It’s budget season. Over the past week we have held a series of hearings in the Budget and Finance Committee where I am proud to serve as a member. My staff and I have been reviewing the Mayor’s 2019-2020 budget and we have heard from each department over several days considering the City’s proposed budget of $10.6 billion.
There are so many important projects underway and we are working to review every line item and make sure that each department is using its funding prudently while building in the programs that are so needed to protect and enhance the City of Los Angeles. Among them is consideration for added protection of our general public safety and providing the tools and technology needed by the various law enforcement and public safety agencies. One of my highest priorities continues to be the security of houses of worship from hate crimes and to that end I have requested additional overtime monies allocated to the LAPD to be used for more patrol in sensitive areas.
There were several issues I have focused upon with increased scrutiny. We took a hard look at the Public Works department and the Bureau of Street Services who oversee our urban tree canopy to consider budget strategies to help return our overall tree health to its pre-recession condition and work to increase tree canopy in a fiscally responsible way. I have called for continued funding to begin the implementation of our wildlife corridor pilot project in the Hillside communities. Also, I asked for funding for the City's biodiversity expert who has overseen the creation of a groundbreaking biodiversity report and the creation of the first in the nation City biodiversity index. This will help us identify hundreds of species of animals, plants, birds and insects that are present only in LA and to protect them. I also called for addressing the serious graffiti abatement funding shortfall in the budget. Sidewalk and street repairs will be given significant funding this year.
Now as the City is working on reducing homelessness in collaboration with the County and scores of non-profit organizations, it has been clear that homelessness continues to grow due to tenant eviction. In fact, Los Angeles is experiencing an eviction epidemic, as eviction notices are on the rise, with over 45,000 households facing displacement per year. Data from a recent city homeless count notes that nearly 10,000 experiencing homelessness for the first time. Unaffordable rents and the lack of housing options are leading to an increase in the homeless population. That is why I also made a strong ask to provide funding for a Right-to-Counsel program that will provide legal and when necessary, financial support to Angelenos facing unjust eviction. Doing that will make us eligible for upcoming state grants that this program requires and, in the long run, save some money on homeless services while strengthening our homelessness prevention efforts.
Just as we have directed unprecedented resources toward the crisis of homelessness on our streets, so, too, must we do more work, faster than ever, to transition to cleaner and more sustainable operations. To make this transition, to put the necessary resources behind it, I believe we will need to ask whether other programs and expenditures can wait. Alongside the essential actions to deliver the regular daily constituent services and to protect public health and safety, we must prioritize pollution reduction and climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience. I believe the challenge to this Committee is to take it to an emergency level, because that’s what it is.
I believe that we should consider these priority project funding requests as an investment, not an expenditure.
Los Angeles Times OPINION Let’s make it last call for California’s 4 a.m. bar bill
California Health Report: Los Angeles’ Green New Deal Focuses on Neighborhoods Most Impacted by Climate Change
Los Angeles Times Can high-density housing and historic neighborhoods coexist in Los Angeles?
LA Weekly: Skeptical of Official Homeless Count, Encino community leaders undertake their own tally in the Sepulveda Basin
FROM THE DESK OF JEFF EBENSTEIN
DIRECTOR OF POLICY & LEGISLATION
If you are upset about traffic increasing on your street, you are not alone. That is why Councilmember Koretz is calling for a very useful traffic management program to be revived and made fully current. The City is currently in the middle of its annual budget deliberations, when each City department testifies before the Budget and Finance Committee and spells out its needs and priorities.
During the Department of Transportation’s hearing, Councilmember Koretz took the opportunity to fight for more resources to protect residential neighborhoods from unsafe and burdensome cut-through traffic. Of particular concern is the advent of navigation apps and the negative impacts they can have on 'prime route' neighborhoods as designated by the technology's driver data. The proliferation of these cut-through prime routes in residential neighborhoods, coupled with unsafe driving partially due to unfamiliarity with local roads is increasingly plaguing the streets of our district and indeed, the entire City. This is not only a headache for those frustrated by the increase in traffic - it is a public safety problem.
Before the great recession of 2008, the City had a neighborhood traffic management plan that attempted to solve many of these issues, but it was eliminated. Unfortunately, over the past decade, without the program in place, things have only become worse, and recently have been especially compounded by the new technology.
However, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, we just need this practical program restored, as long we can augment it to address the new technologies. That is why Councilmember Koretz has called on the department to finally restore this program. The Budget committee needs to concur about restoring the program and,if and when they do, during this process, we hope to see tangible results to help keep our streets safe.
The program would include the following:
The Department of Transportation would coordinate with CD5, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles Fire Department, and the affected Neighborhood Councils to develop a traffic management plan for specified areas and would be tasked with the following items:
- Collecting all relevant traffic data;
- Soliciting initial neighborhood feedback;
- Conceptualizing improvements;
- Identifying criteria necessary to justify improvements;
- Preparing justification and feasibility assessments for each measure;
- Conducting additional outreach to obtain the desired level of community consensus for the plan;
- Reviewing the impacts of new technology;
- Preparing draft neighborhood traffic management plans and the final traffic management plan.
There are many areas in need of these services and change won’t come overnight, but the first step would be restoring this vital program.
City Council Votes Unanimously to Support Councilmember Koretz’s Resolution to Oppose SB 50
The Los Angeles City Council voted to support Councilmember Koretz’s Resolution to Oppose SB 50. However, the Bill has now been combined with another bill (SB 4) and will be scheduled to go to the Senate Floor for approval.
Councilmember Koretz introduced the motion in February with a warning that the newest version of the bill from Senator Scott Weiner (last term’s SB 827 that was killed in committee in 2018) ostensibly seeks to require upzoning in cities throughout California to increase affordable housing and density along transit corridors regardless of local jurisdiction’s zoning laws. The resolution points out that SB 50 would allow construction of higher density multi-family housing developments that are out of compliance with local land use regulations and procedures. Los Angeles already has its own increased density mechanisms that are being tailored to better fit the City’s many unique neighborhoods. Councilmember Koretz believes that SB 50 would be an even bigger threat to the survival of single-family residential neighborhoods.
In addition, Senator Wiener's home city, San Francisco recently voted to oppose the bill. Many are calling SB 50 a development version of “trickle down economics” because, even though the bill is being marketed by its supporters as a solution for more affordable housing, most analysis shows that while there would be a sharp increase in multifamily building, the vast majority of the new units would have to be offered at luxury rates. Therefore, it would actually drive up rents of nearby buildings, in turn driving middle class families out of the neighborhoods where they currently live, work and play. There is no time to lose, please continue to reach out to your California legislators and tell them to Vote NO on SB 50.
Dogs Without Borders
The City Council honored the non-profit dog (and sometimes cat) rescue organization, Dogs Without Borders, to commemorate and congratulate the board members and thousands of volunteers on the impressive achievement of having rescued and placed 5,000 dogs since the organization was founded in 2006.
Surprise Honor for Councilmember Koretz
On April 30th to honor "Earth Day" month, Councilmember Mike Bonin (CD11) held a surprise presentation for Councilmember Koretz to recognize him for his life work on environment policies going back more than 30 years to include his time serving as a West Hollywood Councilmember and as an Assemblymember, as well as his role as a Los Angeles City Councilmember. The completed list of accomplishments was so long it required two full-size Resolutions in very fine print. CD5 staff and dozens of friends, environmental advocates and community members snuck into Council Chambers to participate in the surprise recognition declaring Every Day is Earth Day for Team Koretz. Thank you Councilmember Bonin and staff and Council colleagues for such a thoughtful and generous gesture.
Tune into LA This Week for more on the occasion.
