October 26, 2018   

Dear Friends,

I was fortunate to celebrate Food Day this week at City Hall by accepting an award from the United Nations on behalf of the City for our Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP), which was adopted in 2012 via former Mayor Villaraigosa’s executive directive and my own motion on the same day, and which I have spent time and effort the past six years implementing within the City’s departments.  The award gave me pause to reflect upon the massive impact that the food system has upon the planet and, more importantly, what we in LA can do to make positive changes.

Six years ago on the very first Food Day, the City of Los Angeles became the first institution to adopt the GFPP -- a landmark policy directing departments to purchase food that reflects the City’s shared values in supporting local economies, nutrition, environmental sustainability, fair labor and animal welfare.  Now, six years later, the GFPP is in 27 institutions in 13 cities across the country, and counting. Through implementation of the GFPP in the City and Los Angeles Unified School District, we have now redirected more than $15 million into local businesses-- just by increasing our awareness of how our food dollars are spent, helping transform the food system from the roots up.  As I like to say, what happens in LA, doesn’t stay in LA.

Each dollar we spend can either improve conditions or make things worse. Given the environmental challenges facing us all, I urge you all to pay close attention to how your dollars are spent and if you are sending a message that lines up with your own values.


Paul Koretz


Councilmember Koretz Receives United Nations Recognition for Good Food Policy Legislation

  Councilmember Koretz was joined by (L to R) Clare Fox, Executive Director of LA Food Policy Council (LAFPC), CD5 Environmental Policy Director Andy Shrader, Paula Daniels, founder of LAFPC, now with Center for Good Food Purchasing, and Miguel Sangalang, Mayor Garcetti’s Deputy Mayor for Budget & Innovation.

The Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, in conjunction with the World Future Council and IFoam Organics International, awarded the City’s Good Food Purchasing Policy and Program (GFPP) a 2018 Future Policy Award, Honorable Mention, which, since it was for the entire planet and the only city in the United States, wasn’t too shabby.  Because he was the author of the motion that originally adopted the GFPP in 2012 and has been an integral part of implementing the program over the past six years, Councilmember Koretz received the award on behalf of the City from Paula Daniels, who masterminded the GFPP as founder of the LA Food Policy Council and who had travelled to Rome, Italy, to receive the award in person.

Scooter Signs for Safe Sidewalks

On September 28, 2018, the City Council approved an ordinance to implement Dockless On-Demand Personal Mobility Rules and Guidelines to govern and permit the operation of bicycles, electric bicycles, and electric scooters in the City.

Due to the safety concerns Councilmember Koretz has consistently raised about the hazards of using electronic scooters in the City, he was the sole ‘NO’ vote on adopting this ordinance.  

Although the City will be going forward in regulating the use of these e-scooters, one issue Councilmember Koretz does not believe will be covered by the regulations is their illegal usage on City sidewalks.  The California Vehicle Code (Section 21235) clearly prohibits scooter riding on the sidewalk, except as may be necessary to enter or leave adjacent property.

This restriction, however, is often unknown to scooter riders and has led to numerous accidents.  That is why in order to reduce hazard for pedestrians, Councilmember Koretz introduced a motion instructing the Department of Transportation to fabricate and install signs, at the request of any Council office, that clearly display the prohibition of riding a scooter on a City sidewalk. Final sign designs are still to be determined.

Do You Know The New Brush Clearance Requirements?

Record-setting temperatures, red flag days, and dry conditions have fueled massive fires in Los Angeles. They are spreading faster and burning more than in years past. After a number of fires broke out in the hillsides over the last year, the City Council approved Councilmember Koretz’s proposed ordinance to increase requirements for brush clearance and fire safety in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ).

The Ordinance bans metal cutting blades on equipment such as weed wackers and has a number of requirements for brush clearance in VHFHSZ.

Some of these requirements include:

- Brush clearance cannot be done on red flag days;

- Individuals engaged in grass or brush clearance operations shall not engage in any other activities during their actual clearance of grass or brush;

- A two gallon water fire extinguisher, a pressurized garden hose with attached nozzle (fully open) shall be within 10 feet of any grass or brush clearance activities; and

- A cell phone capable of dialing 9-1-1 shall be charged and readily accessible to the grass or brush clearance operation.

Anyone observed violating the new rules could face hefty fines.

To report violations, contact the Los Angeles Fire Department immediately by calling 800.994.4444 or emailing LAFDBrush@lacity.org. The ordinance is effective now.

For further information on how to report hazards, go to the LAFD.org brush report website https://www.lafd.org/fire-prevention/brush/report-hazard.

Nobel Laureate Visits City Hall to Thank Councilmember Koretz

  (L to R) Denise Duffield of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Rick Wayman, Deputy Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Councilmember Koretz, Beatrice Fihn and CD5 Environmental Policy Director Andy Shrader.

Beatrice Fihn, 2017 Nobel Laureate, brought her Nobel Peace Prize Medal to City Hall this week to thank Councilmember Koretz for introducing a resolution this past August that called upon our federal leaders to spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first and ending the President’s sole, unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack.  In addition, it asks for a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Councilmember Koretz introduced the resolution that was also signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti on the same day that he honored Hiroshima A-bomb survivors.

Honoring and Remembering Legendary Jonathan Gold

Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Weekly and Los Angeles Times restaurant critic, was one of the most celebrated and, perhaps more importantly, one of the most appreciated voices of this city. Jonathan wrote about restaurants for more than three decades and became an influential cultural ambassador for this city in which he was born and raised.  

What Jonathan Gold meant to Los Angeles was apparent the Saturday night after his passing in July, when, on the occasion of what would have been his 58th birthday, City Hall and other landmarks across the region including Union Station, the Broad, the Natural History Museum, the pylons at LAX, Pasadena City Hall and the Pacific Wheel on the Santa Monica Pier, all lit up with gold lights to say goodbye.

So, as part of this year’s City Council’s Food Day, Councilmember Koretz presented Jonathan’s brother, Mark, and wife, Laurie, the posthumous recognition of Jonathan awarding him as the City’s very first Citywide Good Food Champion.  Excerpts from Councilmember Koretz’s speech follow:

“I can think of no one more deserving of our very first Citywide Good Food Champion award and, frankly, we may have to retire the award immediately because I don’t know who could possibly follow him.  I only very much wish he could be here with us today to accept it.

“Some food critics simply write about food. Jonathan Gold wrote about the people, the cultures and the neighborhoods of the Los Angeles region through the lens of food. Anthony Bourdain described him as "the first guy to change the focus from white tablecloth restaurants to really cool little places in strip malls." He always seemed to be after a larger theme with his writing, showing us how, despite our perceived differences in Los Angeles, we are all truly, indelibly connected by food.  As he himself put it in the 2015 “City of Gold” documentary made about him: ‘We are all citizens of the world, strangers together.’”

Please consider a donation to help Jonathan’s family pay for expenses and for his children’s education.

CD5 Honors Maxine’s Heavenly Cookies & Nuts ‘n Berries

Food Day is a national initiative aiming to inspire Americans to change our diets and our food policies. Every year on October 24th, thousands of events all around the country bring Americans together to celebrate and enjoy Good Food and to push for improved food policies. At Los Angeles City Hall each year, Good Food Champions are recognized from each council district. This year, CD5 chose two, Maxine’s Heavenly Cookies and Nuts ‘n Berries Cafe.

It’s tough for people who like to snack to find something healthy AND tasty.  That’s why this year Councilmember Koretz honored Maxine's Heavenly Cookies. They start out with taste, health and nutrition. They are Non-GMO Project certified, gluten-free certified, vegan certified.  They strive to use the most nutrient-rich and unrefined ingredients possible. It's like they've adopted the City's Good Food Purchasing Policy as their own. Maxine’s Heavenly joined me and Clare Fox, the Executive Director of the LA Food Policy Council.

