January 17, 2020   

Dear Friends,

This week City Council meeting and committee meetings have resumed after the annual winter recess.  We begin the new year (and new decade) under the leadership of my good friend and colleague Nury Martinez, Los Angeles’ first Latina Council President. I was proud to vote for Council President Martinez as she is most deserving of this role and I look forward to working with her on many of her “Family First” initiatives, along with Councilmember Joe Buscaino who will now serve as Council President Pro Tempore, and   Councilmember David Ryu who was chosen to be the Assistant Council President Pro Tempore.

Please note: the City of Los Angeles will be closed on Monday, January 20 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  It was MLK who said, “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?”  There are several volunteer opportunities available over the weekend in memory of Dr. King and in observance of Tu B’Shvat listed further down in the "Los Angeles Needs Your Help" section of this newsletter.

Thank you for letting me be of service to you and the entire CD5 community.


Paul Koretz


SB-50 Is Back. Don’t Be Fooled By The Amendments

In April, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to support Councilmember Koretz’s Resolution to oppose SB 50 and that position will stand throughout 2020.  SB 50 is an attempt for the State to override local zoning restrictions to allow for multi-family housing in single family residential neighborhoods. The City of San Francisco also voted to oppose the bill. Then the bill was stalled in the State Senate. 

Now the bill is back and Senator Scott Weiner, the bill’s author, has been on a publicity campaign pleading that new amendments should assuage all of its opponents’ apprehensions. But don’t be fooled.  The amendments don’t actually address any of the original concerns except for a time extension to give cities a bit more time to comply.  Moreover, the Senate President has pulled the bill from the Appropriations Committee and into the Rules Committee allowing for a vote on the Senate Floor as early as Tuesday, right after the MLK holiday, so there is little time to call your legislators. 

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.  

Click here to watch Councilmember’s entire speech delivered ahead of City Council’s unanimous vote that supported his Resolution to Oppose SB 50.  The transcript of that speech follows:.

“First, I should point out that this is not an affordable housing bill. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  SB 50 is really just a handout for developers. SB 50 takes away all of our power over zoning. It’s based on trickle-down economics in housing. For those of you who don’t remember, trickle-down economics was originally articulated during the Reagan Administration. The idea was that if you gave huge tax breaks to the ultra-rich, that would eventually trickle-down to the rest of us. Of course, that didn’t work, and Donald Trump is trying the exact same thing and having the exact same result.

“This is trickle-down in housing: you build incredibly dense housing in places where it doesn’t belong and allow 85-foot-tall and 5-story buildings in single-family neighborhoods, with the goal of destroying those neighborhoods — as the author Scott Wiener has articulated, where he said, ‘I believe single-family housing is immoral’ and tree-lined neighborhoods and back yards, as he’s described it.  This also would destroy HPOZs [historic preservation districts] and not take HPOZs into account. We’ve spent years and years and years historically preserving homes in these HPOZs and then we will be demo-ing the homes in these neighborhoods and putting up 5-story buildings. 

“There is no sign that building luxury housing, even in large numbers, will reduce rents. In fact, studies have shown in all likelihood the opposite is true. Certainly, in my neighborhood, where I’m seeing it anecdotally, where we’re building new luxury housing and the rents in the surrounding apartment buildings go up because those are ‘the comps,’ as realtors will tell you. So SB 50 is actually likely to increase the cost of housing.

“Some new studies have shown, as I have said for the last 10 years, if you build a lot of luxury housing all it will do is allow more companies to say, ‘Well, we have the room now in L.A., and move the jobs and move their people and just become a larger and larger city — and not make it any easier for the young people who are supporting this, because they think it will reduce the rents and give them an opportunity. I believe it will do the exact opposite.

“And, in Los Angeles, we already have densified and we already have TOCs [transit-oriented communities] and, I believe, we have 100,000 units approved and not built, already. So, there doesn’t seem to be much of a point, and where we’ve done something that most cities haven’t done, this legislation doesn’t acknowledge that.

Again, I almost don’t know where to start. There are so many arguments. But, I believe, Seattle did a substantial amount of luxury development in one year. And I think they had a year — and they’re a much smaller city than us — where they built 24,000 units. And, if in theory this would have dramatically dropped the rents, then it would have dropped the rents. Twenty-four thousand housing units. I don’t know what the equivalent would be here — (maybe) to build 100,000 in a year? The rent did go down in Seattle. By $2. So, all that building had no impact whatsoever. I’d be surprised if the $2 sustains itself, and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t wind up actually going up.

SB 50 will set a floor of luxury prices rather than a ceiling. This doesn’t do anything for our real problem, which is affordable housing. Even in San Francisco, his (Scott Wiener’s) home area, where I thought he would get support, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 to oppose SB 50. 

So, if he can’t even get any support in his home city, why does he think this would work here? And why would he think we would support it?

The Senate floor vote will happen as early as Tuesday - ACT NOW - STOP SB 50.

Contact your local Senator and Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (San Diego) and tell them to Oppose SB 50 by phone at (916) 651-4039 or by email at  senator.atkins@senate.ca.gov

Senator Ben Allen, (916) 651-4026, Email: senator.allen@senate.ca.gov
Senator Robert Hertzberg, (916) 651-4018, Email: senator.hertzberg@senate.ca.gov
Senator Holly Mitchell, (916) 651-4030, Email: senator.mitchell@senate.ca.gov
Senator Henry Stern, (916) 651-4027, Email: senator.stern@senate.ca.gov



Councilmembers Koretz and Cedillo Go To Bat For The Dodgers Over Cheating Scandal

Los Angeles City Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Gilbert Cedillo (CD1) introduced a resolution pitching the idea that Major League Baseball award the 2017 and 2018 World Series titles to the Dodgers following reports that the MLB league concluded that the Houston Astros used a camera to illicitly steal signs from opposing catchers during the 2017 season, which ended with the Astros defeating the Dodgers in the World Series.  (Sign stealing allows hitters to know which pitches a pitcher would throw, a huge advantage to opposing hitters.) According to the league, the sign-stealing system was orchestrated by then-Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who served as manager of the Boston Red Sox in 2018, which ended with the Red Sox defeating the Dodgers in the World Series in the same manner.

The Council resolution requests that in addition to the $5 million penalties already imposed on the winning teams, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball should remove the 2017 and 2018 World Series titles from the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, recall the World Series Commissioner’s Trophies, and award them to the Dodgers.  The City Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on the Resolution on Tuesday, January 21st.



New Speed Hump Application Cycle Opens

Starting on Wednesday, January 29at 8:00 a.m., LADOT will open its biannual speed hump application cycle, which allows Los Angeles residents to petition the Department for the construction of speed humps at new locations provided that certain criteria are met. 

Visit the LADOT speed hump request page for more information on the city speed hump program — and for details on how to apply.

Southbound East Way & Center Way Closures Remain In Central Terminal Area To Support People Mover Construction

Beginning Monday, January 13, southbound East Way from World Way to Center Way will remain closed for a two-week period to perform the installation of the Automated People Mover’s Cast-in-Drilled Holes foundation piles. These piles have been installed at the intersection of East Way and Center Way. Vehicles exiting Parking Structure 1 are still able to exit onto Center Way, but all other vehicle traffic will be directed to World Way to exit the Central Terminal Area.  

Detour signage will be posted and flaggers will be on site as needed to assist with traffic flow.



New Pick Pico Mural on Display at Westside Landmark Theater

The Westside Neighborhood Council kicked off 2020 by dedicating a new mural created to display some of the unique attributes that are special to the community intending to inspire neighborhood pride and encourage community member involvement.  

This year’s mural was created at the Pick Pico street fair with guidance from Kids Artistic Sense, a children’s educational program, along with volunteer efforts and grant-funding.  Thanks to Landmark Theatres for hosting this triptych, three-piece mural, that will be on display in the lobby of the Landmark Theaters until the next Pick Pico event in May.

Security Initiatives at Emek Hebrew Academy

Councilmember Koretz was joined by LAPD Operations Valley Bureau Deputy Chief Jorge Rodriguez, San Fernando Valley Area Captains, and CD5 Director of Public Safety Gregory Martayan among community leaders for a meeting at Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center to discuss public safety and security initiatives. The informative strategy meeting provided next steps and solutions for community members to be better prepared for future threats against institutions in the region.  This includes improvements to safety protocols, participation in security assessments, physical safety infrastructure, and better communication with local law enforcement agencies.

Holmby Hills Association Helps Amend Valet Ordinance

Working with the Holmby Hills Homeowners Association, Councilmember Koretz successfully amended the citywide valet ordinance to better protect neighborhoods from congestion and traffic impacts.

  Councilmember Koretz’s Policy Director Jeff Ebenstein presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Dennis Rosenblatt for his years of service and dedication to the HOA. A special thanks to President Sandy Brown (above) and Board Member Bettina Omara (not pictured) for all of their great work.

Recognizing Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council’s Emergency Preparedness Committee

The Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council (BABCNC) has endured two wildfires in the past year and faces several other emergency threats unique to the hillsides of Los Angeles. The BABCNC’s Emergency Preparedness Committee has tasked itself with a commitment to service and community public safety on behalf of its hillside Homeowners Associations. The committee considers all issues pertaining to the police and fire departments, as well as educating area residents as to how to proceed in the event of an emergency or catastrophic event, or if there is need for emergency medical services.

