The past few weeks have been filled with work-related travel and conversations about LA’s significant leadership role in our larger global community, culminating in my trip as a delegate to Governor Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit. This Summit emphasized to me, in the face of seemingly daily worldwide climate-related catastrophes, how far we’ve come and how very far we have left to go.
In 2015, I attended a conference in Claremont which kicked off a relatively new non-profit called “Pando Populus.” The name derives from a grove of quaking Aspen trees in Utah which is known to be among the oldest and largest living organisms by mass on Earth (40 - 80,000 years; 106 acres; 6,600 tons). All the tree stems in the grove are connected to one rootball. Due to changes caused by global warming, a rapidly-growing deer population, and human impacts, the grove had been dying. Until, last year, after an event we called, “Road trip to Pando,” conservation efforts were put into place that has resulted in what the chief scientist who cares for the grove, calls a miracle -- the grove began to regenerate and new, protected baby shoots are finally once again growing.Two weeks ago, I participated in the second such event, this time called, “Pilgrimage to Pando,” intended as a next step, where changemakers, influencers, and spiritual leaders from numerous faiths, all joined together to raise awareness of the plight of Pando and, in the face of catastrophic global climate disruption, truly, the plight of us all. Our goal is to model how, by including all stakeholders in intimate conversation, we can come to mutually-agreed upon and understood solutions.
The larger metaphor of Pando, of course, is that we are all living on a struggling planet, interconnected by one human rootball and our futures are inextricably entwined. My hope is that, if we can model how to save one of the oldest, largest living organisms on Earth, we can similarly model solutions for global warming, institutional racism and sexism, biodiversity loss, environmental injustice, plastic pollution, social and economic inequity, and all the other massive challenges we, as one species, Homo sapiens, face. Together.
Breaking News: Last Call for the 4 a.m. Bar Bill
This afternoon, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB 905, also known as the "4 a.m. Bar Bill." Councilmember Koretz has been the primary elected official leading the way to defeat this dangerous piece of legislation that would allow local jurisdictions to extend drinking hours from 2:00 am to 4:00 am.
Councilmember Koretz has said, “No good can come from serving alcohol until 4 a.m. If this passes we can expect more DUIs, more drunk driving injuries and more alcohol related deaths.” And that “No district is an island and it is outrageous to call this a local discretion bill when its impacts will spill over into adjacent jurisdictions that will be stuck with the very expensive public safety bill - the cost of life and death.”
In the Governor's veto message, he echoed Councilmember Koretz's position, "I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem." Councilmember Koretz applauds the Governors veto and thanks him for putting public safety first. He also would like to thank all of the organizations and individuals who fought to defeat this bill including the Alcohol Justice Coalition, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and the CD5 Neighborhood Councils that spoke out.
LA City Council Approves Retail Fur Ban
Councilmember Paul Koretz took the podium at a rally before City Council’s Sept.18 meeting, when it unanimously voted to ban fur products.
Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to approve a motion co-presented by Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Bob Blumenfield to ban the manufacture and sale of new fur products throughout Los Angeles. The fur ban will specifically prohibit the sale of new products made in whole or in part of fur, such as fashion accessories.
West Hollywood was the first city in the United States to enact such a ban, and Berkeley and San Francisco shortly followed. Los Angeles is now the largest city in the United States to put forward a fur ban. As more cities and countries pass restrictive legislation, more companies will stop using fur, and alternatives will continue to improve. Most recently, fashion companies such as Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Versace, Gucci and Burberry have all made commitments to remove fur from their product lines.
More than fifty million animals including foxes, chinchilla, minks, raccoons, dogs and rabbits are killed for their fur every year. The fur industry is one that has consistently been associated with inhumane practices. Animals who are cultivated solely for their fur spend their lives in cramped cages, subject to deplorable living conditions. Common practices include gassing, electrocution, suffocation and neck breaking. Electrocuting fur-bearing animals anally and genitally is a slaughter method used frequently in the industry to limit damage to the fur.
Under the plan, the fur ban will go into effect in January and be phased in over two years, giving retailers until 2020 to sell off existing inventories. Used fur products will be exempt from the final ordinance that is currently being written by the City Attorney and will come back to City Council for approval.
