This Monday we will be closed in observance of Labor Day. During this time, please remember that Labor Day is not just a day off to mark the end of summer, it marks the important recognition of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. At this time, amid the pandemic surge, our economy and employment is still uncertain. I hope you are able to take some time to take care of yourself and your family and that includes getting fully vaccinated and continuing to wear a mask in public.
To those who celebrate the Jewish High Holidays, I extend my warmest wishes for a sweet new year full of hope, health, and happiness. Rosh Hashanah, which marks the new year and Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement that follows 10 days later, are opportunities for us to reflect back on the past year, looking at successes, failures and opportunities to improve ourselves and our community. The last 18 months have been so challenging for everyone. I am hopeful that this coming year for everyone will be a time of both recovery and growth.
L’shana tova u’metukah -- a sweet new year to everyone.
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Fifth District
City Council Votes to Ban Ghost Guns in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles City Council voted this week to support a motion that I co-introduced with Councilmember Krekorian to begin the process of writing and approving an ordinance to ban possession, purchase, sale, receipt and transportation of non-serialized firearms, also known as ‘Ghost Guns,’ or 'DIY (Do It Yourself) Guns' within the City of Los Angeles.
Following an increase in shootings, gun-related homicides, and a surge in the number of “ghost guns,” Los Angeles City Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Paul Krerkorian co-presented the motion that with the concurrence of the Mayor will direct the City Attorney to draft an ordinance.
“Shootings and homicides have increased nationwide and Los Angeles has been no exception. As of July 2021 homicides are up nearly 30 percent over last year and shootings are up 43 percent. Additionally, over 40 percent of guns confiscated by the ATF and a third of guns recovered by the LAPD in Los Angeles in 2020 were ghost guns,” said Councilmember Koretz. “With such staggering numbers and the sharp increase in hate crimes, we cannot turn a blind eye to a backdoor that allows criminals to gain access to firearms when they would otherwise be denied through the front door.”
“Ghost guns are deliberately designed to avoid tracing, and when sold without background checks, end up in the possession of felons,” said Councilmember Krekorian, who earlier this year sponsored a motion allowing a City lawsuit to go forward with pro bono counsel against Nevada-based Polymer 80, one of the nation’s largest sellers of ghost gun kits. “In Los Angeles, ghost guns were a factor in the sharp rise in homicides in 2020. This motion enables the City to move aggressively to significantly reduce the number of non-serialized firearms in our communities.”
The City of San Diego recently approved a similar ordinance, and in May the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) issued a rule that would expand the definition of a firearm to include weapons that can be assembled at home. The proposed rule aims to hold ready-to-assemble gun kits to the same legal standards as completed, serialized guns.
LA This Week reported on the adoption of this motion on Channel 35. Please click here to watch the video.
LA Announces 100% Renewable Energy Goal Is On Target for 2035
Councilmember Koretz was proud to join his colleagues in announcing the historic, trailblazing 100% renewable energy goal by 2035 led by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power along with a path to meet those goals.
As a California State Assemblymember, Councilmember Koretz co-authored Fran Pavley's groundbreaking AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. This week was every bit as important and groundbreaking as the day the governor signed that bill.
At the press conference, Councilmember Koretz proclaimed, "we [must] make absolutely certain that, as we blaze the trail to 100% renewable energy, no one is left behind. Not the frontline communities who live
beside leaking natural gas plants, not the Indigenous communities who brought our City power for over fifty years, and not the heroic DWP
workers who, day in and day out, bring light into our homes and offices often at great risk to their personal safety.." He further asserted that we must continue to step up our efforts as we face massive climate-exacerbated wildfires, extreme storms, a worsening megadrought, and daily environmental emergencies in neighborhoods across LA.
Los Angeles City Officials, LAPD, and Jewish Leadership Hold Security Town Hall Ahead of High Holy Days
On Wednesday evening, in time for the approaching Jewish High Holy Days, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz hosted a meeting of Jewish leaders and community members regarding Jewish Community Security at the Museum of Tolerance with presentations by the Los Angeles Police Department. The gathering highlighted the action plans of LAPD along with security and reporting tips for the community to assist LAPD in securing institutions and neighborhoods.
