October 15, 2010

In this issue:

CORE Blueprint Update

Lovely Sherman Oaks!

Jian BBQ

Carthay Circle Medians

LA Museum of the Holocaust

Proposed Cell Tower

AIDS Walk Los Angeles

New Faces

A Tale of Two Erics

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

Bikur Cholim will hold a community blood drive to benefit Childrens Hospital at Yeshivat Yavneh on Sunday, October 17. Please make your appointment at wwww.bikurcholim.net or call (323) 852-1900.

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

The National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles will present a free community event on Wednesday, October 20 about the prevention and prosecution of sexual predetors. Click HERE for details.

On Thursday, October 21, Los Angeles will participate in the Great California Shakeout, an emergency preparedness drill. Click HERE to learn more.

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.

Riverside Drive Elementary School will host its Fall Festival on Saturday, October 30. All ages are welcome and all proceeds benefit school programs.

Bring your unused cell phone to City Hall before Friday, November 12! Your cell phone from any service provider will be refurbished and sold for proceeds to be given  to victims of domestic violence through local domestic violence agencies. Just remember to erase your personal information first!

If it can't be refurbished, Verizon will recycle the phones and accessories in an environmentally sound way saving our landfills from tons of electronic waste (200 tons so far!). For more information please visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline

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.

CORE Blueprint Update

Councilmembers Greig Smith, Paul Koretz and Bernard Parks hold a joint committee meeting about the CORE blueprint.

As Councilmember Koretz promised, the Audits and Governmental Efficiency Committee that he chairs has immediately gone to work on what he called "job number one" -- implementing important recommendations to help financially strapped Los Angeles improve its revenues and collections capacity. 

On October 4, the Ad Hoc Commission on Revenue Efficiency (CORE) issued its "Blueprint" – a report with recommendations detailing how some city departments have for years routinely disregarded directives and guidelines for collections while ignoring good ideas about solutions. As a result, many other large cities do a far better job of collecting money owed than does Los Angeles: of the estimated $541.1 million owed the City in non-tax receivables, over 75% is more than 120 days past due, and over 40% is more than 2 years past due.  That's why Councilmember Koretz has said that, “Los Angeles is in a terrible fiscal mess precisely because in years past, the City and its departments have failed, time and time again, to implement available solutions, corrections and improvements regarding revenues and collections."

On October 12, the Audits and Governmental Efficiency Committee met jointly with the Budget and Finance Committee (Chaired by Councilmember Bernard Parks) and heard from CORE, including its Chair, Ron Galperin. Many issues and recommendations were discussed, with the joint committees moving aggressively to implement what may be the most crucial Blueprint recommendation:  the creation of an Inspector General for Revenues and Collections.  As Councilmember Koretz has noted, "an Inspector General can give us knowledgeable, objective, no-nonsense reports indicating who in the City is succeeding and who is failing when it comes to embracing the Blueprint and making it work." Acting in tandem, the two committees started the ball rolling by calling for action that will bring the Inspector General proposal quickly to the floor of the City Council.

 Lovely Sherman Oaks!

Before                                          After
Saturday, October 9 was a great day for Sherman Oaks. The Office of Councilmember Koretz was pleased to join the Sherman Oaks Beautification Committee, the 2nd Council District office and many volunteers from the Buckley School and New Directions for Youth in an important beautification effort. The day's labors began at Ventura Blvd. at Van Nuys Blvd. and then the group headed north to Moorpark and down Moorpark to Hazeltine. When work was complete, Sherman Oaks was gleaming. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who participated!

Jian BBQ and the Conditional Use Permit Process

Many people enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.  Additionally, some studies have explored whether possible health benefits may accrue when wine is consumed with a meal in modest amounts, though that is still very much being examined and debated. What is not open to debate is that the commercial service of alcohol can have a major negative impact on a community’s quality of life, and that is why our local and state governments carefully regulate and control the sale of alcohol.

Since the early 1980s, restaurants have been required to obtain Conditional Use Permits before they can sell alcohol to their customers.  These Conditional Use Permits give the City the legal mechanism for placing conditions on such restaurants, including the limiting of hours of service and the requiring of security.  Such conditions help protect the neighbors and the community at large, while still allowing a restaurant to succeed: a careful balance has to be struck to protect communities while also creating vibrant business districts for all of us to enjoy.

Councilmember Koretz and his staff review each request for alcohol licenses within the 5th Council District.  The Councilmember then advocates for the best decision and conditions, based upon such factors as the potential impact on the community, the history of the business and its relationship with the neighborhood, and the input of the Police Department, residents, homeowner associations and neighborhood councils. The decision maker in these cases is the Zoning Administrator – one of a special set of employees within the Department of City Planning delegated with the authority to act on land-use approvals. These decisions can be appealed to the local Area Planning Commission by any aggrieved party.

Recently, the case of Jian BBQ came before the City.  Jian BBQ is a large restaurant at 8256 Beverly Boulevard in the Mid City West neighborhood.  While the current restaurant runs a quiet operation, there have been problems at this location in the past, with a bar and night club masquerading as a restaurant, out of control drunk patrons, parking in the residential neighborhood and relentless noise disturbances.  It was for this reason that the Council Office advocated for limited hours and tough parking restrictions to ensure that the restaurant would remain a neighborhood-friendly business and not another neighborhood eyesore and nuisance.

The process worked and the Zoning Administrator listened to the community and Council Office concerns.  The written decision from the Zoning Administrator required an updated parking plan, restrictive parking and valet requirements and most importantly restrictions on the hours and a requirement that alcohol only be served in connection with food orders.  The restaurant appealed this decision to the Central Area Planning Commission but Councilmember Koretz stood with the community and the Zoning Administrator in defending the restrictive conditions.  The Commission made only minor changes to the permit and the community remains protected.  A special thank you goes out to neighborhood activist John Henning for his tireless work advocating on behalf of his community and working with Councilmember Koretz on this important restaurant issue.

Carthay Circle Medians

Workers were busy cleaning the median on October 12.

The medians in Carthay Circle received crucial maintenance service on October 12, 2010. These medians are on San Vicente Blvd. between Wilshire Blvd. and Fairfax Ave., and are an integral and much appreciated part of the community – drivers know when they are on San Vicente because of these medians.

(Other medians elsewhere on San Vicente Blvd but not in the Carthay Circle have also received maintenance servicing in recent weeks.)

Budget cuts forced maintenance cuts to these medians; Councilmember Koretz and his colleagues worked to obtain federal money to pay for renewed maintenance. These medians are now to receive continued maintenance as the city works its way through very tough budgetary times.  Also, the Councilmember has requested that next year's budget include money for city medians, so that all city medians will continue to be maintained in the future.  The Councilmember has furthermore requested that native and/or drought tolerance plants be considered to help save money in the long term.

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust 

This LAMH ribbon cutting marks an historic occasion!

Councilmember Koretz joined fellow supporters at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly opened Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMH) building. While it is the oldest Holocaust museum in the United States (it was founded in 1961 by Los Angeles based Holocaust Survivors) it has lacked a proper permanent home for decades.

More than one hundred people gathered at the site for the ceremony.  Among them were Holocaust Survivors, community leaders, students, and many of those who have made this dream of a permanent space a reality. Located at Pan Pacific Park, LAMH’s new home is both architecturally significant and educationally cutting edge. Under an agreement with the City, the LAMH is allowed to be at Pan Pacific Park for an annual lease payment of $1 per year.  

 Councilmember Koretz joined other speakers, including Recreation and Parks General Manager Jon Mukri, Assemblymember Mike Fueur, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslovsky, Councilmembers Tom LaBonge and Eric Garcetti, and Mayor Antonio Villaragosa.Councilmember Koretz, recalling his own family's ties to the Holocaust, spoke about how crucial it is for this Museum to exist in Los Angeles, and how important it was that the City aided in its creation: “If ever people claim, by lies and falsehoods, that the Holocaust didn’t happen, we can bring them here.This truth can never be lost.”

Councilmember Koretz particularly wants to thank his colleague Tom LaBonge for his decades (literally) of work making Pan Pacific Park the urban treasure that it is. Councilmember Koretz said, “Tom LaBonge loves Los Angeles and that love is nowhere more evident than in Pan Pacific Park, a true urban oasis. Thanks, Tom, for all of your efforts over many years.”

Proposed Cell Tower

The proposed wireless facility was to be located on the roof.

In many neighborhoods across Los Angeles, residents wonder and worry about proposed cell towers and their potential impact on the local quality of life. Sometimes these proposals to locate wireless facilities are challenged procedurally, but such challenges are often routinely denied. Furthermore, one area of specific concern to many – the possible impact on public health – is not allowed as a reason for such challenges: Federal law maintains that the health issue has already been fully considered by the Federal Communications Commission.

