Happy Spring! Today is Nowruz, the Persian New year which falls in the month of March every year. It is traditionally one of my favorite celebrations to host in City Hall - full of flowers, wonderful food and music.
I will miss seeing so many of you at the Nowruz festival on Westwood Blvd., which I am honored to sponsor every year. I look forward to having the celebration in person when we can all be together again soon.
Salah Noh Mohbarak -- Happy Nowruz!
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Fifth District
In the News
City Council Takes Approves Foodware Upon Request Ordinances
In an era when most of our meals are being eaten at home, Councilmembers Koretz and Krekorian co-sponsored a #SkipTheStuff requirement that restaurants and delivery companies provide foodware (plastic utensils, condiments and napkins) only upon request. The motion was approved by City Council this week.
Plastic utensils, napkins, chopsticks and condiment packets, often made from virgin forests, are frequently thrown away without being used, exacerbating the climate emissions problem. The #SkipTheStuff effort is expected to help restaurants save some money while halting the costly stream of unused items to the landfill.
"We need to make dramatic and thoughtful cultural changes in the way we live upon the planet. Skipping the stuff while still supporting our local restaurants is a win-win," said Councilmember Koretz who led the initiative. "We can stop a habit that is nothing but wasteful on both sides of the financial equation: for restaurants who buy the stuff and for cities who must dispose of it.”
"Plastic manufacturing and plastic incineration are major contributors to climate change and air pollution, plastic is choking the world's oceans and rivers, and plastic litter is fouling neighborhoods across Los Angeles and the rest of the globe,” said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, co-sponsor of the foodware motion. “Most single use plastics are never recycled, and many plastic utensils are never even used in the first place. So restaurants have to pay for them, customers get them even when they don't want them, and the global environment suffers from them forever. This Council's passage of our motion is one more step of many we need to take globally to address the catastrophic environmental and economic effects of single use plastics."
“We need to do everything we can to stop the onslaught of plastic flowing into our oceans, and that starts with just making smarter decisions,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who authored a previous similar motion. “Much like when we reduced the use of the single-use plastic bags, we can just make it clear to businesses large and small that the days of unnecessary plastic utensils are over. It’s in all of our interests. We just need to do it.”
Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell who Chairs the Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and River Committee and led the City's disposable straw initiative in 2019 pointed out that "It’s not about enforcement. Rather it is a focus on changing behaviors and reversing the normalization of widespread consumption of disposable plastic waste. When consumers take a moment to think if they really need single-use foodware items and contemplate the actions that are so casually destroying our environment, I believe they’ll make an informed decision.”
Council Addresses Women in the Workplace in the City’s Workforce
L.A. Controller Ron Galperin recently issued a report on gender equity in the City’s workforce, "Closing the Gap: Women’s Pay and Representation at the City of LA," which showed that women currently represent only 28 percent of the City’s workforce. The report also found the City has significantly lower levels of women represented in the workforce as compared to other large jurisdictions.
The report came out of an audit conducted by the Controller's office and heard by Councilmember Koretz in the Committee he chairs, the Personnel, Audits and Animal Welfare Committee.
In 2015 Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an Executive Directive on "Gender Equity in City Operations," which tasked all City departments with developing action plans to close existing gender gaps in addition to directing the Personnel Department’s efforts to recruit and hire more women into civil service jobs. According to a payroll analysis by the Controller’s Office, women remain both underrepresented and underpaid when compared to their male co-workers.
“My report showed that the City has a long way to go when it comes to gender equity," said L.A. Controller Ron Galperin. "The Council’s action today approving my recommendations demonstrates a strong desire to close the gender gap and overhaul the way women are recruited, hired, promoted and paid. I applaud the Council President’s leadership on this issue and will keep working with City leaders to make sure Los Angeles walks the talk on pay equity, which is long overdue."
"Closing the Gap" showed that women working at the City earn, on average, 76 percent of what men earn and took home just 24 percent of the gross amount the City paid its employees last year. The report also found that only two of the 100 highest paid City of Los Angeles employees were women, with the remaining 98 top earners men.
"The Controller's report was truly eye-opening," said Councilmember Paul Koretz, Chair of the Personnel, Audits, and Animal Welfare Committee. "Pay disparity is an issue that has long concerned me and I am truly disappointed at the gender inequity evident in our own City departments despite the valiant recruitment efforts of the Personnel Department. As we work to repair pay disparity everywhere, we must take a leadership role here in our City government for women of color, transgender women, and non-binary individuals, alike. I am gratified to know the Council is taking this issue on by creating a task force and I am happy to help work this through the Council to bring about transparency and accountability in order to effectuate change regarding equitable representation and pay for women within the LA City Workforce."
The Council instructed the Personnel Department, with the assistance of the Human Relations Commission and the Commission on the Status of Women, to develop a strategic plan with clear goals to better recruit, hire, develop, and retain women in departments across the City, including women of color transgender women, as well as non-binary individuals. The Council also instructed the Personnel Department to create a working group to help design a clear pathway to help women participate in all job classifications and promotional opportunities, focused on higher paying jobs with access to overtime.
Councilmember Koretz Initiates Education Campaign To Raise Awareness that "Speeding Kills. Slow Down. Save a Life."
Councilmember Koretz has started his education campaign to raise awareness that speeding kills. He and his staff worked with DOT to immediately put in protective turn signals at Olympic and Overland which should be activated in the next few weeks. We will update you on completion. Sincere gratitude goes out to DOT for working with us at this location so expeditiously. A message board has also been placed at this location where we lost a beautiful young lady, Monique Munoz, who was killed by someone who was travelling at a very high rate of speed on a surface street. The community, Councilmember Koretz and his staff continue to grieve over this tragedy and send our deepest condolences to the family.
Join Councilmember Koretz at Board of Public Works Town Hall
On Thursday, March 25th, 2021 there will be a virtual Public Works Townhall Meeting in Council District 5. Following greetings from Greg Good (President of the Board of Public Works) and Councilmember Koretz, the agenda will include: graffiti abatement in CD5, and- update on the citywide sidewalk repair program, a CARE Team update, information about major street resurfacing projects, and resources for small business.
The meeting will be via Zoom. To join the meeting, please go to: www.zoomgov.com/j/1602783583 The passcode is: 710004
All Together Now, Online Telethon for the LA Emergency COVID-19 Crisis Fund
Councilmember Koretz is proud to participate and support "All Together Now", presenting its second online concert and telethon, raising funds for the LA Emergency COVID-19 Crisis Fund. Proceeds raised will provide food, shelter, medical services, and support to first responders, restaurateurs, and some of our community's most vulnerable. Please consider tuning in for this star studded telethon tomorrow, March 20th at 3:00 p.m., and please consider making a donation at AllTogetherNowLA.org.
Reminder: Metro Sepulveda Transit Corridor to Be Addressed at March 25 Board Meeting
Recently, Metro released its recommendation for two private sector teams to conduct Pre-Development work to advance the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project and the Metro Board is scheduled to vote on the staff recommendation on March 25th. Please learn more about Metro's recommendations on Metro’s blog The Source and follow the links to read the board report and for the presentation which has the routes.
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: