of Public Safety, I witnessed the incredible heroism of our firefighters.
Thank you to the more than 100 brave men and women who were on the fire line, our Incident Commander Assistant Chief Guy Tomlinson and our Deputy Chief Armando Hogan, who put their lives on the line to keep this fire from spreading, and to protect the homeowners' lives and property.
Update: Home Sharing Heats Up Again
Short-term rentals remain a hot issue in Council District 5 and in various communities throughout the city. Last fall, Councilmember Koretz 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.
Councilmember Koretz called for banning the practice of using rent-controlled apartments for short-term rental (thus exacerbating our citywide affordable housing shortage) and making it next-to-impossible for non-resident homeowners (such as commercial entities) to buy up houses and apartment buildings and rent them out to a non-stop parade of visitors or parties.
As the debate has continued to evolve, the Councilmember has been focusing on how best to tighten up ways to verify that only primary residences are being used for short-term rental and that only homes in which hosts live in for the majority of any given year would be eligible. He also supports imposing a set of "etiquette guidelines" on hosts and guests and implementing a "three strikes and you're out" enforcement regime.
The City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee now appears to be on track to vote on a draft ordinance in March which would then go to the full Council. On February 6th they asked City Planning to make additional revisions regarding a cap on the number of days a host can conduct short-term rentals and a method for hosts to seek relief from the cap under limited circumstances. It remains to be seen what that cap will be – competing recommendations would set it anywhere from 60 days to 180 days – and what the process would be for allowing a host to exceed it.
Placing a Lid on Party Houses
At its February 6th meeting, the City Council Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee approved a draft ordinance providing a tight set of rules and regulations for so-called “party houses.”
These regulations will provide party hosts with clear guidelines for what is allowed and what isn’t and give the City’s enforcement agencies, including LAPD, the tools they need to protect neighborhoods from the disruption sometimes caused by raucous parties. And, working in conjunction with the forthcoming Home Sharing Ordinance, which should stop the practice of vacant homes being rented out solely for the purposes of parties, the City hopes to finally get a handle on one of the biggest neighborhood nuisances of recent years.The Party House Ordinance focuses on “loud or unruly conduct” and “loud or unruly gatherings.” Issues that can draw enforcement include loud noise, blocking a street or sidewalk, public intoxication, serving alcohol to minors, possession or consumption of alcohol by minors, fighting, alcohol sales without a license, vandalism, litter, public urination or defecation and trespassing. The ordinance imposes stiff fines on the property owner for violations, and party-going violators can also be cited and prosecuted.
Update: Waste Haulers Report
At this week's Energy & Environment Committee hearing, City Councilmembers spent more than six hours reviewing some of the problems that have accompanied RecycLA, the commercial trash program that has sparked months of complaints from landlords, condominium owners and the city’s business groups. In addition, the Bureau of Sanitation and the hauling companies delivered reports and answered questions from the Councilmembers who relayed the frustration and dissatisfaction of their constituents.
The meeting comes just days after the February 1st deadline when service providers can be fined for poor service or have their contracts cancelled. Councilmember Koretz pulled no punches when he described a long list of missed pickups, fee hikes and erroneous repeated mistakes by the waste haulers demanding to know, “why shouldn’t we cancel some of your contracts, right now?”
While the Bureau of Sanitation report does not recommend cancelling any contracts at this time, it does note that service providers can now be fined for not meeting the obligations in their contracts, including $100 per missed collection and $300 per missed collection for the same customer within a 12-month period. However, Councilmember Koretz introduced a verbal motion at the hearing to have the City Attorney report back with legal options under the waste-hauling contract to take action based on the vendors' lack of performance.
He told reporters, “What has been happening is not the world-class commercial waste-hauling system the City Council voted for, it is not the system that LA Sanitation designed, and we must not put up with any companies who are not performing to the high standards we set. Period.” He went on to say that he would be willing to go to court, if necessary, to get trash haulers to stop imposing some of the extra fees that the city views as improper.
Many of the skyrocketing costs associated with RecycLA having come from service providers assessing extra fees for access and distance, including for having to open a gate or for a bin being located a certain distance from the street. In addition, some customers were erroneously charged, the report said. For example, customers were being charged for access when their gates to solid waste bins were not only unlocked but removed.
According to the report, the Bureau of Sanitation sent a letter to six of the seven service providers on Dec. 15, requesting that charges be removed for distance on 298 properties, and the service providers have agreed to remove 214 of the charges so far. The report also said a second letter was sent to all seven service providers last month requesting them to remove any distance and/or access charges from 723 customer accounts and that resolutions on these accounts are still pending.
Despite the problems with the rollout, it seems there is already ample evidence of the positive environmental impacts for which the program was intended, that include fewer polluting trucks and a dramatic increase in recycling and a decrease in waste reduction.
Balboa Boulevard Earthquake Resistant Pipeline Replacement Project
The Balboa Boulevard Earthquake Resistant Pipeline Replacement Project is scheduled to begin this month along Balboa Blvd. between Burbank Blvd. and Ventura Blvd. The purpose of this project is to replace approximately one mile of existing 12-inch water mainline first installed in 1932 with 12-inch earthquake resistant ductile iron pipe. This is part of LADWP’s plan to install 10 miles of earthquake resistant pipe within the next three years, adding to the 2.3 miles of earthquake resistant pipe already installed.
This section of mainline replacement is being constructed due to the history of seismic activity in the area, which includes the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Resilience to seismic activity in this area is of primary importance due to critical facilities located along this corridor, which include schools, medical facilities, a community center, and a fire station.
