I know that this is a complicated time for everyone with limitless questions about the challenges of when and how to begin to relax the “Safer at Home” orders in careful consideration of public health and the economy.
Unfortunately, some cities both here in the US and abroad, have relaxed social distancing and essential service requirements only to have a resurgence of contamination and deaths that might have been avoided with better planning. On the other hand, we won’t know the full extent of the economic impacts of the pandemics for a long period of time and everyone wants to make sure to get back to work as soon as possible in the safest manner possible.
Currently, there are eight vaccines that have been cleared for Phase 1 testing by the FDA and a vaccine called Moderna that has also been cleared by the FDA for Phase 2 testing. What we do know is that, absent a proven vaccine, the only way to get ahead of this insidious virus is to keep as many people from exposure as possible. That is why I have been focused on increasing the requirements for wearing masks in public and looking for other ways to cool down infection “hot spots.”
When people get sick, there is still no reliable way to trace the origins of the illness and then follow its trail to sanitize and eradicate it. Those who have been sick who no longer have symptoms might not be necessarily immune and many people who have experienced no symptoms can still unwittingly be carriers spreading the virus. Not only are our elderly and immuno-compromised susceptible but there seem to be mutations that may now be affecting more children than before. I know we are impatient about “returning to normal” but for a while longer we are looking at an interim “new normal” and we need to continue with our best preventative practices.
That said, the County Public Health officials and Mayor Garcetti have announced the start of a carefully-phased relaxing of the Safer at Home order. As of Friday, May 8th, some retail stores are now allowed to be open for curbside pickup and delivery only. In-store shopping will not be allowed, and these business can operate as long as they adhere to physical distancing and infection-control protocols.
The new rules will also open some outdoor parks and recreational facilities. Golf courses will be open (but not pro-shops or dine-in restaurants), open space areas at parks and trails and trailheads will all allow people to get outdoors, as long as they also abide by safe distancing practices.
There has been a lot of discussion about how to accomplish this phased re-opening of our local businesses in a safe manner that doesn’t reignite the viral spread. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) staff developed a comprehensive set of guidelines for doing so that has inexplicably been withheld by the White House from public release. Nonetheless, I feel these guidelines can be invaluable in helping CD5 (and all Los Angeles) businesses and other institutions open up in a manner that protects both employees and customers alike.
- Stability of hospitalizations
- Adequate hospitalization space if necessary
- Vulnerable population such as frontline people have proper protection
- Able to test, trace, and isolate accordingly
- Keep customers and workers safe including social distancing
- Public health guidance in place
Let me be clear, everyone is still required to wear a face-covering while on trails and when running errands (as well as when riding on city buses and at LAX). Also, public health officials are still encouraging everyone to wash their hands throughout the day and to stay six feet away from people who don’t live with you. You can find more details about the Mayor’s revised order at https://corona-virus.la/SaferLA.
Please continue to use an abundance of caution if you must leave your home, please remember that masks are the most important tool you have (in addition to social distancing and disciplined hand washing) to avoid contracting and/or spreading the Coronavirus.
Be healthy, be well and wear a mask in public.
FROM THE DESK OF JEFF EBENSTEIN
DIRECTOR OF POLICY & LEGISLATION
For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 emergency, the City Council met twice in one week (on Tuesday and Wednesday). Now that most of the technical impediments to conducting these meetings remotely have been dealt with, meeting twice weekly is now practical and allows more of the people’s business to get done. The Council also is gradually resuming its committee meetings, most notably with the Budget and Finance Committee slated to hold a hearing on the proposed 2020-21 City Budget on Monday, May 11th, at 10:00 a.m.
Masks - Councilmember Koretz presented a newly amended motion requesting consideration of increasing mask-wearing requirements. The motion asked for a report-back in one week. The report is supposed to review existing mask ordinances in other cities, counties, states and countries that require the wearing of masks in public and their health justifications for doing so. Some of the areas that were reviewed were San Diego County, all of Massachusetts, much of Colorado, and the surprisingly progressive Laredo, Texas. The report also covered a review of vented masks and the need for an exemption for people for whom wearing a mask could be dangerous.
Project Room Key - The City Council asked for a report-back on the status of Project Room Key, the City/County project to house persons experiencing homelessness in hotel and motel rooms during this emergency period. While there have been several positive developments to help house those experiencing homelessness, it is not moving as fast as Governor Newson, Mayor Garcetti and the County Board of Supervisors originally expected. As of this writing, 22 sites have been opened, housing approximately 1,760 people. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is scheduled to report back on current numbers, the possible availability of additional hotels and motels, and what else can be done to make the program more effective.
Help for Tenants of Rent Stabilized (RSO) Apartments -The Council unanimously voted to extend the already-approved freeze on RSO rents from two months after the end of the emergency declaration to a full one year..
Help for Landlords Impacted by the Eviction Moratorium and Rent Freeze - The Council voted unanimously to call for a report exploring the challenges facing apartment owners whose cash-flow is being disrupted by the COVID-19 emergency. The report will include possible measures the City can take to assist them while preserving protections for tenants. The Council already has approved an Emergency Rental Assistance program that, once it is implemented, will subsidize rental payments of up to 50% (capped at $1,000 per month for three months) for eligible low-income tenants. This will reduce the amount tenants who haven’t been able to pay rent due to COVID-19-related reasons have to repay and provide landlords with some cash-flow at a critical time.
New Legal Options for Tenants - For tenants experiencing violations of emergency eviction and rent protections, unfair treatment or harassment, the Council approved the Private Right of Action. This will allow tenants who have been mistreated to take legal action to defend themselves. The ordinance includes a 15-day grace period for the tenant and landlord to mediate their issues. The Council also asked the Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) to look at how it might enhance its internal administrative review procedures to handle these cases without them having to be taken to court.
Suspending Costa-Hawkins -The Council also passed a resolution asking the State to suspend the Costa-Hawkins law that limits the ability of local jurisdictions to adopt rent control laws. Councilmember Koretz also has been advocating for amending or repealing Costa-Hawkins for quite some time and believes it is a major contributor to our housing affordability issues.
Elimination of the Gross Receipts Tax - Councilmember Koretz has long advocated for the elimination of the gross receipts tax, the primary tax the City charges businesses operating within the city. Councilmember Koretz championed a similar effort when he served on the West Hollywood City Council. Along these lines, the L.A. City Council adopted a motion by Councilmember Monica Rodriguez (CD7) asking for a report to look into exempting the hard-hit restaurant industry from these taxes and provide them with some much-needed relief. Koretz also supported a Rodriguez proposal to have local restaurants provide meals to homeless shelters.
TODAY IS FIRE SERVICE DAY
Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis all of the city fire stations are closed to the public and we cannot have our usual Fire Service Day celebrations. However we do want to thank our firefighters for their service. So we are sharing this virtual tribute to our Los Angeles City Firefighters made by the Los Angeles Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Thank you Los Angeles Fire Department!
Click here to watch the touching tribute: https://vimeo.com/416498002
To learn more about CERT programs in your neighborhood and throughout the City of Los Angeles, as well as emergency preparation guides and CERT training, visit https://www.cert-la.com/
Home Meal for Los Angeles Seniors During COVID-19:
A Senior Meal Emergency Response Program is available that supports both seniors and hard-hit hospitality and restaurant industries in the City of Los Angeles. The program provides home-delivered and healthy meals to seniors by partnering with Everytable, an L.A.-based social enterprise and restaurant chain, and the Hospitality Training Academy, an L.A.-based workforce development program founded in partnership with the labor union UNITE HERE Local 11. HTA trains low-income and marginalized Seniors in need of a home delivered meal can call 213-263-5226, or fill out a form at the LA Department of Aging’s website: Senior Meal Emergency Response Program communities in L.A. for careers in the hospitality industry.
- They will receive deliveries of up to ten home-delivered meals per week, (five meals at a time, delivered twice a week. Meals will be frozen and can be heated up in their microwaveable containers.
- Meal service will be prioritized for seniors who are experiencing food insecurity, including financial hardship.
- The Department of Aging is continuing to deliver packaged and frozen meals for older adults enrolled in their meal program. If a senior is not aware of who their meal provider is, they may call 1-800-510-2020 for assistance and, if they’re not enrolled in the Department of Aging meal program, they can call the department at 213-482-7252 to enroll.
FEEDFOLKS Serving Palms
The Palms Neighborhood Council is among other organizations throughout LA working with an organization called Feed Folks whose mission is to help local farmers distribute certified organic fresh produce to those in need during COVID-19. Boxes contain seven or eight fruits, vegetables and leafy greens. Within the first week, they were able to distribute 30 boxes total, 14 in donations in Palms, and are looking forward to continuing to increase deliveries in the coming weeks.
To request, donate or sign up to volunteer visit: https://feedfolks.store/palms/
CD 5 Featured Business:
Bacari on 3rd St between Fairfax Ave. and Crescent Heights Blvd. has shifted to offering Free Same Day grocery delivery to everyone in the neighborhood with the coupon code; FREEBACARI. They are also generously offering same day delivery to healthcare workers at Cedars Sinai with the coupon code HEALTHCAREHERO.
Visit https://www.toasttab.com/bacari-west-3rd/v3 to place your order today.
Traffic Advisory- Road Closures on Sunset Blvd.
Beginning Tuesday, May 12, 2020 to Monday, May 18, 2020 the Bureau of Street Services will cold plane and resurface the street on Sunset Bl., from Loring Ave. to Stone Cyn. Rd. Traffic will be restricted during scheduled working hours; Tuesday there will be one lane eastbound only, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday there will be one lane westbound only, and Monday will have restricted alternating traffic. The public is advised to use Wilshire Bl., or other alternate routes.
The 2020 NFL Draft may be in the books, but the Los Angeles Chargers of the NFL have always found success with undrafted free agents like future hall of famer Antonio Gates and current pound for pound running back Austin Ekeler. Now they want to help you find your next star and help the "undrafted free agents" in L.A.’s animal shelters find a fur-ever home.
Help the Bolts support the work of LA Animal Services by selecting your roster at the website linked below, and sharing to social media.
If you are interested in adopting or fostering a pet during this time, please click https://www.chargers.com/draft/dog-draft for more information.
Public On-Sale of Select Single-Game Tickets are available at Chargers.com