LA City Council Comment Online Portal Now Available
|The City Clerk's Office is excited to announce a new portal for members of the public to submit written comments online to the Council File Management System at LACouncilFile.com. In addition, you can still reach the portal by going online through the Council and Committee Meeting Agenda or at the City Clerk’s Website at Clerk.lacity.org.
Updating the Tourism Master Plan
The City of Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development is conducting a survey about living, working and playing in the City of Los Angeles to better understand the community experience and identify how we can protect, improve and enhance the City’s long-term quality of life and economic prosperity.
Please help by taking this 15-20 minute survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LATMPCSE
Brush Clearance Inspections Have Begun
Property owners who live in LAFD’s Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone should have cleared their brush before inspections began on May 1, 2019. In fact, this week is Wildfire Preparedness Week and despite the wet winter, the risk is high. Your LAFD provides resources to increase your preparedness, so please visit https://www.lafd.org/news/wildfire-preparedness-week for the details!
If you happen to see smiling faces in uniform on your property, do not be alarmed. They are Inspectors from your Los Angeles Fire Department Brush Clearance Unit examining your property to assure neighborhood protection from wildfire via your compliance with City of Los Angeles regulations
With the increase in frequency and size of wildfires, including historic brushfires in the city of Los Angeles, such as the La Tuna, Creek, and Skirball/ Bel Air fires and adjacent Woolsey Fires. Additionally, smaller brushfires have been accidentally started by well-intentioned residents performing brush clearance. Therefore, in 2018, the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance to increase requirements for brush clearance and fire safety in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ). This ordinance establishes appropriate safety measures necessary to prevent brush fires being caused by brush clearance efforts.
Year-round compliance shall be maintained as described below on all native brush, weeds, grass, trees and hazardous vegetation within 200 feet of any structures/buildings, whether those structures are on the owner’s property or adjoining properties, and within 10 feet of any combustible fence or roadway/driveway used for vehicular travel.
1. Areas within 200 feet of structures and/or 10 feet of roadside surfaces or combustible fence: Grass shall be cut to three inches in height. Native brush shall be reduced in quantity to three inches in height. This does not apply to individual native shrubs spaced a minimum of 18 feet apart, provided such shrubs are trimmed up from the ground to 1/3 of their height with all dead material being removed.
2. For trees taller than 18 feet, trim lower branches so no foliage is within six feet of the ground, and remove all dead material. For trees and shrubs less than 18 feet, remove lower branches to 1/3 of their height, and remove all dead material.
3. Trees shall be trimmed up so the foliage is no closer than 10 feet from the outlet of a chimney.
4. All roof surfaces shall be maintained free of substantial accumulation of leaves, needles, twigs and any other combustible matter. Maintain five feet of vertical clearance between roof surfaces and portions of overhanging trees.
5. All cut vegetation and debris shall be removed in a legal manner. Cut vegetation may be machine processed (i.e.,chipped) and spread back onto the property at a depth not to exceed three inches within 30 feet of structures and six inches beyond 30 feet of structures. In addition, spread material shall not be placed within 10 feet of any usable roadside (in accordance with Fire Prevention Bureau Procedure No. 25)
The above general requirements also apply to landscape vegetation.
Highlights of the new ordinance include:
- Use of metal cutting blades for grass or brush clearance shall be limited to those which are non-ferrous/non-sparking.
- Brush clearance cannot be done on red flag days, when fire weather conditions are at their peak.
- Individuals engaged in brush clearance operations shall not engage in any other activities during their actual clearance of grass or brush.
- An approved fire extinguisher, or a pressurized garden hose with attached nozzle shall be within 10 feet of any grass or brush clearance operation, to quickly extinguish a small fire before it burns out of control.
- A cell phone capable of dialing 9-1-1 shall be charged and readily accessible to the grass or brush clearance operation.
Read the full Ordinance here. It is effective now.
