Vaccine distribution may point to some light at the end of the tunnel. That’s why the County has announced that schools outside of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) may be permitted to reopen. This is certainly a positive sign of the direction of the pandemic and I am hopeful that once all of our school faculty have received vaccination, LAUSD schools will be ready to launch their reopening and get children back on track academically and socially.
The Jewish holiday of Purim will take place on the evening of February 25th and all day February 26th. This holiday reminds us that one evil voice can lead others to embrace unwarranted racism and hatred, but it also teaches us that even just one brave voice of justice can also be the impetus in stopping bigotry. As we celebrate the holiday of Purim let us each embrace this voice of justice. A freilichen Purim (Yiddish: Happy Purim).
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Fifth District
LAPD to Report Back on Increased Crime Numbers
In the wake of a health and economic crisis, the City has experienced levels of violent crimes not seen in decades. In 2020, the City of Los Angeles fell victim to dangerous and deadly levels of violent crime with increases in homicides, aggravated assaults, motor vehicle theft, shots fired and victims shot. The City hadn’t experienced this type of detrimental impact in decades. Consequently, residential neighborhoods, houses of worship and businesses have felt the pain of both the pandemic and the aggressive criminal element that has wreaked havoc. As such, Councilmember Koretz has introduced a motion asking the LAPD to report back to the Public Safety committee with a focused plan to address this alarming increase.
Support for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield and Paul Krekorian joined Councilmember Koretz in proposing that the City Council vote to support President Joe Biden’s “American Rescue Act,” technically known as Senate Concurrent Resolution 5 (SCR-5).
This crucial legislation currently proposes that the federal government spend $1.9 trillion on COVID-related health measures, support for individuals, families with children, small businesses, renters and property owners and, importantly, state and local governments suffering from the fiscal damage done by the COVID pandemic. It would also provide up to $1,400 in a direct payment for qualified individuals.
Currently being considered in the House of Representatives, SCR-5 includes $350 billion for state and local governments. They have been specifically left out of previous COVID rescue and stimulus bills due to Republican opposition in the U.S. Senate, but the changes in membership since January 5th substantially improve the prospects for this funding to remain in the package this time around. Initial estimates would have the City of Los Angeles be eligible for more than $1.2 billion which could be used for COVID-related uses as well as to replace lost revenues due to the negative impacts of the pandemic.
The bill is expected to pass out of the House and be sent to the U.S. Senate the week of February 22nd where the Biden administration hopes it will receive approval in some form in time to allow for the extension of expiring unemployment benefit enhancements in mid-March.
Councilmember Koretz, Blumenfield, and Krekorian’s resolution of support is pending before the Council’s Rules Committee (chaired by Council President Nury Martinez), but the hope is that the urgency of the situation will cause it to be waived directly to the full Council for consideration in the coming days.
LA City Council Announces Youth Council
Three Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion Wednesday to create a youth council similar to the one created by former Mayor Tom Bradley which two of the council members served on.
The motion, introduced by Councilmember Koretz, Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, and Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, would instruct the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to create the “Olivia Mitchell Youth Council” made up of two youth representatives from each Los Angeles council district.
The council would be similar to the Youth Advisory Council that Bradley established in 1974, and it would be named for Mitchell, who oversaw the council.
Councilmember Koretz, who was part of the Youth Advisory Council, said, “The group under Olivia’s leadership was my first opportunity to participate in government as a young person. Her guidance and mentorship helped get me involved in what would be a lengthy career in public service and I will always be grateful to her.”
Child Tax Credit
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has created economic hardship for many Angelenos— especially working-class families and in communities of color. Consequently, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have unveiled an Enhanced Child Tax Credit bill which would give families $3,600 per child under six and $3,000 per child aged six to 17. This week, Councilmember Koretz introduced a Resolution in support of this bill in bringing relief to families facing hardships in our City.
Please, click here to watch Councilmember Koretz address City Council about the importance of the motion.
