May 29, 2018   

LEGISLATIVE NEWS


Searching for Bridge to Home and Supportive Housing in CD5

After years of losing ground, newly-enhanced efforts and investments appear to be helping Los Angeles turn the corner in its struggle to deal with an enormous homeless crisis involving more than 30,000 unhoused persons. Predictions are that the results of the January 2018 annual Homeless Count – which will be released to the public on May 31st – will show positive progress for the first time in years. But that’s just the beginning.
Councilmember Paul Koretz along with his colleagues have each taken a pledge to support the building of 222 units of Supportive Housing (partially financed with funds raised by selling bonds under Measure HHH). And Mayor Garcetti has called for each Councilmember to identify at least one location for the “A Bridge Home” temporary housing program by the end of this calendar year. Councilmember Koretz is working to identify suitable locations for such facilities in his district.

So far, no sites for Bridge housing have been identified in the district. Many of the sites being looked at in other districts are City-owned, but the City-owned properties in Council District 5 are almost all being used for recreation centers, senior centers, and the like. Several City parking lots are being reviewed, but none of them are expected to be used for the Bridge program.

That leaves privately-owned properties, which are equally hard to come by in the high land cost neighborhoods of the district. One building on Beverly Boulevard near Fairfax Avenue seemed promising, but appears to be unavailable. Other possibilities are being sought.

As soon as potentially viable sites are identified, Councilmember Koretz and a team of City and County staff will begin dialogues with residents and stakeholders in the vicinity to determine whether they can work. The deadline for identifying and opening Bridge program facilities is December 31, 2018. Districts that fail to do so risk losing access to more than $2 million set aside in the 2018-19 City Budget to move homeless persons off the street and into the temporary housing, and also increase the intensity of clean-up and enforcement services around homeless encampments in the district.

For Measure HHH Supportive Housing projects (which basically are affordable apartment projects with at least a third of the units set aside for formerly homeless people with “wrap-around” services provided for them), most of the first 20 or so projects heading for construction around the city at present utilize vacant or underutilized City-owned properties. Again, none are in CD5, so the search for privately-owned sites is ongoing. At present, the most promising site is a commercial lot on La Brea Avenue identified by a nonprofit developer.

Councilmember Koretz is asking residents and stakeholders in Council District 5 to become partners in this effort by helping him find suitable locations for temporary or long-term housing. He understands the concerns many have about placing these kinds of facilities in the community. But he strongly believes that, since thousands of unhoused people already live in the district, it would be better to house as many of them as possible then to leave them on sidewalks, in alleys and under overpasses where the impacts are visible and costly to deal with. Housing the homeless makes them no longer homeless. That’s not only good for the people getting housed, it also improves the quality of life for everybody in the community.



The Budget is Balanced

The $9.86 billion City Budget for 2018-2019 was approved Monday. The budget is boosted by a revenue increase of $339 million from various sources and allows the City to maintain the number of sworn police officers while hiring more civilian staff to allow more of those officers to be out on patrol instead of doing office work. The City is also hiring nearly 200 firefighters, ten new Animal Control Officers and more staff for Building and Safety code enforcement.

Possibly the biggest financial major effort is in dealing with homelessness, both in the short term and the long run. There’s $40M to get people off the streets and into shelters while doing more clean-up around encampments, and there’s the long-term commitment to building Supportive Housing passed by voters in 2016.

Through the budget process, Councilmember Koretz created a Climate Emergency Mobilization Department with seed funding to hire a consultant to help create the structure for the Department. A high percentage of climate scientists are of the belief that without dramatic change to reduce greenhouse gases in the next ten years, the human race may not survive. With the Trump Administration working to return to a fossil fuel economy and unbridled pollution endangering our future, Los Angeles needs to provide local leadership that sets an example for the State, the Country and perhaps the world. This would be the first such Department in the country.

Therefore, the Councilmember and his staff are especially pleased with the commitment the City is making to strengthen environmental protections by funding the completion of the Ridgeline Ordinance and Wildlife Corridor protection projects. And by keeping its commitment to historic preservation, the HPOZ office will receive more staff. In addition, the City will have its first ever tree czar to help focus on creating a tree master plan. To that end, more funding has been allocated to hire additional staff in the Urban Forestry division including tree trimmers.