Councilmember Koretz has challenged inappropriate cell tower applications wherever possible, based on such factors as height, aesthetics and the need to co-locate with existing facilities. Despite the legal odds against these challenges, CD 5 has several "upset" wins to its credit. On October 12, another cell tower application in the 5th Council District was at stake, with a proposed wireless facility on North Doheny being contested in front of the City's Central Area Planning Commission.  Councilmember Koretz opposed the tower, citing its "residential location, height, unsightly nature and outpouring of community concern." The Commission subsequently voted to support the community and oppose the application!  There may be further administrative and judicial proceedings, but the Commission is to be applauded for doing the right thing.  

AIDS Walk Los Angeles this weekend

On Wednesday, October 13, the City honored 2010 AIDS Walk LA and its leadership and team coordinators.

Every year Councilmember Koretz looks forward to participating in the annual AIDS Walk. This year is certainly no different! The 26th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles will occur this coming Sunday, October 17 in CD5.

This event is responsible for bringing together over 30,000 people rallying behind a common goal: to raise awareness and help find a cure for AIDS.

Councilmember  Koretz, along with his staff assembled as "Team Koretz,"  are  proud to represent all of the council offices. If you still need a team to join for Sunday's walk, please consider joining "Team Koretz" by clicking here.

New Faces

The Fifth Council District has some new staff! Three new field deputies – two in West Los Angeles and one in the San Fernando Valley – are serving our CD 5 communities with great dedication and resolve.

Sheila Kouhkan has just joined the CD 5 staff, but she’s already quite experienced at helping our constituents – for the past two years, she has been interning in the 5th Council District’s West Los Angeles field office.

Sheila grew up in Palm Desert, California before attending UCLA. She graduated in the spring of 2010, having majored in Political Science and minored in Education. Sheila originally dreamt of becoming a veterinarian, and has often been a foster parent for rescue dogs, she has become increasingly interested in the law, and spent this past summer working at a law firm.

Sheila’s interests include community and urban schooling (access to education); helping children with developmental disabilities; participating in Persian community efforts, and liaisoning with the LGBT community. Sheila is a proud resident of the 5th Council District, and is delighted to be serving it in her new role as field deputy, where she will be a go-to person for the communities of Century City, Cheviot Hills and Rancho Park. She says, “I love CD 5. I love that everyone is active about their communities and works together to better the community.”

David Giron is a native of Los Angeles who also grew up here, attending Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, then Santa Monica College, then Cal State Northridge. He graduated from Cal State Northridge in the summer of 2008 with a degree in political science and a focus on government.

Among his many passions are baseball (he played shortstop and third base for his high school team), skiing, and travel. Though his eventual focus might be working in the legislative process, David is very happy to be meeting constituent needs as a field deputy while serving Palms, the SORO area, Mar Vista and Beverlywood: “I am thrilled to be working with Councilmember Paul Koretz and his wonderful staff, and I’m equally impressed and inspired to be working hand-in-hand with so many dedicated residents who care about their neighborhoods.”

Councilmember Koretz with Wesly (left) and David.

Wesly Hernandez was born in North Hollywood. He currently attends Cal State Northridge, where he is getting his Masters in Public Administration. He graduated from UCLA in 2009 with a double major (Political Science and Public Policy), then interned with Councilmember Koretz’ City Hall office and worked as a clerk with the Santa Monica Superior Court.

Wesly will be helping to serve the neighborhoods of Sherman Oaks, Studio City and Valley Village. He is well used to seeking the best solutions for constituents, and presently serves on the Sun Valley Neighborhood Council. (He also loves to play sports, and surfs.) Wesly considers his new role as a field deputy to be “a great opportunity to give back to CD 5. It’s truly rewarding and fun to finally work up close with the same people I’ve been working with and helping legislatively. I feel like I’m very in-touch with the issues that matter to the community, having worked on so many of these same challenges in City Hall.”

It’s always a good thing to have fine people willing and eager to serve the public. CD 5 welcomes Sheila, David and Wesly, and wishes them all the best.

A Tale of Two Erics

Eric Norton (left) and Eric Weiser hard at work.

Life was made easier for CD5 staffers and constituents when Councilmember Koretz cleverly swapped Eric Norton from the City Hall office downtown for Eric Weiser of the Westside District Office. As a result, people can just keep on saying "Hi, Eric" without missing a beat.

The two Erics proved themselves to be extraordinarily talented and diligent in their formal roles, with both of them now relishing the opportunity to expand their horizons while learning new facets of governance and public service. Eric Norton will now be assisting the residents of Westwood between Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevards. Eric Weiser will be handling the duties and responsibilities of the front desk in City Hall and helping to write the Hi Five to keep our communities informed.

Westwood, welcome Eric Norton. City Hall, welcome Eric Weiser.

This message was sent to  by:

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