August 6, 2010

In this issue:

Baseline Hillside Ordinance

National Night Out

Administrative Code Enforcement

Water Conservation at the VA

New Director of City Planning

New Businesses in CD 5

Encino Neighborhood Council

Fire Station 88 in Sherman Oaks

Trumpeting Art

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


The Rotary Club of Sherman Oaks Sunset will hold its first ever SOS Dance Marathon on Saturday, August 7, at the Arthur Murray Dance Center in Sherman Oaks. Proceeds from the event will support the Rotary's polio eradication efforts. Click HERE to learn more.

The Bureau of Sanitation is conducting public outreach regarding a proposed ordinance to govern Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS), commonly known as septic tanks. The Bureau will hold the second of three "listening" sessions on Thursday, August 12 at the Bureau’s Media Center offices, located at 2714 Media Center Drive. Click HERE to learn more.

On Thursday, August 12, the Century City Chamber of Commerce will hold a Speed Networking Breakfast at the Breadbar in Century City. Click HERE for details.

On Thursday, August 19, Metro will hold a community meeting about the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project at Bob Hope Chapel in Westwood. For more information, contact Metro Community relations at 213-922-3665 or

On Thursday, August 19, the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce will host a Business Luncheon at Café Bizou. Click HERE to learn more.

The Encino-Tarzana Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library is presenting a series of programs titled "Opera for Beginners." The next meeting is Tuesday, August 24 at 6:30 p.m. All ages are welcome. Encino-Tarzana Branch 18231 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, CA 91356 (818) 343-1983.

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!

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A Great Victory: Passage of the Baseline Hillside Ordinance!

A view of one of the city's overdeveloped hillside areas.

Wednesday, August 4 was a triumphant day for anyone who cares about protecting our hillsides, which rank among our City’s greatest natural resources.

On that day, after four years of hard work, the City of Los Angeles finally passed the new Baseline Hillside Ordinance, which will now provide the most comprehensive hillside protection the City has ever had.

That is wonderful news, but what makes it even better is that the City Council agreed to toughen the proposed ordinance by including amendments suggested by Councilmember Koretz.

The Ordinance that was before the Council included limits on the size of homes. Our hillsides have been under assault from vastly out-of-scale development known as “mansionization” – homes that are hugely disproportionate to their neighbors, and that are created through the degradation of our hillsides which too often are severely, savagely cut to make room for these mansions. The Baseline Hillside Ordinance places limits.

The amendments offered by Councilmember Koretz require the most comprehensive geo-technical and hillside stability analysis for any proposed developments on extreme slopes and mandate that a deputy grading inspector be present at applicant's expense during all grading activities on those extreme hillside slopes. The amendments also allow for further limits on such developments.

Hillside residents should now enjoy relief from the out-of-scale development that too often has destabilized the hillsides, damaged the environment, reduced wildlife, increased the risk of landslides, destroyed the visual allure, and imposed on surrounding neighbors.

Councilmember Koretz salutes the many neighborhood activists and concerned community groups that have been involved in saving our hillsides through this effort. That includes the Lookout Mountain Alliance, Laurel Canyon Association, the Hillside Federation, the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council, the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, the Encino Neighborhood Council and many more community groups.

National Night Out – Always a Success!

Senior Lead Officer Arthur Gallegos and Capt. William Hart of the
Wilshire Community Police Station joined Councilmember Koretz at the National Night Out event in Poinsettia Park.

Tuesday night, August 3, was the annual “National Night Out,” held across the U.S.A.

Residents, businesses and local law enforcement came together in countless neighborhood gatherings to have fun and enjoy each other’s company while promoting public safety.

As always, Councilmember Koretz and his staff were delighted to attend several National Night Out events held in CD 5.

The Councilmember salutes all who take part in “National Night Out,” for they are activists who are dedicated to making their communities friendly and safe from crime. He especially applauds the police divisions, neighborhood watch programs, merchants and community groups who plan and manage these events and who donate their time, effort and resources.

If you’ve never participated in “National Night Out,” make next year your first! There’s plenty of food, music and conversation, and by talking with more neighbors and police officers, you increase the safety and harmony of your neighborhood and this city.

Councilmember Koretz honors Paul Lerner and Pete Nichols of
Melrose Action Neighborhood Watch during this year's National Night
Out at Poinsettia Park.

At the National Night Out at Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park, Councilmember Koretz was joined by (from l-r) Joan Pelico, Sr. Field Deputy CD 5, Capt. Tia Morris, Senior Lead Officers George Aguilar and Justin Bergmann, and Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese.

Update: Administrative Code Enforcement

Too often, neighborhood nuisance problems in Los Angeles are allowed to linger or fester. Even when there’s a citation or multiple citations, it can take a year or more for there to be any official resolution. Unless a clear-cut public safety hazard is involved, enforcement can be quite laggard. As a result, these administrative violations frequently go brazenly uncorrected.

The good news is that the City Attorney has drafted a new Administrative Code Enforcement Ordinance, in response to a Koretz motion calling for fixes to the broken system. Review of the draft Ordinance has just begun, and there will be plenty of time for public scrutiny and community input.

Water Conservation at the VA

Councilmember Koretz helps present the VA with a rebate check for
its turf replacement project. From l-r: Donna Beiter, Director of the
VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System; Jonathan Parfrey,
Director of the Green LA Institute; and Jim McDaniel, DWP Senior
Assistant General Manager - Water System.

California’s Department of Water Resources has warned that the state may be facing a fourth consecutive year of serious drought conditions. That’s one reason that the City of Los Angeles and all Angelenos are doing their part to cut back on water use. On August 5, Councilmember Koretz was able to see first-hand another example of extraordinary water conservation efforts in L.A. – this time through a unique partnership between a local landscaping business, the federal Veteran’s Administration and the city’s Department of Water and Power.

At the VA facility in West Los Angeles, The Turf Company transformed 7.5 acres of traditional ornamental lawn into a landscaped, drought-tolerant garden that will provide a calming and healing respite for our nation’s brave veterans. The project is estimated to save more than 8 million gallons of water annually, which is enough to serve 50 households a year. Not only that, but it has provided jobs and training for a number of VA patients.

“The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the VA staff got together to do something great for the environment, for our community, and for veterans. This project is a sterling example of environmental thoughtfulness, great job training and local and federal governmental entities cooperating well,” Councilmember Koretz said.

Switching from a turf lawn to drought-resistant landscaping not only makes environmental sense, but makes financial sense, too. In addition to saving money on water bills, the Department of Water and Power offers a rebate of up to $2,000 to help cover the costs of removing and replacing turf for residential customers. Please visit SoCal Water Smart to learn more about the program.

Under New Management

The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously approved Michael LoGrande as the new Director of City Planning.  Mayor Villaraigosa had nominated LoGrande for the post, citing his “deep knowledge of the City and its Planning Department.”

LoGrande has been heading the Office of Zoning Administration, and has also been leading the Planning Department’s public policy unit known as Code Studies, as well as the City’s Revocations and Nuisance Abatement Unit.  He had previously served as City Planner for the City of Los Angeles and was eventually promoted to Senior City Planner.

Before the vote, many Councilmembers asked questions while citing the extraordinary importance of the Planning Department to the people and communities of this city.  Councilmember Koretz discussed the importance of reducing the time and bureaucratic red tape it takes to get “small approvals” for minor planning matters. Whether it’s for a business or a single family home, a decision on a nearly incidental item shouldn’t drag on for upwards of a year or more. The Councilmember also suggested that the Department could look at ways of focusing on core duties involving the General Plan, community plans and the whole development process, rather than taking on many different tasks and mastering and completing few if any.

Promoting New Business and Economic Vitality in CD 5

Councilmember Koretz helps open The Capital Grille with Gina Doyle, Managing Partner of the new restaurant.

When new businesses open up in a receptive community, it’s a good thing, bringing jobs for local residents as well as an improved economic climate for the entire neighborhood.

That’s why Councilmember Koretz is pleased to participate in many ribbon cuttings. In today’s tough economic climate, it’s important to welcome responsible businesses.

A BevMo store opened recently in Westwood, bringing many jobs and a projected $50,000 annually to the City of Los Angeles in sales taxes. The Capital Grille restaurant that’s opened at the Beverly Center will likewise create jobs and promote economic benefits. Good luck to all our businesses, new and established, that operate with profound respect for their neighbors and customers!

Community members (from l-r) Stephen Spector, Terri Tippit, Shannon Burns, Richard Harmetz and Colleen Mason-Heller joined Councilmember Koretz at the BevMo grand opening.

Taking the Oath

Councilmember Koretz was honored to swear in the newly elected members of the Encino Neighborhood Council. He thanks them and all members of all neighborhood councils, and all who serve in any community or civic group, for their dedication and commitment as volunteers. The above photo shows Councilmember Koretz swearing in (from l-r) Jean Strauber, Shelly Revkin, Laurie Kelson and Gerald Silver.

Firefighting Heroes

In countless times of emergency, our firefighters are often the heroic difference between life and death. They also contain and expertly extinguish small blazes that might otherwise turn into massive conflagrations. For those reasons and more, they have our deep respect and gratitude.

Councilmember Koretz is always eager to thank firefighters on behalf of the city, which is one reason he visits fire stations. While there, he also shares relevant information and policy perspectives with the firefighters, hears their concerns and gets briefed regarding current and potential hotspots. On this day he visited Fire Station 88 in Sherman Oaks, and was briefed by Deputy Chief Scott Mottram – Battalion Chief for the Valley. (They were joined by other Battalion Chiefs responsible for individual areas of the Valley.)

Trumpeting Art

There’s an amazing array of artists and art in our city and perhaps especially in the 5th Council District. Councilmember Koretz applauds every person’s creativity and is delighted to help champion local artists, including by having his office space be a showcase for art. In the past, UCLA art students have had their works hang there. The current work is by Norm Maxwell, who has a gallery across from Canter’s: the Norm Maxwell Gallery at 430 N. Fairfax. Norm also has started a new art walk on Fairfax, on the second Saturday of every month, stretching “from Rosewood to Oakwood and slightly beyond.” Here he is in front of his painting of the great jazz trumpeter, Dizzy Gillespie.

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