Learn more by clicking on the LAFD news link here https://www.lafd.org/news
Be An Informed Renter
Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department offers free workshops for Los Angeles renters to help ensure that they are well–informed and knowledgeable about tenant rights and responsibilities under the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). The RSO generally covers rental units built before October 1978, with the exception of properties with only one single-family dwelling on a parcel. Landlords are required to register all RSO units annually and pay a fee to cover program costs.
Information, handouts and tips on how to build a positive landlord/tenant relationship will be discussed at upcoming workshops. Learn how the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) affects you, as well as how HCIDLA ensures the safety and habitability of rental units through the Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP).
The workshops will be presented by HCIDLA's Rent Stabilization and Code Enforcement staff and will focus on tenant education.
RSVP: Online or call 213-928-9075
(Free admission, seating is limited.)
If you need translation, please request it at least 3 days in advance.
Arts Internship for Students - Apply Now!
The LA County Arts Internship Program supports and strengthens the cultural sector of LA County by providing access to high-quality opportunities for college students of all backgrounds to gain experience, understanding, and transferable skills relevant to careers in the arts, the creative economy, and engagement in public life. The Arts Commission provides grants to nonprofit performing, presenting, and literary organizations to host college students for 400 hours of paid work between June and August. The earliest that interns can start their 2019 internships is Saturday, June 1, and the latest is Monday, June 17. Internships end no later than Sunday, August 25.In the summer of 2019, approximately 203 positions will be available for students throughout LA County. Students are encouraged to review the list of 2019 positions to get a sense of the range of available positions. Learn more about the program HERE.
Los Angeles 2nd Annual Beautification Conference
Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioner Aura Garcia and the Office of Community Beautification invite you to attend the Keep Los Angeles Beautiful 2nd Annual Beautification Conference! The conference will be held on Saturday, May 18, bringing together key industries that play a significant role in keeping Los Angeles Beautiful. This event will unite major players throughout the City of Los Angeles that all share the same vision of a clean and sustainable Los Angeles.
For more information, please visit their website at www.beautificationconference.com
Planning For the Environment
In May, the City Planning Department initiated the next installment of Planning 101 trainings, in partnership with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. Trainings are being held across Los Angeles, along with a webinar.
This year’s topic focuses on environmental review and the types of policies and regulations that guide project and policy planning considerations at the city level. Participants will also be introduced to the role of the City and its residents in planning for the environment.
Workers Memorial Day and Demand for a Fair Work Week
Councilmember Koretz was proud to join labor leaders alongside rideshare drivers, retail workers, and workers across low-wage industries for Workers Memorial Day, that pays homage to workers who have died on the job. The speakers focused on how insecure workplaces threaten the mental and physical health of workers.
Councilmember Koretz emphasized the need for a Fair Workweek Policy. He told the crowd that there is a direct correlation between financial struggle and dangerous and unhealthy working conditions. So many workers are already exhausted and stressed, and when they are subject to dangerous working conditions out of fear of losing hours and pay, they are prone to accidents and long-term illnesses. ”This is why I’m co-sponsoring the Fair Workweek Policy,” Councilmember Koretz told the crowd. “We need to set a strong precedent by passing scheduling protections in our second largest industry, retail stores - a precedent where workers have advance notice and are no longer stressed and exhausted by erratic work schedules.” He went on to point out that as City officials, “it is our job to set policies for safe working conditions, fair wages, and secure jobs; I call on the other City Councilmembers to follow our lead, to prevent future insecurity, injuries, and fatalities in our city.”
Westwood and Encino Connect Homeless Services Fairs
Last week, Councilmember Koretz was proud to co-sponsor Encino Connect Day and Westwood Connect Day.
Connect Days bring service providers, community partners, governmental agencies, & dedicated volunteers together so that individuals experiencing homelessness can be connected to an array of services simultaneously.
Sponsors included Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Mike Bonin, and Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove
And a special thank you to the countless volunteers, community partners, Westwood Village Westwood Neighborhood Council and North Westwood Neighborhood Council, as well as Encino Neighborhood Council and Encino Chamber of Commerce for all their hard work and dedication on these events.
