As August draws to a close, I hope you’ve found ways to stay comfortable without busting your electricity bills through the roof or suffering from a power blackout. If you experienced the latter, it probably won’t make you feel that much better to know that my home experienced a blackout too. I have joined with many of my colleagues calling on the Department of Water and Power to speed up its efforts to upgrade its systems so that the predictable surges in usage in this era of climate change can be better accommodated and our residents, homes and businesses better served.
I’ve also been busy trying to help City Hall get a handle on the sudden proliferation of electric scooters that are appearing and creating safety hazards in neighborhoods all over the city. Last spring, Councilmember Mitch Englander and I successfully proposed a moratorium on these scooters as well as “undocked” bicycles until the City could develop regulations covering both. When that effort failed to deliver the desired result, I recently proposed a moratorium specific to scooters.
In fact, I sent a letter to the Los Angeles Times expressing my public safety concerns.
My motion was discussed in the Council’s Public Safety Committee on August 22nd and I appeared before them to argue the case. Because state laws prohibits the use of scooters on sidewalks, without helmets and on any street with a speed limit above 25 MPH (if it doesn't have a class II bike lane), I argued that there seems to be no regulatory approach the Council could enact that wouldn’t cause enforcement nightmares.
Unfortunately, while the committee agreed with many of my points, they decided to recommend against a full moratorium and instead speed up the process of regulating the scooters and the companies that rent them as soon as possible. This decision supports an effort by the Council’s Transportation Committee (upon which I sit) to develop such regulations.
I think the City of Los Angeles should clamp down harder on scooter rentals while regulations are developed, as has been done by our neighbors in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. However if we choose to pursue another approach, I will continue to fight for common sense safety provisions to protect riders, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike. And these “disruptive technology” companies should be operating like every other business wanting to profit from Angelenos by being required to obtain business licenses and pay taxes. So there is much work yet to be done on this issue.
Have a great Labor Day and end of summer!
City Council Approves Tenants’ Right to Counsel Motion
Councilmember Paul Koretz’s motion calling for the City to look at creating a program to provide tenants facing possible eviction or harassment with legal counsel was approved by the City Council on Friday, August 17. Both New York City and San Francisco have adopted Right to Counsel programs in the last couple of years.
The motion calls on the City Attorney, the Chief Legislative Analyst and the Housing and Community Investment Department to work with the Council and the Mayor’s office to develop a concept (with funding) over the next four months.
“I’m not looking to make life hard for good landlords by providing bad tenants with lawyers,” said Councilmember Koretz, “but my office regularly receives pleas from tenants who are facing evictions for questionable reasons, or are being hassled in what appear to be efforts to get them out of their rent-controlled apartments so the rent can be raised to market rates.”
Citing the impact of evictions on the number of new homeless in this year’s official Homeless Count, Koretz asserted that the existing network of nonprofit legal aid providers can comprise the foundation for an expansion of such services. Stakeholders from all sides of the issue will be consulted during the process of developing the proposal.
Animal Welfare Updates
Councilmember Paul Koretz’s long-standing efforts on behalf of animal welfare made important strides in the last two weeks as three of his initiatives moved forward in the City’s legislative process:
BAN ON FUR SALES AND MANUFACTURE: A proposal co-authored by Councilmembers Koretz and Bob Blumenfield to phase out the sale and manufacture of new fur in Los Angeles won the approval of the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee on August 15th. The proposal, which would give furriers until 2021 to transition out their businesses, is expected to be heard by the full City Council within the next couple of weeks.
PETS IN PUBLICLY-FUNDED HOUSING: Councilmember Koretz’s proposal to require affordable housing buildings partially or wholly financed with public dollars to allow tenants to have pets advanced from the City Council’s Housing Committee on August 22nd, after previously having been approved by Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee. The motion, which instruct the Housing and Community Investment Department (which administers the City’s affordable housing finance programs) to make the mandate a requirement for all such projects, is expected to come to Council by mid-September. Discussions will follow on how best to implement the mandate.
PET SHOP KENNEL ZONING: On August 21st the Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee approved an ordinance that will allow pet shops and adoption centers which keep dogs and cats more than four months old on site overnight to be located in commercially-zoned locations. This ordinance, proposed by Councilmembers Koretz and Blumenfield, helps to implement Councilmember Koretz’s 2013 ordinance requiring pet shops to stop selling mill-bred animals and switch to animals from animal shelters and rescuers. Because many of these animals are likely to be over four months old, the change in the Zoning Code was necessary to allow existing pet shops to remain in commercial locations and for new adoption centers to open in optimal business locations. The ordinance contains limits on the number of animals and strict conditions for the operation of such outlets to protect neighboring businesses and residents. Adoption centers such as NKLA in West Los Angeles, Rockin’ Rescue in Reseda and Adopt-and-Shop in Culver City (a few feet outside of Los Angeles) are good examples of the kinds of well-run establishments the ordinance is designed to promote. The ordinance will be in Council after the City Attorney has finalized the language, probably in several weeks.