“As Councilmember for the Fifth District, which has deep roots for the Jewish community, I want to make sure that all Jewish people know the rights and resources they have when facing hate. According to the Anti-Defamation League’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, 2019 and 2020 were, respectively, the highest and third-highest years on record for cases of harassment, vandalism, and assault against Jews in the United States since tracking began in 1979. These numbers are shocking and heartbreaking, but they are also a call to action,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz. “For years I have committed my office’s efforts in the fight against Anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, for the last several years, we have seen acts of violence and hate against our community at unprecedented levels. In every case and every incident, I have made sure that our Los Angeles Police Department and relevant agencies who join in the investigations, including the FBI, know that they have my full support through every obstacle and every challenge.”
Councilmember Koretz welcomed the community to the event, highlighting the importance of safety around the High Holy Days, followed by Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Jewish community leader City Controller Ron Galperin. LAPD Command staff, including Deputy Chief Blake Chow, Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton, Commander Natalie Cortez, and Commander Rafael Ramirez, provided insight into Operations Valley Bureau and Operations West Bureau, encompassing their appreciation for the opportunity to support the Los Angeles Jewish Community and the need to continue to partner with the community closely throughout the High Holy Days and beyond.
The two-hour program was moderated by Councilmember Koretz’s Director of Public Safety Greg Martayan and featured a robust Q & A session. Joining the event were LAPD Captains from throughout the region, bringing forth and sharing with leadership their own plans which were specifically tailored for their geographic areas.
Before the program, Councilmember Koretz presented the Deputy Chiefs and Commanders along with Rabbi Cooper and Museum of Tolerance Director Liebe Geft with commendations from the City of Los Angeles.
In addition, Councilmember Koretz was proud to join the LA Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department this week in launching a media campaign that includes anti-hate posters and social media graphics in Hebrew. The campaign includes resources for reporting hate crimes and hate incidents in LA to clearly represent Los Angeles’ robust Jewish community and to empower both witnesses and victims of hate incidents and hate crimes.
This campaign is also available in English, Spanish, Korean, Armenian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Tagalog, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Khmer, Hebrew, Hindi, Farsi, Russian, Amharic, and Tigrinya. Click here to learn more about the campaign.
The 11x17” posters can be requested from the city at no cost to a business or organization looking to display the anti-hate campaign in a public area or storefront window. ‘LA for All’ posters can be requested at bit.ly/LAforAllPosters or by contacting the office of Councilmember Paul Koretz. Social media graphics can be downloaded at civilandhumanrights.lacity.org/laforall/thecampaign or by clicking here.
The posters read “LA is for Everyone” and encourage readers to call 311 or 211 if they witness a hate incident, 911 if they see a crime in progress, and to visit CivilAndHumanRights.LAcity.org/LAforAll for more information and resources.
Know Your Rights Bystander Intervention Online Training
With hate crimes on the rise against the Asian American and Pacific Islander, African American, LGBTQ, and Jewish communities across the county, a training series called “Know Your Rights & Bystander Intervention”, is being hosted by the LA Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department. This program aims to educate citizens on the difference. Presented live via Zoom on the last Tuesday of every month through October, the event features experts discussing how to respond to a hate crime or incident (there’s a difference, as you’ll learn) whether you’re a victim or a witness. The sessions also provides in-language reporting tools, and concludes with a Q&A session during which participants can ask follow-up questions.
On August 31st, Councilmember Koretz hosted this special training session with a specific focus on anti-Semitism, particularly with the High Holidays approaching rapidly.
A few of the topics covered in the event:
“What is the Difference Between a Hate Crime and a Hate Incident?” presented by officer Blake Chow, Deputy Chief of the LAPD.
