When I first joined the Los Angeles City Council in 2009 we were a year or so into the Great Recession. We had to cut key services and reduce staff by unprecedented amounts. It was not pleasant. But we got through it, thanks to some hard work and serious belt-tightening.
Today, one day after the Council approved the City’s $10.6 billion Budget for 2019-2020, we’re in a better financial place. We were able to produce a good budget that reflects our priorities and takes us another step along the road toward recovering what we lost during the recession.
Many departments will be able to increase the amount of service they provide to you, the residents of Los Angeles. I am especially pleased that some of my priorities have become part of this budget.
We’ve provided seed money to create something for which I’m proud to have been the Council’s leader: an eviction prevention program, also known as “right to counsel.”
Too many people are being evicted from their rental units because they can’t navigate the complex legal maze of eviction (landlord-tenant) law, and we want this program to grow into one that benefits tenants and landlords alike by keeping cases out of court and combats homelessness by keeping tenants in their homes.
The upcoming results of this year’s Homeless Count (which are expected to show an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time in a couple of years) will remind us all that eviction prevention is one of the most cost-effective ways to stem the flow of low-income families and seniors into homelessness. And I daresay we’ll be looking to add funding to grow this program sooner rather than later so we can help more tenants.
Next, we’re funding the launch of a Climate Emergency Mobilization Office which will help us implement the Mayor’s Resiliency and Green New Deal goals as well as other efforts the Council has undertaken in the areas of energy and water conservation and carbon footprint reduction. Los Angeles is, and should be, a national leader in dealing with climate change.
Additionally, we’ve finally provided the funding necessary to begin to protect the connections of the open spaces and wildlife corridors in the Santa Monica Mountains. The hillsides and canyons of Los Angeles are not just beautiful backdrops to frame the Hollywood sign, but a fragile ecosystem that is home to mountain lions, bobcats, deer, owls and hawks and, it turns out, is one of the most precious yet fragile wildlife habitats in the world.
This hillside area protection is part of a statewide movement and we believe will be a model for ensuring the need to permanently protect the lungs of our City especially as climate change continues to challenge the adaptability of our planet.
Also in the area of planning, staff is being added to implement the Home Sharing ordinance which goes into effect on July 1st, and to work on updating Specific Plans (including Westwood).
We’ll be undertaking an alley repair program in the Fifth District. For too long our alleys have been left out of the Street Services budget and many are now in bad shape. We’ll be working with constituents and Neighborhood Councils to identify the alleys with the most need and we hope to make some good progress in the coming year.
Finally, we have provided Animal Services with key resources to help them generate more of their own funding through the sale of dog licenses and creating a more robust fundraising mechanism. We’ve also ensured that our spay-neuter programs will continue unabated and upgraded the care of the animals in our shelters.
This City Budget is the most robust one adopted during my tenure on the City Council. I hope you will agree that it includes resources and exhibits values that will help shape our future and make this city a better place for everybody in the coming years.
And, as we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I encourage everyone to take a moment to honor those who have died in defense of our nation and our freedom. See below to find Memorial Day events happening in Los Angeles.
FROM THE DESK OF JEFF EBENSTEIN
LA Parks Foundation's 2019 Rose Awards
Parks are an essential component of what constitutes a great city.
Recently, the LA Parks Foundation honored founding Executive Director Judith Kieffer for her decade of service to the City of Los Angeles that included building parks from the ground up and creating a number of not-for profit organizations. That's why it was my privilege to attend the Rose Award luncheon and present Judith a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of Councilmember Koretz.
The mission of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation is to enhance, expand, preserve and promote public recreation, parks and open space for the people of Los Angeles.
Learn more about the LA Parks Foundation at www.laparksfoundation.org
City Council Declares May as Older Americans Month and May 15th as Senior Fraud Awareness Day
This month City Council celebrated Older Americans Month. For the sixth year in a row, Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin co-hosted a special presentation to recognize the month and to declare May 15th Senior Fraud Awareness Day. As the American population is aging, there is a growing national crisis preying on older Americans - predatory and fraudulent phone calls targeting Senior Citizens. It is a $3 billion problem. Representatives from Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office and Congressmember Karen Bass’s staff were on hand to join in the City Council declaration and read messages of support. The Stop Senior Scam acting troupe works tirelessly traveling throughout Los Angeles to help educate Seniors from falling for scams that are very scary and are purposefully manipulative. The Stop Senior Scams group has made an important Public Safety Announcement that we hope you will watch and share with Seniors in your life. Click here to watch this important informational video: Stop Senior Scams: Just Hang Up
UCLA Centennial Celebration
This week Councilmember Koretz hosted a special City Council presentation to recognize and honor UCLA as part of their Centennial anniversary of the granting of its charter in May 1919. An integral part of the festivities included performances by the UCLA Bruins Marching Band that marched and played their way into City Council chambers in full regalia.
Councilmember Koretz was pleased provide an overview of the myriad ways our local public University that has made a global impact over the century. Also, as a proud alumni and Councilmember for the Fifth District, he discussed some of the ways the University gives back to the Westwood Community and Los Angeles, as a whole. UCLA alumni from throughout the LA City family (including several Councilmembers and staff) shared the myriad ways that their UCLA experiences formed their careers and created foundational relationships that continue to be forged in and around the UCLA community. Click here to LA This Week's coverage of the day's events.
Congratulations to UCLA on 100 years! Go Bruins!
UCLA Honors Councilmember Koretz
Among the Centennial festivities, Councilmember Koretz was truly honored when UCLA awarded him the Tom Bradley Local Leaders Award. Not only is UCLA located in the Fifth District but it is also Councilmember Koretz's alma mater. In fact, the Koretz’s are a Bruin family, as his wife and daughter are proud UCLA alumni, as well.
So when UCLA decided to honor Councilmember Koretz on this auspicious occasion for his local leadership, Councilmember Koretz was most grateful. He spoke fondly of his own UCLA experiences that not only set him on his career-path but allowed him the opportunity to learn from some of the great professors that the globally respected public University has to offer. He also discussed the values of making the University experience available to those who might not otherwise be able to afford advanced education. When young Paul Koretz matriculated at UCLA, he paid a whopping $233 per semester. That allowed him the opportunity to not only take courses within the set curriculum toward his degree but to expand his learning and also take interesting classes in other disciplines that helped him to broaden his historic and political perspectives and gain insight into the values of disparate points of view.
Los Angeles Police Department Survey
The Los Angeles Police Department wants to hear from you. The City of Los Angeles has initiated an anonymous survey seeking input from communities about your experiences with LAPD, your attitudes toward service levels, and any opportunities for improvement.
This survey is designed to supplement meetings that are currently being held with neighborhood council alliances and community police advisory boards. Please take the time to complete the questionnaire so that your feedback can be included in the study. The survey is anonymous, and individual responses will never be shared with LAPD, the City of Los Angeles, or anyone outside of the project team. The responses will be tabulated and a summary of findings will be presented.
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
Help Hire Angelenos
The Los Angeles Economic & Workforce Development Department is looking for great employers willing to take a chance and help transform lives through employment opportunities. Please see the video below to find out how you can help.
Memorial Weekend Events
The Los Angeles National Cemetery is hosting their annual Memorial Day Ceremony on May 27th at 10:00 a.m. This year will feature speakers Ltn. General John Thompson Commander - Los Angeles Air Force Base, Major General James Comstock, USA (ret), Congressman Ted Lieu, and Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Master of Ceremonies will be Fritz Coleman of NBC4.
The Los Angeles National Ceremony is located at 950 South Sepulveda Blvd.
LAPD Volunteer Community Patrol
Councilmember Koretz has been working hard to help expand the Los Angeles Police Department’s Volunteer Community Patrol. Together with LAPD Chief Michel Moore, they have worked to make sure that our Division Captains have the resources necessary, including the proper allotments of civilian city vehicles, so that these programs can work. Volunteers are a force multiplier for the Los Angeles Police Department, as they observe and report to the Division in real time.
That is why Councilmember Koretz as officially launched the West Los Angeles Los Angeles Police Department’s Volunteer Community Patrol, under the direction of Captain Vic Davalos and Captain Randall Goddard. This is the second Community Volunteer Patrol that Councilmember Koretz launched in the District since the initial program launch at the West Valley Division with then Captains Beverly Lewis (now Commander) and Captain I Natalie Cortez (now Captain III). Attending the launch kick off, on behalf of the Operations West Bureau was LAPD Commander Rimkunas and Councilmember Koretz's Director of Public Safety Gregory Martayan who conducted a roll call with the Volunteer Community Patrol with Captain Davalos. In these roll calls, area concerns are outlined including information about locations for additional volunteer patrols.
Bel Air Power Upgrade Project Beginning in June
LADWP will begin electric infrastructure improvements in the Bel-Air area. The improvement is to remedy the frequent power outages experienced by the Bel-Air, Bel-Air Crest, Holmby Hills and Westwood areas. The work will begin on Sunset at the 405 Freeway and head eastward.
The timing of the project is the result of LADWP coordinating with METRO’s work on the Purple Line — when heavy excavating will commence in May 2020 on Wilshire Boulevard — and to prevent two major east-west transit corridors to cause heavy traffic impacts at the same time.
-- Construction will begin after the current term ends at UCLA. LADWP have a meeting with UCLA next week and will be finalizing the schedule shortly.
-- There will NOT be a full street closure of Sunset Blvd. Two traffic lanes be closed for construction primarily the 2 middle lanes, one going east and one going west. All other lanes will be open for traffic.
-- Crews will be working Monday – Friday starting at 9:00am and ending at 3:30 PM. Crews will also be working on Saturdays from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. On Saturdays, work crews may show up at the site as early at 6:00 AM but actual construction work will not begin until 8:00 AM. Crews will NOT be working during rush hour/heavy commuting times.
-- Crews will be installing vaults on Saturdays only. This type of construction will not take place on a weekday.
-- The first portion of construction will be in 3 sections on Sunset – see map in red. The Sunset portions will be completed by May 2020.
