January 20, 2011

In this issue:

The hard work at hand

Barnes and Noble / CVS update

Hoop-de-do

Measure for measure

dineLA restaurant week

Who's Wily now?

Bel Air, take two

Honoring Dr. King, Jr. and a giant of music

When disaster strikes - CERT to the rescue

Emily Elizabeth Kane

Editor's note


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 contractors will be in the Westwood area to continue their field work for the Westside Subway Extension from Monday, January 17 to Tuesday, January 25
For more information on the type of work and equipment you will notice, please visit their website HERE.

There will be a seven day event at the LA Convention Center to help struggling Chase homeowners from Thursday, January 20 to Wednesday, January 26. For more information, please click HERE.

The Museum of the San Fernando Valley is hosting a North Hollywood "NoHo" Historic Walking Tour on Saturday, January 22 from 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. to learn about real cowboys, pioneer families, movie television and recording stars, the Spanish conquest, Mexican ranchos, great steam trains, vast ranches and orchards, land barons, wars, architecture, and much more! Later that day, they will have their Quarterly Town Hall Meeting from 1-3pm. Please click HERE for details.

Metro is busy conducting a Final EIS/EIR for the Westside Subway Extension. They will host the first round of community update meetings for this last planning phase of the project throughout the month of January.  At these meetings, Metro will provide stakeholders with background on the study to date, what community members can expect during the Final EIS/EIR and an overview of the anticipated subway construction process. Whether or not you have followed the project so far, you are encouraged to provide input on Metro's progress with the Westside Subway Extension at any of these upcoming meetings (content of all meetings will be identical):

Monday, January 24, 6-8pm at
LACMA West  – Terrace Room, 5th Floor

Wednesday, January 26, 6-8pm at
Westwood United Methodist Church – Fellowship Hall, 3rd Floor

Monday, January 31, 6-8pm at
Roxbury Park - Auditorium

For more information about the Metro Westside Subway Extension, go to metro.net/westside

Be a part of SurveyLA! SurveyLA is the city's first-ever comprehensive effort to identify and record its diverse historic resources. SurveyLA wants to tap into your unique knowledge to inform the City about what is historically and architecturally significant in your community. They will be hosting a South Valley Community Meeting on Wednesday, January 26 in Van Nuys. For more information, please call (626) 793-2400.

The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) is seeking artists interested in creating site-specific public artwork for newly constructed Police Department (LAPD) and Fire Department (LAFD) facilities located throughout Los Angeles. Artists commissioned as a result of this Request for Qualifications (RFQ) will design, fabricate, and install independent and/or integrated public artworks that will be accessed and experienced by passers-by, facility visitors, and public safety employees, as part of the unified texture and fabric of our City’s neighborhoods. Potential opportunities and sites for artwork exist on interior and exterior walls; within hallways, lobbies, landscaped areas, and courtyards; as well as peripheral spaces throughout the sites.The deadline is Friday, January 28. For details and the complete Request for Qualifications, please click HERE.

On Friday, February 11 and Saturday, February 12, the Friends of the Library will be hosting a used book sale at the Encino-Tarzana Branch. For more information, please click HERE.

The Mid City West Community Council will be organizing free CERT training taking place on seven consecutive Wednesday evenings beginning Wednesday, March 9. For more information and updates as the date approaches, please visit their website HERE.

The weSPARK Cancer Support Center will be hosting The Jason Alexander Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament on Sunday, March 13. For more information, please click HERE.

The American Diabetes Association is holding its Tour de Cure Sunday, May 1 in Long Beach. To learn more about joining the ride from Long Beach to Los Angeles, please click HERE.

LADWP Trunk Line Construction Crew is preparing to install 60” and 36” water pipeline in Moorpark Avenue between Babcock Avenue and Wilkinson Avenue. The construction in this work zone is anticipated to be completed in May 2011. For details on the project and the most up to date information, please click HERE.

In an effort to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the transit system through better use of their resources, Metro makes adjustments to their bus and rail service twice each year. The next round of service changes is scheduled to go into effect beginning Sunday, December 12, 2010 or later. To learn more about the changes, click HERE.

The Office of the Mayor is now recruiting Crisis Response Team (CRT) members. These are community volunteers who respond to traumatic incidents at the request of the Los Angeles Police and Los Angeles Fire Departments. CRT volunteers provide immediate on-scene crisis intervention, attend to survival and comfort needs, act as a liaison between the victim and emergency personnel and give referrals to victims and their families affected by a death, a serious injury, a violent crime or other traumatic incidents. For more information on how to volunteer, please call (213) 978-0697 or email LACRT@lacity.org.

The Los Angeles Fire Department is pleased to unveil LAFDmobile, a free application for iPhone and Android smartphones. For more information, please click HERE.

LA City CLerk Election Division has started their drive to recruit pollworkers to staff polls for the 2011 Municipal Elections. For more information and instructions on how to sign up, please visit their website HERE.

The LA Homeless Services Authority is getting ready to conduct the 2011 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. They will be in West LA Wednesday, January 26. With a goal of recruiting over 4,000 volunteers to assist in securing an accurate  count, they need your help. For more information and to volunteer, please click HERE.  

The Los Angeles Housing Department launched its new Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) website. This new comprehensive website will assist the public in purchasing rehabilitated/rebuilt homes, locating rental properties in the City of Los Angeles, and much more. The NSP website may be found by going to http://lahd.lacity.org/nsp/

For the latest construction notices and closures along the I-405, please visit Metro HERE.


iWATCH is a community awareness program created to educate the public about behaviors and activities that may have a connection to terrorism. It is a partnership between your community and the Los Angeles Police Department. For more information, please click the logo above.


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.

The hard work at hand



The City of Los Angeles continues to face immense fiscal challenges.  For this year’s budget (2010-2011 fiscal year), we currently face a deficit of $63 million.*  

Still, on Friday, January 14, the Council made crucial progress on the long road ahead, by instituting an immediate $18.25 million in cuts targeting such things as identified capital finance projects, reducing reimbursement payments to some city employees, and suspending the March police hiring class and planned increases in later classes.

Furthermore, the Budget & Finance and Personnel Committees met jointly on January 19 and moved that the City Council adopt health care benefit give-backs from the labor coalition, including such corrective fiscal mechanisms as increased co-payments to reflect the rising cost of prescription costs and health care that everyone has to pay, representing an estimated $14 million over the next 12 months.

Most or all of these are difficult choices to make, and even tougher cuts are still ahead.  While Councilmember Koretz has sadly but strongly supported most of the cuts, he opposed a $1 million dollar cut that was imposed by the majority of the Council on the City Attorney’s Office. Councilmember Koretz firmly believes that we need a sufficiently staffed and supported City Attorney’s office in order to effectively pursue the City’s habitual creditors, including big companies identified by the City’s Office of Finance as longtime scofflaws.  Los Angeles will be far better off if we can collect those debts, diminishing the need to slash any essential city services. It is also important to support the City Attorney’s effective prosecution of all kinds of crimes from intentional oil spills to gang crime to domestic violence.

As Chair of the Audits & Governmental Efficiency Committee, Councilmember Koretz advocates finding viable cuts in city contracts. He continues to work closely with the Office of Finance, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and City Controller Wendy Greuel – together, they are searching for any way to eliminate wasteful spending and costly practices, rather than reduce key city services that have an immediate impact on our communities’ quality of life.

*That figure does not take into account a projected $53 million in revenue that could be generated by the potential P3 garage transactions currently under consideration. 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

It’s not just Los Angeles – the pain is being felt everywhere

Right now, the nation is still slowly recovering from its worst financial crisis since the Depression.  As a result, cities and states have had to make massive cuts in spending, even as the need for their services has grown.

Different jurisdictions face different degrees of challenges, but one thing is common to all: there's not enough money coming in, and for some, revenues aren’t even enough to cover the most basic of services.

One city that has gotten national attention for its dilemma is Camden, New Jersey – considered one of the most dangerous and crime-ridden cities, Camden has begun the process of slashing its police department by about 50%.  Newark, New Jersey has eliminated 13% of its police.

In Detroit, a new proposal would deny 20% of the City its basic municipal services, including trash pickup and police.  Another Michigan city, Hamtramck, expects to run out of dollars early this year, with no more services to eliminate. One city in Alabama, out of fiscal desperation, stopped paying its pensioners, even though that was in violation of the law. Those are just examples of what municipalities are facing across the land.


Barnes & Noble/CVS update/bulletin!

Many of you have been following CVS's application to sell liquor in its soon to be opened store at Ventura and Hayvenhurst in Encino (the site of the sadly gone Barnes & Noble).  This just in.

The breaking news is that CVS has listened to the Council office and to the community and has withdrawn its application to the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) for a liquor license.  A lot still needs to be discussed and determined -- and certainly, there are many who would love to see a bookstore remain on the site -- but right now, CVS is to be commended for respecting the community's wishes by declining to pursue a liquor license.

Councilmember Koretz greatly appreciates the many individual Encino residents who have shared their views on this matter, including those who spoke up loud and clear against the sale of liquor at CVS.  These heartfelt opinions have all been wonderfully and thoughtfully expressed, and have demonstrated how much the people of Encino love and care about their community.

Hoop-de-do


Photo Courtesy of Jobe Benjamin

The Los Angeles Sparks are entering their 15th season in the Women's National Basketball Association.  The Sparks are a great local franchise, and one of the five original teams still operating in the WNBA.  The current roster is full of star athletes. That’s why it is such a treat, and a great community-friendly gift to local youth, when the Sparks help kids enjoy a memorable sporting event, as happened in Westwood and at other recreational centers across our city this past weekend.

For the second year in a row, the Los Angeles Sparks teamed up with Friends of West Los Angeles to present the 2011 International Dream Games. Previously named the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Games, the International Dream Games were created to recognize the legacy of Dr. King and to bring people together for one common goal – to give kids in Los Angeles the chance to play sports, at a time when budget cuts are reducing and eliminating many sports programs at our schools.

The Dream Games were a wonderful experience for the many young people who took part, as well as for their families and friends and all the fans in the stands. Kids from eight different Los Angeles City Recreation Centers participated in the basketball tournament, held at six different Los Angeles Recreation Centers the weekend before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Each participating child played two games and received a uniform to wear during their games. Over 300 competed in games throughout two days on combined teams from eight recreation centers. 


Photo Courtesy of Jobe Benjamin

Concluding games were held at Westwood Recreation Center, following a ceremony that included appearances by Councilmember Koretz, Los Angeles Sparks President Mike Levy and Sparks Head Coach (and Hall of Famer) Jennifer Gillom.

The Dream Games are a continuation of an ongoing partnership between the Sparks and the Department of Recreation and Parks.  In 2009, the Sparks held a Westwood Recreation Center Night during a home game to recognize the Center and its participants and in August 2009, Sparks Olympian Tina Thompson was on hand to speak to the kids and sign autographs as they unveiled a brand new, refurbished basketball court at the Westwood Recreation Complex. 

Thank you, Sparks, for being so devoted to our community and kids!  For Sparks’ ticket information, please call 1-877-44-SPARKS.


Measure for Measure



The Studio City Residents Association is to be commended for holding a fine community forum concerning the ten ballot measures on the March 8 citywide ballot.

About 200 residents were on hand for what hopefully was a very helpful discussion.  The entire audience should be applauded for doing its civic duty and more, by giving up valuable time to learn about these ballot measures, many of which are quite complex but which could have a major impact on Los Angeles and especially on the City's ability to recover from its budget crisis while still protecting crucial city services.

Councilmembers Koretz, Paul Krekorian and Tom LaBonge each described various measures and shared their views. Councilmember Koretz explained three of the most complicated measures involving taxation of medical marijuana, the oil production tax, and reductions in pensions and health benefits for future uniformed city personnel.

Please continue to read Hi 5 for more information about all 10 ballot measures, and you can also visit Councilmember Koretz' CD 5 website to find relevant links and articles that are already up or will appear.  But there may be no better way to learn about these measures than at community meetings such as the one held by the Studio City Residents Assocation:  democracy in action!


dineLA restaurant week


From left to right: Mark Liberman, President and CEO of LA INC. - The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tom Mullen of American Express, Chef Kerry Simon of Simon LA / Sofitel LA, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, Gunther Zweimuller, General Manager of Sofitel LA and Carrie Kommers, Director of dineLA.

Councilmember Koretz was honored to help host the recent “Chefs Rock LA” event, held by dineLA at the Sofitel Los Angeles, as part of “Restaurant Week.”

The restaurant community is vital to the LA economy, and dineLA Restaurant Week gives our residents and visitors a real opportunity to support them at an affordable range of prices:  Deluxe Dining is $16 for lunch and $26 for dinner; Premier Dining is $22 for lunch and $34 for dinner, and Fine Dining is $28 for lunch and $44 for dinner. That’s three courses at those prices… which is quite a deal and a great way to sample an exciting variety of food.  



As the Councilmember proudly pointed out, CD 5 encompasses a lot of fantastic restaurants. Patronizing our local restaurants helps protect and create local jobs, and also increases the revenue flow for our City, which in turn allows us to better fund our essential City services.  This is a great way to celebrate a shared spirit of community, with people happily partaking of good food and company while delighting in the tastes and attractions of our 5th Council District.


Who’s wily now?



A community meeting held in Bel Air on Jan 19th addressed the issue of coyotes in our midst. Meeting organizer Jamie Meyer helped bring together numerous residents. She also created and presented a board on which were pinpointed the locations of related incidents and sightings in Bel Air involving coyotes. During the forum, many residents described personal experiences and expressed worries about their pets, as well as overall public safety concerns. Experts then discussed an action plan.

