There are only 11 days left until the national and local election and there are multiple ways that Los Angeles County has offered to make sure that every vote gets in and counted. In fact, everyone is encouraged to vote early if possible. During this pandemic, it’s more important than ever to have a plan to vote, and LA County has created a tool to help you vote safely by going to LAVote.net or calling 3-1-1.
Further down in this newsletter, please find a wide variety of resources to help everyone cast a vote whether by mail or at an official drop-off ballot box, or in-person at any one of the Voting Centers throughout the County. Please click here for a General Election Frequently Asked Questions.
Also, the LA Department of Public Health would like to remind families planning for the upcoming holiday season (beginning with Halloween and Día de los Muertos), that this year it is not safe to celebrate in the usual ways. Gatherings, events, parties, carnivals, festivals, and haunted house attractions are prohibited under the Health Officer Order and Public Health does not recommend trick or treating. Please see this Guidance for Celebrating Halloween and Día de los Muertos for safe ways to celebrate such as hosting an online party, decorating homes and yards, or car parades.
Also, as the holidays approach, the County’s Public Health Department asks everyone to enjoy the holiday season carefully to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Please see detailed Guidance for Celebrating Holidays for information on safer alternatives for celebrations.
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Fifth District
FROM THE DESK OF JEFF EBENSTEIN
DIRECTOR OF POLICY & LEGISLATION
Holding Reliable, Safe and Efficient Elections
Considering the way 2020 has gone, it almost seems like a lifetime ago that concerned activists contacted Councilmember Koretz with concerns that the Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP) system developed by the Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder’s office for introduction in the March 2020 primary election was “not ready for prime time” and could create impediments for voters. In February, Councilmember Koretz introduced a motion calling for the City Clerk (the City’s election manager) to monitor the primary and report back to the Council on any problems encountered and what was being done to fix them.
As it turned out, there were plenty of problems in the March election. The VSAP technology sometimes didn’t function correctly, computer connections were not always reliable, training of election workers wasn’t always up to par, and polling places weren’t always set up efficiently. Add to those issues the fact that, in the days immediately preceding the primary, a number of prominent Democratic presidential candidates were dropping out of the race causing some voters to delay voting until election day, and primary day turnout far exceeded that which was anticipated. This all added up to long lines and delays at the Vote Centers.
Consequently, this past Tuesday, the Council discussed the City Clerk’s response to the Koretz motion (as well as a similar one by Councilmember Mike Bonin). Also, County Registrar/Recorder Dean Logan walked the Council through all the steps that have been taken to remedy the problems from the March election and how the system is set up to function for the General Election.
In addition, the Safer at Home order closure of many of the public facilities that were used for Vote Centers in March forced the Registrar/Recorder into a vigorous search for locations for November 3rd.
As a result, hundreds of Vote Centers have been established throughout the City and County, many of them different from those used in March. The County has notified all voters where the closest Centers are to their registered addresses. Also, Vote-by-mail ballots have been sent to all voters which can be mailed, deposited in any one of more than 400 official (and clearly marked) ballot drop boxes, or dropped off at Vote Centers if a voter doesn’t want to vote in person.
Registrar Logan also responded to Councilmember Koretz's questions by noting that the VSAP equipment has been reviewed and re-certified by the Secretary of State, and election worker training has been enhanced and illegally-deployed private ballot drop boxes have been made the subject of a cease-and-desist order. (According to Logan, at least some of the boxes have been removed, but we’re aware that the California Republican Party, which deployed the boxes, is disputing the order.)
As of Tuesday, 1.014 million ballots had already been returned by voters, almost 400,000 of them from Los Angeles residents. Many of the Vote Centers are open for full service on Saturday, October 24th, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with more opening later next week. On November 3rd, regular poll hours, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., will be in effect. Early voters should follow all the ballot instructions carefully to make sure that their ballot won’t be disqualified because of errors.
Vote center maps and availability are here.
Drop-off ballot box locator is here
Sample ballots are available here
Find a Vote Center online here and then enter your address.
The three closest vote centers will be listed; however, you may cast your ballot at ANY Vote Center in the County. Alternatively, assistance can be provided by calling 800-815-2666 and pressing 1. Please note that selected Vote Centers will be available beginning Saturday, October 24th, while ALL Vote Centers will be available Friday, October 30th. Vote Center dates and hours may vary from Center to Center so please check before you go.
In another way to safeguard your vote, the California Secretary of State’s Office is now offering Where's My Ballot? — a new way for voters to track and receive noti?cations on the status of their vote-by-mail ballot. Please sign up at WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov to receive automatic email, SMS (text), or voice call notifications about your ballot.
