Opposition to Carrying Guns in Public
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz has introduced a city resolution in support of Assembly Bill 1934, which if made into law will make it illegal for anyone who is not in law enforcement to openly carry a handgun in public places anywhere in California.
Joining the Councilmember was Assembly Member Lori Saldana (at right), author of AB 1934, as well as many longtime anti-gun violence activists – many of whom themselves have been victims of gun violence, or had lost family members to such tragedies.
Activists from the anti-gun violence community who were present at the press conference included Ann Reiss Lane of Women Against Gun Violence (WAGV); Sheri Barnett, WAGV Board President & gun violence survivor; Nadine LeBlanc, WAGV Board Member & gun violence survivor; Suzanne Verge, President, Los Angeles Chapter, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; Sarah Londer, Member of San Fernando Chapter, Brady Campaign (Million Mom March); Loren Lieb, Brady Campaign, San Fernando Valley Chapter; and Oscar Grant, Development Director, Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles.
Councilmember Koretz said, "Today, I am asking the City of Los Angeles to join the California Police Chiefs Association in supporting California State Assembly Bill 1934. The status quo is both shameful and shocking -- people who are not police officers, and who may have no training or permits, can carry handguns openly into almost any public place. That places innocent bystanders in instant danger. Think of how terrified you might be, how intimidated or traumatized, to suddenly see an unknown stranger packing a handgun, and to know that there's no sensible recourse. Think of the effect on a child, or on a person who has already been victimized by gun violence."
Assembly Member Saldana said, "Right now, just about anybody can openly carry a gun in public under current state law, no permit or training required. Guns are an intimidating presence – the average citizen can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys. We are much safer leaving public display of firearms to law enforcement. Open displays of firearms can create potentially dangerous situations. If peace officers respond to a call about a person with a gun, and the armed person behaves in a way that is perceived as threatening, the officers may be forced to respond in a way that is deadly. I have seen a gun go from unloaded to loaded in less than two seconds."
Photo by Reed Hutchinson courtesy of UCLA.
Hundreds of UCLA students turned out along with community leaders, neighborhood activists and CD5 staffers for the first ever WOMP – Westwood Organized Mega Project. For several hours over the course of a Saturday morning, this effort cleaned up trash, planted gardens, removed graffiti and beautified Westwood Village. Special thanks go to the UCLA Volunteer Center, the Westwood Community Council, the W Hotel and the Napa Valley Grille for making this event a tremendous success.
Council Successfully Fights Massive DWP Rate Hike
The City Council over the last few weeks has stood firm in its opposition to the DWP’s proposed 30% rate hike. It finally appears that the DWP’s governing board has agreed to a much more reasonable 4-5% increase. While no one likes any increase – particularly in this difficult economic time – this more measured increase was strongly recommended by the independent consultant hired as a watchdog over the DWP to ensure the DWP's continued financial stability. The Council also stated emphatically that it would only allow this one temporary 3-month rate increase unless and until the DWP changed its ways and made its operations both more efficient and more transparent.
It is never a "win" to see hard pressed rate payers shoulder a rate increase. Still, this result saved literally tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, ensured DWP financial stability and offered the promise of better service going forward. It is now time for residents and the Council to hold the DWP’s feet to the proverbial fire to see that the efficiencies and transparencies are achieved.
Jill Banks Barad – A Champion for the Valley
Congressman Brad Sherman and Councilmembers Koretz and Paul Krekorian with Jill Banks Barad in 2009 -- a great team for the Valley.
One of the great pleasures for Councilmember Koretz is visiting community groups, speaking about issues and listening to the ideas and concerns of constituents. One of his most recent appearances was at a meeting this past week of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, where he spoke for more than an hour and participated in a lively discussion about many crucial issues.
The President of this Neighborhood Council is Jill Banks Barad, a much-recognized civic leader and dedicated volunteer in the San Fernando Valley. Jill is also Founder and Chair of the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils – an association of the 30 neighborhood councils throughout the Valley. Jill is an accomplished business person, a dedicated community and civic leader, an important friend to educational reform, a hero to numerous charities, and an unceasing advocate in the search for a cure for cancer.
Her service to the San Fernando Valley has been profound and selfless, and for those reasons, Councilmember Koretz has selected Jill Banks Barad to be his designated choice as “2010 Pioneer Woman” for the 5th Council District. The city's "Pioneer Woman" awards salute those who have made extraordinary contributions to their community: clearly, Jill Banks Barad has done that for the 5th District, the San Fernando Valley and our entire city.
Councilmember Koretz with survivor Meir Jacobs and his wife, Edith
April 11th marked Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. This is a time for remembrance, a day of deep sadness, when once again we resolve to never again have millions of souls perish at the hands of hateful tyranny.
With that in mind, Councilmember Koretz honored Bet Tzedek Legal Service, an organization located in the 5th Council District. Bet Tzedek does so much for our City across the board, but in particular has been nationally recognized for its legal services on behalf of Holocaust survivors through the Holocaust Survivors Justice Network.
To celebrate Bet Tzedek and raise awareness, Councilmember Koretz saluted Bet Tzedek and its CEO, Mitch Kamin, at a City Council meeting, where they were joined by Meir Jacobs, a survivor and a client of the Holocaust Survivors Justice Network.
The Survivors Network was created by Bet Tzedek Legal Services in partnership with the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and is the first nationally coordinated pro bono effort – operating in 31 North American cities – to support survivors’ reparation claim-filing needs. The program recently won the American Bar Association’s most prestigious pro bono award.
To connect a survivor with legal help, please call Bet Tzedek's Holocaust Services Program at (323) 549-5883.
The City’s 5th District is home to many great artists, and that includes young artists whose creative skills are nurtured through practice and experimentation, but whose careers may be made based on the opportunity for their work to be seen. That’s why Councilmember Koretz likes to make his office walls available for the display of the works of new and emerging local artists.
Because April 11 was Holocaust Remembrance Day, it was especially fitting that photographs by Eli Rubel be displayed in April. His works – from a series named “Discovering Hope” – are large format portraits of Holocaust survivors, and have been exhibited at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust and at UCLA. Through these inspiring and insightful images, Eli Rubel hopes to help preserve a quickly disappearing part of our history. Now, visitors to the CD 5 Office in City Hall will see and be much moved by his photographs and their subjects.