March 15, 2012

In this issue:

The City of Los Angeles Marathon: It's not a walk in the park

Good news about mobile billboards!

Protecting the lives of shelter animals

Saluting Council President Herb Wesson!

Redistricting update

$3.3 Million In Grants For Job Training In High Growth, High Wage Industries

In the community

Plant Pico

Westside Village HOA

A Sherman Oaks Salute

Encino Chamber

Budget on the Road

Helping and Healing People

Andy Shrader

Caring about our community colleges

Exciting health care news

Reducing Crime Through Foreclosure Tracking


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

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Help Care for Animals in Shelters - Operation Blankets of Love

During these winter months, help keep animals in shelters warm and comfortable by supporting Operation Blankets of Love, a San Fernando Valley-based non-profit organization that works to provide blankets, towels, and pet beds for our furry friends.

Drop off blankets and other pet supplies at Pet People, located at 18040 Chatsworth St. in Granada Hills.

For more information, call (818) 402-6586 or click here

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LADWP Board Approves Launch of
FirstSourceHiring Program

The Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners on Tuesday, February 7, approved the implementation of a new program called FirstSourceHiring, a free job referral system designed to help local job seekers located in LADWP's service area find employment with companies working on LADWP contracts. Administered by the LADWP Economic Development Group, the program will also benefit LADWP contractors by saving them the time and resources needed to find suitable candidates to hire.

Through a fully automated web-based job portal, job seekers can review
job postings and complete online applications. Similarly, employers
will be able to track applicants, prescreen, rank and sort candidates.
LADWP's program expects to build on the success FirstSource has already had at other City Departments, including Los Angeles World Airports. 

The program will have a two-step implementation process beginning with a 12-month pilot program. During the pilot phase, it will only be open to LADWP contracts for professional services consisting of $500,000 or more in direct labor costs. FirstSourceHiring replaces the former Job Opportunities Training Program, which focused solely on providing job skill training to unemployed or underemployed persons within LADWP's service area. First Source is a more cost-effective workforce development program because it increases job seekers' chances of finding full-time employment by directly linking them to existing employment opportunities.

For more information on FirstSource and participation requirements, prospective employers and job seekers should contact the LADWP Economic Development Group at 1-800-864-4409 or email edg@ladwp.com.

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Los Angeles Firefighters Offer Wind Safety Tips 

With the resumption of seasonal winds, the Los Angeles Fire Department reminds Southern Californian's to use caution at home, in the workplace and on the road.

Strong winds compound 
wildfire danger. We therefore ask residents - especially those in foothill and wildland communities, to use caution with flame, heat and spark producing equipment, including vehicles, barbecues and power tools.
Those living near flammable vegetation should remain vigilant to the possibility of brush or structure fires, and report nearby smoke and flames immediately to 9-1-1.

Additional preparation, such as a fire safety survey of your property and a review of
household emergency and neighborhood evacuation plans can help remove the apprehension that many of us feel when winds begin to blow.

With the possibility of downed power lines causing local power outages, drivers should use extreme caution when approaching darkened traffic signals. Whether driving on a main thoroughfare or a side street, motorists should treat all non-functioning traffic signals as a four way stop.

If you encounter downed wires, assume them to be energized and potentially lethal. Be careful that such wires haven't electrically charged puddles of water, chain link fences or other conductive sources.

In many circumstances, but especially during high winds, firefighters discourage the use of candles, lighters, fire pits and fuel-powered lanterns.

Now is a good time to fully charge your cell phone, check your flashlights, portable radios and spare batteries. Place these items strategically, and make sure others know how to find them. Before you activate a portable generator, make certain you know 
how to use a generator legally and safely.

And finally, please take a moment now to secure household items, such as outdoor furniture, that could cause harm or damage if catapulted by a wind gust, and to remove flammable items from around your home. 

When outdoors, be careful for 
toppling trees, wind-blown debris or high profile vehicles buffeted by turbulent wind. If you must get behind the wheel, Los Angeles Firefighters remind you: "Heads Up, Easy on the Throttle and Expect the Unexpected!"

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CHARGE UP L.A.!
LADWP LAUNCHES NEW ELECTRIC VEHICLE HOME CHARGER REBATE PROGRAM

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.

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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.

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NEWS FROM CITY DEPARTMENTS

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

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AROUND TOWN

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 Wednesday from 2-7pm.

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

MELROSE NIGHT

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

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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!

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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.

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LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REVAMPS FACEBOOK PAGE FOR ADDED CUSTOMER SERVICE

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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 City of Los Angeles Marathon: It's not a walk in the park

This Sunday, March 18, is the 27th Annual City of Los Angeles Marathon, and while it is a wonderful experience for many participants and spectators, it is always going to involve street closures, which can be a source of inconvenience to those trying to get from one place to another during the relevant hours.

Official street closures along the route are: http://www.lamarathon.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Course-Closures-20121.pdf

Street closures that are not along the actual route but that will be closed except for local access are: http://www.lamarathon.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/2012-Additional-Street-Closures1.pdf

Please drive with special caution due to the rare presence of the marathon in our city – especially if the streets are wet with rain – and visit the official website (www.lamarathon.com) for a lot of background information and any updates.

The course for the 26.2 mile race is the same as last year, reaching from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica and the ocean.  The marathon starts Sunday morning at 6:55 a.m. for people with wheelchairs, 7:00 a.m. for those with hand cycles, and 7:25 for everyone else who is participating, but street closures along the route will have happened by 3:15 a.m. that morning with signage to that effect posted, and a temporarily restricted, no-parking policy will be strictly enforced.  The route has been carefully shaped through a coordinated process that includes significant input from the LAPD, LAFD and LADOT. Those who suffer the unfortunate fate of having their vehicles ticketed and towed to an Official Police Garage should call (213) 485-4184 and select Option 2 or go online at http://www.opgla.com/.  

The official course map can be found here:  http://www.lamarathon.com/event/course-map/

Congratulations to all who take part, and thanks to all those who make this huge event possible. Stay safe and sound and have fun, everyone!


Good news about mobile billboards!

On March 7th the Council was visited by Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield, author of AB 1298, the state legislation which gives greater control to local jurisdictions to regulate mobile billboards. After a brief presentation and comments, the Council unanimously adopted an ordinance banning mobile billboards from City streets.

Past efforts to regulate these nuisance signs were fraught with loopholes which made enforcement nearly impossible. The new ordinance restricts mobile billboards whether they are attached to a vehicle or bicycle or are freestanding. The adopted ordinance is an outright ban, making the first violation a warning and subsequent violations a criminal act, punishable as a misdemeanor to the registered owner of the vehicle.

In the past, many constituents, businesses, schools and religious institutions have complained about mobile billboards, and have all been frustrated by the visual blight and the City’s inability to do anything about it. Thankfully, with this new ordinance made possible by AB 1298, the billboards will no longer be anywhere in the City. Councilmember Koretz, who has been a strong supporter of such efforts, salutes Assemblymember Blumenfield and Councilmembers Englander, Zine and Garcetti and other leaders of this cause, including neighborhood activists and community groups.

The ordinance was signed by Mayor Villaraigosa and went into effect immediately.


Protecting the lives of shelter animals


Council President Herb Wesson joins Councilmember Koretz and animal welfare activists at the Hayden Law press conference at City Hall

Councilmember Koretz and numerous animal welfare organizations have joined in condemning a potential change in state law that could have a life-or-death impact on countless shelter animals in our state. 

Currently, in Sacramento, there is an attempt to repeal the Animal Adoption Mandate — the so-called "Hayden Law" — that requires animal shelters to hold stray dogs and cats for 4-6 days.  If repeal is allowed to occur, shelters could revert back to the old law that mandated that dogs and cats be held for only 72 hours before killing/euthanizing could occur. Obviously, repeal of the Hayden Law would lead to many animals being killed in shelters, often before owners desperately searching for lost pets are able to retrieve them alive. 

The attempt to repeal the Animal Adoption Mandate (Hayden Law) also calls for eliminating the requirement for shelters to provide lost-found posting opportunities, record-keeping, and necessary and prompt veterinary care. Repeal would allow shelters to immediately euthanize all animals besides cats and dogs valued as pets, such as rabbits, pot-bellied pigs, hamsters, turtles, reptiles and cats.

Councilmember Koretz has introduced a Los Angeles City Council resolution opposing repeal, and joined by animal welfare activists, held a press conference to draw attention to what is presently underway in Sacramento.  Organizations working with Councilmember Koretz in opposition to the proposed repeal include Social Compassion in Legislation, the Heigl Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society, Take Me Home Animal Rescue, The Paw Project, Stray Cat Alliance, Last Chance for Animals, REVA Foundation, Coalition for Pets And Public Safety, and Operation Blankets of Love.


Saluting Council President Herb Wesson!














Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmember Paul Koretz

In November, 2011, members of the Los Angeles City Council unanimously elected Councilmember Herb Wesson of the 10th Council District to serve as Council President, a position of significant responsibility regarding such matters as overseeing Council meetings and making committee appointments.  The election also made news, for Councilmember Wesson is the first African American to become Council President in the City of Los Angeles. 

Councilmember Koretz was proud to support Council President Wesson, a longtime colleague and friend who represents a district that's adjacent to the 5th District: the two elected officials and their staffs often work closely together in serving communities that they mutually represent.

Herb Wesson, Jr., was born on November 11, 1951.  His distinguished career of public service includes tenure as Chief of Staff both to former 10th District Councilmember Nate Holden and former Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke; representing the 47th Assembly District, including as Speaker of the California State Assembly from 2002 until 2004, and representing the 10th Council District of the City of Los Angeles since 2005.  

The Hi 5 asked Council President Wesson if he might find time in his busy schedule to answer a few questions, and he was kind enough to oblige us:

Hi 5:  What brought you to public service?

Council President Wesson:  I was inspired by then Congressman Ron Dellums, whom I met as a student at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.  His passionate commitment as an advocate for people at the bottom of society’s ladder made a big impression on me.  It was then and there that I decided that I wanted to be a public servant.


How is serving as a Councilmember different for you than being a member of the California State Legislature?

The big difference is that a member of the City Council can get things done much faster than in Sacramento; eight votes and you’re good to go.  The other big difference is that local government in California is non-partisan.  So, we don’t get bogged down in a lot of partisan politics.  And besides, there’s really no Republican or Democratic ideology about the way to trim the trees or sweep the alleys.  Here, the focus is more on getting the work done, which is what our
constituents expect.


When you preside over council meetings as the new Council President, you clearly make a concerted effort to encourage a respectful and convivial but almost informal atmosphere, including through your friendly remarks to members of the public when they speak, whether or not their views are positive or negative about government.  Is that simply a matter of personal style, or is that your conscious effort aimed at helping to put people at ease?

I’ve always believed that our City Hall is a temple of democracy. It’s the people’s house and they deserve to be heard.  It isn’t always pleasant when people complain or sometimes get disruptive.  I try to be patient and give as much consideration as possible as long as there is no disruptive behavior and we are able to keep the meeting moving forward.

What are your top goals as Council President?

As Council President it’s my job to enable the members of the Council to serve the constituents who elected them.  Our budget is still in crisis.  The deficit next year is estimated to be between $150 -200 million.  The good news is that through cuts and efficiencies we have eliminated the $76 million deficit we had this year.  The challenge ahead is maintaining our vital services, while working to balance our budget.  This will require rethinking how we deliver those services.

Redistricting has to be undertaken by the City of L.A. once a decade, and it happens that its time had come again just as you assumed the post of Council President.  What have been your top tenets regarding redistricting?

I believe that the Redistricting Commission has done a fine job under difficult circumstances.  In the face of threats and intimidation, they have presented maps that are an improvement on the previous redistricting drafts and the decade-old redistricting.  No redistricting will make everyone happy.  It was a huge task and in receiving their report, I pledged that I will do my best to respect the integrity of their work product.

Your 10th District shares boundaries with the 5th District, and that seems likely to continue after redistricting.  Can you share any insights as to your policies and philosophy concerning how best to work with a neighboring Council Office (especially if it's the 5th
District Office) when mutually-shared local issues and opportunities arise?

What’s great about sharing district boundaries with the 5th District is that I get to work with Councilmember Paul Koretz. We are good friends and we work well together.  He is someone whose experience and advice I continue to rely on.

Both you and Councilmember Koretz do so much to encourage pet adoptions from our City animal shelters. It's clear the two of you very much love animals, but how crucial do you think such matters are from a public policy perspective?

How we treat animals says a lot about who we are and the society in which we live. What’s nice about having pets is the love we receive from them. I’m so pleased that Paul has joined me in promoting pet adoptions.

We know a lot about Herb Wesson the governmental figure, but what might you share about any aspect of your history and life that could give us some added personal insight into what makes you who you are as
an individual, family person and member of our society?

