February 14, 2020   

Dear Friends,

Joaquin Phoenix’s Best Actor acceptance speech at the Academy Awards was a compassionate  recognition that issues of societal inequality, from racial/ gender/ LGBTQIA bias to climate change and animal rights, all have one commonality -- injustice.  

As your Councilmember, my staff and I work daily to prioritize the fundamental issues of our district, whether they are matters of infrastructure, homelessness, housing, public safety, transportation, or our environment.  At the same time we, like each of our constituents, are part of a larger community of our neighborhoods and our districts, our City of Los Angeles, our State of California, our United States and, of course our Earth. And we know it starts at home.  

That is why we work to support all of the selfless efforts of our constituents and organizations that service our community at every chance we get.  We know that as neighbors you reach out to each other in times of need and stand up against injustice and we are thrilled to support your efforts, as well. 

So this Valentine’s Day, I am taking a minute to spread a message of love, compassion and gratitude for taking care of each other in our collective drive to make the world a bit better. 
Thank you to everyone who shows up to serve, whether as a member of an HOA or Neighborhood Council, chaperones or volunteers at local schools, helping the homeless, checking in on an elderly neighbor, rescuing animals, or helping at a non-profit organization.    

Joaquin Phoenix concluded his speech quoting his brother, River, who died tragically in 1993 at the age of 23. River was an actor, a musician, and an animal activist.

“Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow”
- Lyrics by River Phoenix, age 17.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  


Paul Koretz

In observance of the Presidents Day holiday, our offices will be closed Monday, February 17, 2020.


LA TIMES - After A Mountain Lion is [Legally] Killed, Two L.A. City Leaders Want to End The Practice

Beverly Press - LAPD Will Make Updates to Combat Rising Hate Crimes 


Councilmembers Koretz and Ryu Demand Halt to State Issuing Permits to Murder Mountain Lions; Asks State to List Local Cougars as “Threatened” Under California Endangered Species Act

In response to the news of the killing of Mountain Lion P-56 by way of a depredation permit after the death of privately-owned livestock, Councilmembers Paul Koretz and David Ryu introduced a joint Resolution that demands halting of depredation permits to murder mountain lions. The Resolution further seeks to establish an indemnity fund to reimburse affected individuals who lose animals to a mountain lion; and also asks that the City of Los Angeles support the listing of the Southern California/Central Coast mountain lions as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act.

The hunting of mountain lions, which are designated by the state as a "specially protected mammal" has been banned in California since 1990. However, mountain lion P-56 was the first to be killed in the Santa Monica Mountains under a California law that allows a landowner to take lethal action against a big cat that has killed or injured livestock or pets if other deterrents have failed. However, Southern California mountain lions face an increasingly difficult and uncertain future due to a wide variety of lethal threats to the species. In fact, Los Angeles is one of only two megacities in the world that has big cats living within the city limits. P-56 was one of only two known remaining breeding adult males in the area and his loss is a significant problem for the future of the local population.

“There continues to be an insane disconnect between the important conservation work we are doing in a time when we are racing the clock to protect our native species and habitats in face of the 6th global mass extinction, overbuilding, corporate poisoning practices like rodenticides, and a rapidly changing climate,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz.  “Meanwhile, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is actively undermining our work by handing out depredation permits on an apex predator just trying to survive in his natural habitat. We can do better and we must.” 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife had been reviewing a petition submitted last summer by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Mountain Lion Foundation, and subsequently recommended there was “sufficient scientific information available at this time” that listing the species “may be warranted.” This decision to move the status forward came in two days after the Councilmembers introduced the resolution. The Fish and Game Commission is expected to vote in April on whether to formally grant the "threatened" status.

Attacks on domestic animals can often be avoided when simple, inexpensive precautionary measures are taken, including using properly-trained guard dogs and keeping livestock in predator-proof enclosures at night.

“With so much energy spent by conservation groups and communities to save the small handful of mountain lions left within their areas, it is unconscionable that over the past five years, an average of over 100 big cats a year have been killed legally under California’s flawed depredation law,” said Tony Tucci, co-founder and co-director of Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife. “In the face of persistent threats to its long-term survival, it becomes our inherent responsibility to do all we can to protect the Southern California mountain lion from extinction. Our failure to do so threatens the delicate balance of our fragile ecosystems to the detriment of all.”



Funding for ALS Research

Councilmember Koretz is pleased to announce that this week he introduced a resolution for funding ALS research, co-sponsored by Councilmember David Ryu of the 4th District. This is following up on the recent Council Presentation given by Councilmember Koretz in honor of recently-retired Assistant City Attorney Dov Lesel, who was diagnosed with the disease.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a motor neuron disease that causes muscle weakness, atrophy, and muscle spasms throughout the body due to the degeneration of the motor neurons. Individuals affected by the disorder may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement. There is no cure. Management focuses on treating symptoms and providing supportive care, with the goal of improving quality of life and prolonging survival.

ALS is the most common motor neuron disease in adults and the third most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. People of all backgrounds are affected by ALS. Notable individuals stricken with this disease include baseball great Lou Gehrig, late scientist and author Stephen Hawking, late political figures Jacob Javits and Henry Wallace, and late Southern California animal activist Mark Dodge.

In August 2014, the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge’ went viral online and raised $220 million, leading to an infusion of more than $400 million in National Institutes of Health research funding and a substantial expansion of the network of research clinics working on treatment and cures for ALS.

This resolution asks that the City of Los Angeles includes sponsorship of and support for legislation or budgetary action to appropriate additional funding for research into treatments and cures for ALS in its 2019-2020 State and Federal Legislative Programs.