“Rights and Resources for Victims of Hate and Discrimination,” presented by Adrian Roxas, victims’ rights attorney, former LA County Deputy District Attorney, and president-elect of the Philippine American Bar Association.
“2021 Online Anti-Semitism Report” presented by Emily Kaufman of the Anti-Defamation league about the sharp increases in anti-Semitism in 2021 and how to report these activities in the future.
Similar topics will be presented in upcoming events, which are free and open to the public, but participants must register in advance at bit.ly/stophatetrainings to receive a Zoom invitation.
Emergency Renters Assistance Program
Last week, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council President Martinez announced a new partnership between the City of Los Angeles and the State of California that will allow Angelenos to access additional state and federal rental assistance funds.
The new agreement will allow Angelenos to tap into the $5.2 billion in emergency rental relief funds the State has received from the Federal government, ensuring that all renters and landlords who are eligible for the relief will receive it. Under the new framework, the State will be responsible for processing applications and distributing relief funds for Angelenos.
Here is what you need to know:
Starting September 1st, eligible renters and landlords in the City of Los Angeles can apply for emergency assistance through the State at HousingIsKey.com or by calling 833-430-2122.
For Angelenos who have already applied to the City's program, the L.A. Housing Department is reaching out via email or phone to clarify next steps. Applicants can check their status and get more information at HCIDLA.LACITY.ORG.
The City and the State are conducting extensive outreach and education on the application opportunities for Angelenos, as well as outreach to individuals who have submitted applications but have not received assistance. Outreach will be conducted in conjunction with community-based organizations to help address language barriers and reach residents who may have limited access to technology.
The latest announcement builds on the City’s efforts to support residential renters. State and local emergency renter protections remain in place. City of Los Angeles renters and landlords can learn more about their rights and responsibilities at StayHousedLA.org.
Redistricting Los Angeles
Every ten years, the Los Angeles City Council uses new United States Census data to redraw its district lines to reflect how local populations have changed. This process, called redistricting, is important to ensuring that each City Councilmember represents about the same number of constituents. Redistricting also determines which neighborhoods and communities are grouped together into a district for purposes of electing a Councilmember. In addition to Census data, officials conducting the redistricting process consider how to maintain communities of interest when redrawing district boundaries.
The Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission 2021 is nearing the end of its first phase of Redistricting public hearings, with Saturday, September 11th at 10 am being their last city-wide hearing. This is the last opportunity for Angelenos to participate and provide public testimony on their communities.
If you are interested, please check out the mapping software, Districtr, which allows people to draw their own maps and is available on the Commission’s website at https://districtr.org/event/MapsofLA.
You can also view 2020 census data broken down by communities and neighborhood councils at https://laccrc2021.org/mapping-data-2/.
Free Financial Counseling For Small Business Owners in Los Angeles
Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced a program that will provide small business owners with counseling, education, and debt repayment assistance to help with their economic recovery from the pandemic.
“Small businesses account for nearly half the jobs in our City and their recovery is essential to our economy,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We recognize that small businesses are the foundation of our communities and are committed to helping them get back on their feet.”
Free counseling will be provided to small businesses 24/7 through a collaboration between the City of Los Angeles’ Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD) and Money Management International (MMI). The program will offer guidance, resources, and assistance to small business owners to help them stabilize cash flow, decrease debt, improve credit standing, and reach their financial goals.
For more information, please visit EWDD or call 888-645-2227.
"Legacy Ladies" Honor Councilmember Koretz
“From the School House to the White House” is a program put on by Legacy Ladies that provides mentorship, educational opportunities, and scholarships to young African American girls in multiple schools throughout the region within the City of Los Angeles.
These young girls, called the “Torchettes,” are the future leaders of our City, State, and Country. Councilmember Koretz has been a proud supporter of Legacy Ladies and their founder Lady Jackie Castillo for years because what they do makes a major difference in the City of Los Angeles. He was particularly proud to accept the 2021 Honoree Distinction Award at the Legacy Ladies Annual Banquet.