Click here for the LADWP Fact Sheet flyer
Dockless Bikes and Scooters
LADOT is hosting Dockless Community Meetings beginning at the end of this month. The dates are as follows:
- Wednesday, May 29th from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Van Nuys City Hall (14410 Sylvan St, Van Nuys, CA 91401)
- Monday, June 3rd from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Little Tokyo Public Library (203 S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012)
- Tuesday, June 4th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Fairfax Library (161 S. Gardner St. Los Angeles, CA 90036)
- Wednesday, June 5th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Wilshire Library (149 N. St. Andrews Place, Los Angeles, CA 90004)
- Tuesday, June 11th from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at West LA District Office (1828 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025)
- Wednesday, June 12th from 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM @ Abbot Kinney Memorial Library (501 Venice Blvd. Venice, CA 90291)
Planning For the Environment
In May, the City Planning Department held a series of Planning 101 trainings. There is still an opportunity to attend an upcoming webinar focusing on environmental review and the types of policies and regulations that guide project and policy planning considerations at the city level. Please RSVP to participate online on Wednesday May 29th at http://bit.ly/P101Env
Pick Pico 2019
Pick Pico is a CD 5 treasured annual community festival and this year's event included 122 booths featuring local businesses, twenty different food vendors and tons of family fun! Councilmember Koretz and his staff enjoyed the day socializing with the community and taking a few moments to honor and recognize some of the volunteers that organized this annual community event.
Thank you to Los Angeles Sanitation & Environment, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, Lisa Morroco, Jae Wu, and the Westside Neighborhood Council for making this event another wonderful success.
Palms Mural Clean Up
Thank you to the Office of Community Beautification for their speedy response time for cleaning up the leaves and trash from the sidewalk in front of the Palms community mural on Overland Ave.
California Country Club Homes Association Annual Meeting
A special thanks to the California Country Club Homes Associations for inviting Councilmember Koretz to speak at their Annual Meeting. He was excited to share the news that Senator Wiener's Density Bill (SB 50) had been shelved until 2020. He also updated the community on why he is opposed to Senator Wiener's "4 a.m. bar bill" (SB 58) that would allow ten California cities to decide whether to extend alcohol sales from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. He also discussed housing issues including legislation about short-term rentals, Accessory Dwelling Units, and homelessness.
Epstein Scholarships Awarded to Top Fairfax Students
Councilmember Koretz 's Chief of Staff Joan Pelico was pleased to once again participate in honoring seniors from CD5's Fairfax High School who were awarded The Los Angeles Chapter of the International Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering's Irene Epstein Memorial Scholarship.
Click here to read about it in Park La Brea News/ Beverly Press
Celebrate Israel Festival 2019
|Councilmember Koretz was honored to join Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA City Controller Ron Galperin, California Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (AD 50) and Jesse Gabriel (AD 45) as well as other City Councilmembers and West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath along with many friends and community members at this year's Celebrate Israel event held on the 71st Independence Day of the State of Israel.
Hosted by the Israeli American Council, the day's festivities were attended by more than 15,000 community members with live entertainment, food, art, culture and activities for families, kids and tweens. Thank you to the IAC, the Department of Recreation and Parks, and the Los Angeles Fire Department and LA Police Department for making this annual event such a success.
S.T.E.A.M Night at Encino Charter Elementary
It was a great afternoon at Encino Charter Elementary for their annual S.T.E.A.M night -- a family event that focuses on science, technology, engineering, art and math. This year families were able to explore and enjoy arcade games made out of recycled materials that were created by the students. Their “Ocean” theme invited students to explore solutions that can help reduce human impact on our environment while creating original pieces. Councilmember Koretz's School Liaison, Monica Molina, stopped by to join in on the fun and honored Principal Elizabeth Chun and 5th grade teacher, Jasmine Mgeryan for their great work in inspiring students to be conscious stewards of the environment in creative and engaging ways.
Completed Brush Clearance at Briarwood Park
A big thank you to the Department of Recreation and Parks for a job well-done clearing brush surrounding Briarwood Park in Beverly Glen that is in the High Fire Severity Area. Fire season is not just around the corner, it is year round. Please remember to clear all brush and keep all landscaping well-maintained.
Another Alley Completed
Thank you to the Bureau of Street Services for smoothing out CD5 - even between the boulevards. Check out this completed and repaved alley south of Olympic Boulevard from La Jolla Avenue to S. Orlando Avenue.
May 29 - Jewish American Heritage Month
Please join the City of Los Angeles and Jewish leaders from across Southern California for a celebration of Jewish life and culture during Jewish American Heritage Month at City Hall on Wednesday, May 29th. A City Council presentation and special performances will be held at 10:00 a.m. followed by a reception and exhibit tours.
This year's celebration - "Being Deborah" - will celebrate the history of Jewish Women creating change in Los Angeles. Enjoy performances by the Jewish Women's Theatre and The Shalhevet ChoirHawks and a special reception in City Hall.
The event is free and open to all. For parking, please RSVP at http://bit.ly/jahm2019.
Questions? Call (213) 473-7004
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.