A Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I know that this year has tested everyone’s values and patience through the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic that has wrought uncertainties across all aspects of life, loss and financial hardship, the contentious federal election, and, for so many of us, the loss of a friend or a loved one. And certainly, the isolation of the pandemic has made longing for loved ones over the holidays even more challenging. And yet while warnings about holiday pandemic spread have been well-publicized, throngs of people are filling our airports and the public are out in close proximity to each other shopping for last-minute Thanksgiving items. This has me seriously concerned.
That is why I am sending this plea to remember that the reasons why we quarantine are intertwined with the purpose of Thanksgiving celebrations --the love, care, and gratitude for our friends and family. With that in mind, please do your best to avoid coming in contact with anyone outside of your household whenever possible. If you need to run an errand or need supplies, consider curbside pickup or even a few extra dollars for delivery or better yet, decide if it really is necessary at all.
This Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, please show your loved ones your utmost respect, support and honor by not gathering if at all possible. Please continue to follow the state and local public health guidelines and avoid holiday travel, make sure to wear your masks, and get together with only members of your immediate household. This will save lives so that we can all join our loved ones again for future celebrations when it is safer to do so.
Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving in the hope that all future celebrations will be brighter and even more joyous when everyone can gather in health.
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Fifth District
In the News
FROM THE DESK OF JEFF EBENSTEIN
DIRECTOR OF POLICY & LEGISLATION
Councilmember Koretz Seeks Storage and Distribution Plan for Vaccine Potential Arrival
The COVID-19 pandemic has been deadly to Angelenos and destructive to LA’s economy. Those in the most polluted areas have the worst health outcomes when exposed to the virus, as do the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Frontline and essential workers are also at high risk, especially medical workers.
While in the immediate future we must follow health protocols more effectively, in the long-term the widespread use of effective vaccines seems to be the best hope of combating the spread.
Vaccines with promising data have been announced and others will follow. The vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna will each require two doses. Initial doses of such vaccines could induce side effects that are similar to symptoms associated with a mild case of COVID-19, including high fever, muscle pain, chills, exhaustion and headaches.
Today Councilmember Koretz introduced a motion to direct the Chief Legislative Analyst to work with the Los Angeles County Department of Health and report back to the full Council when the Council reconvenes in January 2021, after its Winter recess to address plans for acceptance and distribution of the vaccine. Many of the concerns to be addressed will include the need for ultra-cold storage for some of the vaccines; factors around the administration of the vaccines such as who will give the shot, who will get the shot and in what priority, and how to ensure return for the second shot/vaccination; and also the publicity campaign to get people to take the vaccine, particularly because the Pew Research polling estimated 49% of the people say they won’t get it. Also of importance, an education campaign for people receiving the vaccine: how soon does it take protective effect, do they still need to follow the rest of the health guidelines, including masking and physical distancing; and when to return for the second phase of the vaccination.
"We need to make sure that the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine is met with a carefully planned storage and distribution strategy to get it immediately to those who need it most and make it readily available to as many Angelenos as possible,” said Councilmember Koretz. “Moreover, it will take a targeted marketing campaign to make sure that all of our communities understand the importance of getting immunized as the best hope of combating spread, to understand the process, and for them to have immediate and affordable access as soon as possible. The purpose of today's motion is to serve as a catalyst to determine what plans are in place now, what's missing, and to mobilize a strategy that can be executed immediately upon delivery of these life-saving vaccines."
Tax Penalty Amnesty Program
In an effort to provide financial relief to distressed businesses negatively impacted by the current economic climate, the Office of Finance will administer a Tax Penalty Amnesty Program through December 17, 2020. The City of Los Angeles will waive penalties for the following: Business Tax; Communications, Electricity & Gas Users Tax; Commercial Tenants Tax; and Transient and Parking Occupancy Tax, provided that businesses pay any outstanding principal, interest and applicable fees owed to the City.
Who is Eligible?
- Registered businesses operating in the City of Los Angeles who are behind on paying taxes
- Registered businesses operating in the City of Los Angeles who have underreported their business activities
- Unregistered businesses
Any penalties paid prior to October 1, 2020 will not be eligible for a refund. The offer is good between October 1, 2020 through December 17, 2020 and the program shall apply to penalties for delinquent tax liabilities for tax periods ending on or before December 17, 2020. Please note that participation in the Tax Amnesty program is voluntary and non-participation does not impact a taxpayer’s administrative appeal rights.
Please note that the City Hall, West LA, and Figueroa Plaza One-Stop Locations are closed at this time. However, the Van Nuys location is open with the following adjusted schedule:
- Monday: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Tuesday: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Thursday: 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Friday: Closed
Please contact customer service at 844-663-4411 Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and on Wednesday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm or visit the web page for frequently asked questions and payment and application information at finance.lacity.org/amnesty
West LA Traffic Advisory, Roscomare Rd from Stradella to Roscomare
City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Street Services will be repairing the street due to a water main rupture. Traffic will be restricted during the scheduled Monday, November 30th to Tuesday, December 1st from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. between 2113 Roscomare Rd. at Stradella Rd. to 2066 Roscomare Rd. Click the flyer below for more details.
Free Workers' Rights Clinic Available for ALL LA County Residents
Bet Tzedek is helping all LA County residents, regardless of status, who need assistance with their unemployment and economic insecurity by hosting free, confidential telephone clinics on Wednesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and each clinic is set up to assist with the following matters:
Unemployment insurance claims and appeals
Workplace safety concerns
Sick pay and leave questions
Discrimination and harassment
Interested participants may sign up for the clinic by calling (323) 939-0506, ext. 415 and leaving a voicemail. Bet Tzedek is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income residents of Los Angeles County, regardless of immigration status or religion.
Free Legal Help Clinic for Veterans - December 3rd
Q.me Place, in partnership with the non-profit U.S.VETS, is hosting the 2nd annual Lawyers Serving Veterans Day virtual legal clinic on December 3. Attorneys from California and elsewhere will provide pro bono legal self-help assistance to veterans using the cloud-based video queuing and matching platform.
If you know veterans in California that might benefit from pro bono legal self-help, please have them contact email@example.com to sign up. If you are a licensed California attorney and would like to assist, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blood Donations Make A Difference - Please Give December 6th
The Bel Air Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council is co-hosting a blood drive for Cedars-Sinai at Tree People at 12601 Mulholland Dr., on December 6th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and all donors get a free COVID antibody test! To sign up, go to donatebloodcedars.org click "Locate a Blood Drive" and enter group code BABC. If you are not sure that you are eligible, you can find out here.
Join the Bioneers 2020 Virtual Conference
The year 2020 has been marked by a convergence of crises. The latent realities of climate change, racial injustice, specifically exploitation and inequality have been rawly exposed, leaving people to feel discouraged and disempowered around the world. Bioneers has long been on the forefront of the environmental change movement and, particularly this year, as we begin rebuilding and their Bioneers 2020 Conference is readily available to all, we wanted to make sure you were aware of it. The holistic and justice-centered visions being presented in the conference line up with how I am approaching our Climate Emergency Mobilization Office, our Biodiversity and Wildlife Habitat Connectivity, our Healthy Parks/Healthy Soils and other efforts. You are invited to tune in to learn from visionary thought leaders, activists and scientists who are leading the world’s most pressing movements to hear their answers to this question, as they come together to share their innovative solutions.
Bioneers from around the world will gather online for world-class keynote presentations, interactive networking, and engaging panel discussions with leaders on the cutting edge of systems change.
We are in a transformative moment. As we challenge our world’s outdated systems and institutions, we must seize this moment to rebuild a more equitable and regenerative world together. What will it look like?
Many among the Bioneers are inspired by the wisdom of nature, by learning from 3.8 billion years of evolution what creates conditions conducive to all of life. Diverse leaders – many from BIPOC communities – address our most challenging issues, from racial justice and economic equity to climate, education, arts, food sovereignty, wildlands and health. Bioneers’ spectrum of solutions includes women’s leadership, nature’s intelligence, Indigenous leadership, youth leadership, arts, democracy, emotional and social healing, and much more. We take a whole-systems approach, embodied in community, offering a future vision that is within our grasp today.
Participatory offerings each day include council sessions: talking circles hosted by skillful guides intended for deep listening, integrating and taking in the community’s sharing of their reflections in a sacred, confidential and compassionate context. We’re excited to host community conversations, which begin with impassioned talks on timely and relevant topics.
Our shared work is more important now than ever, so please join us for this social and personal awakening — a true Revolution from the Heart of Nature — so we may change the world from the inside out.
Please watch the video to learn more or get your tickets now at conference.bioneers.org.
Weekly Grab and Go Free Meals Offered at Collin Katz Family YMCA
If you or someone you know is struggling, please share the following information to anyone who may be interested in receiving meals during these difficult times. Free grab and go meals are offered every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Collins Katz Family YMCA located at 1466 S Westgate Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90025. Please email questions to Aaron Donahue at email@example.com.
Kudos to Community Nonprofit Hand Sanitizer Fairy Distribution
Councilmember Koretz and staff would like to send heartfelt thanks to LA Works who partnered with our office to distribute dozens of gallons of hand sanitizer to several local nonprofit organizations.
A special shoutout goes to Nahtahna Cabanes, LA Works’ VP of strategic partnerships for her instrumental work in determining the right organizations and distributing the hand sanitizer for our office, which came as a private donation.
The Good Seed
The Richstone Family Center
St. Francis Center
Share a Meal
Motor Ave. Improvement Association
First AME Church (for their food distribution events)
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 (Bel Air/ Encino) and through email firstname.lastname@example.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: