Mother’s Day is this Sunday and I want to wish all moms, grandmas, single mothers, guardians, and maternal figures a very happy Mother's Day. In fact, let me take this opportunity to remind everyone to call the mothers in their lives and recognize them for their hard work and the tremendous sacrifices they have made for their children and families.
While we are thinking about all that mothers endure, I also want to consider maternal mental health - something that is sensitive and difficult to talk about. It is something that women AND men need to be aware of because all too often it is stigmatized, and unfortunately can create more emotional damage because of the shame that often surrounds it - especially if left untreated.
Only last month we were made aware of the tragic and absolutely heart-wrenching news of Liliana Carrillo, a 30-year-old Reseda woman whose untreated postpartum psychosis led to her killing her own three children despite her partner trying to get help and custody. Sadly, many incidents like these could have been prevented.
Maternal mental health has been important to me for a very long time. In fact, while I served in the State Assembly, I authored legislation to improve women’s access to mental health care at the state and local levels. While we’ve made some progress in recent years on screening, diagnosing, and getting help to mothers in need, much more can and must be done.
To that end, I have introduced a package of legislation seeking to raise awareness, destigmatize, and support perinatal mental health by declaring May 2021 Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month in the City of Los Angeles. I was thrilled to be joined by Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Monica Rodriguez, and Nithya Raman in these efforts.
The legislative package includes a motion looking into legal screening requirements for perinatal depression, and also calls for compulsory education of hospital staff who treat pregnant and postpartum women; private and public perinatal mental health resources available to expecting and new mothers; and the development of a public education campaign to increase awareness of perinatal depression.
In addition, we submitted support of SB 935 which would establish the Mothers and Children Mental Health Support Act of 2021, requiring health plans or insurers to more quickly diagnose and treat mental illness; provide access to telehealth consultations, and offer pregnant and new mothers mental health consultations for up to one postpartum year.
Maternal mental illness will only improve if we all shine light into the darkness, talk about it and do everything we can to help. Mothers and families deserve more - Angelenos deserve more – and Lilliana and her children, three-year-old Joanna, two-year-old Terry, and six-month-old Sierra definitely deserved more.
On this Mother’s Day let us continue to celebrate them today and every day by supporting the well-being and care that all mothers undoubtedly deserve.
If you, or someone you know, need help, please visit the Los Angeles County Maternal Mental Health.
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Fifth District
In the News
Los Angeles City Planning Debuts Koretz Wildlife Habitat Protection Draft Ordinance, Vital to City’s Fire Prevention, Watershed Protections, and Climate Efforts
Great news! The Los Angeles Department of City Planning has officially debuted its draft Wildlife Pilot Study ordinance in response to a motion introduced by Councilmember Paul Koretz and unanimously approved by the City Council. The popular motion called for the Planning Department to create an ordinance with a set of land use regulations that would maintain wildlife habitat connectivity in the City and protect biodiversity from future hillside development.
The wildlife ordinance first phase covers a pilot area in the Santa Monica Mountains between the 405 and 101 freeways and includes buffers and setbacks from biological resources like waterways and open spaces as well as development standards for fencing, landscaping, trash enclosures, lighting, and windows. Holistic benefits include improved protection in the hillside communities from fires, as protected areas from fencing and buildings would allow first responders better access. After passage of the ordinance, next phase expansions will extend the boundaries to include all of Los Angeles hillsides including the Rim of the Valley.
The effort has been strongly supported by community and environmental groups and governmental agencies, including neighborhood councils such as the Bel Air/Beverly Crest, Foothills Trails District, Studio City, Encino and Hollywood Hills West NCs, the Laurel Canyon Association, Benedict Canyon Association, Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW), The Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Griffith Park, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, The Neighborhood Council Sustainability Alliance and many others.
