As December comes to a close, I wanted to take a few moments and look back at some of the highlights and accomplishments of the past year. Our partners at Channel 35 helped us produce a video that highlights some of our best moments from 2019.
Enjoy the video by clicking this link and the image below:
Los Angeles City Council and Committee meetings will be back in session the week of January 12th but our offices remain open for constituent services. My staff and I are already well on our way to many more accomplishments that we expect to complete in 2020 (a new decade) and we want to thank you for your partnership in helping to make Los Angeles a wonderful place to live, work and play.
|CITY COUNCIL UPDATES & EVENTS|
A Special Note from Councilmember Koretz
The term of my long-time friend Councilmember Herb Wesson, Jr. comes to an end as Council President at the end of 2019. I have had the pleasure of working with Council President Wesson since we were both staffers to City Councilmembers in the 80s. I've benefited from his strong leadership as Speaker of the California Assembly and as LA City Council President as has the City and the State. Herb Wesson is not only a great leader but a real mensch. I look forward to working with Councilwoman Nury Martinez and Councilmember Joe Buscaino as they take on their new posts as Council President and Council President Pro Tempore.
Valley Industry & Commerce Association’s Turns 70
Councilmember Koretz joined his Valley Council colleagues in co-hosting a special City Council presentation to recognize and honor VICA and the tremendous work they have done for the San Fernando Valley.
Congratulations to the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) on 70 years of enhancing the economic vitality of the San Fernando Valley. VICA’s mission includes advocating for a better business climate and quality of life. They are considered to be one of the most influential business organizations in Southern California. Congratulations to VICA President Stuart Waldman, outgoing Board Chair Lisa Gritzner and to the new incoming Chair Brad Rosenheim. Here’s to another 70 years!
Koretz “Eviction Defense” Program Moves Closer to Reality
Councilmember Paul Koretz’s innovative Eviction Defense program took a big step toward being launched in 2020 when the City Council’s Housing and Personnel and Animal Welfare Committees approved an 18-month launch for Phase One of the program at a joint meeting on December 11th.
The next steps are for the program to be approved by the Budget and Finance Committee and the full City Council, both of which are expected to happen once the Council resumes work after the holiday recess. The Eviction Defense program takes the “right-to-counsel” concept that is gaining popularity across the country and enhances it with so-called “wrap-around” services that are intended to help tenants and landlords resolve their differences without having to go to court for eviction proceedings. Councilmember Koretz successfully fought for nearly $3 million to be reserved in the current fiscal year City Budget for use to start the program, which he originally proposed in August 2018.
“I’m excited that this proposal is nearing fruition,” said Koretz after the committees approved the item. “We worked with tenant advocates, landlords, the Mayor, the Housing Department and the City Attorney to put together a plan that takes the concerns of all of them into consideration. Everyone agreed that the most effective use of City dollars would be to find ways to keep evictions from happening in the first place, and to keep cases out of court. I think what we’re proposing can do that.” The program will provide monitoring of all eviction cases filed in the city, tracking of client outcomes, legal representation in unlawful detainer proceedings, outreach and “Know-Your-Rights” workshops, emergency rental assistance, landlord-tenant mediation, pre-eviction notice legal representation, legal representation for housing-related administrative hearings, ongoing case management services via Family Source Centers, ongoing rental subsidy as determined by service providers, outreach and education provided by both staff of the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) and contracted community-based organizations, and a renters’ information and referral hotline (in conjunction with current HCID Rent Stabilization Ordinance hotline).
Because of the start-up financial constraints, the City’s program will launch in three South Los Angeles Zip Codes, 90003, 90006 and 90011. Thanks to an innovative partnership with the County of Los Angeles, additional Zip Codes in Van Nuys, South Los Angeles and Watts-Willowbrook-Athens also will be included. The goal ultimately is to have a seamless City-County program accessible to all tenants in need. “When I first proposed this concept I envisioned a citywide program,” said Koretz, “and that remains the goal. We’re actively looking for funding to extend Phase One and to begin adding Zip Codes all over the city. In the meantime, I’m working with nonprofit legal aid providers to bring similar services to my Council District 5 constituents on an ad hoc basis via one-off clinics such as the one we co-sponsored in the Fairfax district on December 16th . As more and more tenants are confronted with rent increases and threats of eviction and homelessness, these services are needed in every corner of L.A.”
From the Desk of Andy Shrader
Director of Environmental Affairs,
Water Policy and Sustainability
Councilmember Koretz started out 2019 with the Mayor Cruz of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mayor Jefferson Wagner of Malibu, and State Senator Henry Stern, touring the Woolsey Fire burn areas and comparing notes on how to best represent one’s constituents after a disaster (see video here). Mayor Cruz had a particularly poignant point of view, having had her entire city, basically the entire island of Puerto Rico, destroyed in Hurricane Maria, but both Senator Stern and Mayor Wagner were also quite affected, having both lost their homes in the Woolsey fire. It was an intense, emotional day. We toured the Seminole Springs Mobile Home Park, which lost 100 of the 215 mobile homes, as well as neighborhoods with $10 million views. What struck the group most is how similar the rubble of each of those looks when it’s been burned to the ground.
Climate-exacerbated disasters are becoming a way of life much faster than anyone ever expected. With the abject failure last month of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP25) in Madrid to achieve any enforceable global emissions reductions requirements, it remains up to elected officials at the local level to lead the way on climate action.
Councilmember Koretz continues to work hard to live up to that very serious and pressing responsibility. He moved forward a number of his environmental programs over the past several weeks with the recent fires and other global climate-related disasters firmly in mind:
1) Successfully testifying before the Public Works Committee to move forward his motion (with Councilmember Mike Bonin) to strengthen the Protected Tree ordinance. (Click here and Item #2 for audio testimony from committee.)
2) Testifying, again, before the LADWP Commission to halt any possible thought of repowering the Intermountain Power Project coal plant with gas in 2025 and pushing hard for renewable energy, which has become far cheaper than fossil fuels in recent years. (Click here, then click Item #2 and scroll to 17:39 for his testimony).
3) Successfully testifying before the Planning and Land Use Committee to increase EV charger requirements for new developments from 5% installed and 20% installation-ready to 10% installed and 30% installation-ready. (Click here and Item #12 for audio testimony from committee.)
4) Introducing a motion (with Councilmember Mike Bonin) to require 80% of the cars at LAXs new rental CONRAC car facility be electric, which will motivate and incentivize a more rapid spread of electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout the region.
5) Moving forward the hiring process of the Director of the Office of Climate Emergency Mobilization. The job announcement officially went out in December and can be found here. Councilmember Koretz and Mayor Garcetti are hoping to have this office filled very early in 2020.
In closing, it should be noted that, while Greta Thunberg’s being named Time magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year last month was notable, it was the words from her plenary speech at the COP25 United Nations Climate Conference in Madrid that should not be lost in the din of that and some other recent news out of DC:
“In chapter two, on page 108, in the…IPCC report that came out last year, it says that if we are to have a 67% chance of limiting the global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we had, on January 1st, 2018, 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit in that budget. And, of course, that number is much lower today as we emit about 42 gigatons of CO2 every year. With today’s emissions levels, that remaining budget will be gone within about eight years.”
In short, if the global community, who once again left another COP without a binding agreement to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, does not drastically change course, within about eight years we will be off on uncontrolled climate disruption.
And ticking. . .
Thank You to our Local Heroes
Councilmember Koretz joined the West LA Little League for a wonderful and thoughtful potluck they organized for our local heroes at LAFD, LAPD and the City’s Emergency Management Departments for keeping our communities safe during the Getty Fire. Thank you to all the families who collaborated in making this luncheon possible.
Thank you to West LA Little League President Marc Lipson for all your work and leadership organizing families and coaches in supporting and inspiring West LA little league players.
Century City BID Celebrates Fountain Refurbishment
The Councilmember was proud to join the Century City Business Improvement District (BID) and neighbors to celebrate the refurbishment of the Southern Fountain along Century's City's Avenue of the Stars. This improvement was funded by the BID, and has served to beautify the area even more. Thank you to the BID!
Thank you to the Century City Business Improvement District for funding and organized the complete refurbishment of the Southern Fountain's from rebar to light bulbs. Pictured here (L to R): CCBID Chair Renee Watkinson, Neighbor & Fountain Champion Carl Schlossberg, CCBID Government & Community Affairs liaison Susan Bursk, Executive Director Vicki Nussbaum
Breaking Ground on the Westwood Greenway
Councilmember Koretz was thrilled to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Westwood Neighborhood Greenway project with community members, an elder of the Tongva People, Julia Bogany, and representatives from the City's Bureaus of Engineering, Contract Administration, and Sanitation and Environment, along with members of the Board of Public Works. This project will capture storm water from the Overland Avenue storm drain and clean it as it makes its way through the Greenway before sending it back into the storm drain system on its way to the ocean. It is a project that combines improved water quality in the Santa Monica Bay, adding greenspace to a park-poor area of the City. Finally, the project will provide educational opportunities for students and beautification for everyone to enjoy. Click here for a video news segment about the project that ran on Channel 35's LA This Week.
Volunteer for the 2020 Homeless Count
Every January, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) conducts a census of the homeless population through the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. The Count helps us better understand homelessness in our region and direct fiscal and staffing resources where they’re needed most. LAHSA needs at least 8,000 volunteers to canvas more than 80 cities and 200 communities across LA County.
You can now register for the Count, which will take place January 21st through January 23rd:
- January 21, 2020 - San Gabriel & San Fernando Valleys (Service Planning Areas 2 & 3)
- January 22, 2020 - West Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles, & the South Bay (Service Planning Areas 5, 7, & 8)
- January 23, 2020 - Antelope Valley, Metro Los Angeles, & South Los Angeles (Service Planning Areas 1, 4, & 6)
Help Wanted: Join the Census 2020 Team
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting to fill hundreds of thousands of positions across the country to assist with the 2020 Census count. Los Angeles County is hiring for a variety of temporary jobs, including census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff, and supervisory staff.
Candidates are invited to fill out an online job application. The application includes assessment questions about your education, work, and other experience.
LA Animal Services Wants to Wish All Pet Owners a Safe and Happy New Year With Some Safety Tips
While many people look forward to the big gatherings with friends and family on New Year's Eve, these year-end festivities are often accompanied by fireworks, noisemakers, music, and champagne, which can be dangerous and frightening for our beloved pets. To ensure your New Year's celebration is an enjoyable occasion, here are some timely tips to help keep our animal companions safe:
1. Keep your pet indoors
New Year's Eve and the days following are usually some of the busiest times for our six LA Animal Services Centers, as many pets escape their homes because they are afraid of loud sounds from fireworks.
- The best way to keep your pets safe is to make sure they stay indoors and in an enclosed room, if possible.
- If you do allow your pet outside to go to the bathroom, be sure that your gates or fence are secure or that your pet stays on a leash. Loud noises from fireworks can be very intimidating and may cause a scared dog to find the smallest opening in a fence and escape.
- Even if your pet doesn't seem obviously upset by fireworks, they can still cause harm to pets by burning them or if accidentally ingested.
2. Create a calming environment
If you are having guests over for a party, try creating a safe place in your home where your pet can have some quiet space away from company such as a room that is off-limits or a familiar crate with some of their favorite toys or a comforting blanket.
- Play soothing music and keep the room as quiet as possible by closing doors, windows and blinds. While celebrating, it is easy to forget that loud noises and celebratory poppers or noisemakers can scare your four-legged friend.
3. Make sure toxic food and drinks are out of reach
Alcoholic beverages are very toxic to pets. Be sure to let all guests know that alcoholic drinks and foods should be kept out of reach at all times, and should not be shared with pets.
4. Always make sure your pet has up-to-date identification
If for any reason your pet escapes or becomes lost, a collar with a current license and/or ID tag on them and a microchip that is registered with your contact information, will help reunite you with your companion animal.
5. What to do if your pet does get out
Go to the nearest animal shelter to where you last saw your best friend. Tell them that you lost your pet and give them specific information about what your pet looks like, if they are microchipped and if they are wearing a license or tag.
By keeping these precautions in mind, New Year's Eve can be a fun and safe celebration for you and your four-legged family members.