The City Council Votes for New Regulations for Homeless Camping
After several years of haggling, heated debate and lack of consensus, on July 1st the City Council voted 13-2 for an ordinance establishing new rules for how and where persons experiencing homelessness can sleep on public property. Because the vote was not unanimous, the ordinance will require a second reading either at a special Council meeting in July or at the next scheduled meeting on July 27th.
“None of us are under any illusion that these new regulations will solve homelessness in L.A.,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz, “but if we can apply them with precision and compassion, they will provide us with important tools in our ongoing efforts to make our communities more livable for the housed and unhoused alike, and get more homeless individuals into housing and services. This is the first of many steps for us to get a handle on our homeless crisis.”
Following are the basic requirements of the ordinance:
- Allow the City Council to restrict sleeping, lying and storing possessions near a variety of public facilities, including schools, parks and childcare facilities.
- Prohibit tents and encampments from blocking sidewalks in ways that prevent wheelchairs users from traveling on them, in violation of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.
- Ban people from sitting, sleeping or storing property on a public street or walkway that is within five feet of a building’s usable entrance or within 10 feet of a driveway
- Require 14 days’ notice, with signs posted in an area, that camping is barred in a particular location and seek to have homeless people comply voluntarily.
- Prohibit sleeping and camping around licensed schools, preschools and daycare facilities.
- Require the City to create a “street engagement strategy” within 30 days that would limit interactions between law enforcement and homeless people except in certain cases, such as when a crime is being committed.
- Grant the Council the power to prohibit camping at locations that pose an ongoing threat to public safety due to fires, violent crime or other hazardous conditions.
Over the coming weeks the Council, City Attorney and appropriate City departments will be working on the “street engagement strategy” and an enforcement regimen that can pass legal muster. Activists and members of the legal community who have won a series of homelessness-related lawsuits against the City no doubt will be watching closely.
Seeking Reports on “Alarming” Drought Conditions
The Western States are facing mega-drought conditions and the potential impacts are suspected to get worse for the foreseeable future compounded by increasing heat and wildfires. This week Los Angeles City Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion requesting reports from the Department of Water and Power and the Metropolitan Water District regarding local water resilience strategies to effectively meet the growing drought crisis. In particular, the motion requests a review about the pending update to the Colorado River Compact to meet the worsening drought conditions, including the implementation of water conservation elements, water recycling, and watershed management approaches like stormwater capture and reuse, groundwater remediation, the use of native plants for landscaping, and turf removal programs.
“Given the enormity of the alarming drought crisis across the Southwest, we need to do everything we can sooner rather than later to protect the future of our great city,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz. “We are at a critical juncture with new leadership at MWD, the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan in place, and rapidly-worsening climate breakdown occurring all around us. Now we must work collaboratively with our partners across the Southwest toward a healthy, resilient tomorrow.”
LA City Council Votes to Support Controller’s Audit of City’s 311 System
The City of Los Angeles voted this week to support a series of audit recommendations based on LA City Controller Ron Galperin’s report on the City’s 311 information phone system. Now, nearly two decades after its implementation with new technologies and wider and more portable communication infrastructures, the City Council voted to evaluate the 311 system in terms of overall effectiveness, speed and reach, with an analysis of best practices from other cities. The goal is to ensure the City is communicating with Angelenos and responding to requests for service as effectively as possible.
Since it was established in 2002, the City’s 311 system has been an important piece of the City’s interaction with Angelenos — providing easier access to government services and improving civic engagement by bringing City Hall directly to them. The intent was to be a one-stop shop for non-emergency service requests in order to get graffiti erased, street lights fixed, potholes filled, bulky items removed and more. Despite adding a web portal and smartphone app, the Controller's report pointed out that 311 is not working as efficiently as it could, nor is it keeping up with the level of customer service currently provided by other large cities.
