January 24, 2012

In this issue:

Great News About Los Encinos State Historic Park!

Confronting Terror

The Generosity of Joyce and Stanley Black

Talking About BIDs...

Restaurant Week!

Legislation Concerning Adult Films

Westwood's Bid for a Remarkable 2012

CRA Update

International Dream Games

His Love of Community Continues to Speak Volumes

New Horrors Associated with Street Drugs Misleadingly Known as "bath salts"

NCJW's Annual Clothing Giveaway

Welcoming Leana Scott 


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

The Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce will host its first Mix and Mingle of the Year at the Spitting Chicken Cantina, 14633 Ventura Boulevard. Join the Sherman Oaks Chamber as they welcome in 2012 on Tuesday, January 24th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 818-906-1951 or email vicki@shermanoakschamber.org
 
***


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!"


***

In October, Sanitation sent out their annual informational flyer for the Sewer Service Charge (SSC).  This explains how the SSC is calculated for both residential and commercial customers and provides tips for how customers can keep their bills low. 

On October 19, 2011, the City Council authorized Sanitation to mail notices of the proposed SSC rate adjustments.  These notices are currently being sent to both property owners (to be in compliance with Prop 218) and to our ratepayers.  Industrial customers who discharge high-strength wastewater are also receiving a separate notice for the additional fee they pay, the Quality Surcharge Fee (QSF).  These notices inform the customers of the public hearing on the rate adjustment, scheduled to occur at the City Council meeting on January 27, 2012.  

Please refer to the hotline (800-773-2489) for more information. 

***

Plant Pico Day
volunteers needed!

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.

For more information, call Brad Smulson (818) 402-6584 or
click here

***

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.

Great News About Los Encinos State Historic Park!

We have a new local hero, although that grand person prefers to remain anonymous!

After reading news coverage of a recent community meeting and press conference held in Los Encinos State Historic Park and featuring State Senator Fran Pavley and City Councilmember Koretz – the sole topic was the importance of keeping the park open, funded and functioning for public use in the midst of a state budget crisis – our unnamed hero decided to take decisive action, by offering to donate $150,000 to help keep the park open.


State Senator Fran Pavley, Councilmember Koretz, California Department of Parks and Recreation officials, members of the Encino Neighborhood Council and Encino Chamber of Commerce and concerned residents, participated in a public community "brain-storming" session in the park last November.

Our anonymous friend was born and raised in Encino, which is home to the park, and was concerned that this wonderful park might not be accessible for his children and future generations.  His donation will make a huge difference, both in meeting a year’s costs but also and perhaps more importantly, in sending the following signal to the budgetary decision-makers – the community cares passionately about this park, which is clearly one of the San Fernando Valley’s greatest historical treasures as well as a beloved place for recreation and relaxation.

It is estimated that the park costs approximately $210,000 a year, but the current success to date in raising funds may well help convince the state to back away from threatened cuts that would lead to the closure of the park. Our hero’s donation is a massive step forward, and the state has taken due notice, but more still needs to be done.

The City Council resolution authored by Councilmembers Koretz, Eric Garcetti, and Paul Krekorian placing the City on record in support of saving the park for public use comes to the City Council for a likely vote this Wednesday, January 25.

Some great possible solutions have been suggested and are being explored, a task force is meeting regularly to discuss various fundraising efforts and ideas, and both State Senator Pavley and Councilmember Koretz are exploring what can be done governmentally.  All interested people can visit the Los-Encinos.org website to explore how best to help this cause.


Confronting Terror



Sadly, the end of 2011 was marred by the terror of an arson spree that afflicted communities throughout Los Angeles, including neighborhoods in the 5th Council District.  Cars were set afire next to or under apartment buildings, making them incredibly dangerous because they had the explosive capacity of bombs. Luckily, no lives were lost or grievous injuries suffered, though there was significant property loss.

The great news is that so many people and institutions performed heroically in the face of these despicable deeds.  The Los Angeles Police Department and Chief Beck, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs and Sheriff Baca, the District Attorney and various elected officials from several local jurisdictions all came together speedily to create and implement a special task force, coordinating forces impeccably in order to identify, find and apprehend the culprit responsible for these horrid misdeeds.  In an era in which it is common practice to criticize the effectiveness and value of government, this task force and all those involved demonstrated how government can work productively, even in the midst of a crisis, to meet and solve a drastic problem. But the media also did invaluable good, through responsible dissemination of information, so that instead of sensationalizing and distorting, the media shared key news, accurately and comprehensively, enabling everyone to work together for the sake of heightened safety.

Most important of all, the public worked smoothly to maximize safety and to help find any perpetrator, whether by following instructions about keeping outside lights lit and by keeping eyes open for anything suspicious, or through the active, grassroots involvement of neighborhood watch groups and other community organizations.

In the end, this extraordinary teamwork led to swift policing breakthroughs, and now it seems the arson attacks are a thing of the past, which is wonderful.  In the meantime, Councilmembers Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz have legislatively called for quick assistance to those who need to rebuild.  And while 2012 will hopefully bring us all the maximum safety and tranquility that people deserve, it is the nature of Los Angeles to be at risk, whether because of the inevitability of earthquakes or fire or other hazard, so it is very reassuring to know that – as this recent crisis proved – communities and people around Los Angeles can unite successfully and beneficially to overcome even the most threatening of uncertain circumstances.


The Generosity of Joyce and Stanley Black


From left: Vista Del Mar Board Co-Chair Lyn Konheim, Los Angeles City
Councilman Paul Koretz, Joyce Black, Vista Del Mar Board Co-Chair Richard Wolf, Stanley Black


Councilmember Koretz and the City of Los Angeles were proud to salute the Joyce and Stanley Black family on January 12, 2012, during ceremonies marking the dedication of the Vista Del Mar campus, located in the neighborhood of Cheviot Hills, as the Joyce and Stanley Black Family campus.

Founded in 1908 as The Jewish Orphan's Home of Southern California and serving people from across the diverse spectrum of this region's populace, Vista Del Mar provides invaluable assistance to children and families that are struggling with social, emotional, behavioral and developmental challenges, providing the highest quality care available so that such challenges are happily overcome and productive futures are achieved.  Stanley and Joyce Black have been an essential part of Vista Del Mar's growth, supporting its vital programs and services, organizing fundraisers including the annual Sports Sweepstakes event that has raised millions of dollars for the agency, and spearheading the Joyce and Stanley Black Special Care Facility for the treatment of children with severe emotional and behavioral challenges.

Stanley Black has been a renowned leader of business and industry for more than half a century.  After graduating from Los Angeles High School and attending LACC, he served in the United States Navy:  he then joined Buckeye Construction Company, eventually co-founded KB Management and later formed Black Equities.  He has been  been honored by the City of Hope, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Boy Scouts of America and the National Conference of Christians and Jews while being involved with a vast array of charities across Los Angeles and in many business and civic organizations. Stanley has had a treasured partner in such pursuits – his wife, Joyce, who attended Fairfax High School and UCLA and whom he met in 1956.  Stanley and Joyce have been joined in philanthropy by their loving and compassionate family:  son Jack Black; daughter Jill Black Zalben; daughter Janis Black Warner (who sits on Vista Del Mar's Board of Directors and was president of The President's Club, a Vista Del Mar support group) and her husband, Doug Warner; and grandchildren Brittany, Zachary, Victoria, Jason, Jennifer and Joey.

Stanley Black believes that, "If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart," and he and his family have given of their wealth and their heart to the people of the City of Los Angeles, helping those in need and changing countless lives for the better.


Talking About BIDs...

With the new Westwood Business Improvement District – BID – already enjoying rip-roaring success, businesses and residents in a certain portion of La Cienega known as the La Cienega Design Quarter must be drooling in anticipation. That's because a proposed new BID to serve that area is already under serious contemplation, with local activists ready to embrace the effort needed to make the dream of a BID a reality.


Fig & Olive at 8490 Melrose Place

The La Cienega Design Quarter is the destination in Los Angeles for high-end home furnishings and interior design. It is also home to great restaurants ranging from Real Food Daily to Fig and Olive. The area includes La Cienega north of Beverly, as well as a small portion of Melrose and all of Melrose Place.  A group of local stakeholders led by Phillip Stites has been moving a BID proposal forward.