The Office of the Mayor has issued important updates regarding the City's vaccine distribution process. Due to storms across the country, Los Angeles had to reschedule vaccinations on Friday to accommodate vaccine shipment delays and supply limits.
If you signed up for your first dose at a City site but received a notification that your appointment is delayed, don’t worry: your appointment has likely already been rescheduled.
Mayor Garcetti has also announced the launch of the Mobile Outreach for Vaccine Equity (MOVE) program –– an effort to scale up mobile vaccinations in some of the most vulnerable parts of Los Angeles.
Here are more highlights from Mayor Garcetti's Vax Facts newsletter:
SECOND DOSE APPOINTMENTS AFTER THIS WEEK: If you received your first dose of vaccine at a City site but are not due for your second dose this week, you will receive an email and text messages with information about your second dose appointment 3 to 7 days beforehand.
‘MOVE’ PROGRAM: MOVE will put a total of ten mobile vaccination teams in the field by the end of March, deploying them to areas with a high COVID-19 risk profile. When we get the supply over the coming weeks and months, these teams will scale up their operations and have the capacity to vaccinate thousands of people every day in neighborhoods across the city.
VACCINE ACCESS FOR ALL ABILITIES: An express lane is now open at Dodger Stadium for customers of Access Services, the agency that provides transportation to Angelenos with disabilities. The new express lane will open on Monday, February 22nd, and beginning this Sunday night, Access riders can book their vaccination appointment pending availability and a round-trip ride to Dodger Stadium by calling (626) 532-1616.
ELIGIBLE NOW: All L.A. residents 65 and older are eligible for the vaccine in L.A. County, in addition to healthcare workers, certain essential frontline workers, and residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities.
UP NEXT: L.A. County announced those who are in Phase 1B, Tier 1 –– including teachers and workers in education and childcare, food and agriculture, and emergency service and law enforcement will become eligible for vaccination on March 1st. In addition, the State announced that vaccinations will open to residents between 16 and 64 years old who have certain disabilities or severe underlying medical conditions on March 15th. Sign up to be automatically notified when you become eligible for the vaccine. You can also use this portal to also check what phase you'll be in.
VACCINATION SITES: More than 350 locations are currently vaccinating people in L.A. County. As doses become available in the coming months, more sites and providers will administer shots. When your turn arrives, you can make an appointment through the County hub and bring your ID to the site. If you are 65 or older, have a disability, or do not have access to the internet and need assistance making your vaccination appointment, you can contact the County’s Call Center –– open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. –– at (833) 540-0473. You can also talk with your doctor about getting vaccinated.
GET THE LATEST INFORMATION: Get key information by signing up for email updates from the L.A. County Department of Public Health. When your turn comes, make an appointment. Sign up for the Mayor's VaxFacts newsletter here. You can also check out their Frequently Asked Questions.
Senior Town Hall with Senator Ben Allen
Through a virtual town hall next Tuesday, February 23 at 3:00 p.m., Senator Ben Allen hopes to provide some clarity about health resources that can help seniors navigate these difficult times. Dr. Sion Roy, immediate past President of the Los Angeles County Medical Association and cardiologist at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and Dr. Seira Kurian from the L.A. County Department of Public Health will join Senator Allen to discuss state and medical leaders' COVID-19 response, and we will offer a chance to ask questions.
Please submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Senior Town Hall Question" and please send your e-mail by 5:00 p.m. on February 22 to ensure they can fine-tune our presentation to best serve your needs.
You can join the town hall live at 3:00 p.m. on February 23 via Sen. Allen’s Facebook Page or Twitter Page, by Zoom, or by phone number +1(888) 475-4499.