- Replace aging infrastructure
- Enhance fire protection
- Increase resiliency to seismic activity and water system durability
- Improve water system reliability and flexibility
- February 2018 - February 2019
- Monday through Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with occasional evening work until 9 p.m.
- Saturdays: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Monday through Saturday: Occasional overnight construction may occur from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Evening construction will take place during Phase I near the 101 Ventura Freeway on ramps on Balboa Blvd. and during Phase III at the intersection of Balboa Blvd. and Ventura Blvd.
At least one lane will be available to north and south bound traffic in construction zones. Construction in these zones will be done in sections during each phase of the project to minimize parking and traffic impacts.Temporary tow-away/no parking signs will be posted as needed. Driveway and local access will be provided.
Benedict Canyon Dr Will Be Closed April – November 2018
Questions or concerns? Come get answers on February 12th from 7:00-9:00PM at the Benedict Canyon Association’s next monthly meeting to talk to representatives from the DWP to be held at the Beverly Hills Women's Club, 1700 Chevy Chase Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210.
Free Westside Village Emergency Preparedness Program Emergency Communications: Our Phones Are Out, Now What?
In a regional emergency such as an earthquake, our communications systems — cell phones, land lines, and Internet — will likely fail.
FRS (Family Radio Service) radios, which are small, portable hand-held devices that function like walkie-talkies, work well for short range communication. They are an important part of your family’s disaster preparedness kit.
Anyone who uses a mobile phone can, with a little training and practice (and fresh batteries), become a good FRS radio communicator. Learn how to use your FRS radio and practice your skills in a simulated emergency drill.
Please bring your FRS radios and batteries to our Emergency Communications Training:
Saturday, February 10, 9:00AM to noon
Meet near the flagpole in front of
Palms Middle School
10860 Woodbine Street, between Kelton and Glendon
Los Angeles, 90034
A few extra radios will be available for those who don’t have their own. Bring a pen or pencil, water, hat, and a snack if you will want one.
Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/palmswestside-village-disaster-communications-training-exercise-tickets-41541093529
Buying your FRS radio: You can buy handheld radios at most hardware and sporting goods stores, disaster suppliers, and general merchandise stores, as well as online. Both Motorola and Midland have a selection of moderately-priced models, as do several other brands.
NOTE: FRS radio operators don’t require a license but users of similar, more powerful, GMRS two-way radios must have an FCC (Federal Communications Commission)-issued license. Some devices are marketed as "FRS/GMRS" or "dual-service devices" but, if you operate such a radio exclusively under FRS rules, you don’t need a license.
Jazz in School
(L to R) Councilmember Koretz, Ritz Zwern and Principal Sean Kearney
Councilmember Paul Koretz visited Castle Heights Elementary to celebrate Jazz music with the Los Angeles Jazz Society. Rita Zwern, Director of the LA Jazz Society, and it's very talented musicians educated the students on the various instruments used in modern Jazz. The Los Angeles Jazz Society has educated more than 17,000 children annually for 30 years about the history of Jazz music and we are very grateful to Principal Sean Kearney for hosting their presence!”
Bel Air Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council Emergency Preparedness Town Hall
The Bel Air – Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council held a Skirball / Bel Air Fire Town Hall to provide information to their stakeholders about the City’s emergency response and recovery process. Attendees engaged in dialogue with Councilmember Paul Koretz and staff, Councilmember David Ryu, Los Angeles Fire Department, Emergency Management Department, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and other public agencies to discuss how the community can assist in fire prevention, emergency preparation and alleviating homelessness.
Career Day at Hesby Oaks
Chief of Staff Joan Pelico was honored to visit and speak at Hesby Oaks Leadership Charter for their annual Career Day. She enjoyed sharing her experiences and trajectory from the Fitness Industry to City politics and her motivation to get involved. The students learned about the day to day services of City Council offices to constituents and communities.
Safe Sidewalks LA is the City of Los Angeles’ 30-year, $1.4 billion sidewalk repair program committed to making our city’s sidewalks accessible for everyone. The program is well under way in our district. Here’s an example of a repaired sidewalk on the 6800 block of Lindley Ave. For more information, go to: www.sidewalks.lacity.org
February is National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month
February is recognized as National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month to encourage pet owners to have their companion animals sterilized before the warmer months of the year when puppies and kittens are born. In honor of the month, L.A. Animal Services reminds pet owners about the benefits of spaying or neutering your furry family member.
"By spaying or neutering your cat or dog and spreading the word to others, you are helping to prevent unwanted pet births, reduce stray animals and decrease the number of pets crowding our City animal shelters," said Brenda Barnette, L.A. Animal Services General Manager.
- Spaying or neutering your cat or dog not only reduces shelter intake but it may enhance the life of your four-legged friend:
- Spaying or neutering may add to the longevity of your best buddy by decreasing the risk of certain cancers and other diseases.
- Spaying or neutering decreases the chances of your pet roaming. As a result, they are less likely to escape your yard and get lost or hit by a car.
- Spaying or neutering may reduce or eliminate males from marking objects with urine and females will not have heat cycles.
- Spaying or neutering may curb undesirable behaviors such as fighting or biting.
- Spaying or neutering your companion animal is not only a loving thing to do for your pet, it's the law in the City of Los Angeles for all cats and dogs to be spayed or neutered after the age of four months.
Adopt Some Love
Looking for a new furry companion? Check out this week's LA Animal Shelter dog, cat, and bunnies from the East Valley and West LA Animal Shelters. Please come meet these wonderful animals – 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.