This week I invited Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Director of LA County Public Health, to join us in the City Council to answer a variety of direct questions about the pandemic and the best ways the public may obtain accurate information and acquire vaccine appointments. My goal was to clarify things because I have heard from so many of you who are getting confusing information from the City, County, and State.
We were also joined by Jaime Garcia, Regional Vice President at Hospital Association of Southern California and LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas to answer questions about hospitals, vaccines, and testing site centers.
You can tune in to watch the entire Q&A with Dr Ferrer here and hopefully find answers to the questions you have been asking.
Outdoor Dining Resumes
Please note, as of Friday, January 29th, restaurants may resume outdoor dining per the County’s new orders,. This will include requiring a greater distance between tables with table occupancy limited to no more than 6 people from one household only. Also, masks and face shields will be required for all workers interfacing with patrons. Details are posted here.
Gathering with those outside your household remains prohibited everywhere even for those who have had an initial vaccine. The public needs to continue to adhere to safety protocols by avoiding crowds, social distancing, and wearing face-coverings whenever one is in the company of anyone outside their household, and sanitizing or washing hands regularly.
Proposed COVID-19 Memorial
And, although the dim light shines ahead, we still have a very long way out of this tunnel. Los Angeles County reported more than 16,000 deaths as of January 2021, and significantly, sixty-two percent of these deaths were from individuals 65 years or older. The devastating sorrow of family members and friends succumbing to COVID-19 will remain in the hearts of millions of Angelenos for generations to come. The complexity of the human loss, from the seniors who provided guidance and wisdom, to our frontline essential workers and medical staff to all those friends and family members who were stricken with this scourge, make it critical that the City remember and recognize this period of history and its impact on our communities. Therefore, the City must begin the difficult and preliminary discussion of a memorial to victims of COVID-19 with the goal of healing, remembrance for loved ones lost, and bringing peace to our communities.
That is why, this week I introduced a motion instructing the Department of Cultural Affairs to lead preliminary discussions with all elected officials and other City leadership in the development of a memorial to the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to consider and report on such matters as scale, location, type of installation, and a plan for public input.
Although for those of us who have evaded or survived this pandemic, we have all been touched and our lives changed in so many significant ways, we shall not soon forget this very dark time; and the lives of all those who have been taken from us by COVID-19 should be remembered in perpetuity.
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Fifth District
In the News
COVID-19 VACCINE FAQ
All Los Angeles residents 65 and older are now eligible for the vaccine in L.A. County, joining healthcare workers, certain essential frontline workers, and residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities on the list of those who can currently get vaccinated. You do not have to live in the City to make an appointment at one of our sites, and if you are a City of L.A. resident, you can also visit any L.A. County site, as well. For those 65+ who DO NOT have access to the internet, please call 833-540-0473 to set up an appointment. It is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Please click here to sign up for vaccine appointments and updated information from the LA County Department of Health.
Please click here for vaccine information distribution and future phase rollout distribution in the County.
The following information only applies if you were vaccinated at a County of Los Angeles site.
Later this week, the County will begin to send emails to those vaccinated at a County site confirming the place and date of their second dose appointment. All you will need to do is confirm the time that works for you via the registration link you get in your email. Please try to keep your appointments for the second dose. If you need to reschedule due to an emergency, you will be provided with an email address to contact us.
Residents with disabilities or without computer access can call 833-540-0473 between 8:00 am and 8:30 pm 7 days a week for assistance with appointments.
City of LA Appoints Environmental Justice Leader Marta Segura As Director of World’s First Climate Emergency Mobilization Office
Councilmember Koretz and Mayor Garcetti announced this week that Marta Segura, longtime environmental justice leader, has been hired as Director of the world’s first Climate Emergency Mobilization Office, initially launched by Councilmembers Koretz and Blumenfield (CD3) in a unique partnership with the Leap LA Coalition and a citywide alliance of allies. It is designed with environmental justice at its core to address both toxic neighborhood pollution and climate emissions by engaging leadership from frontline, Indigenous and labor communities who are already being most negatively impacted. After a rigorous interview process involving community groups and Council offices, C40 Chair and Climate Mayors founder, Mayor Eric Garcetti, announced his hiring decision.
Segura will develop and oversee the Climate Emergency Mobilization Office (CEMO) and work closely with the newly-established Climate Emergency Commission (CEC). The mission of the CEMO and CEC is to work with the Mayor, City Council, Board of Public Works and City Departments to identify and enact strategies and policies to mitigate, prevent and undo those impacts - and to ensure that indigenous, underserved and frontline communities have a seat at the table in that process. In practical terms, that participation will be realized with the CEC, which will be made up of community leaders representing our most burdened communities, alongside climate, clean air and labor experts.
"The hope is that, in the short time we have to turn this disaster around, we can take dramatic steps and provide leadership not only in our own City, but as an example others can follow beyond our borders,” said CEMO lead author City Councilmember Paul Koretz. “In short, we need to mobilize.” Upon LA’s initial announcement of the CEMO effort, the Berkeley City Council was inspired to formally declare a “climate emergency,” followed by others around the Bay area, then London, England, followed by a cascade and then an avalanche of over 1860 municipalities around the world in only a couple of years.
Watch a one-minute video from Councilmember Koretz to learn more about this announcement and the role of the CEMO Department
The Leap LA Coalition said jointly, “The Leap LA Coalition applauds the hiring of the City of LA’s first Climate Emergency Mobilization Office Director. Having worked closely with Councilmember Koretz and the Mayor’s Office to institutionalize an intersectional, community-led approach to achieving climate justice, we look forward to working in partnership with incoming Director, Marta Segura, to enact community-driven solutions to our climate crisis.” [The Leap LA Coalition includes: Communities for a Better Environment, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), and Pacoima Beautiful].