This week, Councilmember Koretz’s Director of Public Safety Gregory Martayan was joined by LAFD Deputy Chief Armando Hogan and Department of Homeland Security Advisor Richard Mitchem to honor the committee for improving safety preparedness and education in its communities.

Smooth Sailing Sherbourne Dr.

Take a look at these Before and After images on South Sherbourne Dr. between Colgate and Clifton. Great work from the Bureau of Street Services Team, thank you for making our streets smoother and safer in Council District 5.



MLK Day of Service & Tu B’Shvat Volunteer Opportunities

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is one of two National Days of Service. On Monday January 20, 2020, 1000+ Angelenos will commemorate the Martin Luther King Day of Service holiday.  There are several events happening throughout Los Angeles. It is also Tu B’Shvat (or the Jewish New Year of Trees) providing opportunities to care for our natural places.

Saturday, January 18, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. - Help bring the spirit of social justice, love, and inclusion spirit to George Washington Carver Middle School with The Mission Continues as the organization paints, beautifies, and gardens to improve the campus. The Mission Continues is a national, nonpartisan nonprofit that empowers veterans to continue their service, and empowers communities with veteran talent, skills and preparedness to generate visible impact.
Sign up here.

Sunday, January 19, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. - The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, City Plants, and LA Conservation Corps will be planting 70 trees at Elysian park. Please wear close-toed shoes and bring a reusable water bottle for this family-friendly event.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all volunteers. For more information about this event, please reach out to City Plants at (213) 473-9950.
Sign up here

Monday, January 20, 8:30 a.m. - L.A. Works is seeking hundreds of volunteers to paint murals, build benches, and garden to bring the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Day to life at its annual day of service benefiting Orville Wright Middle School Steam Magnet. Nonprofit organization, L.A. Works is a volunteer action center that creates and implements hands-on community service projects throughout the greater Los Angeles area.
Space is limited.  Please sign up here.

Volunteer for the 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count

The 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count will be taking place January 21st through January 24th. This important event provides information about the size of the homeless community and where they reside. The Count information also helps to assess and direct fiscal and staffing resources where they’re needed most. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) needs at least 8,000 volunteers to canvas more than 80 cities and 200 communities across LA County.

Register for the Count at TheyCountWillYou.org:

  • January 21, 2020: San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys 
  • January 22, 2020: West Los Angeles, Southeast Los Angeles, & the South Bay 
  • January 23, 2020: Antelope Valley, Metro Los Angeles, and South Los Angeles

Remember, everyone counts. No matter where they live.

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.

Cultural Affairs Grants Available

The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) is excited to offer two upcoming opportunities to engage with the Department and the community.

DCA seeks proposals for the International Spirit Concert Program (ISCP), and seeks submissions for its Request for Qualifications for Festival Producers and Mobile Providers starting January 21. All information will be available on the DCA website; culturela.org/grants-and-calls.

ISCP is interested in preparing local vendors to stage international events in local neighborhoods and communities.  ISCP accomplishes this by helping international artists initiate relationships with potential LA hosts, develop audience experiences, navigate visa procedures, and facilitate collaboration between foreign consulate offices in Los Angeles and/or elsewhere in the USA with the City of Los Angeles and local nonprofit concert presenters.

DCA will offer 15 to 18 non-matching grants of $10,000 to $12,000 each to local nonprofit organizations that have relevant experience in hosting and/or producing free or low-cost outdoor concerts or performances. Proposed performances will be staged between July 2020 and June 2021, ideally with at least one presentation in each of the City’s 15 council districts.

DCA's Public Art and Performing Arts Divisions will release a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Festival Producers and Mobile Providers on January 21.

This opportunity is open to professional festival, cultural and performing arts producers, presenters and arts and community-based organizations who have the knowledge, creative and technical expertise and administrative capacity to oversee small to large-scale events. DCA is interested in working with both emerging and established individuals, organizations, teams and collectives.

For more information about either opportunity, please click here.

Compost & Urban Gardening Workshops

Los Angeles Sanitation & Environment is inviting all City residents to join them for one of these workshops to learn how to compost. Learn how to turn kitchen scraps and yard trimmings into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Compost bins, worm bins, and mulch are available at all composting workshops, while supplies last. Click the Flyers to download. For more information visit www.lacitysan.org/compostworkshops

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, 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closed Mondays). Click on any photo below for details.

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Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz
200 N. Spring Street, Rm. 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-7005