City Hall Lights Up Teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness
Last September, in honor of Ovarian Cancer month, Councilmember Koretz honored the local non-profit organization the Ovarian Cancer Circle/ Inspired by Robin Babbini, by hosting a special Council presentation co-presented with Councilwoman Nury Martinez (CD6) and Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez (CD7). In addition, the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Institute was recognized for their innovative clinical studies and work toward finding a cure.
This year, Councilmember Koretz arranged for teal color lights to be projected onto City Hall from September 25th through September 30th. Teal is the nationally accepted color of Ovarian Cancer Awareness.
Ovarian Cancer is one of the deadliest gynecologic cancers. In the United States, ovarian cancer kills approximately 15,000 women each year. For women who are diagnosed with the disease, there is a 70 percent chance of recurrence. Ovarian Cancer can happen to any woman of any age. Women should know that annual pap tests do not detect ovarian cancer. In fact, there is no early detection test for the disease other than a CA125 (that measures for the cancer antigen 125 protein) which is not always accurate. Therefore, ovarian cancer usually gets diagnosed in the later stages of the disease which is partly why it has a high mortality rate. Women who are concerned that they might have symptoms should talk to their doctor about a transvaginal ultrasound exam, although insurance companies may not cover the procedure.
For more information and for resources go to www.theovariancancercircle.org
Councilmember Koretz Speaks at Global Climate Summit
Councilmember Paul Koretz was named as a delegate to Governor Jerry Brown's Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) held in San Francisco earlier this month.
Representatives from government, businesses and organizations around the world gathered to explore and make pledges to implement new creative initiatives designed to more quickly reign in global warming.
The Councilmember was pleased to be invited by Tom Steyer’s NextGen Team and the Stockholm Environment Institute to speak on an affiliated Global Climate Action Summit panel called, "Can Limiting Oil Production Make Good Climate Policy?" with CA State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, as well as the Mayor of Vancouver and the New Zealand Climate Change Ambassador from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He also had the opportunity to speak to city officials from across the United States who were there to exchange information and share best practices in their work to fight global warming. In addition, he was happy to note that his latest initiative, to establish a climate justice emergency mobilization department for the city of Los Angeles, has garnered support and is being followed by other cities who are declaring climate emergencies and organizing regional coordination, such as Berkeley and Richmond, with others soon to follow.
CD5 Director of Environmental Affairs, Andy Shrader, was also named as a GCAS delegate.
Home Sharing Ordinance in Flux
On September 13th, the City Planning Commission (CPC) approved a revised version of the long-awaited Home Sharing Ordinance that immediately began creating an uproar among community activists who’ve been working on this law for three years.
Going against decisions made back in June by the City Council, the Commission revised the ordinance to allow for short-term rental hosts to be able to apply to extend the number of days they can host short-term renters to as many as 365 a year, up from 240. They also voted to allow tenants in Rent Stabilized apartments to host short-term renters for up to 120 days a year. The latter eliminates a total prohibition on short-term rentals in rent-controlled units written into every draft of this ordinance since the process began. And Councilmember Koretz’s proposal to define “full-time residency” as 11 months a year instead of 6 months a year also wasn’t included in the CPC decision.
Councilmember Koretz and several other Councilmembers already have expressed their opposition to these changes and have indicated they will try to make amendments when the Home Sharing Ordinance comes back to Council in the coming weeks.
LADWP’s Benedict Canyon Project Finishes Two Months Ahead of Schedule
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has completed a major water infrastructure project located in Benedict Canyon well ahead of schedule. The project had been scheduled to finish on November 30th, but was completed two months earlier because of a well-coordinated effort involving LADWP Water System staff working in partnership with the office of Councilmember Paul Koretz and other city agencies. The cost savings is estimated at $1.8 million. The Benedict Canyon Water Pipeline Replacement began on May 1st. The project replaced 5,200 feet of pipeline that had been originally installed in the 1960s with new 12-inch steel pipeline along Benedict Canyon Drive, south of Mulholland Drive to Hutton Drive, as well as a new 8-inch steel pipeline along Liebe Drive. Four new fire hydrants were also installed. This project will increase water system reliability in the area and improve the existing fire protection capabilities.
