September 29, 2010

In this issue:

Pet Adoption Event

Heat Wave

Hollywood Supergraphics

Good Fences

In the Community

Sukkot

Bibigo

Republic Pictures


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


UPCOMING EVENTS

Metro will hold a series of public hearings on the Draft EIS/EIR for the Westside Subway Extension. The next hearing will take place Wednesday, September 29 at the Santa Monica Main Library. Click HERE for details.

Public hearings on the 2010 Los Angeles Bicycle Plan will be held Wednesday, September 29, Thursday, September 30 and Saturday, October 2. Click HERE for details.

Restaurant Week, sponsored by dineLA, begins October 3. Find a participating restaurant in your neighborhood and try a three-course meal from one of L.A.'s best eateries.

Beginning Thursday, October 7, the Los Angeles Public Library will hold a series of free public workshops on personal finance as part of its "Language of Money" program. Click HERE for details.

On Saturday, October 9, the Bureau of Sanitation will hold an E-Waste Collection event in Van Nuys. Click HERE for details.

The 27th Annual Claude Pepper Day will be help Saturday, October 16, at the Claude Pepper Senior Citizen Center. Call (323) 938-7023 for details.

The Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce will host the Sherman Oaks Street Fair on Sunday, October 17. Click HERE for details.

On Thursday, October 21, the Century City Chamber of Commerce will host its 2010 Women of Achievement Awards Luncheon. Click HERE for details.

The Century City Chamber of Commerce will hold a Halloween "Spook-tacular" Networking Night on Thursday, October 28. Click HERE for details.


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.

Meet a friend

Councilmember Koretz is always very happy to meet with and hear from constituents.

He is also delighted when animals are adopted from our City's overcrowded animal care shelters.

That's why Saturday, October 2 from 1:00-4:00pm promises to be the best of both worlds! People are invited to come to the Westside Pavilion (Pico Blvd. & Overland Ave., on the 1st Floor near Macy's) to meet with Councilmember Koretz, just to say hi or to discuss any topic of interest and concern. But that's not all – this is also an L.A. Animal Services "Take Me Home" event where pets can be adopted! Make a wonderful day more wonderful, by bringing a plucky, lucky loving animal into your life and into your home!

This great happening is presented by L.A. Animal Services, the Westside Neighborhood Council and the Westside Pavilion. All are to be thanked for their efforts in trying to help animals, our City and the people and communities of Los Angeles.

For more information about L.A. Animal Services and the animals there, you can call 888-4LAPET1 or 888-452-7381.


Hot hot hot

Everyone in Los Angeles is aware of the record-setting heat that swept through our region this past week. The high temperatures caused a surge in electricity use and even resulted in power outages in isolated areas throughout the City, including some neighborhoods in CD 5. While we hope milder temperatures are on the way, such extreme weather serves as a reminder about the many important ways that we can reduce energy usage, easing strain on the grid during peak demand while also saving individual ratepayers money and collectively lowering our City's carbon footprint.

In response to the rising demand during hot weather, the Department of Water and Power sent out some simple ways to save energy while keeping cool:

- Turn off lights when not in use

- Adjust thermostat to 78 degrees to reduce energy usage

- Limit the use of appliances during peak hours of the day—use washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and other heavy appliances during evening hours

- Try to avoid cooking during peak hours of the day since it will add to the heat inside the home

- Ventilate your home at night by opening windows and doors to clear out the heat and allow cooler air to circulate

For more energy saving tips, please visit the DWP's website or view its energy efficiency suggestions here.


Progress on signage

Tuesday, September 28 was a winning day for those who think signage needs to be reigned in. And apart from the billboard companies and their lobbyists, that’s pretty much everyone.

That’s why it’s good news that an ordinance has been adopted that will have a positive impact limiting signage, though for now that impact will be in a targeted area that has suffered some of the worst abuses.

As most Angelenos know all too well, residential and commercial neighborhoods throughout our City have suffered from an assault of signage, including outlandish, garish and intrusive signage that is dangerously distracting and wholly inappropriate for the community’s quality of life. Perhaps the signage crisis reached its nadir with the epidemic of so-called “supergraphics” such as the one seen above, covering sides of buildings, causing a massive eyesore to passers-by while in many cases blocking the windows of those within who might want to enjoy some fresh air and a clear view.