Councilmember Koretz was in attendance, as were members of the Bel-Air Association, City Controller Wendy Greuel, LAPD Senior Lead Officer Chris Ragsdale, staffers from the offices of State Assemblymember Mike Feuer and U.S. Congressmember Brad Sherman, representatives of the California Department of Fish and Game, and Officer Gregory Randall, the wildlife expert with the Los Angeles Animal Services Department.

We share our land, water and air with many different living creatures, but coyotes certainly can be dangerous to our pets and, on rare but real occasion, to human beings. Coyotes have been known to be spotted in the very center of urban life, but typically are more likely to be seen in hillside and adjacent communities – which of course include many areas of the 5th Council District. Coyotes are more likely to come into a local neighborhood during a drought season, or when they’ve figured out that food supplies are readily accessible. Many coyotes will flee or hide when they see a person, but can and do become habituated to life in local neighborhoods, especially if enticed and not discouraged.

The California Department of Fish and Game and their surveys estimate a population range of 250,000 to 750,000 coyotes throughout California, most of which spend their lives out of sight of humans, and in secluded parts of places like Griffith Park.Still, coyotes are extremely adaptive and will brazenly approach people and human habitats, especially if food and water are left easily accessible – or worse, if people feed the coyotes, as unfortunately happened in the more heavily patronized recreational areas of Griffith Park.

A representative from Fish and Game talked at length about the history of wildlife in and around Bel Air, and about the importance and limits of coexistence in a shared ecosystem – coyotes do eliminate vermin that spread disease, but when in close quarters with us can harm humans and especially our companion animals. He explained that the costly past practice of trapping wildlife is not normally considered an effective solution addressing the real problems at hand: imperfect removal can actually lead to population explosions when competition for food, etc., within a species is diminished. California Code of Regulations section 465.5 actually prohibits the relocation of trapped mammals. (People may contract with Fish & Game-permitted pest control companies that follow specific code guidelines for removal of mammalian predators.)

Officer Randall, the City’s wildlife expert, discussed specific mitigation methods, including the use of tracking techniques and sight-logs to best identify where coyotes are, and to determine if incidents are to be blamed on many coyotes or on a solitary repeat offender – vital information for identifying the best and most appropriate solutions. He discussed possible “next steps” to be taken in Bel Air, including use of paint pellets to scare interloping coyotes, thereby manipulating their behavior so that they will distance themselves from areas frequented by human beings and their pets.

Councilmember Koretz said that, “I’m sure most of us are happy for the coyotes to thrive on this planet, just as long as they’re not close to where humans congregate, are not walking down our streets or hopping into our yards, and as long as they’re not raiding and taking dogs and cats that we love. My office and I are here for you and are committed to assisting in every way we can.”

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TIPS REGARDING SAFETY AND COYOTES:

* Put garbage in tightly closed containers that cannot be tipped over.
* Remove sources of water, especially in dry climates.
* Bring pets in at night, and do not leave pet food outside.
* Put away bird feeders at night to avoid attracting rodents and other coyote prey.
* Provide secure enclosures for rabbits, poultry, etc.
* Pick up fallen fruit and cover compost piles.
* Ask your neighbors to follow these tips.

Coyotes are incredibly adaptive – able to figure out what people are doing and to take advantage whenever food and water is left within range – so if you make sure they can’t find food or drink on your property, they are far less likely to hang around. Coyotes are also capable of recognizing patterns of human behavior – if they get used to seeing you walking your dog at 5pm each afternoon, they will expect to see you there tomorrow, and may be inclined to show up then. This is why it is very smart to mix up such patterns, if you’ve seen a coyote in the general neighborhood.

If you have a sighting with a coyote and are concerned, please make a "Wildlife Incident Report" to Animal Services at (888) 452-7381.


Bel Air, take two


Joined by Bel Air Association Director Paulette DuBey and her assistant, Cameron, Councilmember Koretz holds the letter requesting Bel Air Road and the Association facility to be declared a historical landmark.

After the Bel Air meeting about coyotes ended, Councilmember Koretz presented Paulette DuBey, Executive Director of the Bel-Air Association, with a copy of a letter he had earlier sent to Ken Bernstein, Principal City Planner for the City of L.A.’s Planning Department.

In this letter, Councilmember calls for designating 100 Bel Air Road as a historical monument. Such status, if and when designated, affords various protections and advantages in order to best ensure the longevity and vitality of the site.

