June 02, 2014
West LA Office
822 S. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
15760 Ventura Blvd.
Encino, CA 91436
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Get Water Quality Grades on the Go
Beachgoers can now check the latest water quality grades at 650+ West Coast beaches via Heal the Bays Beach Report Card mobile app for the iPhone or Android, at http://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!
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.
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.
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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.
City budget – approved!
The City budget for fiscal year 2014-15, which starts July 1 of this year, has been approved by the Los Angeles City Council.
Mayor Garcetti and the Council worked closely together in the crafting of a budget that both reflects the continued need for sensible and prudent fiscal discipline, and promotes key priorities that benefit the quality of life and public safety of our local neighborhoods. There was much public input, and the City responded by providing modest funding boosts where possible to enhance or restore programs deemed essential.
As a result of this “back to basics” approach, Angelenos can expect to see more neighborhood prosecutors and enhanced fire services under the $8 billion budget. These reflect top goals of Councilmember Koretz, who believes it is crucial that we are able to enforce laws that protect neighborhoods from quality of life violations, and that we provide sufficient LAFD funding to ensure the safety of our communities and residents. The Los Angeles Fire Department’s budget will increase by $22 million to pay for firefighters, ambulances, and equipment for first responders.
Councilmember Koretz has also been a leader in protecting funding for our senior services and opposing harsh funding cutbacks at the federal level, and this, too, is reflected in the new budget.
More good news is the increased hours that regional branch libraries are to be open. The City’s modest budgetary progress, after years of severe budget trimming, is also allowing for additional traffic engineers to help us lessen gridlock, while providing some bikeway improvements.
In addition, there are various advances in support of numerous fundamental city services. There will be 200 more miles of street resurfacing, $20 million more for sidewalk repair, $2 million-plus for median maintenance, and $1 million added for the sake of graffiti abatement. Because bulky items can despoil neighborhoods, bulky-item pickup service is being increased by $5 million. There will be funding for more neighborhood conservation staff at the Planning Department. Of great benefit to animals in need will be the added provision of medical and food supplies for Animal Services.
This “back to basics” budget also includes a 5.5% set aside for the Reserve Fund, because it is understood that the City should never again be so vulnerable to national and worldwide financial distress. The City has also begun to eliminate the City’s business tax and to reduce the top tax rate, in order to promote business growth that can bring new jobs. An “Innovation Fund” has also been initiated in order to create new jobs and ventures that may best reflect new technologies. All in all, this new budget is an important, but very measured, step forward.
Karen Kalfayan and Sharon Tso of the Chief Legislative Analyst's office were among the many who devoted countless hours of intense effort in working on the budget. After its approval, they were able to enjoy the moment with Councilmember Koretz, sitting at a table full of budget books and documents.
Thank you, Gerry!
The City Council honored longtime Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller as he prepares to leave his post on August 29. He has held that position for almost ten years and has worked for the City for close to three decades, and has been renowned for his tireless dedication.
The CLA is considered to be the top aide to the City Council, and in that post, Miller has worked on countless matters large and small, including advising on numerous crucial issues, such as negotiating the Staples Center deal and helping the city find its way through the national economic downturn.
Sharon Tso, currently the CLA executive officer, will be replacing Miller, who is looking forward to being able to enjoy more time with his spouse and family.
Legislative progress on a crucial bill
The California State Assembly has unanimously approved Assembly Bill 1839 (Bocanegra-Gatto: Extension of the California State Film Tax Credit Program). Hopefully, the bill will move successfully through the State Senate and to the Governor's desk.
Los Angeles has been the center of the film industry for the past century, and the industry has become a large and vital component of the city’s economy. However, starting in 1996 with Canadian film tax credits and subsequent incentives offered by other states, Los Angeles has seen its strong hold on the entertainment industry quickly diminish. According to data from FilmWorks, the education and outreach campaign centered around filming in California, only 8% of the top live-action movies in 2013 were filmed in Los Angeles, down from 68% in 1997; in 2012, 8% of new one-hour dramas were filmed in Los Angeles, down from 79% in previous years.
In 2009, the state legislature responded, passing legislation to establish the California film tax credit program. (Councilmember Koretz was a leader in calling for such remedies, during his years of service in the state legislature.) This immediately reversed four years of decline and saved or created as many as 51,000 jobs. Yet the demand from production companies to return to California far exceeds the program’s current funding. Assembly Bill 1839 will both extend the time of California’s film tax credit and expand its scope, further encouraging the revitalization of California as the international entertainment capital. Thousands of quality jobs for Californians will be created because of passage of this bill.
An award from the Sierra Club
On May 4, Councilmember Koretz received one of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter's highest honors, the Public Policy Award, which is given to an elected public official who has made outstanding contributions to advancing environmentalism. The Sierra Club cited the Councilmember's work on the fracking moratorium, moving LA beyond coal power, being a leader on the City's historic Feed-In Tariff solar program, supported the Zero Waste LA commercial waste overhaul, helping to shut down San Onofre (the dangerously-ailing nuclear power plant), promoted legislation about genetically-modified food products, and his protection of wildlife, including addressing pesticide's ill-effects on bees and butterflies, mountain lions and bobcats. The Councilmember in turn saluted the Sierra Club for helping to make Los Angeles a leader in environmental awareness and conscientiousness.
