Header Image - Paul Koretz
June 22, 2020   

Dear Friends,

As of last week, the County has expanded its list of businesses that may now serve the public including alcohol service establishments like bars and wineries, personal care services such as skin care, nail salons, tattoo parlors, and massage therapy businesses as well as satellite wagering facilities and racetracks without spectators.  

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all Californians to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings, including when shopping, taking public transit or seeking medical care, after growing concerns that an increase in coronavirus cases has been caused by residents failing to voluntarily take  the appropriate precautions.The CDC currently and consistently “recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

I encourage you to read this week’s Los Angeles Times column by Steve Lopez, Why Are So Many People Not Wearing Masks?  Here’s How They Explain It.  As he reports, a new study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that face coverings reduced the number of new infections in New York City by 66,000 between April 6 and May 9.  He concludes with a reminder to the mask conspiracy theorists who call it a hoax that, “On Tuesday, the hoax had infected 2.1 million people in the U.S., and the number of fake funerals is now speeding toward 120,000.”

Please continue to do the right thing by protecting yourself and others from further spreading the virus because the danger is very real, and please continue to practice social distancing every single time you are in public and wear a mask.  Stay safe and be well.

Sincerely,
Signature of Paul Koretz



FROM THE DESK OF JEFF EBENSTEIN
DIRECTOR OF POLICY & LEGISLATION

Small Business Recovery

Our locally-owned businesses are the backbone of our community.  The shops and restaurants that line Fairfax, Melrose, and Beverly make their neighborhoods Southern California icons. But the one-two punch of the pandemic lockdown plus the violence and vandalism carried out by people who used peaceful demonstrations as cover for civil unrest a couple of weeks back has brought some small, locally-owned businesses to the brink of insolvency.

The last thing these struggling merchants need as they try to rebuild is red tape. Councilmember Koretz is committed to helping them overcome the bureaucratic impediments and at least some of the expenses they normally would face when obtaining permits and doing the work of restoring their businesses.

To that purpose the Councilmember has offered two motions to support businesses rebuilding from vandalism and/or arson.  The first one would expedite Plan Check permits and waive fees for businesses damaged in the civil unrest, and the other would create a Small Business Relief Fund for impacted businesses. The City Council should be formally considering these proposals soon.

Our locally-owned businesses are the backbone of our community.  The shops and restaurants that line Fairfax, Melrose, and Beverly make their neighborhoods  Southern California icons.  But the one-two punch of the pandemic lockdown plus the violence and vandalism carried out by people who used peaceful demonstrations as cover for civil unrest a couple of weeks back has brought some small, locally-owned businesses to the brink of insolvency.

Consequently, the last thing these struggling merchants need as they try to rebuild is red tape.  Councilmember Koretz is committed to helping them overcome the bureaucratic impediments and at least some of the expenses they normally would face when obtaining permits and doing the work of restoring their businesses.

To that purpose the Councilmember has offered two motions to support businesses rebuilding from vandalism and/or arson:  The first one would expedite Plan Check permits and waive fees for businesses damaged in the civil unrest, and the other would create a Small Business Relief Fund for impacted businesses.  The City Council should be formally considering these proposals soon. 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES


Increasing Transparency at the LAPD with Body Worn Video Cameras

LAPD uniform w body cameraThe Police Department (LAPD) has been at the forefront of adopting measures to be transparent, such as Body Worn Video Cameras (BWVCs), and using footage captured by these devices to investigate complaints. Since 2016, the Department has deployed approximately 7,000 cameras, enough to equip almost all officers with field responsibilities.

During the recent protests in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, the LAPD activated all of its personnel and deployed the vast majority of its officers into the streets of the City. This Department Mobilization included a number of officers who do not normally work in the field and do not have BWVCs assigned to them.  Not all officers deployed are equipped with BWVCs, therefore, it may be difficult to review some of the complaints that may be filed against them. All officers should have a BWVC assigned to them, even if they do not generally require one, so that in cases like the recent protests, we can assure transparency in the City.

