February 5, 2020   

Dear Friends,

SB 50, the California State Bill that was falsely packaged as an affordable housing solution, was defeated on the Senate floor for the third and final time.  Not only would the bill have threatened to decimate every single family neighborhood in the City, it would have actually exacerbated our affordable housing problem by incentivizing luxury housing in Los Angeles.  Not only would it have overridden local zoning but the bill's language proscribed that Historic Preservation Zone designated after 2010 could have been overridden.  The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to oppose SB 50 in April 2019, and on this past Wednesday, I introduced a Resolution to re-affirm the City’s opposition to the bill even in its recently amended form.  

In the end, almost all of the Senators in and around the Los Angeles County area saw through the bill and voted it down. The reality is that the path to fix our affordable housing problem is not by building new luxury housing but to address and fix Costa Hawkins, the state law at the heart of our housing crisis, which makes rent-controlled units unaffordable.   

My office is also looking to address the problem of the large numbers of Wall Street-backed landlords that have thousands of newly built units they are leaving vacant to bring up land value, intentionally contributing to the housing shortage. 

Thank you to everyone who worked with our office to oppose this legislation.  The finally vote tally revealed that most of the California State Senators in and around Los Angeles voted to oppose the bill.  But we must remain vigilant.  The bill's author has already declared an intention to introduce similar legislation in the near future. 

Sincerely,


Paul Koretz

 

IN THE NEWS

LA Times Letters: SB 50 would create a city of unaffordable housing in luxury high-rises

Curbed LA To save potential landmarks, LA wants more notice of demolitions

City News: L.A. City Councilman Seeks Support in Opposing State Housing Bill

 

LEGISLATIVE NEWS


Remembering Kobe Bryant

Last week the Los Angeles City Council adjourned Tuesday's meeting in memory of Kobe Bryant. 

As the City of Los Angeles is still in shock over the tragic loss of a true LA Legend and his talented daughter, her coach and friends who perished Sunday before last, the City Council and staff shared sorrow and inspirations of the tragedy and together hung our heads in a moment of silence. With heavy hearts we send our deepest condolences and prayers to Vanessa, the Bryant Family and the other families who are experiencing the devastating and unfathomable loss of their loved ones. Together we embrace our loved ones a little tighter and honor the unity and light Kobe brought to our City.

Click the image below to watch Councilmember Koretz share his personal memory and tribute to Kobe Bryant in City Council last week. May all who perished on that foggy morning rest in peace.



Honoring Dov Lesel

Councilmember Koretz and City Attorney Mike Feuer bid gratitude to Dov Lesel upon his retirement after some 45 years serving the City. As the attorney for the Department of Animal Services for more than a decade-and-a-half, Dov has often attended the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee meetings that Councilmember Koretz chairs and provided his legal wisdom on issues the City is grappling with.  He’s drafted the groundbreaking animal welfare ordinances on spay/neuter, elephant bullhooks, pet shops and fur sales and many other issues that this Council has generated.  

Dov Lesel has had a long and worthy career in the City Attorney’s office and probably has learned and affected more about how the City works than most people will ever know and his City Family is eternally grateful for his years of service.  

Sadly Dov has announced that he has been diagnosed with ALS, also known as motor neurone disease (MND) or Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a debilitating disease that has no cure.   Learn more about the disease and find out how you can help at THE ALS Association: http://www.alsa.org/

Dov will spend time with his lovely wife Helene and his three children Ben, Julia and Rachel.



New High Rise Sprinkler System Requirements

This week’s devastating fire in a 25-story Brentwood high-rise injured 11 people and two firefighters was a haunting reminder that Los Angeles has about 770 high-rises, and 55 residential high-rises that do not have in-unit sprinklers.  This tragedy is all the more shocking since a fire erupted on the 11th floor of the same building in 2013, displacing up to 150 residents and injuring two people. At that time, smoke alarms failed to alert residents of an emergency, stairwells filled with smoke, and exit doors to the roof were locked. A resident found his 2-year-old daughter and father-in-law passed out in a smoke-filled stairwell.

The fact is that all commercial high-rises must have sprinkler systems installed, a requirement that was adopted by the City Council in 1988, in the wake of a fire that killed one and injured 40 in Downtown’s Interstate Tower, which was not equipped with sprinklers. 

However, not all residential high-rises are required to have sprinklers, as under the City’s current building and fire safety requirements, residential high-rises built between 1943 and 1974 are not required to have sprinklers installed. Residents in these buildings are exposed to a higher risk of injury or death in a fire than those in older or newer high-rises, which have sprinkler requirements.

That is why Councilmembers Koretz and Mike Bonin (CD11) co-introduced a motion this Friday requesting that the City Attorney, with the assistance of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and the Department of Building and Safety, draft an ordinance to require the retrofit of all previously exempt non-sprinklered residential high-rise buildings to conform to current fire code requirements for retrofitted high-rise buildings in the City of Los Angeles.  The motion also asks that the LAFD, with the assistance of City Attorney and Department of Building and Safety, recommend additional actions outlined in the Fire Commission’s report (CF #04-1672-S1) to be required by the City that would require changes to city laws and regulations.