Earlier last month, the amazing Nancy Silverton was named “Outstanding Chef,” by the James Beard Foundation. This is the foremost honor accorded, each year, in the world of food, and in 2014, it was Nancy Silverton who was singled out.
Her restaurants, primarily located in the 5th District, are much treasured by local and international foodies, and bring wondrous tastes, critical acclaim, fame and tourism to our city, which is why Councilmember Koretz was delighted to invite her to a City Council meeting where she was congratulated on the “Outstanding Chef” designation.
As the Los Angeles Times noted, this is the culinary equivalent of winning a Best Actor Oscar, and Nancy Silverton is the first Los Angeles chef to win this ultimate accolade since 1998, when Wolfgang Punk won in a tie. She is also (only) the fourth woman chef recognized in this manner since the honor was first presented in 1990.
And so the City of Los Angeles – the 5th Council District in particular – has true cause to celebrate, both because of civic pride but also because we can readily enjoy her fabulous restaurants. She has helped the world acknowledge Los Angeles as a food capital of the world.
With partners Mario Batali & Joe Bastianich, she is the co-owner of Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza, Mozza2Go and Chi Spacca, all in the immediate area of Melrose and Highland. Because of her delectable dining creations offered at these and other restaurants – and detailed in her award-winning cookbooks – countless people have gained extraordinarily delicious experiences and fun and cherished memories. Nancy is also revered as a transcendent bread baker, founder of La Brea Bakery and former co-owner of Campanile: indeed, she has been named one of the most influential people by the Los Angeles Times for “changing the way that Angelenos eat.”
Along with applauding Nancy on her accomplishments, Councilmember Koretz praised her staff and everyone else who has been a part of this tremendous success story, which has required stout heart and ceaseless dedication. He also thanked her for championing Meals-on-Wheels and other such efforts of civic virtue and humanitarian devotion.
LGBT Heritage Month
LGBT Heritage Month is a time of pride, and this year's May 30th kickoff event, full of celebrants, was hosted by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Controller Ron Galperin, and Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Mitch O'Farrell. Councilmember Koretz, recognized for his longtime commitment to equality for all, was among the speakers.
Councilmembers Koretz and O'Farrell with NBA player Jason Collins.
Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month
May was Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, and among those honored were heroic World War II veterans. We thank them and all our veterans for their service on behalf of this nation.
Former Assemblyman George Nakano with World War II vetarans
Fourth Annual Sugar & Stilettos Bake Sale Extravaganza
The Fourth Annual Sugar & Stilettos Bake Sale Extravaganza was held last month in Bel Air, and once again an uproariously fun time was had for a wonderful cause – helping the hungry.
This year, $15,000 each was raised for the Westside Food Bank and St. Joseph Center's Food Pantry Program, translating into 60,000 meals at WFB and almost 2,000 bags of groceries at SJC, literally feeding thousands of women and children in need.
Councilmember Koretz was on hand to applaud Nanci Christopher, the prime moving force behind the event, as well as the many donors, volunteers and other participants, very much including actor Bradley Whitford, who graciously took on the main part in the hilarity of the Mr. Sugar & Stilettos 2014 Crowning Ceremony, joined by past wearers of the tiara: Richard Lewis, Paul DiMeo and Steven Weber.
Epstein Scholarship Awards
On May 13th at a special awards dinner, Chief of Staff Joan Pelico presented the Irene Epstein Memorial Scholarship Awards to three high ranking college-bound Fairfax High School seniors on behalf of Councilmember Paul Koretz. The Irene Epstein Memorial Scholarship was created in 1996 to aid underprivileged, academically-deserving students in attending college. The three recipients of this year’s award were Luna O. Gonzalez, Stephanie Esmeralda Ortega, and Victoria Hong. Each award recipient received a special commendation scroll for their efforts from the City of Los Angeles.
The Central City Association of Los Angeles recently held its “Treasures of Los Angeles” awards banquet. The honorees were architecture, planning, interior architecture and research firm AC Martin, given the 2014 “Heart of the City” Award, and Ira Yellin, recipient (in memoriam) of the “Spirit of the Renaissance” Award – both award recipients, indisputable giants in terms of their contributions to the history and landscape of Los Angeles.
As always, this was quite a worthy event, and a special treat for Councilmember Koretz was that he was able to meet Ron Cey. For any longtime Dodger fan, Cey – nicknamed “The Penguin" by his manager, Tommy Lasorda – shall forever be a treasured icon, both for his great contributions to the team as a slugging third baseman with a fine glove, and as a member of the historic infield that included Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes and Bill Russell. Along with such civic legends as AC Martin and the late Ira Yellin, he was and remains part of the glory of Los Angeles.