Councilmembers Koretz and Harris-Dawson introduced a motion that would require the Police Department, with the assistance of the City Administrative Officer, to report on the costs associated with equipping all police officers with Body Worn Video Cameras (BWVC), not just those assigned to field duties. This motion further requested that the report should include an analysis of any federal grant funds available for BWVC expansion, including any federal grants being contemplated in the recently introduced Justice in Policing Act of 2020.


Working to Regulate the Sale of Live Animals for Human Consumption 

This week, a motion calling for the prohibition of the sale of live animals for human consumption authored by Councilmember Koretz was approved in modified form by the City Council.  The Council unanimously voted for a Health Committee report  directing the Department of City Planning, Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, the Department of Animal Services, and the City Attorney’s Office, with the assistance of the County Department of Public Health, to report in 30 days on the feasibility of implementing an ordinance to accomplish this goal. The report is to include a definition of a “wet market” along with recommendations on the establishments and the practices that should be prohibited, a report on existing zoning, conditional use or health code laws that regulate the on-site slaughter of live animals and any establishments that are currently permitted to do so.

“In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, prudent public health policy, humane treatment of animals and protection of ecosystems suggest that the sale of living animals for human consumption should be prohibited in any setting in Los Angeles,” Koretz stated in his motion.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has been widely deemed by researchers to have jumped from animals, possibly a pangolin, to humans at a “wet market” in China, where live, often exotic, animals are sold to people alongside butchered meat.

“Zoonotic viruses, animal viruses capable of being transmitted to humans, have also been found in birds, turtles, frogs, pigs, cattle and others,” the motion by Koretz stated. “The frequency of significant human-acquired zoonoses in the last century has escalated due to deforestation, wildlife trafficking, industrial animal agriculture and human establishments encroaching on wildlife habitat.”

COMMUNITY UPDATES

Coming Soon: New Mercy Housing for Seniors and Senior Veterans

Pico Robertson Seniors and Senior Veterans  Great news: The long-awaited Mercy Housing project for seniors is at completion!  Mercy Housing project in the Pico-Robertson community will provide supportive housing for low-income, veteran, and homeless seniors. Mercy Housing will be accepting applications from low-income seniors and veteran seniors from June 12th through June 26th. For low-income seniors, a lottery will be held on July 6th and for senior veterans, individuals will be chosen through the Coordinated Entry System. Applications can be downloaded from the website listed below. Please contact the numbers provided if you have any further questions. 

For more information and to download an application, please visit the Pico-Robertson Senior Community website at https://www.mercyhousing.org/california/pico-robertson/

Twelve apartment units are available for homeless senior veterans through New Directions, which will serve as an onsite service provider for veterans.  If you have questions about eligibility or the application process, please call (323) 302-4264.


Free Assessments Available for Property Damage Incurred During Civil Unrest

There are now several ways to request a free assessment of damage caused to your property during recent incidents through the Department of Building and Safety.  Please click on the flyer below or visit Building and Safety’s website at www.LADBS.org/damage-repair for more information.  You can also call 3-1-1 to request an inspection within the City of Los Angeles or (213) 473-3231 from outside of the City.  

Property Damage Incurred During Civil

Councilmember Koretz’s planning staff is available to assist with any issues that arise.  Please contact Daniel.Skolnick@lacity.org for issues in Westwood, West LA, and Bel Air, or contact Aviv.Kleinman@lacity.org for issues in Beverly-Grove, Pico-Robertson, Palms or Encino.


With Most Museums Still Closed, Public Art Is Available to All

City Controller Ron Galperin has released a map of 200 sculptures, installations, murals and photos that exist in and on buildings, at parks and elsewhere throughout Los Angeles.
This map, accessible at lacontroller.org/cityart, makes the City’s Public Art database — overseen by the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) — available to Angelenos for the first time. Users can navigate the map to see the name of the artwork, its location, the name of the artist(s) and what type of art it is.

Everyone is encouraged to use the maps to discover the public art that already exists in our City parks and on our streets.  Not only does public art inspire creativity and enhance neighborhood landscape, it is central to the identity of our Los Angeles communities.