I have a wonderful and patient wife and four great sons.  But to be honest, I’m having the greatest time doing my best to spoil my three grandchildren. Parenting is okay, but grand-parenting is fantastic.


Restricting update

The redistricting process is not completely over, and though the City of Los Angeles is fast approaching a conclusion to that once-a-decade process, we still await the final decision. 

According to the most recent redistricting maps, Councilmember Koretz will continue to represent most of the people and communities that he's been honored to serve during his first  2 1/2 years as Councilmember.  

As currently delineated, the biggest changes to the 5th District will occur in the San Fernando Valley, the hills and the Palms neighborhoods. In general, these moves, which still await final approval, have been devised to avoid as much splintering as possible of communities into multiple Council Districts. 

Public input is still being sought, heard and taken into account.

The Councilmember and his staff will be saddened to lose any constituents and neighborhoods, if and when that comes to pass, but will welcome with open arms all new ones into the 5th District.  He and his staff will continue to be very active, accessible and involved in each and every community we are privileged to represent, while partnering with constituents and community groups to protect and improve the local quality of life.


$3.3 Million In Grants For Job Training In High Growth, High Wage Industries


Councilmember Koretz joined by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilmember Eric Garcetti and community groups

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Eric Garcetti and business, labor and community groups were very happy to announce and celebrate this city receiving $3.3 million in federal Workforce Investment Act grants for job training programs. These grants will fund training for 1,000 workers in high growth, high wage industry sectors such as entertainment, construction, transportation, security, financial services, green technology, hospitality, and healthcare.

Councilmember Koretz said, “Gone are the days when we have seemingly unlimited job training funds to support any career path.  We need to be surgical in focusing on industries which bring good long-term jobs to Los Angeles.  It is essential that we promote and support industries where training and a help up will provide a true career ladder, giving workers not just decent jobs today, as crucial as that may be, but additional prospects over the long haul for the best possible future.We need to focus our efforts on industries which work for, with and in Los Angeles.”

The announcement was made in the 5thDistrict, at CBS Studios, which is a key partner in one of the sector training programs, the Pathways to 21st Century Entertainment Careers Sector Initiative, which will recruit, train, and place unemployed adults, dislocated workers and veterans into high-wage, high demand occupations in the entertainment industry.

The entertainment sector initiative is led by Managed Career Solutions Hollywood WorkSource Center in partnership with Hollywood Cinema Production Resources, Inc. (Hollywood CPR), Workplace Hollywood, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), CBS, West Los Angeles College (WLAC), Live Nation, Fox Entertainment Group, Fox Broadcasting Company, NBC Universal, Warner Brothers Entertainment and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

In 2005, the City of Los Angeles only funded one training program. Today, there are ten training programs in a variety of industry sectors.

Workforce Investment funds for individual sectors are Entertainment - $400,000; Construction - $400,000; Transportation - $800,000; Security - $250,000; Financial services - $280,000; Green technology - $365,000; Hospitality - $225,000, and Healthcare - $600,000.

For more information on job-training programs, call 311 or visit http://www.jobsla.org/.


In the community


Councilmember Koretz attends Roxbury Beverwil Home Owner's Alliance meeting

Recently, Councilmember Koretz was honored to attend and participate in a meeting of the Roxbury Beverwil Home Owner's Alliance, a community-based organization that is certainly off to a great start!   He joined in discussion about a wide variety of issues ranging from the Museum of Tolerance expansion and YULA Boys school to street resurfacing.  As always, the Councilmember was impressed by the dedication and involvement of local residents, and is looking forward to sharing in many more such efforts and interactions in the months and years to come. 


Plant Pico


Councilmember Koretz, Council District 5 staff members Sheila Kouhkan and Dimitri de Silva, and community members gather for Plant Pico

A community can achieve anything when it comes together — and that is just what happened in the middle of February, in a wonderful effort known as "Plant Pico."  Councilmember Koretz was proud to join the Westside Neighborhood Council and over 260 community members in planting 65 non-fruiting flowering pear trees along Pico.

Planting trees is one of the most beneficial and cost-effective ways to improve our community. Trees clean our air, and reduce pollutants. They cool our streets, sidewalks, and homes on hot summer days. Trees increase property value, encourage neighborhood revitalization, and make our City a beautiful and comfortable place to live, work, and visit.


