February 10, 2012

In this issue:

Public Safety Alert

Street Smarts

Leon Weinstein, Holocaust Survivor Honored in City Council

Joe Buscaino Sworn In

Ratepayer Advocate Confirmed

Councilmember Koretz Votes to Deny Water Rate Hike

New Dog in Town: Love & Leashes

In the Community

Saving $105 Million in a Day's Work – Reservoir Decision!

Proposed Styrofoam Ban Gets City Support

Marriage Equality

Tree Trimming

SoRo Green Team's Winter Citrus Fruit Harvest

What Comes Around, Goes Around

Meet Dimitri!

Young Israel of Century City – Torah Dedication

LaneXt 


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

On Saturday, February 11th, the Westside Neighborhood Council is hosting an outdoor community service event to beautify Pico Boulevard.

Over 100 trees will be planted! WNCLA is looking for 100 volunteers to form 20 Tree Teams.

For registration and more information, please visit
signmeup.com/80244

Delicious food and beverages provided. Support from TreePeople and Los Angeles Conservation Corp for each Tree Team.

Trees provided through Million Tree Program and contributions from JMB Realty.

***

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.

Volunteers are also needed at Operation Blankets of Love! Learn more about this opportunity on Sunday, February 26, 2012 from 11 am - 12 pm at the East Valley Shelter, 14409 Vanowen Street. VIP shelter tour will follow meeting for the first 25 people to sign up.

Volunteers are needed to help perform general clerical work, grant writing, fundraising, marketing and public relations.

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


***

The Cenutry City Chamber of Commerce will host The Arts & Cultural Affairs Council on Thursday, March 1st, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, 2025 Avenue of the Stars.

Join the Century City Chamber for lunch and learn first-hand from a panel of experts about architecture and its history as fine art in Century City and Los Angeles. Other key topics include: the creative & building process, interior architecture and design, the legacy & conservancy, and much more!

Registration & Lunch is from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm and Program will be held from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm.

Tickets are $30 for Chamber members and $40 for non-members. At-the-Door tickets will cost $50.

For more information, call 310-553-2222 or visit
www.centurycitycc.com.


***


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!"


***

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 calledFirstSourceHiring, 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 successFirstSourcehas 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 onFirstSource 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.

***

Join LAPD and Chief Charlie Beck to celebrate the tip-off of the PAC-12 Tournament.

LAPD Night is Wednesday, March 7th, at STAPLES Center, from 6pm - 8:30pm.

$3 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Los Angeles Police Foundation. Tickets can be purchased at
www.aegtickets.com/lapd.

For questions, call Taylor Hastings at 213-763-7934 or email
thastings@aegworldwide.com.

***


The Century City Chamber of Commerce will hold its Emerging Professionals & Entrepreneurs Council: March Madness Networking Night.
Join the Century City Chamber to watch the basketball games, make new contacts, enjoy some light appetizers and discounted drinks!

The event is on Thursday March 15th, from 5:30pm - 7:30pm at BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd.

Ticket prices are $25 for Chamber members and $30 for non-members. Tickets at the door will be sold for $35.

For registration and more information please visit 
http://www.centurycitycc.com/events/?event_id=288

Or call
310-553-2222.

***

April is National Autism Awareness Month


The Help Group, a recognized non-profit organization and leader in the field of autism, offers a wide range of innovative autism spectrum disorder programs. Each day 950 students ages 3-22 attend its autism day schools.

For information regarding any of our schools or programs please call Toll Free: 877-994-3588 or visit
http://www.thehelpgroup.org

***

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.

***

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.


***

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

***

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, 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

***

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.

***

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


Public Safety Alert

Councilmember Koretz and his staff always want you to be safe from crime. It is important to be aware that on February 9, news emerged of a sudden series of attempted robberies in the Fairfax area. The Los Angeles Police Department has increased its resources in the area, and is working, as always, with public safety committees and/or other representatives of key neighborhood and community organizations such as Melrose Action, the Mid City West Community Council, the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council and the Hancock Park Homeowners Association.

Please read the LAPD press release issued late Thursday, February 9, below, concerning these attempted robberies –and be safe! 


