May 2, 2011

In this issue:

Budget Update

Westwood BID

New Traffic Signal

Update on Illegal Filming

An Ending for a Mermaids' Tale

New Affordable Senior Housing

In the Community

In the Community


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 / ANNOUNCEMENTS

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 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.
The seven-week training session begins on Monday, May 2 until Monday, June 20 and will take place on each MONDAY AND WEDNESDAY evening at the South L.A. Sports Activity Center at Figueroa Street and Florence Avenue. For more information on how to volunteer, please call (213) 978-0697 or email LACRT@lacity.org.

As part of the reconstruction of the southern half of the Sunset Bridge and in preparation for the construction of the road way, the contractor will install girders on the bridge during five nights. This activity will require closures of the I-405 freeway, Sunset Bl and Sepulveda Bl. This work will be followed by the demolition and reconstruction of the northern half of the bridge. Work is anticipated to start on Monday, May 2 for five consecutive nights between the hours of 10PM to 6AM, with girder installation and freeway closures occurring between 12AM and 5AM. This work is weather permitting.

The Encino Neighborhood Council Public Safety Committee, in coordination with the Los Angeles Fire Department, is proud to sponsor Community Emergency Response Team classes.CERT is a FREE disaster preparedness program designed to help you protect yourself, family and neighbors in a crisis situation when emergency services become overwhelmed and cannot arrive in time. CERT training will be held on Tuesday, May 3 and every Tuesday night until June 14 from 6:30pm-9:30pm at the First Presbyterian Church of Encino located at 4963 Balboa Blvd. For registration and/or additional information, please contact Tonya Barseghian at tbarseghian@ucla.edu

LADWP Recycled Water Forums
The public is invited to hear an overview of the LADWP's and Bureau of Sanitation's Recycled Water Program at open community forums that will outline the City's long-term strategies to expand local water supplies through increased use of recycled water. The forums will be interactive and will include a question-and-answer session:
West Los Angeles
Thursday, May 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library
2920 Overland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

West San Fernando Valley
Tuesday, May 17, 6-8 p.m.
Sepulveda Community Garden Center at 16633 Magnolia Blvd.
Encino, CA 91436

On Thursday, May 5, the Century City Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a networking breakfast and discussion on funding sources for investment and growth capital. For details, please click HERE.

The Exposition Construction Authority invites you to a community meeting to kick-off the design process for Phase 2 of the Expo Line project. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to meet the design/build contractor and learn about the design process and timeline. The format will include a short presentation followed by breakout sessions to facilitate dialogue and community input on station elements, neighborhood integration and mitigation measures. The information presented at these meetings will be identical, so interested individuals, organizations and public agencies are welcome to attend on either of the following days:

Monday, May 9 at
6:30 p.m.
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
East Wing Meeting Room
1855 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Special Event Free parking available off Main Street

Wednesday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m.
Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services Gymnasium 3200 Motor Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034
Parking available on campus

The Bel Air Beverly Crest NC and the Hollywood Hills West NC will host a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, May 16 from 6:30-8:30pm with LA City Planning as they present the new Hollywood Community Plan (HCP) and Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). For details, please click HERE.

The public is invited to hear an overview of the LADWP's and Bureau of Sanitation's Recycled Water Program at an open community forum on Tuesday, May 17 from 6-8pm at the Sepulveda Community Garden Center that will outline the City's long-term strategies to expand local water supplies through increased use of recycled water. The forum will be interactive and will include a question-and-answer session.

The Century City Chamber of Commerce will be holding its annual Citizen of the Year Awards Luncheon on Thursday, May 19. For more information, please click HERE.

The Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative's 9th Annual Community Forum will take place on Thursday, May 19 at the USC Davidson Conference Center. For more information and to register, please click HERE.

The Friends of the Encino-Tarzana Branch Library will be holding a used book sale on Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21 from 10am to 5pm. Proceeds used for programs, supplies and books for this branch.

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.

Please mark your calendars, help spread the word and plan to attend the Bureau of Sanitation 'Discover Recycling' Open Houses!
Residents, families and children of all ages get a chance to meet Sanitation collection truck drivers and staff, enjoy collection truck demonstrations and facility tours as well as receive information about recycling and a host of Sanitation services. Some of the Open House dates and locations are:
Saturday, May 21 from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the West Valley District Yard (8840 Vanalden Ave., Northridge, CA 91324)

Saturday, July 16 from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the West Los Angeles District Yard (2027 Stoner Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025)

On Saturday, May 21, LAPD is bringing in the professionals for "Help Us Help You" Community Disaster Emergency Preparedness. First Responders will review with you how they will respond and what You need to do in the event of a disaster or emergency situation. The event will take place from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM at the Helen Bernstein High School. 

The Annual Palms Bike Rodeo will be held on Saturday, June 4 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.  The Palms Neighborhood Council is again sponsoring this exciting community festival and bike safety event to be held at Palms Elementary School, 3520 Motor Ave. at Palms Blvd. and Motor Ave. For more information, please click HERE.

Tree People will be hosting its first annual "Green City Fair" on Saturday, June 4 from 10am to 4pm. For more information, please click HERE.

Mayor's Proposed Budget for 2011-2012

Here is the link to the Mayor's budget. 

EXPO LINE ON TRACK TO SANTA MONICA
Moving forward to connect the Westside to the county’s existing rail network, the Expo Construction Authority Board of Directors approved two major milestones today (March 18). The Funding Agreement and Design-Build contract approved by the Board clear the way for design and construction to begin on Phase 2 of the project, which extends the nearly complete light-rail line between downtown Los Angeles and Culver City to its terminus in Santa Monica.
To continue reading please click HERE.
REDISTRICTING ASSISTANCE CENTERS
For the first time in California history state-level legislative district lines will be redrawn by an independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.
The Commission has begun their work and this is your opportunity to get involved.
The University of California, Berkeley, is opening regional redistricting technical assistance centers across the State.
The purpose of these centers is to provide Californians access to data, software, and expertise so that they can effectively communicate valuable information about their communities to the Commission.
For more information, please click 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.

LA Stormwater, the new e-newsletter of the City of Los Angeles' Stormwater Program, is now available online or as a pdf download. To read further and to sign up, please click HERE.

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.


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.

Budget Update

Well, it is that time again – budget season in the City.  

Budget season has always been a very intense time of major decision-making in Los Angeles City Hall, but it's been especially grueling and daunting during the past two years.  Because the City has been facing such extraordinarily difficult budgetary challenges, attempts at solutions are requiring a massive amount of attention, research, discussion and negotiation, forcing the current budget season to last seemingly all year long.  Still this is the official time of year when the City adopts its budget for fiscal year 2011-2012 beginning July 1, and Councilmember Koretz, as one of five members of the Council’s Budget and Finance Committee, has been hearing testimony all week from the City’s general managers.

Two weeks ago, the Mayor released his proposed budget for 2011-2012.  While we are facing another big deficit, we may have already hit the bottom with a leveling out and an upturn in the works, and this budget therefore presents a more positive picture for city services (including increased Library services).  The budget proposes only a handful of layoffs, and we hope to avoid even that number.

In addition, most of our civilian employees represented by the Coalition of City Unions (a group of Unions representing most of our civilian employees from sanitation workers to librarians to attorneys) agreed to help pay for the costs of providing health coverage to our retirees.  This really is major pension reform.  And, in return, there will be no further furloughs for these employees -- which is good news for services.  Negotiations are ongoing with the remainder of our Unions that represent a small number of our non-sworn employees as well as our police and firefighters.  We hope to see similar pension reform from those bargaining units.



Still, no one on the Council is pleased with all aspects of the proposed budget. The biggest concern is proposed cuts to the Fire Department. Councilmember Koretz has spoken out against the current Modified Coverage Plan (“MCP”) (which is code for reduced coverage). The Fire Chief has developed a new deployment plan to replace MCP which the Chief argues is a better way to operate with a reduced budget. The new deployment plan shifts resources away from various fire stations including stations serving Council District Five, and these reductions in service are very troubling.  In addition to the cuts to the Fire Department, the Mayor’s proposed budget makes still further cuts to the Recreation and Parks Department, and insufficiently funds quality of life services such as tree trimming in our Public Works Department. Finally, the Mayor proposes some limited borrowing. While the amount is small and interest rates are very low, Councilmember Koretz believes that the City historically has been and should remain skeptical of such deficit funding.

The Council’s Budget and Finance Committee will continue hearings for the next few weeks.


BID thee hello!


From Left to Right: UCLA Police Chief James D. Herren; Steve Sann, President of Westwood Community Council; Nancy Greenstein (UCLA);
UCLA Administrative Vice Chancellor Sam J. Morabito; Christian Irwin (Domino Realty); Sandy Brown, President of Westwood - Holmby POA; Kam Hekmat; Chris Dash (Palamino Restaurant); Councilmember Paul Koretz; Ren T. Hirose, General Manager of W Hotel; Rick Chancellor, Vice President of Western Region at The McDevitt Company; Jessica Dabney (North American Realty); Tony Ranger, President of Topa Management Company; Angela Rinebold (Equity Office)


Not without a few bumps along the road but finally realized:  the Westwood Business Improvement District (BID) is, at last, only weeks away from opening its doors!  Work has been ongoing for two years to bring a BID to Westwood as part of an overall plan to revitalize Westwood and return the area to its earlier status as a premium retail and visitor destination.  While no one can rival an ice cream cookie sandwich from Diddy Riese or match the experience of sipping a Martini poolside at the W, Westwood nevertheless needs help.   Westwood has suffered both from economic disinvestment and the decline in City service that has been hard to reverse in the midst of a national economic downturn, but the good news is that soon Westwood will have consistently clean streets and sidewalks, trimmed trees and security patrols.

The Westwood BID, which was approved by Council on Wednesday April 27, will provide maintenance services throughout Westwood Village, the Wilshire office corridor and the hotel area north of the village. This BID will also bring marketing, directional signage, holiday decorations and special events to Westwood.  From North Hollywood to Downtown, to Canoga Park and Little Tokyo, BIDs have been effective throughout Los Angeles in beautifying areas for residents and visitors, which in turns increases revenues for businesses and tax receipts for the City.  BIDs represent not only a productive but an essential public-private partnership providing services to communities. A small investment in a BID from property owners often translates to higher rents and property values, as well as higher sales for merchants.

BIDs operate through a special tax assessment.  In a nutshell, a group of property owners basically agree to tax themselves in return for increased and improved services provided by the BID.  In the Westwood case UCLA, TOPA, Indivest, North American Realty and other major property owners formed a steering committee that shepherded the BID through the city process, culminating in a required vote by the property owners. Over 67% of the votes casts were for the BID, far exceeding the 50% + 1 standard required under the law.

The City Council held multiple hearings and the Office of the City Clerk completed detailed analysis before the BID could be enacted, and the process was quite searching and comprehensive. Councilmember Koretz worked especially closely with Councilmembers Tony Cardenas and Tom LaBonge and the successful creation of the BID would not have been possible without their assistance.  Now that the BID has been approved the City Clerk will work with the nonprofit BID organization to collect dues from property owners and begin contracting out for new services for Westwood. With this great BID effort now about to blossom, and the new Target store now approved and coming to the former Expo Design Building, and the budding Westwood Live evening events, new hotels and more, the future of Westwood is looking bright.


You, traffic signal, light up our life



It wasn't the Bat Signal over Gotham City calling Batman to the rescue, but the new traffic signal at Mulholland Drive and Woodcliff Road drew plenty of loud cheers, happy applause and thumbs up from passing motorists and passengers on April 19th.  That's when the signal was turned on for the first time, during a ceremony that marked the successful conclusion to a concerted effort by the 5th Council District Office, the Department of Transportation, the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council and concerned residents.

This new traffic signal instantly makes the intersection much safer while allowing far easier access onto Mulholland from Woodcliff, and vice versa – without the signal, it was quite difficult to transition from one to the other because of the number of cars, the speed of traffic, and lack of visibility associated with nearby blind curves.  This significant improvement will be of great benefit not just to local residents but all people who commute from one side of the hill to the other, since this is the last traffic signal to go up in our canyon corridors to complete the nexus of traffic signals at key canyon intersections and crossways.

A brief ceremony celebrated the occasion, but the time and effort involved in getting the traffic signal was very extensive.  Challenges that had to be met to complete this project included designing the signal to fit the particular geography of the intersection, where a steep upward cliff abuts to one side; actually getting the power to the signal, which is not a simple task on hillsides compared to the flatlands; arranging for the catch water basin due to the water flow when it rains in that area; and coming up with funding (which included a timely and resourceful application of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds).

Present at the ceremony were Councilmember Koretz; Los Angeles Department of Transportation Interim General Manager Amir Sedadi; Transportation Commission President George Moss; Tony St. John, Public Safety Chair, Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council; and other community members who live on Woodcliff or in the surrounding area and are directly affected for the better on a daily basis by this traffic signal. As Councilmember Koretz pointed out, “This new traffic signal is the culmination of a process led by community members, City departments and local governmental representatives to create a safer traffic pattern on this heavily traveled stretch of road.  We have been eagerly anticipating this day and know that this new signal will make this intersection much safer.” Amir Sedadi, the Interim General Manager of LADOT, said, “With this new traffic signal in place, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike will see a noticeable difference at Mulholland Drive and Woodcliff Road.  Safety is our number one concern.  Please watch the road!”
  

Update on illegal filming

The City Council has unanimously approved a motion by Councilmember Koretz aimed at solving a vexing problem for many Los Angeles neighborhoods -- the motion requests that the City Attorney draft an ordinance that will make property owners legally culpable when they lease their property knowing that unpermitted filming will then take place on their property.