The BID as proposed has big plans for the area including frequent sidewalk cleaning, tree trimming, a security patrol, special events ranging from fashion parties to rug line launches, and greater marketing and visibility for the district. All of this will improve the customer experience, leading to increased revenues for the City through sales and property taxes and improved rents for the property owners, all of which are particularly crucial in trying economic times.


Real Food Daily at 414 N La Cienega Boulevard

The City Council recently approved a request by Councilmember Koretz to allow matching funds for the La Cienega Design Quarter to establish their BID. Initial requests by the La Cienega stakeholders did not move forward because the City had allocated no funds for BID startup in 2011-2012. Councilmember Koretz and City Clerk June Lagmay worked together to find past BID efforts around the City that had been abandoned or come in under budget – piecing all of this together, sufficient funds were found to allow the La Cienega Design Quarter the opportunity to get started with City matching funds. The Councilmember made clear how proud he is of all the efforts the group has made so far, and that he is confident of the BID's future success and importance to the community.


Restaurant Week!



The 5th Council District has a glorious assortment of fine dining establishments, which is why the annual dineLA Restaurant Week is an especially delectable treat for our experienced foodies and casual food fans alike.  This year, dineLA Restaurant Week takes place January 22-27 and January 29-February 3, 2012.

Because top restaurants are vital to the 5th District’s culture and economy and a treasured part of any proud neighborhood, Councilmember Koretz is always delighted to take part in the opening festivities, held by LA Inc., The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau.  LA Inc created dineLA in partnership with American Express and top LA restaurant industry leaders in order to showcase the city as a world-class dining destination and to promote the local culinary
scene. This year’s kickoff event announcing Restaurant Week was held at W Los Angeles-Westwood, in the 5th District, and joining Councilmember Koretz were Mark Liberman (pictured below), President and CEO, LA Inc., Tom Mullen (pictured below), Vice President-Large Market Development, American Express, and W’s Executive Chef, Dakota Weiss.


W Los Angeles-Westwood's Executive Chef Dakota Weiss speaks at Restaurant Week's kickoff event.

During Restaurant Week, L.A. residents and visitors are able to enjoy amazing meals from great local restaurants at very affordable prices. Many of our city’s best-known restaurants participate, making Restaurant Week the perfect time both for revisiting old favorites and exploring other eateries that you’ve always wanted to try.

One of the things that sets Los Angeles apart from other cities is the quality and variety of its restaurants, from the best corner burger joint to world class traditional and contemporary cuisines.  The 5th District is the epicenter of good food for the region, and DineLA shines a spotlight on so much wonderful food while also celebrating the hardworking chefs, wait-staff, farmers and countless others who pour their heart and soul into the tremendous food that enriches the
taste palettes and economy of Los Angeles.


Legislation Concerning Adult Films

On January 17, the City Council approved an ordinance requiring condoms to be used in adult films that are filmed in the City of Los Angeles.

This matter arose because AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) had successfully circulated an initiative requiring performers to use condoms in adult films. Once the City Clerk had certified that AHF had acquired enough petition signatures to qualify the initiative and place it on a ballot, the City Council was forced to either approve the ordinance as drafted or spend $4 million administering an election
just for that one matter – while realizing that any such matter on the ballot would probably be approved by the voters.

Consequently, Councilmember Koretz said it was a “no brainer” to save the taxpayers $4 million under those circumstances, and so he took the lead in calling for the Council to adopt the ordinance by a vote of the Council, and without placing it on the ballot:  he also pointed out that this ordinance will mandate safer practices among those who are involved in the porn industry, and may also educate or influence others who on occasion watch such films.