“Last year, the City’s “My LA 311” system received nearly 2.3 million service requests. However, contact methods have grown beyond simple phone calls to multiple, integrated ways of communicating, such as email, social media, web portal, and smartphone apps” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, who heard the audit in the Committee that he Chairs, Personnel, Audits, and Animal Welfare. “If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the City of LA has an obligation to provide essential services to residents no matter where they live or how they choose to reach out, and we need to be better prepared to do so.”
"As with other City programs, the COVID-19 pandemic put extra stress on 311 with an increased volume of contacts, further highlighting the need for an improved system," said LA City Controller Ron Galperin. "I am grateful that our City Council adopted the recommendations from my audit, and recognizes that we need to create a plan that puts Angelenos first and suits the ever - evolving needs of our city today and in the decades to come."
Giving Local, Small Businesses A Bump in County and State Contract Bids
Councilmembers Paul Koretz, Bob Blumenfield and Marqueece Harris-Dawson introduced a motion requesting the City Attorney to prepare the documents needed to place a ballot measure before the voters in 2022 which would amend the City Charter to provide an additional contracting preference to businesses located in the City of Los Angeles.
The City Charter currently provides for a bid preference for businesses that are “local,” defined as businesses located in the County of Los Angeles or the State of California. However, the City is currently prohibited from providing an additional bid preference on contracts for businesses that are located within the boundaries of the City of LA. If the Charter is amended to add "City of Los Angeles" to the definition of “local,” the City would then be permitted to have an additional preference for businesses which are located within the geographic boundaries of the City of Los Angeles.
"The City of LA is already one of the most expensive places in the country to do business, creating a climate in which businesses are forced to compete against firms with lower labor and business costs from neighboring cities, counties and states," said Councilmember Paul Koretz. "This proposed Charter Amendment is a no-brainer and an opportunity to provide a bump to hundreds of local, small businesses – many of which have been seriously impacted by the pandemic and have struggled to stay afloat over the last 15 months."
According to the National Institute for Public Procurement (NIPP), models of local bid preferences across the country have assisted municipalities in setting and achieving social policy goals to assist residents and improve and protect the local economy. The NIPP further pointed out, “As local tax dollars are spent in a local economy, more jobs are maintained or created and income is generated for residents.” In 2019-2020 the City of Los Angeles awarded nearly $3 billion in contracts, approximately $600 million of which went to businesses headquartered in the County of Los Angeles. The benefit of keeping these tax dollars spent on contracts in the City of Los Angeles could have a substantial positive impact on the development, enrichment, growth, expansion and retention of the local business community and the City’s workforce.
Redistricting Commission To Hold Public Hearing for the Fifth Council District - Wednesday, July 7th
The Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission (LACCRC) has developed a calendar for Public Hearings that will provide residents across our vast and diverse City the opportunity to talk about their “communities of interest”, a fundamental component of drawing new Council District boundaries.
A public hearing for CD5 is proposed for Wednesday, July 7th at 6:00 p.m. in a virtual format. 15 council district hearings and 4 regional-scale hearings will run from July 1st through September 25th. The Commission will follow a standard format for introducing the Redistricting process and receiving public testimony from as many residents as possible about their perceptions of their “communities of interest”.
To RSVP, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, go to http://redistricting2021.lacity.org/LACCRC
Ridgeline Protection Public Comment Period Extended
After eight years of hard work, the Ridgeline Protection Ordinance, authored by Councilmember Koretz, is finally moving through the City process.
On June 17th, City Planning held a public hearing on the proposed Ridgeline Protection Ordinance (Case No. CPC-2021-3001-CA) and proposed Zone Change Ordinance (Case No. CPC-2021-3059-ZC) to apply the Ridgeline Protection regulations.
My staff has been meeting with, as well as reading and listening closely to the comments of homeowners, and agree that while we need to stop the exploitation of our hillsides, the current ordinance may be too restrictive when it comes to long established communities on ridgelines. The intent of the motion was never to render entire communities legal non-conforming or to prohibit modest additions to an existing home. I assure you that the draft ordinance as written will be amended by the Department of City Planning to strike a regulatory balance.