Then new law called for by Councilmember Koretz is supported by FilmLA, the non-profit organization hired by the City to administer our Los Angeles film permitting process. The ordinance that is to be prepared by the City Attorney should deter those property owners who repeatedly lease out their property knowing full well that unpermitted filming will result.

Currently, only production companies are held liable for unpermitted filming. By bypassing the permit process, these production companies fail to provide any notice to neighbors and instead clog streets with vehicles and generally disrupt the quiet use and enjoyment of the neighborhood. However, legal measures directed toward the production companies and not the "bad actor" property owners are only a partial solution at best, because while production companies may be responsible for a one-time use, the property owners who allow the continued and illegal use of their property present a long-term and repeated problem for the surrounding neighborhood. This motion, and the resultant ordinance, should make a big difference in protecting the local quality of life.

An ending for a Mermaids' tale



The saga of Mermaids Cabaret in Encino has reached an appropriate conclusion, thanks to a recent ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien.

Mermaids, which at times has called itself a "bikini bar" or a "gentlemen's club," has long been a significant neighborhood and community problem associated with lewd conduct, loud music, public intoxication and trashy misbehavior including public urination. 

That's why Councilmember Koretz and his staff, particularly Planning Deputy Shawn Bayliss, working closely with the Encino Neighborhood Council and many concerned residents from throughout Encino, appeared at many hearings and meetings and spoke up very emphatically for the sake of the community and its quality of life, often working with the LAPD and LAPD Vice to monitor, record and crack down on misdeeds.

Helped by such input, the Police Commission last year denied Mermaids a permanent Cafe Entertainment and Shows (CES) permit, which is required for live entertainment to be allowed (and even with such a permit, an establishment is not allowed to proffer some types of  "adult entertainment" alleged to have occurred inside Mermaids). But that order of denial was stayed by judicial decree, allowing Mermaids to continue doing some questionable business while it pursued obtaining a permanent CES permit. Now, though, Judge O'Brien has dismissed the petition that if successful would have given Mermaids the right to operate using a Cafe and Entertainment Shows permit. This should decide the matter once and for all, since the City of LA once again has full authority to enforce our laws, and the community is better and safer as a consequence.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who worked their tails off to stop this neighborhood nuisance!


New affordable senior housing


Councilmember Koretz with Lance Bocarsly, Menorah Housing’s board chair.

Some events are over in a moment, but have a positive impact that lasts for generations.  Such was the case with the recent "grand opening" ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating Menorah Housing Foundation's wonderful new 46-unit apartment building that will provide much needed affordable housing for seniors. 

This important senior facility is at the same location, on W. Pico Blvd at Veteran, where the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services used to have its Rancho Park office -- back then, the neighborhood often felt overwhelmed by the massive influx of people who came to that office which was not adequate to such demands. That office has been reopened elsewhere, in a more comfortably sized and modern setting, and so instead the Pico-Veteran site now has essential new housing for seniors in need, thanks to the shared efforts of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the City of Los Angeles Housing Department, the 5th Council District Council Office and the non-profit Menorah Housing Foundation. The beneficiaries will be numerous and the community the better for it.


In the community


Councilmember Koretz is joined by Don Turner, President of the Sherman Oaks Sunset Rotary

Rotary Clubs are renowned for good deeds, charitable efforts and exemplary service to the community, which is why Councilmember Koretz was honored to be the featured guest speaker at a recent meeting of the Sherman Oaks Sunset Rotary Club.

Prior to updating the club on Citywide issues, Councilmember Koretz recognized all the invaluable service that Sherman Oaks Sunset has provided. Among the Club's greatest accomplishments over the past couple of months was its August dance marathon which raised several thousand dollars for PolioPlus—a fund established by Rotary International aimed at eradicating polio worldwide.

In closing his remarks, Councilmember Koretz stated “that single word – Service – is what propelled me into government to begin with. It is my goal to follow the example set by groups such as yours. My job is to serve the community before all else.” By continually emphasizing “service” as a core value, the Sherman Oaks Sunset Rotary and Rotarians worldwide provide examples for the rest of us to follow.


In the community

Successful businesses, including many fine restaurants, are vital to the well-being and quality of life of our 5th Council District, which is why Councilmember Paul Koretz was pleased, recently, to join in saluting Café Chez Marie, a French Moroccan American cafe in West L.A. that has been celebrating its first decade in business.  Heartfelt congratulations and thanks go to Café Chez Marie proprietors Marie and Steve Saltzman for their dedication and efforts as restaurateurs, small business owners, and community and civic leaders! 





This message was sent to  by:

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