In planning the project, LADWP worked closely with the office of Councilmember Koretz who facilitated and coordinated meetings and collaboration with the Benedict Canyon Association, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Street Services and the Emergency Management Department as well as the Beverly Hills Police Department and the Beverly Hills Department of Public Works, to ensure that all local interests were represented and all concerns addressed.
The Benedict Canyon project is part of LADWP Water System’s efforts to upgrade the infrastructure throughout its service area. LADWP operates and maintains more than 7,300 miles of water transmission and distribution pipes. LADWP’s goal is to replace all the pipe as its life expectancy expires. As part of the Water System’s strategic plan, almost 250 miles of pipe have been replaced since 2006. Distribution pipe replacement will increase for the next five years to 300,000 feet in 2023.
La Brea and Melrose Intersection Dedicated Pink’s Square
Councilmember Koretz honored Pink's Hot Dog's nearly eight decades of bringing tasty food and character to the City of Los Angeles. On Thursday, the Councilmember welcomed his colleagues, past and present, to Council District Five to join in dedicating the intersection of Melrose and La Brea as Historic Pink's Square.
This designation is a fitting honor for an institution that began as just a simple pushcart, but by years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice, has become a world famous institution. And to help make the day even more special, Councilmember Koretz's staff chalked the poles pink and posed with a 1956 Pink Cadillac. It was a wonderful celebration of a remarkable family's contributions to our city.
CD5 Staff Tours Stone Canyon Reservoir
Councilmember Koretz’s deputies
took a 2-hour field tour of the Stone Canyon reservoir water quality improvement project with the LADWP project team.
The project includes the installation of a 700,000 square foot floating cover, partially relining the surface of the reservoir and side slopes, modifying the reservoir inlet and outlet structures, reconstructing the roadway and constructing an 800 square-foot control building.
The purpose of the project is to protect water quality and meet drinking water regulations through installation of a floating cover over the reservoir; to enhance water storage reliability through reservoir facility and property improvements; and to improve area fire protection by upgrading two existing helicopter landing pads utilized by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department.
Timeline: This project began last year and is scheduled to be completed in two years. Thank you to LADWP tour guides Gabriel Vargas and Brent Reynolds.
Construction progress to date:
o The contract duration is about 50% complete
o Diversion Structure is being demolished
o Control building structure is about 75% complete
o Slope stability and hillside drainage is 100% complete
o Inlet manifold is about 80% complete
o Reservoir Vaults are about 80% complete
Koretz Celebrates PATH’s 35th Anniversary
Councilmember Koretz Honors PATH and Claire Orr. Joel John Roberts, Councilmember Koretz and Claire Orr (L to R)
On September 20th, Councilmember Koretz joined various luminaries at Getty House (the Mayor’s residence) to commemorate the 35th anniversary of one of Los Angeles’ pre-eminent homeless service and housing nonprofits, People Assisting The Homeless (PATH).
PATH was formed in 1983 by a group of concerned Angelenos led by Claire and the Reverend Charles Orr. After the City of West Hollywood was formed in 1984, Koretz was an activist and city staffer there when a shelter known as Foundation House was created. Later, when he was a West Hollywood Councilmember, Foundation House merged with PATH and set the organization on its way to being a powerhouse.
Now PATH has housed more than 7,500 folks since 2013 alone, opened offices in 25 California cities and provided services to thousands of people in some 140 locations. Councilmember Koretz honored that work and the Orrs during his brief remarks to those gathered for the celebration.
PATH’s Metro Villas II housing project in Los Angeles is the first Measure HHH-financed project to enter construction. It broke ground last winter and is expected to accept its first residents in late 2019.
Westside Community Plan Update Kick-Off Event
The Department of City Planning has officially launched a three-year effort to update four Community Plans for the Westside region of Los Angeles: Palms-Mar Vista-Del Rey, Venice, West Los Angeles, and Westchester-Playa Del Rey.