L.A.'s Green New Deal

Councilmembers Koretz and colleagues joined Mayor Eric Garcetti and a host of hard-working City staff and climate action advocates for the Mayor's announcement of his Green New Deal Executive Directive to ramp up the City's efforts on climate emissions reductions and make the next 10 years a decade of climate action.

In his speech, Councilmember Koretz said, “It is clearly up to Cities to lead the way. The way I see it, if the Mayor is chair of the C40 Cities during these vital years, it is the City Council’s solemn responsibility to strongly support his new executive directive and help him lead the most aggressive, most forward-thinking and most compassionate slate of legislation to reduce all our greenhouse gas emissions and do it in such a way that supports our most vulnerable communities and provides good, well-paying jobs.”

Video of the entire event is available here

A Good Food Champion Farewell

This week, Councilmembers Koretz and David Ryu celebrated Clare Fox, the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC) for the past five years, who is moving on to other endeavors.  Under her tutelage, the LAFPC transitioned from a start-up project to an established non-profit guiding a network of over 400 actively-engaged organizations and agencies, working together for collective impact under the banner of "good food for all."  Her legislative successes for more equitable food access were many, including her being part of the Good Food Purchasing Policy team with Councilmember Koretz and his staff that was awarded in 2018 an award from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  Ms. Fox has also been a long-time champion for racial healing work in one of the most diverse cities in the world. We are all so grateful for her service and we can't wait to see what comes next in her position of Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Everytable.

  Councilmember Koretz and his Environmental Policy Director Andy Shrader celebrated Clare Fox’s exceptional work with most sincere gratitude.



Update to the Housing Element of LA’s General Plan

The City of Los Angeles is launching the 2021-2029 Update to the Housing Element, a state-mandated Element of the General Plan. A dedicated webpage for the update to the Housing Element will be available in early 2020. In the meantime, you can find information on the current Housing Element, sign up for email notifications about the update, and learn more about upcoming opportunities to get involved.

The Housing Element is one of the nine state-mandated elements of the General Plan that identifies the City’s housing conditions and needs, establishes the goals, objectives, and policies that are the foundation of the City’s housing strategy, and provides an array of programs to create sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods across the City.

The current Housing Element was adopted in 2013 and is in effect through 2021. Last fall, the City Planning department shared plans to update our citywide Housing Element.  This week, the Planning Department launched an extensive 18 month campaign of engagement and outreach, leading up to the adoption process in late 2021. 

The first series of public workshops will begin later this month. You can reach out to HousingElement@lacity.org with any questions.

Monday, February 24
5:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Pico House
424 N. Main Street

Saturday, February 29
2:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Sherman Oaks East Valley Adult Center
5056 Van Nuys Boulevard

Wednesday, March 4
6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Jim Gilliam Recreation Center
4000 S. La Brea Avenue


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

Vote centers will begin to open Citywide on February 22 for the March 3 Presidential Primary Election.   

L.A. County has significantly 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, Election Day) at any convenient Voting Center. Vote Centers look and feel like polling places, but provide new digital ballot marking devices in new locations throughout the county. Find a convenient vote center at: http://Locator.LAVote.net  

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 it in person, but if you vote by mail, you need to fill out a postcard and mail it back in. 

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.

DMV, TSA & LAX Encourage Californians to Get REAL ID

The Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA), and representatives with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are reminding Californians that starting October 1, 2020, all travelers will need a REAL ID or another acceptable form of identification to board flights within the United States.

California driver licenses and identification cards that are REAL ID-compliant are marked with a bear and star.

Californians applying for a REAL ID are required to visit a DMV field office and bring:

  • An identity document*, such as a valid passport or original birth certificate. (*If you’ve changed your name, legal name change document(s) might be required)
  • A document with the entire Social Security number visible, such as an original Social Security card or W-2 form.
  • Two hard copy documents showing California residency, such as a utility or cell phone bill, bank statement, or mortgage bill.

With lines at DMV offices shorter than ever, the DMV’s resolution is to keep wait times low. Californians can do their part by completing the required application online beforehand and being prepared for their visit to a DMV. Appointments are not required to complete an in-person REAL ID application, and customers can check wait times at nearby offices on the DMV website.

Many DMV offices also offer Saturday and extended morning hours. A full list of DMV offices and operating hours can be found at https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/fo/fotoc.

For more information about REAL ID, a complete list of acceptable documents and FAQs, please visit CaliforniaREALID.org.

Reminder - Ventura - Cahuenga Blvd Corridor Specific Plan Amendment - February 20

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, on Thursday, February 20, 2020 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.

For more information, visit: bit.ly/VenturaCahuengaSPAmendment



Israeli American Council LAPD Security Forum

This week, the Israeli American Council hosted a meeting with LAPD Chief Michel Moore, LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Rodriguez and LAPD Command Staff regarding issues surrounding anti-Semitism and Jewish community security initiatives.  Councilmember Koretz was joined by fellow City Councilmembers John Lee (CD12) and Bob Blumenfield (CD3). The diplomatic core Consul General of Israel Hillel Newman was also in attendance, as well as Councilmember Koretz’s Director of Public Safety Gregory Martayan. The discussion included the possibility for physical infrastructure enhancements at institutions and further security assessments, enhanced communication and real-time reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents. 

Adopt Some Love

Are you looking for a new love this Valentine's Day? The Paula Kent Meehan Pet Care Foundation will sponsor the My Furry Valentine adoption event on February 15 and 16 at our six LA Animal Services Centers, where discounted adoption fees will be offered on all dogs and puppies, and waived for cats! Adoption fees for kittens will be waived through a generous grant from the ASPCA.

For more info visit: www.petcarefoundation.org or www.laanimalservices.com for center locations.

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

Follow Us    

This message was sent to  by:

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