March 8, 2011

In this issue:

Update - Hillside Protection

A winning BID

Banning large capacity ammunition magazines

Fairfax Championships

Budget and Ballot Town Hall meeting

Dining while drinking?

Going green

Little Leagues and big dreams

Shear Delight

In the community

Thank you, Ben

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


LAPD WLA Community Police Advisory Board Traffic Committee Meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 9 from 8:30am to 10:30am at the West Los Angeles Community Police Station(1663 Butler Avenue). For questions and agenda items, please call Robert A. Ringler at (310) 475-5978.

The Los Angeles Police Department encourages you to attend our Community Police Academy!Operations-West Bureau will conduct a Community Police Academy for all community members. Take part in an informative 11-week free course designed to teach community members how to build a rewarding partnership with the Department, help reduce crime, and improve the quality of life in your own neighborhood! The course will meet weekly on Wednesday evenings, starting Wednesday, March 9 to May 18, 2011 at Pan Pacific Park.
Interested community members should contact the West Los Angeles Community Relations Office at 310-444-0743.

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 City of Los Angeles is required by the Regional Water Board to
adopt an ordinance to regulate septic systems by June 30, 2011. The Bureau of Sanitation invites you to attend one of their second set of outreach meetings listed below. Meetings will be held from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm:

March 10 Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant; 6100 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys

March 17 Council District 11 Field Office Room 200; 1645 Corinth Ave., West Los Angeles

March 22 Tarzana Recreational Center; 5655 Vanalden Ave., Tarzana

The Westwood Library will be hosting a donated book sale on Saturday, March 12 starting at 10:30 until 3:30. It is in the community room on the ground floor at the library which is on Glendon Ave. between Wilshire Blvd. and Wellworth Ave.

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 LA Marathon will take place on Sunday, March 20. The course travels through Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood Boulevard, the Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and finishes on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. According to Jeremy Gateman, a CD5 resident and certified sports therapist, “When training for a marathon, it’s important to give yourself and your body a reality check of where you are in your training so you have the best experience possible come marathon day. If a marathoner is experiencing pain now, it’s imperative that you get a professional opinion on what you can do to mitigate those ailments in the next 30 days.” Please click HERE for more details.

The second round of community update meetings for the Westside Subway Extension Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report (Final EIS/EIR) will provide stakeholders with the feedback heard in January and at the first round of Station Area Advisory Group meetings, as well as updates on the Century City station and geotechnical investigations currently in progress. 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!

Monday, March 21
LACMA West– Terrace Room, 5th Floor 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Validated vehicle parking is available in the Museum’s 6th Street underground garage. Enter from 6th and Ogden.
Spanish & Korean translation will be provided. Live web-cast of this meeting available at

Wednesday, March 23
Westwood United Methodist Church – Fellowship Hall, 3rd Floor
10497 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Free parking is available below Belmont Village, the building east of the Sanctuary. From Wilshire Blvd., use the Belmont Village driveway and proceed under the overhang to the underground parking lot. Park on levels P2, P3 or P4 and take the church elevator in the southwest corner of the parking lot. There will be signs to direct you to the meeting room. Spanish translation will be provided.

Tuesday, March 29
Roxbury Park - Auditorium
471 S. Roxbury Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Metered lot and street parking is available. Spanish translation will be provided.

The Law & Business Council of the Century City Chamber of
Commerce will be hosting its eighth annual “How High is the Sky/ How Low Will it Go?” Westside commercial real estate leasing &
finance forum on Thursday, March 24. For more information, please click HERE.

The West Los Angeles Symphony will be offering a free, all-professional concert on Sunday, March 27 at UCLA's Royce Hall at 7pm. The concert will feature works by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and Kalinnikov. Please call (310) 873-7777 for more details.

The Century City Chamberce of Commerce along with the Emerging Professional & Entrepreneurs Council will be hosting an evening of networking, tasting wines from around the world and a silent auction on Wednesday, March 30 at the Beverly Hills Country Club. For more information, please click HERE.

On Wednesday, March 30, California State Board of Equalization Vice Chair Jerome E. Horton will be hosting the 2011 "Connecting Women to Power" business conference along with the National Association of Women Business Owners and California Educational Solutions. The event will take place all day at California State University Dominguez Hills . For more information, please click HERE.

The Government Affairs Council of the Century City Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Power Breakfast with LA  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday, April 7. For more information, please click HERE.

On Thursday, April 14 the Century City Chamber of Commerce is offering an Emergency Preparedness Expo in Century Park. The event is FREE and open to the public. Please call 310-553-2222 for details.

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.

The annual Diabetes EXPO will also be held on Saturday, May 21 at the Los Angeles Comvention center from 10am to 4pm. The event is free and will include a variety of health screenings, healthy cooking demonstrations, diabetes products and services and much more. For more information, please click HERE.

The Westside Mobility Plan is evaluating parking deficiencies in the Westside and will recommend solutions such as additional parking, parking pricing and management strategies.  The goal of the parking analysis is to develop a series of recommendations to enhance the quality of the parking programs and resources in the Westside, with a focus hot spot areas and their surrounding neighborhoods.  Some of these areas include Westwood Village, Pico Boulevard area, West Los Angeles, Loyola Village and Westchester/Sepulveda areas. In each of these commercial activity areas, parking plays a key role in providing access and supporting the economic vitality of the area. To give your feedback on your experience parking in the Westside, please take part in the survey by clicking HERE.

Call 3-9-9 for Non-Emergency Roadside Assistance on the Highway...
If your car breaks down on the freeway and there is no Call Box in sight, you can use your cellphone to get non-emergency roadside assistance quickly and easily by calling 3-9-9. You can also use this to report obstacles or hazards in the road, (but wait until you have stopped driving to call!). Calls to 3-9-9 are connected to Call Box operators who can Metro Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) tow trucks to your location.  If you are covered by AAA, the dispatcher can patch your call straight through to AAA. FSP help is free of charge, and is funded by an additional $1 on every Vehicle Licenses Fee in the State of California. In emergencies, you should still always call 9-1-1.

With the resumption of seasonal rain, the Los Angeles Fire Department is encouraging local residents to take the precautions necessary to protect themselves from injury and their property from storm damage. When rainstorms impact the Los Angeles area, flood control channels, rivers, and arroyos can quickly fill with fast-moving water, creating a potentially life-threatening danger to anyone who gets caught or swept away. It is against the law to be inside a flood control channel in Los Angeles, regardless of the weather.
We urge you to visit the EDIS website
and listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio and television stations for the latest weather or emergency information.

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

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

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

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

Update – Hillside Protection

Another big victory has been won for one of our most crucial causes – one that is dear to the hearts of countless community activists in the 5th Council District and throughout Los Angeles.

The Baseline Hillside Ordinance made its next-to-last appearance before the Los Angeles City Council on Friday, March 4 and passed its first reading unanimously. The Ordinance is expected to pass the full Council one last time, on Friday, March the 18th, before heading to the Mayor for his signature.

More than three years ago, Councilmember Tom LaBonge initiated and championed creation of a new hillside protection ordinance to add much needed safeguards to our hillside areas. Since taking office, Councilmember Koretz has led the charge to get additional provisions into the ordinance and help stem the tide of out-of-scale and destructive development.

Of course, these successes inside City Hall have been made possible by the inspired input and steadfast involvement of community-based organizations and leadership. Our city and future generations owe tremendous thanks to our local heroes, the neighborhood and community activists who fought hard and long for this new Ordinance which now awaits final approval and signature.

A winning BID

It was back in 1929 – only three years after UCLA chose Westwood Hills to be its home – that the Westwood Village shopping area opened to rave reviews from Angelinos. Since then, the Village has enjoyed a unique history, offering great attractions from splashy movie premieres at the Fox Theater to irresistible ice cream cookie sandwiches at Diddy Riese, and has drawn generations of happy visitors, but has also seen many ups and downs over the years, and has lost some luster. Dynamic change clearly has been needed, and so Councilmember Koretz made progress in Westwood Village a key priority of his first Council term.

Which is why it’s great news that Westwood Village took a big positive step forward on Tuesday March 4 with City Council certification of its Business Improvement District (BID).

Business Improvement Districts function by property owners banding together to tax themselves in order to help provide local improvements and business and economic development.  BIDs are public-private partnerships entered into with the City and requiring appropriate City oversight. Council District 5 has also been working with existing or incoming BIDs in Century City, 3rd Street, Melrose, La Cienega and the Valley.

It takes many meetings and a  lot of work to create a BID – Councilmember Koretz and his staff are extraordinarily appreciative of the shared efforts made by so many valiantly involved business and community leaders and neighborhood activists who are eager for Westwood Village to enjoy a new Golden Age. The initial BID steering committee developed a management plan, set assessment rates and secured the signed support of over 50% of Westwood Village and Wilshire Commercial Corridor property owners. The BID will now go to a final vote of the property owners through a City Clerk administered vote-by-mail election.

It is no secret that the economic downtown has hit Westwood Village hard. While there continue to be great success stories, there are too many vacant store fronts and struggling businesses, not helped by general infrastructure decline which, given the city’s budget crisis, is indicative of the problems faced by communities throughout the City. All however is not lost.  As the City seeks to restore essential services, the BID will be able to immediately step in and clean the streets, trim the trees, and restore some of Westwood’s earlier luster. Just as importantly the BID will unite Westwood and market its unique shops, movies and restaurants to consumers young and old.

The BID is not the only good news coming to Westwood.  While the BID is made up of property owners, it’s the merchants in the shops and on the ground that the public interacts with everyday. That's why Councilmember Koretz sat down with many of the Westwood merchants on February 17th to find collective ways to improve business and improve Westwood.  The Councilmember, partnering with the community, also played an important part in defeating an attempt for the City to lease-out the Broxton garage – that proposal would have threatened the valuable pool of parking for Westwood businesses. The Councilman has subsequently introduced legislation to protect the critical two hours of free parking at the Broxton garage.

The Council Office has also been working with Westwood stakeholders to fill vacant storefronts, and is especially excited about Target which will be opening its doors in Westwood in early 2012.  Westwood has a bright future ahead of it and is well worth a visit today.

Banning large capacity ammunition magazines

The City of Los Angeles has gone on record officially supporting passage of House Resolution 308 which, if made law, will ban across the nation the sale of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Koretz introduced the Los Angeles City Council resolution supporting H.R. 308 – New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy’s effort to ban large capacity ammunition magazines which had been illegal until the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 expired in 2004.

Joining Councilmembers Garcetti and Koretz at a press conference announcing the City’s support for H.R. 308 were LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and representatives of Women Against Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Awareness of the dangers associated with large capacity ammunition magazines has been heightened by the recent calamitous shooting in Arizona, when six people were murdered and fourteen were wounded (including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords).  The Tucson shooter was able to exact such a horrendous toll because he was using a large capacity magazine:  it was only when he had exhausted the magazine and was attempting to put in a new magazine that bystanders had the opportunity to wrestle him down. Similarly, Congresswoman McCarthy lost her husband to gun violence in an earlier mass shooting – again, the shooter was apprehended only when trying to change magazines. The message is simple: when vicious shooters have large capacity ammunition magazines, they are able to shoot far more people before they run out of ammo. Hopefully, H.R. 308 and other sensible efforts to curtail gun violence will become the law of the land.

Fairfax Championships

If you’ve ever wondered what the students of Fairfax High School are called, they are the Lions, and this year they roared!

They won three city championships.  The Lions are the LAUSD Football Division II Champions, LAUSD Band Division I Champions and LAUSD Color Guard and Flags Division I Champions.

So it was with great pride and delight that Councilmember Koretz invited many triumphant students to be honored in City Hall.  Members of the band, color guard and drill team and football team arrived in Council Chambers, where they were loudly cheered by the City Council and the surrounding audience.

Accompanying the students was Fairfax Principal Ed Zubiate who has spearheaded many positive changes at Fairfax High School.  During his tenure, Fairfax High School has been one of the top LAUSD schools academically. Meanwhile, plans are continuing to remodel many facets of the school, including a new football stadium and football field.

Principal Zubiate was joined in City Hall by Assistant Principals Terese McKinney and David Siedelman and Director of Development Joyce Kleifield and various coaches and instructors.

But back to the winning young men and women....

The Fairfax High School Marching Band and Color Guard and Drill Team have had a wonderful five year run since coming into existence (although Fairfax previously had a marching band that lasted into the mid-1980s). Band Director Ray Vizcarra helped start the band, color guard and drill team – a majority of the band hadn’t played instruments before high school, but learned very quickly from his guidance and has now won its third championship in those five years. Meanwhile, the Color Guard and Drill Team (and Guard Instructor Erik Estrada) won its first ever championship, edging out defending Division 1A champion Locke High School.

The football team had a tremendous regular season under the coaching of Shane Cox. Still, they had to play on the road throughout the playoffs and were not favored to win. However, they pulled through, beating some very tough teams including Hamilton High School (the Councilmember’s alma mater) and won the City Section’s Division 2 championship with a 51-7 victory over Chatsworth High School.

Congratulations to Fairfax and we hope to see them back next year!

Budget and Ballot Town Hall meeting

Town hall meetings are a tremendous opportunity for a community to come together and discuss big issues, and Councilmember Koretz loves the informality and spontaneity of these events. The most recent CD 5 town hall was held at John Thomas Dye School in Bel Air, and the main topics were the city’s budget challenges and the March 8 election day ballot measures that to some extent were designed to address those challenges. Both the budget and the ballot measures are very complicated – the detailed discussion that was held, as well as the explanatory materials that were provided, were reportedly quite helpful and easy to understand, according to attendees. The Councilmember and his Office thanks John Thomas Dye School (with Headmaster Raymond R. Michaud, Jr. pictured above with CM Koretz) for hosting the event and the Bel Air Association (with Executive Director Paulette Dubey also pictured above) for its assistance with logistics, and salutes the entire community for being so interested in the civic matters that are at stake in today’s world.
Dining while drinking?

KNBC-TV recently did an investigation of Los Angeles business establishments (most of them located outside of the 5th Council District) which may have been licensed to sell alcohol as restaurants but are allegedly operating as clubs. For example, in one place renowned for its club scene, an undercover reporter repeatedly was told by a bartender that no food is served there. KNBC reported other anecdotes such as one establishment's "kitchen" area being used not for food preparation but by scantily clad dancers as a place to change outfits.

Councilmember Koretz shares KNBC’s concern that businesses should only operate consistent with all licenses, permits, etc. In this matter, people should be able to purchase food to eat at a place that is permitted to be a restaurant. Local neighborhoods and communities need to be adequately protected by our permitting procedures, applicable codes and attendant regulations. When community members are told that a new restaurant is coming to their neighborhood and will be operating under certain conditions, that is exactly what they should get and nothing else. Also, all prospective businesses deserve a level playing field with businesses actually being what they say they will be, without any pretext. Councilmember Koretz has called on Director of Planning Michael LoGrande to investigate the situation and report back to Council. At the state level, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is said to be investigating.

Going green

One of Councilmember Koretz’s lifelong passions is environmentalism: he was the first Southern California Director of the California League of Conservation Voters, served as Administrative Director of the Ecology Center of Southern California, and has authored various environmentally friendly legislative bills. As a Counclmember, he is always happy to meet with environmental organizations and activists. On this occasion, he met with Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of
Greenpeace International, and Jenny Binstock, Field Organizer-Southern California of Greenpeace USA. The conversation touched on many issues, including one that is important to many Angelinos:  getting DWP and the City off of dependence on coal as soon as possible.

Little Leagues and big dreams

One of the great rituals of American life is the annual start of a new Little League season, and so it was to be this past weekend at Bad News Bears Field in Westwood. Councilmember Koretz was happy and also nostalgic to be a part of the proceedings, because he remembers well his own Little League experiences playing on Westside ball fields, including a “Casey at the bat” moment when he was thrown out trying to steal third in the late innings of a key game – the first time he was caught stealing that whole season, and he was tossed out by none other than his best friend Moshe Parry, who would later become a star athlete at Hamilton High and then a Rabbi!

Little League is about kids having a whole lot of fun while also learning lessons not just about victory and defeat but about teamwork and dedication. On opening day in particular, there is a wonderful feeling of hope and expectation in the air, and later there are the rewards of effort. Congratulations and best wishes for a great season go to Jill Taylor, President of West L.A. Little League, and all the players and their families, the coaches, sponsors and fans, who make up this league and all the leagues serving the communities of the 5th Council District.

Shear Delight

CD 5 is full of great constituents with amazing stories, and one of the most remarkable and legendary is Vidal Sassoon, who came to City Hall with his wife, Ronnie, to be honored by the City Council, both for his professional achievements and for many good deeds and charitable endeavors. Vidal Sassoon has led an extraordinary life, and has had an equally extraordinary effect on the world.

We know him mostly through his fantastic career in the world of hairstyling, and certainly, he has created famous haircuts for numerous celebrities. But he has also changed how countless people, especially women, look and how they feel about themselves, with exciting hair styles that don't demand endless care.  And he has been an important supporter and champion of many humanitarian and artistic causes, including in the 5th Council District.

He spent years of his childhood in an orphanage, and grew up in poverty, as well as in the midst of World War II. He survived the bombs of the London Blitz even while apprenticing to learn the tools of the trade he would eventually master. Feisty and defiant, he joined a British Anti-Fascist organization and eventually fought in Israeli's War of Independence.

So we can look at what he endured, and what he became. He is a grand living symbol of how people can emerge from despairing circumstances, and instead of turning their back on the world can embrace it and even conquer it, not punitively and with bitterness, but by gifting us with the fruits of talent, courage and vision.

At the same time, he has championed numerous key social and charitable causes. He spearheaded a campaign, “Hairdressers Unlocking Hope,” that raised millions of dollars to help Habitat for Humanity build many homes in the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina had tragically dispossessed so many people. He's also provided aid for the elderly and medical aid for the underprivileged. He has been a staunch advocate for the arts, whether by helping to mount a ballet for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, or by significantly promoting educational programs at museums and other cultural institutions, including the Geffen Playhouse in the 5th Council District.

He has never lost his fierce sense of justice, which is why in 1982 he founded the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism and Related Bigotries at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The Center engages in research on Anti-Semitism throughout the ages, focusing on relations between Jews and non-Jews, particularly in situations of tension and crisis. This incredibly accomplished man, Vidal Sassoon, is also the subject of a new and much acclaimed documentary film called “Vidal Sassoon The Movie,” which tells his life story while covering his remarkable seven-decades career as a hairdresser – a life and career the City Council was glad to celebrate, not just because of his work but because of his longstanding commitment to helping others.

In the community

A recent example was the annual gathering of the Laurel Canyon Association, which featured much lively discussion on an array of topics. Councilmember Koretz (pictured to the left with Jim Nelson, Vice President of the Laurel Canyon Association) was asked to make a detailed presentation about the city’s budget challenges and what the City’s Audits and Governmental Efficiency Committee that he chairs is doing to find needed savings. He also talked about local issues and how the 5th Council District Office, working with community leaders, is gaining the passage of the hillside ordinance as well as protecting open space in the Laurel Mulholland area. The Councilmember also described how his staff is taking departmental supervisors to historically neglected sites so that longtime problems can be addressed and corrected.

The Councilmember and his office salute the members and leadership of the Laurel Canyon Association – including Association President Cassandra Barrère, who spoke eloquently at the meeting – and are very grateful to community groups for their dedicated efforts, as well as for the many invitations received to come to organizational meetings. They serve a great purpose.

Thank you, Ben

As Chair of the City’s Audits and Governmental Efficiency committee, Councilmember Koretz has happily worked closely with City Controller Wendy Greuel and her staff. In years past, relationships between many Council offices and prior Controllers have been difficult, and that proved costly to the city because important audits too often ended up ignored. Councilmember Koretz and Controller Greuel were determined to change that dynamic and have eagerly teamed up to ensure maximum implementation of audit recommendations and other fiscal reforms.

Ben Golombek, the Deputy City Controller for Communications, has been a key part of the new dynamic – he has been diligent in ensuring that everyone is on the same page when discussing the many complicated details of comprehensive and far-reaching audits released by the Controller’s Office. Ben is a valued 5th Council District resident who previously served as Communications Director for Ms. Greuel when she was Councilmember for the 2nd Council District. Ben has just left City service to become Deputy Chief of Staff for Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes, whose district includes parts of the San Fernando Valley. Councilmember Koretz thanks Ben for his years of City service, and looks forward to Ben continuing to help the City in his new role in Sacramento.

This message was sent to  by:

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