Because the AHF initiative forced prompt action – the Council had to act hastily to avoid deadlines associated with placing initiatives on the ballot – some questions remain about implementation and enforcement of this ordinance (which was sent to the mayor for his signature). Consequently, the Council also created a working group to address aspects of the ordinance that may still need additional attention, and that group includes or may include representatives of
various entities including the City Administrative Office, the City Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles Police Department, FilmL.A. (the private, nonprofit organization that coordinates and processes permits for on-location motion picture, television and commercial production), and California OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

While many have wondered about enforcement – including regarding those adult film productions which occur without the required permits – many of the most widely distributed videos are made by companies that seek permits and will likely continue to do so.  The inclusion of information about the dates of production is required, due to laws prohibiting the use of minors in such productions, and so the films themselves may well provide adequate evidence if and when violations
occur. The working group will likely address such matters.


Westwood's Bid for a Remarkable 2012


Left to right: 800 Degrees creator Adam Fleischman, Councilmeber Paul Koretz, and 800 Degrees Chef Anthony Carron

The New Year started with a victory and positive momentum for Westwood Village. On December 29, 2011 litigation to stop the Westwood Business Improvement District (BID) was dismissed in Los Angeles Superior Court.  The very next day, the 800 Degrees pizzeria opened to critical acclaim and fanfare, and as December 31st ended, Westwood Village rang in the New Year with newly trimmed and decorative lit trees, clean sidewalks and ambassador security patrols to protect and assist visitors.  With such excitement and success in the air, 2012 is expected to be a banner year for Westwood with new businesses opening, the BID continuing to spruce up the area, and students, visitors and families rediscovering what a great place the village is to shop, work and play.

800 Degrees is an Adam Fleischman (think Umami Burger fame) creation offering fantastic Neapolitan pizza at family-friendly prices right in the heart of Westwood Village. Guests enter the restaurant and order their pizza with a master chef who prepares the pizza in front of you and then bakes it in the ultra-hot oven – all in around a minute! From a Ferrari designed soda dispenser to mouth watering gelato, there is more than just amazing pizza to draw you into this latest Westwood Village eatery. 800 Degrees is located at 10889 Lindbrook and is open daily from 11:00 AM to 2:00 AM.

The Westwood BID was established by area property-owners working with merchants, residents and Council District 5 to improve the physical condition, business friendliness and visitor experience in Westwood Village and the Wilshire Corridor. With the litigation cloud lifted, the BID can continue its work which is already visible in the Village and throughout the boundaries of the BID. Walking from the W Hotel to the village is safer due to the BID’s ambassador security program; trees are trimmed and lit, enhancing an after-dinner stroll through the village; and sidewalks are clean and clear along the Wilshire corridor for countless employees, customers and visitors. In the coming months the BID will continue these important efforts as well as addressing marketing of Westwood and making better use of existing parking resources in the district. Councilmember Koretz and Westwood stakeholders thank Deputy City Attorney Daniel Whitley for his tenacious work defending the City against the unnecessary litigation threatening the BID.

So the page has been turned on some of the issues of the past, and 2012 seems bright with promise for Westwood, which will see the opening of Five Guys hamburgers in Westwood, the continuation of 3rd Thursday celebrations known as Westwood Live, final planning for the future subway stop and an enjoyable and prosperous year for visitors, merchants and other stakeholders alike.  Councilmember Koretz salutes the Westwood BID and all involved community leadership, businesses and activists for their momentous efforts to date and those to come.


CRA Update

On December 29, 2011 the California Supreme Court ordered all redevelopment agencies in the state closed effective February 1, 2012. The ruling invalidated a scheme for revised redevelopment revenue sharing (AB1X 27) and upheld the outright elimination of all redevelopment agencies (AB1X 26). While many very legitimate questions exist about the overall effectiveness of redevelopment in California, and while Councilmember Koretz has been a tough critic of the CRA
regarding numerous projects, closing down billions of dollars of assets in a month is proving to be an impossible quagmire at best.

Councilmember Koretz and State Senator Alex Padilla have led an effort to allow cities more time to wind down operations and sell assets in an orderly fashion. One of the largest unresolved issues involves liability to the City for projects and contracts made with entities and funding streams that will no longer exist. For this and a combination of other reasons the Los Angeles City Council voted not to create a so-called “successor agency” to handle the winding down of the CRA. Under the state legislation such an agency would be made up of a board where the City represented a minority of members and all their actions would be subject to veto by the California Office of Finance; however, the liability may have flowed to the City as it was the City’s agency.