February 9, 2012


Robbery Series Near Fairfax District

Los Angeles:
  Wilshire Detective Division is investigating a series of eight street robberies or attempted robberies that occurred near Fairfax Avenue and adjacent streets.

On February 8, 2012, starting around 1900 hours, a series of street robberies started near Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Bl.  The suspects, described as two male blacks, approached a several male pedestrians and threatened the victims of their cell phone.  The suspects continued to rob lone males as they proceeded southbound on Fairfax, committing seven street robberies over a two hour time period.  The pair eventually headed eastbound, where they robbed another male pedestrian near Wilshire Bl and Detroit Street.

The suspects did not appear to be armed, but utilized verbal threats to intimidate each victim to turn over their wallets or cell phones and on one occasion, warned the victim that they had a gun.  In one robbery, the victim was able to describe the suspect’s vehicle as a possible 1990’s Oldsmobile sedan, possibly tan in color, with a partial California license plate ending in 432.

The suspects are described as two male blacks in their 20’s, 5-8 to 6-00 tall, weighing between 150-190 lbs.  One suspect was described as possibly having cornrowed hair.  Other victims described the suspects as wearing either a dark beanie cap, or a dark hoodie shirt.  Another victim described one of the suspects as wearing a red Do-Rag on his head.

Detectives are requesting any information that may assist with identifying the suspects or vehicle used in this series.  Detectives are also reminding the public to be aware of their surroundings when traveling on foot during the late night hours.  

Anyone with information about this incident or the whereabouts of the two suspects is asked to call Wilshire Robbery Detectives (213) 473-0514 or (213) 922-8205.  During non-business hours, calls may be directed 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may contact Crimestoppers by texting the number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.

Councilmember Koretz would like to share with you the following pertinent safety tips provided by the LAPD: 


Street Smarts Tips Provided by LAPD

Test Your "Street Smarts" IQ: Do you…

  • Jog or walk by yourself early in the morning or late at night when the streets are quiet and deserted?
  • Stuff your purse with cash, keys, credit cards, checkbook - and then leave it wide open on a counter, your desk, the floor?
  • Put your wallet in a jacket, which you then hang up or throw over a chair?
  • Let your mind wander - thinking about your job, or all the things you have to do - when walking or driving?
  • Think it's a waste of time to lock your car when you'll be back in a few minutes?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you need to change a few habits. Even if you answered "no" and made a perfect score, read on. Spend a few minutes now to prevent trouble later.

Basic Street Sense

  • Wherever you are - on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, waiting for a bus or subway - stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings.
  • Send the message that you're calm, confident, and know where you're going.
  • Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave.
  • Know the neighborhoods where you live and work. Check out the locations of police and fire stations, public telephones, hospitals, and restaurants, or stores that are open late.

On Foot

  • Stick to well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys.
  • Don't flash large amounts of cash or other tempting targets like expensive jewelry or clothing.
  • Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps.
  • Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket, not a back pocket.
  • Try to use automated teller machines in the daytime. Have your card in hand and don't approach the machine if you're uneasy about people nearby.
  • Don't wear shoes or clothing that restrict your movements.
  • Have your car or house key in hand before you reach the door.
  • If you think someone is following you, switch direction or cross the street. Walk toward an open store, restaurant, or lighted house. If you're scared, yell for help.
  • Have to work late? Make sure there are others in the building, and ask someone - a colleague or security guard - to walk you to your car or transit stop.


Learn more about auto theft and carjacking.

  • Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure there's enough gas to get where you're going and back.
  • Always roll up the windows and lock car doors, even if you're coming right back. Check inside and out before getting in.
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas. Be especially alert in lots and underground parking garages.
  • If you think someone is following you, don't head home. Drive to the nearest police or fire station, gas station, or other open business to get help.
  • Don't pick up hitchhikers. Don't hitchhike.


On Buses and Subways

  • Use well-lighted, busy stops.
  • Stay alert! Don't doze or daydream.
  • If someone harasses you, don't be embarrassed. Loudly say "Leave me alone!" If that doesn't work, hit the emergency device.
  • Watch who gets off with you. If you feel uneasy, walk directly to a place where there are other people.

If Someone Tries To Rob You

  • Don't resist. Give up your property, don't give up your life.
  • Report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent others from becoming victims.