Community youth working together to beautify Pico Boulevard

Plant Pico was part of a larger plan to beautify Pico Boulevard. The event was a huge success and helped create a sense of small-town community in the middle of West Los Angeles. Up next, on June 1st, 2nd and 3rd, is Pick Pico, which is aimed at highlighting the businesses surrounding
Pico. Please be sure to attend and get to know your neighbors - for more information, please visit the wncla.org website!


Westside Village HOA

Councilmember Koretz was recently at the Westside Village Homeowner Association's annual meeting to talk to constituents and get feedback on the state of the City.  In addition, the Councilmember was very happy to present a Certificate of Commendation to Don Elliot Jr., who has been the newsletter writer for this HOA for well over 10 years!  Amazing!  The 5th District benefits tremendously from the caring efforts of all such dedicated community activists and leaders.  For Councilmember Koretz and his staff, it is always an honor and a privilege to work closely with people who put in so much time and effort for the sake of their community.


A Sherman Oaks salute


Councilmember Koretz and business leaders at the Sherman Oaks Chamber's annual installation event. Photo credit: Photography by Zarek

Councilmember Koretz was delighted to join the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce on the important occasion of the Chamber's annual installation of new officers. 

Making the ceremony especially pleasing was the wonderful entertainment provided by The Buckley School's orchestra as well as the school's a cappella vocalists, the Monotones. Councilmember Koretz in turn wowed the crowd by crooning a verse or two of The Beatles' " With a Little Help from my Friends," then reminisced about his many years of involvement with the Chamber (he's an honorary member, and he's participated in many Chamber efforts).  

The Councilmember thanked the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce and its outgoing and incoming officers, and praised the Chamber's remarkable record of accomplishment. The Sherman Oaks Chamber is renowned for helping local businesses prosper and for its leadership and activism in community and charitable endeavors.


Encino Chamber

Earlier this month, Councilmember Koretz was honored to be a presenter at the Encino Chamber of Commerce Annual Installation and Business Person of the Year Dinner. 

This year, the Encino Chamber of Commerce saluted the following individuals: Outgoing President Keven Steinberg (Fink & Steinberg, Attorneys at Law); Special Honoree Sister Colleen Settles (OP Chief Mission Integration Officer – Providence Health & Services California Region); and as Business Person of the Year, Pouria Abbassi, P.E. — Professional Engineer, General Manager & C.E.O.– Los Angeles Convention Center).

Congratulations to all the recipients, and to the Chamber as a whole, for their crucial work on behalf of local businesses and the entire community of Encino.


Budget on the Road

Every year, the City's budget and finance committee kicks off the budget deliberation process by scheduling "Budget on the Road." This year's "Budget on the Road" started off in Council District 5 on March 7th, when the committee met at Fairfax High to discuss the City's revenue forecast, provide updates on the recent financial status report and take public comment on budget-related items. Councilmember Koretz, his staff and other members of the budget committee thank the many CD5 residents who took part in that meeting or have otherwise shared their views about budgetary priorities.


Helping and Healing People

Councilmember Koretz and Professor Courtney Lyder, Dean of UCLA School of Nursing

Councilmember Koretz was honored to meet and chat with Professor Courtney H. Lyder, Dean of UCLA School of Nursing. Dean Lyder is a great advocate for the profession of nursing and his school, which is at the forefront of pushing the scientific frontiers through research and tutelage, with school nurses conducting behavioral, biobehavioral and basic science and making inroads in the areas of cardiac disease, AIDS, Alzheimer's and cancer. In the future, the nurses who emerge from UCLA School of Nursing will provide healing and caring attention to countless patients in need, as well as those patients’ families and loved ones. Our society’s demand for nursing continues to grow as the population ages, and so UCLA and Dean Lyder are to be commended for the wonderful education and professional training and guidance provided to students of this crucial profession. 


Andy Shrader

Council District 5's newest staff member Andy Shrader

We’re happy to say that the newest 5th Council District staffer is also a remarkably accomplished environmentalist. Andy Shrader advises the Councilmember on issues related to the environment and sustainability, working to ensure the city can meet its present economic, environmental and sociopolitical needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

He was quite recently accorded a prestigious honor, when the acclaimed environmentalist organization, Heal the Bay, presented Andy with its "2011 Super Healer Award" for his activist work on marine debris plastic waste issues.


Andy Shrader and volunteers at the Ballona Creek clean up

Many neighborhood councils, community organizations and educational institutions already know Andy personally from his frequent participation in community meetings, for he has often been invited to share his expertise regarding environmental issues as well as economic initiatives and job-creating environmental endeavors. A devoted neighborhood and community activist, Andy was elected in 2003 as a founding member of the Mar Vista Community Council, where his most notable resolution instituted the popular Mar Vista Farmer’s Market.  He holds both a Masters in Screenwriting and a Certificate in Global Sustainability from UCLA, wrote the celebrity speeches for 10 years for the EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women (in support of women’s cancer research, treatment and support), and is an avid mountaineer.  When he’s not at City Hall or at community meetings, he can be found in indie coffee shops across the city writing screenplays. For a city that has had to face some severe pollution and environmental issues during the course of its history, Andy Shrader is a breath of fresh air!


Caring about our community colleges

Councilmember Koretz and Dr. Daniel LaVista, Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD)

Our Los Angeles community colleges are among our most crucial local and regional institutions, for they provide a significant education for an extraordinary number and diversity of students while opening up professional avenues for people facing a tough economy. That’s why Councilmember Koretz eagerly met and talked with Dr. Daniel LaVista, who for the past year and a half has served as Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD).  The LACCD is the nation’s largest community college district and is comprised of nine community colleges serving over 240,000 students annually. 

The Chancellor provides the vision, leadership and strategic direction to ensure that the LACCD achieves goals set forth by the District’s Board of Trustees. This includes oversight of the District’s $6 billion bond construction program.  A native of New York, Dr. LaVista previously served as Executive Director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, president of two Illinois community colleges and Chancellor for the Community Colleges of Baltimore County System (in Maryland).  He and his wife, Rosemary, have two grown children and live in Los Angeles.

Though the community colleges are not under the auspices of city government, Councilmember Koretz believes that everyone benefits when good communications are achieved between jurisdictions, and so he applauds neighborhood councils and other groups that work with community colleges. We all benefit when schools and surrounding neighborhoods and the city as a whole are on the same page concerning local issues and shared priorities.


Exciting health care news


Councilmember Koretz welcoming in the new partnership between Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the Muscular Dystrophy Association

A great new partnership has been launched in the City of Los Angeles, uniting Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the Muscular Dystrophy Association by naming Children's Hospital Los Angeles the Pediatric MDA Clinic.  This tremendous pairing will provide invaluable help for youth and their families facing muscular dystrophy and related diseases. Councilmember Koretz was delighted to represent the City of Los Angeles at the kickoff event that brought together so many dedicated medical professionals who will now be working together on a daily basis to help people in need due to neuromuscular disorders.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles is already L.A.'s first and largest hospital dedicated specifically to treating children throughout Southern California.  It is the only hospital in California to have ever made US News & World Report's exclusive Honor Roll for 3 years in a row, and the reason for that honor and so many others is simple. Children's Hospital Los Angeles is a place where magnificent, pioneering research is undertaken and achieved; where children receive the highest quality healthcare, and where anxious families are given hope and the knowledge that they are in great hands.  

The annual statistics are incredible. Each year, Children's Hospital Los Angeles provides more than 97,000 children with pediatric health care in a setting designed just for their needs. Still, the ability to help those children with Muscular Dystrophy and other neuromuscular disorders will now be enhanced and available all under one place because of the unique capacities of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and this new partnership. 

MDA funds a monumental array of crucial research projects while helping children and their families not just with diagnosis, medical information,  management  and essential care and equipment but also with summer camps that delight those children who have so much to deal with that's not fun in their lives.  For all those reasons and so many more, MDA is the first nonprofit organization to be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Medical Association.

The City salutes this exciting partnership!


Reducing Crime Through Foreclosure Tracking

Unmonitored foreclosures tend to attract crime to neighborhoods.  In order to continue reducing crime, LAPD West Valley Area — working in partnership with Neighborhood Council representatives — has created a Report Foreclosures link on the home page of the website http://www.westvalleypolice.org/.  When you click on this link you have the ability to provide all the information you would like about the foreclosure location.  You can also provide your personal information for a follow up contact or remain anonymous.  The only required information in order to submit a foreclosure location is the street number of the property, the street name, and the city.  Help us continue to reduce crime and keep your neighborhoods safe by reporting suspected foreclosures in your area.  You can make a difference!


This message was sent to  by:

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