I have spent the last few days at the LAFD Fire Command Post adjacent to the Getty Fire on fire watch with Mayor Garcetti, Councilmember Mike Bonin, and an amazing team of first responders and fire tacticians, as well as Governor Newsom who came down to LA to provide support.
Thank you, Governor Newsom, for your leadership in helping us respond to the Getty Fire that was sparked just on the tail of the Palisades fire and then the Tick fire. Before our hardworking firefighters could begin to rest, the ironically named Easy Fire in Simi Valley soon followed, and the LAFD has continued working against the wind. Meanwhile by Halloween morning, our inland neighbors in San Bernardino and Riverside County had counted four separate fires with which to contend. Of course, we are all feeling great compassion for our Northern California communities suffering the repercussions of the Kincade fire that has burned more than 76,000 acres so far including the destruction of 282 structures, including 141 homes and then along came the Maria fire up in Ventura County.
Thanks also to Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin for their incredible leadership, as well. We are all so lucky to have our tireless and courageous first responders, many of whom have been in the field for more than 48 hours at a time, alongside those firefighters who came from all over the State to help. Thanks to the Red Cross for working with our community partner organizations in providing safe, secure and accessible shelter, disaster emergency supplies, recovery support including Health Services and Mental Health staff.
If you have not signed up for NotifyLA, the City of Los Angeles’ emergency alert system, I urge you to do so now by texting the word READY to the number 888777 or sign up online by clicking here.
Due to potential delays, please do not rely on social media as your primary notification of a local emergency. Community information will be posted on the following social media platforms in as timely a manner as possible.
Emergency Alerts - Twitter: @NotifyLA
Emergency Management Department - Twitter: @ReadyLA
Curbed LA: They Loved The House. Then They Tore It Down. The Neighbors Cried.
LA This Week: Councilman Wants Zoo, Airport to Report on Lack of Vegan Food
Jewish Journal: LA City Commemorates Tree of Life Synagogue Tragedy
The Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah: Koretz Featured in story about Wildfires in California
Council Supports Emergency Renters Relief Program
Councilmember Koretz and Council President Pro Tempore Nury Martinez are calling for the creation of an Emergency Renters Relief Program to protect renters against rent-gouging as a means to evict ahead of the State’s affordable-housing bill, AB 1482, going into effect January 1, 2020. This funding will prevent individuals from losing their home immediately.
“In the current high-priced rental market there is a shockingly high percentage of Los Angeles residents who are barely hanging on, living month to month, and far too many are on the precipice of becoming homeless in the face of unscrupulous rent gouging,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz who authored the original Right to Counsel proposed program.
To that end, Councilmember Paul Koretz joined Councilwoman Martinez in co-authoring an amending motion this week calling for $2.937 million from the funds for the Right to Counsel program, to protect those individuals in immediate danger of losing their units.
“We need to help people who are facing constructive eviction to stay in their homes," said Councilmember Koretz. "That is why this emergency renter’s relief will be put to work immediately to prevent hundreds of individuals from being forced out of their apartments while we actively work to combat the bad behavior of some greedy landlords. We already have far too many homeless Angelenos on our street.”
LAX-It Program Does Not Fly, While Driving The Last Nail Into Taxi Industry’s Coffin
Councilmember Koretz introduced a motion requesting the airport reinstate the taxi stands at the airport. You may have been reading about the disastrous roll out of moving them to an off-site lot. This move could kill thousands of jobs for taxi drivers is creating a horrible experience for travelers.
Here's the background. LAX has begun kicking taxicabs and rideshares from the curbs through a new program called “LAX-it” scheduled to continue until the completion of an elevated airport train sometime in 2023. The new program requires passengers to be shuttled to an offsite lot to meet their ride which will do significant harm to the taxi industry.
The traditional taxi industry has been suffering from the onslaught of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. And in truth, the volume of rideshare cars circling the airport represent the bulk of LAX’s dramatically increased traffic congestion, and therefore the very impetus for the new program. Unfortunately, the only hope for the few remaining taxis is at the airport where they have been able to line up curbside thus providing accessibility for elderly, handicapped, families and others who require the convenience. For many other travelers, especially those getting off a long flight, the ability to exit the airport expeditiously and not have to get on a shuttle is advantageous. LAX-it ends that ability. We need to make life easier, not harder for people using LAX.