Councilmember Koretz introduced a similar motion a few years ago following a high-rise fire in Hawaii with the thought that the City should not wait for a tragedy to occur in Los Angeles before taking action.  However the earlier legislation didn't move out of committee.  While this new motion is once again inspired by another high-rise fire that could have been avoided, Councilmember Koretz believes that this is common sense legislation to protect Los Angeles residents living in older high-rise buildings.

Finally, the motion asks that the CLA and CAO report back on the feasibility of utilizing federal HUD or FHA loans, multifamily housing revenue bonds, state or local funds and financial tools to assist building owners in the costs of these upgrades, similar to any offered to building owners required to retrofit buildings to meet current seismic safety standards.

 

NEWS YOU CAN USE


New Vote Centers Will Replace Neighborhood Polling Places. Become familiar before you go.

As the March 3 Presidential Primary Election approaches, don't expect to visit your local polling place because L.A. County has changed the voting system. Voters now have the option to cast a ballot in-person at any Vote Center in the County over an 11 day period (February 22 through March 3) at any convenient Voting Center. Vote Centers look and feel like polling places, but provide kiosk-style voting machines in locations throughout the county.   

Although the new system is supposed to make voting more convenient and easier, some might find the new technology, location and flexible time period a bit confusing.  That is why LA County has made this helpful video.

If you are not a member of a political party (if you are registered as “no party preference” or “decline to state”), you will not see any presidential candidates on your ballot unless you take an extra step and request a different ballot for one of the parties that allows voting from unaffiliated voters. If you vote at the polls, you can request in person, but if you vote by mail, you need to fill out a postcard and mail it back in.  If you have a Vote by Mail ballot you can send it in following the instructions on the envelope or drop it off at one of the 200 drop box locations you can find here throughout the County.

You can find out more on the Secretary of State’s website: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-info/how-vote-president/

These are some pretty big changes, and they are bound to cause some confusion. Please share this information with your family members, friends, and neighbors.

 

IN THE COMMUNITY


Councilmember Koretz Participates in Homeless Count

The 2020 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count took place on January 21st through January 24th. Councilmember Koretz and several members of his staff volunteered in this important event to help determine up-to-date 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) was joined by thousands of volunteers who canvased more than 80 cities and 200 communities across LA County.  Results of this count are expected to be reported sometime in May 2020.


Councilmember Koretz with members of Mayor's Youth Advisory Council at Encino Homeless Count



Century City Plaza Hotel & Towers Renovation

Councilmember Koretz toured the renovation and remodel of the historic and iconic Century City hotel structure with Michael Rosenfeld of Woodridge Capital, developer of the hotel and tower project.   Councilmember Koretz originally halted plans to demolish the hotel almost a decade ago to build two towers and instead proposed the current plan to restore the hotel to its original glory and to allow the two towers to be built behind the hotel instead.   The hotel is anticipated to open in the summer and the condo towers late this year or early next year. 

Councilmember Koretz was joined by staff members Angel Izard, Aviv Kleinman, Azeen Khanmalek and Debbie Dyner Harris (not pictured)


Honoring Don Loze, Champion of the Ridgeline Ordinance

Councilmember Koretz was delighted to honor Don Loze, a long-time board member of the Bel Air Beverly Crest Neighborhood Association for his years of service.  In particular, Don has been tenaciously committed to the protection of the Santa Monica Mountains' ridgelines for more than a decade. After finding resources and staff in the LA City Planning department, Councilmember Koretz is happy to report that the ordinance is expected to move to the committee in the spring. If all goes smoothly, the Planning Department is going to start its initial public outreach in the spring. It is expected to go to the City Planning Commission this summer, and the City Council in the fall.



Team Koretz Joins Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW) for A Hillside Habitat Conservation Salon

Councilmember Koretz and staff joined Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife along with a variety of environment and wildlife advocates, and land conservation experts including Paul Edelman, Deputy Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for a wildlife corridor conservation salon in Bel Air's Mars Canyon hosted by Biff, Susan and Bruno Naylor.

LOS ANGELES NEEDS YOUR HELP


Join Councilmember Koretz For Special Community Security Meeting

The Israeli American Council and Councilmember Koretz invite you to join an informative evening with local police department and elected officials on Thursday, February 13, from 7:00 p m. to 10:00 p.m. Together, the LAPD and LA's region’s local dignitaries will share what measures citizens can do to proactively defend oneselves and react to anti-Semitic threats.

IAC will be sharing actions they are taking to neutralize anti-Semitic propaganda and behavior both on and offline, through their advocacy program known as ACT.IL at the IAC Shepher Community Center, 6530 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91367

We invite you to join us RSVP is required in order to attend this event.



Ventura - Cahuenga Blvd Corridor Specific Plan Amendment

The City Planning Department will be hosting an open house about a proposed amendment ordinance that would update the Specific Plan to modernize existing regulations, streamline existing processes, and translate existing land use regulations into the City’s comprehensive update to the Zoning Code. 

City staff will provide the same presentation twice, at 4:30 p.m., and again at 6:30 p.m. at Crespi Carmelite High School Fine Arts Building (The Commons) at 5031 Alonzo Ave, Encino, CA 91316

PARKING: Enter at Santa Rita St or Alonzo Ave.

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