Because so many legal protections continue to shield the billboard industry and its handiwork, measures to control signage have to be taken with absolute precision and specificity if they are to pass legal muster. And that’s what happened on Sept. 28, when the Los Angeles City Council agreed to ban any more “supergraphic” ads in a particular “Signage District” that was created in 2003 to allow new signs in a part of Hollywood, central Hollywood, long associated with iconic signage. Even while dealing with the abuses of out-of-control signage, the City has wrestled with the possibility that very controlled signage might have some value for certain neighborhoods. That’s why the Hollywood Supplemental Use (Signage) District was adopted in 2003. The idea was to allow for the use of historic roof and neon signs within the district, encouraging reinvestment in Hollywood but also allowing the “Old Hollywood” (including those iconic roof signs) to come back to life in a new form.

The majority of the signage district that was adopted in 2003 falls within Council District 13 but small portions are within CD 5 and CD 4. Under limited circumstances the Signage District has allowed for off-site signs, billboards, electronic signs and supergraphics. On September 28th, the Council made legally-mandated changes to the sign district but also banned new supergraphics.

That came about because as early as 2007, it was apparent that the sign district was too lenient in terms of supergraphic signs. Over 35 were in existence in a small area and approximately 15 in addition were already permitted to go up.  It was also clear that supergraphics were no longer necessary to create an incentive to revitalize and invest in Hollywood.  CD 13 sought at that time to ban new supergraphic signs.  That action was held in limbo due to the World Wide Rush billboard litigation, where the central issue was whether signage districts were even permissible. Based upon the 9th Circuit ruling, the City is now able to move forward with bans on new supergraphic signage. Those applications that are already in to the City are grandfathered under the old rules, thus the change is not vulnerable to any liability or takings exposure (when the city might risk facing litigation for having appropriated the property of others).

The ban that was approved on Sept. 28 had the support of Hollywood Heritage, the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight and a wide cross-section of the public.

During the Council debate, Councilmember Koretz was a strong advocate, asking for council support for the ban while noting that “buildings are being designed not for residents or business but as places to plaster signage onto. Supergraphics overpower the architecture of Hollywood. They compete with the very roof and neon signs that were a key reason behind the creation of the sign district. This needs to be reigned in.” Councilmember Koretz also thanks Council President Eric Garcetti for his leadership on this issue. The Council voted unanimously in support of the ban.


Protecting the neighborhood from blight

Millions of Americans were devastated economically when the housing bubble burst in this country. Hopefully, economic recovery, as it occurs, will help bring everyone back from hardship.

But individuals and families weren't the only ones hurt:  neighborhoods and communities across the United States have also suffered significant harm. One of the worst negative impacts of our nation's economic turmoil has been the blight that results when houses are vacated and left in horrible condition, or are occupied illegally and potentially ransacked or trashed. While such decline may be cured eventually as economic recovery occurs, it's important that appropriate steps be taken now, to protect our neighborhoods' quality of life from such degradation and safety hazards.

An example of prompt and effective action took place quite recently. A house in Encino went into foreclosure and was then occupied by someone whom the bank is in the process of evicting, so maintenance of that property was problematic.  The house has a pool, and that means a fence was required by City ordinance for safety reasons, but the fence, which faces the street, was falling apart, and there was also additional blight from trees that had fallen on the property.

Concerned neighbors called the 5th Council District's Valley field office (818-971-3088). CD 5 staff promptly met with the City's Department of Building and Safety, who determined that the fence was a hazard and not up to code. CD 5 staff was able to track down the bank that owned the house and the agent in charge of that property, and successfully encouraged the bank to put up a new fence immediately. If the bank had waited to get an order to comply, or had waited to pass the burden onto a new homeowner, the neighbors might have been stuck for months looking at the problem fence. Instead, there's a far happier outcome. Quick fixes can be tough to accomplish when it comes to homes in litigation, but positive changes are already occurring at this property because of the combined efforts of concerned local residents, the bank and your City government.


Before (above) and after (below) pictures of the fence.



In the community


Councilmember Koretz and Bill Robertson answer questions

Councilmember Koretz always enjoys attending and participating in the meetings of community groups and neighborhood organizations. Since taking office in July of 2009, he has had the privilege of being a guest at several different meetings of the Coalition of HOAs - CD5. Very interesting discussions occur! This past weekend he was joined by another guest, Bill Robertson, GM of the Bureau of Street Services. A lot of questions were answered and much information was shared about the crucial goals and programs for which Street Services is responsible.


Continuing the campaign


Councilmember Koretz is joined by (from l-r) Catherine Schneider,
Sr. VP of Community Engagement for the Jewish Federation; Rabbi
Mark Diamond, Executive VP of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California; and Ron Galperin, chair of the Fed Up With Hunger initiative.