Councilmember Koretz believes that not only will LAX-it wreak havoc for passengers and commuters, it will be the nail in the coffin of the taxi industry that according to the UCLA Labor Center, has lost 70% in ridership, 35% in fare revenues and 32% in numbers of drivers and are now substantially dependent on income derived from pickups at LAX.
The worst part is that through misguided practices, the City essentially rolled out the red carpet for Uber and Lyft which created new problems including the augmented congestion at the airport. In essence, Uber and Lyft have been rewarded for starting up as bandit cabs while breaking all City rules for taxis. Initially, rideshare drivers were not required to get background checks and the City did not have a process to permit or collect taxes from those companies. The taxi industry and their drivers however, have paid a heavy price for following a burdensome amount of City regulations, ie. the requirement of adding hybrid cars to the fleet, while LADOT has prevented taxis from taking advantage of digital rooftop advertising -- revenue that would go directly to the taxi driver, while Uber and Lyft are allowed to do so.
For the sake of thousands of taxi drivers’ jobs and the sanity of LA flyers, the airport should not have removed curbside taxis. Rather the rideshare companies should “LAX-it” to reduce the traffic congestion they cause, leaving taxi curbside pickup as a convenient option and a chance for the industry survival to potentially save thousands of jobs for Angelenos.
FROM THE DESK OF JEFF EBENSTEIN
DIRECTOR OF POLICY & LEGISLATION
Commemorating the Tree of Life Synagogue Tragedy
The Tree of Life Synagogue tragedy was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community on American soil. It is in remembrance of this tragic loss and condemnation of white supremacists, racists, and anti-semites that Councilmembers Koretz and Blumenfield gathered at City Hall in a special memorial presentation.
Eleven people who were unable to return home after what should have been a normal Saturday-morning service:
Brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal
Rose Mallinger, 97 years old
Husband and wife Bernice and Sylvan Simon
We remember them by name and in the stories that their loved ones and community have told about their lives. They were friends, sons and daughters, parents, active community members, and faithful participants in their congregations.
This tragic commemoration serves as a reminder that each of us has a duty to stand up to hatred in our communities. To let it go unchecked is akin to passive approval. It is a festering poison that damages what it means to be a citizen of a nation that proclaims to believe in equality for all.
Since 2016 there has been a notable rise in hate crimes. The current administration consistently fails to denounce white supremacy, the alt-right, and racists. Trump’s hateful sentiments and cruel words are frequently taken as a ‘dog whistle’ of secret approval for hate-motivated acts. We condemn this. We cannot pretend that the world has moved past hatred in the modern age.
In an average year, over 7,000 hate crimes occur in the United States. This is unacceptable. Many are perpetrated with firearms. Gun violence should not be a defining characteristic of our country. One should not fear in a place of worship, school, in public, or at home.
On the final day of Passover, April 27, 2019 yet another anti-semitic attack was carried out at the Chabad of Poway, killing one and injuring three. Thoughts and prayers do not stop these attacks. We must not only memorialize those lost, but take action in their memory.
One year ago, eleven people were murdered. We cannot forget this. We can celebrate their lives and vow to stand together to eliminate hate and prevent future tragedies. As Americans, we profess ‘with liberty and justice for all’. It’s time to follow through.
Koretz Effort to Require At Least One Plant-Based/ Vegan Protein Option at City concessionaires, including LAX
The LA City Council unanimously voted to support Councilmember Koretz’s motion for a report back on the feasibility of requiring at least one vegan protein entree option to be offered by all City concessionaires, including LAX, and at large entertainment venues. This Council vote follows the unanimous support of the Health, Education, Neighborhoods, Parks, Arts and River Committee.
There has been a 6% growth in recent years in people who identify as fully vegan -- and that number grows exponentially when including vegetarians or reducetarians, or those who opt for Meatless Mondays -- those numbers increase even more in consideration of those who have just decided to cut out lactose or those who keep kosher - a vegan meal solves all those meal restrictions. Each vegan meal is a reduction in greenhouse gases. We also know that many people will choose the vegan option just because it is a delicious alternative healthy choice.
What better day to celebrate the passing of the Vegan motion on its way toward becoming an ordinance than on the City’s annual Food Day sponsored by the LA Food Policy Council. Many thanks to the Los Angeles Food Policy Council for their partnership along with the support of Mercy For Animals, Center for Biological Diversity, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), The Humane League, and Sierra Club Angeles Chapter.
Jewish Family Service Completes New Building
Jewish Family Service just this week placed its last steel beam on its incredible new flagship building, the JFS Gunther-Hirsh Family Center. It will be the first time that those benefiting from JFS's programs will be able to access the entirety of services under one roof, as well as the staff leadership too. Councilmember Koretz is proud that this facility is rising in Council District 5, and looks forward to the continued and improved assistance JFS will provide to those who need it most in our community.
To celebrate the completion of this project, Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmember Koretz honored JFS and three individuals, Dena Schecter, Eileen Brown, and David Levine, who have contributed not just their money, which is always important, but also their time, dedication and leadership, helping to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community, including holocaust survivors, seniors living in poverty, and victims of domestic violence, can access the resources they need.
|HONORING CD5 INSTITUTIONS|
Food Day LA Celebrates Vegan Glory
Every year in late October across the country, thousands of Americans commemorate National Food Day by bringing diverse communities together to enjoy Good Food and push for improved food policies to end hunger, promote health, protect food workers and care for our environment.
Food Day LA is an annual initiative dedicated to inspiring Americans to make small changes for a healthier food system and ecosystem as well as a day to improve our food policies and celebrate Good Food throughout the City.
Every year, each Councilmember selects a “Good Food Champion” from their district who creatively brings good food culture to life. That is why Councilmember Koretz selected Vegan Glory as CD5’s Good Food Champion. Vegan Glory is a Thai fusion vegan restaurant located at 8393 Beverly Blvd in CD5 and it is a favorite neighborhood establishment, for vegan and non-vegan eaters alike.
The Groundlings 45th Anniversary
Councilmember Koretz was thrilled to honor and recognize, The Groundlings Theatre, located on historic Melrose Avenue in Council District 5. Councilemember Koretz recognized and honored the historic sketch comedy theater and improv school for their 45th anniversary of artistic achievement in theater, improv and sketch comedy. Councilmember Blumenfield, a Groundlings fan, joined in the festivities (pictured here) with current and alumni Groundlings including founding member, and comedy legend, Laraine Newman.
Over the past four decades, the Groundlings theatre has provided the City with decades of laughter as it also served as a training ground for an impressive number of famous comedians and training ground for the likes of Saturday Night Live.
Click here for LA This Week video news coverage of the celebration honoring 45 years of groundbreaking laughter and entertainment in Hollywood.
|UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS|
November 3 - Exploring Your Universe at UCLA
Come one, come all, to UCLA on Sunday, November 3rd to Exploring Your Universe (EYU), one of UCLA’s biggest annual events, drawing in thousands of children, parents, and friends from the Los Angeles community to the UCLA Court of Sciences.
Organized by UCLA graduate students and run by volunteers, this science fair has been a tradition to provide a day of free science education to all, and honor pioneers in the field such as Mayim Bialik. For ten years, EYU has provided fun, hands-on experiments and presentations to curious minds and young future scientists alike.
EYU 2019 is a free event that will be one of the main events in celebrating UCLA’s Centennial, and so this year’s event will include more booths, improved exhibits, exciting speakers, and new activities, you won’t want to miss this year’s event!
This year’s events will include:
- Over 60 interactive science booths from 12-5PM
- 30-minute science talks throughout the day
- Planetarium shows from 12:30-7:30PM
- Telescope viewings after 5PM
- Mayim Bialik receives the UCLA Science & Education Pioneer Award to kick off EYU!
Get a little taste of what to expect watching this video.
For more information, visit https://www.exploringyouruniverse.org
For driving directions, bus and parking information here (all-day parking on campus is available for $13.)
November 10 - Westwood Library Free Concert
The Westwood Library is wrapping up the 2019 Free Concert Season Series, featuring the Library's Quartet in Residence, the Fiato String Quartet performing two contrasting quartets in an intriguing juxtaposition of styles and eras:
- Beethoven - String Quartet Op. 18, No. 6
- Shostakovich - String Quartet No. 3
After the concert, meet the musicians and enjoy a complimentary reception hosted by TORANJ Persian Cuisine and the Friends of Westwood Library.
Mark your calendar for Sunday, November 10 at 2:30 p.m. at the Westwood Branch Library (1246 Glendon Avenue).
Admission is free and so is parking at the Library. The library garage and doors open at 2:00 p.m. and the concert lasts approximately one hour, with no intermission.