Hollywood Plan Commission Hearing Update
This week the City Planning Commission took public testimony on the draft Hollywood Community Plan Hollywood Community Plan Update. The purpose of the community plan is to update the land use element of the general plan for the Hollywood area, part of which falls in Council District 5 and stakeholders have been providing input to the office and to the Planning Community Plan Update team for several years. The Commission is considering adding additional height to the Melrose corridor as part of a more intense housing incentive program based on TOC. The Councilmember's Senior Planning Deputy Daniel Skolnick attended the hearing and encouraged the Commission to not approve that recommendation. The Council respects the consensus of his Fifth District stakeholders and encourages you to to email your comments to the City Planning Commission at email@example.com before the second hearing of the Planning Commission on March 18th.
Business Tax Renewals Due March 1, 2021
The Office of Finance is currently in the midst of it's Business Tax Renewal season. Customers must renew by March 1, 2021 to avoid penalties and take advantage of possible exemptions. All businesses are required to file an annual tax renewal regardless of whether or not the business generated revenue for that tax year. Filing the renewals timely avoids late penalties and fees and also ensures that businesses can take advantage of all available tax credits and incentives.
To assist business owners with renewals, the Office of Finance has created a Business Tax Renewals FAQ in English and Spanish. It provides information regarding our public counter hours, making appointments, and completing the renewals. Please share these FAQs with your constituents. The information can also be found on our website finance.lacity.org.
LA Civil Rights Virtual Round Table Discussion
In honor and in celebration of Black History Month, theLos Angeles Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department (LA Civil Rights) is proud to invite you to the African American Equity in Media on February 23 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 PM.
This roundtable discussion, moderated by LA Civil Rights Executive Director Capri Maddox will bring together journalists from the LA Times, the LA Sentinel and NBC4 to engage in a meaningful discussion on African American representation in newsrooms and news coverage, the history and future of diversity in Los Angeles news media, and the landscape of media industries following a year of racial reckoning, rising threats from white supremacist groups, and the inauguration of a new President and the first Black woman Vice President. The roundtable will identify needed actions to address discrimination through the lens of journalism and media, and be streamed live online as a part of LA Civil Rights’ programming for Black History Month.
RSVP by clicking here.
Natural disasters are not unique to Southern California. FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), looking at 18 types of disasters that happen around the United States, found that Los Angeles County is the U.S. community most at risk of suffering a major disaster.
Councilmember Koretz is proud to join the Westside Neighborhood Council, the West Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and Palms Neighborhood Council as co-sponsors of the upcoming March 7th virtual Westside Safety and Preparedness Fair that will have presentations from Los Angeles Fire Department, West Los Angeles Police, UCLA Epidemiologist, Earthquake Specialist, and LAFD Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), among others, to help the West Los Angeles community learn how to prepare and stay safe.
Pre Registration is required for the March 7 Virtual Event occurring from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. If you are interested, please RSVP by clicking here. The fair schedule, as well as a link to join the event, will be emailed to everyone registered a few days before the event.
Supported by contributions from local businesses, government offices, and preparedness and safety oriented organizations, more than 1,000 community members are expected to attend to learn essential safety and preparedness information including demonstrations of potentially life-saving skills, all of which will help attendees learn how to prepare for, survive, and thrive after a major earthquake or other disaster. Attendees will be provided with tips about how best to protect themselves, their homes, their vehicles and bikes from crime, how to detect and avoid scams, how to act in an active shooter situation, and more.
Mayor Eric Garcetti will open the fair with a welcome message and attendees will also see messages from L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz, L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and CA Assembly Member Sydney Kamlager urging all Angelenos to prepare now for a possible major disaster. The keynote speakers and most presentations will be followed by live Q & A sessions. Vendors will have virtual booths and will offer attendees discounts on emergency supplies to purchase after the fair.
"We are very excited for the 3rd Annual Westside Safety and Preparedness Fair,” said Councilmember Koretz. It is essential for all Angelenos to be better equipped, educated, and prepared for any disaster. I also want to give a personal shout-out to Cynthia Saffir and her volunteer team for all of their work to make this event a success."
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 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.