Today is Leonard Bernstein Day in LA
This week Los Angeles is honoring the great American composer Leonard Bernstein who would have turned 100 years old today, August 25, 2018. He was a revered conductor and pianist, a composer of ageless music, a compassionate teacher of inspiring insight, and a fervent battler for human rights and dignity. His 100th birthday is being celebrated around the US in a variety of ways. To join in the celebration, Councilmember Koretz hosted a special presentation dedicating today as Leonard Bernstein Day in Los Angeles. Also on hand to celebrate were members of the Skirball Cultural Center that is currently hosting a retrospective of Leonard Bernstein curated with the GRAMMY Museum and the Leonard Bernstein estate including his three children. The retrospective includes more than 150 pieces of memorabilia and interactive exhibits and will be open until September 2. More information is available at https://www.skirball.org/exhibitions/leonard-bernstein-100.
IATSE Local 33 Day in Los Angeles
The City of Los Angeles recognized the International Alliance of Theater Employees Local 33 for 122 years of stagehand services to the people of Los Angeles and throughout Southern California in live entertainment and television. The festivities began with a ribbon cutting ceremony at City Hall's bridge gallery where photos and memorabilia are now on display showing 122 years of behind the scenes work at the various venues throughout the City. Following the ribbon cutting, Councilmember Koretz hosted a presentation in which the City of Los Angeles declared IATSE Local 33 Day in Los Angeles that was joined and celebrated by his fellow Council colleagues.
Honoring A-Bomb Survivors & Supporting the United Nations Nuclear Arms Treaty
Seventy-three years and a few weeks ago, on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the only two atomic bomb to be used in warfare on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The casualties and damage caused by both bombs were enormous. An estimated 200,000 people were killed instantly and tens of thousands died from the after-effects of the bomb, including cancers and other illnesses related to radiation exposure. Most of the dead were civilians.
This month, on August 8th, Councilmember Koretz authored and the City Council approved a resolution calling for the City of Los Angeles to support the entrance of the United States government into the United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, to end the U.S. President’s sole, unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack, and to actively pursue a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to work toward eliminating -- rather than growing -- their nuclear arsenals.
In addition, the Councilmember recognized the American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors and all hibakusha -- those who survived the bombings -- in a presentation to the City Council. Los Angeles is home to many hibakusha. For over 70 years, though they do not argue with the reasons the bombs were dropped, they have been telling their stories, over and over, for one reason – so that no one else will ever have to experience the horrors that they endured due to the use of nuclear weapons.
Junji Sarashina, President of the American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors, was on hand to receive the certificate on behalf of the hibakusha and remarked about his own personal experience witnessing the bombing first hand.
Chuck Levin and Voter Registration Day in LA
Councilmember Koretz was joined by Councilmembers Herb Wesson, Bob Blumenfield and Mike Bonin to honor and recognize Chuck Levin, a dedicated voter registration activist and founder of The First Vote, a non-partisan 501c3 foundation. In honor of Levin’s 50 years of getting out the vote, in which he has personally registered more than 14,000 voters, the City of Los Angeles declared “Voter Registration Day in LA.” In addition, Chuck recruited his late mother, Sylvia, to help out one weekend and she went on to set the record for registering the most (46,000+) voters. Chuck's message is simple: 'Register to vote and vote in every election.'
Mayor Eric Garcetti and LADWP Announce Attic Insulation Rebate Program
This week, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) announced a five-year, $100 million insulation rebate program to help Angelenos better control temperatures in their homes, reduce energy use, and save money.
The program will provide homeowners with a rebate that covers $1 per square foot of insulation up to 80% of the total project cost. Installing attic insulation might seem daunting and expensive, but the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) can help pay for insulating your attic. Customers who install attic insulation can see energy reduction and savings of $200 to $374 in a year, depending upon the size of the home and its location.
This is only the latest addition to a roster of rebates offered through LADWP’s Consumer Rebate Program, including:
- A/C Optimization Program: provides basic air conditioning diagnostic and maintenance services which can reduce heating and cooling costs up to 25%.
- Cool Roof Rebate: subsidizes the costs to install a roof designed to reflect heat from the sun, which can reduce cooling costs by 7-15%.
- Smart Thermostats: automatically optimizes home temperature settings to maximize energy savings, saving customers $180 per year on their utility bill.
- Refrigerator Exchange Program: exchanges qualified older model refrigerators with Energy Star®-rated refrigerators for low-income residents, free of charge.
- Home Energy Improvement Program: offers a free home assessment to identify potential cost-effective energy efficient upgrades and repairs.
- Clothes Washer Rebate: provides a $400 rebate on energy and water efficient washing machines, which can reduce water use by 11,000 gallons per year.
To learn more about the insulation rebate and how to apply, please visit LADWP.com/CRP
Benedict Canyon Update
Benedict Canyon between Mulholland and Hutton has been closed since May 1st so LADWP can replace aging pipelines. During this time, LADWP has been installing 5,200 feet of new mainline steel pipe, along with four new fire hydrants. CD5 staff has been working closely with LADWP and members of the Benedict Canyon Association since well-before the project started and has kept apprised of the progress. On July 9th, after only two months of construction, LADWP has completed 3,000 feet of pipe installation, which is approximately 60% of the entire projected project.