Overall the Budget Committee was in session for nearly 35 hours of hearings, so there isn’t enough room to list here all of the line items, but suffice it to say that it’s balanced and it’s responsible, while continuing to bring back services that were sacrificed during the lean years of the recession.

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YOUR INPUT IS NEEDED


Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project Community Meetings

Metro understands that getting between the Valley, the Westside and LAX can be very challenging. Building on the promise of voter-approved Measure M, Metro is working to improve these connections and offer new options for the more than 400,000 Angelenos who travel through the Sepulveda Corridor every day to commute to work, school, and other destinations.

Metro is currently conducting a Feasibility Study to identify and evaluate a range of high-capacity transit alternatives between the San Fernando Valley and LAX, with possible connections to existing and planned Metro bus and rail lines, including the Orange, Purple, and Expo Lines. Click here for the project map.

As the study gets underway, Metro needs your input to learn more about the travelers who currently use the Sepulveda Corridor, including the 405 Freeway, Sepulveda Boulevard and the hillside roads connecting the San Fernando Valley, Westside, LAX, South Bay, and other areas in the L.A. region. They would like to know more about travel times, destinations and what's most important to you when making this trip.

Therefore, Metro is holding public meetings that will include an overview of the study and initial concepts for the San Fernando Valley-Westside connection. There are several meetings happening throughout the City and information presented will be the same at all meetings. A meeting will be held in CD5 on Thursday, June 7, 2018, 6pm-8pm at the Westwood United Methodist Church, 10497 Wilshire Blvd. Alternatively you can tune in for a live webcast of the June 12 meeting beginning at 6:30pm at http://bit.ly/MetroSepulveda.

If you can not attend the meetings, you can still help by participating in a short online survey to help Metro understand more about the travelers who currently use the Sepulveda Corridor. The survey includes questions about travel times, routes, destinations, and important considerations for commuters including travel time, consistency of trips, convenience, and environmental consciousness. As an incentive to participate, Metro is offering a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

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2018 Drought Tolerant Plant Festival

The Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society (LACSS) is proud to announce its annual Drought Tolerant Plant Festival, to be held on Saturday, June 9 (9:00am to 4:00pm) and Sunday, June 10 (9:00am to 3:00pm) at the Sepulveda Garden Center in Encino. Since its beginning in 1935, LACSS has hosted an annual Cactus and Succulent Show, which is now the largest in our area.

Highlights:

  • Hands On Workshops in potting, transplanting, and creating container gardens on Saturday and Sunday;
  • Kids’ Day Activities on BOTH Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 2:00pm with games, crafts, plant-potting, and other educational activities;
  • Exhibit hall featuring competition of cacti and succulents plus imaginative, prize-winning displays;
  • Sale of cacti, succulents, California natives, and drought-tolerant landscape plants;
  • Sale of rare and collectible drought-tolerant plants from around the world;
  • Sale of crafts, pottery, books, and gardening supplies; and
  • Silent auctions.

Admission is free and open to the public. Free parking is available at the Sepulveda Garden Center on Magnolia Blvd. and in adjacent and nearby lots (with shuttle service).

For more information, visit their website at www.lacss-show.com.



Free Spay/Neuter for Cats Ends May 31st

LA Animal Services is still offering Free Cat Spay/Neuter Certificates to all LA City residents, regardless of income levels, through May 31st!

By spaying or neutering your cat or kitten, you are helping LA Animal Services get one step closer to ending LA's pet overpopulation and also helping the Department place more animals in permanent homes. The Department will be issuing free certificates to spay or neuter your cat or kitten at no cost to you.  To learn more about how to apply for a Free Certificate, to read the rules and guidelines, and to find participating veterinary hospitals in your area, please visit LAspayneuter.com.