Learn more about things you can do and things kids can do.

  • Take a stand
  • Make your neighborhood and workplace safer by reporting broken street lights, cleaning up parks and vacant lots, and lobbying local government for better lighting in public places.
  • Join a neighborhood, apartment, or office watch to look out for each other and help the police. Or find out how you can organize a neighborhood watch.
  • Help out a friend or co-worker who's been a victim of crime.
  • Cook a meal, babysit, find the number for victim services or a crisis hotline.
  • Listen, sympathize, and don't blame.
  • Look at the root causes.
  • Work for better drug treatment services, crime and drug abuse prevention education, and job and recreational opportunities for young people in your community.


    Leon Weinstein, Holocaust Survivor Honored in City Council


    Natalie Gold and Councilmember Paul Koretz honor the late Leon Weinstein in City Hall.

    On Friday, January 27th, Councilmember Paul Koretz had the special opportunity to honor the late Leon Weinstein, a Holocaust survivor and the oldest remaining survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto resistance that fought so heroically against the Nazis.  Sadly, he passed away last month, at the age of 101, but Councilmember Koretz and his fellow councilmembers were privileged to be joined in City Hall by his daughter Natalie Gold to commemorate the life and memory of her father, whose tenacity and courage ensured the survival of his only daughter.

    Natalie told her audience the amazing story of her father and his search of several years to find his daughter after their separation during the Nazis' siege of Warsaw. Tragically, Sima - Leon's wife and Natalie's mother - was never to be found, and the entire extended family was decimated during the horrors of the Holocaust. 


    Natalie Gold joined by Councilmember Koretz and friends and family.

    Listeners were transfixed by Natalie's conveying of her father's courage, persistence, and love of family. Council President Herb Wesson said it was perhaps the most moving testimonial he had heard during any such Council presentation.

    Councilmember Koretz presented Natalie with a certificate of appreciation honoring her and Leon. It reads:  “The City of Los Angeles celebrates the life and memory of Leon Weinstein, and proudly honors his family and their shared love. The City of Los Angeles salutes Leon Weinstein and Natalie Gold, for through their steadfast ways and caring deeds, they have demonstrated that humanity’s conscience is also humanity’s heart, and that saying ‘Never Again’ to genocide is wholly akin to the enduring spirit that forever unites the good.”


    Joe Buscaino Sworn In


    City Clerk June Lagmay swears in new Councilmember Joe Buscaino.

    On Tuesday, January 31st, Councilmember Paul Koretz and the rest of the Los Angeles City Council welcomed its newest member, Joe Buscaino (pictured below), who will now be representing the Fifteenth District communities of San Pedro, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, Watts and Wilmington. Buscaino, 37, a 15 year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, won the special runoff election held on January 17th to replace former Councilwoman Janice Hahn who left the office in July to represent the South Bay area in Congress. Buscaino was joined at City Hall by his wife, Geralyn, son Matteo, 8, daughter Gia, 5, and more than two dozen other members of his family.


    Left to right: Councilmembers Paul Koretz, Joe Buscaino, and Tom LaBonge.


    Ratepayer Advocate Confirmed

    Councilmember Paul Koretz has been a long-time supporter of the creation of an Office of Public Accountability to help protect the public's interest in overseeing rate proposals from the Department of Water and Power. He was delighted to congratulate Frederick Pickel, an energy consultant who was unanimously approved on Wednesday, February 1st, to fill the post as the office's Executive Director. This crucial position has been created with the approval of voters to help ensure that transparency, accountability and fiscal prudency are always upheld as a top priority as Los Angeles strives for greater water quality.


    Newly confirmed Ratepayer Advocate Frederick Pickel and Councilmember Koretz.


    Councilmember Koretz Votes to Deny Water Rate Hike

    On February 8, Councilmember Paul Koretz, joined by Jan Perry, Mitchell Englander and Dennis Zine, voted against a water rate increase.

    Councilmember Koretz pointed out that Fred Pickel, the new ratepayer advocate, had just been appointed days earlier:  the Councilmember strongly believes that it is essential that the ratepayer advocate have sufficient time to review and comment upon any proposed change in rates.