Nuts ‘n Berries Cafe in Encino was also named a CD5 2018 Good Food Champion, because of its strong commitment to offering quality healthy food without compromising on taste.  They provide the cleanest & best tasting food, always fresh, all natural & organic, with a wide variety of vegetarian & gluten-free options. Plus, the staff is always friendly and helpful. The CD5 Encino staff can be seen there often for an afternoon smoothie break.

Feline Friday Finds “Mel” A Home

Last week, Councilmember Koretz asked LA Animal Services to bring a shelter cat  to City Council for a presentation Councilmember Koretz is calling “Feline Friday.” Thankfully, our own General Manager of LA City Personnel Wendy Macy stepped up to give 6-month-old Maine coon “Mel” a fur-ever home.  And there are many more like Mel who are in LA City Shelters waiting for a person or family to call their own.  

Visit laanimalservices.com/adopt to start your search for the puur-fect buddy!  Also, read down to the bottom of this newsletter to check out the Pets of the Week available now from East Valley and West LA Shelters.

LA Animal Services also offers free and discount spay/neuter vouchers for dogs, cats and bunnies owned by LA City residents. You can now apply online and find more information in English and Spanish at www.laspayneuter.com.



Free Transit Rides on Election Day

Tuesday, November 6th is Election Day. Transportation to the polls should never be a deciding factor between voting and not voting.

That’s is why, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia put forward the idea to lift fares for all riders on November 6th.

The proposal to help eliminate a leading barrier to voter participation, by providing all riders with free Election Day rides was approved by the Metro Board this week.  In addition, the City Council approved a motion to provide free rides on all DASH, Commuter Express, and Cityride transit on election day, too.

“A lack of transportation should never stand between a voter and the polls,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Every vote counts in this democracy, and we have to do everything we can to help Americans exercise our most fundamental right.”

Prefer getting around on 2 wheels? Metro Bike Share wants to help you pedal to the polls for free on Election Day. Use promo code 1162018 at any station kiosk to get a free Single Ride. Valid November 6, 2018 only. First 30 minutes are free and $1.75 per 30 minutes thereafter.

BOO! Looking for Halloween Fun for All Ages?

Please click on the image below to view the Department of Recreation and Parks' Spooky, Fright Night Fun Thriller Events happening in CD 5! Or download a full list of Halloween events happening at recreation centers and parks throughout Los Angeles. Happy Halloween!

Tips and Tricks for A Green Halloween

With Halloween around the corner, now is the perfect time to think about ways to enjoy a cleaner, greener holiday for the health of our City and planet.

By making a few easy changes, celebrating Halloween can be fun and affordable while also safeguarding our environment. To help, LA San's newest video offers Tips and Tricks for a Green Halloween without sacrificing a ghoulish good time.

Some of our suggestions include hosting a costume swap and reusing Halloween decorations. View these and other tips here, and please share with your friends and families.

LADWP Offers Incentives to Upgrade Appliance

LADWP customers can save water, energy use and lower their energy bills, while helping to reduce their carbon footprint by participating in any of LADWP’s energy and water conservation rebate programs for residential and commercial customers.

For example, the Refrigerator Exchange Program provides qualifying customers with a free Energy Star® refrigerator in exchange for their old, inefficient model. And the Refrigerator Turn-in and Recycle Program provides a $50 rebate for customers who recycle their old refrigerator though LADWP.  

And did you know, that together, toilets and clothes washers account for approximately 45% of the water used inside your home?  That is part of the reason that LADWP boosted its rebate for high efficiency clothes washers from $300 to $400 on July 1, 2018. Residential customers can even get FREE water conservation equipment for faucets and showerheads.

For more information about the rebate, visit www.ladwp.com/save.

These energy savings will offset electrical use in homes, and avoid metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.



Councilmember Koretz Awarded 2018 CAPA Award

Last week, the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA) and Alcohol Justice named Councilmember Koretz “2018 CAPA Alcohol Prevention Hero,” at the 3rd Annual CAPA Summit. The conference called “Better Together,” acknowledged the strength the coalition is building to effect meaningful alcohol control policies in California. This year CAPA took a highly visible, leadership role in successfully opposing SB 905, the 4 a.m. bar bill, which Governor Brown vetoed on September 28th and honored Councilmember Koretz for his leadership role.

Councilmember Koretz Joins AIDS Walk LA

Councilmember Koretz joined colleagues, AIDS Project Los Angeles staff and volunteers, celebrities, and, most importantly, tens of thousands of walkers for the 34th Annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles. This yearly 10K walk has raised more than $84 million dollars for HIV/AIDS services since 1984. Councilmember Koretz has walked every year since the beginning, and he has promised to keep walking until we achieve a world with no new HIV transmissions. Thank you to those who volunteered, walked or donated.

Working To Fight Hate and Teach Tolerance

  L to R: CD5 Policy Director Jeff Ebenstein, Anti-Defamation League Regional Board Members Matthew Friedman and Lenore Wax and Councilmember Koretz)

For Councilmember Koretz, promoting acceptance and working to eliminate hate is not just policy work, it is a principle that guides him personally in all of his affairs.

For example, last month he helped promote and direct Pink’s Hot Dogs 78th Anniversary fundraiser donations both to Chabad and the PESA Teen Court program that helps guides teenagers toward tolerance through community service over incarceration.

Last week, he met with regional board members of the the Anti-Defamation League to collaborate on new strategies to combat the increasing number of hate crimes in Los Angeles and beyond.

Olympia Medical Center Celebrates 70th Anniversary

  Founding family members of Olympia Medical Center, formerly Midway Medical Center, with Council Members David Ryu and Paul Koretz

Olympia Medical Center, formerly known as Midway Hospital, celebrated 70 years of service as a local community hospital last week. Councilmember Koretz was joined by his colleague Councilmember David Ryu among other elected officials, first responders and community leaders to recognize the remarkable institution and its place in the community.

Olympia Medical Center continues to provide critical, life-saving treatments and services. There is no doubt Olympia will continue to benefit the lives of countless families and individuals for generations to come.

CD5 Staff Attend Encino Chamber’s Justice Armand Arabian Leaders in Public Service Awards Luncheon.


Councilmember Koretz and staff joined Encino community members and business leaders at the Encino Chamber of Commerce’s 19th Annual Justice Armand Arabian Leaders in Public Service Awards Luncheon.

This year was particularly special as they were proud to be on hand to personally congratulate Dakota Rose, former CD5 summer intern, on being selected as the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship.  Dakota is currently enrolled as a freshman in the Business Scholars Program at the University of Utah studying international business and entrepreneurship.  We know he will go on to do great work and we are all very proud of him.



3rd Annual P-22 Day Festival THIS Saturday

By official declaration of Councilmember Koretz in 2014 on behalf of the City of Los Angeles, October 22nd is now forever known as P-22 Day. That’s right, Los Angeles recognizes the importance of its resident cougars.

But for the third annual festival, the famous puma’s official day didn't fall on a weekend. So mark your calendars and join Councilmember Koretz tomorrow on Saturday, October 27th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Shane's Inspiration, 4800 Crystal Springs Road in Griffith Park.

It’s FREE and open to the public. You can pose with P-22 (well, his picture) in a photobooth, try out a virtual reality experience of a wildlife crossing, meet Ranger Rick, learn from experts on how to coexist with wildlife, view an urban wildlife garden installation, join in with the California Conservation Corps for a Bioblitz Dance, go on a ranger led walk, take a workshop on how to set up a wildlife camera, listen to live music, enjoy delicious food, and discover many more exhibits and activities.  Learn how the promise of connectivity is integral not just for the future of mountain lions, but for all wildlife such as salamanders, birds and butterflies.    