Public Comments on LA Metro’s Recovery Task Force Draft Final Report Due February 8th
This week, the Metro Board of Directors voted to restore funding and transit service, and work to address riders’ needs. This is an important step in remedying cuts that have disproportionately impacted low-income Angelenos. However, it’s also important that we take the steps needed to keep riders and Metro staff safe. Furthermore, Councilmember Koretz has been hearing from residents about health impacts to transit riders and staff, which is why he introduced a motion instructing the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to report back on measures to reduce virus transmission and also to mitigate service disruptions to ensure riders are commuting safely.
Following the release of the Metro Recovery Task Force’s report and recommendations for bringing back service, Councilmember Koretz also sent a letter to Metro CEO Phil Washington with additional recommendations for keeping riders and Metro staff safe while commuting.
Here is the information that the Recovery Task Force has now delivered in a draft of its final report which includes discussion of how the pandemic has impacted Metro and Los Angeles County, updates on progress toward the task force’s initial recommendations, and a new set of final recommendations with implementation plans.
You can read Councilmember Koretz’s letter to Phil Washington encouraging Metro to not only move forward with the recommendations included in the Recovery Task Force’s report, but also view it as a springboard for innovative solutions that can make Los Angeles a better place to live, work and be in the long run.
The task force is seeking public input on these draft final recommendations no later than February 8, 2021.
LAFD PROVIDES SANDBAGS FOR HOMEOWNERS
To help City of Los Angeles residents prepare for rainstorm needs, the Los Angeles Fire Department provides free ready-to-fill sandbags at all Neighborhood Fire Stations, with sand* also available for free at sites listed below.
* Sand may be desirable, but local soil can also be used to effectively fill sandbags.
Properly filled and placed sandbags are best used to divert (rather than dam) moving water, redirecting storm and debris flow away from property and other structures and improvements. Sandbagging and flood control is a labor intensive process that can lead to injury. Please follow important safety guidelines and consider hiring a licensed contractor for any large or special needs.
The following locations in CD5 now offering free sand (free ready-to-fill sandbags are available at all fire stations):
- Bel Air / Beverly Glen (south) - Fire Station 71, 107 South Beverly Glen Boulevard
- Beverly Glen (north) - Fire Station 99, 14145 Mulholland Drive
- Encino Hills - Fire Station 109, 16500 Mulholland Drive
- Palms - Fire Station 43, 3690 Motor Avenue
Click here for a complete list of locations throughout the City of Los Angeles.
DMV Now Offering Behind-the-Wheel Driving Tests Beginning February 1; Previously postponed tests will be automatically rescheduled
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will resume behind-the-wheel driving tests statewide on February 1st. The DMV previously postponed all behind-the-wheel tests through the end of January for the health and safety of customers and employees during the statewide surge in COVID-19 cases.
The DMV will automatically reschedule customers for behind-the-wheel driving test appointments that were canceled between December 14 and February 1. Rescheduling is expected to begin in the next two weeks, and customers will be notified by text of their rescheduled appointment. DMV anticipates new appointments for behind-the-wheel tests will be available in mid-February once all previously postponed tests have been rescheduled.
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. The DMV also has extended expiring commercial driver’s licenses, commercial learner’s permits, certificates and endorsements through February 28, 2021.
To protect customers and employees, the DMV requires everyone who enters DMV offices to wear a face covering, physically distance, respond to health screening questions, and have their temperature checked. To best serve customers and maintain appropriate distance, the number of people allowed in the office is limited, chairs are appropriately spaced and plexiglass has been installed.
In addition, safety measures in place for behind-the-wheel tests include required face coverings, responding to health screening questions, 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.
Register to Join UCLA Luskin Center’s Upcoming Virtual Summit: Preparing for Even Wilder Wildfires
Wildfires ravaged an unprecedented amount of California in the past 12 months and this session will explore the impacts of wildfires on health, low-income housing and small water systems, as well as highlight innovative tactics to increase resiliency, especially for populations that are most vulnerable to wildfire.
The third Luskin Summit is taking place as a series of webinars about the COVID-19 pandemic and other public issues. Registration is available for several sessions, including next week's session focusing on wildfires on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 11:00 a.m.
WILDFIRES HAVE RAVAGED unprecedented swaths of California in recent years. Explore the impacts of these blazes on health, low-income housing and small water systems. Learn about innovative tactics to increase resiliency among vulnerable populations.
Please sign up for other 2021 Luskin Virtual Summits here. The content will be available through May 1st.
Traffic Improvements - Installation of Yellow Delineators on Sepulveda
Perhaps you have noticed that the Department of Transportation has placed yellow delineator markers along the centerline of Sepulveda Blvd. across from the National Cemetery. Until recently the Veteran’s Administration was being used as a COVID-19 testing site that had a queue of cars lining up along the southbound side of Sepulveda from the VA to Constitution Avenue. Unfortunately, northbound drivers were illegally making unsafe U-turns to quickly get to the back of the queue to the detriment of both lanes of traffic and a nuisance to Westwood Hills area residents. Thanks to the Department of Transportation, the new yellow delineator markers should now help to greatly deter drivers from making this illegal and unsafe turns. Although this site has since been closed for testing, it could potentially reopen as a vaccination site in the weeks and months to come.
LA Animal Services has created a Pet Resource Guideand a Community Resource Guide for LA City Residents. The Pet Resource Guide provides LA City Residents with information on adopting, fostering, spay and neuter services, lost and found resources, the Pet Food Pantry, and more! The Community Resource Guide contains resources for LA City residents that may need assistance with food, housing, and additional pet resources. To view our resource guides, please visit: laanimalservices.com/resource-guides/