    Despite the opposition, the increase was approved by the other eight councilmembers present, so utility bills are expected to rise by about $5 a month for typical L.A. residential customers.  The DWP had said that added funds were needed to pay for improvements mandated by the federal government regarding water quality requirements.


    New Dog in Town: Love & Leashes


    On January 21, Councilmember Koretz was honored to cut the ribbon at LA's newest pet store, which is also a humane model, a first of its kind.

    L.A. Love & Leashes is the first pet store that's 100% dedicated to saving the lives of L.A.'s orphaned animals. L.A. Love & Leashes is located in the Westside Pavilion mall on the first floor. Dogs and cats from the City's six animal shelters are on site and available for on-the-spot adoption. (In the past, Councilmember Koretz has suggested this very kind of humane pet store.) Visitors can shop for unique gift items for animal lovers. The proceeds from the store will help increase adoptions for Los Angeles Animal Services.


    Councilmember Koretz congratulated L.A.
    Love & Leashes at their ribbon-cutting ceremony.

    L.A. Love & Leashes is run by Friends of L.A. Animal Shelters, a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to helping L.A.'s city animal shelters. Even before the grand opening, a special holiday adoption drive that was held at L.A. Love & Leashes in December found homes for 51 shelter animals. On the day of the grand opening, ten dogs and cats were adopted!  As a result of such efforts, animals are happy at their new homes, people are delighted by their new companions, and city animal shelters are given much needed support.

    May the success of this great new store continue throughout the year and for years to come!


    In the Community


    Councilmember Koretz recently attended the 65th annual Benedict Canyon Association town hall meeting. He was elated to see that the Benedict Canyon Association — the oldest homeowners association in Los Angeles — continues to thrive after all these years. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Keep the Canyon Beautiful."

    Councilmember Koretz praised the Benedict Canyon Association for collaborating with his office in order to continually address quality of life issues pertaining to pothole repair, tree canopy trimming and street sweeping. Although funding for such services has been greatly reduced over the years, Councilmember Koretz offered and discussed creative solutions to ensure that the Canyon remains a lush hillside community.

    Congratulations to all the newly elected board members and to Nickie Miner, who will serve as president of the Benedict Canyon Association for 2012. Special thanks to former President Michael Chasteen for his dedication and hard work over the past year to improve the lives and welfare of those who call Benedict Canyon their home. 


    Saving $105 Million in a Day's Work
     — Reservoir Decision!


    Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir

    Covering the Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir has been mandated by environmental regulations, but HOW the Department of Water and Power might do it has been a key question of concern for Councilmember Koretz and the community at large.

    The DWP has weighed a variety of options, the most expensive being a concrete cover at  $140 million or four times the price of a simplified floating cover, which costs a relatively modest $35 million.

    The community and Councilmember have come out strongly against the high-priced concrete cover, instead urging that the DWP choose to implement the simplified floating cover, which is both the least expensive and least intrusive option.

    On February 7, Councilmember Koretz and many concerned local residents spoke on the subject at a DWP Commission hearing and called for the floating cover option to be adopted, both because it will much better for DWP ratepayers and because it will be less intrusive for hillside residents. Councilmember Koretz also pointed out that choosing the simplified floating cover instead of the concrete cover will eliminate many thousands of truck trips from our already fragile hillside infrastructure. The DWP Commission listened to the Councilmember and all the voices of the community and voted for the simplified floating cover. Congratulations to our involved community activists who participated so effectively in this decision-making process.


    Proposed Styrofoam Ban Gets City Support


    Clean Seas Coalition members join Councilmember Paul Koretz.

    The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously approved a resolution supporting state bill SB-568 (Senator Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach), banning the distribution of polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam) food and beverage containers by restaurants and food servers.  The resolution was authored by Councilmember Paul Koretz.

    Polystyrene is an enormous problem for the environment.  A new study by the Algalita Research Institute found that 71% of debris in the LA and San Gabriel Rivers was foam-based.  A walk on the beach will show you what any tourist can plainly see: tiny white bits of polystyrene are everywhere. If tourists don't find the pristine beaches they see on "90210" and "Baywatch," they may take their tourist dollars elsewhere and severely impact our local businesses and therefore jobs.

    An additional problem with polystyrene was identified by the U.S Department of Health & Human Services last summer when it labeled the styrene within Styrofoam a "reasonably anticipated human carcinogen," which means "a causal relationship between styrene exposures and cancer in humans is credible." Styrene workers are most at risk for higher levels of Leukemia and Lymphoma. The report says, "The presence of styrene in packaged foods is reported to be due primarily to monomer leaching from polystyrene containers," noting, in particular, that "Styrene was detected in all eight human breast milk samples in four U.S. cities." Since lower-income residents tend to use polystyrene containers the most, they will be the most impacted by any health issues associated with them.  What is even more troubling is that LAUSD schoolchildren eat their hot lunches off polystyrene trays every day.

    Clean Water Action did a study contrasting the cost of polystyrene containers and the cheapest alternatives and found that, for restaurants, there is very little price differential. 

    Also, the issue of jobs tends to come up in all possible ban ordinances. Since the two main producers of polystyrene containers in California — DART and Pactiv — also create the low-price alternatives, they will not be losing business.  They will only need to shift their production facilities and employees around.  There may be a cost attached, but then, the polystyrene producers are not helping cities and counties pay the cost to clean up their products.

    SB-568 passed through the State Senate last summer, has made it out of committees in the Assembly and is poised to hit the Assembly floor. What the City Council of Los Angeles approved was a resolution of support for SB-568, which means the city's lobbyists will now help get the bill passed in the State Assembly and signed by the governor.

    A grassroots effort by the Clean Seas Coalition (the Surfrider Foundation, Clean Water Action, Heal the Bay, Sierra Club, et al), local LA neighborhood councils and social justice groups helped get the resolution passed by the LA City Council.


    Marriage Equality


    Councilmember Paul Koretz speaks at a City Hall rally celebrating the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal's decision which ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

    California took a giant step forward this week and affirmed the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a trial court ruling striking down the constitutionality of Proposition 8. The court rightfully found that there was no basis for discriminating against same-sex couples wanting to marry in a state where (prior to the passage of Proposition 8) gay couples had already possessed the rights and privileges of marriage and thousands of citizens had availed themselves of that right.

    Councilmember Koretz joined actor/producer Robert 'Bob" Reiner, the American Foundation for Equal Rights and an assemblage of elected officials, community activists and religious leaders at an evening ceremony celebrating the legal victory. Los Angeles has long supported, protected and advocated for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals. In 1979 the City became one of the first in the nation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Since that time the City has worked with activists and leaders from all corners of the City to further the human rights of all Angelenos.


    Actor Robert Reiner gives speech at the American Foundation for Equal Rights rally.

    It was Los Angeles residents Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo whose activism and attempt to marry gave birth to Perry v. Brown — the case that ultimately ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Councilmember Koretz applauds Paul and Jeffrey's work as well as that of the entire team that fought Proposition 8 in court. The Councilmember has joined the chorus of leaders calling for an immediate lift to the stay in the case, noting that loving couples have waited and waited and it is time for the state to issue marriage licenses honoring those relationships.


    Tree Trimming


    Tree trimming on Carthay Circle in progress following wind storms.

    You may have recently noticed tree trimming happening on the San Vicente Blvd median islands from Wilshire Blvd to Fairfax Ave, and also in the Fairfax and Melrose neighborhoods.  This work started up anew two weeks ago after a brief delay due to the wind storms that occurred late last year.  The company doing the work, Trimming Land Company, is the contractor for the City of Pasadena: having cleared Pasadena streets of branches and other storm debris,Trimming Land Company is now back to finishing the job of trimming our trees.

    The tree trimming is funded by use of Street Lighting funds designed to make our street lights more effective, and of course among the many benefits of expert tree trimming is that obstructions are removed, allowing our streets to be better lit and therefore safer. Tree trimming in the 5th Council district is now underway within the following boundaries:  Gardner Street, Highland Avenue, Melrose Avenue and 3rd Street, the neighborhood that encompasses the historic district of the Miracle Mile North Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, parts of Hancock Park and parts of the Melrose neighborhood.


    SoRo Green Team's Winter Citrus Fruit Harvest

    South Robertson volunteers gathered to harvest fruits for local food banks.