LAFD Piloting Drone Technology to Help Fight Fires
During the Skirball fire Councilmember Koretz was able to witness first-hand how the Los Angeles Fire Department is employing drone technology to not only save lives and property. Through the use of drones, LAFD can best direct the energy and attention of personnel on the ground (and in the air) in the face of an emergency by sending relief where it is needed most. Kudos to LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas for his leadership and forward movement in battling the Fires of tomorrow with up-to-date technology and thanks to Battalion Chief Fields for leading a drone demonstration for me and Valley Council colleagues.
A New Chapter for Maggie Johnson
Councilmember Koretz was pleased to join the Friends of the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library as they honored long-time branch head librarian Maggie Johnson who is about to retire from the Los Angeles Public Library system. She began her career with the Department more than 50 years ago. Well over 100 library patrons, library supporters, community members, Department administrators, colleagues and family members filled the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library during off hours to honor this much beloved City employee. We wish Maggie all the best as she embarks on the next chapter of her life.
In the Wake of Poway, More Security for LA Schuls
Councilmember Koretz was honored to join Rabbi Cunin of Chabad in the Chabad Security Conference in Westwood on May 6th.The event was called on an emergency basis after the recent devastating and tragic Poway shooting. Joining Councilmember Koretz were LAPD West Los Angeles Captain Victor Davalos, his Director of Public Safety Gregory Martayan, Area Sergeants and Officers. Rabbis attended from near and far and were primarily concerned with the physical security both of their Schuls as well as the paths their congregants take to walk there and then back home on the Sabbath.
Hamilton High Health Fair
It is amazing to see all the incredible work happening at Alexander Hamilton High School. Councilmember Koretz's School Liaison, Monica Molina, attended Hamilton’s 2019 Health Fair organized by the students, for the students. This informative and interactive event touched upon critical health issues such as mental health, nutrition, exercise and displayed researched projects and careers in the health field. Congratulations to Hamilton’s Science Department Chair, Ms. Eva Becker, for her leadership and guidance to the students.
First Electric Vehicle Charging Hub for Shared-Use Fleets
||Culver City Mayor Thomas Small; Maven Gig Member Dirahn; LA DWP Commissioner Aura Vazquez; (Obscured behind Commissioner Vazquez is property owner Tony Shooshani); Maven Gig Member Mark; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; General Motors’ Maven Smart Cities Chief Alex Keros; EVgo CEO Cathy Zoi; LA Councilmember Paul Koretz; Maven Gig Member Dionne; and President of the LADWP Board of Commissioners Mel Levine. |
At a special ribbon cutting event, Councilmember Koretz and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined LA-based EVgo, the nation's largest public electric vehicle (EV) fast charging network, and Maven, General Motors' car sharing platform, to celebrate the introduction of a new, innovative network of EV fast charging hubs that feature both public and dedicated fast chargers for Maven Gig's shared-use vehicles.
Beverlywood Homeowners Association Semi-Annual Meeting
Beverlywood Homeowners Association held its semi-annual meeting this week. Councilmember Koretz's new Beverlywood area Field Deputy Elizabeth Garcia was introduced to the group. Joseph Galloway, CD5 Deputy District Director, is now representing the Century City and Cheviot Hills regions. He provided updates on SB 50, SB 58, sidewalk repairs and parkway tree replacements. Elizabeth looks forward to working with the community.
Fire Station 71 Pancake Breakfast
Councilmember Koretz was proud to join Battalion Chief Combs, Fire Station 71 Command Staff and Firefighters at their annual Pancake Breakfast to support CD5’s local fire station. It was a great morning where the Councilmember and his staff recognized the contributions of several community leaders and students from UCLA, who helped this event be so wonderful on this Sunday morning.