The public art map accompanies a report on the larger separate City Art Collection, also overseen by DCA, composed of 2,500 additional paintings, murals, sculptures, lithographs and photographs displayed at public buildings, on loan or in storage. The report, “A More Modern Approach to City-Owned Art,” found that a substantial portion of City art is missing or damaged and called on DCA to do a better job managing, tracking and maintaining the collection and all City-owned art.

Due to budget and staffing constraints, DCA no longer monitors or manages the City Art Collection at all: 

  • 18 percent of the City Art Collection is missing or stolen.

  • 25 percent of the artworks with condition data are damaged or in poor condition. 

  • 41 percent of the collection lacks identifying photographs.

  • 50 percent of the collection is missing appraisal information. The artworks that do have appraisal information were valued at $19 million, but those appraisals are between 16 and 40+ years old.

The report recommended sweeping changes to improve the City Art Collection and DCA’s art oversight across the City, including developing a full inventory of City-owned art; creating an online catalog and map of all City art; implementing a modern system to manage the collection; and leveraging the expertise of local arts organizations and academic institutions to better showcase City art.

Read the full report and view the map here: lacontroller.org/cityart or https://lacontroller.org/audits-and-reports/cityart/


Coronavirus Updates

The coronavirus continues to plague California and Los Angeles.  Despite our relatively strong effort to flatten the infection curve, the gradual re-opening of the economy has seen an almost inevitable growth in infections.  Infections in California surpassed 4,000 on Thursday, June 18, the highest one-day number yet.  This inspired Governor Gavin Newsom to issue an order for all Californians to wear protective masks in public spaces whenever we can’t maintain the prescribed social distancing of six feet, his first such order since the health emergency was declared in March. 

This order is comparable to a proposal Councilmember Koretz made for Los Angeles in April, and the Councilmember continues to urge everyone to be careful, respectful and safe by complying with this mask order.  It’s not just about whether we think we’re not at risk, it’s about whether we’re putting each other at risk.  The rising number of infections since the restrictions were loosened are proof enough that this not only makes good sense but is ultimately crucial to prevent further spreading of this lethal disease.

LADOT Parking Enforcement will be extending current relaxed parking enforcement regulations until July 6th. The Department has extended the deadline to pay existing parking fines to July 6, as well. 

Enforcement CONTINUES for:

  • Metered parking
  • Time limits within preferential parking districts for vehicles without a valid or recently-expired permit

  • Posted repaving, street repair, and utility work

  • Posted time limit zones in residential and commercial areas
  • All posted Temporary No-Parking signs

  • No blocking emergency access (alleyways, fire hydrants, etc.)

  • Colored curb zonesParking restrictions for City-owned lots

For a full list of details regarding enforcement visit the LADOT Coronavirus Updates webpage.


Team Koretz Partners With Westside Friends

Councilmember Koretz staff loads grocery bags into car for food bank

Councilmember Koretz’s staff has partnered with Westside Friends in their endeavor to distribute groceries and essentials to people in need.

Every Thursday they hold a food drive at the Katz & Collins YMCA. If you wish to donate, or to sign up as a volunteer, please visit westsidefriends.com.  Thank you to Councilmember Koretz’s Field Deputy Angel Izard for delivering groceries to neighbors in need.

Here to Serve

My office, like all City of Los Angeles offices, is following recommended protocols such as social distancing and working remotely to slow the spread of the coronavirus. That said, my staff and I are always readily available to help with your questions, concerns, and needs during this difficult period. We can be reached by phone at 213-473-7005, 323-866-1828 (West LA), or 818-971-3088 (Encino) and through email paul.koretz@lacity.org. Since we are experiencing a higher-than-normal volume of calls, feel free to email the staff member you wish to contact directly. The accompanying link contains those e-mail addresses.


I know these are really confusing times and that new information is changing quickly, so please continue to check and verify official information through these credible resources:

 

 

This message was sent to  by:

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