The successor agency does not solve all the liability questions nor does it solve the economics of selling all assets (including billions of dollars worth of real estate) at an auction resulting in a fire sale where land values tumble and taxpayers lose millions on these public investments. This is why Senator Padilla has introduced SB 659 to extend the timeline for local government to unwind redevelopment. The bill does not reverse the legislature’s decision to eliminate
redevelopment but allows for a more reasonable wind-down of those operations that better protects the taxpayers' interest in real estate and other assets accumulated by the agencies.

Councilmember Koretz recently explained to the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments, “I have had my strong doubts about redevelopment and been outright critical of individual projects but that is no reason to shut these agencies down in a completely ad hoc fashion that exposes cities to enormous losses on investments as well as unknown and unlimited liability. We all have to work together to protect taxpayers and this City from the potential harm if this is handled in a disorderly manner, and so we need to wind things down thoughtfully and efficiently while preserving the value of City assets.” The Los Angeles City Council, San Fernando Valley Council of Governments and the Westside Council of Governments are all working together to urge the legislature to provide a reasonable solution on redevelopment.


International Dream Games


WNBA Star Lisa Leslie speaks to youth at the Third Annual International Dream Games

Councilmember Koretz and 5th Council District staff were pleased to participate in the 3rd Annual International Dream Games, held at Van Ness and Westwood Recreations Centers this Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. The purpose of these yearly games is to recognize the legacy of Dr. King by celebrating diversity and giving Los Angeles children a treasured experience. Bringing together youth from 12 City Recreation Centers, this year’s International Dream Games were basketball games conducted with the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and involving youth and parents from recreation centers throughout the City. These games are a continuation of an ongoing partnership between the LA Sparks, the Friends of West Los Angeles, and Recreation and Parks.

The kids were amazed by the presence and skills of Los Angeles Sparks star and four time gold medalist, Lisa Leslie. The renowned multi-talented leader in women’s sports wowed her audience, not just by her star power but also by announcing the Lisa Leslie Basketball and Leadership Academy, which in conjunction with LA City Recreation and Parks will be held at the Westwood Recreation Center starting this March. Space for the co-ed academy that will focus on basketball skills, leadership skills, and academic help is limited. Pre-register or find more information for the camp (ages 7 – 18) at
www.lisaleslie9.com.


His Love of Community Continues to Speak Volumes


The late Bill Tippit pictured with Eden Wozniak, one of the many children who have benefitted tremendously from programming now known as the Bill Tippit Reading Fund. Photo Credit: Greg Bartlett

Sadly, many great programs have been eliminated at our nation's schools because of fiscal crisis, but it's wonderful that so many good people continue to step forward to ensure that young people have access to crucial educational tools and experiences.

When the "Wonder of Reading" program was cut at Overland Avenue Elementary School before this school year, the Westside Neighborhood Council and many concerned residents joined together to create the Bill Tippit Reading Fund and raise money to reinstate the program, now called the "Magic of Reading" program.



 Bill Tippit was a remarkable community leader and devoted reader who was also a much-revered volunteer in the "Wonder of Reading" program. As BIll's widow, Terri Tippit (pictured above), recalls, he always treasured the many grateful notes and letters of thanks he received from students over the years. For the school and community, it made perfect sense and was a wonderful gesture to name the new program after Bill.

There have been a lot of generous donations so far, including from Fox, JMB Realty, Westside Pavilion Mall (Macerich), Century City Mall (Westfield), and several Homeowner Associations. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Councilmember Koretz will also be supporting the fund, and both were pleased to attend a recent plaque and dedication ceremony at which benefactors and people from throughout the community joined to dedicate a corner of the school library to Bill Tippit.  He has left a magnificent legacy, imbued with the community's spirit of generosity.