General Election 2020 Frequently Asked Questions are available here.
More information can be found at LAVote.net
Urging Los Angeles to Join the 30 by 30 Conservation Campaign
Councilmember Koretz was pleased to join Councilmember Ryu in co-introducing legislation seeking to commit the City of Los Angeles to independently joining the international “30 by 30” conservation campaign. Joining the campaign would commit the city to conserving 30 percent of the city’s land for open space and conservation by 2030 in an effort to combat climate change.
On October 7th, Governor Newsom signed an executive order setting a goal of conserving at least 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030, making California the first state to join 38 countries that have made similar commitments. The Koretz-Ryu motion instructs city departments to report back on the feasibility of Los Angeles independently joining the 30 by 30 conservation campaign and seeks a citywide Resolution in support of any legislative or administrative action that would protect 30 percent of land and waters for open space and conservation.
“Climate change is an international crisis, and we need to take bold, collaborative action to effectively turn the tides,” Councilmember Ryu said. “The scientific community has made it clear: in order to stop the extinction and climate crises we’re currently experiencing, we need to conserve more of our lands and waters than we currently are. This legislation would set a clear and achievable goal, and one that is a necessary step towards meeting our long term climate goals.”
P-22 Festival in Griffith Park (L to R: Councilmember Ryu, Councilmember Koretz, National Wildlife Federation’s Beth Pratt, and NBC-4 Reporter Robert Kovacik pose with a lifesize photo of P-22 mountain lion), 2019
Councilmember Koretz added, “Seventy years ago, Aldo Leopold called for a new land ethic, a moral responsibility to include in our definition of ‘community’ not only humans but animals, plants, waters and soils. We now face global biodiversity collapse if we do not quickly and actively heed Leopold’s sage advice. In celebration of P-22 Day this week, the annual festival celebrating our Hollywood Hills mountain lion, I am so pleased to partner with Councilmember Ryu to aim for adding another essential piece to the City’s growing biodiversity tool belt: officially preserving at least 30% of our land for the natural world which sustains us all.”
“We support the efforts of Councilmembers Ryu and Koretz, and Governor Newsom, in this initiative to preserve and enhance our open space and wildlife corridors in Los Angeles,” said Charley Mims, President of the Hillside Federation. “This is an important step towards protecting our natural habitats and a necessary move forward in our fight against the impacts of climate change.”
It’s estimated that nationwide, only 14 percent of the land area and 12 percent of the total marine area is currently protected. The scientific community and many international conservation groups have indicated that 30 percent of the planet should be protected by 2030, and 50 percent should be protected by 2050 as a large-scale effort to mitigate the effects of global warming.
Read the motion here.
The LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fundis making $100 million in grants available ONE LAST TIME to micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses, non-profits, and diverse owned enterprises throughout Los Angeles County.
Led by the County and City of Los Angeles in partnership with LISC LA and other partners, the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund was designed to provide a much-needed wave of financial relief to businesses due to COVID-19.
Applicants can apply for grants ranging from $5,000 - $25,000 during the final application period between October 26th and October 30th.
For all eligibility requirements and to apply, please visit the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund(https://www.lacovidfund.org) website.
Please note that grant winners will be chosen through a randomized application system, but applicants who meet certain criteria will be weighted more heavily in the system in order to support the most vulnerable Angelenos. These categories include veteran-owned small businesses, and city and county districts that have a higher unemployment rate, lower education rate, lower median household income, and lower jobs-to-population rate.
If you have any further questions and/or need assistance, please email: lacovidfund.lisc.org
LA COVID-19 Child Care Provider Grant Program is open and has extended the deadline to 12:00 noon, Monday, 10/2
Applications are open NOW for the City of Los Angeles COVID-19 Child Care Provider Grant Program. The program will provide $10M in grants to licensed childcare providers that can be used to cover items such as employee payroll (including sick time) and working capital expenses.
- There will be only one round of grants and,
- to be eligible, licensed providers must have budgets less than $5M and must not be Head Start or Early Head Start programs.
- Grants available up to:
- $10,000 for Family Child Care
- $25,000 for Small Centers (up to 60 slots)
- $40,000 for Large Centers (61+ slots)
- Funds may be used for:
- Employee payroll
- Payroll for employee sick time
- Working capital to continue operations
- Payment of outstanding business expenses
- Adaptive business practices needed to remain open
- Other expenses related to your typical program operations
If you need (virtual) assistance filling out applications, six of the City’s Business Source Centers are designated to provide technical assistance, including the East LA, Harbor, Hollywood, South Valley, North Valley, and West Valley Centers.
Please visit https://ewddlacity.com/index.php/lachildcaregrant to find the nearest center.
Tenant Protection Town Hall with Bet Tzedek and Westwood North NC
Save the date for next week October 30th at 3:30 p.m. for a Tenant's Rights presentation in collaboration with Bet Tzedek, The House of Justice, the North Westwood Neighborhood Council, and our office. Please share this resource with neighbors that may have questions about their rights, protections, and resources available to them during this pandemic crisis.
Join the online presentation at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8173205438
Or visit zoom.us, Meeting ID: 817 320 5438
Western Bagel's Remodeled Encino Location Is Open For Business
Founded by David Ustin in 1947, his son Steve and family have pioneered bagel baking in Los Angeles for decades. Today, Western Bagel is the oldest bagel joint in town.
Western Bagel's newly remodeled store in Encino is open for business and looking great. Western Bagel Encino is located at 17401 Ventura Blvd., and opens every morning at 6:00 a.m. With plenty of parking in the back, and now in the suite directly behind their previous location, please make sure to stop by and enjoy some fresh and delicious bagels.
Koretz Joins LAPD West LA National Night Out 2020 Online
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer and more enjoyable places to live. While in previous years, National Night Out served as an opportunity to create a true sense of community by gathering in person, this year Councilmember Koretz and staff joined LAPD and community members to celebrate it together virtually.
On the Zoom call, Councilmember Koretz said, “I am so proud of our relationship and close collaborations with the West LA Division, an amazing team led by Captain Jonathan Tom and our new acting Captain Ryan Whiteman. Of course, we cannot forget our dedicated Senior Lead Sgt Scott Alpert, our hard-working Senior Lead Officers, and our fabulous rank and file team.” Other important community updates were also provided by West LAPD Detective Fox reminding everyone that the "key" to preventing auto theft is making sure not to leave key fobs and other valuables in your parked car.
LADWP Energy Saving Online Educational Resources & Tools Available
October is known for pumpkins and costumes, but it's also National Energy Awareness Month -- the perfect time to be energy efficient and conserve by eliminating phantom energy. Slay “energy vampires” by unplugging cell phone chargers, computers, and other appliances that drain energy when not in use.
LADWP has energy-saving tools, programs, and tips that can help you take a bite out of your electricity bill. Try the Energy Advisor to assess your home's energy efficiency and follow some simple energy conservation tips to reduce your energy costs. Energy efficiency is key to saving money today and an important part of our work toward achieving a clean energy future for L.A. together.
And it is never too early to teach energy conservation to kids of all ages. With a new school year underway and distance learning continuing, LADWP offers several resources that students, teachers and parents can access online.
Please click here for a variety of Earth-Friendly Lessons for School and Home including online resources for students of all ages and their teachers, related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, water sustainability and career information.
Pet Food Pantry Event - Monday, October 26
If you or someone you know needs a bag of pet food to feed your furry family member, LA Animal Services is ready to help.
If you would like to donate to LA Animal Services' Pet Food Pantry program, please consider making a donation to: laanimalservices.com/donate
To RSVP, please visit: laanimalservices.com/petfoodpantry
Get Up and Dance Challenge
Fostering Dreams Project is a non-profit organization that partners with various organizations and school districts to bring a comprehensive curriculum designed to enrich the lives of foster youth academically and socially. During this pandemic, when social distancing has become the norm to help reduce the spread of the virus and stay healthy, many individuals have become isolated and inactive. Here is an important reminder from Melanie Buttarazzi, Executive Director for Fostering Dreams Project:
It’s important that we stay in motion to help regulate hormones, relieve stress, and boost our immune system with movement to get the heart rate up!
Dancing is that perfect combination of physical activity, social interaction, and mental stimulation that brings so much to life. It’s a great workout with documented physical and mental health benefits; it can also enhance self-confidence; reduce stress and depression; promote relaxation; is a wonderful outlet for self-expression and creativity; and it’s FUN!! With all these reasons to start dancing – the Fostering Dreams Project challenges you to Get Up and Move! Even if it’s for just 3 minutes! Please take the Dance challenge . . .Click on This Link and watch a throwback video of how people used to Get Up and MOVE!
To learn more about the Fostering Dreams Project and the impact it is making in the lives of foster youth through the art of dance, please visit: https://www.fosteringdreamsproject.org/