Cinco de Mayo Fiesta in Bel Air Hills
There's nothing like a little fiesta to bring out community. A good time was enjoyed by Councilmember Koretz and his field staff at the Bel Air Hills Association Annual Party. Many topics were discussed that afternoon and evening including the potential dangers (if passed) of Senator Scott Wiener's bills SB 50 and SB 58. Citywide issues continue to include airplane noise and road repairs issues that CD5 staff are continuing to tackling.
New Landscaped Median on Santa Monica Boulevard
The Santa Monica Boulevard frontage road abutting Comstock Hills was landscaped with trees and bushes about a decade ago. As water usage stopped, plants died and what remained was parched earth. Comstock Hills HOA President Jan Reichmann and Board member Shawn Ghatan decided to bring the 19,000 sq. ft. media back to life with a garden of drought tolerant plants. They hired Urban Water Group's Marilee Kuhlmann and Tom Rau to create a design and plant list that the City's many agencies would approve. One year later the plants are in. Neighbors gathered with Councilmember Koretz to celebrate this beautiful gift to the City.
COUNCIL DISTRICT 5 COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT
LAPD Volunteer Community Patrol - Marci Sandell
Thank you and kudos goes out to Marci Sandell and her neighbor Rick for joining the LAPD Volunteer Community Patrol in Beverlywood and Cheviot Hills neighborhoods. Its selfless work and tireless efforts of Angelenos like Marci and Rick that make Los Angeles a better place to live, work and play. Marci sent us a picture of her first day on patrol, here’s what she had to say:
“This is my first day on LAPD Volunteer Community Patrol. Rick, my neighbor, drove our BMW i3 and I used the radio to update our location. They had a marked cruiser with two LAPD officers following us and they stopped to speak to residents of a homeless encampment, reported graffiti to the 311 City app (they will have a city contractor paint it out), and drove for two hours checking Beverlywood and Cheviot Hills. We are not law enforcement, but act as eyes and ears for sworn officers. This is a new program which has been very successful in other communities.
When we returned to the station the other officers were all wanting us to patrol their areas too!"
-- Marci Sandell 8VCP1
May 19 - Pick Pico Street Fair
It’s almost time for the annual Pick Pico street fair at the corner of Overland and Pico on Sunday May 19, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Pick Pico provides a fun-filled afternoon of live entertainment and hundreds of booths to explore where visitors can eat great local food, buy local products, and learn about local government and non-profit organizations. Bring the kids, because there’s always a huge kid-zone with lots to do. Be sure to stop by the CD5 booth and say hello to some of our staff.
Vendors and non-profit organizations, it’s not too late to register to sponsor and attend. For more information, visit www.pickpico.org
May 23 - Westwood Park Advisory Board Community Meeting
You are invited to the Westwood Recreation Center Park Advisory Board meeting on Thursday May 23, 7:00 p.m. to learn about a potential new soccer field and upgraded restrooms at the Westwood Recreation Center.
See the flyer below for more details.
May 11 - World of Fruit Museum Grand Opening
WORLD OF FRUIT announces the grand opening of the first-of-its-kind, fruit-themed immersive tasting experience in Los Angeles on Saturday, May 11th, 2019.
Pre-sale tickets are now available at www.worldoffruit.co with appointment times available through July 2019.
Located at the corner of La Brea and Melrose in CD5, WORLD OF FRUIT features eight interactive fruit-forward installations, inspired by nature and designed to stimulate the senses, immersing guests in a magical world of fruit-filled surprises. Tasting stations throughout the experience offer samples of rare and exotic fruits with limited seasonal availability.
WORLD OF FRUIT will be open from 12pm - 8pm Tuesday - Thursday; 11am - 9pm on Friday; and 10am - 9pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Ticket prices are $35 and free for children 4 and under. For parties of 10 or more, tickets are discounted to $28 per person.
Tickets include a sampling of fresh and exotic fruit treats throughout the experience. A portion of ticket sales goes to local charities, providing fruit and food for those in need. For more information, visit www.worldoffruit.co and follow along social media @worldoffruitco (#worldoffruit).
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, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closed Mondays). Click on any photo below for details.