To locate your nearest services center, visit: http://bit.ly/LAASlocator.
Download our Free Spay/Neuter Flyer in English
Download our Free Spay/Neuter Flyer in Spanish

To apply and receive a Free Certificate the same day, you’re encouraged to visit your nearest LA City Animal Services Center. To receive a Free Certificate via email within one week, you can apply for a Free Certificate directly at lapets.net. This program is available for residents of the City of Los Angeles who are 18 years of age or older. Each household is eligible for Free Certificates for up to 3 cats. Free spay or neuter surgeries are for companion cats only: all feral and stray animals are excluded. Once a Free Certificate is received, it must be redeemed at a participating veterinary hospital within 10 days of issuance.

To learn more, visit: www.LAspayneuter.comTo learn more, visit: www.LAspayneuter.com

How to Recycle After a Party

With upcoming graduation parties, weddings and other reasons to celebrate this summer, Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation offers some tips about what to do with leftover party items. Please watch the full video here.

 

CELEBRATING OUR CITY


Karen Coca Retires from LA Bureau of Sanitation

Councilmember Koretz honored LA’s Bureau of Sanitation's longtime environmental guru, Karen Coca, upon her retirement. Ms. Coca was responsible for the massive operational execution of the City’s ban on single use plastic bags, including critical public awareness and education of customers and retailers alike, aimed at transformative behavioral change to dramatically reduce plastic waste and pollution. In addition, she managed the behemoth task of initiating the Waste Hauler Permit Compliance Program and successfully completed the Food Waste Pilot Project at LAX in partnership with food concessionaires and major airlines such as United Airlines. Ms. Coca’s vast solid waste industry expertise benefitted the City in the development and launch of “recycLA,” the nation’s largest expansion of recycling services to commercial and multi-family properties. She has been a coach, mentor, cheerleader, friend and collaborative colleague not only in her department but with our Council office. She will be missed but we wish her a happy retirement!



Frank Bush Named 2017-18 Building Official of the Year

Frank Bush received the 2017-2018 Building Official of the Year Award from the California Building Officials. This is a more than well deserved recognition for Frank and we were proud to honor him in Council this week. Frank is the first one to take the spotlight off of himself and put it onto his team, who are wonderful partners to our office and have always been so responsive to the needs of our neighborhoods, constituents and our office. Congratulations, Frank!! 



Women Against Gun Violence Honors Councilmember Koretz

Councilmember Koretz was honored at the Women Against Gun Violence 25th Anniversary Courageous Leadership Awards luncheon last week for his
work on anti-gun policies along with his colleague Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Krekorian and City Attorney Mike Feuer. Other policy makers honored included longtime West Hollywood City Councilwoman Abbe Land and former California State Assemblymember Mike Roos. Councilmember  Koretz has prioritized policies to reduce gun violence throughout his political career. As recently as April 2018, the City Council approved an ordinance introduced by the Councilmember that requires gun stores and firing ranges to display suicide prevention information and a hotline. Every day an average of 49 suicides are committed utilizing firearms and suicide is the leading cause of death among Californians who have purchased firearms within a year. This preventative measure could go a long way to reducing those numbers.

IN THE COMMUNITY


Crime Walks... Proactive Steps in Burglary Prevention

In response to recent reports of burglaries in Cheviot Hills, CD5 staff teamed up with Area Commanding Captain Valencia Thomas, Senior Lead Officer Sergeant Justin Scott, and Division Officers to conduct a crime walk within the neighborhood. The mission was to engage and educate the neighborhood about crime prevention and to offer tips on how to partner with City agencies and law enforcement to create a safer Los Angeles. The coordinated safety team pointed out unlocked car doors, home gates and garages, as well as visible items of value that were easily accessible from vehicles and home properties. Please remember that by hiding and locking away valuables, thieves will be less enticed to help themselves to precious property.



Holmby Westwood Property Owners Association

Councilmember Koretz attended the Holmby Westwood Property Owners Association to provide neighborhood and district updates. Thank you to Association President, Sandy Brown for all your hard work and for taking the time to recognize LAFD at your meeting.



Adopt Some Love

Looking for a new furry companion? Check out these LA Animal Shelter Dogs and Cats of the Week from the West LA & East Valley City Animal Shelters. Please come meet our dogs and cats – they need homes now. The shelters are open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 am to 5 pm and Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm (closed Mondays). Click on any photo below for details.

 

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Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz
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