New Horrors Associated with Street Drugs Misleadingly Known as "bath salts"


Last year, when Councilmember Koretz initiated a pioneering ban on the synthetic drugs known as "bath salts," he did so because these drugs, though not yet known to be prevalent in California, had been linked to a rising and dangerous tide of usage in other states.  In the past couple of years, there have been numerous reports, especially in the South and Midwest United States, of horrific incidents of bizarre and violent behavior by persons profoundly under the influence of substances that were labeled as bath salts and sold legally in stores, even to minors. (These bath salts, which often contain various amphetamine-like chemicals, are NOT the name brand bath salts that have been sold in stores for years and were used by many of our grandparents!) It seemed inevitable that use of the drugs would spread here to California – in fact, one reporter found them being given out as free samples by a store on Hollywood Boulevard – and so Councilmember Koretz decided not to wait for horror stories to happen and instead called for a ban to be enacted.

The good news is that achieving that ban authored by Councilmember Koretz has also raised significant awareness about the dangers of bath salts. Previously, even many local law enforcement and drug treatment experts were largely unaware about these particular synthetic drugs and their potency and availability, even though any person under the influence can become extremely violent, impervious to pain and susceptible to gross hallucinatory states.

Now, though, a new danger of bath salts has been identified: according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, a study (published in this month's issue of the journal "Orthopedics") has found that intramuscular injection of these drugs can lead to the flesh-eating disease known as necrotizing fasciitis.

The ban that was approved last year will hopefully prevent many tragedies, and while the horrors of this ravaging skin disease were not known at that time to be among the costs of using these powerful synthetic drugs, it's good to know that the City acted proactively to protect people from potent hazards associated with these substances.


NCJW's Annual Clothing Giveaway


Crowds gather together for the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles's annual free clothing giveaway.

On Sunday, December 4, 2011, the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles held their annual free clothing giveaway at their main office on Fairfax. Employees and volunteers of the NCJW/LA spent months preparing for the event, and it was estimated that at least 5,000 people attended, and over 80,000 articles of clothing were given away.

Agencies distributed information about their programs and services at the Community Resource Fair, also located in the Council House parking lot. Participating organizations included NCJW/LA Women Helping Women Community Counseling & Support Services, Council Thrift Shops, City of Los Angeles, City of West Hollywood, Los Angeles County Public Health, California Lesbian Project, Jewish Vocational Service, LA Gay & Lesbian Center, Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness, Lupus LA, SOVA Community Food and Resource Program, and The Saban Free Clinic.

In addition to providing the clothing and other items for the annual giveaway, Council Thrift Shops fund NCJW/LA’s community programs that assist women, children, and families. These community services include a free Counseling Talkline (877-655- 3807), Women Helping Women Community Counseling & Support Services, and Women Helping Children Art & Literacy Programs for Youth.

Volunteers are needed for next year’s Annual Clothing Giveaway. To volunteer or for more information, call 323-852-8515 or email
peggy@ncjwla.org.  NCJW counts on the generosity of people to donate to their Council Thriftshop. Because of these donations, the NCJW/LA is able to put on this event each year and serve those in need.  The event has grown every year, and they expect it to expand next year as well given the current state of the economy.

Thank you NCJW/LA for helping those in need!


Welcoming Leana Scott 


Councilmember Paul Koretz and CD5's newest staff member, Leana Scott

Councilmember Koretz and his 5th Council District Office are pleased to announce that Leana Scott is the newest member of the 5th Council District staff. Leana is already off to an impressive start in her post at the front desk at City Hall, and she has quickly earned raves about her tremendous work ethic, knowledge about many key issues, dedication to public service and people skills.    

Even though she is a 5th generation Angeleno on her father’s side, Leana was actually born in the Solomon Islands:  her family moved back to Los Angeles when she was two.  She was raised here, living at different times in the San Fernando Valley and the Westside and attending local public schools before enrolling at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she majored in Legal Studies with a focus on Environmental Policy. After graduation, she learned the ropes of city government interning with the office of then-City Council President Eric Garcetti, and subsequently worked as project coordinator for the non-profit organization, Women Against Gun Violence.

Leana is thrilled to be working on behalf of the people of the 5th Council District. She is also an avid photographer, so "Smile, everyone!"  

 


This message was sent to  by:

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