Los Angeles has lost two of its greatest goodwill ambassadors within 24 hours who, coincidentally, had LA in their hearts and in the center of their names - Dodgers hall of fame baseball manager Tommy Lasorda and my dear friend Tom LaBonge, former Los Angeles City Councilmember. Their loss is being mourned citywide.
My friend Tom LaBonge was not only a councilmember, he was the ultimate goodwill ambassador and informal Los Angeles historian. A ball of energy, he was a super-nice guy who would give walking tours of historic City Hall to random visitors he would meet. He paid attention to great detail and remembered every councilmember's high school (including their mascot.) He was the role model for how to provide amazing constituent services. He loved everything about Los Angeles, from Griffith Park to our historic eateries and hang-outs such as Pink's and Musso & Frank. But more than that, Councilmember LaBonge was a man who recognized every human being and exuberantly loved people. He had a knack for making them feel appreciated. I can't imagine the City of Los Angeles without him. My staff and I are so deeply sorry and send condolences to his family Brigid, his wife of 41 years, his son Charles, and his daughter Mary Cate, friends and the entire City of Los Angeles.
Both Tom and Tommy were the City's ultimate cheerleaders, and I was thrilled to share time with both greats at City Hall when I hosted a birthday celebration for Lasorda's 90th. At least Tommy Lasorda lived to see the Dodgers win the series again after he led them to the World Championship twice in the 1980s. I can imagine them having a ball playing catch in the Dodger blue sky.
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Fifth District
In the News
Koretz Calls On Congress to Make Domestic Terrorism A Crime
Back in November 2020, Councilmember Koretz introduced a resolution calling on Congress to once and for all define “domestic terrorism” as a crime in federal law. The resolution initially pointed to the plot to kidnap and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the fact that those arrested for the plot were domestic terrorists but had to be charged with other crimes to be prosecuted.
With this week’s outrageous invasion of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Donald Trump supporters seeking to disrupt the congressional process of ratifying the results of the presidential election, the same issue is back in the spotlight, making the Councilmember’s proposal more timely than ever.
The resolution (Council File 21-0002-S3) specifically asks that the City pursue legislation in Congress that would add “domestic terrorism” to the menu of federal crimes and is awaiting a hearing in the City Council’s Rules Committee.
A Negative Test is Not A Clearance to Gather
The LA County Department of Health would like to remind everyone that the strategy of testing in order to gather with others is flawed. A person is negative only at the time they get tested - not necessarily the next day or the day after. In other words, by the time you receive the news of a negative test result, you may no longer be negative. If this is indeed the case, and even if you have no symptoms, you can still infect others. This virus spreads easily when folks are not wearing face coverings, and not keeping their social distance.
(L.A. public health officials suggest waiting three days to get tested after exposure to COVID-19. You may need to get tested more than once.)
Vaccine Information and Updates
Some groups in Los Angeles County are already being vaccinated. These groups include staff who work in acute care hospitals, residents and staff at Skilled Nursing Facilities, and emergency medical technicians and paramedics.
That said, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to be safe and very effective in preventing COVID-19 cases 95% of the time in large studies that involved a diverse mix of people. While the vaccine stops people from getting sick, however, it is not yet clear if it stops them from spreading COVID-19 to other people, nor is it yet known for how long they will be immune. So, everyone must still wear a face covering, physically distance, and not gather.
Click here to learn Where You Are in Vaccine Distribution
The COVID-19 vaccine will be free for everyone and will be offered to different groups in phases. It is also likely to be available to the general public in Spring/Summer 2021. Please talk to your doctor or sign up for email updates to find out when vaccines will be available to you.
As usually happens during a crisis, misinformation circulates and scammers are at work trying to cheat people out of their money. Please remember that the COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed in Los Angeles County in a fair and transparent way. If someone offers to sell you a chance to get vaccinated before it is your turn, it’s a scam.
Click here for Frequently Asked Questions where you can also sign up for alerts and updates.
Click here for the phases and tiers of vaccine distribution.
Click here for an easy, color-coded way to track distribution in the County.
Encino Residents - Neighborhood Council Election Candidate Filing Now Open
The Encino Neighborhood Council (ENC) elections will be on May 4th, 2021 and this is your opportunity to run for a seat on the council and make a difference in your community!
Candidate filing started on January 2nd and runs through February 16th. To register as a candidate, please visit http://clerkappsele.lacity.org/NCElection. All positions will be open for election. To view these positions, please visit the ENC's website at www.encinonc.org where you'll be able to see the requirements for each position. To run as an Area Rep you must reside within the boundaries of the area. However, if you are unable to meet this requirement, there are other positions available to run for.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all voting will be by mail or at a drop-off location. In order to vote you will need to request a ballot which you can request starting on March 3rd through April 27th, 2021 by clicking here.
The ENC is an advisory board to the City on issues pertaining to Encino. As a Board Member, you can weigh in on important developments, new legislation, homelessness, and many other matters. This is a great way to make a difference in your community and also help shape the future of Encino. Please keep in mind, if you want to be a candidate, you should start getting ready for the filing process which starts on January 2nd and closes on February 16. Questions may be sent to email@example.com.