    On Sunday, January 22, the South Robertson Neighborhood Council Green Team held its semi-annual Citrus Fruit Harvest which drew a diverse group of volunteers ranging in age from 3 to 73. Fifteen students from Hamilton High School and fifteen  volunteers from the South Robertson Neighborhood Council set out in crews of four and five and picked 1800 pounds of backyard citrus fruit in just three hours! The fruit that was yielded was delivered to the SOVA Food Pantry of Los Angeles and St. Augustine's Food Bank in Culver City.


    Over 1,800 pounds of citrus fruits were picked by neighborhood volunteers!

    If anyone would like to participate by donating their own backyard fruit tree you may do so by listing it in the SoRo Neighborhood Council fruit tree registry. There are also opportunities to join an existing harvest crew or to create your own. For more information, please email Paul Waxman at pwmw100@yahoo.com.


    What Comes Around, Goes Around

    The Century City Chamber of Commerce has held another of its exciting and timely events — this one was a Transportation Summit entitled "At the crossroads: how getting around L.A. is changing and what it means to you." Councilmember Koretz provided opening remarks:  amongst those who followed were L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavksy, Metro Boardmember Richard Katz, Metro CEO Art Leahy and Expo Light Rail Construction Authority Chief Operating Officer Samantha Bricker. The Summit covered many key topics involving how best to address the present and future transportation challenges facing our region. Thanks and congratulations for a great event go to Chamber president and CEO Susan Bursk and the entire Chamber.


    Meet Dimitri!


    Left to right: Council District 5 staff member Dimitri de Silva
    with fellow staff member Sheila Kouhkan and Councilmember Koretz at last month's dineLA kick-off event.


    One of the newer members of the 5th Council District staff is Dimitri de Silva, but after only three months on the job, he's already demonstrated, time and again, his great dedication and ability.

    As a field deputy, Dimitri helps Councilmember Koretz serve the neighborhoods of Century City, Cheviot Hills, Rancho Park, Tract 7260, Westwood Gardens and West of Westwood.  He provides assistance for residents, businesses and community organizations. Dimitri represents the Council office at numerous community meetings and is the 5th Council District liaison with various Neighborhood Councils, Homeowners Associations, Neighborhood Watch groups and other local organizations.

    Dimitri, a first-generation Sri Lankan-American, was born here in Los Angeles. He studied PsychoBiology at UCLA, graduating in 2006, and obtained his law degree from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law in 2010. In addition to his broad legal experience, and working as a Tier 3 Personal Trainer at Equinox Fitness Clubs, Dimitri has demonstrated a passion for public interest and service. He is active in numerous community youth programs and founded the Association of Nutrition and Health at UCLA, aimed at educating the community about the importance of proper diet, nutrition and exercise. Dimitri, who lives in Westwood Village, is proud to be a resident of the 5th Council District and is thrilled to be working on behalf of this District's people and communities.


    Young Israel of Century City  – Torah Dedication


    Councilmember Koretz carried the Torah.

    Young Israel of Century City held a Torah dedication a few weeks back. The hour-long event featured hundreds of people coming together to celebrate this wonderful but rare event.

    Councilmember Paul Koretz was delighted to help the congregation set the event up. With Pico Blvd and Beverly Blvd needing closures, the Councilmember was quick to act for the sake of the community.
    Closures lasted about one hour, and thanks to the help of three LAPD officers (one sergeant) and several parking officers, everything went smoothly: closures ended immediately after the event, and traffic operated normally right away.  The community was so grateful that they even gave Councilmember Koretz the honor of holding the new Torah as it made its way towards the synagogue, and he in turn is incredibly appreciative.

    Special thanks to Allan Teichman and the entire Teichman family for helping put this event together.


    LAneXt

    The future is landing at Los Angeles International Airport with LAneXt, a massive facelift described as one of the biggest public works project in the City's history, creating nearly 40,000 local, direct and indirect jobs. The project represents a $4.1 billion
    investment into our local economy and its mission is to ensure that the airport remain competitive in the global market, with LAX finally getting a true redesign Hollywood can be proud of. Check out the latest pictures and fun facts at la-next.com.


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Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz
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