I also want to clarify that we are in the beginning of the long process outlined in LAMC 12.32, and the end of the comment period is only one of many opportunities to participate. The Department of City Planning’s close of the comment period is for the preparation of a staff report for the City Planning Commission. Comments will still be accepted after the comment deadline and added to the official case file; however, those comments will not necessarily be included in the report to the Commission. The purpose of the staff report and Commission meeting is so the Commission can make a recommendation to the City Council Committee. The Planning and Land Use Management Committee will then hold an additional hearing and make a recommendation to City Council. When the committee recommendation finally reaches the full City Council, I will lead that discussion at the City Council with your guidance in mind.
To that end, as requested by my office, the comment period for the preparation of City Planning’s staff report for a yet to be determined City Planning Commission date, has been extended to Monday, August 2, 2021. Therefore, please continue to submit comments and questions to the City Planning Department at email@example.com and my Senior Planning Deputy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hillside residents in particular, we want to hear from you!
LA For All
Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities on Earth and its diversity must be cherished and protected. The best way to do this is by preventing and responding to hate crimes and hate incidents. The City of Los Angeles is standing together against hate. You can report hate crimes or hate incidents by calling 211 or 311. In addition, you can report anonymously and in a number of languages as well.
Please click here for the LA For All Stop Hate Resources Hub
Diamond Bakery Celebrates 75th Anniversary
This week Councilmember Koretz joined Brian Hollander and Doug Weinstein, new owners of the historic Diamond Bakery Inc. on Fairfax Avenue, to celebrate their grand re-opening. Diamond Bakery has been in business for 75 years and has changed ownership over the last two years, but still retains the same long-time employees and the terrific recipes the community has known and loved. Stop by and pick up some pastries, loaves of bread, rolls, and their famous corn rye.
LA Conservation Corp's Clean and Green team strikes again!
This time on Beverly Blvd between Fairfax Ave and La Cienega Blvd., the Clean and Green program offers community beautification services throughout the City while also providing work opportunities for youths (ages 14 to 21), who are often earning their very first paycheck. Their team is hard at work in CD 5 and we are grateful for their services.
Tips to Keep You and Your Pets Safe this 4th of July Holiday Weekend
The 4th of July and the days following are the busiest times at our six LA Animal Services (LAAS) Centers throughout the City. For many pets, the loud booming sounds and the flashing lights of fireworks can be terrifying for these animals causing them to escape their home or yard in an attempt to look for somewhere safe to hide.
To help ensure Angelenos and their furry family members stay safe this holiday weekend, LA Animal Services teamed up with the Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Police Department, and LA CityView 35 on a joint Public Service Announcement about the dangers illegal fireworks pose to residents and their pets.
Make sure your pet has up-to-date identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a microchip on a dog, cat, or rabbit that's registered with your correct contact information and a collar or harness on your canine and feline friend with a current license and/or ID tag on it will help reunite you with your companion animal right away.
Information on getting or renewing your dog’s license is available here
If you have lost a pet, please click here
If you have found a stray pet, please click here
Finally, adopt or foster to create life-saving space in LAAS Centers. Every year around the 4th of July, LA Animal Services Centers can fill beyond capacity with terrified, lost pets. By fostering a dog, cat, or kitten, you can help give these shelter guests a break from kennel life while ensuring life-saving space is available for sick, injured, or abandoned animals who make their way into our Centers and have nowhere else to go. Please click here to find out how you can adopt or foster a new furry friend.
LA City Parks Are Open for You and Your Family
Summer Camps and Activities are still available. The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks is offering youth sports, fitness activities, summer camp and more— starting at just $10 a program! Online registration is open. Visit laparks.org/summerplayla to get started!
Don't forget, pools are open! Check out swimla.org to sign up for lessons, teams, and sports today.
Are you ready for Dodger RBI baseball? The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) youth development program, Dodgers RBI, is a youth development program that uses sport as a vehicle to provide critical resources and services to communities who are experiencing social injustices. Visit dodgersrbi-cityofla.leagueapps.com for more information and to register.