ALERT: Athens RecycLA Services Rate Increased Effective January 1st
Effective January 1, 2021, allowed per the recycLA contract, there will be a 6.15% rate increase to cover the calculated indexes for operational costs, rising costs in the recycling market, and the development and implementation of programs necessary to comply with state-mandated organics recycling.
If customers have any inquiries on their 2021 billing, please contact the City’s Customer Care Center at 1-800-773-2489.
DMV Suspends Behind-the-Wheel Driving Tests Through January
Due to the pandemic, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will continue its temporary suspension of behind-the-wheel driving tests until at least February 1st. The DMV previously suspended the tests until January 11th but is taking this additional step for the health and safety of customers and employees during the ongoing statewide surge in COVID-19 cases.
Customers with appointments scheduled through January 29th will be notified that their tests are postponed, but the DMV will automatically reschedule the tests at a later date.
In-vehicle testing is a requirement for first-time driver’s license holders and commercial license applicants. The temporary suspension includes commercial and noncommercial tests but does not apply to motorcycle drive tests, which can be conducted at a safe distance.
The DMV previously extended eligible permits with expiration dates through May 31, 2021, for six months from the date of expiration, or to a date 24 months from the date of application, whichever is earlier. This automatic extension requires no paperwork and gives student drivers more time during the COVID-19 pandemic to complete the prerequisites needed for a provisional license.
In accordance with updated guidance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the DMV is issuing an extension through February 28, 2021, to all commercial driver’s licenses, commercial learner’s permits, and endorsements expiring between March 2020 and February 28, 2021. Commercial drivers with current, valid medical certifications that expire on or after September 1, 2020, through February 28, 2021, have an extension until February 28, 2021, to obtain a new certification.
To protect customers and employees, the DMV requires everyone who enters DMV offices to wear a face covering, have their temperature checked, and to physically distance. To help the distancing process, the number of people allowed in the office is limited, chairs are appropriately spaced and plexiglass has been installed.
Safety measures in place for when behind-the-wheel tests resume include required face coverings, temperature checks, cracked windows for increased air circulation, and seat covers.
While DMV offices remain open to serve the public, the DMV continues to encourage all customers to use its online services, expanded virtual services, and other service channels to complete transactions, including eligible driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals. Nearly all Californians can now renew their driver’s license online – even if the renewal notice states an office visit is required. Customers can also use the Service Advisor on the DMV website to learn their options to complete DMV tasks.
COVID-19 Relief Grants Available for Small Businesses and Nonprofits
The State has released details on a COVID-19 relief grant between $5K-$25K for both small businesses and nonprofits. The Round 1 deadline is January 13th to apply for a Care Relief Grant. More information is available at https://careliefgrant.com/
January is National Blood Donor Month, Donate This Weekend at Beverly Center & Cedars-Sinai
Cedar-sSinai is hosting a blood drive in conjunction with the Beverly Center, 8500 Beverly Blvd.) through January 10th in honor of National Blood Donor month (dates and times are below.) Please help make a difference especially during this challenging time. For all successful blood donors, applicable testing is included & one may also find out their blood type. Everything is completely free and donors will receive a Tocaya Organica gift card. Comfortable indoor arrangements inside Osteria Cal Mare restaurant (1st floor). Complimentary validated parking inside the structure. Use La Cienega Blvd entrance for self-parking
Saturday, January 9, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. RSVP here
Sunday, January 10, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. RSVP here
if you have any questions please email Elnie.Vannatim@cshs.org
Walk on the Wild Side Webinars with LA Animal Services
Join LA Animal Services on Tuesday, January 12th at 6 p.m. via Zoom for an educational session about the wildlife you may encounter in your neighborhood. To sign up for the Wildlife Workshop, please visit laanimalservices.com/about-us-2/calendar/, and click "Events" in the menu to register for the webinar through our calendar.
ADOPT SOME LOVE
This gorgeous gal loves to cuddle and has a loving personality. Zoe is 4-years-old and weighs 13-lbs. If you are interested in adopting or fostering Zoe, please contact our West LA Animal Services Center at 888-452-7381 and provide Zoe's animal ID number (#A1671948).
Foghorn Leghorn needs a home
Did you know that chickens and roosters make great companion animals? They have unique personalities and make great indoor and outdoor pets! If you are interested in adopting Foghorn Leghorn, or any of our other chickens or roosters, please contact our West LA Animal Services Center at 888-452-7381 and provide their animal ID number (#A1961742).
Bring Home ‘Ol Sinatra
'Ol Sinatra has the most beautiful baby blue eyes, but don't let his age fool you. He's a very active dude who loves to explore new things! 'Ol Sinatra is 10-years-old and weighs 58-lbs. If you are interested in adopting or fostering 'Ol Sinatra, please call our East Valley Animal Services Center at 888-452-7381 and provide his animal ID number (#A1361680).
Hang Around w Harry and Larry
Looking for a smaller pet to give a home? We have turtles, like Harry and Larry! If you are interested in adopting Harry (#A1962077) or Larry (#A1962079), or any of our other turtles, please contact our East Valley Animal Services Center at 888-452-7381 and provide Harry and Larry's animal ID number.
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: