July 6, 2010

In this issue:

Tackling the DWP

Audit on City Collections

Westside Leadership Summit

Honoring a Community Leader

Saluting Mark Coogan

Firefighter Breakfast

"Gilad Shalit Day"

Grassroots Activism

Contact Information

West LA Office
822 S. Robertson Blvd.
Suite 102
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 289-0353

Valley Office
15760 Ventura Blvd.
Suite 1020
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 971-3088

City Hall
200 North Spring Street
Room 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-7005


On Tuesday, July 13, the Encino Chamber of Commerce and West-Val Pharmacy will be offering free health screenings and diabetes education as part of the Health Mart Healthy Living Tour. Click HERE or call (818) 788-2411 to learn more.

The Emerging Professionals and Entrepreneurs Council of the Century City Chamber of Commerce will hold its 3rd Annual Summer in the City networking event on Wednesday, July 14. Click HERE to learn more.

Do you enjoy the freedom and convenience public transportation provides? The “Transit Flicks” video contest is your chance to show the world what you like best about riding buses and trains in Los Angeles. All you have to do is create a brief video  that explains how transit helps you and encourages others to try it. The entry deadline is Thursday, July 15. You could win a free pass for a year! For more information, go to Transit Flicks information on metro.net.

On Sunday, July 18, the Encino Chamber of Commerce will hold a Community Emergency Drill and Emergency Preparedness Symposium at the Encino Community Center. Click HERE to learn more.

On Monday, July 26, the City's Department on Disability and Los Angeles World Airports will hold a celebration for the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Click HERE to learn more or contact the Department on Disability at (213) 202-2764 Voice or (213) 202-2715 TTY.

Don't forget! Found Animals, an animal adoption advocacy group, is partnering with Los Angeles Animal Services to present the Summer Buddies program. Now through September 30th if you adopt one cat Found Animals will pay the adoption fees for a second cat. If you have always wanted a cat, the Summer Buddies program provides an excellent opportunity to get two for the price of one!

Send us your news and events!
If you or your community group have any upcoming events that you would like to see featured in our next newsletter or on my website, please e-mail me at paul.koretz@lacity.org.

Please feel free to send this newsletter along to your friends and neighbors and tell them to visit the CD 5 website at http://cd5.lacity.org to sign up for this newsletter.

Tackling the DWP

As Chair of the Audits & Governmental Efficiency Committee, Councilmember Koretz has strongly criticized the Department of Water and Power over its failure to be forthright about various matters. The Councilmember has even asked for the DWP to be examined for possible criminality. But the DWP continues to fail to answer questions, and fails to provide information requested by the Councilmember and his committee. What’s even worse is that DWP brass and the Commissioners who have oversight are absent even when formally invited to committee meetings.

Recently, the conflict has escalated. As the Los Angeles Daily News reports in today's (July 7, 2010) edition:

Simmering tension between the Los Angeles City Council and the DWP erupted Tuesday after utility officials skipped a hearing scheduled to discuss an audit that accused the agency of lying in order to push through a rate hike.

An angry Councilman Paul Koretz threatened to use the council's subpoena power to compel Austin Beutner, a deputy mayor and the DWP's interim general manager, to appear before the full City Council within the next two weeks.

"I've been watching the city for over 40 years and I don't remember anything like this," said Koretz, who chairs the council's audits committee. "We asked them to be here before and they refused.

"They have 10,000 employees. They could have someone here."

Read the full Los Angeles Daily News story here.

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Doing a Better Job on Collections

On July 1, City Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilmember Koretz had the latest in a series of press conferences aimed at improving our city’s fiscal condition. They were joined by Antoinette Christovale, Director of Finance for the City’s Office of Finance, to discuss with the media the new audit released by the Controller.

This audit showed that at a time when many jobs are being lost and crucial city services have been slashed or are seriously endangered, L.A. is losing many millions of desperately needed dollars in revenue, simply because the city doesn’t adequately collect fines, fees and taxes.

The sad fact is that the July 1 audit was actually a follow up to one done three years earlier. The city had failed to implement many of the original audit’s recommendations and, as a consequence, has only improved its collections rate by one percent (from 52% to 53%).

As Chair of the City’s Audits & Governmental Efficiency Committee, Councilmember Koretz is doing his utmost to ensure that recommendations of Controller audits get implemented, which hasn’t always been the case in years past. The Councilmember holds committee meetings to follow up on such audits, and to ask questions and make suggestions, face-to-face with key departmental officials.

Cooperation by various city departments is vital if audit recommendations are to be implemented, not ignored or forgotten. By working together, the Controller’s Office and the Audits & Governmental Efficiency Committee are making a big difference when much is at stake.

Veteran City Hall reporter Rick Orlov of the Daily News gets all the
details from Controller Wendy Greuel.

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CD5 Westside Leadership Summit – a transcript!!!

Councilmember Koretz, the assembled panel and community leaders
listen to Department of Building and Safety General Manager Bud Ovrom.

Last week, this newsletter reported on the well-attended and well-received “CD 5 Westside Leadership Summit,” which followed on the heels of the “CD 5 Valley Leadership Summit."

These summit conferences allow neighborhood activists and community leadership to hear from departmental heads and discuss, face-to-face, the issues facing our neighborhoods.

The great news is that somebody was transcribing the recent summit, which was held at Fairfax High School. We think there’s a lot of good information and ideas in this transcript, so we are providing this link. A CD 5 staffer did review the transcript to try to clear up any misspellings, transcription errors or grammatical confusion so hopefully you will get a great sense of what happened, with Councilmember Koretz doing the introduction, followed by our guest city officials making their presentations, followed by audience Q&A.

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Community Leader: Gerald A. Silver

Gerald Silver was joined in Council Chambers by friends and family.

Los Angeles has countless leaders in its midst – people and groups that champion important causes and that work hard to improve our quality of life. But there is only one Gerald A. Silver. On Friday, July 2, Councilmember Koretz was pleased to honor Gerry Silver for his decades of extraordinary activism in many capacities, including as Founder and President of Homeowners of Encino and as a member of the Encino Neighborhood Council. He’s held various crucial roles such as those associated with the Van Nuys Citizens Advisory Committee, the Coalition of Freeway Residents, the Coalition to Ban Billboards, the Plan Review Board and the Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan.

The Councilmember praised Gerry Silver for being “tough, relentless, dynamic and effective," and noted that Silver “has upheld the crucial tenets of governmental accountability and civic accomplishment, whether through single-handed effort or as a leader inspiring and guiding grassroots endeavors.” At the ceremony, Gerry Silver was surrounded by admiring and grateful activists, and spoke glowingly of them as well as of other community leaders he’s known over the years. Our thanks go to all who serve their neighborhoods and communities with such great devotion.

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Saluting Mark Coogan

Councilmember Koretz fields questions from Mark Coogan on Coogan's
final day on the job here in L.A.

In a nation in which the First Amendment stands not just for free speech but freedom of the press, news reporting is an essential part of our democracy, not just at the national level but also locally.

One of our city’s superior journalists whose career has exemplified tough, fair reportage is Mark Coogan, who spent July 1, his last day on the job with CBS2 News, covering the Greuel-Koretz press conference with the professionalism he has always displayed. Afterwards, he let us know that he and his family are CD 5 constituents!

Mark Coogan has specialized in the coverage of politics, government and public policy, whether focusing on local, national or international stories. He started with KFI Radio (which he joined in 1968), and has since worked for ABC News, KABC-TV in Los Angeles, and finally CBS2 News.

His career reflects the momentous events of our times. He covered the Charles Manson murder trial, the 1971 Sylmar earthquake, the Pentagon Papers trial, President Richard Nixon's impeachment trial, Patty Hearst's kidnapping and the subsequent SLA shootout, the desegregation of Los Angeles schools, apartheid in South Africa, independence in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, the war between Iraq and Iran, challenges faced by the Los Angeles Police Department and by Los Angeles schools, the O.J. Simpson case, the 1992 L.A. civil unrest, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and political conventions and elections.

Well liked and much respected for his consummate skills and personal grace, he has received an Emmy and several Golden Mikes, and has been named Broadcast Journalist of the Year by the L.A. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi. The Coogan family is moving to the San Diego area, and we wish them the best!

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Firefighter Breakfast

From l-r: Captain Gonzalez, Sandy Brown, Councilmember Koretz
and Battalion Chief Rose

Los Angeles Firefighters don’t just save lives and property from incredible danger – they also liven up community events! Whether they’re at your event or you’re at theirs, firefighters give added spark to any community gathering. This pancake breakfast, held at Fire Station 71, was a fun and informative happening – and, at the same time, people from throughout the community showed their enthusiastic support for public safety heroes. Among the many happy community members joining our firefighters were - pictured above - Councilmember Koretz and Sandy Brown, longtime president of the Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Association.

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"Gilad Shalit Day" Resolution Travels to Israel

At a special ceremony in City Hall, Councilmember Paul Koretz presented a proclamation to the Consul General of Israel, Jacob Dayan. This proclamation contains the actual City Council Resolution that a week earlier had designated Friday, June 25, 2010, as “Gilad Shalit Day” in the City of Los Angeles. Los Angeles has now joined the ranks of cities in the U.S. and around the world calling for Gilad Shalit's release. Shalit is an Israeli soldier who was wounded and kidnapped by Hamas operatives four years ago on Israeli soil. Since that time, he has been held hostage, and humanitarian groups have not been allowed access to see his condition.

One day after receiving the proclamation, Consul General Dayan brought it with him to Israel to present to the Shalit family.

Pictured above in support of the Resolution are (l-r): Caron Spector, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; David Peyman, Vice-President of 30 Years After; Eric Garcetti, LA City Council President; Eli Lipmen, Communications Strategist for the American Jewish Committee; Paul Koretz, LA City Councilmember, 5th District; Serena Zeise, Southern California/South West Regional Director for J Street; Jacob Dayan, Consul General of Israel; Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs; David Pine, West Coast Regional Director of Americans for Peace Now; and Barri Worth, Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

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Grassroots Activism

Change doesn’t happen by accident – it happens in large part because grassroots organizations and activists promote solutions and build support for their ideas and goals. Councilmember Koretz is always eager to hear new voices and to meet up with people who strive for positive change. Here he meets and talks with Renée Maas, Senior Organizer for Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food in the United States and around the world.

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This message was sent to  by:

Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz
200 N. Spring Street, Rm. 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-7005