“Our natural systems support healthy human habitat and we must support them to protect ourselves. I applaud Vince Bertoni and his Planning team for bringing forward this draft ordinance as the first step toward a more comprehensive effort and look forward to a robust public discussion and educational campaign,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz, author of both the City’s wildlife corridors motion and its renowned biodiversity initiative. “As those of us working on climate issues in an interconnected way deeply understand, it is essential for us to simultaneously recreate our power and transportation systems while also aggressively protecting our natural world, or else it will all be for naught.”
"Facing the unprecedented climate crisis, now more than ever, we need to defend our ecology," said Vince Bertoni, Director of Planning, City of Los Angeles. "This pilot study will implement new standards that will better position us to protect our indigenous flora and fauna in our hillsides."
The public outreach timeline and more information can be found here.
Public Safety Walks in CD5
Councilmember Koretz's Director of Public Safety Greg Martayan and LAPD West LA Captain Jon Tom coordinated two Public Safety Walks in the Fifth District -- near Military/Brookhaven in West Los Angeles and in Westwood Park.
Joining were Senior Lead Officer Ballesteros, Senior Lead Officer Ojeda, Senior Lead Officer Ha, Westwood Field/Policy Deputy Jasmine Shamolian, Field Deputy/Homeless Policy & Strategies Liaison Angel Izard, as well as community members and additional City personnel.
Thank you to the LAPD who continue to work diligently in addressing the criminal elements in society. Thank you also to the community leaders who joined us.
Updated Information for the 2021 Brush Season
The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Brush Clearance Unit’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. During this difficult and unprecedented time, our mission and commitment to your health and safety, and that of LAFD members, continues to be of utmost importance.
The new date for the 2021 brush clearance season commences May 15th, 2021.
- For all fire/ life safety brush notice violations - due dates will be extended from 15 to 30 days from the date of the initial inspection.
- LAFD brush inspectors will be practicing social distancing in the course of their duties and discontinuing in-person meetings until further notice. We kindly ask for your cooperation and patience to ensure the safety of all persons involved.
(The safety of your home can be significantly increased with proper brush clearance, advanced planning, and preparation. Additional information specific to your property can be found on the LAFD Brush Clearance Inspection Portal at vms3.lafd.org.)
Prune Your Trees Only in Fall and Winter,
Not While I Am Nesting in Spring and Summer!
HELP ME SURVIVE
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has determined that most birds in California nest between February through mid-August. During the Spring the Santa Monica Mountains experience a flurry of activity as birds are busy looking for mates and collecting nesting material. In addition to our many native birds that live here year-round, our Mediterranean-like weather makes the mountains the perfect stopover for millions of birds to pass through or to settle in just for the nesting season. While some birds nest on open ground, most birds build nests low to the ground in shrubs and in trees. Therefore, you can help protect nesting birds and their offspring by not pruning your trees until Fall or Winter.
Unfortunately, the spring season coincides with the time when most hillside residents receive notices for brush clearance. The good news is that you can be in compliance with the Fire Department and protect nesting birds at the same time if you remember the following:
- Follow and read the LAFD directions carefully https://www.lafd.org/fire-prevention/brush;
- Hire a professional contractor who understands the rules;
- Do not be tempted to hire an inexpensive, inexperienced crew to handle your brush clearance;
- Do not denude your hillside – only remove what is necessary, as birds and other wildlife depend on native shrubs for food, shelter, protection from predators, and nesting;
- Don’t be fooled into thinking that brush clearance time is an opportune time to prune your trees. Managing trees after spring is generally best for maintaining the health of trees; and,
- Certain circumstances may require tree management during the nesting season. If you find an active nest, delay work in the tree or near the nest until the young have left the nest; it is illegal to destroy or remove an active nest of a native bird.
If you find a baby bird on the ground, do not attempt to take care of it by yourself. Contact the California Wildlife Center https://cawildlife.org/ (310) 458-WILD (9453).
For more information about birds in California consult Audubon California (https://ca.audubon.org/birds-0) or visit Los Angeles Audubon Society at https://www.laaudubon.org/
Also, please check out Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW) wildlife resources page that includes information about wildfires and animals.
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.