More information at: http://urbanwildlifeweek.org/

Upcoming Safety and Preparedness Fair

When is the best time to prepare for an earthquake or other disaster?  Before it happens.

The Westside Neighborhood Council is making it easier for the community to get prepared for a major earthquake or other disaster by presenting the Westside Community Safety and Preparedness Fair, November 4th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Overland Elementary School, 10650 Ashby Ave. (at the corner of Overland Ave.)

With more than 20 booths staffed by experts in emergency preparedness, and personal and home safety, including LAPD, LAFD, CERT, the LA City Emergency Management Dept. and more, attendees will learn what to do before, during and after an earthquake, with booths dedicated to preparations for the elderly, those with special needs, those with mobility or communication challenges, and those with pets.  

There are plenty of activities for the whole family.  Kids are encouraged to bring their bicycles and helmets and participate in a fun and informative bike skills workshop. LAFD Station 92 will attend the event with their fire truck and engine, and LAPD will bring patrol cars, police motorcycles, and a mobile command unit.  There may even be a fly-over by an LAPD helicopter. Attendees will be eligible to win raffle prizes, may donate blood at the Cedars-Sinai Bloodmobile, and learn CPR. There will also be food trucks and emergency supply vendors.

Pre-register at http://westsidela-preparedness-fair-free.eventbrite,com

Valley Community Plans Update Workshops

The City Planning Department has initiated a series of updates to 9 community plans, as part of an ongoing citywide effort to update all 35 by 2024.

There are scheduled several new “concept” workshops to unveil conceptual changes to the Community Plan. You are encouraged to attend and learn about the Community Plan affecting your community’s blueprint for growth and land use and to provide feedback. The Department of City Planning wants to hear from you.  For Encino residents who wish to learn more about the Southwest Valley Community Plans Update and how to get involved, please visit: https://www.swvalleyplans.org/encino-tarzana.html

Upcoming meetings for Encino:

  • Monday, November 5, 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. at Crespi High School 5031 Alonzo Ave, Encino, CA 91316.

  • Thursday, December 6, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. at Marvin Braude Building (Conference Room 1B), 6262 Van Nuys Boulevard, Van Nuys, CA 91401.

Wildlife Pilot Study Open House

The eastern Santa Monica Mountains are home to a wide variety of wildlife and habitats. In 2014, Councilmember Koretz introduced a motion calling for a wildlife habitat linkage ordinance that could protect the hillside areas between the 101 and 405 freeways. The ordinance was passed unanimously by the City Counci in 2016, and since that time CD5 staff has been working with the LA City Planning department, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and wildlife advocacy organization Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife to implement the ordinance. Now, the City Planning Department invites you to attend an open house for the Wildlife Pilot Study. This is the first open house in a series of workshops where you can share your ideas about how the City can support and protect wildlife habitats.

Join us Wednesday, November 7th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Dr., Room 223).

Click here to download 2-page flyer. 

Get Ready for DTLA Mini Maker Faire at the Central Library

On Saturday, December 1st, the Los Angeles Public Library will be hosting the 3rd annual DTLA Mini Maker Faire at the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles.

The DTLA Mini Maker Faire is a family-friendly event that brings together science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM) along with craft, homesteading, music, workshops, and performances.  Kids, teens and adults from all over Los Angeles are invited to participate.

Aimed to inspire creative minds of all ages to further their passion for making, last year’s Mini Maker Faire featured over 45 individual exhibits, performances, and presentations and attracted over 1800 guests. This year, the event should prove to be even better.  Here’s a video with some of last year’s highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfqWEZ22dIE

Adopt Some Love

Looking for a new furry companion? Check out these LA Animal Shelter Pets 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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