April 6, 2012

In this issue:

Holiday Greetings

Honoring community leaders of the Valley

Protecting the Environment

Water main breaks demonstrate city weaknesses -- and strengths

Protecting a neighborhood from mansionization

Sparkling La Cienega

Our public schools

A reward offered regarding a terrible case of animal cruelty


April is National Autism Awareness Month

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



On Wednesday, April 18th, the Century City Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the Emergency Preparedness Expo from 11:00am - 2:00pm at Watt Plaza, 1875-1925 Century Park East, Century City.

The event is FREE and open to the public.

Sponsorship opportunities are availble! Please contact, 310-553-2222. 


NBCLA & Subaru Team up to Help Shelter Pets!

"We're raising $20,000 for LA Animal Services and we need your help! For every "LIKE" we get, we'll donate $1 – and Subaru will match it" said NBCLA spokesperson.

Click here and “Like”: http://4.nbcla.com/PetChrty

Enjoy this fun ad announcing the campaign: http://bit.ly/FOmUn9


Sustainable Works Los Angeles Energy & Water Green Living Workshop

Sustainable Works will offer another Los Angeles Green Living Workshop on Sunday, April 29th, from 1:00pm - 3:00pm at Colfax Elementary School, 11724 Addison Street, Los Angeles, CA 91607.

The Valley Village Green Living Energy & Water Workshop is an action oriented 2 hour Workshop.  Participants will learn about environmental problems related to Energy and Water on a global, national and local scale then they will be given solutions they can implement right after completing the workshop which will help them to conserve water, become more energy efficient and save $ on utilities. 

The workshop is FREE to residents of Council Districts 5 & 11

Funding provided by LADWP through a grant from the US Dept of Energy

To sign up or learn more about this event, please visit: www.sustainableworks.eventbrite.com


The Century City Chamber of Commerce will hold its 30th Annual Citizen of the Year Awards Luncheon on June 7th, at the Hyatt Regency Plaza, 2025 Avenue of the Stars.

For registration, honoree information, and ticket prices, please visit: http://www.centurycitycc.com/events/?event_id=298


LADWP provides rebates of up to $2,000 to residential customers who purchase or lease a qualifying electric vehicle (EV) and install a rapid, Level 2 charger and a separate time-of-use meter at their home. The rebate is also available to residents living in apartment buildings or condominiums as long as they receive permission from the property owner and or homeowner association.

The rebate is designed to cover “out-of-pocket” charger and installation expenses, after other discounts and incentives are deducted, for the first 1,000 customers that submit a completed application. Out-of-pocket expenses include the customer’s final cost for the charger and related equipment, and installation performed by a contractor.
To obtain more information on the new rebate program and download an application, please go to Residential Electric Vehicle Home Charger Rebate Program

For more information on the rate options available for EV customers view the Residential Electric Rate Options for EV Owners webpage.


Want to share your practical, creative and insightful ideas that will keep Los Angeles moving in the 21st Century?

Check out the City's new mobility plan effort HERE.



Check out the latest newsletters from City of Los Angeles departments:

Department of Building and Safety - September 2011

Planning Department - Summer 2011

"LA Stormwater" - Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation - Summer 2011

Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering - August 10, 2011

Los Angeles World Airports



Melrose Trading Post

Described as a cool, eclectic gem of a place to find treasures and rare goodies, the Melrose Trading Post is a great Sunday destination.  You can expect to find something to make you say "wow" every single time you visit.   Enjoy the food court in the beautifully landscaped upper quad.  Relax to the live jazz band's melodic vibes.  Treat yourself to a different kind of day. 
When: Every Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Rain or Shine.

Where: Located in the parking lot of Fairfax High School (Corner of Fairfax and Melrose Avenue)

Cost: $2

The Westwood Village Farmers' Market

When: Every Thursday from 12 -6pm.

Free Parking at the Broxton Avenue Structure.

Sherman Oaks Community Farmers Market

When: Every Saturday from 8:00am-1:00pm "Rain or Shine"

Where: Sepulveda Blvd. & Camarillo St. (North of the Sherman Oaks Galleria)

Electronic Waste Recycling Drop Off

When: Every last Saturday of the month from 9am to 1pm

Where: IMAN Center Parking Lot at 3376 Motor Ave, LA 90034

Westwood LIVE

Showcasing the city's rich creativity and diversity in the community, Westwood LIVE brings together music, art, theater, shopping, and dining. Located in Westwood Villgage, shops, bars restaurants and more will provide guests with live performances by resident musicians and artists along with special happy hour offers, discounts and screenings.

When: Every 3rd Thursday of the month starting at 5pm


Popular food trucks and shops open late as well as offer promotions.

When: First Thursday of every month

Where: Melrose Avenue between Ogden and Stanley


Get Water Quality Grades on the Go

Beachgoers can now check the latest water quality grades at 650+ West Coast beaches via Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card mobile app for the iPhone or Android, at www.beachreportcard.org.

The new, free Beach Report Card app provides the only access anytime and anywhere to a comprehensive, weekly analysis of coastline water quality.  The mobile app delivers A through F grades, weather conditions and user tips throughout beach locations in California, Oregon and Washingtonto swimmers, surfers and anyone who loves going in the ocean water.

In addition to discovering which beaches are safe or unsafe, beachgoers can look up and save their favorite local beaches, as well as learn details on beach closures.

Know before you go!


LAFCU Announces New Shop LA City Visa® Card with Triple Rewards

Shop LA City, in partnership with Los Angeles Federal Credit Union (LAFCU), is proud to announce the new Shop LA City Visa Platinum Plus credit card. The card, available to all Southern California residents, is the first of its kind to offer triple reward points for all purchases at merchants in the city of Los Angeles and single rewards points in other cities.* The rewards can be redeemed for travel, merchandise or gift cards through CURewards, or used for consumer loan rate discounts at LAFCU.**

The card also has a six-month 0% introductory rate (for new LAFCU credit card holders) then variable rates as low as 9.90% APR.*** This is almost 50% lower than the average rewards card rate of 17.27% APR**** and could save thousands of dollars in interest charges. Cardholders can save even more by transferring their higher-rate balances from other cards to their new Shop LA City Visa.

Besides earning triple rewards, cardholders will also help the city of Los Angeles.  For every $10 in sales tax paid in the city, the city earns one dollar to help support services like police, fire, libraries and parks.

Applying for the new Shop LA City Triple Rewards card is quick and easy at www.LAFCU.org or by calling (877) MY LAFCU (695-2328).  The website also has details about this exciting new card, and LAFCU’s range of beneficial, low-rate or free financial products and services.



LAX Facebook Page Increases to More Than 28,300 Fans

Recent improvements to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Facebook page increased the numbers of its fans and followers.  The Los Angeles International Airport Facebook fan page, which first launched in April 2009, now has more than 28,300 fans.

LAX operated two Facebook fan pages under two accounts – one under “Governmental” and the other under “Places”.  Fans did not have the option to “check-in” under the governmental fan page.  Now with one LAX primary page, under a new URL: www.facebook/LAInternationalAirport.com, fans and followers can now check-in, receive up-to-the-minute information on airport conditions, videos, photos, flight delay, travel-related news, and much more.

LAX’s social media websites are designed to provide real time announcements including airline fare deals, new passenger services and amenities; flight status, current airport conditions, and developments on various modernization projects.  LAX’s Twitter site at www.twitter.com/LAX_Official increased to more than 7,100 fans since its launch in February 2009.  LAX’s YouTube, the newest edition social media site, at www.youtube.com/LAXairport1 is a channel that provides videos of recent events, construction, and airline news, which reached more than 12,400 video views since its launch last year.


Jewish Family Services is offering an educational workshop / support group for family members impacted by domestic violence. For more information, please call Vivian Engle, M.A. at 818-789-1293 x1215.


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.


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


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


For more information on the Asian citrus psyllid and how it can affect California citrus, please click HERE.


Shopping within the City limits of Los Angeles not only supports local businesses, it also supports City services, its neighborhoods and the well-being of all Los Angeles residents. For every $10 you spend on taxes - $1 goes back to the General Fund! Whether shopping along Melrose or grabbing some food in Encino, every dollar we spend within the city is an investment to the future of Los Angeles. Details 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.

Holiday Greetings

Dear Friends,

For many of us, this is a time of special religious observation and holiday celebration, and a transcendent opportunity for personal reflection and family and community gathering.  I hope that you and your family, friends and neighbors enjoy this season and all the wonders of life in Los Angeles, and  I wish everyone a happy holiday, peace and good health.  


Los Angeles City Councilmember, 5th District

Honoring community leaders of the Valley

Councilmember Paul Koretz with Sherman Oaks community leaders at Van Nuys City Hall

Every decade, following the completion of the census, governmental jurisdictions on the federal, state, county, city and school district levels have to go through a redistricting process reflecting various legal requirements related to demographic shifts, which often leads to changes in the boundaries that individual elected officials represent. The City of Los Angeles has completed much of its redistricting process (though formal and final approval is still required, and must be accomplished by July 1).

Unless anything unforeseen occurs, City Council District 5, while relatively unchanged compared to some other city council districts, will no longer be representing many individuals, places and organizations with whom wonderful relationships had been developed over the past three years. Councilmember Koretz and his staff will dearly miss representing those constituencies, though will always be delighted when asked to help as an ally. Of course, the CD 5 office looks forward to forging bonds with new constituents picked up through redistricting. Last Friday in the Valley Council Chambers, Councilmember Koretz honored some of the many individuals and organizations that had been constituents but that will now be represented by District 2 and 4. Those on hand included representatives of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, the Sherman Oaks Beautification Committee, the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce and the Sherman Village HOA.

Before the new district lines become official, there will likely be more such farewell salutes:  Councilmember Koretz truly appreciates and applauds all the neighborhood heroes, civic patriots and involved organizations that do so much, every day, to be of service to their communities and Los Angeles.

Protecting the environment

On Wednesday, April 4, 2012, the Los Angeles City Council’s Energy & Environment Committee voted unanimously to send to the full City Council, Councilmember Koretz’s motion which, upon approval, will eventually lead to the phasing out of all single-use bags, paper and plastic, in the City of Los Angeles within four years (for certain types of stores including grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies – plastic bags used for meat and produce are not included).

As part of its deliberations and vote, the Committee directed staff to conduct an Environmental Impact Report studying a single-use bag ordinance with the following specifications: after a certain amount of time for public and business education, ban the use of carryout plastic bags from grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies while instituting a ten-cent fee on paper bags to disincentivize their use.  Six months or a year after that, the city would phase out the use of single-use paper bags.

People across the city and around the world are increasingly accustomed to avoiding use of single use bags by instead using their canvas bags, which are often handed out by governmental agencies and private enterprise for the purposes of encouraging sound environmental practices, and limiting the spread of trash.  The City of Los Angeles motion, based on recommendations from the City’s Bureau of Street Services, is intended to help promote such practices.

An outreach plan prescribed by the City Council back in December and conducted over the past four months by the Bureau of Sanitation showed general public support for this plan.  Twenty-three neighborhood councils from a wide diversity of areas in the city (including six from the 5thCouncil District) weighed in supporting the initial plan to ban plastic bags.  The destructive cost to the environment as well as the massive clean-up cost to the city, along with the harm to the our waterways, ocean and food chain, make this a vital issue to address, in a city that has landfills that are overwhelmed with trash. Paper bags also have additional, serious environmental costs, including the destruction of trees and the emission of greenhouse gases. 

As for consumers, the Los Angeles County Staff Report, “An Overview of Carryout Bags in Los Angeles,” shows that the annual hidden costs of using an average of 600 plastic bags per year are $18 per person and $30 for the use of 300 paper bags.  Consumers will actually be saving money by using their own reusable bags:  “It’s a simple habit change that has a great positive impact on the planet, helps reduce our city’s sanitation budget, and helps build green economy jobs,” said Councilmember Koretz.  For one shining example, Green Vets LA, an organization based at the Los Angeles Veteran’s Administration Hospital in West Los Angeles, puts to work returning and disabled veterans in creating reusable bags. 

Water main breaks demonstrate city weaknesses -- and strengths

Residents, workers, businesses and commuters in the Fairfax District were inconvenienced on April 3 by a series of water main leaks that prompted some street closures and traffic diversion while repair work occurred.

The leaks were indirectly related to inspection work at the Lower Franklin Reservoir, which serves that part of Los Angeles.  Periodic inspection and maintenance of the reservoir's floating cover is required, during which time the reservoir is taken offline and a different source of water is temporarily utilized:  these adjustments can cause some systemic fluctuations in water pressure, and that can take a toll on older sections of pipe, leading in this instance to the Fairfax-area leaks that were associated with some ruptures in pipe many decades old.

Unfortunately, our city has some very aged infrastructure and, given the budgetary woes still being endured, lacks the resources to speedily replace much of our more vulnerable piping. The good news is that Los Angeles Department of Water and Power crews were quick to respond to the April 3 leaks, and were given a lot of credit in the community for effective work in doing the needed repair work that allowed normal street usage to recur by late afternoon and early evening hours.  We thank the workers for their dedication and diligence and the people of the Fairfax community for their patience and understanding.

Protecting a neighborhood from mansionization

The Beverly Grove community, situated between the Fairfax district and the Beverly center, is an oasis of Spanish Revival homes on tree-lined streets, all within close proximity to shopping, dining and activity centers. Over the 75 years since this community was developed, so much has changed in Los Angeles and the world, but what has mostly remained are the architecturally significant, unpretentious homes and tight sense of community that make Beverly Grove one of Los Angeles’ most desirable neighborhoods. The Beverly Grove neighborhood includes residential structures on R1 zoned ("single family") properties bounded by Colgate Avenue on the north, Fairfax Avenue on the east, Lindenhurst Avenue on the south, and San Vicente Boulevard on the west.
During the past decade, this neighborhood has faced a new challenge, one faced by many neighborhoods in Los Angeles: mansionization. The threat of mansionization occurs when a neighborhood is comprised primarily of smaller historical homes that are then torn down by developers and replaced with very large structures that do not fit in with the neighborhood. While architectural taste and housing certainly change over time, the problem with these oversized structures is not one of taste – these structures provide very little space for yards, tower over their neighbors and deprive abutting property owners of air, light and privacy that should be part of their ownership experience and property rights.
While this issue is not unique to Beverly Grove, it has been more pronounced in this neighborhood for a few reasons: most of the small historic homes are still intact, the lot sizes are somewhat deeper than those found elsewhere in the City allowing for very large homes under prevailing regulations, and for whatever reason the area has been a target for developers who wish to build very large fortress-like homes. Recognizing this problem in 2006, then-5th District Councilmember Jack Weiss proposed a set of restrictive regulations that were eventually replaced by citywide mansionization regulations in 2008.
Those citywide regulations, known as the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance, recognized that individual neighborhoods may need further restrictions due to the unique nature of Los Angeles’ many neighborhoods. In 2011 Councilmember Koretz surveyed residents of the Beverly Grove neighborhood about their desire for a Residential Floor Area (RFA) overlay to further restrict mansionization.  (An RFA is a neighborhood-specific tool that allows communities to craft rules that they feel protect their homes and quality of life.)  The survey showed a supermajority (in this instance, more than 60%) supporting a Beverly Wilshire Homes Association proposal to limit house size to 2,628 square feet.
The survey, while generating important data, was simply the starting point of a process aimed at achieving the fullest understanding of the community and its needs, so the Councilmember held a series of meetings with community members and received hundreds of letters, emails and petitions regarding proposed changes to the neighborhood and its building regulations. Ultimately, in August of 2011 the Councilmember introduced his own motion instructing the Planning Department to study an RFA that would limit home size to 3,000 square feet in lieu of the current restriction of 3,660 square feet. Councilmember Koretz’s proposal allows for homeowners to make appropriately scaled additions to existing homes as well as permitting spacious but sensibly sized new homes while still protecting the neighborhood from the most outrageously oversized, impactful and inappropriate developments.
This motion was adopted by the City Council on November 1, 2011 and the Planning Department will begin work on the study and RFA once staff is available, likely this summer. In the meantime the Councilmember continues to work with residents, owners and other stakeholders throughout Beverly Grove and across the district to protect, enhance and improve our neighborhoods.

Sparkling La Cienega
A beautiful new BevMo store is coming to a vacant site on La Cienega Boulevard just North of the Beverly Center. The former Blockbuster Video store will be transformed into an attractive, well lit and actively maintained neighborhood retailer and asset. The store and its approval process were the result of community collaboration, a collaboration that is bearing fruit up and down La Cienega with new stores and a reinvigorated street. BevMo will upgrade the existing retail site, parking lot and sidewalk area including a new tree for La Cienega. The store will sell high-quality beer, wine, spirits, specialty cheeses, snacks and caviar.
BevMo stores responsibly sell alcohol to adults, close by 10pm, and have a stellar record with City and State regulators but more importantly with the local communities they serve. At the La Cienega location, the company worked with the Mid City West Community Council and the Beverly Wilshire Homes Association to develop a suite of operational conditions that will assure a good relationship with the community and a positive impact for La Cienega. The Luxe mixed-use apartment project is under construction across the street (at 320 La Cienega) and other improvements can be seen in the area. Businesses up and down the street -- members of the La Cienega Design Quarter -- have been cleaning up the street, hosting events and welcoming new and returning patrons to some of the best interior design retailers and wholesalers, restaurants and design shops in the City.

Our public schools

Councilmember Paul Koretz with LAUSD School Board Member Bennett Kayser

Many people think that city government has a lot of say over our public schools, but in Los Angeles, there is a jurisdictional divide, and so most key educational policies are determined by the Los Angeles Unified School District and its school board, and by the State of California and its lawmakers.  Still, in many ways, a local school is the centerpiece of its community, and Councilmember Koretz believes that it is crucial that city government should have close working relationships with our educators, school site decision-makers, PTAs and all who take part in the life of our schools. That's why he is delighted to meet with people about our schools, for example meeting quite recently with LAUSD School Board Member (District 5) Bennett Kaiser:  they discussed matters ranging from curriculum to LAUSD's current redistricting process, still underway.  If you want to find out more about LAUSD redistricting, you can visit  http://redistricting2011.lacity.org/LAUSD/default.html

The public is also invited to attend and make comment at remaining meetings regarding LAUSD redistricting -- one will be at 4pm, Monday, April 9, in the John Ferraro Chambers of Los Angeles City Hall (200 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA); another will be held at 4pm, Wednesday, April 11, in the Council chambers of Van Nuys City Hall (14410 Sylvan Street, Van Nuys, Ca (14410 Sylvan St, Van Nuys, CA).

A reward offered regarding a terrible case of animal cruelty

Councilmember Koretz speaking at a press conference asking the City Council to authorize a $10,000 reward

Mahatma Gandhi said, “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Councilmember Koretz and many Los Angeles residents believe we’re a better, happier city when we’re kinder to animals.  Of course, it’s also true that additional important benefits accrue -- public safety and public health are better maintained, and a municipal budget is less strained, when animal issues are carefully and caringly addressed.
Animal welfare issues can be a joy to address, precisely because the Los Angeles public is eager for improvements and supportive of reforms.  But then there are cases of cruelty to animals which can be so extraordinarily distressing and dispiriting, and few have seemed as barbaric and gruesome as what happened in late March of this year.
If you don’t want to know the grim, despicable details, please read no further.
On March 20, the heads of two large-breed dogs were found inside a dumpster behind the CVS Pharmacy on South Vermont Ave. and West Slauson Ave. Investigators from the LAPD Animal Cruelty Task Force have determined that the dogs’ heads had been severed from their bodies with a sharp object. The bodies of the dogs were not found:  it is believed the perpetrator severed the dogs’ heads at another location, currently unknown, and then traveled to the location where the heads were disposed inside the dumpster. The dogs appeared to have been full grown.  One was a chocolate Labrador Retriever mix and the other a tan Shepherd mix.

This despicable crime was not only tragic and inhumane, but it also displayed a violent and vindictive viciousness that is often associated with perpetrators who are a threat to animals and people alike.  What happened could be the act of a murderer in training.  For all those reasons, Councilmember Koretz joined with Councilmember Jan Perry (in whose district the remains were found), City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, animal welfare advocates, and representatives of the LAPD Animal Cruelty Task Force asked the City Council to authorize a $10,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of any perpetrator.  That reward offer has been approved:  adding to the amount by offering $2,500 apiece were the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Best Friends Animal Society, and Councilmember Koretz.

Hopefully, the case will soon be cracked and any perpetrator will be behind bars, but if you have any information about this case, or any cases of animal cruelty, please contact the LAPD Animal Cruelty Task Force at (213 486-0450.


Councilmember Koretz at the grand opening of PetSmart's new store location

PetSmart recently opened its first flagship store within the metropolitan area of Los Angeles -- and it's right here in the 5th Council District neighborhood of Beverly Grove!

With more than 1,000 stores across the United States, PetSmart provides countless human consumers and their beloved animal friends specialty pet supplies and services, ranging from food items to dog training and grooming, the PetSmart PetsHotel dog and cat boarding facilities, and doggie day care.

The new store, located near Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, is the only two-story PetSmart in the western United States, and so will offer an outstanding selection of of products and services, bringing much pleasure to the community while also creating jobs for many people and giving the local economy an added boost.

Festivities included a ribbon cutting ceremony with Councilmember Paul Kortez, Store Manager John Barrett, and District Manager Jeff Stewart taking part.  We wish them the best of luck in the future.

April is National Autism Awareness Month

The Help Group, which is located in Sherman Oaks, Valley Glen, Van Nuys and Culver City, is a great resource for anyone who has questions, concerns or needs involving autism. The Help Group is the largest comprehensive nonprofit of its kind in the United States, offering a wide range of innovative autism spectrum disorder programs.  In addition, each day, 950 students ages 3-22 attend its autism day schools which help young people with autism and other special needs fully realize their potential.  The website is www.thehelpgroup.org, and the Sherman Oaks phone number is (818) 779-5295.



This message was sent to  by:

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