On September 29th, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the Department of City Planning is holding a kick off meeting for Palms - Mar Vista - Del Rey residents at the IMAN Cultural Center, 3376 Motor Avenue. You are encouraged to attend and learn about the Community Plan, your community’s blueprint for growth and land use and provide feedback. The Department of City Planning is ready to listen. At the meeting, you can learn more about the Westside Community Plans Update and also tell them about the opportunities and constraints you see and your vision for your community. Please RSVP at at http://bit.ly/WestsideCP. Walk-ins are also welcome.
West LA residents - Save the Date: A similar meeting will be held about the West Los Angeles Community Plan on Thursday, October 25th at 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Henry Medina Parking Enforcement Facility, 11214 W. Exposition Blvd. Please RSVP at http://bit.ly/WestsideCP
Find out more at planningthewestside.org
Community Rally to Fight Bullying
The San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center’s Caring for Kids – Bullying & School Violence Advocacy Program is holding a rally on Saturday, September 29th from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Northridge Fashion Center (next to Dave & Busters).
For more information, please call 1-866-BE-A-HERO.
Come to the 5th Annual Emergency Preparedness Fair!
The Westside Village Homeowners Association will host their 5th Annual Emergency Preparedness Fair on Thursday, October 4th from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. During the event, CD5 staff will moderate a panel called, "Resilience: Preparing for Recovery." The panel will include LA public safety officials from the LAPD, LAFD, and the LA Emergency Management Department who will discuss how to prepare a disaster action plan. The event will be hosted in St. John's Presbyterian Church at 11000 National Blvd. All are welcome.
Encino Family Festival
The annual Encino Family Festival will be held on Sunday, October 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Ventura Blvd., between Balboa Blvd. and Amestoy St. The free admission event will feature family activities, music, and food. Previously known as the Taste of Encino, the event has been an annual community tradition for 31 years. FREE local parking available within walking distance of the event. Swing by for Food Trucks, Kid’s FUN zone, Community and craft vendors as well as live entertainment.
ASPCA Will Pay Your Cat Adoption Fee When You Adopt From An LA City Shelter
The ASPCA has awarded a $200,000 grant to the Department of Animal Services to facilitate life-saving adoptions for homeless cats in the six Los Angeles Animal Services Centers. Previously, the adoption fee for adult cats over four months of age was $25. With this grant and support from the ASPCA, LA Animal Services will be able to waive adoption fees and provide 8,000 free cat adoptions. The grant is currently in effect, and the offer will be available while funding lasts.
The City shelters currently have hundreds of wonderful adult cats ready for their new homes. LA Animal Services cats are vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and microchipped before going to their new homes. While the adoption fees for adult cats are waived, kittens under four months of age do not qualify but are only $50 to adopt. Adoption is not limited to LA City Residents, but a valid government issued identification card is required.
To help entice you to adopt a furry family member, here are four fun feline facts:
1. Cats are low maintenance! Cats can be pretty independent, they don’t need walks and can bathe themselves to stay clean.
2. Cats are the perfect sound machines. With the soothing sounds of their soft purrs, you will be lulled to sleep in no time.
3. Lots of fabulous felines to choose from. LA Animal Services Centers have a variety of cats available for adoption. There are playful kittens, cuddle buddies, mellow adults and entertaining comedic cats of all sizes and colors eagerly waiting to meet you.
4. Cats are fun and funny. You can watch them run around and be silly, or you can clicker train your cat to do tricks with treats. If you need further proof on how great their antics are, Google “funny cat videos”!
If you aren’t ready to commit to adopting, consider temporarily fostering a kitten or an adult cat who needs a break from the shelter environment. This will give you the opportunity to see if you’re ready for a pet full-time, and you'll be saving lives of animals in our crowded shelters.
For more information on adopting and fostering, or to find your nearest LA City animal shelter, please visit LAAnimalSerivces.com or call (888) 452-7381. All six LA Animal Services Centers are open Tuesday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11 am to 5:00 p.m. All shelters are closed on Mondays and holidays.
For more information on this promotion, visit: laanimalservices.com/aspcagrant2018
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 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All shelters are closed on Mondays and holidays. Click on any photo below for details.