During the past year, Councilmember Koretz has been pleased to join in many meetings where the main focus has been on solving the hunger problems that afflict too many people, families and neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Perhaps no such meeting had a more pastoral setting than one held recently by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. On this occasion, many activists and civic leaders eager to make Los Angeles a hunger-free city gathered in the Federation’s Sukkah – a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival, Sukkot. A Sukkah is topped with branches so you can see the stars, and is often well decorated with autumnal, harvest or Judaic themes.

Rabbi Noah Farkas of Valley Beth Shalom and co-founder of Netiya – the L.A. Jewish Coalition on Food, Environment, and Social Justice – led the group in a Sukkot-themed learning session about hunger.

There was much to discuss: many great programs have been launched, including planting food-yielding gardens, donating food and recycling leftover food from meetings, volunteering at food pantries, hosting hot meal programs, and streamlining government services to maximize benefit to Angelenos. The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles has also joined the City of Los Angeles in the “Good Food For All Agenda” which aims to get good food on every table – that is to say, food that is healthy, affordable and sustainable. Councilmembers Koretz and Jose Huizar are helping to lead the charge towards achieving these crucial goals at the City level.

Councilmember Koretz was excited to meet once more with community leaders on issues of hunger and food insecurity, which affects nearly one million people in Los Angeles County every day. When he spoke at the event, he joked that “Anyone who has sat at a Bubbe’s table and been forced to eat their thirrd serving of Matzah Balls or Rugelach knows that Jews are concerned about people getting enough to eat.” He thanked all the participants, and concluded that “I think everyone in this City can agree that food security is a human issue. Communities throughout LA have raised their voices on this issue – nobody wants to see their neighbor go hungry or undernourished. That is why this partnership is already so successful, though with much work yet to be done.”


Welcome, Bibigo!



Councilmember Paul Koretz was delighted to welcome Bibigo restaurant to Westwood Village. This new restaurant serves traditional Korean food in a friendly and affordable format, and gives the Village a new attraction. The restaurant made a major investment in Westwood Village, completely remodeling the interior of this space and activating an underutilized courtyard with outdoor dining.

Coincidentally, Councilmember Koretz collected and sold political memorabilia in this same courtyard decades ago, while a student at UCLA. He is thrilled to see the courtyard back in use and to see new business in Westwood Village. The Councilmember and his staff work daily at attracting new quality businesses to Westwood and improving the area through a forthcoming Business Improvement District and other efforts.

This restaurant is CJ America's first in North American: they hope to open 1,000 or more locations over the next five years.  The Council Office is proud that Westwood was the choice for first location and wishes Bibigo well. Councilmember Koretz was joined by Alexander Kim from the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jeanne Min from the Office of Councilmember Tom LaBonge at Bibigo's grand opening ceremonies.


Republic Pictures 75th Anniversary


Seated are three of the Republic Pictures stars who attended the
75th Anniversary celebration: Donna Martell, Anne Jeffreys and
Hugh O'Brian. Standing behind them are  (from l-r) Councilmembers
Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz, Studio City Neighborhood Council President John Walker and Councilmember Paul Krekorian.


It may have been sweltering, but this past Saturday CBS Studio Center was crammed with movie fans and families braving the heat while looking for a great fun time. They were drawn to the free and festive celebration taking place that day, honoring the 75th Anniversary of the founding of Republic Pictures. During its heyday, Republic Pictures produced many westerns and other films on the very grounds now occupied by CBS Studio Center. On hand for the anniversary celebrations were many of the stars from that earlier era, along with the children and other relatives of such Republic leading figures as John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Judy Canova and Chuck Connors.

Everyone was welcome. Panels were held featuring the stars of Republic's Golden Era while also showcasing such topics as cowboy poetry and movie special effects. There was unbridled entertainment ranging from trick ponies and experts at lassoing to wonderful live music and stuntmen and stuntwomen exhibitions.

Councilmembers Koretz, Paul Krekorian and Tom LaBonge were all present to salute the many groups, businesses and individuals who devoted extraordinary time and effort to making this spectacular anniversary party possible. Special praise goes to the Studio City Neighborhood Council for leading the way in making this splendid idea a terrific reality. It took nine months of hard work and determination, but the result was an accurate and loving testimonial to a cherished chapter in the histories of Studio City, San Fernando Valley and the City of Los Angeles. Furthermore, what was on display was the tremendous expertise and dedication involved in the swift but sure making of movies at studios such as Republic Pictures. Republic may be a name from the past, but will live on in memory and as an inspiration, as Los Angeles continues to be renowned for the unmatched professionalism of our media and entertainment industries.


This message was sent to  by:

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