Download the flyer here
November 10 - Griffith Park Harvest Festival
Celebrate autumn’s glory in L.A.’s largest urban park! Now in its third year, the Griffith Park Harvest Festival is an all-day celebration that brings together visitors & residents from across Los Angeles on Veteran’s Day weekend. The festival will have live music, a variety of innovative food trucks, a beer garden featuring independent craft brews, dozens of local vendor booths, plus a Kids Zone that includes a climbing wall, bounce houses, pumpkin painting, and more. Once the sun sets, the acclaimed Disney-Pixar film “Coco” will be shown under the stars. The Harvest Festival is free and fun for the whole family (including dogs on leash), so mark your calendars to attend November 10th in Griffith Park.
||(Left to right): Christopher Givens, Debby Dyner Harris, Councilmember Paul Koretz, LAPD Deputy Chief Commanding Officer Jorge Rodriguez - Valley Bureau, Joan Pelico, Jarrett Thompson, Cara Goldman.|
Councilmember Koretz and CD5 Valley District staff were happy to meet the new Valley Bureau Commanding Officer of Operations Jorge Rodriguez to discuss our Encino area and ways LAPD can help CD5 valley constituents.
Encino Family Festival
||(Left to Right): Encino NC president Alex Garay, Homeless Committee member Jody Francisco, Councilmember Koretz and Encino Field Deputy Christopher Givens.|
Westside Village Homeowners Association 6th Annual Emergency Preparedness Fair
CERT-LA, LAFD, Emergency Management Department, and many more organizations attended to provide resources for community members that will help them be more prepared for an emergency. Thank you to the WVHA for hosting this wonderful and informative event!
Swipe Out Hunger
Founded by a group of friends at UCLA in 2010, Swipe Out Hunger has become a leading nonprofit organization that addresses hunger among college students. In fact, many students routinely skip meals and take ‘poverty naps’ because they cannot afford groceries. Campus food pantries are helping, but are they enough?
Councilmember Koretz and staff were honored to attend and support Swipe Out Hunger at their Back to School Fundraiser last month. At UCLA, unused food plan credits are redistributed to students unable to afford the school meal plan.
||Councilmember Koretz joined Rachel Sumekh, founder of Swipe Out Hunger and friends and staff from Canter's Deli.|
Thank you to all who came out to the 4th annual P-22 Day Festival in Griffith Park for a gathering of scientists, volunteers and advocates working to protect Los Angeles precious wildlife and natural habitats. P-22 Mountain Lion of Hollywood was the star of the show thanks to hosts National Wildlife Federation who were joined by environmental non-profit organizations throughout Los Angeles that are committed to protecting Los Angeles and their wildlife. Some of these participants included Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW), Friends of Griffith Park, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and so many more!
An Evening Under the Harvest Moon
Thank you to all who joined us at the TreePeople’s 32nd annual An Evening Under the Harvest Moon gala. The evening provides an opportunity to hear about the great work that TreePeople is focusing to inspire, engage and support people to take personal responsibility for the urban environment, making it safe, healthy, fun and sustainable and to share our process as a model for the world.
||Councilmember Koretz and TreePeople CEO Cindy Montanez honored Save Our Canyon members Bob Mann and president Mark Levine who received TreePeople’s Partner in Community Award for their work in activating the Benedict Canyon Community to preserve the land as a wildlife corridor in the face of development.|
OneWest Bank Now Open in Westside Village
Congratulations to OneWest Bank for opening a new location at National Blvd and Sepulveda Blvd in Westside Village! Councilmember Koretz’s Field Deputy Elizabeth Garcia joined West LA Branch Manager Peter Smith, CIT President of Consumer Banking Steve Solk, and Senior Vice President Byron Reed on Thursday, October 24th. Best wishes for the future!
Westwood Gardens Civic Associations Annual Meeting
Last Saturday evening Councilmember Koretz attended and spoke at the Westwood Gardens Civic Association Annual Meeting. The Councilmember appreciated the opportunity to present a Certificate of Appreciation to long-time Westwood Gardens leader and board member Roger Papet for his dedication to this wonderful neighborhood.
The Westwood Gardens Civic Association is a non-profit incorporated association that has existed for more than 60 years and exists to help maintain the “quality of life” in the neighborhood as well as to serve as a point of contact for city government. They have been involved with the Westside Neighborhood Council, parking and traffic concerns, Exposition right-of-way maintenance, Greenway construction, alley resurfacing, sidewalk repair, and much more.
Adopt Some Love
Looking for a new furry companion? Check out these LA Animal Shelter Dogs and Cats (and Rabbit) 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.