In addition to housing the Bel-Air Association, the building has served as the focal point of the community’s history and neighborhood activities. For more than half a century, 100 Bel Air Road has represented the cultural, political, economic and social history of the Bel Air community.The designation sought both by the Bel-Air Association and Councilmember Koretz will add to the rich history of Los Angeles and will ensure that future generations can enjoy the historical surroundings and heritage of Bel Air.


Honoring Dr. King, Jr. and a giant of music

On the grand occasion of Cedars-Sinai‘s 9th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, Councilmember Koretz proudly represented the City of Los Angeles in saluting the guest speaker for the event, Berry Gordy, Jr. – the founder of Motown Records.  It’s hard to imagine anyone who has made more music touching the hearts and stirring the spirits of people all over the planet.

As a songwriter, and as a producer of some of our culture’s most beloved songs, Gordy transformed popular music with the “Motown sound,” while reaching out across a racially divided, politically and socially charged country to bring people together with a shared love of irresistible beats and melodies.

With Motown (and also other labels he founded), he made amazing hit records with an extraordinary list of musical artists, including Jackie Wilson, The Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, the Marvelettes, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Commodores, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, Diana Ross, Barret Strong, the Contours, Teena Marie, Jr. Walker and the All Stars, Lionel Richie, Rick James and Jimmy Ruffin… just to name a few.  

Throughout his life, Gordy has demonstrated a visionary and unwavering commitment to creative innovation and community service, leading efforts in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world while entertaining untold millions of devoted fans.  

Just as Cedars-Sinai has helped heal those who suffer from illness, Berry Gordy has helped heal through song and activism.  A worthy recipient of honors celebrating a lifetime of accomplishment!


When disaster strikes – CERT to the rescue!



The last Hi 5 newsletter happily saluted and promoted the Encino CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program that was about to start offering some training sessions for new volunteers. CERT is great wherever and whenever it is offered, helping to provide needed emergency relief, “people power” and trained expertise. Capable teams of volunteers able to quickly aid whenever facing disaster,  thereby supplying invaluable support and assistance to our paid public safety and medical professionals.

That’s why this week’s Hi 5 is delighted to thank Chris Brooks – Comstock Safety & Preparedness, Comstock Hills Homeowners Association – for calling to our attention their local CERT program, for which training recently began at LAPD Wilshire Community Police Station. Congrats and appreciation to all involved!



Another tremendous CERT effort involves the Mid City West Community Council, which is organizing free CERT training in the area, with all residents of Los Angeles 18 years and older invited to attend. That training will take place at the Beverly Center (validated parking provided) on seven consecutive Wednesday evenings from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on March 9, 16, 23, 30 and April 6, 13, and 20. For information and to register, contact MCWCC Public Safety Committee member Tara Brown at
taramcw@mac.com.

For more information about CERT and how you and your community can become involved, please go to the CERT Los Angeles website at www.cert-la.com.


Emily Elizabeth Kane



It’s always sad for a City Council office when one of its treasured employees departs to take on new challenges. For Paul Koretz and his Council Office, there was tremendous sadness mixed with an equal amount of pride, because Emily Kane is going to be a bright and shining star in her new endeavors.

Emily was admitted to the California State Bar in 2010, and so she now leaves her post with the City of Los Angeles to begin what is certain to be a storied and esteemed career as an attorney.  She will be joining Roll Law Group as Counsel, there to specialize in regulatory law and corporate giving. 

She became a Legislative Deputy with the 5th Council District Office not longer after Councilmember Koretz took office, and served in that capacity with unstinting and boundless energy, loyalty, grace, wit and wisdom.

Emily provided invaluable expertise on municipal legislation and public policy matters in the areas of governmental affairs, food policy, public works, planning and land use, open space preservation, water and energy use, the environment, health and human services, housing, homelessness, LGBT advocacy, parks and recreation, and cultural affairs. She has been an intrepid champion both inside City Hall, where she’s helped to ensure passage of key legislation, and in the community, where she’s been a builder of invaluable grassroots alliances and served as the Councilmember’s liaison to the District’s Jewish community.

Emily was a delight for her office and the entire city family, due to her keen judgment, superlative work product, dynamic spunk, enchanting humor and tremendous professional and personal ethics.

Having assisted the City of Los Angeles and its people through her endeavors as a Legislative Deputy, she is now certain to assist the City and its people through her endeavors as an attorney, with the same unique blend of ingenious and swift know-how, diligent work habits, pleasing public skills and grand personal character. We wish her the best!


Editor's note:

In the January 10, 2011 issue, we neglected to attribute the photograph from the Community Garden article to Lauren Rosenblum of the Encino Patch. Our sincere apologies to Ms. Rosenblum. Thank you for the great photo!


This message was sent to  by:

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