Championing and protecting our senior citizens
May was celebrated as “Older Americans Month” across the nation, and near the end of that month many of L.A.’s senior organizations, activists and leaders gathered in City Hall to honor the mighty contributions of our senior citizens. Councilmember Koretz, who has joined with senior organizations to fight for funding for needed programming and services, was proud to recognize their accomplishments.
Another event held in City Hall that very same day focused on a major threat confronting seniors: fraud. Senior Fraud Awareness Day was held to draw attention to that growing problem as well as to applaud the “Stop Senior Scams Acting Program,” which is made up of 35 students from the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Programs for Older Adults who perform educational skits at numerous venues in order to inform the public about current scams that target the older adult population.
Senior citizens own more than half of all the financial assets in America and are consequently the primary targets for fraudulent practices. It is estimated by the U.S. Subcommittee on Health and Long Term Care that seniors represent 30% of scam victims.
As the population ages and more Americans become serious citizens with “nest eggs,” they become greater targets for fraud and deception. The ease of access for criminals to contact seniors through the internet and telephone increases as more creative schemes emerge.
Senior fraud is a growing concern as millions have fallen victim to Medicare scams, sweepstakes and lottery scams, investment and work at home scams, bereavement scams, identity theft, charity scams, granny scams and home repair scams. Seniors average one scam-type letter and two telemarketing phone calls per week. Such frauds are underreported due to older adults’ embarrassment and lack of information on where to report such fraud.
Approximately 5 million cases of financial exploitation of the elderly in the U.S. occur each year and the financial loss by victims is more than $2.9 billion annually. Unethical caregivers, con artists and unscrupulous salespersons are the primary instigators of senior fraud. The tactics used are intimidation, fear, friendliness, authority and control to get the victim to send money or share private financial information. Please be on the alert! Here is an LAPD online link regarding senior crime prevention tips: http://www.lapdonline.org/get_informed/content_basic_view/7731
Crestview Neighborhood Association
As always, one of the great delights for Councilmember Koretz is attending and participating in community meetings such as the one held recently by the Crestview Neighborhood Association. The Councilmember thanks all who were there for such a vibrant and important event.
Preserving Valley history
Councilmember Koretz and CD 5 staffer Gurmet Khara met with Christina Rice, Senior Librarian of the Photo Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library, and Amy Inouye, president of the board of Photo Friends, to discuss an exciting project that is now underway – saving the Valley Times Newspaper collection photographs, by preserving them and making them accessible at the Los Angeles Public Library.
The Valley Times was published as a daily newspaper from 1946-1970, with coverage focused on the San Fernando Valley, and the photos, created by the newspaper’s staff photographers, represent an enormous treasure trove of pictorial, historical documentation of major events, community life and cultural experiences that shaped the Valley into what it is today.
The goal of this project of Photo Friends and the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection is to make readily available to the public, researchers and the education community, through the Los Angeles Public Library’s (LAPL) website, approximately 45,000 photographs from the Valley Times newspaper collection. We expect to hear and report much, much more as this intriguing and essential endeavor evolves.
Dr. Luis Montes
Councilmember Koretz was privileged to honor Dr. Luis Montes, who recently stepped down from the Board of Directors of Youth Alive!, after providing more than 20 years of magnificent service in that capacity. During that time, he has illuminated and transformed many lives with his skilled devotion to preventing youth violence and developing youth leadership in California communities.
Dr. Montes has had a splendid and essential career of accomplishments in this field, including while working at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in various capacities – currently, as Chief of the Department of Pediatrics. He recently was accorded Rancho Los Amigos’ highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. With Youth Alive! which does so much wondrously beneficial work, Dr. Montes has helped to rehabilitate violently injured youth from distressed urban neighborhoods, and has been a crucial advocate for victims of gang and gun violence and preventing retaliation and promoting wellness. He founded Compton’s Teens on Target program in 1991, led the expansion of Caught in the Crossfire from Oakland to Los Angeles in 2003, and co-founded the National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs in 2009.
In addition to board service with Youth Alive!, he was a founding member of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles and advisory board member of Women Against Gun Violence, and with his family is also very active in the youth ministry at First United Methodist Church of Pasadena.
Bark n' Bitches
A recent event, attended by Councilmember Koretz, lauded Bark n' Bitches, a Los Angeles Humane Pet shop, and its owner, Shannon von Roemer, who also created Jimi's Angels Rescue in order to further her efforts in supporting the homeless dogs of Los Angeles. Every dog for adoption at Bark n'Bitches has been rescued from city and county shelters! In addition, Bark n' Bitches has the most amazing and extensive selection of dog collars, super comfy dog beds and lots of fun toys, and all of its treat, health and food products are organic and holistic. Bark n' Bitches, with its dedicated staff and volunteers, is the exemplary, happy solution for those who abhor and seek to eliminate puppy mills and puppy mill cruelty and want only the best for dogs and people alike.