By replacing 65+ year-old pipes on Benedict Canyon, LADWP is improving water supply reliability. In addition, the new fire hydrants will increase fire protection capabilities. LADWP crews also used the opportunity to renew all service connections within the project site with copper connections. LADWP’s Security Services Officers along with traffic officers from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation have been managing traffic flow due to street closures in order to control congestion. Additionally, passes were arranged for Benedict Canyon residents and designated visitors to enter and exit the closed area.
Be a Monarch Butterfly Host
On June 15th, the City of Los Angeles signed the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge. Los Angeles is one of more than 400 cities across the U.S., Canada and Mexico that have pledged to help this iconic butterfly, whose numbers have declined dramatically in recent years.
June 15, 2018 is now forever known as Monarch Butterfly Day in the City of Los Angeles, thanks to Councilman Paul Koretz, who introduced a Resolution, signed by his 13 colleagues, which gave the Monarch its own day to be honored.
The migration of monarch butterflies is one of the natural world’s most epic journeys. Though each monarch weighs as little as a paper clip, the eastern population of monarchs flies over 2,000 miles from Canada to wintering grounds in Mexico’s mountain forests. The Western Monarch migrates from the Rocky Mountains to overwinter along Coastal California.
But in recent years, the monarch butterfly populations have plummeted at an alarming rate— especially in California. The count for the western monarch is down by about 97% from 35 years ago. This decline threatens to deprive future generations of the wonder and beauty of the monarch — and is an ominous sign of the worsening health of ecosystems. According to a recent scientific analysis, current extinction risk is 72% within 20 years.
Monarch butterflies, as well as other butterfly species, bees, birds and bats, help move pollen from one plant to another, fertilizing flowers and making it possible for plants to produce the food needed to feed people and wildlife. More than a third of the food that we eat requires pollinators to grow. Yet many of these pollinators are declining, with habitat loss, pesticides and climate change all contributing.
What can you do to help?
Plant Native Milkweed. Monarch caterpillars rely on one host plant for their food—milkweed. Adult monarchs depend on nectar plants. The Xerces society provides background on which milkweed species are found in California and where they are distributed. Scientists have raised concerns about the ubiquitous Tropical Milkweed plant, which is easy to grow and appealing to monarchs, but which may interrupt the butterfly’s migration cycle and transmit parasites. More information on the impact of tropical milkweed can be found here.
Become a Certified Wildlife Habitat. By providing food (native plants), water (bird baths, ponds, or shallow dishes of water), cover (places for animals to hide), places to raise young (bird houses, old logs, rock piles), and using sustainable practices such as avoiding poisons in your garden, you will help not only monarchs but all wildlife. For more information, check out the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife checklist here.
Where can I buy California Native Milkweed?
Here are a few places that sell California native plants, including milkweed:
Back to School Safety Tips from LADOT, LAUSD & Vision Zero
Happy back to school! Traveling in school neighborhoods can be stressful for everyone. Make sure to practice school zone safety as part of your back to school preparations.
With school back in session, please remember to stay alert and aware on the road. There are over 400 LADOT crossing guards helping to keep children safe on their way to school.
Fall Golf Classes Available at Tregnan Golf Academy
The beginning of a new school year reminds adults and children alike that exciting ventures are on the horizon, and that the year is coming to a close. Before 2018 is complete, learn the sport of Golf or sharpen your skills by enrolling in a program at the Tregnan Golf Academy. Fall Classes will be offered beginning September 30th for all ages and skill levels, making it an activity the entire family can enjoy!Register through WebTrac beginning September 16th: GOLF.LACITY.ORG/TREGNAN.HTM
Encino Community Spotlight:
Neighborhood Clean Up Volunteers
Many thanks to Encino volunteers Pauline Flaherty and Tom Sacks for doing their part to clean up trash along Louise Ave in Encino between Oxnard Street and Burbank Blvd. Pauline and Tom are both part of The Help Group Vocational Center. Twenty-year-old Pauline lives in Encino with her parents and is very active in the community and does this often with supervision of her mother, Janet. She also participated in Tri-Valley Special Olympics Bowling. Thank you Pauline and Tom for making Encino a better place to live.
Volunteering for Community Safety
Encino resident Suzan Richman volunteers with the West Valley Police Division and is a leader for the Encino South Neighborhood Watch group. In addition to her volunteer service out in the community, she also supports the LAPD officers at Encino’s Detectives Desk Station. Through her caring deeds and continuous support we salute Suzan Richman for making the City of Los Angeles a better place in which we live and work.
Lindley Ave. Gets Smooth Surface
Much like any big renovation, there is quite a bit of prep work that goes into street resurfacing that is completed by several different contractors. But thanks to the Bureau of Street Services the community of Encino can now enjoy smooth driving on the newly resurfaced Lindley Avenue from Hatteras St. to Ventura Blvd.!
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.